Another day, another coronavirus death toll of close to a thousand in Spain, but very slightly fewer than yesterday, and the number of new infections appears to have stopped rising.

Italy, too, looks to be plateauing - possibly even at the beginning of a downward curve.

While Germany - already leading the continent in terms of testing - is launching a massive antibody study to try and answer the questions so many epidemiologists have been asking:

Who has had the disease, did many who have had it barely notice the symptoms, and what sort of immunity do they now have?

A medic holds up a phone in front of a Covid-19 patient for a video call with relatives in northern Italy. Credit: AP


The country has lost another 932 patients to the virus, now the highest figure anywhere in the world outside the United States.

That is slightly fewer than yesterday's 950, but the encouraging news is that new infections fell to 7,472 - down from 8,102 yesterday.

First new infections were going by double digits in percentage terms, then into single figures, and now there's an actual fall.

Usual warnings apply to reading too much into any one day's figures.


Health authorities have seen 760 new deaths in Italy - almost exactly the same as yesterday - and well below their peak.

New infections too are flat at around 4,500 a day.

A member of the Cologne Fire Brigade is tested for the virus in Germany. Credit: AP


Germany is to launch a huge antibody testing programme in Bavaria, hoping to test 3,000 people several times over the next four weeks to try and get a handle on how far Covid-19 has spread.

The long time period is because - as British scientific officers explained yesterday - it can take anything up to a month for antibodies to show up in the blood of someone who has recovered from the virus.

The rest of Europe will be watching the results very carefully, as it could point the way to an "exit strategy" for all those countries under lockdown.


Sweden continues to cause some concern to its Nordic neighbours as it pursues a significantly more laissez-faire attitude to movement and activity.

The death toll is rising quite a lot faster in Sweden than in Denmark, Norway or Finland. Finland is now considering closing its border completely with Sweden after a spike in infections in Finnish Lapland was blamed on movement across the Swedish border.

Migrants gather outside their container houses during a quarantine against coronavirus at a refugee camp in Ritsona, Greece. Credit: AP

European Union officials have announced that all tariffs on the import of medical equipment are to be suspended for the duration of this crisis.

Ventilators, testing equipment and other medical supplies will be exempt from tariffs and VAT until at least the end of July, in the hope this will drive down prices and increase supply.

This will apply to the UK as well as we are still subject to EU rules during the transition period.


The threat of coronavirus ripping through the refugee camps on the Greek islands is finally forcing both the European and Greek authorities to do something about a sore that has festered on Europe's southern borders for several years.

Reducing overcrowding by moving refugees into hotels or empty housing is one option being given serious consideration on the islands.