The Latest: China lifting lockdown of Hubei province
The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic, which has infected more than 381,000 people and killed over 16,500. The COVID-19 illness causes mild or moderate symptoms in most people, but severe symptoms are more likely in the elderly or those with existing health problems. More than 101,000 people have recovered so far, mostly in China.
TOP OF THE HOUR:
—US working on $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package.
—Trump: US economy could reopen in weeks, not months.
—China lifting lockdown of Hubei province.
BEIJING — Chinese authorities are lifting the tight lockdown of Hubei province that was imposed to halt the spread of the new coronavirus.
People who are cleared to do so will be able to leave the province after midnight Tuesday.
The city of Wuhan, where the outbreak started in late December, will remain locked down until April 8. China barred people from leaving or entering Wuhan starting Jan. 23 and expanded it to most of the province in succeeding days.
CANBERRA, Australia — Prisoners regarded as vulnerable to the new coronavirus and low risk to society in Australia’s most populous state would be eligible for early parole under emergency legislation being introduced to the New South Wales Parliament.
It is unclear how many of the state’s 14,000 prisoners could walk free under the legislation proposed by New South Wales Attorney General Mark Speakman.
The emergency legislation includes a raft of reforms that Speakman said will provide public authorities with the powers they need to respond appropriately to this once-in-a-century crisis.
“The threat posed by COVID-19 is rapidly evolving, and the needs of families, businesses, workers and governments are changing every day,” Speakman said in a statement.
A provincial education minister in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province says he has tested positive for the coronavirus, although he did not visit any hospital where infected persons are being treated.
Saeed Ghani urged people to follow the policy of social distancing to avoid the disease. He said he still had no symptoms of the infection and he has isolated himself at home.
Ghani’s appeal came after authorities in Pakistan imposed a lockdown to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
The lockdown also has been extended to Pakistan’s part of disputed Himalayan region of Kashmir after a person was tested positive there.
Roads in many parts of Pakistan were deserted as police and troops started keeping people away from streets.
WASHINGTON — Top congressional and White House officials negotiating the $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package say they expect to reach a deal sometime Tuesday.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer say they spoke by phone with President Donald Trump as they met late into the night at the Capitol. While the sides have resolved many issues in the sweeping package, some disagreements remain.
Washington has been straining to respond to the worsening coronavirus outbreak, and tempers in Congress have flared at times. Meantime, Trump is musing openly about letting a 15-day shutdown expire next Monday.