A huge bridge section has collapsed in Tuscany, the latest case of Italy’s infrastructure crumbling after years of neglect.
Police and fire crews roped off the access road to the bridge over the Magra River in Albiano Magra in the province of Massa Carrara, according to Carabinieri footage of the scene Wednesday.
Given Italy’s nationwide coronavirus lockdown, there were only two trucks on the provincial road at the time. Italian news reports said one of the drivers was hospitalized.
The Anas road agency had sent inspectors to the bridge last year after a crack developed following heavy rains. The section was cleared for further use, Italian agency ANSA said.
The mayor of Aulla, Roberto Vallettini, had written to Anas flagging that heavy trucks were repeatedly using the two-lane bridge because of nearby road closures.
The bridge collapse comes as Italy is still working to rebuild the heavily used Morandi Bridge in Genoa, which collapsed in 2018 during a rainstorm, killing 43 people
Unlike their colleagues in Italy and Spain, Czech hospital doctors have not yet needed to make harrowing decisions on which COVID-19 patients get the best care.
Only half the ten intensive care ward beds were occupied Tuesday at Prague's General University Hospital, where the Czech Republic treats people with the most serious coronavirus complications.
Several of the country's hospitals were even in a position to offer spare beds to badly-hit France.
While the crisis is far from over in the country, the government's top epidemiologist, Deputy Health Minister Roman Prymula said the health care system "managed to stabilize the epidemic so it doesn't have an exponential character. That's what we can say for sure."
The country of more than 10 million had 4,828 infected people on Tuesday, according to health ministry figures. A total 80 have died since the pandemic began and 86 patients were in intensive care Tuesday. The number of tests has been on the rise but the day-to-day increase in cases on Monday was at 235 the second lowest in a week.
As the pandemic struck slightly later than in western Europe, Czech authorities gained some extra breathing space. They used it to impose sweeping restrictions on daily life, but — unlike most other European countries — made the wearing of protective masks obligatory in all public areas.
At the same time, a lack of protective gear was gradually resolved with help from NATO that provided giant transport planes to fly in supplies from China.
"It's clear that the measures were absolutely adequate because they prevented an uncontrolled spread of the infection and made it possible for us to get ready the hospitals' capacity and enough beds, ventilators and other necessary equipment," Prymula said.
The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most people, but for some it can cause severe pneumonia and lead to death.
The Czech Republic was the first European country to introduce a "smart quarantine," with a location-tracking tool that uses real-time phone-location data to track virus carriers and people they come in contact with. The aim is to pinpoint where infections are flaring up, how they are spreading, and when and where exactly quarantines and other containment measures are needed.
It should be in full force after Easter.
On Monday, the Czech Republic and Austria became the first European countries to announce relaxing some of their coronavirus restrictions.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in stable condition Tuesday in a hospital intensive care unit with the coronavirus, and while he is not on a ventilator, he is receiving oxygen, his spokesman said.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has taken over many of Johnson's duties temporarily while he is being treated at St. Thomas' Hospital. Britain has no official post of deputy prime minister.
The 55-year-old Johnson is the first major world leader confirmed to have COVID-19. He was admitted to the hospital late Sunday with a fever and cough that persisted 10 days after he was diagnosed with the virus and was moved to the ICU Monday evening after his condition worsened.
"The prime minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits. He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and is breathing without any other assistance," said Johnson's spokesman, James Slack.
He said Johnson was not receiving mechanical ventilation or "noninvasive respiratory support." He would not give details of what form of oxygen treatment the prime minister was getting.
Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove said Johnson was "receiving the very, very best care from the team at St. Thomas' and our hopes and prayers are with him and with his family."
"It was a shock yesterday to hear the news of his going into intensive care," said Gove, who is in isolation at home after a family member showed mild coronavirus symptoms. "All of us just want him to pull through — he is the leader of our country. He is a big-hearted, generous-spirited guy. who believes in public service. We are rooting for him."
Johnson's fiancee, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant, is herself recovering from coronavirus symptoms.
Raab said "the government's business will continue" despite the prime minister's hospitalization.
He said Johnson had asked him "to deputize for him where needed in driving forward the government's plans to defeat coronavirus."
The deterioration of Johnson's health took many in Britain by surprise. On Monday afternoon, he tweeted that he was in good spirits and thanked the National Health Service for taking care of him and others with the disease.
The government faced calls Tuesday to be more transparent about Johnson's condition amid concerns it had underplayed how serious it was.
It's not common for details about the health of British prime ministers to be made public, except at times of crisis. Even then, information has sometimes been scanty. When Winston Churchill suffered a debilitating stroke in 1953, the government kept it secret until Churchill recovered.
Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth II was being kept informed about Johnson's condition. Buckingham Palace said the monarch "said they were in her thoughts and that she wished the prime minister a full and speedy recovery."
The queen's son, Prince Charles, who tested positive for the virus but has recovered, and grandson Prince William also sent messages of support.
Johnson had been quarantined in his Downing Street residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26.
He continued to work throughout his illness, to the concern of some of his colleagues. With the U.K. still approaching the peak of the coronavirus outbreak and the government facing criticism it did not act soon enough to put the country into lockdown, Johnson and his ministers are under intense pressure.
Johnson chaired daily meetings on the outbreak until Sunday. He released several video messages during his 10 days in isolation urging Britons to stay home and observe social distancing measures to help slow the spread of the virus.
Concerns had been growing about Johnson's welfare ever since he posted a message Friday in which he appeared red-eyed and flushed, saying he was feeling better though was still feverish.
Johnson's former communications director, Will Walden, said the prime minister tended to try to soldier on through illness rather than taking a break.
"He's pretty stoic and can be a bit bloody-minded about that kind of thing," Walden told the BBC.
News that Johnson had been transferred to intensive care drew an outpouring of support from around the world.
U.S. President Donald Trump said "Americans are all praying for his recovery."
"He's been a really good friend," Trump said at a White House briefing. "He's been really something very special — strong, resolute, doesn't quit, doesn't give up."
Trump said he asked two "leading companies" to contact officials in London about therapeutics that could be of help. He did not identify the companies, but said "we have contacted all of Boris' doctors, and we'll see what's going to take place, but they are ready to go."
French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted he was sending support to Johnson, his family and "the British people at this difficult time. I wish him well."
Russian President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram wishing Johnson a full and quick recovery, the Kremlin said. "I'm positive that your energy, optimism and sense of humor will help combat the disease," Putin wrote.
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.
The government said Monday that 51,608 people had been confirmed to have the coronavirus in Britain, and 5,373 have died.
Britain's unwritten constitution does not have a clear rule for what happens if a prime minister becomes incapacitated or dies. Seven prime ministers have died in office, but the most recent was in 1865.
Johnson delegating Raab to fill in for him clarifies things for now, but it does not mean Raab would automatically take over permanently should a new leader be needed. If it became clear Johnson could not return to his job, the Conservative Party could elect a new leader, who would become prime minister.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in intensive care Tuesday with the coronavirus, while Japan's leader declared a monthlong state of emergency for Tokyo and six other regions to keep the virus from ravaging the world's oldest population.
The 55-year-old Johnson, the world's first head of government known to have fallen ill with the virus, was in stable condition and conscious at a London hospital, where he was receiving oxygen but was not on a ventilator, said his spokesman James Slack. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was designated to run the country in the meantime.
"We're desperately hoping that Boris can make the speediest possible recovery," said Cabinet minister Michael Gove, who is among scores of British officials in self-isolation. Johnson's pregnant fiancee is recovering from coronavirus symptoms.
Japan's prime minister made the emergency declaration after a spike in infections in Tokyo, but it was a stay-at-home request — not an order — and violators will not be penalized. Despite having relatively few infections and deaths, Japan is a worrying target for a virus that has been killing the elderly at much higher rates than other age groups.
Deaths in the U.S. reached about 11,000, with around 370,000 confirmed infections.
In New York and in some European hot spots, authorities were hoping that plateaus in deaths and new hospitalizations meant that the outbreak was turning a corner.
In Spain, one of the hardest-hit countries, new deaths Tuesday rose to 743 and infections climbed by 5,400 after five days of declines, but the increases were believed to reflect a weekend backlog. Authorities said slowing the contagion will be a long process and were confident in the downward trend.
Italy's commissioner for fighting the COVID-19 virus appealed to Italians ahead of Easter weekend not to lower their guard and to abide by a lockdown now in its fifth week.
Citing data that shows that pressure on Italian intensive care wards is easing, Domenico Arcuri said that ''the cruel reality is stronger that algorithms.''
''Don't ever forget even for an instant that this invisible, strong and unknown virus has taken 16,523 lives through yesterday,'' Arucuri said, reciting the figure repeatedly. ''I beg you, in the next hours and days, do not cancel this number from your memory.''
New coronavirus cases were also slowing in France and Portugal. To keep up social distancing, Paris banned daytime jogging just as warm spring weather settled in.
U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams said that if Americans continue to practice social distancing for the rest of April, "we will be able to get back to some sense of normalcy."
"I want the American people to know there is a light at the end of this tunnel, and we feel confident that if we keep doing the right thing for the rest of this month, that we can start to slowly reopen in some places," he said on ABC's "Good Morning America."
One lockdown exception in the U.S. was Wisconsin, which asked hundreds of thousands of voters to ignore a stay-at-home order to participate in its presidential primary Tuesday.
In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the first, faint signs that the outbreak there may be nearing its peak. But h e cautioned against relaxing social distancing restrictions and warned that the health care system is still under extreme pressure.
"This is a hospital system where we have our foot to the floor and the engine is at red line and you can't go any faster," Cuomo said.
The state has averaged just under 600 deaths daily for the past four days, a horrific toll that was still seen as a positive sign because it was relatively steady. Cuomo also said the number of new people entering hospitals has dropped, as has the number of critically ill patients needing ventilators.
The U.S. government's top infectious-disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, was cautiously optimistic, saying that in New York, "what we have been doing has been working."
Stocks climbed in early trading on Wall Street on Tuesday as markets around the world piled on even more big gains following their huge rally a day earlier. The S&P 500 index rose 3% in the first few minutes of trading and added on to Monday's 7% surge, following encouraging signs that the coronavirus pandemic may be close to leveling off in some of the hardest-hit areas of the world.
China, the first country to go into lockdown and among the strictest, reported no new deaths over the past 24 hours for the first time since it began publishing statistics on the virus that emerged in December in the city of Wuhan. Many experts, however, have been skeptical of China's virus figures. The final travel restrictions in Wuhan are being lifted Wednesday.
Worldwide, more than 1.3 million people have been confirmed infected and over 75,000 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. The true numbers are almost certainly much higher, because of limited testing, different rules for counting the dead and deliberate underreporting by some governments.
For most people, the virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough. But for some, especially older adults and the infirm, it can cause pneumonia. Close to 300,000 people have recovered worldwide.
One of the main models on the outbreak, from the University of Washington, is now projecting about 82,000 U.S. deaths through early August, or 12% fewer than previously forecast, with the highest number of daily deaths occurring on April 16.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved to the intensive care unit of a London hospital after his coronavirus symptoms worsened.
Johnson's office says Johnson is conscious and does not require ventilation at the moment.
Johnson was admitted to St. Thomas' Hospital late Sunday, 10 days after he was diagnosed with COVID-19.
Johnson has asked Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab to deputize for him.
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he was in good spirits Monday after spending the night in a London hospital where he was admitted with the new coronavirus.
There was no indication of how long Johnson might remain hospitalized. The prime minister's spokesman said Johnson had spent a comfortable night and remained in charge of government despite being admitted to St Thomas' Hospital after COVID-19 symptoms of a cough and fever persisted, 10 days after he was diagnosed.
Johnson sent out a tweet thanking the National Health Service for taking care of him and others in this difficult time.
"On the advice of my doctor, I went into hospital for some routine tests as I'm still experiencing coronavirus symptoms,'' Johnson said in the tweet. "I'm in good spirits and keeping in touch with my team, as we work together to fight this virus and keep everyone safe.''.
Johnson's spokesman, James Slack, refused to say what kind of tests Johnson was undergoing. He insisted that "the PM remains in charge of the government."
"He is receiving updates in hospital and is continuing to receive a (ministerial red) box" of files and briefing papers, Slack said,
The 55-year-old leader had been quarantined in his Downing Street residence since being diagnosed with COVID-19 on March 26 — the first known head of government to fall ill with the virus.
He continued to preside at daily meetings on the outbreak until Sunday and has released several video messages during his 10 days in isolation. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab chaired the meeting Monday.
Britain has no official post of deputy prime minister, but Raab has been designated to take over should Johnson become incapacitated.
Speaking at the government's daily coronavirus press briefing, Raab said Johnson was being "regularly updated," but admitted he had not spoken to him since Saturday.
"He's in charge, but he'll continue to take doctors' advice on what to do next," Raab said.
Johnson was admitted to the hospital as a message to the nation from Queen Elizabeth II was being broadcast Sunday evening. The 93-year-old monarch urged the public to show resolve and follow advice to stay inside.
Concerns had been growing about Johnson's welfare ever since he posted a message Friday saying that he was feeling better, though was still feverish.
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.
The government said Monday that 51,608 people had been confirmed to have the coronavirus in Britain, 5,373 of whom have died.
One of the advantages of being in the hospital is that it will allow doctors to directly monitor Johnson's condition.
Derek Hill, a professor of medical imaging science at University College London said that since COVID-19 causes difficulty breathing, one test performed on people with the disease is lung imaging with ultrasound or CT scans to see how badly they might be affected.
"Some people are rapidly discharged,'' he said. "Some others can quickly deteriorate and need help breathing. We have no reason to believe the PM needs such help.''
Hill said there are various types of breathing help, depending on the person and the difficulties.
"The reasons some people get seriously ill with COVID-19 while others have minor symptoms is not yet fully understood," Hill said. "But doctors managing these patients report that more men than women have serious problems, and patients who are overweight or have previous health problems are at higher risk."