South Korea on Thursday reported that for the first time since the virus’s Feb. 29 peak, it had no new domestic cases and just four cases among people who came in from outside the country.
Also on Thursday, Hong Kong reported that there had been no new cases there for five straight days. That was a welcome turnaround after a spike in cases in late March from international travelers.
They are not the only ones on that path — Australia and New Zealand are close. Beijing’s major tourist sites are set to reopen just in time for China’s extended holiday weekend.
In other developments:
Global greenhouse gas emissions are on track to fall nearly 8 percent this year, the largest drop ever recorded, the International Energy Agency reported.
Even as its neighbors start lifting lockdowns, Britain is not ready, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Thursday. He promised to lay out a roadmap soon of what its reopening would look like.
Senior Trump administration officials have pushed U.S. spy agencies to hunt for evidence to support an unsubstantiated theory that the coronavirus outbreak started in a lab in Wuhan, China.
Russia’s prime minister, Mikhail V. Mishustin, said on Thursday that he was sick with Covid-19, the highest-ranking Russian official known to have been infected with the coronavirus.
With its new stimulus plan, the European Central Bank will pay banks to lend money after the economy shrank the most in decades — and it says the worst is yet to come. The eurozone economy could shrink by as much as 12 percent this year.
The S&P 500 fell more than 1 percent in afternoon trading, after another crushing jobs report. But it was an otherwise stellar month for Wall Street.
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What angered many South Koreans was that the apparent causes of the fire were so familiar: vapors from a chemical solution filling a room where workers may have been generating sparks, with the ensuing fire fed by extremely combustible insulation.
Situations like that, all too familiar in South Korea, along with lax regulatory enforcement and corruption, have repeatedly led to deadly workplace disasters in the country.
“I am sorry that similar accidents are repeating themselves,” President Moon Jae-in said. “We are not learning lessons from the past accidents.”
History: Hundreds have died from fires with similar causes. In 2008, also in Icheon, 40 workers died in a fire in another warehouse that started almost exactly the same way.
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Hello Doily! Ditching Netflix for an old-school hobby
“The ability to generate activities by yourself for yourself, that is a real asset,” said Anders Ericsson, a professor of psychology at Florida State University.
Israel: The attorney general said Thursday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu should not be barred from forming a government even though he faces criminal charges. His word is not the final decision, but it could strengthen Mr. Netanyahu’s defenses against removal.
Moon landers: NASA has picked three designs for spacecraft to take astronauts back to the surface of the moon. Two are from billionaire-led rocket companies: Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. A third is led by Dynetics of Huntsville, Ala.
Ice loss in Antarctica: New satellite data provides the most precise picture yet of Antarctica’s ice, where it is accumulating most quickly and disappearing at the fastest rate, and how the changes will contribute to rising sea levels.
Snapshot: Above, Rishi Kapoor, who died on Thursday, in “Bobby.” Bollywood is reeling after losing two legends in less than 24 hours. Mr. Kapoor, 67, was a Bollywood giant, a handsome, charming matinee idol who starred in dozens of films in the 1970s and ’80s.
What we’re listening to: “Oh, Hello: the P’dcast,” in which two comedians portray elderly New Yorkers whose many peculiarities include their diction. “These podcasts are bringing a lot of joy into our household,” writes Sam Dolnick, an assistant managing editor. “So good. We are now mispronouncing so many words.”
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Zoom happy hours are serving as a break from isolation and a consolation prize for canceled plans.
“During a crisis, you know, cocktail hour can be almost any hour!” chirped Ina Garten, the chef and author of “The Barefoot Contessa” cookbooks, while mixing what appeared to be a bucket-size cosmopolitan in a video posted to Instagram.
At a time when boundaries have all but disappeared — home is the office! school time is work time! pajamas are work clothes! — the clink of ice cubes in a glass or the crack of a can may seem like one of the few ways left to distinguish evening from day, or weekend from week.
But as the months in quarantine pile up, what started out as a way to unwind may, for some, start to feel like an unexpectedly stubborn habit. Alcohol sales nationwide were up 55 percent the week ending March 21 compared with the year before.
For those in recovery, the combination of stress and social distancing can make maintaining sobriety all the more challenging.
For most people, drinking in moderation is not inherently harmful. The threshold is higher for men — women absorb and metabolize alcohol differently. Nature is sexist like that.
There’s a short-term fix doctors prescribe when alcohol or other recreational substances feel like they’re taking more than they offer: Stop for a little while and see how you feel.