World coronavirus updates: Markets rally as countries look to reopen economies

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Markets rallied in Asia Monday as several countries look to reopen after coronavirus lockdowns, per the Wall Street Journal, which reports Japan’s Nikkei 225 stock index rose 2.4%.

By the numbers: COVID-19 has infected more than 2.97 million people and killed over 206,000, Johns Hopkins data shows. More than 868,000 people have recovered from the virus. The U.S. has reported the most cases in the world (more than 965,000 from 5.4 million tests), followed by Spain (over 226,000).

What’s happening: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday there’s “no widespread undetected community transmission in New Zealand,” as the country prepared to ease restrictions.

  • Italy reported Sunday its lowest single-day death toll since March 12, as Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte signaled that the country will ease its coronavirus restrictions over the next few weeks.
  • China reported there were three new cases and no deaths on Sunday. It’s been 11 days since the country reported any deaths. China’s reported infections and deaths have been treated with suspicion by foreign leaders and the CIA.
  • Australia’s Health Minister Greg Hunt tweeted Sunday night 1 million Australians have downloaded a coronavirus tracing app. A top health official told a briefing Sunday the app is “only for one purpose, to help contact tracing,” as he sought to reassure Australians on privacy issues.
  • Israel allowed businesses including “stores, hairdressers and beauty salons” to reopen from midnight Saturday, per the Times of Israel. The country has reported just over 15,400 cases and 201 deaths as of Sunday night, per Johns Hopkins.
  • Children in Spain were allowed to go outside on Sunday for the first time since a nationwide lockdown began six weeks ago.
  • Argentina is extending a nationwide shelter-in-place order that was due to expire Sunday until May 10, President Alberto Fernandez said on Saturday, per Reuters. The country has confirmed over 3,700 cases, according to Johns Hopkins.
  • Spain will gradually ease nationwide stay-at-home restrictions starting May 2 if coronavirus cases continue to decline, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Saturday.
  • British Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to return to work on Monday after recovering from the coronavirus.
  • The World Health Organization said Saturday there is “no evidence” that people who recover from COVID-19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection.
  • India announced it will be easing lockdown measures for its 1.3 billion people in the areas outside of hotspots — providing some relief for locally owned businesses and daily wage workers.
  • The director of Israel’s foreign intelligence agency, Mossad, said in a briefing to health care officials on Thursday that Iran and its regional allies are intentionally underreporting cases and deaths from the coronavirus.
  • Brazil and Ecuador are becoming coronavirus epicenters in Latin America, as prolonged lapses in tracking and testing have led to severely undercounted death tolls, the Washington Post and the N.Y. Times report.
  • Pakistan has decided to keep mosques open during the fasting month of Ramadan, which began Thursday, as cases continue to climb, AP reports.

The big picture: The world faces its gravest challenge in decades, but geopolitical tensions won’t wait until it’s over. Trump’s threat on Wednesday to “destroy” Iranian boats that harass U.S. ships comes amid arrests of Hong Kong pro-democracy activists and clashes in Afghanistan that could further undermine peace there.

Between the lines: Policy responses to the crisis have been every-country-for-itself and — in the case of the U.S. and China — tinged with geopolitical rivalry.

  • But the scientific work under way to understand the virus and develop a vaccine has been globalized on an unprecedented scale.

Coronavirus symptoms: Fever, cough, shortness of breath.

Editors note: The graphic includes “probable deaths” that New York City began reporting on April 14. This article has been updated with new details throughout. Check back for the latest.


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