Wait and see in Italy
DESPITE a global spike in new reported cases, Italy remained stable at around 4,050 as of Tuesday, roughly in line with the day before, making it five days without a significant increase.
The country, which has seen the most deaths from the coronavirus, has extended its nationwide lockdown at least until the Easter season in April. On Tuesday, health officials there warned it was too soon to consider lifting the lockdown, saying a deceleration in new cases should not raise hopes that the crisis was near an end.
There are now over 850,000 cases and 42,000 deaths across 205 countries and territories, according to a Reuters tally at 0200 GMT on Wednesday. Italy and the United States have reported a total of more than 100,000 cases each.
More than 74,000 cases have been reported in the past day, the highest number in a single day since the virus began, and an increase of almost 30% from the day earlier.
Around a third of those were reported by the United States, where President Donald Trump said on Monday over a million people had been tested.
China started reporting the number of asymptomatic cases for the first time on Wednesday. This covers people who have the infection but do not show any symptoms.
The global fatality rate for the virus has risen to just under 5% with almost 4,500 deaths reported in the past day. Countries with overwhelmed healthcare systems and elderly populations are recording a higher rate. In Italy, the fatality rate is 12%.
Globally, around one in five patients has reportedly recovered from the virus.
Goats invade deserted Welsh resort
A herd of Kashmir goats has invaded a Welsh seaside resort after the coronavirus lockdown left the streets deserted. The animals, which normally roam free on a nearby headland jutting out into the Irish Sea, have instead wandered into Llandudno where they have spent the past three days feasting on garden hedges and flowers.
Town councillor Carol Marubbi said the goats don’t normally come into town unless the weather is bad. This time though, she said they probably realized something unusual was going on because there were so few people around.
“I think they’re probably feeling a bit lonely and they have come down to have a look around,” she told Reuters by telephone.
Italy’s Chinese community goes from scapegoat to model
In the storm of infection and death sweeping Italy, one big community stands out to health officials as remarkably unscathed – the 50,000 ethnic Chinese who live in the town of Prato.
Once scapegoats, they are now held up by authorities as a model for early, strict adoption of infection-control measures.
“They did much better than us,” said Renzo Berti, top state health official for the area, which includes Florence. Berti credits the community for bringing down the entire town’s infection rate to almost half the Italian average – 62 cases per 100,000 inhabitants versus 115 for the country.
G20 plan to focus on poorer countries’ debt
G20 major economies said on Tuesday they would present a coronavirus action plan in two weeks to address the debt vulnerabilities of the poorest countries and deliver financial aid to emerging economies. G20 finance ministers and central bank governors discussed in a videoconference how the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank could ease a lack of liquidity in emerging markets, which have seen an outflow of $83 billion in capital.