What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

(Reuters) – Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

Healthcare workers gather for lunch purchased by members of the New York City Police Department (NYPD) outside the Brooklyn Hospital Center, during the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Brooklyn borough of New York City, New York, U.S., April 28, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Beijing inches back to normal

In one of the clearest signs yet of Beijing returning to a normal of sorts after months of near-standstill, China announced on Wednesday new dates for its annual parliament meeting, known as the National People’s Congress.

Delegations from far-flung regions attend the meeting, now scheduled to start on May 22 after being postponed from March 5.

Beijing also plans to lift the two-week quarantine required for domestic travellers, unless they come from high-risk areas, two sources familiar with the situation said.

In tests we trust

France said on Tuesday it would adopt aggressive COVID-19 testing from May 11 so it can slowly unwind its lockdown and avoid further economic meltdown.

It is not alone: Australia plans to expand testing as well, with the help of 10 million kits secured from China by Fortescue Metals Group founder Andrew Forrest, who sold them to the government at cost price of A$3.20 ($2.09) a kit.

U.S. feels the economic pain

Twenty-six million people in the United States have filed for unemployment in just a month, with millions more likely waiting in electronic queues at overburdened state unemployment systems.

Gross domestic product numbers released on Wednesday will probably also show a large hit from the virus-fighting efforts that began in mid-March. Forecasters expect anywhere from $2 trillion to $5 trillion of output to be wiped out by year’s end.

While such a hit to the world’s largest economy is largely unparalleled, optimists point out that, with overall output at nearly $22 trillion, that still leaves a lot on the table.

“Can’t complain”, say pals stuck in London pub

If you are going to be stuck under lockdown, there are worse places to end up than a spacious pub with free beer on tap.

Steve Pond and Dom Townsend consider themselves lucky to be sharing an apartment above The Prince in Stoke Newington, north London. Like all British pubs, it is closed until further notice as part of measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“I moved in just a couple of months before lockdown which has worked out well, considering,” said Townsend, 29, now assistant manager after starting there as a barman.

“We’ve got fresh beer on tap,” Townsend told Reuters as he poured a pint and placed it next to the hand sanitizer on the bar.

Compiled by Karishma Singh and Mark John; Editing by Andrew Cawthorne

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