One soccer club in Spain faced criticism when it acted well before authorities banned mass gatherings.
Valencia, a top soccer team in Spain, was starting to take heat from the local media and some rival teams for what they considered to be an overreaction to the threat posed by a mystery illness that had spread to Europe from Asia.
It was Feb. 29. No other team in Spain had yet dared to impose such harsh measures: The club’s first team was to be isolated. There was to be no contact with fans. All interviews, even those deemed mandatory as a part of Spanish soccer’s broadcast contract, would be banned. Employees who did not have a reason to be at the stadium were barred from attending.
Anil Murthy, the team president and a former diplomat for Singapore, had spoken to friends and family in Asia and knew the coronavirus outbreak was serious and on its way, no matter what the view in Spain was at the time.
The news media greeted Mr. Murthy with a wave of negative headlines until shortly before the league suspended all activities.
Mr. Murthy, who spent almost 16 years working with Singapore’s government, was keeping an eye on what was happening there while the team owner was sending daily updates.
The club’s staff got to work, preparing for the outbreak in part by purchasing protective clothing and equipment.
Since then, 35 percent of Valencia’s first team has tested positive for the coronavirus.
Trump wants to reopen the economy, but experts warn against relaxing too soon.
As President Trump pushes to reopen businesses, public health experts warn that the country is not conducting enough testing to do so without exacerbating the spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the coronavirus response coordinator for the White House, offered a road map on Wednesday on which states could be the first to ease stay-at-home orders and reopen businesses — with President Trump saying a target date could be before May 1. Governors and mayors would make the call on lifting restrictions after receiving guidance from the federal government, which would be announced Thursday, Dr. Birx said.
Some workers, agitated about the shutdowns and state-issued limitations on daily life, are starting to protest the restrictions. In Michigan on Wednesday, thousands of demonstrators in cars jammed the streets around the State Capitol, and in Frankfort, Ky., dozens of people shouted through a Capitol building window as Gov. Andy Beshear provided a virus update.
Testing shortages are hampering the country’s efforts to get life back to normal. Antibody tests, which reveal whether someone has ever been infected with the coronavirus, are just starting to be rolled out, and most have not been vetted by the Food and Drug Administration.
Mr. Trump said on Wednesday that governors were “chomping at the bit to get going,” but Dr. Birx warned that it was no time for Americans to become complacent about social distancing.
“I will remind the people again: This is a highly contagious virus. Social gatherings, coming together — there is a chance an asymptomatic person can spread it unknowingly,” she said. “Don’t have that dinner party for 20 yet.”
In South Korea, a big victory in Parliament was fueled by the virus battle.
President Moon Jae-in’s governing party in South Korea won a landslide victory in parliamentary elections on Wednesday, as he leveraged his surging popularity over his country’s largely successful battle against the coronavirus to increase his political sway.
With more than 99 percent of the votes counted, Mr. Moon’s left-leaning Democratic Party had won 163 seats in the 300-member National Assembly, according to the National Election Commission. A satellite party the Democrats created for Wednesday’s elections won 17 seats.
Together, the two groups took three-fifths of the seats, giving Mr. Moon the largest majority in three decades.
The main conservative opposition group, the United Future Party, and its own satellite, Future Korea Party, suffered a crushing defeat, winning 103 seats between them. The remaining seats were taken by independents and candidates from smaller parties.
Pandemic or not, South Koreans proved eager to vote in the election, widely seen as a midterm referendum on Mr. Moon, who was elected to a five-year term in 2017. The voter turnout was 66.2 percent, the highest for a parliamentary election in 28 years.
It was the first time in 16 years that left-leaning parties secured a parliamentary majority, as South Koreans expressed their support for Mr. Moon’s government, which has won plaudits for bringing the epidemic under control.
The victory could embolden Mr. Moon to reinvigorate his stalled diplomacy with North Korea and press ahead with domestic priorities, like overhauling state prosecutors’ offices, which have long been accused of abusing their power.
Bogotá’s gender-based restrictions on travel are enforced with steep fines.
So many men. Men at the bakery, men on bikes, men in parks, men in the grocery aisles.
“It’s weird,” said Adriana Pérez, 40, a nurse in scrubs waiting at the bank, the only woman in sight. “But it’s working.”
Bogotá, Colombia’s capital, joined Panama this week in instituting a gender-based virus-prevention measure designed to limit the number of people in the streets.
On odd-numbered days, men can leave the house to seek out essentials. On even-numbered days, it’s the women’s turn.
There are exceptions for people working in critical industries, like food service and health care. Dog walkers of any gender can leave for 20 minutes. But beyond that, anyone caught breaking the rule is subject to a fine of $240, about the minimum monthly salary in Colombia.
Bogotá’s mayor, Claudia López, the first woman and the first openly gay individual to lead the city, has said that transgender people can follow the gender with which they identify. The authorities, the health order says, should respect “diverse gender manifestations.”
During the first two days of the measure, 104 women and 610 men were sanctioned by the police for violating the order, according to Ms. López. Violators must pay half the fine within five days or face a potential day in court.
Peru had enacted a similar measure, but President Martín Vizcarra canceled it following criticism that it would lead to discrimination against transgender people.
The Colombia measure is reminiscent of Bogotá’s best-known traffic policy, which restricts cars by license plate number and is a defining feature of life in the city during normal times.
The city has been under quarantine for nearly a month, which has been particularly difficult on people with jobs in the informal sector, who typically support their families on the work they do that day or that week.
On Wednesday, Yesica Benavides, 24, stood amid the men on a Bogotá sidewalk, trying to sell candy. She had no gloves or face covering, having given her only mask to her 3-year-old, Nicole, who was by her side.
“We go out every day,” she said. The two have been sleeping in a motel, and they pay their rent nightly. “If we don’t go out,” Ms. Benavides said, “we don’t eat.”
Reporting was contributed by Nicholas Bogel-Burroughs, Choe Sang-Hun, Andrew E. Kramer, Stephen Castle, Andrew E. Kramer and Tariq Panja.