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Coronavirus update: 4 million cases confirmed worldwide, new case in Wuhan, China


Four million coronavirus cases are confirmed worldwide with the pace of the latest million consistent with the previous, while Wuhan, where the virus originated, records its first case in a month.

This story is being updated throughout Monday. You can also listen to the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.

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No slowdown on coronavirus infections globally

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has passed the 4 million mark, according to data collated by Johns Hopkins University.

And it has done so without slowing on a global scale.

While the numbers of cases have dropped significantly in Australia and New Zealand — and even in virus hot spots Spain and Italy — others such as Russia and Brazil have recorded large increases in new cases.

Worldwide cases hit 3 million on April 28, 2 million on April 15 and 1 million on April 3, meaning it has taken 12 or 13 days to increase by a million cases.

Nearly 280,000 people worldwide have died from COVID-19 with the United States accounts for almost a third of confirmed cases and over a quarter of deaths.

Experts have warned the true number of infections worldwide is likely to be far higher, with low testing rates in many countries skewing the data.

In Australia, 6,941 confirmed cases have been confirmed, resulting in 97 deaths. 

China concerned by new cases

People wearing masks while walking down the street in China.
Wuhan had been enjoying a lack of new cases until Sunday.(Supplied)

Chinese authorities reported on Sunday what could be the beginning of a new wave of coronavirus cases in northeast China, with one city in Jilin province being reclassified as high-risk, the top of a three-tier zoning system.

Jilin officials raised the risk level of the city of Shulan to high from medium, having hoisted it to medium from low just the day before after one woman tested positive on May 7.

Eleven new cases in Shulan were confirmed on May 9, all of them members of her family or people who came into contact with her or family members.

Shulan has increased virus-control measures, including a lockdown of residential compounds, a ban on non-essential transportation and school closures, the local government said.

The new cases pushed the overall number of new confirmed cases in mainland China on May 9 to 14, according to the National Health Commission on Sunday, the highest number since April 28.

Among them was the first case for more than a month in the city of Wuhan in central Hubei province where the outbreak was first detected late last year.

While China had officially designated all areas of the country as low-risk last Thursday, the 14 new cases represent a jump from the single case reported for the day before.

UK PM tells country to ‘stay alert’

Uk Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce new measures for his nation.(AP: Kirsty Wigglesworth)

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to “stay alert” to coronavirus risks, as he prepared to outline plans for gradually easing lockdown measures that have shuttered much of the economy for nearly seven weeks.

The Government’s decision to replace its flagship “stay at home” slogan drew criticism from opposition parties who argued that “stay alert” — used by Johnson in a Twitter message ahead of a televised address at 1800 GMT — is too ambiguous.

Housing minister Robert Jenrick said Mr Johnson would set out a five-tier warning system to track the outbreak in England as the Government makes limited changes such as encouraging those who cannot work from home to return to their offices and factories.

“Everyone has a role to play in helping to control the virus by staying alert and following the rules. This is how we can continue to save lives as we start to recover from coronavirus,” Mr Johnson said on Twitter on Sunday.

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His message was published alongside a new Government poster which listed rules including “stay at home as much as possible”, “limit contact with other people” and “keep your distance if you go out”.

Mr Jenrick told BBC TV there would not be a “grand reopening of the economy tonight”, but that Mr Johnson would set out a roadmap for the “weeks and months ahead”.

Britain has reported 31,587 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, the second-highest death toll in the world after the United States, and some 215,260 confirmed infections.

Spain’s least deadly day since March

About 10 runners jog through a small section of park
Spaniards have been able to get out and exercise in the last week but many restrictions remain in place.(Supplied: Penny Kidd)

Spain registered its lowest daily number of coronavirus deaths since mid-March on Sunday, as half the population prepared for an easing of one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.

Emergency Health Chief Fernando Simon said in a press conference that the daily death toll of 143 down from 179 on Saturday was the lowest since March 18

Overall deaths rose to 26,621 from 26,478 on Saturday and the number of diagnosed coronavirus cases rose to 224,390 from 223,578 the day before, the Health Ministry said.

Just over half of the population will progress to Phase 1 of a four-step easing plan on Monday after the Government decided the regions in which they lived met the necessary criteria.

It will include a considerable easing of measures that will allow gatherings of up to 10 people and let people move around their province.

In regions that made the cut such as the Canary and Balearic Islands, bars, restaurants and shops will open at reduced capacity and museums, gyms and hotels will open their doors for the first time in nearly two months.

But Spain’s two biggest cities — Madrid and Barcelona — do not currently meet the criteria for easing and will remain on Phase 0.

French Open with no crowds

Ash Barty's bicep bulges as she returns the ball. Her face is puffed up with tension air in it.
Australia’s Ashleigh Barty is the current French Open women’s singles champion.(Reuters: Kai Pfaffenbach)

Tennis fans at Roland Garros are renowned for being some of the most boisterous in the world — so much so they in part brought a young Martina Hingis to tears at the end of her 1999 final loss to German great Steffi Graf.

But they may not be present at the clay courts this year with the French Tennis Federation admitting it is a real possibility the tournament will be held without crowds in September.

The tournament was initially slated to be held May 24-June 7, but was postponed amid the coronavirus pandemic and rescheduled for September 20-October 4.

French tennis boss Bernard Giudicelli said organisers are considering the prospect it might need to go ahead without fans present and could even start one week later.

“Organising it without fans would allow a part of the economy to keep turning, (like) television rights and partnerships. It’s not to be overlooked,” Mr Giudicelli said on Sunday.

“The 20th or the 27th, that does not change much.”

Australian star Nick Kyrgios commented earlier during the pandemic that he did not wish to play at a slam that does not have crowds.

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