South Korea says it has reported 39 more cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, in a continued slowdown of the virus outbreak in the Asian country.

The Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said the additional cases increased the country's total to 10,423.

It says 6,973 of them have been recovered and released from quarantine. The centre says fatalities from the coronavirus rose by four to 204.

But, the 39 new cases are the smallest daily jump since February 20. South Korea recorded 47 and 53 new cases on the previous two days.


There are still worries about a steady rise in infections linked to international arrivals, which has helped inflate the caseload in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area.

A total of 22 of the 39 new cases have been reported in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi province.

The sun sets over the television tower along the Yangtze River in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province.
The sun sets over the television tower along the Yangtze River in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province.
There are 29 new cases of Covid-19 since yesterday and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says New Zealanders have saved lives by staying at home over the past fortnight.

China's National Health Commission reported 63 new Covid-19 cases, including 61 which it says are imported infections in recent arrivals from abroad and two "native" cases in the southern province of Guangdong.

There were no new cases reported in Hubei, the central province hardest-hit by the coronavirus outbreak. Two new deaths however were reported, both in Hubei.

The provincial capital of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, ended its 76-day lockdown yesterday. Long lines formed at the airport and train and bus stations as thousands streamed out of the city to return to their homes and jobs elsewhere.

The National Health Commission also reported 56 new cases of people who tested positive for Covid-19, but did not show any symptoms. In total, 77,370 people in China have recovered from the disease and 3335 people have died, according to the commission.

The United States Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has new guidance for essential workers as it takes a small step toward reopening the country.

The guidance applies to essential workers, such as those in the healthcare and food supply industry, who have been within 2m of a person who has a confirmed or suspected case of the new coronavirus.


CDC Director Robert Redfield says the employee can return to work as long as they take their temperature before they go to work, wear a face mask at all times and practice social distancing while they are at work.

Redfield said the employees should continue to stay home if they are sick.

He also said employers in those critical industries should take the temperatures of a worker before allowing them to come back to work.

French President Emmanuel Macron had a video conference call with the leader of the World Health Organisation.

In a conversation with Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Macron reaffirmed "his belief that the WHO is key to respond" to the coronavirus crisis, following criticism by US President Donald Trump.

Macron tweeted that they also discussed the evolution of the pandemic, strategy to face it in France and in the world, research on vaccination and the preparation of an initiative for the African continent.

At the White House yesterday, Trump first said the United States would "put a hold" on WHO funding, and then revised that to say, "We will look at ending funding."

Serbia's president says his older son has been hospitalised following an infection with the new coronavirus.

President Aleksandar Vucic says on Instagram that his 22-year-old son Danilo has been admitted at the Clinic for Infectious Diseases in Belgrade.

Vucic says "my first son has been infected with the coronavirus and his clinical condition is such that he has been hospitalised" at the clinic.

Vucic adds "son, you will win this." No other details were immediately available.

Public health officials in the virus-ravaged Lombardy region of Italy are pushing back against accusations they made a series of early errors in containing the outbreak that cost lives.

Lombardy's chief healthcare official Giulio Gallera says in a letter he was "stupified and embittered" by the seven-point memo published earlier this week by the association of doctors in Lombardy.

The doctors had blasted what they said was a lack of data about the true number of people infected, the lack of tests for doctors and nurses, and the inadequate distribution of protective equipment and masks for medical personnel.

Lombardy has been the epicentre of Europe's Covid-19 outbreak, registering more than 50,000 of Italy's infections and nearly 10,000 of Italy's 17,669 dead.

Gallera notes that many of the doctors' complaints concerned issues that are out of the region's control and reflected decisions taken by the Government. He is defending Lombardy's handling of the outbreak and urging the association to work with the region and not against it.

Authorities in Madrid say at least 4260 of 4750 people who lived in the region's nursing homes and died since the coronavirus began spreading there had the Covid-19 disease or its symptoms.

The figures for the hard-hit Spanish capital shed light on the gap between deaths linked to the virus and actual numbers reported by health authorities, which are confirmed by positive tests.

For Madrid, the confirmed number of elderly Covid-19 deaths was 781, meaning that the rest of the elderly who showed symptoms before dying but weren't tested are not showing up in the national toll.

The Health Ministry said the country's total was 14,555.

The ministry's daily figures are being scrutinised to track the epidemic's impact — and plan its response.

"The figures are much higher than in an ordinary month, because when the virus penetrates in a nursing home it creates havoc," said Ignacio Aguado, the No. 2 in the Madrid regional government.

"These are devastating data that we are fighting against."

The loopholes in the accounting of the pandemic also had been questioned in the tracking of the contagion tally because Spain's laboratories have been unable to conduct widespread tests beyond hospitals and nursing homes.

Positive infections recorded today rose to 146,000.

- AP