PM Johnson Spends Second Night in Intensive Care

A British official said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in stable condition Wednesday after spending a second night in the intensive care unit at a London hospital for coronavirus disease treatment. Junior Health Minister Edward Argar said Johnson was “comfortable and in good spirits.” The prime minister has been hospitalized since Sunday after his symptoms persisted during a period of self-isolation following his positive coronavirus test. Britain, which has been under lockdown orders for about two weeks, has about 56,000 confirmed coronavirus cases with 6,100 deaths. South Korea has not followed many other countries in instituting strict stay-at-home measures, but has had success in greatly reducing its number of new virus transmissions with calls for social distancing and closing schools. The government announced 53 new cases Wednesday, keeping intact a string of similar levels this week. There have been concerns about the possibility for greater infection numbers in the capital, Seoul, and on Wednesday the city’s mayor announced the closure of bars and night clubs. South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun also announced the suspension of visa-free entries for people coming from countries that currently ban entry to South Korean nationals, as well as rules for denying entry to foreigners traveling for non-urgent reasons.People wearing face masks to help protect against the spread of the new coronavirus walk at a park in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday, April 8, 2020.Meanwhile, Norway is joining Austria and Denmark with plans to begin loosening lockdown restrictions. The government plans to reopen kindergartens on April 20, with other kids due to go back to their schools a week later.  Norway has about 5,900 confirmed cases. While officials in some parts of the United States have pointed to potential signs of hope that rates of infections are slowing down in the country with the most confirmed cases, leaders such as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo say now is not the time to let up on lockdown measures that have helped. The United States has about 400,000 confirmed cases, more than double the number found in any other nation. New York has been the biggest hot spot and reported more than 700 new deaths on Tuesday.  But Cuomo said death statistics are a so-called “lagging indicator” related to people who became sick weeks ago. He said the number of hospitalizations and people sick enough to need breathing treatments are going down. Germany on Wednesday became the fifth country to cross 100,000 cases, joining the U.S., Spain, Italy and France. The novel coronavirus was first found in China, with the majority of infections there taking place in Hubei province and its capital, Wuhan.  That prompted a strict lockdown for about three months until the number of locally transmitted cases subsided. Tens of thousands of people took to roads, rails and air Wednesday as they finally got government permission to leave Wuhan, provided a mandatory smartphone app shows they are healthy and have not had recent contact with anyone who has the coronavirus. 

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