China reports zero coronavirus deaths, as Wuhan lifts final restrictions; suspected drug cartels distribute food in Mexico; Boris Johnson in intensive care after symptoms worsen; Enugu Anglican Archbishop denies daring govt, police on lockdown


China has reported no coronavirus deaths over the past day, in a sign the worst of the outbreak is over for the country.

There were also no new locally transmitted infections in the original epicenter of the disease, in Hubei province, and across mainland China, the National Health Commission said.

Authorities reported 32 new coronavirus cases among citizens returning from abroad.

The commission said that 30 new cases of asymptomatic infections were being monitored, with a total of 1,033 such cases under medical observation.

So far, China has reported 81,740 coronavirus cases, including 3,331 deaths and 77,167 recovered patients. 

Wuhan, the Chinese metropolis at the origin of the current coronavirus pandemic, is due this week to lift the final restrictions after more than two and a half months of stringent lockdown.

From midnight on Wednesday, (1600 GMT on Tuesday) traffic is set to return to normal.

Flights are also due to resume, cars will be able to leave the city again and people can travel by train, on condition that they are healthy and have had no recent contact with infected patients.

The resumption of normal life in the city of 11 million people is seen as an important signal for China that the worst of the crisis is over.

The novel strain of coronavirus jumped from an unknown animal species to the human population in Wuhan in December.

Of the more than 80,000 officially registered cases in China, 50,000 were in Wuhan alone.

The metropolis accounts for more than 2,500 of the country’s 3,300 listed Covid-19 deaths.

Observers believe that many cases have not been included in those numbers, however. 
In Mexico, suspected members of drug cartels distributed food to residents of two cities amid the coronavirus pandemic, local media reported on Monday.

Official sources quoted by the newspaper Reforma indicated that the food deliveries, allegedly carried out by the Gulf Cartel in the north-eastern state of Tamaulipas and Los Viagras in the western state of Michoacan group, were being investigated.

Drug trafficking groups have been known to distribute food or toys on certain dates, such as Children’s Day or when there are hurricanes, in what is seen as a way to show their presence and gain community support.

In Tamaulipas, a state bordering the United States, cardboard boxes with basic items such as canned tuna, oil and sugar were delivered on Saturday in marginalized neighbourhoods of the state capital Ciudad Victoria.

El Blog del Narco, a website that disseminates information on organised crime, published photographs showing labels on the boxes that read “Cartel del Golfo: In support of Ciudad Victoria.”

According to Reforma, this could be a strategy by a criminal leader operating in a different city in Tamaulipas to challenge drug traffickers in the capital.

Food was also reportedly distributed in Michoacan in the community of Acahuato, a town near Apatzingan, where different organizations operate, including Los Viagras.

The coronavirus crisis has partially paralyzed the economy in Mexico, where the population has been asked to self-isolate in an attempt to slow down the spread of the virus.

So far, 2,143 cases of Covid-19, the life-threatening disease caused by coronavirus, have been confirmed, while 94 people who tested positive have died so far.
In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken to intensive care on Monday night after his coronavirus symptoms worsened, Downing Street said.

Johnson has asked British Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, to deputise for him, a Downing Street spokesman said.

The prime minister, 55, was admitted to St Thomas’ Hospital in London with “persistent symptoms” on Sunday night, 10 days after testing positive for coronavirus.

The spokesman said the prime minister was moved on the advice of his medical team and is receiving “excellent care”.

“Since Sunday evening, the prime minister has been under the care of doctors at St Thomas’ Hospital, in London, after being admitted with persistent symptoms of coronavirus,” said a statement.

“Over the course of this afternoon, the condition of the prime minister has worsened and, on the advice of his medical team, he has been moved to the intensive care unit at the hospital,” the statement said.

“The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS (National Health Service) staff for their hard work and dedication,” it added.

Two uniformed police officers were stationed at the entrance to St Thomas’ Hospital on Monday evening.

Throughout the day, officers and police vehicles could be seen entering and exiting the central London hospital.

The death toll of those hospitalised in Britain who tested positive for the coronavirus reached 5,373 as of Sunday afternoon, a daily increase of 439, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

As of Monday morning, the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Britain hit 51,608, up 3,802 in the past 24 hours, said the department. 
Meanwhile, the Archbishop of Enugu Ecclesiastical Province (Anglican Communion), Most. Rev. Emmanuel Chukwuma, said he did not dare government and security agencies on closure of churches in Enugu State over Coronavirus pandemic.

The Archbishop made the disclosure in Enugu on Monday after a closed door meeting with Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi and Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ahmad AbdurRahman, at the Government House.

The cleric was alleged to have held church services on Palm Sunday in some of the Anglican churches in the state.

The bishop allegedly said that “the Province will not shut any of its parishes over Coronovirus Disease (COVID-19) pandemic”.

According to him, “I was very embarrassed to read the story in the newspaper and the new media; the story is untrue and misleading.

“All I said was that the church is not the building and that the church is the people praying; and people who are church members cannot be shut down in praying in their various homes”.

Chukwuma acknowledged that it had already been agreed in Enugu State that “all churches should be closed down and we have been observing it”.

He commended the state government’s proactive safety measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, but maintained his stance that the closure of churches did not mean that bishops and priests could not go into the church and pray.

“The building may be shut but the church is not closed because people are praying in their various houses but are not allowed to come to the church building to pray, except the priests and the bishops.

“I never dared the government, I never dared the police and the police never came to me to say stop this or that because I never had any sort of congregational service.

“Therefore, I want to let the people, Nigerians and the whole world to know that it is not true that I dared the government or that I dared the police”.

In his remark, AbdurRahman expressed delight that the cleric had cleared the air over the media reports.

The commissioner encouraged the people to obey the preventive protocol and other safety measures adopted to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the state, in the overall interest of the public and the country.


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