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Coronavirus latest: France eyes 'new phase' in fight

April 13, 2020

Politicians in Europe have expressed hope that the spread of coronavirus might be at or near its peak. However, the number of new COVID-19 cases in China has jumped to a six week high. Follow DW for the latest updates.

A confined French man in watching on television the speech of the French President Emmanuel Macron
Image: imago images/IP3press/V. Isorex
  • The number of infections worldwide nears two million, with more than 117,000 reported deaths
  • France extends its coronavirus lockdown measures until May 11, saying the day marks the start of a new phase
  • Germany considers easing lockdown restrictions as soon as next week
  • Italy, France and the US see a drop in COVID-19 deaths in the past 24 hours
  • China reports an increase in the daily number of new infections for the first time in over a month

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

23:59 We are now closing this article. For the latest, check Tuesday's live updates article here.

23:45 Some music has been brought to Ecuadorians' ears amid the South American country's lockdown. A Quito firefighter is seeking to raise morale by serenading locals with folk tunes on his trumpet from on top of his truck's crane.

"I want to bring some happiness to these sad moments that we are living through due to the quarantine," said Luis Quimbita, who joined the capital city's Fire Brigade six years ago.

23:19 UK Foreign Minister Dominic Raab is set to announce on Thursday that the lockdown in the country will remain until at least May 7, British newspaper The Times has reported.

Raab is currently standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is convalescing following almost a week in hospital with COVID-19.

22:36 Austria is set to become one of the first countries in Europe to ease coronavirus restrictions with thousands of shops reopening on Tuesday. The government, however, has maintained that there is still a long way to go.

Austria imposed a strict lockdown about four weeks ago, which included the closure of all schools, bars, restaurants and non-essential shops. Citizens were encouraged to stay at home. The country has so far reported a total of 368 coronavirus deaths, while the daily increase in cases has come down to low single digits in terms of percentage. This figure is relatively lower than most other countries in Europe.

The Day with Phil Gayle

22:20 Government health expert Dr. Anthony Fauci has said that President Trump paid heed to the advice given by top medical experts and announced mitigation efforts to control the outbreak in the United States, despite pushback. 

In a previous interview, Fauci had said that lives could have been saved if the country had announced lockdowns earlier. Soon after, Trump retweeted a call to fire Fauci. The White House, however, has maintained that no such step would be taken.

Fauci also said that after a bad week, the country was looking at flattening in some hotspots like New York. After his address, Trump added that he thought Fauci was a "wonderful guy."

Meanwhile, President Trump believes that the US is "very close to completing a plan to open our country, hopefully even ahead of schedule."

21:55 Turkey's parliament has approved the release of thousands of prisoners to prevent overcrowding and an escalation of the risk of a coronavirus outbreak in prisons. However, multiple human rights groups have slammed the law for excluding detainees who were jailed under the country’s controversial anti-terrorism laws.

21:20 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced immediate debt relief for 25 poor countries. The move, under the Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust, is expected to help the countries in fighting the pandemic. 

"This provides grants to our poorest and most vulnerable members to cover their IMF debt obligations for an initial phase over the next six months and will help them channel more of their scarce financial resources towards vital emergency medical and other relief efforts," IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said in a statement. 

While the organization aims to raise the amount to $1.4 billion, it currently has about $500 million in resources. This includes new pledges from Britain ($185 million), Japan ($100 million) and other countries including China and the Netherlands.

While the countries that stand to benefit are mostly in Africa, the relief is also extended to Afghanistan, Yemen and Haiti.

21:23 The United States Census Bureau has sought a delay in deadlines for the 2020 census, as the country attempts to deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

The bureau is seeking 120 additional calendar days from Congress for the delivery of the final apportionment counts, as field operations were suspended in mid-March. They were set to resume this week. However, under the plan proposed by the bureau, field data collection and self-response will be completed by October 31, 2020, pushing the delivery to the President to April 30, 2021.

President Donald Trump’s administration was also seeking an extension of Census deadlines, according to the chair of the House oversight committee. Officials from the administration proposed that all field operations be postponed until June 1, US Representative Carolyn Maloney said in a statement.

21:00 People are increasingly moving their lives online in order to maintain contact while keeping physical distance during the pandemic. That has its risks, according to one DW commentator

20:00 Health ministers from the Group of 20 major economic powers will speak by video conference on April 19 to address the impact of coronavirus on the global health sector, the Saudi G20 secretariat has said.

This follows a meeting of G20 leaders last month when they pledged to share national best practices and to develop a set of urgent actions to tackle the pandemic.

19:40 Here's a roundup of the latest events in Europe:

France has extended its coronavirus lockdown measures until May 11. President Emmanuel Macron said that date would mark the beginning of a new phase in the country's fight against the outbreak, with schools and creches progressively opening.

France reported 574 more deaths on Monday, bring its total to nearly 15,000. Nevertheless, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care dropped for a fifth day running. "The epidemic is starting to slow down. The results are there," Macron said.

Macron: 'We must continue our efforts'

The number of people killed by COVID-19 in the United Kingdom rose to 11,329 Monday. The country has the fifth-highest death toll globally.

Foreign Secretary Domic Raab, who is standing in for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from coronavirus, said there were "positive signs" the UK was beginning to overcome the crisis, but acknowledged there was "still a long way to go."

"We're still not past the peak of this virus," he said.

Spain began allowing some people back to work on Monday, but a strict lockdown remained in place for much of the country. Activities such as manufacturing and construction are allowed to resume, but shops and bars continue to be closed. 

Spain's death rate slowed after peaking earlier this month. The country now has nearly 170,000 infections and more than 17,500 deaths.

Italy's death toll rose above 20,000 on Monday. The country reported 566 new fatalities, an increase from Sunday. Though the strain on intensive care units is beginning to ease, the Italian government last week extended its nationwide lockdown measures until May 3. Certain bookshops and laundries will begin re-opening on a trial basis starting Tuesday. 

In Germany, the country's top scientific academy said the government could begin to safely reopen some schools while still observing hygiene rules. Stores and restaurants could also be reopened, if social distancing regulations are strictly enforced.

The academy added that facemask requirements should be introduced, and that while government offices can gradually reopen, travel and the vast majority of public events should be slowly and incrementally re-introduced.

Ireland's health minister said Monday that strict social distancing measures will have to remain in place until an effective vaccine or treatment is available. The Irish government has extended its stay-at-home measures until May 5.

"There isn't going to be a magic point at the start of May where life as we knew before the coronavirus can resume," Simon Harris told reporters, as the country's infection count rose above 10,000, with 365 deaths. "Being truthful, social distancing is going to remain a very big part of life, not just in Ireland, but the world over, until we get to a vaccine or an effective treatment."

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko claimed nobody in his country would die of coronavirus and that social distancing is not required. Unlike most countries around the world, Belarus has not adopted any lockdown measures. The country has kept its borders and churches open and even allowed its football league to continue play in front of crowds.

Lukashenko has described COVID-19 as a "psychosis" and suggested drinking vodka and visiting saunas can fight the virus.

"No one will die of coronavirus in our country. I publicly declare this," Lukashenko said. "We have already found combinations of drugs to save people."

The Belarusian Health Ministry has recorded nearly 3,000 coronavirus cases and 29 deaths, but Lukashenko claimed those fatalities were due to underlying health conditions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned citizens to prepare for an "extraordinary" crisis, as the country reported 2,500 new coronavirus infections, its highest daily rise yet. In a video conference with officials, Putin said the next few weeks would be "decisive" and even suggested the military could be used to curb the spread of the virus, if necessary.

The government must "consider all scenarios for how the situation will develop, even the most complex and extraordinary," he said.

On Monday, Russia's hardest-hit city, Moscow, began issuing digital permits to residents in an effort to reduce lockdown violations.

18:58 The White House has released a statement saying that the idea of US President Donald Trump wanting to fire the government’s top medical specialist, Anthony Fauci, was "ridiculous."

Trump retweeted a criticism of Fauci on Sunday with the hashtag #FireFauci, fueling rumors that Trump was looking to oust the doctor from his role.

"This media chatter is ridiculous," White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said. "Dr Fauci has been and remains a trusted adviser to President Trump."

Rumor have circulated for weeks over the frosty relations between Trump and Fauci as the US is the worst-hit country in the global coronavirus pandemic. Over 560,000 people have been infected and at least 22,000 are dead.

18:36 France has extended its coronavirus lockdown measures until May 11. President Emmanuel Macron said that date will mark the beginning of a new phase in the country's fight against the outbreak, with schools and creches progressively opening.

Macron initially issued stay-at-home orders and business closures on March 17. "Over the next four weeks, the rules must be respected," he said in a televised address to the nation.

France reported 574 more deaths on Monday, bring its total to nearly 15,000. Nevertheless, the number of COVID-19 patients in intensive care dropped for a fifth day running. "The epidemic is starting to slow down. The results are there," Macron said.

"Thanks to your efforts, every day we have made progress," he added. "But our country was not sufficiently ready for this crisis. We will all draw all the consequences."

Macron acknowledged France would have to continue to face the coronavirus crisis for several more months.

17:57 New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says the "worst is over" in the coronavirus pandemic as deaths in the state topped 10,000 Monday. 

"I believe that we can now start on the path to normalcy," he told reporters. "The worst is over if we continue to be smart going forward."

Cuomo said that 671 people had died over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 10,056. It was the first time in a week that the daily number of deaths was under 700, but the governor warned people were still dying at "a horrific level of pain and grief and sorrow."

"This virus is very good at what it does. It is a killer," he said.

Cuomo is meeting with governors of neighboring states on Monday to come up with a plan for reopening the economy. Authorities have said it will be a gradual process focusing on essential workers and require widespread testing.

New York is the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. The state accounts for roughly half of the more than 22,000 deaths in the US.

17:45 In the United Kingdom, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said that data suggests the UK is still going through the peak of the coronavirus crisis.   

The UK should expect the number of daily deaths to continue to rise this week, followed by a plateau of two to three weeks, according to Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser. 

"You'd expect that (the plateau) to go on for two or three weeks but I can't be absolutely sure on the time of that," Vallance said at a daily government news conference. After the plateau, the number of daily deaths should begin to drop, he added.

How and when can lockdowns be lifted?

17:30 Daily coronavirus cases in Italy have declined, but deaths from COVID-19 rose on Monday.

The country's death toll has topped 20,465 with 566 new deaths registered within the last 24 hours, according to the Rome-based Civil Protection Agency.

Italy's death toll is the second highest in the world behind the US. However, the rise in new infections slowed to 3,153 from a previous 4,092. The number of new cases was the lowest since April 7.

The number of critically ill patients on the other hand declined for the tenth successive day.

Monday saw a drop in patients receiving intensive care from a peak of 4,068 on April 3 to 3,260, confirming an improvement in the country's coronavirus COVID-19 trends. 

Last week, Italy extended its nationwide lockdown until May 3.

17:20 Ever since Romeo and Juliet, balconies have been associated with love against the odds. Now, social isolation because of COVID-19 means lovers have been using their own streetside galleries as a venue to tie the knot in public. Read more here from DW.

17:00 Police in Serbia have charged the director of a state-run elderly care home in the southern city of Nis after 139 of its residents were found to be infected with the coronavirus.

The man was detained and charged with both "an aggravated crime against public health" and spreading diseases, according to Serbia's interior ministry.

Most of the 135 people who lived in the center and four staff members have so far suffered from mild symptoms of the virus.

According to Serbian epidemiologist Branislav Tiodorovic, a "lack of discipline" and the "allowing of walks outside and visits" had led to the outbreak.

So far, the coronavirus has killed 85 people in the Balkan country.

16:40 The coronavirus is 10 times more deadly than swine flu, The World Health Organization (WHO) has said in a press briefing.

"We know that COVID-19 spreads fast, and we know that it is deadly, 10 times more deadly than the 2009 flu pandemic," WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Tedros also warned countries against lifting lockdowns too quickly. 

"These decisions must be based first and foremost on protecting human health, and guided by what we know about coronavirus and how it behaves," he said. "Control measures must be lifted very slowly and with control. It cannot happen all at once."

The WHO is set to publish strategic guidelines for countries planning to lift restrictions or lockdowns, giving advice on how to go about doing this. However, the WHO stressed that the reduction in restrictions does not mean that transmissions have stopped.

"Ultimately, the development and delivery of a safe and effective vaccine will be needed to fully interrupt transmission," Tedros explained.

16:15 The nationwide lockdown in India to contain the spread of coronavirus is causing economic problems for all citizens, but it is particularly damaging for the country's sex workers who are finding it impossible to survive. Read more from DW's Asia desk here.

15:50 The death toll in United Kingdom hospitals from coronavirus has risen by 717 to 11,239. This daily increase is the lowest for several days, although this may be because numbers often drop after a weekend owing to delays in collating data.

The total number of deaths may be significantly higher. The UK now has 89,554 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the fifth-highest in the world.

Experts have warned that the UK may soon become the worst-hit country in Europe, even overtaking Italy.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak has also said he expected British Gross Domestic Product to shrink by up to 30% because of the ongoing lockdown.

15:42 Top German scientists have said that the country could begin to reduce public restrictions after April 19. Chancellor Angela Merkel will take this into account when her government decides how to proceed.Read more from DW's news team here.

15:32 Vladimir Putin says Russia may need to use its military to help curb the spread of coronavirus. The country reported a record 2,558 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing its total number of infections to more than 18,000, with 148 deaths.

During a video conference with government officials, Putin noted that the Russian army had sent doctors and medial equipment to Italy and Serbia in recent weeks, and also defended a shipment of medical supplies to the US.

"You need to use this experience, of course, and bear in mind that all these options, including the options of the defense ministry, if needed, can and should be involved here," the Russian president said.

Several regions in Russia are currently on lockdown, including the hardest-hit area, Moscow. Residents have been told to stay at home unless buying food, seeking medical treatment or carrying out other essential tasks.

15:05 With the coronavirus pandemic stopping nearly all live sport, bookmakers are looking to online casino games and virtual sports. While the football matches and horse races may be virtual, the dangers are all too real. Read more from DW's sports team here.

14:55 Police in Berlin broke up a large birthday party gathering in the early hours of Monday that violated Germany's social distancing restrictions.

A 16-year-old girl was celebrating with 31 other people at an apartment in the German capital's central Mitte neighborhood. The girl's mother had apparently rented the property especially for the occasion.

"If a girl together with 31 guests is celebrating her 16th birthday and her own mother has apparently rented a 2.5 room apartment in Mitte for this purpose, then unfortunately we aren't stopping by just to say congratulations," Berlin police tweeted.

The police added that all 32 party attendees, as well as the mother and apartment landlord, were being investigated for criminal offenses and violating social distancing rules put in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.

14:00 In Indonesia, researchers have warned that government plans to allow millions of people to leave for their home villages at the end of Ramadan could lead to increased coronavirus infections.

The exodus, known as "mudik" in Indonesia, traditionally follows the Muslim fasting month. President Joko Widodo has resisted calls that he should place bans on travel ahead of the festival. He hopes that authorities will be able to persuade people to stay at home without imposing serious restrictions on public life.

Health experts say there could be one million infections on the island of Java by July, if mudik takes place.

Indonesia, the fourth most populous country in the world, has recorded the most deaths of any Asian country apart from China and their government has received hefty criticism for their handling of the crisis.

Indonesia has 4,557 confirmed cases and 399 people have died.

13:13 The German state of Bavaria is "cautiously optimistic" in the fight against coronavirus, as infection rates slow.

It is not yet possible to give the all-clear, but "we have reason to be cautiously optimistic" said Bavaria's health minister, Melanie Huml, to German news agency DPA.

A total of 33,329 people tested positive for the coronavirus by Monday. This represented 547 cases more than the day before, or a rise of 1.7%. In the past, the numbers used to rise significantly faster, according to dpa.

"The measures, the school closures and stay-at-home restrictions have taken affect," said Huml.

Due to the Easter holidays, test results from some laboratories were missing, meaning that the latest figures were to be viewed "with caution," added Huml.

12:46 The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus in the Netherlands has increased by 86 to 2,823, Dutch health authorities say.

The National Institute for Public Health said total confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 964 to 26,551.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte appealed to his nation to adhere to social distancing rules ahead of the Easter weekend. He warned that it would take a long time for the country to return to normal.

12:04 The German National Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina, said the government could begin to safely reopen some schools while still observing hygiene rules that help limit the spread of COVID-19. Restarting schools could help normalize new hygiene regulations and help revive public life, said the academy.

It warned that new infections needed to remain at a manageable level for schools to be reopened. The government should make it a requirement to wear face masks on public transport and in certain other places, added the academy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of Germany's 16 states are set to virtually meet on April 15 to assess nationwide restrictions on public life. Suggestions from the academy will be closely considered, tweeted DW political correspondent Kate Brady.

10:54 Dubai's Emirates airline will operate limited passenger services to Algiers, Tunis, Jakarta, Manila, Taipei, Kabul and Chicago, said the airline in a statement on its website. The state-owned airline suspended regular services last month in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The flights will be outbound only to "facilitate residents and visitors wishing to return home," said the statement. It did not say when the flights would operate. During the flights, passengers will be required to apply social distancing guidelines and wear face masks at the airport and on the aircraft. Cabin baggage will not be allowed, and the food service will be "modified to reduce contact during meal service and the risk of infection."

The airline already offers outbound services to London and Frankfurt.

10:48 A spike in the number of COVID-19 patients has prompted authorities in Kosovo's capital, Pristina, to put the city under quarantine. The Health Ministry reported 79 new cases on Sunday afternoon, bringing the total in the city to 362. Seven people have died from the illness.

The quarantine regulations mean that only people with permits may enter or leave the city. Another six of Kosovo's 38 districts are also under quarantine. According to information from the German Embassy in Pristina, schools and universities there have been closed since March 12 and all retail outlets, restaurants and bars, with the exception of grocery stores and pharmacies, since March 14.

09:31 Police made foreign tourists in India's northern Uttarakhand state write "I am sorry" 500 times as a punishment for flouting a nationwide lockdown, local media reported. India declared a 21-day lockdown from March 25 to stop the spread of COVID-19 infections. People are permitted to leave their homes only to get essential items and medicine.

The ten tourists from the US, Australia, Mexico and Israel were caught walking next to the Ganges river in Rishikesh. As punishment, they were each ordered to write "I did not follow the lockdown, I am sorry" 500 times on sheets of paper.

The Uttarakhand government has relaxed curbs on movement from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. local time (0130 – 07:30 UTC) for people to complete their chores and get supplies. However, roaming around without any reason is not permitted, said Vinod Sharma, in-charge of the police post in Tapowan, reported News18.

"They are guests of our country but are repeatedly breaking the rules by loitering," Sharma told German news agency dpa. He added that there were about 600 tourists in Rishikesh, a Hindu temple town known for its spiritual and yoga retreats.

India is set to extend the lockdown until April 30. It has so far seen a total of 9,240 coronavirus cases, including 331 deaths.

08:42 Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's "stay at home" social media post has attracted criticism as people struggled financially due to the economic fallout of the coronavirus crisis. Abe issued a state of emergency last Tuesday for seven prefectures, including Tokyo and Osaka, requesting residents in the regions to remain at home. 

The short video clip on Abe's Twitter and Facebook is a split screen: on one side, Abe is seen reclining on a sofa, cuddling his dog and drinking a cup of tea. The other half shows popular musician Gen Hoshino strumming a guitar and singing a relaxing song. "You don't see your friends. You don't go to drinking parties. However, everyone's actions like these are helping save many lives," wrote Abe in a caption accompanying the post on Twitter.

However, many reacted angrily, seeing his post as out-of-touch. "Non-regular workers only drinking water, single mothers struggling to survive without paying utilities bills, temporary workers forced to leave their apartment, are you watching Abe relaxing at home? Stay alive and get angry!" tweeted Mitsuteru Suda, an official at the National Union of General Workers Tokyo Tobu.

Some Twitter users pointed out that some people had to travel to work and could not avoid using crowded trains. Others wrote that not everyone could sit at home on luxury sofas. 

Hoshino said later on his Instagram that the clip of him singing was used without his permission.

08:33 China has said that its "African brothers" are not being discriminated against in the country amid US accusations that Africans are being mistreated in the southern city of Guangzhou as anti-foreigner sentiment is stoked by the coronavirus crisis. Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian rejected the accusations as a bid to hurt Beijing's ties with African nations.

Reports have emerged on social media in recent days of Africans being evicted from their homes and refused accommodation in hotels in the city, with many in China fearing a second COVID-19 wave introduced from abroad.

07:14 Some of Spain's non-essential workers, from sectors such as construction and industry, are returning to their workplaces on Monday. It comes two weeks after the government ordered all non-essential activities to stop in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus. Police handed out face masks to the returning workers at metro and train stations.

Spain on Sunday reported its lowest daily growth in infections in three weeks. However, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez insisted that the country was "far from victory," during a televised press conference. "We are all keen to go back out on the streets... but our desire is even greater to win the war and prevent a relapse," he said.

The majority of Spain's population remain under lockdown in their homes. Schools, bars, restaurants, cultural venues and leisure centers all remain closed.

Read more: Spain discusses basic income for the poorest amid coronavirus fallout

Police in Spain are seen handing out face masks to people at metro and train stations
Police in Spain are seen handing out face masks to people at metro and train stationsImage: Reuters/J. Medina

Private initiatives in Spain

06:20 China on Monday reported the highest daily number of new coronavirus cases since March 6, with 108 new infections registered. Ten of the cases were locally transmitted, a new rise after several days at the end of March in which no such infections were registered. The others were among travelers returning from abroad, according to the National Health Commission.

State media have reported that people crossing from Russia are spreading the virus in the border city of Suifenhe in northeastern Heilongjiang province. Some 300 cases had been confirmed in the city by Saturday. The country is trying to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 infections after the first outbreak killed more than 3,000 people and sickened over 80,000.

06:06 Authorities ordered workers at a unit of the Samsung Display factory in northern Vietnam to be quarantined after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus, reported Reuters news agency. A 25-year-old worker in the EQC-SI unit of the Samsung Display factory in Bac Ninh province tested positive on Sunday, according to a statement released on Monday by the anti-COVID-19 task force from neighboring Bac Giang province.

Technology giant Samsung confirmed the case, but said its production lines in the country had not been affected. Samsung Electronics is the largest single foreign investor in the Southeast Asian country. Shipments of its products account for around a quarter of Vietnam's exports. Vietnam has 262 confirmed cases with no deaths, according to latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.

Read more about Vietnam's strategy for tackling the COVID-19 crisis here: How Vietnam is winning its 'war' on coronavirus

05:57 French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to say in a national address on Monday evening how long France will continue in lockdown after an extension to current restrictions beyond the initial end date of April 15 was announced last week.

Media have speculated that the measures to stem the spread of the coronavirus, first put in place on March 17, could now last till mid-May at least, with France's scientific council recommending a period of at least six weeks.

People in France have been banned from leaving their homes for more than an hour a day and must remain within a radius of 1 kilometer of their houses. They are allowed to go out only for reasons such as buying essential supplies or exercise.

05:00 Government sources in India say the country wants some industries to resume production after April 15 even though a current three-week lockdown due to end on Tuesday is expected to be extended to the end of April.

One source told Reuters news agency that any manufacturing operations that do restart would have to conform to health guidelines that are still being drawn up. A letter from the Industries Ministry to the Home Ministry seen by Reuters mentions autos, textiles, defense and electronics as sectors that could resume production.

Economists have warned that India's already faltering economy will be badly affected by the lockdown, with unemployment possibly rising to record levels. India had 9,205 cases of coronavirus infections, with 331 people dying of COVID-19 as of Monday morning.

03:11 A US district judge has ruled that Alabama cannot ban abortions as part of the state's response to the outbreak. Judge Myron Thompson released a preliminary injunction sought by clinics to stop the state from prohibiting abortions as part of a ban on elective medical procedures during the pandemic. Thompson said abortion providers can elect whether a procedure can wait.

"Based on the current record, the defendants' efforts to combat COVID-19 do not outweigh the lasting harm imposed by the denial of an individual's right to terminate her pregnancy, by an undue burden or increase in risk on patients imposed by a delayed procedure, or by the cloud of unwarranted prosecution against providers," Thompson stated.

03:00 The final repatriation of 500 German travelers from New Zealand will happen tonight, in a Lufthansa flight from Auckland to Frankfurt. To mark this occasion, Auckland's Sky Tower will be lit up in colors of the German national flag as the A380 does a low pass over the harbor nearby. New Zealand had one of the largest number of Germans stranded overseas (around 12,000) after travel restrictions over COVID-19 took effect.

02:15 Here is the latest from across the Americas:

Mexico: Health officials have confirmed 442 new infections and 23 new fatalities. Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said Mexico might have as many as 26,500 people infected saying a large number who are infected probably don’t have symptoms or not diagnosed. Latest figures: 4,219 infected, 273 deaths, 1,772 recovered.

United States: The US may be ready to start slowly reopening in May, some of the government’s top officials have suggested, as hopes rise that the outbreak was peaking. President Donald Trump had earlier wanted the world's largest economy to be "raring to go" by Easter Sunday. However, most of the country remained at a standstill and churches took celebrations online to prevent the spread of the virus that has killed more than 22,000 people across the country. Meanwhile, Trump has defended his record amid accusations that he was slow in responding threats of an outbreak in the US. Latest figures: 556,044 infected, 22,073 deaths, 42,735 recovered.

Canada: A number of countries, principally Canada, have asked Iran to postpone downloading data on the black boxes from a downed Ukrainian international flight, due to travel restrictions. Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) president Kathy Fox stressed that the nations concerned are "anxious for the download and analysis of the recorders to proceed," but that all the countries "provided a consistent response, indicating that traveling was impossible at this time, and likely for some time to come." There were 57 Canadian citizens who perished in the plane crash on January 8. Latest figures: 24,299 infected, 717 deaths, 7,172 recovered.

Brazil: A 97-year-old lady has become the country's oldest survivor of the coronavirus. Gina Dal Colleto was hospitalized on April 1 and her chances appeared minimal. However, Dal Colleto has now been released in a wheelchair from Sao Paulo's Vila Nova Star hospital to applause from doctors and nurses. Brazil is the worst hit country in Latin America. Latest figures: 22,192 infected, 1,223 deaths, 173 recovered.

Peru: The health ministry reported it has carried out 45,272 rapid tests as of April 12. Peru has so far registered 7,519 cases, with 193 fatalities. Latest figures: 7519 infected, 193 deaths, 1,798 recovered.

Ecuador: President Lenin Moreno and his cabinet members have taken 50% pay cuts. The political figures made the move as the South American country fights to stave off the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. Latest figures: 7,466 infected, 333 deaths, 501 recovered.

El Salvador: Congress has extended a national emergency that allows the government to prolong certain health measures. The extension will mean lawmakers now have an extra four days, during which they said they would look to work with the government of President Nayib Bukele, and work on problems connected to the economy, health and human rights. Latest figure: 125 infected, 6 deaths, 21 recovered.

01:09 Peruvian police have arrested a Chinese citizen for illegally carrying out coronavirus tests with kits stolen from the South American country's health ministry. Tianxing Zhang was arrested in Lima, Peru's capital, as he was about to conduct tests with two women at the door of their house, police confirmed. Both women had paid Zhang to conduct a rapid home test.

The 36-year-old "was proceeding to carry out rapid tests for COVID-19 that he had stolen" from the Lima Sur health authority where he worked, according to a police statement. Zhang was wearing a mask and a light blue medical apron when he was arrested by the state security police.

00:49 A recap of yesterday's events:

Pope Francis offered sympathy to those who weren't able to say goodbye to their loved ones, while calling on EU nations to show solidarity. He made the comments during his Easter mass that was livestreamed to millions across the globe.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan rejected the resignation of Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. Earlier on Sunday, Soylu said he was resigning over the bungled two-day curfew in major Turkish cities.

In the US, Anthony Fauci, the pandemic expert who has been advising the Trump administration, said parts of the country could begin easing restrictions in May, echoing sentiments expressed earlier by Stephen Hahn, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration.

Italy reported its lowest number of deaths since March 19, with a toll of 431. The figure marks a significant drop since the day prior, when it reported 619 deaths. It also reported a decrease in cases and number of people in intensive care.

In Germany, Frankfurt police were attacked by a mob of around 20 people with stones and iron bars while trying to enforce social distancing measures. Meanwhile, Germany is set to lead the "coronavirus presidency," when the country takes the helm of the rotating EU Council presidency in July.  

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson left hospital, praising the country’s National Health Service (NHS). The government, though, has been warned that the UK risks having the highest death toll from COVID-19 in Europe as the total number of fatalities from the disease in UK hospitals surpassed 10,000.

00:26 US President Donald Trump has rejected claims as "fake news" that he ignored warnings of the outbreak, going against expert advice on social distancing.

Trump took to Twitter to deny the accusations, saying: "If the Fake News Opposition Party is pushing, with all their might, the fact that President Trump 'ignored early warnings about the threat,' then why did Media & Dems viciously criticize me when I instituted a Travel Ban on China? They said 'early & not necessary.' Corrupt Media!"

The president’s comments come in the wake of a New York Times report stating that US public health adviser, Dr Anthony Fauci, and other senior officials had advised Trump to implement social distancing measures in February. At the time, these suggestions were dismissed by the president, only for him to backtrack a month later.

Asked on CNN why the administration did not heed the advice, Fauci said: "You know … as I have said many times, we look at it from a pure health standpoint. We make a recommendation. Often, the recommendation is taken. Sometimes, it’s not. It is what it is. We are where we are right now."

00:05 Welcome to DW's coverage of the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic. Catch up on all of Sunday's developments here.

In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.

Germany's national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

jsi, ed, mvb, dr, see/rc (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters)

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