Coronavirus, Boris Johnson, Climate Change: Your Tuesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering Boris Johnson moving into intensive care, a slowing infection rate in Western Europe and an easy carbonara recipe.

2. Authorities must be able test at least everyone who has symptoms, and to get reliable, timely results.

3. Health agencies must be able to monitor confirmed cases, trace contacts of the infected and have at-risk people go into isolation or quarantine.

4. Because it can take up to two weeks for symptoms to emerge, there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

Most countries with epidemics are not there yet. Still, Iran, a regional epicenter, will reopen businesses this week despite experts warning that the country risked a new wave of infections.

Austria has mapped out a timetable for a gradual return to normalcy, though neighboring Germany ruled out an early lifting of social distancing measures.

In other news:

  • In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said he would declare a state of emergency in seven prefectures, including Tokyo, where the virus is spreading rapidly.

  • New York’s governor said two consecutive days without record increases in the death count could mean the state was reaching an apex of the outbreak, but emphasized that the situation was still dire.

  • Health officials in Greece rushed to test hundreds of migrants after deciding on Sunday to quarantine a second migrant camp on the mainland.

  • Poland’s government pushed forward plans for a presidential election in May, saying that millions of voters could cast their ballots by mail.

  • Scotland’s chief medical officer, Dr. Catherine Calderwood, resigned on Sunday after photographs of her and her family at their second home in a Scottish coastal town emerged.

For Europe in particular, this plague has eerie echoes of the waves of terrorism it underwent in recent years. It has engendered fear of the stranger, emptied the streets and killed thousands.

Our first coronavirus live briefing was published by the Hong Kong bureau on Jan. 23, in the early days of the outbreak. It has been running every day, all day since, managed in shifts among Times newsrooms in Hong Kong and London and the headquarters in New York.

“It’s the longest-running live thing The Times has ever done,” said Rebecca Blumenstein, a deputy managing editor. “We’ve never done anything of this scale before.”

Editors and reporters from nearly every desk have volunteered to help lighten that workload. Others were drafted to serve on the digital front lines.

Michael Cooper, who normally covers classical music and dance for the Culture desk, has been working on our International briefing, which requires him to swiftly process and report on a deluge of information.

“It’s like drinking from a fire hose,” Mr. Cooper said. And on top of the constantly shifting story lines, Times employees have mostly been working from home since March 13.

“We’re pretty used to improvising,” Mr. Cooper said. “When I used to cover plane crashes, you would make a little bureau on a folding table at some disaster site and work from there. We’re used to doing things from strange places.”

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Isabella

Thank you
Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh provided the break from the news. You can reach the team at

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