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iStock/Vladislav Zolotov(LONDON) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been moved from intensive care and back to the hospital ward and is in "good spirits," Downing Street said Thursday evening.

"The Prime Minister has been moved this evening from intensive care back to the ward, where he will receive close monitoring during the early phase of his recovery," a Downing Street spokesperson said in a statement. "He is in extremely good spirits."

Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday to undergo tests on the advice of his doctor 10 days after he announced he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. His condition "worsened" on Monday and he was admitted to the ICU at St. Thomas' Hospital in London.

President Donald Trump wished the prime minister well after his release Thursday.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been asked to deputize for the prime minister as he continues to recover from the illness.   "The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication," the spokesman said.

A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth has been informed about Johnson's situation and is monitoring developments.

Johnson's hospitalization saw leaders around the world wishing him well, with Trump joining a chorus of voices wishing the prime minister a quick recovery from the illness.

"But before I begin, I want to express our nation's well wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he wages his own personal fight with the virus," Trump said Sunday evening at the start of a daily White House coronavirus task force press briefing. "All Americans are praying for him. He's a friend of mine. He's a great gentleman and a great leader, and he's as you know, he was brought to the hospital today, but I'm -- I'm hopeful and sure that he's going to be fine."

The prime minister was last seen in public at the door of Number 10 Downing Street last week, as he turned out to clap for National Health Service workers along with much of the country.

Johnson's partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant with their child, also announced last weekend that she had been bedridden over a week with coronavirus symptoms.

"I've spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus," she posted on Twitter. "I haven't needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I'm on the mend."

"Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously wrong," she added, as she encouraged other pregnant women to follow the latest health guidance on coronavirus in pregnant women.

As of Thursday morning, 65,077 people in the U.K. had tested positive for coronavirus, with 7,978 deaths, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The news of the prime minister's hospitalization last week came as the queen addressed the nation in a highly poignant televised address. Praising the response of the country's health and care workers, she said: "We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again."

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iStock/winhorse(TOKYO) -- Japan reported more than 500 new positive cases of the novel coronavirus for the first time Thursday, the latest in a sudden spike in infections since the Tokyo Olympics were postponed till next year.

Before the Games were pushed back, Japan appeared to have its outbreak largely under control. Despite the global pandemic, organizers maintained they were forging ahead with preparations for the 2020 Summer Olympics to kick off in Tokyo on July 24, and they encouraged athletes to do the same.

Then on March 24, amid mounting calls to delay or cancel the Olympics, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the International Olympic Committee announced that the upcoming Games would be held a year later due to the worldwide health crisis.

On that day, Japan had reported just 1,140 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled at the time by Johns Hopkins University. As of Thursday night, that tally was up to around 5,500, not including the 712 cases linked to the Diamond Princess cruise ship that docked in Tokyo earlier this year, according to figures published by Japan's national broadcaster NHK. By prefecture, Tokyo tops the list of infections with over 1,500.

Over 100 people in Japan have died from the disease so far, including 11 from the cruise ship, according to NHK. There has been a threefold increase in deaths since the Tokyo Games were postponed.

The sharp rise in cases and deaths has prompted speculations that Japan had previously understated the scope of its outbreak. Several Japanese citizens whom ABC News spoke to on the streets of Tokyo, are of the belief that the government was trying to keep the numbers low so that the Olympics would take place as scheduled.

However, a doctor in Tokyo who talked to ABC News on condition of anonymity said he didn't believe there to be a cover-up but rather that red tape has kept testing to a minimum to prevent hospitals from overcrowding.

ABC News has reached out for comment from the Japanese government.

The Japanese government has maintained publicly that their strategy all along has been to target clusters of cases rather than conduct mass testing, which officials say has kept Japan from the brink so far. Officials link the recent increase in infections to people coming into the country from abroad. The Japanese government has also admitted that infection routes cannot be traced in a rising number of cases. The prime minister, however, has pledged to ramp up testing.

Japan's National Institute of Infectious Diseases declined ABC News' request for access to videotape its laboratory activities and COVID-19 testing, citing security concerns and biohazard risks.

An administrator at the public health center for Tokyo's Shinjuku ward who only gave his name as Aria-san told ABC News they're getting calls from a rising number of residents who want to be tested for COVID-19.

"We’re receiving over 200 [calls] per day," Aria-san said. "Concern among the people is on the rise. Our people answering phones can’t get a break."

Abe on Tuesday declared a monthlong state of emergency -- but not a lockdown -- for Tokyo and six other prefectures to stem the spread of the deadly virus in the world's third-largest economy. The Japanese government does not have the legal authority to enforce the kinds of lockdowns seen across Europe, where fines and other penalties have been imposed. So instead, officials have asked the public to practice "jishuku" or self-restraint by voluntarily heeding their calls to stay home and close businesses.

"What this means is that the Japanese people are required to voluntarily follow the government, without the latter providing incentives or compensations in return to the people and, importantly, without taking responsibility for what is in real terms government orders," Koichi Nakano, a political science professor at Sophia University in Tokyo, told ABC News. "So the containment policies are made by the government, but their costs are borne by the people who 'voluntarily' restrain themselves."

Nakano said Japan's unique approach to combatting the virus is a disjointed combination of two things: the absence of political interest and leadership on the one hand, and the bureaucratic denial and risky experiment on the other.

"The Japanese ruling elite form a class of their own, out of touch with the reality of the daily life and concern of the people. They are preoccupied with the Olympics and have prioritized the resume of what remains of Abenomics over serious countermeasures against the spread of the virus," Nakano told ABC News, referring to the economic policies enacted by Abe at the outset of his second term. "In the absence of clear and firm political leadership, the bureaucrats and public health experts who are left to devise the government policies continue to refuse to face up to the magnitude of the outbreak and have also committed Japan to a 'unique' and highly-risky approach that is based on a certain 'cluster infection' theory."

Nakano said the hypothesis was that the virus outbreak could be combatted through a narrow focus on clusters of infection, while ignoring the infections that do not result in clusters.

"If the theory worked and if people voluntarily bore the cost of social distancing," he noted, "then the state would have enough medical resources to treat the severely ill patients, according to this approach."

The problem unfolding now is that the theory failed and the Japanese government did nothing to enhance state capacity to cope with an eventual explosion in the number of severely ill patients, according to Nakano.

"It has benn consistently, grossly under-tested," he said. "And as a result, to date, there is no data to base judgment on the scope and speed of the infection."

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Kevin Wells/iStock(NEW YORK) -- As the war against COVID-19 brings entire countries to a screeching halt, the planet is beginning to see a glimpse into a world without the damaging effects of daily human impact. And that glimpse is startling.

With fewer planes in the sky, cars on the roads and foot traffic across our cities, air quality is improving dramatically around the world -- in some places by as much as half in just the first week of lockdown. It's a visual reminder of the toll humans take on this planet.

David Quammen, author of Spillover: Animal Infections and the Next Human Pandemic, wrote about the likelihood of a coronavirus starting in an animal and spreading around the world. Quammen told ABC News things like urban sprawl, pesticides and international trade have altered ecosystems and crushed biodiversity -- and in the process, viruses are often let loose.

"The choices we’re making in terms of what we eat, what we wear, where we travel, the types on consumer goods -- including consumer electronics that we buy -- how many children we have -- all of those things are putting pressure on the natural world and when we do that we bring wild animals closer to us," he said.

Before the world all but stopped, humans had spent decades altering ecosystems on a scale like never seen before in modern times. With this loss of environment came another significant toll -- the loss of animals and plants.

Up to 1 million species of plants and animals are at risk of extinction and a staggering 40% of insects are under threat, according to the World Wildlife Fund.

According to a 2017 study by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this "biological annihilation" represents a "frightening assault on the foundations of human civilization." It shows as much as 50% of animals that once shared the Earth with us, along with billions of other populations, are already gone.

Many leading scientists, like Quammen, directly link biodiversity loss to the spread of infectious diseases.

Ebola, SARS, bird flu and now COVID-19 are all believed to have started as pathogens crossing from animals to humans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about three-quarters of new human diseases originate in animals.

"Another spillover -- more spillovers -- of viruses from wild animals into humans are inevitable as long as we keep doing what we’re doing ... multiplying and consuming and pushing against the rest of the world of nature," Quammen said.

Many experts say that push is now edging the planet to the brink with entire ecosystems changing on a massive scale within our lifetimes. A staggering 20% of the ice on Eagle Island, on the Antarctic Peninsula, melted in just one week this February during an unprecedented heat wave, according to research from NASA's Earth Observatory. Over the last 30 years roughly half of the world’s coral reefs have been lost, according to a Catlin Seaview Survey. And rainforests that once covered over 14% of land of earth have now dwindled to just 6%, according to National Geographic.

Rebecca Shaw, chief scientist at the World Wildlife Fund, said the results are catastrophic.

"There’s only 8 million known species on Earth … so if we’re going to cause extinction of 1 million of them that is a really significant impact on plant and animal life on the planet," she told ABC News.

Although extinction is nothing new, it is the rate at which entire species are dying off that is alarming scientists. The most recent estimates from the journal Science put the current extinction rate at more than 1,000 times higher than the normal background rate of extinction.

In the last 500 million years, the planet has seen five catastrophic extinction events. But scientists say today's so called "sixth mass extinction" is different because it’s being caused by us.

"When you get rates of extinction that high, you begin to get into a mass extinction," Shaw said. "We haven’t seen this in the history of keeping records."

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Chris Jackson/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Teachers in the United Kingdom working during the holidays to keep schools open during the coronavirus pandemic for children of essential workers and vulnerable kids received a special thank you Wednesday.

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, thanked teachers and staff at Casterton Primary Academy, a school in East Lancashire, in a special video call that also included the school's students.

The school is located near a local hospital and has a high percentage of children whose parents are key workers, according to Kensington Palace. The teachers are also working through what would traditionally be an Easter holiday for schools in the U.K.

"Well done honestly to you and everyone who’s in during this time," Kate said during the call. "It must be such a relief for all the parents who are key workers to know that the normality is there for their children."

"They’ve got the structure and they’ve got a safe place for them to be, so really really well done to all of you," she said.

"We just want to say a huge thank you to you guys and well done in keeping it all going," William added. "Please pass on many messages of support for all the staff and all the volunteers. They’re doing a great job.”

The students showed Kate and William Easter crafts they had made at school and several also showed the duke and duchess portraits of their parents and "explained why they were proud of them," according to Kensington Palace.

William and Kate are currently homeschooling their oldest two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, during the coronavirus pandemic. Their school, Thomas's Battersea, switched to virtual learning last month when schools in the U.K. were closed until further notice.

William and Kate have not attended an in-person royal engagement since March 20, when the couple visited the London Ambulance Service 111 control room in Croydon to thank emergency workers.

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Oleksii Liskonih/iStock(RIYADH, Saudi Arabia) -- After over five years of fighting in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and its coalition backing the Yemeni government against a rebel group announced they will halt their military operations for two weeks, possibly providing a small window for negotiations again.

Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the United Nations has called for all parties to agree to a ceasefire and instead focus on preventing an outbreak, with the country's health care system destroyed by fighting and its impoverished and malnourished population particularly vulnerable to its disease, known as COVID-19.

Backed by the U.S., the Saudi-led coalition intervened in Yemen, the Arab world's poorest country, in 2015 after the Houthis, an armed Islamic movement increasingly backed by Iran, seized the capital amid mass protests.

The conflict has created what the U.N. calls the world's worst humanitarian crisis, with over 10,000 people killed, millions suffering from food and medical shortages, and the country on the brink of famine. Larger than the size of California and home to more than 28 million people on the southwestern corner of the Arabian Peninsula, Yemen has seen its economy collapse, a cholera epidemic that has killed nearly 4,000 people and devastating fighting for half a decade now.

While the warring sides siege cities or blockade ports, the international aid delivered to the country rarely finds its way to those in need -- with aid groups accusing the Houthis in particular of stealing or taxing food assistance even as people starve. For its part, the Saudi-led coalition has been accused of indiscriminately bombing civilians and even targeting civilian infrastructure to exacerbate the humanitarian toll.

Only 50% of Yemen's health centers are functioning, according to the aid group Oxfam International, but those that are running severely lack medicine, equipment and personnel.

With the threat of COVID-19 spreading throughout the Middle East, U.N. special envoy for Yemen Martin Griffiths called for a halt to fighting and the launch of "a formal ceasefire process." Griffiths said last Thursday that he had been consulting with all the parties daily and working to convene their two sides via teleconference "soonest possible."

The Saudi announcement Wednesday, which will be implemented at noon local time on Thursday, could be an important step in that direction.

A senior Saudi official told ABC News it was a "good opportunity ... to force the Houthis and encourage them to meet the Yemeni government under the supervision of Martin Griffiths to discuss a sustained ceasefire."

Griffiths welcomed it as a "critical moment for Yemen" and urged the parties to "now utilize this opportunity and cease immediately all hostilities with the utmost urgency, and make progress towards comprehensive and sustainable peace."

The decision does not preclude Saudi forces from defending themselves or responding to attacks on the kingdom, the official said. Armed with increasingly sophisticated weapons by the Iranian government, the Houthis have launched hundreds of missiles and small armed drones across Yemen's northern border into Saudi territory.

If the Houthis respond positively, the senior Saudi official said the coalition would extend the ceasefire by additional two-week periods.

"The Saudis have been hesitant to publicly agree to a ceasefire, lest the Houthis take advantage to move equipment or weapons," said Elana DeLozier, a research fellow at the Washington institute for Near East Policy who has studied the conflict. "A unilateral, time-bound ceasefire by the Saudis is likely an attempt to give the Houthis a chance to prove they are serious about negotiations."


But the possibility of a ceasefire is a marked contrast from the last 10 days. Heavy fighting has killed more than 270 people and wounded 300 others, and the Saudi-led coalition conducted more than 370 airstrikes, according to the Associated Press.

The two sides have also been here before. In December 2018, Griffiths finally got the parties together in Stockholm, Sweden, where they signed a deal to cease fire in major cities, exchange prisoners and work toward a long-term political solution. But since then, in fits and starts, the war has dragged on.


In one way, the continued fighting has actually protected Yemen from the coronavirus' spread because it has limited points of entry into the country, with international flights already severely limited. In March, the government shut down what flights were still operational.

But the country also relies on international imports for 80 to 90% of its basic needs, including food, according to the World Food Programme, which provides monthly food assistance to more than 12 million people. As global trade slows because of countries' travel restrictions, Yemen is at risk of those supplies drying up, WFP warned Tuesday.


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iStock/Vladislav Zolotov(LONDON) -- Less than a year after Boris Johnson became the U.K. Prime Minister in a landslide party leadership victory, one of his former political rivals is now at the helm of the U.K. government as the prime minister battles the novel coronavirus in an intensive care unit in London.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Johnson’s effective number two in charge, has been asked to take over for the prime minister while he battles the illness.

However, Raab finds himself in an almost unprecedented position in British political history.

Unlike the United States which has legislation in place establishing the presidential line of succession, the U.K. does not have a clear emergency succession plan for its prime minister.

If the prime minister leaves his or her post, their political party elects a new leader who the Queen then confirms.

Before he entered St. Thomas’ Hospital Sunday, Johnson asked Raab to deputize for him "where necessary."

With the prime minister’s condition worsening during a national crisis, some observers have expressed concern about the extent of Raab’s authority.

The 46-year-old lawyer ran against Johnson for Conservative Party leadership in 2019, staking out arguably the most pro-Brexit stance of the field running.

In a move widely seen to placate pro-Brexit voters, Johnson reached out to the ardent Brexiteer in July to serve as foreign secretary and first secretary of state -- a de facto deputy prime minister.

While Raab’s passion surrounding Brexit gained him many admirers, his ability to communicate during a public health crisis has garnered some skepticism.

In his Monday press conference from 10 Downing Street, Raab struggled to answer how Johnson was still in charge of the government from his hospital bed.

The foreign secretary shocked reporters by admitting he hadn’t spoken to the prime minister for two days.

Just hours later, Johnson’s spokesperson announced he had entered the ICU.

As Raab attempts to consolidate control, another power struggle has surfaced in Johnson’s cabinet.

Michael Gove and Rishi Sunak, two of Johnson’s top cabinet secretaries, have vied to be Raab’s successor if he too becomes unable to perform his duties.

In a surprise move Tuesday, Sunak, who became the U.K.’s top treasury official in February, earned the title of "designated successor" to Raab.

Gove is self-isolating after a member of his family began showing symptoms of COVID-19.

Speaking at a press conference Wednesday, Sunak told reporters that though Johnson remains in the ICU, he is "sitting up in bed" and "engaging positively" with doctors.

As of Wednesday morning, 60,733 people in the U.K. had tested positive for coronavirus, with 7,097 deaths, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

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Courtesy Arnie Fagan(NEW YORK) -- The State Department has been undertaking an unprecedented global operation to bring home Americans left stranded by governments shutting their borders and canceling international flights to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

But even after weeks of repatriation flights, there are still some 25,000 U.S. citizens in need of help, according to the head of the repatriation task force at the department, which has been criticized by many stranded Americans who have complained it was unresponsive or slow to act.

For many Americans, the sudden border closures and canceled flights have also torn their families apart, unable to travel abroad to meet loved ones stuck overseas and not allowed to travel to the U.S.

Early last month, Arnie Fagan had to travel to his hometown of Columbia, Missouri, for business, leaving his girlfriend Vilayvanh Soulinthong and their 13-month old daughter Jasmine Fagan behind in Udon Thani, the provincial capital in northeast Thailand where Fagan has lived for the last three and a half years.

"Thailand was my version of paradise. Unfortunately, right now, it's turned into my version of hell," Fagan said in an interview on Tuesday.

Two weeks after he left, the Thai government sealed off the country's borders, prohibiting outsiders like Fagan from traveling in without confirmation that they have tested negative for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. Like many Americans, Fagan has been unable to secure a test -- and instead hoped to get Soulinthong and Jasmine to the U.S.

Soulinthong, however, is not an American citizen and needs a visa, but visa services at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world have been suspended except for "life or death emergency" applications.

His voice choking with emotion, Fagan told ABC News that the family has even considered plans to try to hand off Jasmine at Bangkok's airport to try to keep her safe.

"We'd already decided that if I needed to take the baby, that she was going to leave the baby with me and go back to Laos. But that's not even a possibility, that's not even a possibility. What horrible decisions you have to make at a time like this, a global crisis -- decisions you wouldn't ever think in your wildest imagination that you'd have to make," he said.

Fagan's family was able to secure an emergency visa appointment, but not until June -- with the risk of COVID-19's spread worsening in Thailand, a country with a substandard health system. By then, what few international flights are still departing Thailand could be grounded, and the U.S. embassy said in its latest guidance Tuesday that it is not considering chartering flights to repatriate U.S. citizens at this time.

With the clock ticking, Fagan finally heard back from embassy officials late Monday, saying they helpfully provided him detailed instructions on what other information Soulinthong's visa application needs. He said he hopes they may be able to expedite her appointment and secure a visa soon, but he fears they may deny her a visa on the suspicion that the family is trying to move to Missouri full-time.

"We had a wonderful life. We want to go back to that," he said, denying that was the case.

The State Department is unable to comment on individual cases because of privacy laws, but Ian Brownlee, the head of the repatriation task force, urged any Americans to "get off the fence" and make plans to return to the U.S. or be prepared to "remain where (they are) for an indefinite period of time."

"We are committed to helping U.S. citizens return home," Brownlee, who serves as principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs, added Tuesday.

To date, Brownlee's task force has helped U.S. missions in over 75 countries bring nearly 46,000 Americans back to the U.S. over 449 flights. But he told reporters Monday that there are between 24,000 and 25,000 still registered with the local U.S. embassy seeking help.

One of the greatest concentrations is in India, which closed its borders much later than many other countries, but where some 7,000 Americans have registered with the U.S. embassy. But given the quickly-shifting situation, the U.S. mission is having difficulty reaching people; out of 800 Americans called over the weekend and offered a seat on a flight out, only 10 said yes, according to Brownlee.

Still, there are at least 80 more flights from around the world to come, including five from India and at least one from Russia, which closed its borders over the weekend. Brownlee said the U.S. still doesn't have a clear answer on why an Aerolot flight Friday from Moscow to New York was halted, but in an "inexplicable, last-minute reversal," the airliner was able to reschedule it for Tuesday, leaving that evening "filled with U.S. citizens," according to U.S. embassy spokesperson Rebecca Ross.

A U.S.-chartered flight will also depart Thursday to fly back to the U.S. through London, Ross said.
 
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juuce/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Deforestation, habitat loss and wildlife poaching aren't just environmental issues. They're among the driving forces behind the rise in global infectious disease outbreaks -- and likely contributed to the current pandemic.

That's according to scientists who've been sounding the alarm for decades, warning that as we encroach on wildlife to establish new farmland, build mining operations or just make room for growing cities and towns, the more likely it is we'll come into contact with wild animals harboring deadly pathogens.

"COVID-19 is not surprising because we know how these things happen," said Aleksandar Rankovic, a senior research fellow working on biodiversity governance at the Paris-based Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations. "We know the risk factors for new disease transmission, and we know that they have been increasing rather than decreasing. I'm surprised people are so surprised."

A study published Tuesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B finds a direct link between hunting, trade, habitat degradation and urban sprawl and the increase of what scientists call "spillover" events, in which viruses circulating in animals like bats and monkeys jump to humans.

"We found that the species specifically that declined because of exploitation through trade and hunting and those species that declined specifically due to habitat loss had higher spillover risk," said lead author Christine Kreuder Johnson, project director of USAID PREDICT and director of the EpiCenter for Disease Dynamics at the One Health Institute, a program of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

According to Johnson and a growing community of concerned scientists, the more we endanger wild species, the more we endanger ourselves.

"When you destroy habitats, you increase vastly the amount of contact that human populations will have with different species, and some of these species will host a range of viruses," Rankovic added.

Experts agree that as the planet's hot zones -- typically tropical climates along the equator -- are suddenly disrupted by development, workers come into too-close contact with wild species and pass along viruses to nearby villages and towns, from there to larger cities.

Recent history is rife with spillover events. HIV, SARS and Ebola all can be traced back to animal hosts living in ecosystems scientists refer to as highly "biodiverse."

And experts now believe SARS-COV-2, the virus responsible for the deaths of more than one million people worldwide from COVID-19, originated in bats in Southwest China and eventually made its way to a wet market in Wuhan, likely through an intermediate host.

"In the case of COVID-19, bat caves are abundant in Southwest China," explained Peter Daszak, president of the EcoHealth Alliance. "People are developing a lot of new towns in that region, with a lot of high-speed train lines. We are going to see more pandemics like this as long as such rampant development continues."

Experts have said that the more we push into rich, biodiverse habitats, the more frequent spillover events will occur. Humans have a significant impact on about 75% of the Earth's land, 50% of the planet's freshwater ecosystems and 40% of all ocean environments, according to the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services 2019 Global Assessment.

And the more interconnected we become as a global economy, with tens of thousands of international flights per day, the less likely it is spillover events will be contained to the regions in which they emerged.

Those studying the linkages between pandemics and biodiversity loss say there are three major factors driving the increase in spillover events: massive deforestation, industrial-scale animal farms too close to wild habitats and the hunting of wild animals, either for profit or food.

There are 1.7 million unknown viruses that have the potential to infect people, according to Daszak.

"To say, 'Don't worry, we'll design a vaccine to fix the problem,' is not a solution," Daszak added. "You can only design vaccines against pathogens you know. If we have 1.7 million that we don't know, that sort of thinking doesn't help."

While it's too late to stop the 2019 novel coronavirus from spreading beyond China, experts have said political leaders across the globe still could come together to put in place policies to help prevent the next outbreak. Although global pandemics and the current biodiversity crisis are considered different problems with different potential solutions, experts have said they should be considered together.

"Let's treat pandemics like a global public health threat," Daszak said. "Biological diversity and healthy ecosystems is the insurance plan that we must prioritize, as it protects us against a variety of risks -- including pandemics."
 
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Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Prince Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have confirmed the name of their new nonprofit venture, which is tied to their nearly 1-year-old son Archie.

The Sussexes, who have settled in Los Angeles, plan to name their new venture Archewell.

"Before SussexRoyal, came the idea of 'Arche' -- the Greek word meaning ‘source of action,'" Harry and Meghan said in a statement to ABC News in response to a story in the U.K.'s The Telegraph, which was the first outlet to report the name. "We connected to this concept for the charitable organisation we hoped to build one day, and it became the inspiration for our son’s name."

"To do something of meaning, to do something that matters," they said. "Archewell is a name that combines an ancient word for strength and action, and another that evokes the deep resources we each must draw upon."

Harry and Meghan, who began their new roles as non-working royals on April 1, confirmed the nonprofit's name after The Telegraph found paperwork including the nonprofit's name filed in the U.S.

"Like you, our focus is on supporting efforts to tackle the global Covid-19 pandemic but faced with this information coming to light, we felt compelled to share the story of how this came to be ... We look forward to launching Archewell when the time is right," the couple said in their statement.

The Sussexes had to decide on a new name for their new venture after having to drop the word "royal" once they stepped back from their roles as senior members of the royal family. As royals, Harry and Meghan had launched the Sussex Royal Foundation and used Sussex Royal for their website and Instagram, which they are now no longer using.

"While The Duke and Duchess are focused on plans to establish a new non-profit organisation, given the specific UK government rules surrounding use of the word 'Royal,' it has been therefore agreed that their non-profit organization, when it is announced this Spring, will not be named Sussex Royal Foundation," a spokesperson for Harry and Meghan told ABC News in February, adding that trademark applications Harry and Meghan previously filed for Sussex Royal have "been removed."

In addition to their new nonprofit, Harry and Meghan are also continuing with their royal patronages in the U.K. and continuing to support causes important to them, like the Invictus Games for wounded warriors that Harry founded in 2014, and Travalyst, a sustainable travel initiative Harry launched in September.

The Sussexes attended their last official royal engagement in the U.K. in early March. They have since quietly moved from Vancouver Island in Canada to Los Angeles, Meghan's hometown.

Meghan, a former actress, is the voice behind a new Disney nature film, Elephant on the streaming service Disney .

The duchess recorded the voiceover in London last fall and had been made aware of the film through mutual friends of the filmmakers, a source close to Meghan told ABC News.

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FILE photo - fototrav/iStock(HONG KONG) -- Two pandas in Hong Kong mated for the first time in 10 years after the zoo shut its doors to the public over the novel coronavirus outbreak.

Ying Ying and Le Le, both 14 years old, had attempted to mate since 2010 but never managed to successfully do so, according to a press release from Ocean Park.

Yet in late March, Ying Ying, the female, began to show signs that her hormonal levels were changing and Le Le, the male, left scent-markings around his habitat while searching for Ying Ying's scent. The zoo noted this is common behavior during breeding season, which occurs between March and May.

On Monday at 9 a.m. local time, the two pandas successfully mated, the zoo said.

The park had been closed since January due to the coronavirus spread, which has infected more than 1.3 million people globally.

"The successful natural mating process today is extremely exciting for all of us, as the chance of pregnancy via natural mating is higher than by artificial insemination,” Michael Boos, executive director in zoological operations and Conservation at Ocean Park, said in a statement.

It is still too early to tell whether Ying Ying is pregnant. The gestation period for giant pandas ranges between 72 and 324 days. The earliest a pregnancy can be detected is 14 to 17 days before birth.

"We hope to bear wonderful pregnancy news to Hong Kongers this year and make further contributions to the conservation of this vulnerable species," Boos said.

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Ray Tang/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images(LONDON) -- U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson's condition "has been stable overnight" after he was admitted to intensive care for coronavirus, Downing Street said.

"The Prime Minister has been stable overnight and remains in good spirits," the prime minister's spokesperson said in a statement to ABC News. "He is receiving standard oxygen treatment and breathing without any other assistance. He has not required mechanical ventilation or non-invasive respiratory support."

Johnson was admitted to a hospital Sunday to undergo tests on the advice of his doctor 10 days after he announced he had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The prime minister's condition "worsened" on Monday and he was admitted to the intensive care unit at St. Thomas' Hospital in London, where he remains for the time being.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has been asked to deputize for the prime minister while he battles the illness.

"The PM is receiving excellent care, and thanks all NHS staff for their hard work and dedication," the spokesman added.

A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said Queen Elizabeth has been informed about Johnson's situation and is monitoring developments.

Before being admitted to intensive care Johnson gave the public an update on his condition, saying that he was in "good spirits" as he continued to experience symptoms.

President Donald Trump joined a chorus of voices wishing the prime minister a quick recovery from the illness.

"But before I begin, I want to express our nation's well wishes to Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he wages his own personal fight with the virus," Trump said Sunday evening at the start of the daily White House Coronavirus Task Force press briefing. "All Americans are praying for him. He's a friend of mine. He's a great gentleman and a great leader, and he's as you know, he was brought to the hospital today, but I'm -- I'm hopeful and sure that he's going to be fine."

The prime minister was last seen in public at the door of Number 10 Downing Street on Thursday night, as he turned out to clap for National Health Service workers along with much of the country.

Johnson's partner, Carrie Symonds, who is pregnant with their child, also announced that she had been bed-ridden over the past week with coronavirus symptoms over the weekend.

"I've spent the past week in bed with the main symptoms of Coronavirus," she posted on Twitter. "I haven't needed to be tested and, after seven days of rest, I feel stronger and I'm on the mend."

"Being pregnant with Covid-19 is obviously wrong," she added, as she encouraged other pregnant women to follow the latest health guidance on coronavirus in pregnant women.

As of Monday morning, 51,608 people in the U.K. had tested positive for coronavirus, with 5,373 deaths, according to the Department of Health and Social Care.

The news of the prime minister's hospitalization came as the queen addressed the nation in a highly poignant televised address. Praising the response of the country's health and care workers, she said: "We should take comfort that while we may have more still to endure, better days will return: we will be with our friends again; we will be with our families again; we will meet again."

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MarkRubens/iStock(NEW YORK) -- Ukrainian authorities have sought to calm fears around a forest fire burning in the contaminated zone around the Chernobyl nuclear power station that briefly caused local radiation levels to rise.

Firefighters on Monday said they were still trying to extinguish two fires that had begun on Saturday and which had spread to part of the 30-mile "exclusion zone" around the power station, the scene of the world's worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

Around 100 firefighters, backed by planes and helicopters, were deployed, a day after they succeeded in putting out part of the fire at another nearby site.

The fires have sparked fears about radiation in Ukraine's capital, Kyiv, which is about 60 miles south of Chernobyl, but authorities said that testing by experts sent by the government on Monday had found that there had been no rise in radiation levels in Kyiv or its surrounding suburbs.

"You needn't be afraid to open your windows or to air out your apartment during quarantine," Yegor Firsov, the head of Ukraine's state ecological inspection service, wrote on his Facebook page on Monday.

Ukraine's state emergency service said that by Monday evening around 20 hectares (50 acres) were still on fire inside the exclusion zone. Video posted by the service Monday showed a helicopter flying over the fire and firefighters on the ground spraying water. A day earlier, the service said part of the fire had been extinguished near the villages of Volodymyrivka and Zhovtneve, close to the zone's edge.

Police said they had tracked down a 27-year-old man they suspected had started the fire by igniting long grass in the area. The man had told them that he had set fire to some garbage and grass "for fun" but that it had been fanned by the wind, quickly got out of control and he had been unable to extinguish it, police said in a statement.

The fires attracted international attention after Firsov, the head of the ecological inspection service, published a post on Sunday warning that radiation levels at the heart of the fire had risen 16 times above the norm.

“There is bad news—radiation is above norm at the center of the fire,” he wrote on Sunday. He included a video showing a Geiger counter beeping with a reading of 2.3 micro sieverts per hour. He wrote that it was it difficult for firefighters to put out the blaze.

Firsov blamed the fire on what he called the "barbaric" practice of burning grass and urged lawmakers to introduce legislation that would significantly increase fines for causing forest fires.

The state emergency service issued an air pollution warning for Kyiv on Monday, but said it was related to weather conditions and not the fires, stressing that radiation levels were normal. It noted that gamma radiation levels around the fires had not risen.

Forest fires near Chernobyl are common and have occurred for the past three years in a row. The exclusion zone has existed around the power station since April 1986 when its fourth reactor exploded, spreading radioactive pollution across Europe. The station's other three reactors continued to provide electricity until 2000, when they were shut down.

In 2016, a giant stadium-sized dome was moved over the destroyed fourth reactor to replace a concrete shield known as the "sarcophagus" that had been erected following the accident and that was decaying.

Although some hotspots remain, radiation levels in most of the exclusion zone are not above normal and it has effectively become a nature reserve. Organized tourism at the site has boomed since last year's HBO mini-series Chernobyl.

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Sean Gallup/Getty Images(DUBLIN) -- Ireland’s prime minister Leo Varadkar will be returning to medical practice to work as a doctor for one session a week to help out during the coronavirus epidemic, his office has said.

Varadkar, a former doctor, has re-joined Ireland’s medical registry and offered his services to Ireland’s Health Service Executive, a spokesman for the office of the prime minister, called the Taoiseach, confirmed to ABC News on Monday.

Varadkar studied medicine and worked as a junior doctor in Dublin hospitals for several years, before qualifying as a general practitioner in 2010. He left medicine to become a full-time politician and had his name removed from the medical registry in 2013.

His office did not provide further details on what medical work he would be doing but The Irish Times reported it understood that Varadkar would be helping assess suspected COVID-19 patients over the phone. People who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 are advised to call their doctors to receive an initial assessment rather than going in person in order to prevent the risk of infecting others.

“Dr Varadkar rejoined the Medical Register last month. He has offered his services to the HSE for one session a week in areas that are within his scope of practice. Many of his family and friends are working in the health service. He wanted to help out even in a small way,” the Taoiseach’s office said in a statement.

Ireland’s health service last month appealed for former healthcare professionals to register to be available during the epidemic, which is expected to put a huge strain on the country’s hospitals. In three days, 50,000 people responded to the call, according to the national broadcaster RTE.ie

Varadkar is the son of a doctor and a nurse, and his partner, Matthew Barrett, as well as his two sisters and their husbands, also work in the health services.

Ireland’s current count of recorded COVID-19 cases stands at 4,443, according to statistics from its department of health. Of those, 1,203 have been hospitalized.

The government last week reached an agreement to effectively take over parts of 19 private hospitals for three months during the epidemic, making beds and other facilities there only for public use.

Varadkar currently leads a caretaker government following a seismic general election in February that saw his party Fine Gael and the other traditional party of power, Fianna Fáil, beaten by the nationalist party Sinn Féin, the former political wing of the Irish Republican Army.

Varadkar resigned following the election after Ireland’s parliament failed to elect a Taoiseach but he has stayed on because the parties have so far been unable to agree on a coalition government and the pandemic has disrupted those negotiations. Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald has demanded that her party has a right to form a “change government” with other left-wing parties. This week she accused Fine Gael and Fianna Fail of trying to keep Sinn Féin out of power while co-opting its policies.

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f11photo/iStock(RIO DE JANEIRO) -- Many of the 1.5 million people living in the slums of Rio de Janeiro have been forced into making heartbreaking decisions as the novel coronavirus threatens their very survival.

According to the Data Favela research institute, 70% of families living in Brazil’s slums, known as favelas, have already experienced a drop in income due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The institute's research was based on interviews with more than 1,000 residents in 262 communities across Brazil.

"This is so strange, this virus has been brought by the riches[t] from holiday," Vinicius Magalhaes, a 67-year-old who makes his living selling sunglasses in the streets of Leblon, one of the richest neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, told ABC News. "What can I do except working? If I stay home I will die of starvation.”

With the closing of stores, typically low-paid workers such as doormen, waiters, dishwashers and street-sellers have been fired or laid off with unpaid vacations until further notice.

There have been four confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Rocinha, the largest favela in Brazil situated on the hills overlooking Rio’s Sao Conrado district, according to the health secretary.

Edith C, 39, who moved to Rocinha 25 years ago, is now divorced with three children. She performs pedicures and manicures in a salon in a commercial gallery which closed three weeks ago after all non-essential stores were ordered to shutter their doors.

"When I don't work, I don't earn money. If I don't leave my house I don't give food to my children," she told ABC News. "My life was always fighting but I never thought I would sacrifice eating at night."

According to DataFavela, as many as 47% of favela residents are self-employed and are particularly vulnerable to the economic hardships wrought by coronavirus.

But the luxury of staying home as recommended by the governor of Rio is clearly not possible for all classes of the Brazilian population.

Despite the pandemic, Edith continues to work. She leaves her house to attend to a few regular customers at their homes in the south zone of Rio. Last week, Edith only made 120 reais (around $20), just enough to buy rice for her family and to buy her transportation tickets.

Renato Meirelles, the founder of DataFavela, told ABC News that it is very different to be confined in a house with a full range of amenities versus the cramped conditions in a favela.

The types of behavior displayed by Edith, he added, poses a further risk as she could bring back the virus to her community.

Meirelles said the government should subsidize incomes during the pandemic in order to avoid social chaos.

"If people are hungry and do not receive support it could turn very bad. People could just start robbing to eat. We are convinced of it,” he said.

President Jair Bolsonaro, meanwhile, has minimized the impact of the coronavirus. He has repeatedly called for Brazilians to resume economic activity, describing the virus as a "small cold."

For many Brazilians the choice is stark -- either sickness or poverty. And with 11,450 confirmed and 491 deaths in the country, Brazil is only at the beginning of the pandemic.

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iStock(LONDON) -- In a rare televised speech from Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth II urged citizens of the U.K. to "remain united and resolute" in the face of the challenges resulting from the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking to a nation under lockdown, the queen addressed the nation for just the fifth time outside her usual annual Christmas Day speech. The four other times she has made an extraordinary address have been to mark the Gulf War, the death of Princess Diana of Wales, the death of her mother, and her Diamond Jubilee.

The queen shared a personal memory of her first broadcast in 1940, saying: "We, as children, spoke from here at Windsor to children who had been evacuated from their homes and sent away for their own safety. Today, once again, many will feel a painful sense of separation from their loved ones. But now, as then, we know, deep down, that it is the right thing to do."

The Queen also paid tribute to Britain’s National Health Service, at the forefront in the fight against the virus.

She added, "I hope in the years to come everyone will be able to take pride in how they responded to this challenge. And those who come after us will say the Britons of this generation were as strong as any. That the attributes of self-discipline, of quiet good-humored resolve and of fellow-feeling still characterize this country. The pride in who we are is not a part of our past, it defines our present and our future."

The broadcast Sunday was recorded in a room that met requirements of being large enough to allow sufficient distance between the queen and the only other person in the room at the time -- a cameraman in personal protected equipment.

All other technical staff were in another room connected by speakers.

The speech came at the end of a weekend that saw many people across the country violating government requests to stay at home, despite the sunny weather.

Parks and squares across London and other major cities saw hundreds of people gathering to take advantage of the weather.

The British government has predicted the peak of the coronavirus crisis to hit around Easter Sunday, and this week repeatedly urged citizens to stay indoors.

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip have remained in Windsor Castle in recent weeks after her son Prince Charles was confirmed positive for COVID-19, and self-isolated at his home at Birkhall in Scotland.

His wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, tested negative.

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