The Latest: Britain may ease lockdown measures by end of May

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.


— Britain may be able to loosen lockdown measures by the end of May

— Hundreds of stranded tourists flown out of Nepal

— UN to decide in month whether to delay meeting


LONDON — A scientist advising the British government on the coronavirus pandemic says it might be possible to loosen some lockdown measures by the end of May.

The U.K. has been in effective lockdown since March 23, with schools, bars, many shops and gathering places shut and people told to go out only for essentials or exercise.

Imperial College London epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who sits on the government’s scientific advisory committee, says “we want to move to a situation where at least by the end of May that we’re able to substitute some less intensive measures, more based on technology and testing, for the complete lockdown we have now.”

He told the BBC that if the number of cases began to fall soon, then “we will be able to move to a regime which will not be normal life, let me emphasize that, but will be somewhat more relaxed in terms of social distancing and the economy, but relying more on testing.”

Authorities are imploring Britons not to flout the lockdown rules on what’s expected to be a warm, sunny weekend.


KATHMANDU, Nepal — Hundreds of stranded tourists have been flown out of Nepal days after complete lockdown was imposed in the country.

According to Tribhuvan International Airport, planes chartered by German, French and Malaysian governments have transported their citizens back home.

Two Qatar Airways jets flew 305 Germans and 303 French nationals out of Kathmandu. A Malaysian Airlines plane transported 66 passengers who were Malaysians, Singapore, British and Indian nationals.

Nepal’s government has halted all flights and ground transportation, shutting down offices and shuttering businesses since last month to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Nepal has six confirmed cases including one person who has recovered.


NEW DELHI, India — A couple in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh have named their newborn twins Corona and Covid.

The twins — a boy and a girl — were born during the ongoing 21-day long nationwide lockdown that began on March 24.

“The delivery happened after facing several difficulties and therefore, my husband and I wanted to make the day memorable,” Preeti Verma, the 27-old mother of the twins, told news agency Press Trust of India.

The couple said the names would remind them about the hardships they faced during the lockdown and ahead of the successful delivery in a government hospital last week.

The lockdown in India has resulted in the suspension of trains and airline services and effectively kept 1.3 billion Indians at home for all but essential trips to places like markets or pharmacies.

India has 2,909 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across the country, including 68 deaths.

The overall number of known cases in India is small compared with the United States, Italy and China, but health experts say India could be weeks away from a huge surge that could overwhelm its already strained public health system.


DHAKA, Bangladesh — Bangladesh has reported two more deaths and nine more cases of infection from the new coronavirus.

The total death toll stands at eight while the number of people infected with COVID-19 rose to 70 since March 8 when the first case of infection was declared, said Meerjady Sabrina Flora, director of the Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research.

Meanwhile, a private TV station in the capital says one of their journalists has tested positive and it has sent 47 journalists to home quarantine as they came into close contact with the infected person.

Experts say the number of cases could rise over the next few weeks as authorities have increased testing facilities across the South Asian country.


UNITED NATIONS — The president of the United Nations General Assembly says the 193-member world body will make a decision “in the coming month” on whether to delay the annual gathering of world leaders in New York in late September because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Tijjani Muhammad-Bande said in an interview with The Associated Press that “this is not something that has so far been an issue of serious consultation,” and for now the calendar of events remains. It calls for the General Debate — the official name of the high-level meeting — to open on Sept. 22, with a kick-off event for world leaders the previous day to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

But the former Nigerian ambassador said “in the coming month we’ll take a decision through the normal means,” which “of course” means consulting all U.N. member states.

The United Nations has canceled or postponed numerous upcoming events. Muhammad-Bande on Friday announced the postponement of several General Assembly meetings scheduled in the next two months, including the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II on May 6.

“The current situation might have pushed us to postpone events celebrating the 75th anniversary (of World War II) but it illustrates, maybe more than anything else, the absolute need for the U.N. to guide the global efforts and provide much needed support to defeat our common threat” from COVID-19, he said


ISLAMABAD — The World Bank has given Pakistan $200 million in aid to help the most vulnerable as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic with a lockdown that Prime Minister Imran Khan says will continue until April 14. The money will be used to provide social protection measures, as well as food for the poorest and education supplies for the millions of children out of school.

Pakistan has 2,686 confirmed cases and 40 deaths. Most of the confirmed cases of COVID-19 are in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province and are traced to pilgrims returning from Iran, with more than 58,000 confirmed cases and more than 3,200 deaths.

Khan has been criticized for not moving quicker, particularly in stopping a world-wide gathering of Tableeghi Jamaat (Islamic missionaries) to Pakistan, that was eventually canceled in mid-March, weeks after the virulent nature of the epidemic was known and tens of thousands had already gathered in Pakistan.


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