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Your Tuesday Briefing

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From Iran to Spain, countries are weighing the costs and benefits of keeping coronavirus restrictions in place.

A handful of businesses are reopening in Italy this week, after signs of improvement in the bleak epicenter of Europe’s outbreak; Spain is starting to ease its restrictions, with some workers getting back to their jobs; and Britain, the U.S. and a host of other countries are now deciding how long to keep their rules in place.

Some countries that seemed to have overcome their outbreaks saw second waves: China, for example, saw its largest uptick in new cases in over a month on Monday, fueled by citizens who had returned from Russia.

Here are the latest updates and maps of the pandemic.

In other developments:

The Times is providing free access to much of our coronavirus coverage, and our Coronavirus Briefing newsletter — like all of our newsletters — is free. Please consider supporting our journalism with a subscription.

The central government in Beijing said on Monday that it would investigate a rape allegation that has caused an uproar across the country, after an 18-year-old woman accused a prominent lawyer, Bao Yuming, of sexually abusing her for years.

The young woman, using the pseudonym Xingxing, took her story to the Chinese news media on Thursday, triggering a wave of anger about the country’s patriarchal culture and the authorities’ reluctance to intervene in cases of sexual abuse. Mr. Bao was quickly dismissed from his job at Jereh Group, a large oil company in eastern China, and resigned from his role as a board member at the telecom equipment firm ZTE.

Details: When she was 14, Xingxing was sent to Beijing by her mother to live with Mr. Bao, who she says presented himself as a father figure but then repeatedly raped her and held her against her will. She said she reported him to the police several times, only to be turned away. Mr. Bao has denied any wrongdoing.

This year, T, The Times’s style magazine, is celebrating various groups of creative people who — united by outlook or identity, happenstance or choice — have built communities that have shaped the cultural landscape.

They include a group of veteran black actresses who have overcome the odds to achieve long Hollywood careers. Above, clockwise from left: Taraji P. Henson, Mary J. Blige, Angela Bassett, Lynn Whitfield, Halle Berry and Kimberly Elise.

SoftBank: The telecommunications giant warned investors on Monday that the value of its tech fund may have dropped by as much as $16.7 billion over the last fiscal year, a surprise that came as the coronavirus pandemic rocked a portfolio already weakened by losses on big bets like WeWork.

Mekong river: New research shows that Beijing’s engineers appear to have directly limited the flow of the crucial waterway, threatening farmers and fisherman with record droughts in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam.

What we’re watching: This Twitter video of surgeons hosting a cello and piano recital at a New York hospital last week. Shira Ovide, who writes our On Tech newsletter, says: “I felt better, for 40 seconds.”

Cook: A starchy grain bowl that makes use of those sturdy vegetables filling up your fridge, giving you most of the benefits of a salad — even for when you’re out of lettuce.

Read: Vanessa Friedman looks at Bill Cunningham’s photographs of Easter parades past in New York City. Dwight Garner reviews a collection of poems by Hannah Sullivan. And speaking of poetry, here’s some for children, with pictures.

Cope: Here’s how to manage a refund for that vacation that isn’t happening. Art can help put the pandemic in perspective. And Tara Parker-Pope has a definitive guide to face masks.

Here’s our full collection of ideas on what to read, cook, watch, and do while staying safe at home.

Screaming children, worried employees and anxious grocery shoppers: On Monday’s episode of “The Daily,” our reporters asked people in Pittsburgh, Kansas City, New York and Seattle about their new realities.

Here’s an excerpt from one conversation between Campbell Robertson, our correspondent in Pittsburgh, and his neighbor, Tanying Dong, who works in public law and has been at home with her three sons while her husband works in a hospital.

Want to show me where people are stationed at the moment?

Oh, well. All the kids are watching TV in the basement. And I don’t really want to deal with them right now.

How is it going today?

It was a relatively calm morning. I had Yan do some homework. I had the other two just watch TV. I tried to get some work done midmorning, which I did. I finished one project. My oldest one had one major tantrum where he was just screaming because he couldn’t find his sweatshirt.

Oh no.

It’s like, his favorite sweatshirt. It turned out it was on one of the strollers outside. Like, why would you leave it in the stroller?

How are the 3- and 5-year-olds today?

I have been just generally letting them float along and whatever they want to do. Occasionally they’ll get sick of the TV and they’ll want to just come upstairs and do something non-TV-related, and it’s good and bad. It’s like, oh, that’s nice. You’re using your imagination. But on the other hand, it’s like, please just go watch TV and don’t destroy the house.

The little one just likes to kind of run laps around the house, which is great because that kind of wears him out a little bit.

I think generally we’re settling into a routine. I mean, that first two weeks was rough.

Why?

Just having a hard time accepting that, Oh, my God, all three of my kids are going to be home all the time and I’m going to be pretty much by myself with them the entire time. And oh, my God, how am I going to handle this? Because I’ve never had to do this.

Right now they’re used to being at home, they’re used to this, whatever this is.

Well, there’s not really a choice at this point.

Yep. We’re all condemned to be with each other, basically.


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

— Melina


Thank you
To Melissa Clark for the recipe, and to Theodore Kim and Jahaan Singh for the rest of the break from the news. You can reach the team at [email protected].

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about life in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic.
• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Prayer ender (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The Times translated its examination of how common pandemic terms are used to mean different things in different countries into Spanish, Italian, French, simplified Chinese and traditional Chinese.


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