An unexpected new source of coronavirus infections in China: Russia.
A wave of Chinese returning from Russia, which is now experiencing its own peak of infections, fueled the biggest increase in new cases reported in China in more than a month.
Chinese officials said on Monday that 98 new infections were reported among people who recently arrived in China. Most were Chinese citizens who apparently tried to return to their homeland after China limited flights in and out of the country.
Previously, an Aeroflot flight from Moscow to Shanghai on April 10 carried 60 people who finally tested positive for the coronavirus. The passengers were all quarantined.
The flight arrived a few days after China announced it would close its last land crossing in Suifenhe, a small town across Russia's Far East border, on Monday.
Many Chinese intending to leave Russia flew from Moscow to Vladivostok in hopes of completing the last leg overland. The Chinese Consulate in Vladivostok said in a statement by Sunday, 243 Chinese citizens infected with the coronavirus had already crossed the border.
There have been so many cases at the borders that the local government was opened a temporary hospital to handle the number of cases.
Russia closed its borders with China in January, hoping to prevent the pandemic from spreading, only to encounter a late increase in cases. As of Monday, Russia had almost 16,000 cases and at least 130 deaths.
In an example of how the initial success of a social detachment campaign can fade when restrictions are relaxed, Hokkaido, the northernmost island in Japan, declared a state of emergency for the second time on Sunday and asked residents to stay home, except the most essential tours.
The governor of Hokkaido said the government was taking action because of a second wave of infections. Long before Japan's central government issued a state of emergency for the country's seven largest prefectures last week, Hokkaido called for a soft blockade of the region on February 28. As the cases appeared to be under control, the city suspended the state of emergency for two weeks later and slowly allowed schools to reopen.
The total number of cases remains low in Hokkaido, but the government is concerned about how quickly they are multiplying. Four new cases were confirmed on April 7, and that number tripled in five days.
On Sunday, Hokkaido and Sapporo, the provincial capital, asked residents to avoid going out, stop traveling and avoid restaurants – mainly for "business entertainment".
In Osaka, Japan's third largest city, the governor on Monday urged companies such as nightclubs, Internet cafes, karaoke rooms, pachinko salons, cinemas, health clubs, museums and libraries to close by May 6. The decision followed similar requests in Tokyo.
Under the law that authorizes a state of emergency, governors have the power only to ask companies to close. Whoever does not comply can be disclosed, but not officially punished.
Japan's Ministry of Health registered 530 new cases and four deaths on Sunday, bringing Japan's total to 7,255 cases and 102 deaths. Tokyo registered 166 new cases on Sunday, more than half of which were concentrated in a hospital – the most recent of several recent groups in hospitals across the country.
Italian authorities reported only 431 new coronavirus-related deaths on Sunday – the smallest increase in deaths in two weeks and a significant drop from the country's peak crisis at the end of last month.
And even with the total number of deaths reaching 20,000, officials and public health experts in the country said the reductions in new cases and deaths are evidence of a hopeful change.
"The trend is now reliable," said Luca Richeldi, a pulmonologist on the scientific committee that advises the government, at a news conference. “Bringing together the fall of hospitalized people, patients in the I.C.U. and the number of people who are dying, we can say that the measures adopted and expanded are affecting this virus ”.
Officials also said that, for the ninth consecutive day, fewer people were being hospitalized in intensive care.
The drop in numbers has considerably eased the pressure on Italy's national health care system, said Richeldi, who was affected by an influx of patients last month.
More than 156,000 people in Italy tested positive for the coronavirus, surpassed in Europe only by Spain – and increase what Richeldi attributed in part to an increase in tests.
Angelo Borrelli, head of the Department of Civil Protection, said the group of experts who are managing the next phase of the government's response met with Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte over the weekend. The committee is working on an "inventory of solutions and proposals," said Borrelli.
Although the government has extended blocking measures until May 3, companies such as children's clothing and stationery stores and bookstores will reopen on Tuesday.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Sunday refused to accept the resignation of Turkey's interior minister, who offered him after taking responsibility for a curfew announced abruptly over the weekend that triggered the panic buying.
Minister Sulyeman Soylu announced his resignation at the end of Sunday on twitter. Within an hour, the president's communications director said Erdogan had refused to accept his resignation.
Soylu is one of the most powerful ministers in Erdogan's cabinet, and his attempt to resign after the removal of another minister two weeks ago underscores the political consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.
Confirmed cases have increased to more than 56,000 in the Turkish population of 80 million and deaths are 1,198.
The blockade for 31 provinces was announced two hours before it went into effect at midnight on Friday, sending thousands of people running to night shops to buy supplies.
At the time, Soylu said the blockade was ordered by the president, but on Sunday he said that the responsibility for "implementing the weekend curfew decision, which was aimed at preventing the epidemic, belongs entirely to me".
Erdogan introduced gradual restrictions, keeping some companies up and running. The country was experiencing unemployment and double-digit inflation even before the pandemic began.
Erdogan sought to reassure people that the government will manage the financial and health consequences of the pandemic, but complaints are emerging that a government compensation plan is inadequate. Many casual workers have no income and thousands of workers are being laid off.
A small study on chloroquine, which is closely related to the hydroxychloroquine drug that President Trump enthusiastically promoted, was halted in Brazil after coronavirus patients taking a higher dose developed irregular heartbeats that increased the risk of potentially fatal arrhythmia .
The study involved 81 hospitalized patients in the city of Manaus and was sponsored by the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Approximately half of the study participants received a dose of 450 milligrams of chloroquine twice daily for five days, while the rest received a higher dose of 600 milligrams for 10 days. Within three days, the researchers began to notice cardiac arrhythmias in patients taking the highest dose. On the sixth day of treatment, 11 patients had died, leading to the immediate end of the high-dose segment of the study.
“For me, this study conveys useful information: chloroquine causes a dose-dependent increase in an ECG abnormality. this could predispose people to sudden cardiac death, ”said Dr. David Juurlink, an internist and head of the clinical pharmacology division at the University of Toronto, referring to an electrocardiogram, which reads the electrical activity of the heart.
The researchers said the study did not have enough patients in the lower dose portion of the study to conclude whether chloroquine was effective in patients with severe cases of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Further studies evaluating the drug at the onset of the disease are "urgently needed", the researchers said.
Despite the limitations, infectious disease doctors and drug safety experts said the study provided more evidence that chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, both used to treat malaria, can cause significant damage to some patients, specifically the risk of cardiac arrhythmia fatal. Study patients also received the antibiotic azithromycin, which has the same cardiac risk. Hospitals in the United States are also using azithromycin to treat patients with coronavirus, usually in combination with hydroxychloroquine.
President Trump enthusiastically promoted them as a potential treatment for the new coronavirus, despite little evidence that they work and despite the concerns of some of his top healthcare workers. The companies that manufacture the two drugs are increasing production.
Israel's powerful spy service has been deeply involved in the country's fight against coronavirus and has been one of its most valuable assets in the acquisition of medical equipment and manufacturing technology abroad, according to Israeli medical and security authorities.
While countries around the world compete fiercely for limited supplies during the pandemic, they are turning to any available help and flexing their muscles without excuse.
And with Mossad determining that Iran – struggling with its own coronavirus crisis – is no longer an immediate security threat, the agency could afford to plunge into the health emergency, according to several people familiar with its operations.
In early March, a command and control center was set up to handle the distribution of medical equipment across the country, with Yossi Cohen, head of Mossad, at the head and headquartered in …