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Coronavirus - 25th May


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Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 25th May Empty Coronavirus - 25th May

Post by Kitkat on Mon May 25 2020, 09:13

Summary for Monday, 25th May

  • The US has imposed travel restrictions on foreign nationals who have been in Brazil in the last 14 days
  • Cases have grown exponentially in Brazil and it now has the second highest number of cases globally
  • Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the risks posed by the virus
  • Meanwhile the US is nearing the milestone of 100,000 deaths - it already has more than 1.6m cases
  • In the UK, a political row is intensifying as PM Boris Johnson defends a key aide who travelled during lockdown
  • Japanese PM Shinzo Abe could lift restrictions on Tokyo and other regions as early as Monday as the virus spread slows
  • Austria's president has apologised for breaking coronavirus rules by staying at a restaurant for longer than allowed
  • New Zealanders will be able to gather in groups of up to 100 as of Friday
  • India is resuming domestic flights on Monday after two months of shutdown

Welcome back to our rolling coverage of the pandemic. With our bureaus and correspondents around the globe we will keep you up to date on all developments worldwide.
Here's what you need to know so far.

US bans entry from Brazil

The United States has suspended travel from Brazil, which has emerged as the world's second largest virus hotspot.
The White House said non-Americans who had been in Brazil in the two weeks prior to requesting entry would be barred. The restrictions will not apply to trade.
The US has already banned foreign nationals arriving from a number of other countries including China, Iran and European countries.
Brazil registered 653 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, taking the total to 22,666.
The number of confirmed infections jumped by 15,813 to 363,211 - second only to the US tally of more than 1.6 million infections and almost 100,000 deaths.

China-US blame game continues

Tensions between Beijing and Washington continue to rise. Over the weekend, China's foreign minister accused the US of spreading "conspiracies and lies" about the pandemic.
The US has been infected by a "political virus" that compels some politicians to repeatedly attack China, Wang Yi told reporters on Sunday.
He urged the US to "stop wasting time and stop wasting precious lives" in its response to the Covid-19 outbreak.
US President Donald Trump has repeatedly accused China of trying to cover up the outbreak, and of failing to warn the world in time.

Chile's healthcare 'very close to the limit'

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Covid-19 patients have been moved from the capital to relieve strain on intensive care units there

The coronavirus pandemic has pushed Chile's healthcare system "very close to the limit", according to President Sebastián Piñera.
"We are very conscious of the fact that the health system is under a lot of pressure," he said on Sunday.
Almost 70,000 cases of the virus have been recorded in Chile and more than 700 people have died.
The capital Santiago, which is under a strict lockdown, is at the centre of the country's outbreak.

  • Read our full story here

Fighting coronavirus with the cross

With the cross in one hand, and alcohol spray in the other, a group of Catholic priests in Manila have been risking their health to serve their poverty-stricken community.
The Philippines' capital has been under police and army-enforced lockdown for months - but hundreds of new cases are recorded daily and testing for the virus remains limited.

Zero local transmissions in China

China reported 11 new confirmed virus cases in the mainland by the end of Sunday - that's up from three a day earlier.
The National Health Commission said all of the new infections were imported cases.
There also were 40 new asymptomatic cases - China counts patients who are infected but do not show symptoms separately.
According to the tally kept by the Johns Hopkins University, China's overall number now stands at 84,095 with 79,342 of those already recovered.
The death toll remains unchanged at 4,638.

Creative solutions to social distancing

With lockdown easing in certain countries - restaurants, parks and places of worship are using creative solutions to ensure social distancing.
We've put together a little picture gallery in a separate story , but here's a little glimpse.
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People sit in circles designed to encourage social distancing as they relax in Domino Park along the East River in Brooklyn, New York City, USA
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People have lunch at the Penguin Eat Shabu restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand. The plastic barriers ensure social distancing between diners
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Worshippers take part in Friday prayers, while keeping a safe distance from each other, at the Mohammed Al-Amin Mosque in Beirut, Lebanon

School's back in Australia's biggest state

Much excitement in Sydney school yards this morning, as children walked back in. Finally - a chance to see their friends in real life!
New South Wales, Australia's most populous state, has ordered all children back to school, in one of the biggest signs of normal life resuming. But in other states such as Victoria and Queensland, students are still being phased back in (i.e. attendance on specific days).
In NSW, some parents are apprehensive about risks - while others are relieved to be free of home-schooling duties.
Education officials say they won't be able to maintain social distancing in classrooms - 1.5m (4.9ft) has been the standard in Australia.
But there are new rules in place: no lunch swaps, no use of communal water fountains, no assemblies or excursions, and no extra-curriculars like orchestra or swim team.
Parents have also been urged to drive or walk their children to school if they can. to minimise the use of public transport. Usually around 110,000 students catch a bus or train to school in Sydney every day.

Ugly truths raise their heads in Bolsonaro's Brazil

Katy Watson - BBC South America correspondent
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Bolsonaro waving to a crowd of supporters on Sunday

The rising death toll and infections in Brazil are worrying many Brazilians - but President Jair Bolsonaro shows no signs of treating it seriously.
On Sunday, he was out once again, mingling with hundreds of supporters in Brasilia - and once again he was not wearing a mask.
Bolsonaro seems more caught up in fighting political battles - he's facing accusations of political interference to protect his family - than looking at how to rein in the country's spiralling health crisis.
The past few days have revealed some ugly truths. Not only has Brazil become one of the epicentres of the virus crisis, but it's clear the president and his team are unable - or even willing - to lead the country out of it.
And now President Donald Trump is barring foreign nationals who have been to Brazil from entering the US, amid fears they could bring more cases of the virus.
This decision, from a man whom Bolsonaro has always openly admired, will sting.
But the question is, will it do anything to change the Brazilian leader's approach?

US deaths approach 100,000 mark

The United States' death toll has risen by 638 over the past 24 hours, according to data from the Johns Hopkins University , to a total of almost 98,000.
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump warned that as many as 100,000 people could die - but suggested it would not be much more.
“We’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people. That’s a horrible thing,” he said on 4 May.
In March, he said keeping deaths below 100,000 would be a "very good job".
In a tweet on Sunday, Trump expressed optimism the numbers would continue to go down.
States across the US have already begun to ease their various levels of lockdown.
tweet :Left Quotes: Donald J. Trump:
Cases, numbers and deaths are going down all over the Country!
15:31 - 24 May 2020

Say 'agh!': Journalists tested at China's congress

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The annual National People's Congress, which began last week in Beijing, is China's biggest political event.
It was delayed this year because of the outbreak, and journalists covering the event - such as this one photographed this morning - must be tested for Covid-19 before getting access.
Read more about this year's NPC here.

Mexican president warns of 1m job losses

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said up to a million jobs could be lost in the country, as many non-essential businesses remain closed.
"My prediction is that with coronavirus, a million jobs will be lost, but we will create two million new jobs," he said.
Mexico has more than 68,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, according to Johns Hopkins University, while 7,394 people have died.

South Korea sends masks to Koreans adopted overseas

This Monday, South Korea will begin sending face masks to Koreans adopted overseas.
The country's foreign ministry on Sunday said that some 370,000 masks would be sent, 60% of which will go to the United States.
Of the 167,000 Koreans adopted overseas, around two-thirds live in the US while other countries include France, Denmark, Sweden and Australia.
South Korea was one of the first virus hotspots after China, but has managed to bring down infections by extensive testing and social distancing.

India resumes domestic flights as cases rise

After two months, India will resume domestic flights on Monday as the lockdown rules ease - even as cases continue to surge ahead.
The "new normal" also means new rules for flyers - passengers will have to download a government contact-tracing app and will also be subject to thermal screening.
Some states like Assam and Uttar Pradesh have said that passengers will need to be quarantined on arrival.
Others, like Punjab and Karnataka, have announced varying degrees of quarantine, such as a mix between institutional and at-home quarantine. Delhi has said it will not quarantine asymptomatic travellers.
Among those to take the first flights on Monday were paramilitary personnel, students and migrant workers, reported PTI news agency.
The move is expected to bring relief to the country's aviation sector, which has been struggling to stay afloat.
But there is concern over rising cases - with more than 6,000 cases reported on Sunday, India has had nearly 130,000 infections, and 3,867 deaths.

Restrictions to ease in Barcelona and Madrid

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Spain will begin lifting lockdown measures in Madrid and Barcelona from Monday.
Under the new rules, people will be able to meet in groups of up to 10, parks will reopen and some museums will allow limited numbers of visitors. People must continue to wear face masks in public and in buildings where distancing is impossible.
Other parts of the country which were less badly affected by the outbreak have already eased restrictions.
Spain's lockdown was one of the strictest in the world. The country has the fourth highest death toll, with more than 28,700 fatalities.

Australia bushfire inquiry begins under virus shadow

Can you believe that Australia's devastating bushfires were only a few months ago?
The nation's royal commission inquiry into the "Black Summer" has kicked off today, with climate and weather experts the first to testify.
As we've reported, fire-hit areas are still struggling to recover and the commission said the ongoing effects of the fires were "being further compounded" by the virus.
Experts have already predicted the natural disaster will be marked as Australia's most damaging on record.
At least 34 people died, 2,800 homes were destroyed and 18.6 million hectares of land (the size of England and Scotland) were burnt.

Free beer in the Czech Republic

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Over the past few weeks, many of us likely missed getting a decent pint in the pub down the road.
But if you're in the Czech Republic, today's the day!
Bars and restaurants will be able to reopen their indoor premises this Monday.
It gets better though: the largest brewery in the country is using the day for a big PR stunt.
Every customer who orders a beer in any pub serving Pilsner Urquell on tap will receive a second one for free, Czech media are reporting.
Yep, the mere thought of it makes us just as thirsty as you right now...

New Zealand to allow gatherings of 100

From noon on Friday, New Zealanders will be able to attend gatherings of up to 100 people, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.
The decision means that religious services will be able to resume and limits on attendees at funerals will no longer apply.
Hospitality venues will still be required to follow social distancing measures, however.
In April, the prime minister said coronavirus was "currently" eliminated in New Zealand and the country began lifting its restrictions.

Death and despair as Covid migrants flee cities

India’s strict lockdown meant most factories and businesses shut down, rendering millions jobless.
With no prospect of income, many of those people took long journeys back to their villages. Some managed to get transport, but those who couldn’t, walked hundreds of miles.
Some of them never made it home. Watch our full report here.

Bollywood actor hailed for helping stranded migrants

Geeta Pandey - BBC News, Delhi
Bollywood actor Sonu Sood, who made his career by playing a villain, is being hailed as a real-life hero in India.
Sood has been helping thousands of migrant workers, stranded by the Covid-19 lockdown in Mumbai, return home.
"It gave me sleepless nights when I saw visuals of people walking hundreds of kilometres to reach their villages," the actor told the BBC.
"Today we are distributing food and groceries every day to 45,000 people in slums, those stranded on the roads and those walking on the highways," he added.
And since 11 May, he has arranged hundreds of buses to take stranded migrants home.

Australia curve nearly flat for five weeks

Australia - one of the world leaders in containing the virus - says its flat virus curve has been successfully sustained.
The growth rate of new cases has now been under 0.5% for five consecutive weeks.
"That's an extraordinary national achievement and I want to say to Australians, thank you," Health Minister Greg Hunt said.
Only six new cases were reported today - adding to the total of around 7,000. Some 101 people have died.
The nation has re-opened restaurants and schools and aims to have most lockdown measures removed by July.

UK lockdown easing overshadowed by aide row

Plans in the UK to ease the lockdown are being overshadowed by claims that an aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson broke the lockdown rules .
In March, Dominic Cummings drove 260 miles from London so his parents could help with childcare - Cummings' wife and later Cummings himself both had to self-isolate with virus symptoms.
He also later drove around 30 miles from his temporary home in County Durham, apparently after his 14-day self-isolation.
Boris Johnson has defended his top aide, insisting he acted "responsibly, legally and with integrity".
The prime minister is this week expected to set out details of plans to lift restrictions. At a news conference on Sunday, he already confirmed the phased reopening of England's primary schools will begin on 1 June .

'Johnson failed to close down Cummings story'

Laura Kuenssberg - Political editor
If Boris Johnson's decision to appear at Sunday's press conference was an attempt to close down the story about Dominic Cummings' behaviour during the lockdown by handling it himself, it failed completely.
It certainly was not an attempt to give the public the full information.
Instead the prime minister refused to answer the questions that remain about the specifics of his adviser's visit - or visits - to the north-east of England, while his team was telling the public again and again and again that they had to "stay at home".

Fiji Airways lays off 51% of staff

Fiji Airways laid off more than half its workforce on Monday, some 758 people, as travel restrictions cut the airline's revenue to "virtually zero".
The remaining staff will have their salaries cut by 20% starting in June, and the airline will extend flight cuts to August.
Fiji Airways depends heavily on tourism, particularly from neighbouring Australia and New Zealand, but has seen virtually all flights suspended.
"The sad reality of prolonged flight suspensions means that we simply do not have work for a large segment of our workforce now, and for the foreseeable future," airline boss Andre Viljoen said.
The country has only 18 cases of Covid-19, no deaths and no new cases reported in over a month.

Huddersfield owner: '50 or 60' clubs could go bust

The English football pyramid will be destroyed - unless the game starts to plan for the financial impact of Covid-19 beyond the 2019-20 season, says Phil Hodgkinson, the owner of Championship club Huddersfield.
Hodgkinson thinks as many as "50 or 60" clubs could go out of business. He is also looking at a "worst-case scenario" of no fans allowed in stadiums for the 2020-21 season.
"The problem is not whether we finish [this] season or not, it is what happens after that," he told BBC Sport.
"If we don't come to an agreement there will be no football pyramid. There are clubs I know of that are only still trading because they are deferring wages and [tax] and other creditors. They will need paying at some point."

Germany has 289 new cases and 10 new deaths

Germany has reported another 289 new infections and ten deaths. The figures on Monday are usually somewhat lower due to delayed reporting over the weekend.
But since the gradual lifting of Germany's lockdown, there has been no uptick in infections or deaths. Although, parallel to the easing of some restrictions, other measures like mandatory face masks have come in.
Of all of Germany's cases, 52% were female and 48% were male. Only 2% were children under 10. Germany's widespread testing means that many with very mild or no symptoms are included in the data.
If broken down by cases per 100,000 people in each age group (see below), people above 80 are by far the ones most at risk of infection, data from Germany's Robert Koch Institute shows

The baby left stranded by coronavirus

Soutik Biswas - India Correspondent
The first-time parents were driving through India's winding, empty highways to see their newborn child.
It was the middle of April, and the country was in the throes of the world's harshest lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
At checkpoints, policemen halted the couple, examined their papers and asked why they were on the road.
"We are going to see our first-born infant," they replied.

What's the latest sports news?

  • The UK government has published new guidelines for elite athletes returning to contact training - when individual sports deem it safe to do so. Contact training is phase two in a three-stage plan, with the final phase - the resumption of sport behind closed doors - expected to begin in June.
  • Football's Premier League, whose clubs returned to 'phase one' non-contact training on 19 May, will discuss the guidance at a meeting on Wednesday.
  • Tiger Woods and Peyton Manning beat Phil Mickelson and Tom Brady in a charity golf match which raised $20m (£16.4m) for relief efforts in the US. The event was played between four of America's biggest sports stars at a rainy Medalist Golf Club in Florida - Woods' home course.

Cummings lockdown row: 'this is a health crisis not a political crisis'

Professor of Health Psychology at University College London, Robert West, says the "principle of equity" is important when responding to allegations that Dominic Cummings, the UK prime minister's most senior adviser, breached lockdown rules.
Speaking to the BBC's Radio 4's Today programme, Prof West said: "This is a political crisis for the government, but for the country it is a health crisis."
He suggested that in defending his top aide, the prime minister seemed to be "blurring the boundaries".
He said: "Another very important principle with this kind of behaviour change is that the rules have to have clear boundaries, and it has to be very clear what's in and what's out because as soon as it starts to get leaky, then people start to say 'well then, okay I’m sure I must be in this exceptional case'".
He acknowledged that in such a "complex" situation like this, obviously some exceptions applies - for example, allowing people in abusive relationships who may need to seek refuge to leave their home.
However, he says that "many many others" found themselves in a similar situation to Dominic Cummings' during lockdown "and felt that they had to do something different, they had to obey the rules".

What's the latest from South Asia?

  • Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan urged citizens to follow social distancing guidelines as the country marked Eid on Sunday. Eid congregations were held in open places and mosques across major cities and towns - while maintaining guidelines, local media reported. Pakistan has more than 54,000 infections and 1,167 deaths
  • Bangladesh reported its biggest spike in daily deaths as 28 people with Covid-19 died on Sunday, taking the total toll to 480
  • In Sri Lanka, restrictions will be eased starting Tuesday, including the curfew being lifted during the day
  • And Nepal saw a jump in cases on Sunday, as 19 new infections took the total tally to more than 600

Cummings lockdown row: Key dates

    On Sunday, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson offered his full support to his most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, after he was accused of breaking lockdown rules.Cummings and his wife travelled to County Durham from London to self-isolate with coronavirus symptoms.Johnson said Cummings had "no alternative" but to make the journey, as he and his ill wife needed childcare help.Here is what we know so far about the timeline:.

    • 23 March: Johnson tells the UK public they "must stay at home". People [url= was just announced%3f%262020-03-23t20%3a37%3a51.944z&ns_fee=0&pinned_post_locator=urn:asset:8ed89e83-a25c-402a-898c-9826a92b06f5&pinned_post_asset_id=5e791d5e30e3eb065b48e2aa&pinned_post_type=share]are warned[/url] not to meet friends or family members they do not live with
    • 27 March: Cummings is seen leaving No 10 Downing Street

  • 30 March: Downing Street says Cummings is self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms
  • 31 March: Police in Durham are "made aware of reports that an individual had travelled from London to Durham and was present at an address in the city". Officers "made contact with the owners of that address". It is understood Cummings travelled there between 27 and 31 March
  • 12 April: Cummings visited Barnard Castle, 30 miles from his parents' home in Durham, according to The Observer and Mirror newspapers. On Sunday, Johnson said he was assured Cummings behaved responsibly and legally either side of his 14-day self-isolation
  • 14 April: Cummings photographed at Downing Street for the first time since 27 March

Greece reopens islands to visitors

A domestic ban on travelling to Greek islands was lifted on Monday, as the country seeks to reboot its struggling tourist industry after weeks of coronavirus lockdown.
Ferries have resumed to islands that have been off limits since the Greek government imposed restrictions to contain the spread of Covid-19 in March.
Greece has been praised for its handling of the pandemic, recording 171 coronavirus-related deaths and 2,878 confirmed cases.
Last week, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said the country would open up to international tourism from 15 June , earlier than originally planned.
He said most flights to Greece would resume by 1 July, when seasonal hotels will reopen and a two-week quarantine for foreigners will no longer be in force.
But tourists from countries with high infection rates won’t initially be allowed to visit.
Greece's tourism industry is vital to the country's economy, accounting for about a quarter of the country’s GDP.

'Targeted testing a must' - deputy chief of NHS providers

Saffron Cordary, CEO of NHS providers, says it is "imperative" that the NHS gets back up and running again for routine operations, as the health service continues to face a backlog due to Covid-19.
But, speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, she said it will be very different to the service people are used to as securing sufficient levels of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) is still a challenge.
"We need that sustainable supply in place, and really effective testing of NHS staff and patients," she said.
"We also need all of that support around the NHS, like adequate social care so we can make sure that we can look after people once they have had that treatment."
Ms Cordary went on to stress that it is "not just about the numbers," but about "having targeted testing.
"We need to make sure we have the test and trace in place so that we can contain local outbreaks and that's really important.
"We also need rapid turnaround testing for staff and patients and that could mean anything like 140,000 tests happening each day just to manage the NHS demand for testing," she added.
She said without this, the NHS cannot ensure staff safety.

Cummings controversy: NHS doctor 'wouldn't have dreamed' of travelling with child

NHS doctor Claire Redmond told BBC's Radio 4's Today programme that when her husband - a fellow NHS worker - developed symptoms, they immediately went into self-isolation with their three children.
Dr Redmond said her husband tested positive in April and was eventually hospitalised.
"I suppose the concern is that we went to great lengths to [self-isolate]... and I don’t think I would have dreamed of travelling the length of the country in order to try and sort out some child care."
She said when she started to develop symptoms she contacted her sister who lives "a good couple of hours away" and they both decided that should Dr Redmond become incapacitated, her sister would come and collect the children.
However, she said she still didn't feel comfortable with this option.
"I didn’t want that to happen at all because I didn't want to risk passing on this virus to anybody else," said Dr Redmond.
"I haven’t felt reassured that the MPs and Boris Johnson have really explained that they understand - or that Dominic Cummings actually did consider all possible alternatives before they travelled."

Japan to end state of emergency

The Japanese government is expected to lift its nationwide state of emergency on Monday, ending restrictions on the economy as coronavirus cases taper off.
The government’s advisory panel has approved the plan, paving the way for measures to be eased in the capital, Tokyo, and other areas still under the order.
“There is no longer a need for a state of emergency in any part of the country,” Japan’s economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce the decision at a news conference on Monday at 18:00 local time (09:00 GMT).
Unlike other major economies, Japan has endured a relatively limited outbreak of Covid-19, recording 820 coronavirus-related deaths and 16,550 infections as of Monday.
Initially, Japan was criticised for its handling of the pandemic, prompting the prime minister to declare a state of emergency in metropolitan areas on 7 April, later expanding it nationwide.
But, given Japan's leaders have no legal power to enforce a lockdown, the country’s success in controlling the spread of the virus since then has puzzled disease experts.
It is not yet clear why the nation with the world's oldest population has managed to keep virus cases low in comparison to other countries.

Posts : 7130
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 25th May Empty Re: Coronavirus - 25th May

Post by Kitkat on Mon May 25 2020, 12:41

How lockdown created a 'Zoom boom' generation

Zoe Kleinman -BBC News, Technology reporter
I first realised just how quickly attitudes towards technology were changing when my mum told me, two days after lockdown began, that she had downloaded Skype.
She's not exactly an early adopter - in fact, she has resolutely refused to video call anybody, ever, until now.
Lockdown has removed the luxury of choice for many of us. If you want to see your relatives, it has to be on screen.
As we get over the social awkwardness of the "Zoom boom" - when to mute that mic, when to stop talking - we're realising that, for the most part, video chat works.
Whether it's family reunions, pub quizzes, office meetings or even pet appointments with the vet, we can get together quickly without being in the same room - and there's a good chance that is going to stick.

Spain's La Liga could resume on 11 June

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Four Sevilla players have apologised after being pictured at a party at the weekend

A behind closed doors game between Real Betis and Sevilla could restart the Spanish football season on 11 June.
La Liga chief Javier Tebas told Spanish TV he hoped the Seville derby can be "a tribute to all the people who have died".
Tebas has also warned footballers to "be careful with their actions" after four Sevilla players apologised for breaking rules on social gathering.
Ever Banega, Lucas Ocampos, Franco Vazquez and Luuk de Jong were pictured among 12 people at a party at the weekend. Spain has eased its strict lockdown rules, but gatherings of more than 10 people are still not allowed.
"Players are an example to society," Tebas said. "I call on all footballers to not act like this. We have to be very careful because a lot of people's jobs are at stake."

Cummings issue 'sends bad message' - Conservative MP

Conservative MP Tim Loughton said he had expected the prime minister to announce on Sunday that his chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, would be stepping down, after reports he breached lockdown measures.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Loughton said he thought Boris Johnson would offer a "proper justification" about why Mr Cummings' actions did not violate government advice.
"I didn’t get that and what's more worrying is that my constituents didn't get that," he said.
"This sends out a very bad message. It looks like one rule for them and one rule for us and I think that is deeply worrying."
Anything that distracted from the central message on coronavirus had to be dealt with, he said.

PM made 'absolutely clear' Cummings took one trip - minister

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Education Secretary Gavin Williamson defended Dominic Cummings

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson says the prime minister made "absolutely clear" that his senior aide only took one trip to Durham, despite reports that he made another trip there after returning to London in April.
Speaking on BBC's Radio 4's Today programme, Mr Williamson said Dominic Cummings has at "every stage operated within the rules" whilst abiding by the law.
He added that he didn't have "any more details than that", before changing the direction of the conversation to focus on schools.
Mr Williamson said the government had been monitoring a number of nations across the world where they have seen a "very gradual return".
Coronavirus though, he said, was "something that we are going to be dealing with not just over the next few months, but potentially for a very long period of time and we can’t be in a situation where the people who have suffered so much, in terms of young children, are going to be missing out on education".
On Sunday, Boris Johnson confirmed that schools will reopen on 1 June for early years pupils, Reception, Year 1 and Year 6.

Germany confirms recession for first quarter

Germany's economy has been pushed into a recession in the first quarter.
The 2.2% contraction is the steepest since the financial crisis of 2008 and the second-steepest since the country's reunification in 1990.
The official statistics released on Monday confirm preliminary data from earlier this month and show a slump in exports, private consumption and capital investments.
Experts actually expect a much bigger drop in the second quarter (April to June) as most of the lockdown measures were only introduced in mid-March.
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Drivers 'to walk more' to keep lockdown clean air

Justin Rowlatt -Chief environment correspondent
British drivers are ready to change their behaviour to maintain the cleaner air of the lockdown and protect the environment, a survey suggests.
Of the 20,000 motorists polled for the AA, half said they would walk more and 40% intended to drive less.
Four in five would take some action to reduce their impact on air quality.
It comes after researchers warned the dramatic improvements in air quality in recent weeks could be quickly reversed as the coronavirus restrictions ease.
As well as walking more and driving less, a quarter of motorists said they planned to work from home more, another quarter said they would be flying less, while one in five plan to cycle more.
"We have all enjoyed the benefits of cleaner air during lockdown and it is gratifying that the vast majority of drivers want to do their bit to maintain the cleaner air," said AA president Edmund King.

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Many British towns and cities are making more road space available for pedestrians and cyclists

Japan’s PM lifts state of emergency

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has lifted the country’s nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect.
"We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this criteria," Abe said in a TV address to the nation on Monday.
The prime minister said the country had managed to control the spread of Covid-19 since issuing the order in some areas on 7 April, then later extending it nationwide.
Japan has been easing restrictions since mid-May, but kept several areas, Tokyo included, under watch to ensure the outbreak had been contained.
Japan has recorded a relatively low number of cases and deaths in comparison to other major economies. As of Monday, Japan had recorded 820 coronavirus-related deaths and 16,550 infections.

Two Indian women go into labour on migrant trains

Two women in India went into labour while returning to their homes on two separate trains organised for migrant workers on Sunday.
Both trains were headed to Odisha state. In one case, the woman reported labour pains, prompting officials to halt the train at the closest station, where she gave birth with the help of the railway's medical officer.
Both mother and baby are in a stable condition , officials told Indian media.
In the second case, officials stopped the train and a police vehicle rushed to the spot. The woman gave birth in the vehicle itself, Odisha's director general of police tweeted.

Gyms, pubs and pools: How Europe is lifting lockdown

Coronavirus - 25th May F78f7210
Bars, cafes and restaurants can now serve customers inside in the Czech Republic

A number of European countries are further lifting their restrictions on Monday:

  • Gyms and swimming pools reopen in Italy, except in the hardest-hit region of Lombardy. The country has the third-highest recorded death toll from the virus worldwide.
  • Spain’s two biggest cities, Madrid and Barcelona, both move into phase one of the country’s 3-phase lockdown lifting plan. People can now gather in small groups, while bars and restaurants can serve customers outside. Other parts of the country move to phase two – meaning beaches, businesses and public areas can open more extensively.
  • Ferry services in Greece resume to all islands and ports, as the government hopes to boost domestic tourism. Cafes and restaurants are also reopening in the country from Monday.
  • Bars reopen in the Czech Republic – the country with the highest per capita beer consumption in the world – as the country enters its final lockdown easing stage. As well as restaurants, cafes and pubs, the doors are also reopening at primary schools, zoos and castles.

  • And Ukraine’s capital Kyiv has resumed regular service on its metro. According to Johns Hopkins University, the country has confirmed more than 21,000 cases and recorded 623 deaths.

'She saved me' - daughter's epic cycle ride for father

Injured, jobless and unable to get home, Mohan Paswan feared he might starve after India announced its nationwide lockdown in March.
The auto-rickshaw driver had been recovering from an accident in Gurugram, a suburb of New Delhi but, with no income, he soon ran out of money to buy food and medicines.
But his 15-year-old daughter Jyoti Kumari had a plan - and the determination to pull it off.
With her disabled father on the back of her bike, Jyoti cycled 1,200km (745 miles) in just over a week to their village in eastern India.
Before the journey, which has earned Jyoti international praise, Mohan was sceptical the eighth-grade student would be able to manage the trip.
“But she convinced me. I’m so proud of her. She saved me. We would have died of hunger in Gurugram,” Mohan said.
Jyoti and Mohan are just two of thousands of Indians who have been trying to get home since lockdown restrictions were imposed, leaving many migrant workers stranded, unemployed and penniless.
Read more: The Indian migrants dying to get home

'I shared my Covid-19 status to prevent stigma'

Coronavirus - 25th May 6a5b5310

Zambia's Information Minister Dora Siliya says she publicly shared her Covid-19 test results to fight stigma associated with the respiratory illness caused by coronavirus.
She told BBC's Newsday programme that she was afraid the stigma would impede the fight against the virus like it did for HIV in Zambia.
Ms Siliya said she felt that if her test results had leaked it would undermine the fight against stigma.
I felt if I did not share my status in terms of the Covid, people will be treating this the same way they do with HIV."
The minister said some Zambians still don't believe Covid-19 is real.
She said behaviorial change has only been seen among the elite in the city, but those in rural areas still think coronavirus affects those who travel abroad.
There are people who still think it is a disease for those other people."

Prince of Wales: Return of the arts 'absolutely crucial'

The Prince of Wales has raised concerns about how orchestras and theatres will survive the coronavirus crisis.
Many theatres and concert halls are struggling after closing their doors during lockdown, with no clear indication of when shows might resume.
In an interview with Classic FM, Prince Charles said it was important to "find a way of keeping these orchestras and other arts bodies going".
"It's absolutely crucial that they can come back twice as enthusiastic as before," he said.
Read the full story here

Iran reopens major Shia Muslim shrines

Iran has reopened its major Shia Muslim shrines - including those of Imam Reza in Mashhad and Hazrat Masumeh in Qom - two months after they were closed to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Worshippers and pilgrims will be allowed to access courtyards, but not porticoes and other covered areas. They will also be required comply with guidelines on hygiene and social distancing. The shrines will open one hour after dawn and close one hour before sunset, rather than stay open around the clock.
At the Shah Abdol Azim shrine in Tehran on Monday morning, visitors had to wear a mask, walk through a disinfection tunnel, and have their temperature checked, according to AFP news agency.
Coronavirus - 25th May 6816ca10
People had their temperature checked at Tehran's Shah Abdol Azim shrine on Monday

Health experts expressed alarm when the authorities did not close the shrines immediately after Qom emerged as the epicentre of Iran’s Covid-19 outbreak in mid-February.
The government has reported more than 135,000 cases of the disease and 7,400 deaths, although the actual figures are believed to be far higher.

How we’ve created new language for the virus

From ‘covidiots’ to ‘quarantine and chill’, the pandemic has led to many terms that help people laugh and commiserate.
While Brexit may be the closest parallel, the speed of the linguistic change we’re seeing with Covid-19 is unprecedented
Many of the newly popular terms relate to the socially distanced nature of human contact these days, such as ‘virtual happy hour’ and ‘covideo party’.
‘Corona’ has become a prefix, whether it's Polish speakers converting ‘coronavirus’ into a verb or English speakers wondering how ‘coronababies’ (the children born or conceived during the pandemic) will fare.
And, of course, there are abbreviations, like the ubiquitous ‘WFH’ and the life-saving ‘PPE’.

India flights resume amid queues and chaos

Long queues and chaos greeted passengers at Indian airports as the country partially restarted domestic air travel after two months of coronavirus lockdown.
But dozens of flights were cancelled, leaving thousands of passengers stranded.
India has stepped up preventive measures ahead of resuming domestic flights.
At airports, passengers have their body temperatures scanned and security officials are checking that travellers have downloaded a compulsory government-backed tracing app.
Other measures include the disinfecting of shoes and luggage.
Read the full story
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Shadow health secretary shares 'furious' emails on Cummings

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said his inbox was full of emails "from constituents furious about Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson's blase endorsement of his action".
"The hypocrisy stinks and people know it."
He then went on to share concerns raised by an intensive care doctor, before retweeting a letter which the prime minister sent to UK households, asking residents to stay at home.

  tweet :Left Quotes:Jonathan Ashworth:
1. Like other MPs commenting my inbox is chockablock with emails from constituents furious about Dominic Cummings and Boris Johnson’s blasé endorsement of his action. The hypocrisy stinks and people know it.

Durham police to probe 'additional Cummings information'

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been criticised for taking no action over his special adviser Dominic Cummings driving 260 miles to his parents' estate in County Durham at the height of restrictions in March.
Durham police have now released a statement saying they intend to investigate other allegations. The Observer and Sunday Mirror said Cummings did not stay indoors while in Durham and made another trip there after returning to London in April.
Steve White, acting crime and victims’ commissioner for Durham police, said he was confident it had so far "responded proportionately and appropriately" but added: "It is clear, however, that there is a plethora of additional information circulating in the public domain which deserves appropriate examination.
"I have today written to the Chief Constable, asking her to establish the facts concerning any potential breach of the law or regulations... It is vital that the Force can show it has the interests of the people of County Durham and Darlington at its heart, so that the model of policing by consent, independent of government but answerable to the law, is maintained."
He said the issue had "become a major issue of public interest and trust".

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Dominic Cummings to give statement

The BBC understands that the Prime Minister’s chief adviser, under fire over the lockdown rules, is expected to make a public statement and take questions later this afternoon.
It comes as he faces calls to resign. 
tweet :Left Quotes:  Laura Kuenssberg:
Dominic Cummings is expected to give a public statement and take questions later himself, as calls for him to quit and explain himself mount

Sturgeon urges PM to change Cummings stance

Speaking at a press conference, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped Boris Johnson would reflect on his decision to back Dominic Cummings and "come to a different conclusion".

Dominic Cummings to make public announcement

The PM's chief adviser Dominic Cummings is to make a public statement and take questions over allegations he broke coronavirus lockdown rules.
Mr Cummings is facing calls from Labour and some Tory MPs to quit or be fired.
He travelled 260 miles with his family to be near relatives when his wife developed Covid-19 symptoms.
Boris Johnson insists his aide acted legally and within guidelines - but critics say the government's lockdown message has been undermined.
The prime minister made a statement on Sunday in an attempt to draw a line under the row - but Conservative MPs have continued to call for Mr Cummings' dismissal.
Mr Cummings has been under fire since the Guardian and Daily Mirror reported that he had been seen in County Durham, at his family's farm during lockdown.
Read the full story here

Second suspected mink-to-human infection reported

A second suspected case of a mink transmitting the coronavirus to a human has been detected in the Netherlands, the country’s agriculture ministry has said.
The infection is believed to have happened at a mink-breeding farm where there had been a virus outbreak among the animals, it said.
“All possible measures are under consideration,” agriculture minister Carola Schouten wrote in a letter to parliament .
The minister said there was a “negligible” risk of animal-to-human transmission of the virus outside the mink farms.
Last week, the ministry said a farm worker was infected with a coronavirus strain that was genetically similar to one circulating among mink. Since then, vets have expressed concern and fear many of the animals may need to be culled.
Mink, semi-aquatic, carnivorous mammals, are raised for their fur.
The first cases of the coronavirus were linked to a market where wild animals were sold in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Most disease experts agree the virus was transmitted to humans by an animal, possibly a bat.

'Japan model' achieved good results, says PM

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe referred to his government's handling of the outbreak as a "Japan model" that achieved good results, before acknowledging some problems and delays.
It comes as the country lifted its nationwide state of emergency, ending restrictions in the remaining areas where the order was still in effect.
At a press conference, Mr Abe said: "We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this."
Japan has been easing restrictions since mid-May, but kept some areas, such as Tokyo, included, and kept them under watch to ensure the outbreak had been contained.

Lufthansa 'agrees bail-out deal'

Germany’s flagship airline Lufthansa has agreed to a multi-billion-euro aid deal with the country’s government, as the company seeks to shore up its finances amid the coronavirus pandemic, reports say.
The agreement is expected to be approved on Monday by the government at a meeting of a committee tasked with managing the economic fallout of the pandemic.
Lufthansa's supervisory board is also due to meet to discuss the rescue package, believed to be worth around nine billion euros ($9.8bn; £8bn), AFP news agency reports.
Once approved, the deal will need to be signed off by the airline’s shareholders and the competition regulator, the European Commission.
Many of the world’s major airlines are experiencing financial woes during the pandemic, as travel restrictions place substantial curbs on travel.
Read more: How will airlines get flying again?

Two-month lockdown in West Bank to end

The Palestinian government has announced it is ending a two-month lockdown to combat coronavirus in the occupied West Bank.
Palestinian PM Mohammed Shtayyeh said shops and businesses would be able to open as normal from Tuesday, while government employees would return to work on Wednesday after the Eid holiday.
Cafes and restaurants will also be reopened in the coming days, but with restrictions in place.
Mr Shtayyeh stressed the reopening would be done with caution. Three deaths and more than 400 cases of coronavirus have been recorded in the West Bank.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon May 25 2020, 16:25

Trump threatens to move Republican convention

US President Donald Trump has threatened to move the 2020 Republican convention from North Carolina due to coronavirus restrictions there.
North Carolina is still in phase two of its reopening - large gatherings there are still not allowed. Mr Trump said that Governor Roy Cooper could not guarantee that full attendance would be allowed at the venue in August.

Cummings case may have damaged lockdown message, say Durham police

The World at One - BBC Radio 4
The ability of police to deliver the lockdown message may have been "damaged" by the Dominic Cummings case, says the acting crime and victims’ commissioner for Durham police.
The PM's chief adviser travelled 260 miles with his family to be near relatives when his wife developed Covid-19 symptoms.
Speaking on Radio 4's World at One, Steve White said: "I think if you lose the trust of people then, yes, it will be damaged. Policing works on trust."
Durham police have released a statement saying they intend to investigate other allegations. The Observer and Sunday Mirror said Mr Cummings did not stay indoors while in Durham and made another trip there after returning to London in April.
Mr White said he expected police to speak to Mr Cummings.
"I was a police officer for over 30 years so I know the resources that are available, I know the approach that would normally be taken in these circumstances which are a little bit extraordinary. Yes, of course, it's going to involve talking to people."

Spain to lift tourist quarantine from 1 July

Spain, the world's second most visited country, has announced it will lift its two-week quarantine rule on arriving overseas visitors from 1 July.
Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya said the "worst was behind us".
"In July we will gradually open Spain to international tourists, lift the quarantine, ensure the highest standards of health safety," she tweeted.
Earlier, Tourism Minister Reyes Maroto called on tourists to start booking holidays for July.
Earlier this month, EU officials promised that summer is not cancelled in Europe.

Decision on Scotland's lockdown 'due Thursday'

Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said that a decision about whether some lockdown restrictions are to be eased will be made on Thursday.
This would see Scotland moving into phase one of a four-phase path out of lockdown.
Ms Sturgeon said any changes announced - which would initially be to allow outdoor activities - would start on Friday.
She also said a plan outlining how public transport could operate safely would be published tomorrow. But she emphasised that, for now, the message is to stay at home as much as possible.

Cummings statement at 16:00 BST

The UK prime minister's chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, is set to give a statement and take questions from the press shortly amid a flurry of calls for him to resign.
He has faced criticism for driving 260 miles from London to County Durham to be closer to family during lockdown while his wife was showing symptoms of coronavirus.
Newspapers have also claimed he broke isolation to make a 30-mile trip while in the county, and that he returned to the area after coming back to London.
Boris Johnson has stood by his top aide, but critics from across the political spectrum - including his own party - say the government's lockdown message has been undermined and Mr Cummings should resign.
We will bring you all the updates from his statement on this page, and you can read more on the controversy her

What's happening today?

If you've just joined us, here's a quick roundup of the main stories from around the world today.

  • Dominic Cummings, adviser to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, is set to give a press conference and take questions from journalists. He is under pressure to resign after he travelled 260 miles during the lockdown
  • The death toll in the US is nearing 100,000. Here are some graphics from our team that show the outbreak in the US

US beaches swarmed as deaths near 100,000

At beaches across the United States, social distancing took a back seat to Memorial Day celebrations this past weekend, which marks the unofficial start of summer.
Despite climbing infections and virus deaths - 1.6 million and 97,722, respectively - some Americans opted for crowded gatherings at the country's beaches and boardwalks.

Sturgeon says Cummings should ‘admit mistake’

Boris Johnson’s most senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, should “admit he made a mistake and apologise for that”, Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.
She said there were "lots of questions about his account” of events to be answered when he gives a public statement this afternoon .
“Perhaps he should concede that he made a mistake, that he didn’t follow the rules and, instead of trying to retrospectively rewrite those rules, [he should] admit that he made a mistake and apologise for that,” Ms Sturgeon said.
In April, Ms Sturgeon faced a similar scandal when it emerged Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, made two trips to her second home during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dr Calderwood resigned and apologised for her actions , after initially saying she planned to continue in the role.

Dominic Cummings: Timeline so far

Dominic Cummings, the prime minister's chief adviser, is set to make a public statement over allegations he broke coronavirus lockdown rules.
Here is a timeline of what has happened so far...

  • 23 March: Boris Johnson tells the UK public they "must stay at home", not meet friends or family members they do not live with, while those with symptoms have to self-isolate
  • 27 March: Mr Cummings is seen leaving No 10 Downing Street
  •  Transport Secretary Grant Shapps later tells the BBC that Cummings travelled to Durham on 27 or 28 March.
  • 30 March: No 10 says Mr Cummings is self-isolating at home with coronavirus symptoms
  • 31 March: Police in Durham are "made aware of reports that an individual travelled from London and was present at an address in the city". They say an officer spoke with Mr Cummings' father, and he confirmed his son had travelled with his family to the North East and was "self-isolating in part of the property".
  • 5 April: An unnamed neighbour tells the Daily Mirror and the Guardian that Mr Cummings was seen in his parents' garden. Downing Street says "no comment"
  • 12 April: Mr Cummings visits Barnard Castle, 30 miles from his parents' home in Durham, according to The Observer and Mirror
  • 14 April: Mr Cummings is photographed in Downing Street for the first time since 27 March
  • 19 April: He is seen in Durham by an unnamed witness, Observer and Mirror reports this month say. Downing Street says this is "false"

Read more on this story here.

The adviser becomes the centre of the story

Jonathan Blake - BBC political correspondent
It almost goes without saying that for a special adviser to a government minister to hold a press conference is highly unusual.
Their job is, broadly speaking, to provide advice to ministers on areas of policy and brief the media - keeping a low profile.
It would also, on first look, appear to be in contravention of the code of conduct for special advisers, which states they "must not take public part in political controversy”.
It’s a bit late for that though, as Dominic Cummings is now the centre of a highly controversial story himself.
Not for the first time, he is ignoring one of many unwritten rules in politics - that as soon as the adviser becomes the story, it’s time to go.

Moving letter on dying wife reflects anger over Cummings

A man who was unable to see his wife when she died with Covid-19 has expressed his anger over the handling of Dominic Cummings’s alleged lockdown breach in a letter to his MP.
John Wilson, from Buckinghamshire, said the lockdown prevented him from seeing his wife two weeks before her death on 29 March.
"On the day she died I could not be with her to hold her hand, I just sat by the telephone. I was not able to see her body," he wrote in the moving letter.
He addressed the letter, which has been shared widely on Twitter, to Greg Smith, Conservative MP for Buckingham.
In it, Mr Wilson asked what the MP’s view was on Dominic Cummings’s trip to the north of England, and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to back him.
In recent days, there has been a groundswell of calls from Labour and Tory MPs for Mr Cummings to quit to be fired.
On Monday, the Faculty of Public Health added to those calls , saying it supports an inquiry into “recent actions from government” that “appear to undermine essential public health messaging at this crucial time”.

The families who stayed apart

Just a few minutes to go now until we hear from the UK prime minister's chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, who is facing calls to resign - and not just from politicians.
There has been much anger from members of the public who did not travel to be closer to their families amid the crisis.
While we wait for the press conference to start, you can read some of their stories here .

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Post by Kitkat on Mon May 25 2020, 18:25

Dominic Cummings' Statement in full

The Telegraph
Dominic Cummings has sought to defend his decision to drive to County Durham despite the coronavirus lockdown restrictions, saying he believes he behaved "reasonably" and does not regret his actions.

In a highly unusual press conference in the rose garden of 10 Downing Street, the Prime Minister's chief adviser said he made the journey because of fears over a lack of childcare if he became incapacitated with Covid-19, but also concerns about his family's safety.

Mr Cummings said stories suggested he had opposed lockdown and "did not care about many deaths", but he told reporters: "The truth is that I had argued for lockdown.

"I did not oppose it, but these stories had created a very bad atmosphere around my home, I was subjected to threats of violence, people came to my house shouting threats, there were posts on social media encouraging attacks."

Mr Cummings said he was worried that "this situation would get worse", and "I was worried about the possibility of leaving my wife and child at home all day and often into the night while I worked in Number 10".

"I thought the best thing to do in all the circumstances was to drive to an isolated cottage on my father's farm," he added.

The defence of his actions comes amid furious calls for him to resign or be sacked by Mr Johnson for travelling to County Durham in March to self-isolate with his family after his wife developed coronavirus symptoms.

Mr Cummings denied further reports which suggested he took a second trip to the North East on April 14.

He conceded that "reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in the circumstances", but said: "I don't regret what I did."

He added: "I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances. The rules made clear that if you are dealing with small children that can be exceptional circumstances.

"And I think that the situation that I was in was exceptional circumstances and the way that I dealt with it was the least risk to everybody concerned if my wife and I had both been unable to look after our four-year-old."

Mr Cummings also said:

- He has not considered resigning, and did not offer to do so.

- He did not ask the Prime Minister about his decision and admitted that "arguably this was a mistake".

- He drove up to Durham with his wife and son and did not stop on the way, and the next day woke up in pain and "clearly had Covid symptoms".

- The Prime Minister had asked him to publicly give his account and he acknowledged he should have spoken earlier.

- He could see why people basing their opinions on media reports of his actions could be furious.

Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner said the press conference was "painful to watch".

"He clearly broke the rules, the Prime Minister has failed to act in the National interest. He should have never allowed this situation with a member of his staff," she added.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon May 25 2020, 18:38

Analysis: 'What have we learned from Cummings' side of the story?'

Jonathan Blake - BBC political correspondent
Dominic Cummings has given a detailed account of what he did, when and why. So what have we learned from his side of the story?
He described the fact that his London home had become a “target” which led him to fear for the safety of his family.
Mr Cummings also admitted not telling the prime minister about his decision to decide to travel to his parent’s property in Durham.
He explained some of the uncertainties about his movements including what he was doing in Barnard Castle (to test his eyesight for driving) and whether he stopped on the journey from London (he didn’t).
But on several occasions Mr Cummings described the “exceptional circumstances” of providing care for a small child, which he believed the guidelines allow.
He acknowledged that people were angry and “hated the idea of unfairness” - and admitted that he should’ve made a statement sooner.
But this was an explanation for his actions, not an apology.
It will be for people to judge whether they accept it as a justification for what many see as acting against the spirit, if not the letter of the rules.

What are the rules on looking after children?

Reality Check
Dominic Cummings has defended his actions by saying that “the rules made clear that if you are dealing with small children, then that can be exceptional circumstances”.
The stay at home guidelines say people who live with someone who develops symptoms "must stay at home and not leave the house for 14 days".
However, the same guidance document also says that “we are aware that not all these measures will be possible” if you are living with children.
On Friday, Dr Jenny Harries, the deputy chief medical officer for England, pointed out that "risk to life" would be a valid reason to break lockdown rules.
Back in March, Dr Harries said that if both parents were unable to look after a small child and had no access to family or other support, they should get help from the local authority.

What does the law say on leaving your main home?

Reality Check
Dominic Cummings defended his actions, saying: “The legal rules do not cover all circumstances including those that I found myself in”. So, what do they say?
The law that police were enforcing at the time Mr Cummings drove to Durham is the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020.
It says: “During the emergency period, no person may leave the place where they are living without reasonable excuse.” It then lists a series of reasonable excuses:
To obtain basic necessities like food or medicine; to take exercise; to seek medical assistance; to provide care or assistance to a vulnerable person; to donate blood; to travel for the purposes of work or to provide voluntary or charitable services; to attend a funeral of a household member or close family member; to access critical public services; for access arrangements with a child who does not live with one or both parents; for a religious minister to visit their place of worship; to move house where reasonably necessary; to avoid injury or illness or to escape a risk of harm.
It’s important to stress that, before the list, it says “a reasonable excuse includes the need”.
So the list is not exhaustive - a reasonable excuse might arguably be something that is not on it. It is also important to make a distinction between the law and the guidelines drawn up by the government.

Sir Ed Davey: PM must act now on Cummings

BBC News
The acting leader of the Liberal Democrats says Dominic Cummings' press conference "made the situation worse".
Sir Ed Davey told BBC News: "There was no apology, he said he did not regret anything, he said he went driving to test his eyesight... come on."
He adds: "Millions of people who made huge sacrifices will actually be deeply worried, saying the chief adviser did break the rules, and asking questions about that.
"They will be pretty angry."
Now "the prime minister has to decide what to do", he says, adding that is "a question of his judgement".
Sir Ed says: "If the prime minister doesn't act now, he is frankly not fit to lead the country in this crisis."

Analysis: Changing minds is another matter

Vicki Young - Chief Political Correspondent
That press conference was something I am sure Dominic Cummings would have hated having to do.
But the fact he has had to explain himself is recognition he knows there is a problem.
It was striking that, overall, he said he had no regrets.
He also hasn't considering resigning and he accused the media of fuelling anger - although a lot of what was in the public domain has been confirmed in that statement.
But Mr Cummings said his actions were reasonable and the core of this is him saying people have to use common sense when it comes to the guidelines.
A lot of people watching this may accept he wasn't breaking the law, but may well think they have been interpreting the rules far more strictly.
Mr Cummings talked about exceptional circumstances, but many may also think we are in those circumstances as well.
There are still some issues here - particularly the other trip he made to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight, which may raise eyebrows,
He may win plaudits for being so open and going out there. But whether it is changing minds is another matter, and ultimately, the prime minister's opinion is the only one that matters.

Labour: British people wanted an apology

Labour says "the British people were looking for at least an apology from Dominic Cummings during his press conference, but "they got none".
A spokesman for the party says millions of people "have made extraordinary sacrifices during the lockdown", with some families "forced apart, sometimes in the most tragic of circumstances".
He adds: "They stayed at home to protect the NHS and save lives.
“And yet, the message from this government is clear: it’s one rule for Boris Johnson’s closest adviser, another for everybody else.”

Cummings should not resign - Baroness Morgan

This has not been a "fine moment" for Dominic Cummings but he should not resign, Baroness Morgan has told the BBC.
"There will be a time for investigating all of this and many other things in months to come," Baroness Morgan, who served in Boris Johnson's cabinet as culture secretary told Radio 4's PM.
"For some people it will never be enough and they will want a resignation. I just don't think, at the height of the crisis when we need good people around, that is the right way to be looking at it."

UK death toll reaches 36,914

The number of people who have died in the UK after testing positive for coronavirus has now reached 36,914.
The figures from the Department of Health and Social Care show a further 121 people have died in the past 24 hours.

SNP: No option but to sack Cummings

The leader of the SNP in Westminster has called Dominic Cummings' press conference a "botched PR exercise that changes nothing".
Ian Blackford MP says it is "now beyond doubt" the chief adviser to the PM "broke multiple lockdown rules", and criticises Mr Cummings for not apologising.
He adds: "The prime minister has no option but to sack Mr Cummings. His failure to do so so far is a gross failure of leadership.
"Boris Johnson's failure to show leadership is damaging the public health message and putting lives at risk, as leading public health experts have warned.
"The longer the prime minister allows this farce to continue the more the Tory government will lose credibility and respect."

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Post by Kitkat on Mon May 25 2020, 19:00

Was Cummings walk within the guidelines?

Reality Check
Dominic Cummings said “after I started to recover, one day in the second week, I tried to walk outside the house”.
He said he, his wife and son walked into woods owned by his father next to the cottage they were staying in. He said they were seen by some people from a distance but had no interaction with them.
So, was the walk within the guidelines? That depends on when it took place.
On 7 April, Public Health England’s website said people could go outside for their daily exercise - even if they had coronavirus symptoms:
“If possible, you should not go out even to buy food or other essentials, other than exercise, and in that case at a safe distance from others”, it said.
However, on 8 April, the advice changed and people with coronavirus symptoms (or living with someone displaying them) were limited to taking exercise in their homes and gardens: “If you feel well enough you can take part in light exercise within your home or garden,” it said.
There was another change on 9 April, in which gardens were removed from the exercise advice: “any exercise should be taken within your home ”, it said.
Mr Cummings didn’t specify when the walk took place but he said it was in the second week – so one can assume it was between 4 and 11 April.

Ireland: First zero coronavirus deaths since 21 March

Ireland reported no coronavirus related deaths on Monday, marking the first day without a fatality since 21 March.
A total of 1,606 people have died from Covid-19 in the country.
The Department of Health confirmed 59 additional cases of the virus, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 24,698.
Last week, chief medical officer Tony Holohan said that the virus had been "effectively extinguished from the community".
From 8 June, household visits will be allowed in Ireland and small retail outlets will open with social distancing. Public libraries will also open.

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Coronavirus - 25th May Empty Re: Coronavirus - 25th May

Post by Kitkat on Mon May 25 2020, 21:12

What are the rules on driving?

Reality Check
Dominic Cummings took a half-hour drive from his parents’ farm to check whether he would be able to make the five-hour drive back to London because his eyesight had been affected by the virus.
Was this within the guidelines?
The social distancing guidelines then in force said people should only leave the house for limited purposes:

  • shopping for basic necessities
  • one form of exercise a day
  • any medical need, including to donate blood, avoid or escape risk of injury or harm, or to provide care, or to help a vulnerable person
  • travelling for work purposes, but only where you cannot work from home

Mr Cummings suggested this drive was to establish that he would be safe in driving back to London to return to work.
PM Boris Johnson added later: “Eyesight can be a problem associated with coronavirus.”
Many people have pointed out on social media that the 1988 Road Traffic Act contains a section that reads: “If a person drives a motor vehicle on a road while his eyesight is such (whether through a defect which cannot be, or one which is not for the time being, sufficiently corrected) that he cannot comply with any requirement as to eyesight prescribed under this Part of this Act for the purposes of tests of competence to drive, he is guilty of an offence.”

Distancing at a premium in UK heat

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People enjoy the sunshine on the beach near Bournemouth Pier in Bournemouth

Social distancing seemed to take a back seat in some spots on Monday, despite coronavirus deaths in the UK reaching nearly 37,000 and PM Boris Johnson again urging they be followed.
Police urged people to use their common sense when it came to social distancing, after large crowds gathered at Ruislip Lido in the London borough of Hillingdon.

  tweet  Hillingdon Police - #StayHomeSaveLives:
Police have been called to Ruislip Lido to reports of large group gathering. Please use common sense when it comes to social distancing.
Coronavirus - 25th May Ey3dlh10

PM regrets 'confusion, anger and pain' over Cummings

Asked during the briefing whether he regrets Dominic Cummings' actions, the PM said: "Yes, of course I do regret the confusion and the anger and the pain that people feel."
"This is a country that has been going through the most tremendous difficulties and suffering in the course of the last 10 weeks," Mr Johnson said. "And that's why I really did want people to understand exactly what had happened."

What did we learn from today's briefing?

Boris Johnson announced the reopening of the retail sector, but only for premises that are "Covid-secure":

  • Outdoor markets and car showrooms can reopen from 1 June
  • All other non-essential retailers can reopen from 15 June.

People will have to make up their own minds about Dominic Cummings' decision to drive to Durham, says PM: "I don't think reasonable people can disagree with his motivations."
The Cummings row has not disrupted the government's #stay alert messaging, he said: "I do not believe that anybody in No 10 has done anything to undermine our messaging."
Some 3.5 million tests have been done in total, with around 73,000 completed on average daily. The R value - rate of infection - now stands at between 0.7 and 1.
As the UK death toll increased by 121 to 36,914, the prime minister said "key indicators are heading in the right direction".

WHO suspends trial of 'Trump drug'

A clinical trial of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine - the drug US President Donald Trump has touted and said he was taking to avoid getting Covid-19 - has been suspended by the World Health Organization (WHO) amid safety concerns.
Director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "The executive group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the solidarity trial while the safety data is reviewed by the data safety monitoring board. The other arms of the trial are continuing."
On Friday, a study in medical journal the Lancet found there were no benefits to treating coronavirus patients with the drug.
It found that it actually increases the risk of patients with the disease dying from it.
Mr Trump has repeatedly promoted hydroxychloroquine, against medical advice, and said he was taking it despite public health officials warning it could cause heart problems.

Dutch PM 'unable to see mum before she died'

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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte reportedly could not visit his mother before she died due to lockdown restrictions

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte's 96-year-old mother has died, according to a government statement.
Newspaper Het Parool said the prime minister was unable to visit his mother in her final days due to the lockdown restrictions.
She died on 13 May and the family buried her on Friday.
Though there had been cases of coronavirus recorded at the nursing home where she lived in The Hague, local media report she had tested negative for the illness in the days before her death. Her cause of death has not been announced.
"My family and I are grateful to have had her with us for so long," Mr Rutte said in a statement.

Trump's Republicans sue California over November election

The US Republican National Committee (RNC) and other Republican organisations have filed a lawsuit against California to try to block the state from sending absentee ballots to all voters in anticipation of the November presidential election.
California Governor Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, signed an executive order earlier this month to ensure that every registered voter is automatically sent a mail-in ballot. The order does not replace in-person voting.
Republicans have decried the move - meant to limit the health risks that accompany in-person voting - as a "brazen power grab".
Newsom's order is "less about protecting the health of Californians and more about protecting the electoral prospects of the Governor's political party," the suit says.
The RNC suit mirrors the sentiments of President Donald Trump, who has used coronavirus press briefings and his Twitter account to rail against vote-by-mail, saying it is more susceptible to fraud - a largely unproven claim.

NY Governor Cuomo: Mask opposition 'nonsensical'

Coronavirus - 25th May E96f2010
New Yorkers gather outdoors over the Memorial Day weekend

Speaking at his daily coronavirus press briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he was baffled by New Yorkers who gathered over the weekend without wearing masks.
"Why wouldn't you use it?" Mr Cuomo asked. "The opposition is so trivial and nonsensical relative to the risks."
The governor noted that front line healthcare works - "nurses and doctors who are in an emergency room" - have a lower infection rate than the general population.
Why? "Because they use [personal protective equipment]", Mr Cuomo said. "It works...I'll talk about masks until I'm blue in my face because they work."
New York state reported 96 virus deaths over the past 24 hours, continuing the state's downward trend.

'Aggressive' rodents hunt for food

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The closure of restaurants and the retreat of humans indoors is making it hard for rats to find meals

Without the leftovers from restaurants, events and other non-socially distanced activities, rats are exhibiting some "unusual or aggressive rodent behaviour", according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But the rats are not becoming aggressive towards people. Instead, they're turning on themselves.
As urban rodentologist Robert Corrigan told the BBC last month , cannibalism is very pervasive in stressed colonies - and rats are stressed under coronavirus conditions.
"These rats will completely eat every scrap of meat off the victim's bones," Dr Corrigan said.

Women's Super League in England ended

Coronavirus - 25th May C2bc8e10

The 2019-20 Women's Super League and Women's Championship seasons in England have been ended immediately, with the outcome of the WSL title and promotion and relegation issues still to be decided.
Since 13 March's suspension of elite football across the country, the FA - which runs England's women's leagues - has been determined to try to finish the season if safe to do so.
A statement from the FA said the decision came after "overwhelming feedback from clubs" and was made "in the best interest of the women's game".
Manchester City Women were top of the WSL table, one point clear of Chelsea, who had a game in hand.

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Post by Kitkat on Mon May 25 2020, 22:37

Spain revises death toll down

Spain has revised its coronavirus death toll down by nearly 2,000 due to some fatalities being counted twice.
The toll now stands at more than 26,800 rather than the 28,700 reported before.
In addition to some deaths being counted twice, others had originally been notified as suspected or probably cases of Covid-19 which were subsequently not confirmed, officials said.
Spain - one of the worst affected countries - continues to relax its lockdown measures. From 1 July, foreign visitors to the country will no longer have to undergo a two-week quarantine.

Ramadan runner raises £52K for charity

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Haroon Mota during one of his daily runs in Coventry

Haroon Mota, of Coventry, said thanks to "overwhelming support" he doubled his £25,000 target in the final week of his challenge.
Before lockdown, the 34-year-old planned to run four major world marathons for the Penny Appeal - a charity that helps people in poverty around the world.
He then decided to run 10km each evening during a 16- to 18-hour fast and said: "I'm enjoying putting my feet up and resting and feel proud and pleased with the money raised."

What is the £32m Capt Tom raised being spent on?

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Captain Sir Tom Moore raised £32.8m by walking laps of his garden before his 100th birthday

The extraordinary fundraising achievement of Capt Tom Moore - now Sir Tom Moore - has been well documented. But what has the money he raised been spent on?
The £32.8m raised by centenarian Sir Tom was in aid of the health service's charitable wing, NHS Charities Together. It is part of an overall £116m collected for the fund as part of its Covid-19 Urgent Appeal. Some £20m has been spent so far.
Despite publicity given to shortages of protective clothing for staff, and the need for medical apparatus, these are classed as "core" equipment and funded by taxpayers. The focus of Charities Together is the comfort and wellbeing of staff and patients - things that, in the words of one NHS worker, "make their working lives easier".
Among the NHS areas that will benefit include snacks for medical staff in County Durham, pop-up shops being funded in hospitals in London, improvements to NHS staff "welfare" areas and further catering provisions being brought into kitchenettes.

Toronto mayor apologises for not wearing mask

Toronto's Trinity Bellwoods Park was packed with 10,000 Sun worshippers on Saturday, when temperatures soared above 20 C (68 F) after several weeks of bad weather.
Mayor John Tory was there himself, ostensibly to educate people about safe social distancing.
But it’s his behaviour that became a cause for concern when photos surfaced of him speaking closely with others with his mask off his face.
He has since apologised.
"I fully intended to properly physically distance, but it was very difficult to do,” he said.
He has also been criticised for not sending police to the park to ticket rule breakers and maintain crowd control.
Ontario reported 404 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, a 1.6% jump from the day before. The uptick means government officials will keep groups limited to five people longer than expected.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said he was "disappointed" by peoples' "reckless" behaviour and urged those who were at the park to get tested.

What's the status of the US reopening?

As of last week, all 50 US states have begun to partially reopen after a two-month shutdown. On 20 May, Connecticut became the final state to loosen restrictions when it gave the green light to shops and restaurants under certain restrictions.
So what's the latest?

  • In Colorado, Governor Jared Polish announced today that children's day camps and sports camps can open on 1 June, with certain social distancing restrictions in place. The state - now seeing a downward trend of infections - has had 24,174 confirmed cases
  • California has issued guidelines that allow places of worship to open, with a series of restrictions like limiting attendance to 25% of a building's capacity. Virtual services are still "strongly recommended" for vulnerable groups. In recent days, California cases have plateaued - there are 94,675 so far
  • In New York - the state with the highest death toll - groups of up to 10 people can now gather "for any lawful purpose" anywhere in the state, including the epicentre of the outbreak: New York City

Divisions grow on German lockdown easing

Germany has been widely praised for its response to the coronavirus. The government quickly implemented a mass testing programme, and the death toll is far lower by population than in many other European nations.
Chancellor Angela Merkel announced a relaxation of national lockdown measures this month after discussions with leaders of the 16 states. Each controls the timing of reopenings, and can also reimpose restrictions.
But divisions are growing as some states favour easing lockdown faster than others. Bodo Ramelow, premier of the eastern state of Thuringia, has announced plans to drop compulsory social distancing and face mask use as early as 6 June. The health minister in the neighbouring state of Saxony said it was planning a “paradigm change” with similar rules on the same day.
But the government in Berlin fears what could happen if lockdown measures are eased too much.
“Under no circumstances should the impression be given that the pandemic is over,” federal Health Minister Jens Spahn reportedly told Bild.

Former NBA star Patrick Ewing released from hospital

Patrick Ewing, former NBA star and Georgetown basketball coach, has been released from hospital after testing positive for coronavirus, his son confirmed on Monday.
The former New York Knicks player announced that he had tested positive for the virus on Friday.
His son, Patrick Ewing Jr. said on Twitter: "My father is now home and getting better. We'll continue to watch his symptoms and follow the CDC guidelines. I hope everyone continues to stay safe and protect yourselves and your loved ones."
Ewing features in the recent The Last Dance documentary, which is based on Michael Jordan's all-conquering Chicago Bulls and their hunt for a sixth NBA title in the 1997-98 season.

Iceland's bars and gyms reopen after testing blitz

Iceland took a different approach than most countries caught in the coronavirus pandemic and, after extensive testing of its population of around 328,000, public gatherings of up to 200 people are allowed while night clubs and gyms are to reopen.
Anyone who wanted a test received one, while schools and day care centres remained open.
It has confirmed 1,804 infections and 10 deaths but there have been only five new cases reported in May.
Coronavirus tests have been performed on more than 16% of its people - a greater proportion than in almost any other country thanks in part to its small population.

Thanks for tuning in

We’re now winding up our coverage of today’s events. Thanks for staying with us.
Before we go, here’s a round-up of some of the biggest stories so far.

  • Dominic Cummings, chief aide to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, said he faced a “tricky situation” with childcare and “does not regret” leaving his London home during the lockdown. He is facing calls to resign after driving 260 miles to Durham

  • PM Boris Johnson defended Mr Cummings again, telling reporters that he believed his chief adviser had acted reasonably and legally

  • The prime minister also announced that non-essential shops in the UK would be allowed to open from 15 June. Outdoor markets and car showrooms will be able to open on 1 June.

  • Spain has revised its death toll down by nearly 2,000 due to some fatalities being counted twice. The figure now stands at more than 26,800. The country has also announced foreign visitors will no longer have to undergo a two-week quarantine from 1 July

  • A clinical trial of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine – the drug US President Donald Trump said he was taking to avoid getting Covid-19 – has been suspended by the World Health Organization (WHO) amid safety concerns

  • President Trump made a Memorial Day appearance, visiting Arlington National Cemetery with First Lady Melania. Neither were pictured wearing masks. Meanwhile, the man expected to challenge him in November's presidential election, former Vice-President Joe Biden, made his first public appearance since mid-March to visit a veterans memorial in his home state of Delware. He along with his wife, Jill, wore black masks.

And finally, quite a few of us have worked all day to bring the latest developments to you, including Owen Amos, Krutika Pathi, Aparna Alluri, Andreas Illmer, Anna Jones, Saira Asher, Frances Mao, Victoria Bisset, Ben Collins, Sean Fanning, Raffi Berg, Joshua Nevett, Shamaan Freeman-Powell, Neil Johnston, Gary Kitchener, Michael Emons, Sophie Williams, Hazel Shearing, Victoria Lindrea, Jennifer Scott, Holly Honderich and Paulin Kola.

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