DIGEST

COVID-Informer: What happened around the world while you were sleeping

As some hard-hit countries show signs of vague improvement overnight, international concern rests with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

He was moved to the intensive care unit of London's St Thomas' Hospital about 7pm.

It is understood Mr Johnson is conscious and the move is a precautionary one "should he require ventilation to aid his recovery".

Further afield there has been a glimmer of hope on a few countries' horizons overnight.

Hard-hit Italy and Spain have seen some respite, though the numbers of infections and deaths remain staggeringly high. Italy with its COVID-19 death toll almost 16,000 is rejoicing in the fact pressure on intensive care units in the country's north has eased so much that Lombardy is no longer airlifting patients to other regions.

France, in lockdown since March 17, recorded its deadliest 24 hours after two days of slowing fatalities but reports of more patients than ever leaving ICU was well-received.

In the US, there's cautious optimism the situation in New York City is levelling off. The city remains the centre of the nation's outbreak, with harrowing scenes of panicked doctors and besieged hospitals commonplace.

Japan's prime minister is likely to declare a state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures this week while India and South Africa are working hard to increase testing regimes. Yet elsewhere the foot is coming off the pedal.

Austria and the Czech Republic are discussing how to ease some of the crippling restrictions while Denmark, one of the first European countries to limit physical contact in this crisis, is considering reopening daycare centres and schools for primary-aged children on April 15 if the situation remains stable - as is Norway.

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This story What happened around the world while you were sleeping first appeared on The Canberra Times.