British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was diagnosed with the coronavirus more than a week ago, was admitted to a hospital today for tests.

Johnson's office said he was hospitalised because he still has persistent symptoms 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

Downing Street said it was a "precautionary step" and he remains in charge of the government.

Johnson, 55, has been quarantined in his residence since being diagnosed with Covid-19 on March 26.

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Johnson has continued to chair daily meetings on Britain's response to the outbreak, and has released several video messages during his 10 days in isolation.

In a message at the weekend, he said he was feeling better but still had a fever.

The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most people, but for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia and lead to death.

Johnson has received medical advice by phone during his illness, but going to a hospital means doctors can see him in person.

Johnson's fiancee Carrie Symonds, 32, revealed yesterday that she spent a week with coronavirus symptoms, though she wasn't tested. Symonds, who is pregnant, said she was now "on the mend".

The Government said that almost 48,000 people have been confirmed to have Covid-19 in the UK, and 4934 have died.

FRANCE:

The country reported 357 deaths in hospitals from the virus in a single day today but showed signs that its spread is slowing after 20 days of national confinement.

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The country remains among the hardest hit in the world, with 8078 confirmed deaths since the virus arrived in January. More than a quarter of those who died were in nursing homes, according to figures from the national health service.

France's intensive care units continue to fill up fast, with 390 new arrivals since yesterday for a total of 6978 people in critical care beds. But the daily growth has been slowing, and 250 people left intensive care in the same one-day period. Most of those in intensive care are older, but 106 are aged under 30.

While still high, the number of new deaths in hospitals dropped for the second day straight and was the lowest since March 29.

France continued to transport critically ill patients out of saturated regions to those with more hospital space and has brought in hundreds of medical personnel to help in the overwhelmed Paris region.

A woman walks through an empty street during a nationwide confinement to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in the centre of Lyon, France.
A woman walks through an empty street during a nationwide confinement to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, in the centre of Lyon, France.

UNITED STATES:

Dr Anthony Fauci says there a very good chance the new coronavirus "will assume a seasonal nature" because it is unlikely to be under control globally.

Fauci is director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He says the virus is unlikely to be completely eradicated from the planet this year. That means the US could see the "beginning of a resurgence" during the next flu season.

Some Kentucky churches held Palm Sunday services in defiance of Governor Andy Beshear's warning against in-person worship.

Dozens of people were at Maryville Baptist Church in Louisville, news outlets reported. A video showed a pianist playing and choir members singing during the late morning service.

Louisville's Our Saviour Lutheran Church streamed its in-person service live on YouTube.

BRAZIL:

President Jair Bolsonaro and evangelical backers declared today a day of prayer and fasting against the spread of the new coronavirus, and a small group gathered outside his official residence in the capital, Brasilia, to pray.

A day earlier, he posted on social media a video of himself with about a dozen pastors calling for the fasting and prayer. The Rev Marco Feliciano said the purpose is so that "all the bad predictions made here in Brazil fall to the ground."

Bolsonaro has distanced himself from most world leaders and many members of his own government by repeatedly minimising the risks posed by Covid-19 and saying younger and healthy people should not self-isolate at home but get back to work.

Some of the pastors appearing in the video had previously criticised state governors who introduced quarantines that prevented them from opening their churches.

CANADA:

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he's confident Canada will still be able to import N95 protective masks form the US despite an export ban. He plans to speak to US President Donald Trump in the coming days.

Trump has said he will block exports of the masks to ensure they are available in the US for use during the coronavirus pandemic.

Trudeau notes Canada supplies the US with many supplies including pulp for surgical-grade N95 masks, test kits and gloves. Canadian nurses also work in the US.

Trudeau says it would be harmful to both nations if the flow of those goods and services stopped.

Manufacturing giant 3M say there are significant humanitarian implications in not sending N95 masks to healthcare workers in Canada and Latin America, where 3M is a critical supplier of respirators.

The premier of the Canadian province that sheltered thousands of stranded American airline passengers after the 9/11 attacks says he's infuriated about the mask ban.

Newfoundland Premier Dwight Ball says one of the great lessons in humanity is that in times of crisis you don't stop being human. He noted that in 2001 his province stepped up in the biggest way possible without being asked.

Ball said this is a time to work together no matter the passport. More than 6600 passengers descended on Gander, Newfoundland, a town of 10,000, without warning.

ITALY:

The country has registered its lowest day-to-day increase in deaths of patients with the coronavirus in more than two weeks.

Angelo Borrelli, the head of the national Civil Protection agency, said there were 525 deaths in the 24-hour period. That's the lowest such figure since 427 deaths were registered on March 19.

Italy has a total of 15,887 deaths and nearly 130,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19. A day shy of one month under national lockdown that the government ordered to try to contain the wildly spreading contagion, the lower count of day-to-day deaths brought some encouragement.

The number of intensive care beds occupied by Covid-19 patients has also showed a decrease in the past few days, including in northern Lombardy, Italy's most stricken region.

- AP