While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, April 27

Italy to begin easing coronavirus lockdown on May 4: PM Conte

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Italy will begin lifting a nationwide lockdown on May 4, giving a partial respite to businesses paralysed by weeks of lockdown to check the spread of the coronavirus.

Construction and manufacturing will be the first industrial sectors to be allowed to restart, Conte said in a briefing late Sunday in Rome.

Retailers and museums can reopen on May 18, he said. Earlier Sunday, Italian authorities reported the fewest deaths linked to the virus since March 14.

“We all want the country to restart,” Conte said. “But the only way to live with the virus in this phase is to not fall ill – and social distancing.”


New York Governor Cuomo announces phased plan to reopen as deaths fall

New York’s coronavirus deaths dropped to 367 Sunday, the lowest in almost a month, as Governor Andrew Cuomo sketched out a phased-in reopening that begins with construction and manufacturing. That could start as soon as May 15, he said, probably upstate before the New York City area.

The governor’s briefing – filled with technicalities and conditions for restarting the state – was a sharp contrast to the depths of the virus outbreak in New York.

On April 9, a record 799 people died. Total fatalities are now 16,966, even as new hospitalisations and intensive care cases continue to fall.


Back from Covid-19, Johnson urged to reveal UK’s lockdown exit strategy

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson returned to his Downing Street residence on Sunday after recovering from Covid-19, ready to take the helm again with pressure growing for the government to explain how it will ease a month-old coronavirus lockdown.

Johnson, 55, spent three nights in intensive care with the illness.

A spokeswoman confirmed he was back at 10 Downing Street on Sunday evening after two weeks recovering at Chequers, his country residence.


Spanish football season unlikely to resume before summer: Health minister

The Spanish soccer season, halted like most major sporting competitions due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, is unlikely to return until the summer, the country’s health minister Salvador Illa said on Sunday.

La Liga president Javier Tebas has been bullish about the need to complete the campaign in order to avoid collective losses of up to one billion euros ($1.08 billion) and has given three potential re-start dates: May 29, June 7 or June 28.

The league has produced a protocol with strict guidelines for clubs to follow when training resumes while Spain’s sports ministry has also set out a plan for a return to action in closed stadiums to boost the local economy.


K-pop’s quest to rule the world slows with concert venues dark

April was supposed to mark the start of the 2020 Map of the Soul world tour for BTS, the South Korean boy band that sold 1.3 million tickets last year.

The band continues to boost its profile with appearances on US television, including James Corden’s “The Late Late Show,” and chart-topping albums.

But as is true for all entertainers cut off from fans by the coronavirus pandemic, BTS and other groups at the vanguard of the K-pop craze will have to make do without live audiences for the foreseeable future.


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