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Coronavirus - 27th May


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

Coronavirus - 27th May Empty Coronavirus - 27th May

Post by Kitkat on Wed May 27 2020, 09:46

Summary for Wednesday, 27th May

  • Latin America has become the centre of the global pandemic, the head of the Pan American Health Organization warns
  • The region now has more daily reported cases of Covid-19 than Europe and the US
  • The numbers in Venezuela are almost certainly much higher than reported, Human Rights Watch says
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to be questioned by MPs later amid continued calls for his top adviser to resign
  • "Local lockdowns" could be introduced to tackle regional outbreaks in England, the health secretary says
  • The US is nearing 100,000 lives lost as a result of the pandemic
  • In South Korea, more than two million students return to school as a new cluster linked to a nightclub grows
  • Nearly 5.6 million cases and more than 350,000 deaths have been confirmed around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University

Welcome back to our rolling coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are the latest updates from around the world:

  • Latin America has become the centre of the global pandemic, says Carissa Etienne, the head of the Pan American Health Organization
  • As Brazil's daily death rate climbs to the highest in the world, a study is warning its total toll could climb five-fold to 125,000 deaths by August
  • In the US, the New York Stock Exchange was opened by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was cheered on by socially-distanced brokers wearing protective face masks
  • Australia will not open its borders "anytime soon", the government said, but there are discussions over a safe travel zone with New Zealand
  • Spain will begin a 10-day period of national mourning today, in memory of the almost 30,000 people in the country who have died
  • The total number of cases worldwide has now passed 5.5m, while more than 349,000 people have died

New cases in Australia as nation exits lockdown

As Australia manoeuvres out of lockdown people are nervous as more cases also appear, as per health officials' predictions.
This morning, it was confirmed a 30-year-old man with previous complications had died in rural Queensland - the youngest of Australia's 103 deaths.
Two Sydney schools are also temporarily shut after student infections were found just a day after students returned to classrooms full time.
And in Western Australia - a row is brewing between state and federal authorities over who allowed a ship with sick crew members to enter Fremantle Port.
Officials are urging the public to maintain distancing and health checks as restrictions lift even more in coming days to allow larger gatherings in public. Victoria has told its workers they must still work from home for all of June, while many other states are still keeping borders shut despite national pressure.
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Six crew members on the Al Kuwait cargo ship have been quarantined in Western Australia

US bans foreigners who have been to Brazil

Katy Watson - BBC South America correspondent
The US has introduced a travel ban on foreign nationals who have been to Brazil in the last 14 days.
It comes as Brazil is now the second-worst hit country in the world after the US in terms of confirmed infections, with more than 390,000 cases. More than 24,000 people have died.
President Jair Bolsonaro sees Mr Trump as his political idol, the US and Brazil as regional allies.
Indeed, the two men have adopted broadly similar approaches to the pandemic – playing down the crisis and urging a return to normality, despite spiralling death tolls.
But the ban is a measure of just how serious the situation is here in Brazil.
The World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that Latin America had become the epicentre of the crisis and Brazil is the worst-hit in the region by far.
Experts say that with so little testing being done in the country, the true figures are far higher than official statistics suggest.
A study by the University of Washington found that Brazil could record more than 125,000 deaths by early August.

Millions return to school in South Korea

More than two millions students are returning to school in South Korea this Wednesday.
The country is opening different school years in successive steps so while some have already returned, another large batch will start today.
It comes as South Korea sees its highest daily spike in almost two months with 40 new cases in the past 24 hours.
After being the first hotspot of the pandemic outside of China, the country had been very successful in bringing infections down.
But a recent cluster around Seoul's nightlife district has driven numbers sharply up again.

New Zealand has no virus cases in hospital

The nation - hailed as a virus success - discharged its last virus patient from hospital last night, meaning it had no virus patients in wards for the first time in months.
It also reported no new cases for a fifth consecutive day. There are only about 1,500 reported case in total.
More than 420,000 people have also downloaded the nation's tracing app.
Officials are confident that they've stopped community transmission - but say their concerns now lie with their borders when they might reopen in coming months.

Where is worst affected in South America?

In terms of total cases and deaths, Brazil is by far the most affected country in South America.
But in terms of deaths per million people, Ecuador is actually most affected.
1. Ecuador (182 deaths per million people)
2. Brazil (116)
3. Peru (115)
4. Chile (42)
5. Bolivia (22)
6. Colombia (15)
7. Guyana (14)
8. Argentina (11)
9. Uruguay (6)
10. French Guiana (3)
The data comes from Worldometers , which collates national governments' figures.
It is worth noting that Human Rights Watch and Johns Hopkins University have said Venezuela's reported figures, which are low, are not credible.

Saudi Arabia to resume domestic flights

Domestic flights within Saudi Arabia will resume on Sunday, the country's aviation authority says.
Flights have been suspended since 21 March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The country will begin to gradually ease its pandemic restrictions this week and expects that by 21 June a curfew can end completely.
The city of Mecca however, home to one of the Muslim world's most important sites, will remain under curfew for longer.

How did the virus take off in Brazil?

Brazil did not confirm its first Covid-19 case until 26 February - more than a month after the first virus case was recorded outside China.
The patient was a 61-year-old man who had returned to Sao Paulo, the most populous city in Brazil, from Lombardy in northern Italy. Although research has suggested the virus actually arrived earlier , the number of deaths certainly did not explode until April.
By 11 April, though, Brazil was the first country in the southern hemisphere to pass 1,000 deaths . By 17 May it had more cases than Spain and Italy , and a week later the US had banned anyone with a recent travel history to Brazil.
In March, President Jair Bolsonaro was still comparing the virus to a "little flu", while claiming the media was "deceiving" people.

Colombian football to resume in August

The Colombian sports minister has said football teams can begin training in June, with the aim of restarting the professional leagues by August.
Individual training will be allowed from 8 June. Group training is scheduled for July, with matches - behind closed doors - pencilled in for August.
Professional football across South America is currently suspended. Colombia has been less affected by the virus than some of its neighbours, with 23,000 cases and almost 800 deaths.

South Korea on edge after spike in cases

Laura Bicker - BBC News
South Korea has reported its biggest spike in coronavirus cases in two months, just as over two million school children return to the classroom. Forty new cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the last 24 hours which is the sharpest increase in daily infections in 49 days.
At a high school in Seoul, students are lining up to get their temperature checked. They’re all standing at least a metre apart.
The temperature sensor is so sensitive that the alarm goes off after it detects a hot flask in a student’s bag.
Most of these teenage pupils haven’t seen their classmates in five months. Several jump excitedly at the sight of a friend, but they are stopped from hugging.
The latest spike in cases has put teachers on edge and they are being ever more vigilant. Health officials have double-checked the infection control measures being taken inside classrooms and all students have to fill in an app to prove they have no symptoms of Covid-19 before they are allowed back at school.
This country has been praised for its response to the pandemic and fewer than 270 people have died.
But even here, where each case is aggressively tracked and traced, they are struggling to prevent clusters of infection cropping up across the country.

India flyer tests positive after domestic flights resume

An Indian passenger who flew on a domestic flight to the southern city of Coimbatore is in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19.
He was among the first lot of flyers to travel within India as domestic flights resumed on Monday after two months.
IndiGo airlines' operating crew have been grounded for 14 days and are alerting other passengers aboard the flight, the company said in a statement quoted by local media. It added that he, along with other flyers, were all wearing face masks, face shields and gloves.
India's aviation minister told local media that more than 41,000 people had flown on Monday and Tuesday.
But there was chaos and long queues reported from airports on Monday as hundreds of flights were cancelled last minute, leading to confusion.
India has just over 140,000 confirmed cases and 4,167 deaths.

Venezuela 'not prepared for pandemic'

Human Rights Watch are warning that the Venezuelan healthcare system is not prepared for the pandemic and that this will be both a danger for the Venezuelans as well as the entire region.
Venezuela has 1,211 confirmed infections and 11 deaths but HRW says the real number is "almost certainly much higher" due to limited reliable testing and a lack of transparency.
The situation in the country "may drive people to try to leave the country, further straining the health systems of neighboring countries and imperiling regional health more broadly,” the NGO cites Kathleen Page of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine as saying.
Colombian president Iván Duque has called the situation in Venezuela "a time bomb".

Where is worst affected in Central America?

Coronavirus - 27th May Bcf27a10
With remittances dwindling many Guatemalans have been relying on aid

If we define Central America as the seven countries between Mexico and Colombia, Panama, the richest country in the region, is the worst affected in terms of cases, deaths, and deaths per million of population.
1. Panama (73 deaths per million people)
2. Honduras (19)
3. El Salvador (6)
4. Belize (5)
5. Nicaragua (5)
6. Guatemala (4)
7. Costa Rica (2)
But although reported deaths are relatively low in most countries, the impact has been huge. Lockdowns and curfews are in place across the region, and remittances - that is, workers sending money home from wealthier countries - have dried up.

El Salvador president: Most world leaders taking 'Trump drug'

The president of El Salvador says "most world leaders" are taking hydroxychloroquine - the unproven drug President Trump said he was taking to "ward off" the virus.
Hydroxychloroquine is primarily a malaria medication. The WHO recently suspended trials of it as a coronavirus treatment because of safety concerns.
On Sunday, Mr Trump said he was no longer using it - but today Nayib Bukele said he, and other leaders, were taking it.
“I use it as a prophylaxis [prevention], President Trump uses it as a prophylaxis, most of the world’s leaders use it as a prophylaxis," he said.

Singapore distributes masks at vending machines

Coronavirus - 27th May 91f77710

Singapore is giving out free disposable face masks to all residents and people can pick them up at around 400 vending machines across the city.
It's the third time the state is handing out masks to residents but the first time it's done via vending machines.
Singapore had initially managed to keep the virus in check but in recent weeks has seen an explosion of cases among its foreign workers taking the toll beyond 32,000 cases, the highest number in all of South East Asia.
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How Covid-19 has ravaged India's richest city

Yogita Limaye - BBC India correspondent
Mumbai has long been described as a city always on the run. It sounds like a cliché, but as someone who has lived here most of my life, I can confirm it's true.
Even during the 2008 attack, on a day when there were active gunmen in south Mumbai, in other parts of the city, trains were running, millions went to work, and restaurants and offices remained open.
But Covid-19 has turned the city into a ghost town as a stringent lockdown remains in place with no easing of restrictions.
It has also left its medical infrastructure on the brink of collapse.
Click here to read the full story

Australia and New Zealand plan travel bubble

Both countries have managed to bring the pandemic under control and are in talks over an agreement that would allow flights between the two to resume before normal International flights would be possible.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Wednesday said a draft blueprint on safe travel between the neighbours would be presented to the two governments in early June.
“It won’t be too long before we are ready,” she said.
Last year, 1.5 million Australians visited New Zealand, making it the most popular travel outbound destination.

Roma director makes plea for domestic workers

Oscar-winning Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón has backed calls to ensure domestic workers laid off during the Covid-19 pandemic continue to be paid.
"It is our responsibility as employers to pay their wages in this time of uncertainty," Cuarón said.
He won the best director Oscar in 2019 for Roma, a film casting a spotlight on Latin America's housekeepers.
Many of Mexico's 2.3 million domestic workers have been left without wages because of the outbreak.
Read our story here.

Argentinian 'shantytown' fenced off entirely

Coronavirus - 27th May C1f42f10

The shantytown of Villa Azul, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, was fenced off for 15 days on Monday. No one can enter or leave without special permission.
Around 3,000 people live in the neighbourhood, according to AFP. Barriers have gone up, and police are patrolling the perimeter.
There were at least 84 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Villa Azul on Monday, with more suspected infections. Around 350,000 people live in villas - roughly equivalent to a Brazilian favela - in the Argentine capital.
The wider city has been under a lockdown since March, with some limited movement allowed. It was recently extended until 7 June.
Coronavirus - 27th May 26e44e10

The latest from around the world

Good morning if you are just joining us in the UK, here are some of the latest developments:

  • UK prime minister Boris Johnson will be questioned by senior MPs later amid continued calls for his top adviser to resign. That's at 16:30 BST (15:30 GMT)
  • "Local lockdowns" will be introduced to tackle regional outbreaks of coronavirus in England in the future, says the UK health secretary
  • The charity which runs the UK’s national domestic abuse helpline says visits to its website have spiked again during in the past two weeks
  • South Korea has reported its biggest spike in cases in two months, as over two million school children return to the classroom
  • Latin Americahas become the centre of the global pandemic. The region now has more daily reported cases than Europe and the US
  • The US has now introduced its travel ban on foreign nationals who have been to Brazil in the last 14 days

Reality Check: What's the deal with chloroquine?

Reality Check
As the WHO has suspended trials of the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine, what is the confusion all about?
The BBC Reality Check team has looked into the drug - which has been touted by Donald Trump and Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro. El Salvador's president now claims most world leaders are taking it.

Johnson to face MPs' questions as row over aide continues

Later today, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face questioning from a committee of MPs as he continues to face pressure over allegations that his closest adviser broke lockdown rules.
The video-conference hearing at 16:30 BST will be the first time he's faced the House of Commons Liaison Committee - the only committee of MPs that is able to question the prime minister - since he was elected in December with a majority of 80.
He's likely to face questioning about his government's handling of the pandemic, which has seen the UK experiencing the highest death toll in Europe.
We're also expecting more questions about his aide Dominic Cummings' 260-mile trip to County Durham during lockdown. More than 35 Conservative MPs have now called for Mr Cummings to resign or be fired.
Read the full story

Vicar 'disappointed' over UK lockdown fines decision

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
The vicar who pressured Health Secretary Matt Hancock over a review of lockdown fines told BBC Radio 4's Today programme that it was "disappointing" to see the government row back on its offer to look into the matter.
After the prime minister's aide Dominic Cummings used childcare to justify a 260-mile trip during lockdown, the Rev Martin Poole from Brighton asked at the daily Downing Street briefing if that would mean other people fined for lockdown breaches who had been seeking childcare would see their penalties reviewed.
Mr Hancock told the briefing it was "a very good question" and that the government would "look at it", discuss it with the Treasury and make "an announcement from this podium". But later reports suggested that there would be no formal review, and Mr Hancock would just relay the concerns to the Treasury.
"I took him at his word. That was really nice to hear," said Mr Poole. "It’s a little disappointing to hear that they’ve rowed back on that."

Scientists brand 5G claims 'complete rubbish'

Reality Check
5G masts continue to be the innocent victims of the coronavirus pandemic.
Let's be clear: They're not to blame for virus. Who would blame 5G for a pandemic, you ask? Well, there's a conspiracy theory out there that somehow manages to link the two.
The BBC Reality Check team has checked out the false claim and many others.

Time to 'move on' from Cummings row, says UK minister

UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick says it is time to “move on” from the row over Dominic Cummings’ trip to Durham.
More than 35 Conservative MPs have called for the prime minister's chief aide to leave his job but, when asked about that, Jenrick told the BBC: “No, he shouldn’t.
“He has given his explanation to the prime minister, who listened and concluded that he’d acted reasonably and legally.
“The prime minister asked him to give that statement on Monday to the public and to answer questions from journalists, he answered them for over an hour and now, I think, is the time for us all to move on.
“That’s not to say this isn’t an important issue or that people don’t care about it, but I think there’s a lot more that we need to focus on now.”
Jenrick also said there will not be a "formal review" over fines for those travelling for childcare. "It's for the police to decide whether to impose fines under the law," he said.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he would look at the issue with his Treasury colleagues on Tuesday.

What is happening in Ecuador?

In terms of deaths per million people, Ecuador is the worst affected country in South America. The country has a population of 17 million people, with around 3,200 deaths officially linked to Covid-19.
The country did not record a case until the end of February - the first patient arrived from Madrid - with no deaths until the middle of March.
But after Ecuador was accused of under-reporting figures, daily deaths increased sharply at the end of April, reaching a peak of 410 on 10 May. In April, the port city of Guayaquil was one of the worst-hit places in Latin America.
A number of reasons have been suggested for Ecuador's plight, including densely-populated cities, a slow response in places, and people returning from visits to Europe in February and early March.
Although the "death curve" is now flattening, Ecuador has imposed cuts to public spending, leading to street protests.

French economy to shrink by 20% - statistics office

France's economy is set to shrink by roughly 20% in the second quarter as a result of the country's tough lockdown measures, the statistics office Insee said.
It contracted by nearly 6% in the first quarter, according to Insee.
Economic activity was functioning at 21% below usual levels after the easing of the lockdown, which was in place from mid-March to early May, it added.
But consumer spending improved to 6% below normal levels after shops were allowed to reopen after nearly two months. Earlier in May it was 33% below normal levels.
If activity were to rebound to pre-crisis levels by July, Insee said that France's economy could contract 8% for the whole of 2020.

Lockdowns in UK could be targeted on single schools or workplaces

Today Programme - BBC Radio 4
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has also been speaking to BBC Radio 4's Today programme about the plan for local lockdowns.
The could focus on "quite small" individual outbreaks, he explained.
He said the test, trace and isolate system to be unveiled later today is intended to be "sophisticated" and "able to identify flare-ups in particular places" such as "a school or a workplace, a hospital".
The government could then take action, he said, "which will be restrictive on the people who live or work there" and needed to be done "fairly". But that action would allow "greater freedom to millions of other people across the country", Mr Jenrick said.
He also said the government had "greater certainty today than I think we’ve ever had" that supplies of protective equipment were sufficient to meet demand in hospitals, GP surgeries and care comes, with two billion items being manufactured in the UK and a "more stable" international supply chain.
Read more about the local lockdown plan

Brazil death toll 'could increase five-fold'

More on Brazil, which is by far the worst affected country in South America.
A study by the University of Washington has warned that the country's death toll could climb to 125,000 by early August.
That's a five-fold increase from its current recorded tally of 24,500.
“Brazil must follow the lead of Wuhan, China, as well as Italy, Spain, and New York by enforcing mandates and measures to gain control of a fast-moving epidemic," wrote Dr Christopher Murray, who worked on the study.
The stark prediction came shortly after Brazil's daily death toll surpassed that of the United States for the first time. It recorded 807 deaths on Monday, while 620 people died in the US.
Health experts in Brazil have warned that the real number of confirmed infections may be far higher than the official records, due to a lack of testing.
And far-right president Jair Bolsonaro has been strongly criticised both at home and abroad for his handling of the crisis. He has downplayed the virus as "a little flu" and said its spread is inevitable.

Face masks wash up on Sydney beach

Having a hard time buying face masks? Thousands of them have washed up on a beach near Sydney. They are from a big cargo vessel on its way from China to Melbourne.
Bad weather forced the APL England to change course and head to Brisbane instead. But the ship still took a battering from the storm, and some 40 of the containers toppled into the sea.
Aside from household appliances and building materials, they also contained medical supplies - including the surgical masks.

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

Coronavirus - 27th May Empty Re: Coronavirus - 27th May

Post by Kitkat on Wed May 27 2020, 12:24

Coronavirus recovery in focus – the latest from Europe

The European Commission will unveil recovery plans later today as the continent slowly leaves lockdown. Here’s the latest from Europe:

  • Ursula von der Leyen will lay out a plan to finance the EU's economic recovery later on Wednesday. It comes after France and Germany suggested the commission borrow €500bn ($545bn; £448bn) from financial markets for a recovery fund. You can read more about it here
  • Germany has extended social distancing rules until 29 June. Up to 10 people will be allowed to meet together in public but Germans should still try to see as few people as possible, according to rules agreed by the 16 federal states and the government in Berlin
  • Wednesday marks the start of Spain’s 10 days of national mourning for the victims of the outbreak. More than 27,000 people have died in the country, which has recorded 236,259 cases
  • And Luxembourg has begun reopening outdoor areas in bars and restaurants as it eases its lockdown measures. According to Johns Hopkins University the country has had 110 deaths and 3,995 confirmed infections

France halts use of hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19
The French government has said doctors are no longer allowed to use hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients after two advisory bodies said it could pose serious health risks.
The drug, normally used to treat malaria, rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, was promoted by French virologist Didier Raoult, who met President Emmanuel Macron to discuss its possibility as a treatment for Covid-19.
US President Donald Trump said he was taking the drug to prevent the illness and it has also been endorsed by Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, but no clinical studies have recommended its use for coronavirus and health officials have warned it could cause heart problems.
So, what do we know about hydroxychloroquine?
Take a look at this Reality Check piece here .

Who is still using hydroxychloroquine?

Claims that hydroxychloroquine could prove a viable treatment for coronavirus have been dealt a new blow after France stopped doctors from using the anti-malarial drug for Covid-19 patients. But where is it still being used and who is continuing to research it?
In the US, the Food and Drug Administration allowed "emergency use" in hospital settings, but warned against using to treat Covid-19 in other settings - apart from clinical trials - because of the risks of heart problems.
Brazil has relaxed restrictions on the drug, allowing it to be used in mild cases as well as for those seriously ill in hospital.
And the Indian government has expanded its use as a preventative medicine to all healthcare workers
No clinical study has recommended the drug for coronavirus treatment and the World Health Organization this week temporarily suspended its trials over safety fears.
But other studies are under way, including one by Swiss drugmaker Novartis in the US and a global study by the University of Oxford-backed Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Thailand.
Also, Nigeria has vowed to press ahead with clinical trials of the related drug chloroquine despite the WHO decision.
Read more on hydroxychloroquine here

EU to present enormous Covid-19 recovery plan for Europe

More now on that big announcement expected from Brussels on financial help for the EU.
Whether the recovery package amounts to €500bn ($545bn; £448bn) or even a potential €1 trillion, the details of European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen's plans are eagerly awaited.
At 13:30 Brussels time (12:30 in the UK), she'll say how the Commission plans to fund the recovery package and how it'll be paid out to countries that need it.
Italy (with 32,955 Covid-19 deaths) and Spain (27,940 deaths) want economic help in the form of grants rather than loans. Germany has agreed with France that the money should be raised on capital markets - which is a big shift for Berlin in terms of joint borrowing of debt by EU countries.
Not everyone is happy - the "four frugal" states of Austria, the Netherlands, Sweden and Denmark are unconvinced. But all 27 will need to agree.
The big questions are:

  • Who gets the money and how?
  • How will the debts be repaid and over how long?
  • Will the EU impose a tax on multinationals? Or a levy on plastics and CO2 emissions?

Warning over record drop in energy investment

Roger Harrabin - BBC Environment Analyst
This crisis is causing the biggest fall in global energy investment in history.
Before the pandemic, funding was set to rise by 2%. Now it’s predicted to plunge by 20%, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).
Fossil fuels are hit hardest, with a 30% funding drop expected for oil and a 15% fall for coal.
Meanwhile, investment in renewables is down 10% - but much more is needed if we are to bring about a lasting reduction in global emissions.
You can read more here.

Woman arrested for selling fake 'all-clears' in Peru

A market trader in Peru has been arrested for selling fake certificates, showing a person is clear of Covid-19, to fellow stall holders.
The fruit market in La Victoria, Lima, recently reopened after a Covid-19 outbreak.
Rules imposed by the mayor, George Forsyth (a former international footballer) meant traders needed a certificate before they could work.
The woman allegedly sold the certificates for 50 soles (£12; $15) and was arrested while apparently making a sale.

UN: Sea crews must be labelled key workers

A number of UN agencies have called for urgent action to designate sea and air crews as key workers.
In a joint statement, the UN's maritime, labour and aviation agencies said that worldwide travel restrictions had left crews stranded around the world.
It said a key worker designation would allow crews on board vessels, such as fishing boats and cargo ships, to more easily changeover and return home.
"We are seeking the support of governments to facilitate crew changes, operations essential to maintain the global cargo supply chain," the statement said.
It added that by next month tens of thousands of seafarers will need international flights to be repatriated safely. It said that many had extended their service on board ships because they cannot be replaced.
You can read more about the difficulties facing crews at sea here.

Covid-19 deaths continue to soar in Brazil

The World Health Organization has warned that Latin America has become the epicentre of the crisis and Brazil is the worst-hit in the region by far.
Health experts in Brazil have warned that the real number of confirmed infections may be far higher than the official records, due to a lack of testing.
A study by the University of Washington found that the country could record more than 125,000 deaths by early August, that's almost a five-fold increase on its current total of 24,512.
The prediction followed Brazil's daily death toll surpassing that of the United States for the first time. It recorded 807 deaths on Monday, while 620 people died in the US.

Can copper help to kill coronavirus?

All non-essential retailers will be able to reopen in England from 15 June, as part of the government's plans to further ease the lockdown.
But how safe will it be to pick something up in a shop? And is there a solution that has been overlooked?
Speaking to the BBC, Professor Bill Keevil of the University of Southampton said: "Superbug bacteria, flu, norovirus and coronavirus can survive on touch surfaces for days, which is why it is so important to wash hands and regularly clean all touch surfaces (like door handles).
"In contrast, when we looked at copper and copper alloys we found that all these pathogens were killed within minutes.
"When something lands on a copper surface they liberate copper irons which attack cell walls and that destroys the genetic material so that they cannot mutate."

McIlroy maintains pressure on Ryder Cup organisers

Iain Carter - BBC golf correspondent
Rory McIlroy has been pretty relentless with his pressure on the issue of not playing the Ryder Cup behind closed doors .
He is the world number one, and Jon Rahm and Brooks Koepka have also said similar things. So the top three players in the world have all publicly said the biennial event between Europe and the US should not to be played this year if spectators are not able to attend.
They are very loud and influential voices. This puts a lot of pressure on the organisers, who are very keen for it to be played if possible, largely because of lucrative television contracts.
The match isn’t until late September so a decision could be made around the end of June. It is a logistical nightmare across the board if you move it to 2021 because you have to look at the knock-on effect to things like the Presidents Cup, between the US and the rest of the world, the Solheim Cup, which is the women’s version of the Ryder Cup, and the Olympics.
Qualifying for the respective teams is very hard to see as well although we do know that the European Tour is likely to start again shortly and the PGA Tour in the US will also get going again in the near future.

Netball Superleague season ended in UK

The 2020 Netball Superleague season in the UK has been terminated with immediate effect because of the pandemic.
The season was originally suspended on 15 March after only three full rounds of fixtures.
Governing body England Netball have said that a "standalone short-form" competition could be held in autumn if "achievable and safe to do so".
The sold-out Grand Final, scheduled for the Copper Box Arena in London on 4 July, will no longer go ahead and fans with tickets will be offered a refund.
Read more

California governor confesses to homecut 'mullet'

The governor of California raised a smile in his briefing as he admitted that his family had cut his hair during lockdown. He joked that his three children had ignored social distancing rules when attacking what his wife referred to as his "mullet".
Forty million Americans call California home, and most of them will now be able to go to a professional barber or hairdresser, avoiding the same fate as Governor Gavin Newsom.
Staff and clients are required to wear face masks, wash or sanitise hands, and socially distance, among other hygiene measures.

Italy and Spain to benefit from EU package

We're beginning to get more details on that eagerly awaited recovery fund for the EU.
The package is reported to be worth more than €500bn ($545bn; £448bn) and the full details will be spelt out by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen shortly.
We'll bring you live updates of the announcement from 12:30 BST (11:30 GMT).
Italy and Spain - the two worst-affected countries in the bloc - will receive most of the recovery fund, a senior official has told Reuters news agency.
Italy could receive more than €170bn, while Spain could be set to receive €140bn, according to AFP. About half of this financial help will consist of loans, the news agency reported.
You can read our full story here.

'The PM needs to face some tough questions'

Coronavirus - 27th May C2293060-8218-4892-b1ef-1c3f540ae683
BBC Radio 5 Live
With the UK prime minister due to face a grilling from MPs on the liaison committee for the first time this afternoon, BBC Radio 5 Live has been hearing from Sarah Wollaston, a former Tory MP turned Liberal Democrat who used to chair the committee.
She said Mr Johnson "has a reputation for sometimes struggling with the detail" and is likely to face close scrutiny, despite appointing the committee chairman Bernard Jenkin himself rather than allowing a vote as is usual.
"We have the highest number of deaths in Europe so the prime minister needs to face some tough questions about why we’re doing so badly compared to others around the world," Dr Wollaston said, describing the estimated 60,000 excess deaths since the pandemic began as a "colossal number".
She said Mr Cummings, the prime minister's adviser accused of breaching lockdown with a 260-mile trip, "should be fired", saying his actions undermined public health, his circumstances were not exceptional, and his justifications were implausible.
"It would be laughable if it weren’t for the fact that 60,000 people have died already and we are now expecting a second wave," she said.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed May 27 2020, 13:44

'I now realise this is definitely not fake'

Marianna Spring - Disinformation and social media reporter
Coronavirus - 27th May 6b8dc210
A protester's sign casts doubt on news about the virus during a demonstration in California

A BBC team tracking misinformation around the virus has found links to assaults, arson and deaths. And experts say the potential for indirect harm could be much bigger.
Online rumours led to mob attacks in India and mass poisonings in Iran. Telecommunications engineers have been threatened and attacked, and phone masts have been set alight - all because of conspiracy theories.
"We thought the government was using it to distract us," says Brian Lee Hitchens, "or it was to do with 5G. So we didn't follow the rules or seek help sooner."
But then in early May, both he and his wife caught Covid-19.
"And now I realise that coronavirus is definitely not fake," he says, running out of breath. "It's out there and it's spreading."
You can read more about the impact of misinformation here.

The latest global headlines

If you're just joining us, here are the latest headlines from around the world:

  • The European Commission is setting out a major recovery fund worth €750bn (£670bn; $825bn) to help the EU tackle an "unprecedented crisis". Economies across the 27-nation EU bloc have been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, but several southern states had big debts even before the crisis.
  • Meanwhile, France has announced an €8bn rescue plan for its car industry, which has been severely impacted by the pandemic. It has also stopped doctors from using the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine on Covid-19 patients because of potential health risks
  • Latin America has become the new epicentre of the global crisis. Brazil's daily death rate is now the highest in the world, and one study has warned that deaths could increase five-fold by August
  • And in the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson will face questioning from a committee of MPs as he continues to come under pressure over allegations that his closest adviser broke lockdown rules
  • The total number of cases worldwide has now passed 5.5 million, while more than 349,000 people have died

EU proposes huge €750bn 'recovery fund'

The European Commission has proposed a massive €750bn (£670bn; $825bn) recovery fund to help the EU tackle an "unprecedented crisis".
The package will be made up of grants and loans for every EU member state.
Economies across the 27-nation EU bloc have been ravaged by the Covid-19 pandemic, but several southern states had big debts even before the crisis.
Some countries - among them Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden - are opposed to taking on debt for other countries, and think the relief should come as low-interest loans rather than cash handouts.
EU chief Ursula von der Leyen will have to win over these sceptical member states to push the plan through.
Read more here

Premier League edges closer to return

Premier League clubs have voted unanimously to resume contact training as they edge towards restarting the season, when it is safe to do so.
England's top flight was suspended on 13 March because of the pandemic but non-contact training resumed on 19 May.
A statement from the Premier League outlined that the change had been agreed "in consultation with clubs, players, managers, the PFA, LMA and the government."
It adds: "Strict medical protocols are in place to ensure the training ground is the safest environment possible and players and staff will continue to be tested for Covid-19 twice a week."
The results of the third round of coronavirus tests are expected to be published later on Wednesday. So far eight people from Premier League clubs have tested positive from 1,744 tests.

Virus deaths in Scotland drop for fourth straight week

The number of people dying with coronavirus in Scotland has fallen for the fourth week in a row.
Figures released by National Records of Scotland showed there had been 230 deaths in the week ending 24 May.
That's 105 fewer than the previous week, and brings the total number of deaths since the outbreak began to 3,779.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to slightly ease the country's lockdown restrictions on Thursday.
Read more here

EU chief urges countries to 'walk that road together'

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen has urged member states to "walk that road together" after proposing a €750bn (£670bn; $825bn) recovery fund for the bloc.
The package will include grants and loans for all 27 EU member states as they bid to recover from the effects of coronavirus - but some nations are opposed to taking on debt for other countries.
"This is about all of us, and it is way bigger than any of us," Von der Leyen told the European Parliament.
"This is Europe’s moment.
"And so in front of us once again is that same binary choice: We either all go it alone, leaving countries, regions and people behind and accepting a union of haves and have-nots - or we walk that road together, we take that leap forward, we pave a strong path for our people and for the next generation."

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Post by Kitkat on Wed May 27 2020, 15:39

What's the latest in the UK?

Here's a round-up of what's been happening in the UK so far today:

Lockdown-breakers using Cummings as an excuse, police say

The World at One - BBC Radio 4
Coronavirus - 27th May 9074f810
Police say it is impossible to police lockdown effectively if the government says the rules are flexible

UK police say that people breaking lockdown rules are using the actions of the prime minister's adviser Dominic Cummings - whose 260-mile trip sparked controversy - as an excuse.
West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson told BBC Radio 4's The World At One that the public are telling officers, "if it is okay for Cummings, it is okay for us", and "it looks like there is one rule for us and another rule for the people in No 10 Downing Street".
He said if the rules are interpreted as flexible by people at the heart of government, "then it is almost impossible for police officers to be able to carry out their job effectively".
Police were getting "quite a pushback" from all generations, he said.
"Now that is a bad sign, showing that confidence in the rules, confidence in government and thereby the police's ability to enforce it, has been undermined very much in the last few days," he said.

UK nations report latest hospital death tolls

A further 183 people have died in hospital after testing positive for Covid-19, NHS England has reported.
It brings the total number of hospital deaths in England to 26,049.
Deaths of confirmed coronavirus patients in Scotland's hospitals rose by 13, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said, making a total of 2,304.
And Public Health Wales said a further 11 people had died after positive tests, bringing the total in Wales to 1,293.
Two more people also died in Northern Ireland, where the death toll now stands at 516.
Reported death tolls in the four nations may differ from the total announced by the UK government later, as they are calculated in a slightly different time-frame, and the UK total includes deaths in care homes and other settings.

Reaction to EU's €750bn recovery fund

We're watching for reaction to the massive €750bn (£670bn; $825bn) recovery fund announced by the EU to help member states tackle the fallout from this pandemic.
Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has called it an "excellent signal" from Brussels. "Now let's speed up the negotiation and make the resources available soon," he wrote on Twitter.
Spain - which has suffered one of Europe's highest virus death tolls - said the announcement met "many of [its] demands".
French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, welcomed the news and said it marked an "essential day for Europe".
Greece, too, welcomed the "bold proposal".
But the so-called 'frugal states' - those that object to taking on debt for other countries - have reacted more cautiously. One Dutch diplomat told the BBC that the announcement was unlikely to mark the "end state" of the negotiations.
You can read our full story here.

Which shops in England are reopening?

Food shops and some other essential retailers have remained open during the pandemic, but from Monday the range of stores will begin to increase in England.
Car showrooms will be allowed to reopen, with one car dealership saying it will trust customers to take test drives alone . Open air markets will also start up again.
Then on 15 June, more retailers are able to open their doors, including shops selling clothes, toys, books and electronics, as well as tailors, auction houses, photography studios, and indoor markets.
Many big name retailers are taking it slowly, however. John Lewis is starting with 13 of its stores, while Next will only reopen 25 of 500 branches.
No dates have yet been fixed for the reopening of shops in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Read the full story

Johnson to face MPs over Cummings and virus response

Coronavirus - 27th May 4691fe10
The prime minister needs to face "tough questions", said a former committee chair

In about an hour, we're due to hear from Boris Johnson, as he faces a committee of MPs for the first time since becoming UK prime minister.
He's expected to face questions from the Commons Liaison Committee for 90 minutes, with MPs asking him about his handling of the coronavirus pandemic and his adviser's controversial 260-mile trip during lockdown.
About 40 Tory MPs have called for his adviser, Dominic Cummings, to be fired.
Earlier, a former chair of the committee and ex-MP, Sarah Wollaston, said Johnson "needs to face some tough questions about why we’re doing so badly compared to others around the world".
Later, we're expecting the Downing Street daily briefing where we may hear more details about England's test, trace and isolate system, including localised lockdowns to control "flare-ups" of the virus .

Hairdressers in England ask for lockdown to be cut short

People in England are being told they will have to wait until 4 July to get their shaggy lockdown hair trimmed.
Some hairdressers have objected to the government's timetable, though, saying they are ready to open safely along with other retail businesses on 15 June.
Some business owners, such as Baz Rifat in London, told the BBC they had created booths and knocked down walls to help customers stay socially distanced. Stylists will wear face shields, while customers will be asked to wear face coverings.
But the Department for Business has said they will still have to wait.
Read the full story


Will Johnson questioning be box office?

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
We now have 30 minutes to go until Boris Johnson faces the Liaison Committee in the UK Parliament.
Mr Johnson, who has been prime minister since July last year, has been accused of dodging scrutiny for failing to appear before the committee until now.
Ironic, perhaps, that he will finally go before this panel of senior cross-party MPs after days of damaging headlines that go to the heart of his administration.
The Dominic Cummings saga is almost certain to come up, but don’t expect a dramatic capitulation.
Rumblings on the Conservative benches have quietened down and Downing Street appears determined to ride this one out.
Equally, in the midst of a public health crisis there will be plenty of other important issues to get to - whether that’s testing, PPE, or plans to ease the lockdown.
And a 90-minute virtual session may prove to have its limitations (let’s hope everyone’s got a good internet connection and mastery of the unmute button...)
So, will this afternoon be box office? It is hard to say. Perhaps, if the grilling gets grisly or the prime minister has a rabbit to pull out of the hat.
But it could well test Boris Johnson’s grasp of the nitty-gritty around what his government is doing to tackle coronavirus, and why.

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Post by Kitkat on Wed May 27 2020, 20:01

Bodies held in London mosque for weeks after border closure

Weeks after they died, the bodies of 18 Turkish Cypriots due to be repatriated to their homeland are still being held in the Masjid Ramadan mosque in Hackney .
Islamic burials usually take place within 24 hours of death, but Northern Cyprus has closed its borders due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Authorities have granted approval for most of the bodies to be flown back after 1 June when the borders partially re-open.
The mosque's funeral director, Erkin Guney, said it had held an "unprecedented" number of funerals in the last six weeks, which had been "traumatic" for the community.

Lockdown generation 'may be affected for decades'

The coronavirus pandemic has damaged economies and caused a surge in unemployment around the world - with younger workers disproportionately affected, a UN agency warns.
A report by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) says more than one in six people aged under 29 have stopped working since the start of the health crisis, with young women hardest hit.
Covid-19, it says, could impact on the career opportunities of the "lockdown generation" for decades to come.
"People will be permanently scarred by the immediate effects of the pandemic," says the head of the ILO, Guy Ryder.
While the virus is currently responsible for more than 350,000 confirmed deaths worldwide, it is also destroying jobs, disrupting education and creating obstacles for those seeking to enter the labour market, the ILO says.
The agency is calling for urgent, large-scale programmes to support young people.

'No plans' to review lockdown fines, says police body

Away from the questioning in Westminster, the body coordinating the police response to the UK pandemic has said there are “no plans” to review lockdown fines issued to people who claimed they were travelling for childcare.
The National Police Chiefs’ Council (NPCC) said there was “no set process” for appealing penalty notices that had already been paid.
But the organisation added that if anyone believed they’d been given a fine in error they could challenge it in court.
It comes after Health Secretary Matt Hancock promised to "look at" such fines during yesterday's government briefing.
And that follows the PM's adviser Dominic Cummings' decision to drive from London to County Durham with his wife and child during lockdown.

Does the UK have the most generous furlough scheme?

Reality Check
During his appearance at the Liaison Committee earlier, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "I don't think there is any country that has done anything like the furlough scheme."
He also said, "the furlough scheme is more generous than any other scheme around the world."
The UK scheme currently pays 80% of a furloughed worker's salary and will run until October.
However, in the Netherlands, workers are entitled to as much as 90% of their previous earnings for three months. Meanwhile, in Italy, workers are eligible for 80% of their pay, the same as in the UK.
In Germany, workers with children can currently receive 67% of their salary from the government and are paid as much as €6,700 (£6,000) per month.
In France, furloughed workers are entitled to 70% of their salary, while minimum wage workers receive 100%.
Many countries in Europe have programmes similar to the UK's Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.
While most of them pay a smaller portion of the worker's salary, many of them are able to pay out more than the UK's maximum of £2,500 a month.

Johnson faced sticky moments in MPs' grilling

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
Testy at moments? Yes.
Did Boris Johnson appear irked at the repeated questions about his chief aide? Sure.
Did he budge on that issue? No.
Instead, there was an almighty heave to try and move the agenda on when he appeared before the Liaison Committee of senior MPs earlier.
We’ll have to wait for the next few days to see whether Downing Street has actually weathered the Dominic Cummings storm.
Notably, a couple more Tories emerged during the hearing to say they too thought Cummings should go.
More broadly, there were detailed questions across a range of Covid-related topics.
This is a committee of fairly seasoned politicians – some of whom aren’t remotely shy of trying to give the PM a good public grilling.
And there were some sticky moments where Johnson did appear to wobble - whether it was on the proportion of women helping make high-level decisions in government, or his grasp of the fact that some migrants can’t access certain benefits.
You might be able to see why prime ministers don’t always rush to appear before this particular panel of senior MPs.

New WHO foundation could ask public for funds

The World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a foundation that will allow it to target new sources of funding, including the general public.
The WHO Foundation, which will be based in Geneva but independent from the main body, will initially use any contributions to address the pandemic response. It will later look to tackle other global health emergencies.
"An important part of WHO's future success is broadening its donor base and increasing both the quantity and quality of funds at its disposal," said the head of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
The WHO itself is funded by a combination of members' fees based on wealth and population, and voluntary contributions.
News of the foundation comes just days after President Donald Trump threatened to end all US funding for the WHO, criticising the group's response to the outbreak.
Trump, who has been under fire for his own handling of the pandemic, temporarily halted funding to the WHO last month.

What did we learn from the PM and UK briefing?

It’s been a busy afternoon, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson appearing before senior MPs and Health Secretary Matt Hancock giving the daily UK briefing.
Here’s what we’ve learned:

  • A system to track down people with coronavirus symptoms will start tomorrow in England
  • The health secretary said anyone displaying symptoms, including under-fives, will now be eligible for testing
  • Boris Johnson ruled out an inquiry into the conduct of Dominic Cummings, insisting it was time to "move on" from the row over his top adviser's lockdown trip to County Durham
  • He also conceded the UK had failed to "learn the lessons" of the Sars and Mers outbreaks, and did not have a virus testing operation "ready to go on the scale that we needed"
  • He added that he hoped the two-metre social distancing rule could be reduced, and has asked scientists to review it
  • The PM also said the government was aiming to turn around tests in 24 hours - but would not set a timeline for when that will happen.

Moscow outbreak 'not only stabilised but improved'

Sarah Rainsford - BBC Moscow Correspondent
The coronavirus situation in Moscow has improved and restrictions will soon be eased, the city's mayor has said.
Sergei Sobyanin said the lockdown measures in the Russian capital would be partially relaxed from 1 June, with full details provided in the coming days.
Non-essential shops will reopen, as will providers of basic services such as dry cleaning.
"We can now talk about the next steps out of this crisis," the mayor told President Vladimir Putin during a televised video conference.
Moscow residents have been instructed to stay at home since 30 March, but the city's mayor said walks would soon be permitted with some restrictions.

Four more from Premier League clubs have coronavirus

Four Premier League footballers or coaches have tested positive for coronavirus in the latest round of testing.
The unnamed quartet - who work for three different clubs - will now self-isolate for seven days.
Eight people tested positive in the Premier League's first two rounds of testing - making it a total of 12 from 2,752 tests.
Premier League clubs today unanimously voted to resume contact training.
England's top flight is hoping to return in June, with no set date yet.

UK forced to close North Korea embassy

James Landale - Diplomatic correspondent
The UK has been forced to close its embassy in North Korea because of coronavirus travel restrictions imposed by Pyongyang, the Foreign Office says.
The lockdown in the country has made it "impossible" to rotate the small number of staff and sustain work at the diplomatic compound in the capital, it adds.
"The UK has temporarily closed its embassy in Pyongyang and our staff have departed the country," the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office said.
It added that diplomatic relations with North Korea were being maintained, and attempts to "re-establish our presence in Pyongyang" were ongoing.
Local reports have suggested that Pyongyang placed all foreign diplomats under effective house arrest, meaning that they were unable to leave their compounds.

China's Wuhan to open 100 mini-parks

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
One hundred mini-parks are going to be opened by the end of the year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the Covid-19 coronavirus.
The swift move appears to be aimed at encouraging locals to spend more time in green, outdoor spaces, rather than in condensed, urban areas.
According to the official People’s Daily newspaper, normally about 40 “mini-parks” are built in the city every year. If this new goal is realised, most citizens will have a park within a five-minute walk of home.
The local government has been seeking to reassure people that a second wave of Covid-19 is unlikely in the city in recent days. Wuhan has just concluded a drive to test all of its 11 million citizens in order to identify any asymptomatic carriers of the virus.
The People’s Daily says the parks will be between 300 and 5,000 square metres (3229 - 53819 sq ft), and will serve additional purposes in special circumstances, such as being a place “to put up shelters when major natural disasters occur”.

Donald Trump vs Twitter

Anthony Zurcher - BBC North America reporter
The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on Donald Trump’s re-election plans. His promise to maintain record-breaking economic expansion and “keep America great” has been swept away by record unemployment and the financial toll that the nationwide business-closure and shelter-in-place orders have taken.
During the outbreak, the president has leaned heavily on a favourite method of communication, Twitter, to bypass the filters of mainstream media.
However, some of the president’s sharpest attacks have been reserved for Twitter itself, which on Tuesday added a “fact check” label to his tweets - a first. Just a few hours after Twitter’s move, the president began threatening “big action” against the company (although it is unclear what authority the president has to do so).
Donald Trump has touted his “unpredictablity” and willingness to counter-punch when threatened as two of his biggest strengths, but Twitter has taken steps that could blunt one of his most effective weapons.

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Coronavirus - 27th May Empty Liaison Committee

Post by Kitkat on Wed May 27 2020, 20:29

Summary reports on the Liaison Committee as it happened today:


Liaison Committee begins questioning of PM

Committee chair Sir Bernard Jenkin welcomes Boris Johnson who is appearing at the committee via video link.
He says the committee will focus on the coronavirus crisis but that there remain other policy areas, including Brexit, which require scrutiny.
And we're under way.


Johnson does not commit to coming back before summer

The first question to Boris Johnson comes from Bernard Jenkin, saying it has been 12 months since a prime minister has appeared before the committee.
He asks Johnson to commit to attending regularly, including before the Commons breaks for the summer.
The PM says the committee is "very kind to want to see me again and more frequently".
But he adds: "Can I possibly get back to you on that, there is a lot on at the moment."

Johnson: Deeply sorry for hurt caused

Sir Bernard says the committee is "extremely concerned" about the issue of Dominic Cummings and asks if it has undermined the moral authority of the government.
Boris Johnson says he is "of course deeply sorry for all the hurt and pain and anxiety that people have been going through through this period".
He says: "I feel that my adviser has had quite a lot of autobiography recently. I have commented on it, people know my views, I don't propose to add to it.
"The public want us to focus on, as far as politicians possibly can, on uniting our message and focusing on their needs."

Johnson: Inquiry is not a good use of time

Asked why he has not launched an inquiry into the issue, Johnson says: "Quite frankly, I am not certain right now that an inquiry into that matter is an efficient use of time".
Sir Bernard Jenkin says it is very unusual for an adviser to hold a press conference in the gardens of Downing Street.
But Mr Johnson says: "I thought it would be a very good thing if people could understand what I had understood myself about what took place.
"And there you go, we had a long go at it and look, it has been a very frustrating episode and I understand why people have been so concerned.
"The country is going through a horrendously difficult time.
"What we need to do is focus on getting the message right then... move on and to get on with how we are going to sort out coronavirus."

Johnson: Time to move on

SNP MP Pete Wishart now takes over the questioning. He tells the PM he has been "brave to sacrifice credibility and popularity of the government just to stand by your man".
He suggests the public are less likely to follow the rules, adding "surely no man is more important than keeping this nation safe".
Boris Johnson replies that "a lot of what was written was false" and suggests Mr Wishart is making "party political points".
He adds that he disagrees the government's messaging has been undermined and says it is "time to move on".

'Anger is reaching fever pitch' - SNP MP

Mr Wishart keeps going on the issue of Dominic Cummings, despite the PM's insistence that it is time to move on.
He says anger is reaching "fever pitch" and urges the PM to let his adviser go.
Boris Johnson reiterates that Mr Wishart is making a political point.

Committee chair wants to send 'strong message'

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
Straight in there from the Liaison Committee chair, Bernard Jenkin, trying to get Boris Johnson to commit to coming back to appear before them before long.
Boris Johnson has been accused of avoiding the panel of senior MPs.
No commitment, though, from the prime minister, who says his time is scarce and asks can he "get back to them?".
So, Mr Jenkin tried to secure a commitment – adding that he wanted to send a “strong message”.
The message may have been received but it is not clear that it’s had the desired effect.

Johnson: Fantastic cooperation between UK nations

Next up is Tory MP Stephen Crabb who asks about the collaboration between the four nations during the crisis.
He says the PM has talked about the "national effort", but asks how "frustrating" it is that we haven't been able to act under a joined-up strategy.
Boris Johnson says there has been "fantastic cooperation between all four nations" and that the "differences are very marginal" between strategies.
He says it is "very important when there are slight differences" that there should be "slightly different approaches and that is what we have seen".
But asked about criticism from the Scottish government, the PM says: "It always suits those who have a separatist agenda to break up the UK to play up differences when perhaps the unity has been must more conspicuous than you might find."

Johnson accused of undermining public health message

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
The SNP’s Pete Wishart went in with both barrels, claiming that Boris Johnson - by "standing by his man" – has "united a nation in condemnation and indignation".
He warns that the saga has undermined the public health message, stating: "No man is more important than keeping this nation safe.”
But, as expected, the PM shows no sign of suddenly giving in and again insists that a lot of what’s been said about Dominic Cummings is “false".
He suggests too that there’s some political point-scoring in play.
Mr Johnson also strongly indicates there are no plans for a public inquiry, saying he doesn’t think it would be a good use of officials’ time right now.

Johnson will not publish 'evidence' from Cummings

Labour's Meg Hillier asks the PM about whether he had seen the evidence about so-called "false" allegations by the media on Dominic Cummings.
The PM says: "I don't want to go into much more than I said..."
But Ms Hillier pushes again, saying it is a "simple yes or no question".
After Johnson says he has seen the evidence, she asks if it should be published or handed to the cabinet secretary.
Johnson says: "I would not be doing my job if I were now to shuffle this problem into the hands of officials... who are working flat out to deal with coronavirus.
"I know there is a great political interest in this and I totally understand the public indignation, but... I have said what I have said about the whole business and it would be much better if we could move on."

Johnson praises 'fantastic responsibility' of British people

Northern Ireland Committee chair Simon Hoare suggests that the British people will be "far less energetic" about following lockdown as a result of Dominic Cummings' actions.
Boris Johnson argues that isn't true and praises the British people for responding "with fantastic responsibility".
He says continuing to follow rules will be "absolutely vital" as the UK moves into the next stage - and adds that the government will be making a decision on that tomorrow.

Cooper: You are trying to protect Cummings

Home Affairs Committee chair Yvette Cooper asks the PM for his advice to parents who may have the virus but need childcare, given the recent controversy over Mr Cummings in the last few days.
Boris Johnson says the clear advice is to stay at home and adds "if you have exceptional problems that may cause you to vary your arrangements".
Yvette Cooper continues to repeat her question while Mr Johnson insists "you would have to look at each individual case".
"The reason you are not giving a straight answer is because you are trying to protect Dominic Cummings and you don't want to apologise for him," says Ms Cooper.
The PM says it is no wonder the public "feel confused" when politicians are "bickering".

'Time to move on' is running theme for Johnson

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
No surprises that Simon Hoare is critical over the Dominic Cummings saga.
The Conservative MP has already said that the chief aide should go.
A running theme in the prime minister’s overall response here is that he thinks it’s time to move on and that the government’s time is pretty tied up with other things (namely, dealing with the virus).
The problem is that his critics say that what has happened, regarding his chief aide, could directly impact how the public responds to the evolving lockdown rules.
But the PM rejects suggestions that people are now more likely to flout them.

Johnson calls Cummings controversy 'political ding dong'

Tory MP Simon Hoare comes back in to say Cummings is now a "distraction" and he doesn't understand why he is so "pivotal" to Johnson.
The PM says he has "made that point several times".
He adds that he does understand people's feelings and why there is "such indignation about the pain of the whole business of lockdown".
But Johnson says the public wants politicians to "focus on them and their needs rather than a political ding dong".

Why two-metre distancing, PM asked

Science and Technology chair Greg Clark asks why the UK has a policy of recommending two-metre distancing while the WHO recommends one-metre.
Boris Johnson says the advice from scientific advisers on the Sage group says there remains a considerable reduction in risk at two metres.
Clark asks if he would consider reducing it soon to allow shops and workplaces to function.
The PM says he hopes to reduce that distance in the future.

PM hints at financial penalties for those who don't isolate

Clark now asks if it will be compulsory for someone to stay at home if they have come into contact with an infected person, under the new test-and-trace system.
Boris Johnson says staying at home in that situation would be good "not just for them but also good for the population".
Clark repeats his question.
"We wanted to make it clear that people must stay at home," the PM says.
Will it be the law or just advice, Clark wants to know.
"We will be asking people to stay at home - if they don't follow that advice, we will consider what sanctions may be necessary," says Johnson.
"By the police?"
"Whatever is appropriate," says the PM.

Cooper can't get the PM to budge on Cummings

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
Labour’s Yvette Cooper didn't hold back.
She is a veteran scrutineer and tries to crystallise the accusation that the PM is putting political concerns, in keeping his adviser, above the national interest.
But no matter how many of them try to get Boris Johnson to budge on this, it hasn’t worked.
However, he’s set himself up for a difficult balancing act, saying he understands the feelings of people who are angry about the whole thing whilst also effectively saying he doesn’t agree with their point of view.
An attempt also to suggest that the affair has turned into something of a political “ding dong”, strung out by the media.

Johnson: UK didn't learn lessons from other outbreaks

The questions to the PM now turn to the government's approach to tackling the pandemic.
The health committee chair, MP and former Conservative health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, says track and trace could be a "game changer" but is only possible with strong testing.
He asks the PM why it took until April to introduce a 100,000 test target.
Johnson says there were many difficulties with the virus, such as people being able to pass it on before showing symptoms.
But he says Public Health England "did not have the capacity" to launch a tracking system earlier, "nor did we have enough experienced trackers ready to mount the kind of operation they did in some other countries".
Johnson says the "brutal reality is this country did not learn the lessons" of previous outbreaks, and "did not have a testing operation ready to go but we now have that".

Johnson: Goal to have test results in 24 hours

Hunt then asks about people being discharged from hospitals to care homes and passing on the virus.
The PM says there was a "huge effort... to try to protect care homes", adding: "Don't forget, every discharge was made by clinicians and not when they were suspected coronavirus victims.
"And the number of discharges into care homes went down by 40%. It is just not true there was some concerted effort to get people out of NHS beds into care homes."
Hunt then asks about why there isn't a 24-hour turnaround time for test results.
Johnson says it is the "goal" but refused to give the committee a deadline for it to be met, saying he has been "forbidden from announcing any more targets or deadlines"

Test-and-trace system to launch tomorrow

The PM tells the committee the government's test-and-trace system will launch tomorrow.
He says it will be a "very important tool" in tackling coronavirus.
Johnson adds it will "be getting steadily better to becoming world-beating in the next few days as we go through June".
But he defends the time it has taken, saying the government had come from a "complete standing start to a huge operation".

How will track and trace work?

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
Boris Johnson has confirmed the system of track and trace in England will start on Thursday.
If you test positive for the coronavirus then you will be asked to provide details of who you have come into close contact with.
You will be told you must self-isolate for 14 days, even if you never become sick.
The prime minister said if people did not, then the government would consider bringing in fines.
The point is to pivot from lockdown for everyone to isolation for a few.

PM: We will use whack-a-mole tactics

Chair of the housing, communities and local government committee Clive Betts asks why the government didn't make more use of local directors of public health - who he says are experts in tracking - in the design of the test, track and trace system.
"We're not trying to reinvent the wheel," insists Johnson, adding: "We are using local experts."
Betts argues that local involvement was "an afterthought" and seeks to find out more about how the model will work locally.
Johnson points to the example of Weston-Super-Mare where there was an outbreak.
"We moved very quickly to close things down - that is the whack-a-mole tactics we are going to use," the PM says.

PM: 'Brutal reality' is we didn't learn from Sars or Mers

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
Jeremy Hunt v Boris Johnson; remember that?
They were the final two in last year’s Conservative party leadership contest.
Mr Hunt, a former health secretary, asks about claims we’ve heard before that the UK was too slow on testing.
Amongst the PM’s responses he says the “brutal reality” is the country didn’t learn the lessons from Sars or Mers outbreaks.
Ministers have previously pushed back on claims that it was this government that really failed to get to grips with what was coming.
However senior figures have also talked about learning lessons in future.
And many people more broadly believe that a public inquiry is near-inevitable down the track.

Johnson: Schools can return in 'safe' way

Tory MP Robert Halfon moves on to schools, asking the PM to reassure the public the phased school opening is "absolutely safe".
Johnson says the government "knows we can do it in a safe, socially distanced way" with the early years, reception, year-one and year-six pupils returning on Monday.
He says he "accepts not everybody will go back on day one, but we do expect people to return to school".
The PM says further years returning to school will be "kept under review".

What are the rules on looking after children?

Reality Check
At the beginning of this session, as MPs questioned the PM about his adviser Dominic Cummings, Labour's Yvette Cooper pressed Mr Johnson to clarify what the rules were for parents with Covid-19 symptoms after saying the current advice was “unclear”.
Mr Johnson replied that those with exceptional childcare problems might have to vary their arrangements.
So what are the rules?
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 local authority "hubs".

Johnson: We will support all measures to level-up

Asked if he will support the opening of summer schools to help left-behind children, Johnson says the "short answer is we will support any measures we can to level-up".
He says there is "no doubt there are huge social injustices taking place at the moment, with some children having better access to tutoring and schooling at home".
He adds: "That's not fair and is one of the reasons we need to get schools back."
Robert Halfon MP then asks for a number of policy pledges from the PM - namely an apprenticeship guarantee for pupils and for NHS students to be reimbursed for their fees for the academic year.
Johnson promises to look at both these suggestions but makes no firm commitment.
And asked about whether universities are taking the right approach by going fully online for the next year, or are better to create a hybrid way forward, the PM says: "It is a matter for universities.
"Face-to-face is preferable and I think all universities understand that."

Hard-working families are 'forced into destitution'

Stephen Timms, of the work and pensions committee, asks the PM about a couple in his constituency - they both work but the husband wasn't put on the worker retention scheme and they can no longer pay their rent.
Because they are on leave to remain in the UK they can't claim benefits, Timms says.
"Isn't it wrong that a hard-working, law-abiding family are being forced into destitution?" he asks.
"Why aren't they eligible for universal credit?" Johnson replies.
Timms explains those are the conditions attached to their leave to remain.
"I'm going to have to come back to you on that - clearly people who work hard for this country should have support," replies Johnson.

PM: Big employment support programme 'likely'

Stephen Timms now asks if the UK is going to need a much bigger employment support programme once the pandemic is over.
"It is very likely," says the PM and he praises the actions the government has already taken so far, such as the furlough scheme.
"The challenge now is going to be getting the economy moving again," he says.


Hancock to lead UK briefing at 17.30 BST

As senior MPs continue to question Boris Johnson, just a reminder that we are expecting the usual UK daily press conference to take place straight after at around 17.30 BST.
The briefing will be led by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who will be speaking alongside Jonathan Van Tam, deputy chief medical officer for England.
We’re also expecting to hear from Dido Harding, who heads up the UK’s test and trace programme – after the PM announced it would start in England tomorrow .

Johnson: Women need protections at work

Tory MP and chair of the women and equalities committee Caroline Nokes asks what advice the government has taken on the effect on women of the phased return to work - especially on childcare.
Johnson lists a number of appointments he has made who were women, but Ms Nokes interrupts, saying the Equality and Human Rights Commission believes they have "been ignored".
The PM says a general study is being conducted across Whitehall about the inequalities linked to Covid, which will report at the end of the month.
Asked about concerns around childcare and legal protections for women returning to work, Johnson says: "It is very important people are given the protections they need and while it is true more women have been furloughed, it is also a more generous scheme than virtually any other scheme in the world.
"We need to get moving, keep fighting the virus and help people get into work."

Will taxes go up?

Treasury committee chair Mel Stride asks if, given the PM has ruled out austerity, the country should expect a rise in taxes.
"You're just going to have to wait until the chancellor brings forward his proposals," replies Johnson.
Stride asks the question again and the PM says he wants to keep taxes "as low as we can" while investing in public services.

Johnson wants more female representation

Earlier, Tory MP Caroline Nokes pressed her point on female representation in policy-making, saying the UK went into the pandemic with record female employment - but to come out of it, will need a "functioning childcare system with additional assistance".
Johnson says the government has "already invested considerably in supporting childcare, and we will do whatever it takes to help women get back into work".
Pushed on the impact of women on government decisions - and the lack of women representing the government during the crisis - Johnson says he doesn't think there have been enough appointments, but adds: "There had been a lot.
"It is certainly true I would like to have had more female representation in press conferences so far."
He is asked by Sir Bernard if having women around the table makes a difference to the big decisions. The PM replies: "It makes a huge difference. It may be a vaguely sexist thing to say, but it is very important."
But asked how many women is enough to have in his team, Johnson says: "Oh boy, that is a question I am not confident to pronounce.
"It is incredibly important to us as Conservatives and if we have more than 50%, that would be great."

Will PM keep pensions triple lock promise?

Mel Stride also asked the PM if he will maintain the triple lock for pensions - a promise that was included in the Conservative manifesto.
"We are going to keep all our manifesto promises," replies Johnson.
Stride also asks if the government can guarantee there will be no rises in income tax or VAT.
"You know where my instincts lie," replies the prime minister.

The Cummings questions aren't going away

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
Ah, does the shadow of the Dominic Cummings saga cast itself again?
As the questions turned to what the government will do in future, former business secretary Greg Clark asked if, when track and trace is up and running, it will be compulsory for people to stay at home - or can people use their judgement?
Dominic Cummings’ critics say the "stay-at-home" advice was certainly compulsory, with few exceptions, back in late March.
And they’ve lambasted the chief aide’s judgement that he could – within the rules – first head to County Durham to self-isolate and then test his eyesight on a drive to Barnard Castle.
Nevertheless, Boris Johnson hints that sanctions, financial or otherwise, could be levied on those who don’t obey the new rules around track and trace.

Johnson: Help for self-employed 'kept under review'

Labour's Darren Jones, who chairs the business committee, has a short and sharp run of exchanges with the PM.
Asked how much of the British economy will end up in state ownership after the crisis, Johnson says he can't provide a figure.
Asked how government support will be split between sectors, Johnson says he can't give an answer.
And asked about why there hasn't been an extension to the self-employment scheme past this coming weekend, despite a three-month extension to the furlough scheme, Johnson says the government is keeping it "under review".
Jones concludes his set of questions asking again about the PM's chief aide Dominic Cummings, and asks Johnson to outline which of the allegations in the press proved to be untrue.
The PM says he has "nothing to add", before saying: "I have repeatedly said to other distinguished members of this committee my strong belief is... although I understand people's frustrations and indignation with the whole business... I think what the country wants is for us to focus on how to go forward on the test and trace scheme, how to protect their jobs... and to beat this virus."


UK briefing running slightly late

With the PM's appearance at the Commons Liaison Committee running slightly longer than scheduled, there will be a bit of a delay to the daily UK government press conference.
It had been due to start at 17.30 BST - but stay with us and we will bring you the latest updates here as we get them.

More rumblings emerge on PM's top aide

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
Conservative rumblings for Dominic Cummings to go had quietened down this morning.
So Number 10 might not be delighted to see that a couple more have emerged as this afternoon’s committee hearing takes place.
Mid Derbyshire’s Pauline Latham has posted that she has decided to make her view known to the PM that she thinks Cummings should resign.
And Giles Watling, who says he’s listening to the Liaison Committee, clearly isn’t convinced either.
The Clacton MP says he has also concluded that the chief aide should stand down, calling Cummings’ continued presence an “unwanted distraction”.
I’m just quickly doing the maths but that looks to put the total of Tory MPs who’ve publicly said it’s time for Dominic Cummings to go at around 40.

Why didn't the UK quarantine earlier?

Huw Merriman from the transport committee asks why the UK did not start quarantining people coming from abroad earlier.
"The scientific advice was very clear it would make no difference," replies the PM.
He says the UK is doing it now because "we don't want to see re-infection".
He adds that "air bridges" with other countries could be agreed if the UK makes progress in reducing the infection rate.

MP raises British Airways employee issue

Merriman goes on to ask what the PM thinks of British Airways putting employees on the furlough scheme but threatening them with redundancy.
Johnson says he doesn't want to go into the actions of individual companies, but adds: "People should not be using furlough to cynically keep people on their books and then get rid of them."
The PM says the government is "looking at what we can do".

Johnson: Beating the virus requires common sense

Labour's Meg Hillier comes back in to say the PM has been "clear he wants to be focusing on the agenda" and "stress the vital message".
But she asks if the message has become unclear since the controversy over Dominic Cummings.
Johnson says no, adding: "I think the message during lockdown was very clear and people who had the virus, including my adviser, isolated for 14 days and people stayed at home."
Hillier interjects, saying she has been contacted by numerous people who didn't know they could do what Cummings did.
Johnson says: "I think the most important thing is for everybody to focus on next steps.
"I really dispute [that the message is unclear] as I am looking at the figures every day, seeing continual compliance by the British public, as they understand [it] requires common sense."

Johnson: All decisions taken in good faith

Labour's Yvette Cooper returns to the question of whether the UK should have quarantined earlier and asks if the government will publish the scientific advice for that decision.
The PM replies that Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser, has said all advice from Sage, the group of scientists advising the government, will be published.
He adds that all decisions were taken "in good faith".

Johnson 'more optimistic' about hospitality industry

Sir Bernard raises points from members who are not present, asking firstly about what is being done to help the hospitality industry.
Johnson says the government is "really trying to go as fast as we can".
He says, while it is "really difficult to bring forward hospitality measures in a way that [adheres to] social distancing", he is "much more optimistic than [he] was that we may be able to do things faster".
Sir Bernard also says it "seems to take a long time for lessons to be learned" on the tackling of coronavirus, and asks on behalf of another committee chair whether having a headquarters to deal with the virus would help.
But the PM doesn't agree, saying the operation in No 10 is working well.


PM questioning concludes

"This has been of great benefit," says Bernard Jenkin, bringing the session to a close. He urges the PM to come back to the committee before the summer.
Johnson says that while he has enjoyed the questioning, they take a lot of preparation and the government is already working "flat out" to beat coronavirus.
And there the committee ends.
But stick with us for the daily UK press conference - led today by Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

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Coronavirus - 27th May Empty Re: Coronavirus - 27th May

Post by Kitkat on Wed May 27 2020, 22:09

If you're just joining us...

Welcome. A lot has happened today, so here are some of the main developments from around the world so far:

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been grilled again about his top adviser Dominic Cummings, who is accused of breaking lockdown rules. Johnson today ruled out an inquiry , insisting it was time to "move on" from the row
  • The prime minister also announced a massive test and trace system , which aims to find people who come into close contact with those infected with coronavirus
  • A recovery fund worth €750bn (£670bn; $825bn) has been proposed by the EU's executive Commission to help the bloc tackle an "unprecedented crisis"
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a foundation that will allow it to target new sources of funding - including the general public
  • A UN agency has warned that younger workers are being disproportionately hit by a global surge in unemployment caused by the pandemic. Covid-19, it says, could impact on the career opportunities of a "lockdown generation" for decades to come

'Test and trace will require people to absorb new rules'

Jessica Parker - BBC political correspondent
The UK government is launching what it sees as a pivotal part of this country slowly emerging from the current lockdown: its test and trace programme.
It’s a change that’s going to require people in England to absorb and act on new rules around self-isolation.
Matt Hancock said that sticking by those rules will be voluntary for now, but added it could become mandatory.
The Health Secretary appealed to people’s “civic duty” and said that he trusted the public “to do the right thing”.
But the actions of Dominic Cummings – and the debate about whether he did the right thing – could hang over this command.
There have been numerous warnings, including from some Tory MPs, that trust is something of a two-way street. However, it may only be clear once this new way of combating the virus actually starts to bed in, whether public trust has been really eroded and to what extent.

How does contact tracing work?

England and Scotland's contact tracing systems will be launched on Thursday, in a move which could limit future outbreaks of coronavirus.
A team of 25,000 contact tracers in England will track down people who have been near someone infected with coronavirus, and ask them to self-isolate for 14 days from the time of contact with the infected person.
Northern Ireland's version has already started, while Wales is due to begin its own in early June.
Contact tracing has been used around the world, including in Hong Kong, Singapore and Germany.
The BBC's Eleanor Lawrie has been looking into the method.

He's a fool': Trump and Biden spar over masks

Former US Vice-President Joe Biden has called President Donald Trump "an absolute fool" for appearing to mock him for donning a mask at a Memorial Day ceremony on Monday.
The president retweeted a disparaging post from a Fox News personality, apparently insulting Biden's masked appearance. He later denied that he was making fun of his Democratic rival.
Trump has mostly refused to wear masks in public, deepening a partisan divide over the practice. A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation this month found that 89% of Democrats and 72% of independents report wearing a mask every time or most of the time when they leave home, compared to 58% of Republicans.

Boeing cuts to hit 12,000 workers as travel plunges

In the coming weeks, more than 12,000 Boeing workers in the US are set to lose their jobs as cuts at the American aerospace giant take effect.
The firm said it would inform workers of 6,670 cuts this week and has also approved 5,520 voluntary redundancies.
The planned reductions are not a surprise after Boeing revealed plans last month to slash its global workforce by 10% - or roughly 16,000 jobs.
"I wish there were some other way," chief executive Dave Calhoun said.
The company was already in crisis after two fatal crashes of its 737 Max led to the global grounding of the plane last year - and now a drop in demand for air travel has left it reeling.
Read more here

EU recovery fund - now the hard work starts

Gavin Lee - BBC Europe reporter
Today was all about the pitch by Ursula von der Leyen - a recovery fund worth €750bn (£670bn; $825bn) - and it's just the start. It will take a Herculean effort by the European Commission to get all member states on-side, especially as it wants this agreed by leaders at the next EU summit in three weeks' time.
After a round-robin of calls to European diplomats this afternoon, I got a clear sense that there’s not yet an overall majority in favour. Southern Mediterranean countries such as Portugal, Spain, Greece and Italy have all indicated initial support. There are many countries, including Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria and Lithuania, that won’t commit either way until they’ve read the small print of the plans.
And there is well-publicised opposition from the self-proclaimed "frugal four" consisting of Austria, Sweden, Denmark and the Netherlands.
The feeling here in Brussels is that it will need to be a face-to-face meeting between leaders to forge a compromise, because videoconferencing is a poor substitute for fiscal diplomacy. And that’s not likely to happen until internal borders are reopened, some time over the summer.

What's required if the NHS asks you to isolate?

Reality Check
People in England who are contacted through the new NHS Test and Trace team will be required to self-isolate for up to 14 days – even if they don’t have symptoms.
This means you should stay at home and not leave it for any reason - including leaving the house to buy food or medicine. Instead, you should order these online or by phone or ask someone to deliver them to your home.
You should not have visitors and you should do any exercise at home.
Find out how self-isolating works and how long you need to do it for .

Political rivals Trump and Cuomo meet at White House

US President Donald Trump met New York Governor Andrew Cuomo today, and the political rivals discussed major infrastructure projects which Cuomo hopes will help jump-start his state's beleaguered economy.
Noting the "political differences" between himself and the Republican president, the Democrat said the two had had a good discussion.
New York reported 74 deaths in the past 24 hours, continuing the state's downward trend in Covid-19 infections, hospitalisations and fatalities.

Has the US conducted the most Covid-19 tests?

US President Donald Trump has tweeted that the country has tested 15.5 million people for Covid-19, and that the figure is "by far the most in the world".
But does this claim stand up to scrutiny?
In fact, the BBC Reality Check team has fact-checked the president's claims on testing before, and found them wanting.
It is difficult to find truly accurate numbers for global testing because different countries have different ways of conducting and counting tests.
This means that in order to compare numbers, we have to decide whether figures from around the world are comparable, or even trustworthy.
According to figures from China's state news agency Xinhua, the combined number of people tested in just two areas totals around 17 million – that's 10.41 million in the province of Guangdong and 6.5 million in Wuhan , where the city authorities say they plan to test the entire population of around 11 million.

Police raid Ecuador ministry over test kits

Police in Ecuador have raided the offices of the health ministry and the home of the health minister over alleged overpricing of coronavirus testing kits.
Jorge Yunda, the mayor of Ecuador's capital, Quito, has called for the temporary resignation of Health Minister Lenin Mantilla so that an independent inquiry can take place.
Two-hundred thousand kits were imported from South Korea to be used in Ecuador, one of the worst-affected countries in South America, with nearly 40,000 people infected and more than 3,200 deaths.

When will we have a drug to treat Covid-19?

James Gallagher - Health and science correspondent, BBC News
More than 150 different drugs are being researched around the world. Most are existing drugs that are being trialled against the virus.
Antiviral treatments are being tested to see if they directly affect the coronavirus's ability to thrive inside the body, and drugs that can calm the immune system are also of interest.
The latest clinical trials of an antiviral drug originally developed to treat Ebola, for example, have been encouraging .
Research centres around the world are also attempting to use survivors' blood as a treatment, in the hope that the antibodies they have built up will help to clear the virus in others.

Asian Americans face spike of abuse amid virus spread

Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, authorities in New York City and Los Angeles say that hate incidents against people of Asian descent have increased considerably. A reporting centre says it has received over 1,700 reports of coronavirus-related discrimination from at least 45 US states since it launched in March.
In states including New York, California, and Texas, East Asians have been spat on, punched or kicked - and in one case even stabbed.
The spike in anti-Asian prejudice has left many Asian Americans wondering where they fit in US society.
"Then the pandemic made me realise that because I am Asian, and because of how I look like or where I was born, I could never become one of them," one woman tells the BBC.
Read more about the rise in abuse of Asian Americans and what it reveals about US identity .

Can coronavirus affect eyesight?

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
The Prime Minister's adviser Dominic Cummings says he drove 30 minutes from Durham to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight before driving back to London after recovering from coronavirus symptoms.
Eye symptoms with coronavirus have been reported, say the Royal College of Ophthalmologists and the College of Optometrists.
Like any upper respiratory tract infection, including colds and flu, it can cause irritation of the membrane covering the eye - a condition called conjunctivitis or sometimes pink or red eye (because the whites of the eyes become bloodshot).
The World Health Organization now includes this alongside other more common symptoms of the virus - but UK guidelines do not.
Viral conjunctivitis can make the eyes water and feel gritty and uncomfortable, rather than painful.
It does not usually interfere greatly with eyesight.
Read more here.

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Coronavirus - 27th May Empty Re: Coronavirus - 27th May

Post by Kitkat on Wed May 27 2020, 22:32

California hospitals overwhelmed by Covid patients

The only two hospitals in Southern California's rural Imperial County were forced to close their doors to new Covid patients this week, after admitting a flood of patients from Mexico.
Roughly half of the coronavirus patients in several of the California hospitals dotting the US southern border are recent arrivals from Mexico, reports the Washington Post newspaper.
The patients traveling from Mexico to the US include some of the 1.5 million Americans who live there.
As a result, Imperial County - which sits directly on the border - has a markedly higher rate of infection than any other county in California: 760 per 100,000 residents, the Post reports.

Fewer than half of Americans would opt for a Covid jab

Fewer than half of Americans say they would get a vaccine for the coronavirus if one became available, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
While just 49% of Americans would opt in, the majority - 61% - say they expect a vaccine will be publicly available by 2021, with only 17% saying it will take longer.
About 1 in 5 Americans say they do not plan to get vaccinated, while 31% remain unsure.
Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump unveiled Operation Warp Speed, a mission to expedite vaccine development. He has promised to deliver a jab by year-end, a timeline widely disputed by scientists.

Democrats disapprove of Trump's 4 July celebration plans

US President Donald Trump is pushing ahead with his plans for a 4 July parade in Washington, DC, in the face of protests from local lawmakers and virus concerns.
A group of Democratic lawmakers penned a letter to the Trump administration saying that Trump's proposed parade would "needlessly risk the health and safety of thousands of Americans".
DC will begin its phased reopening later this week, though gatherings of 10 or more people are still banned.
Gatherings of more than 250 people - like the crowds that assembled for last year's celebration - will not be allowed until a virus vaccine is found, or the public health risk is drastically reduced.
Trump's Salute to America - last year's 4 July celebration in DC - featured military flyovers and fireworks, drew tens of thousands of people to downtown DC, and cost $5.4m (£4.4m).

Cyprus pledges to cover costs of Covid-hit tourists

Cyprus says it will cover all costs - including medication, accommodation, food and drink - for anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 while on holiday on the Mediterranean island.
Patients and their families on vacation there will only have to pay to be transported back to the airport and for their flights home.
An exclusive 100-bed hospital, equipped with intensive care units and respirators, will provide care for anyone who becomes seriously ill with the virus, the government says.
A 500-bed "quarantine hotel" will also be provided.
The Cypriot government says that its tourist season will open on 9 June to travellers from Germany, Greece and Israel.
"For our important markets like the UK, Russia and Sweden, I expect early July," deputy tourism minister Savvas Perdios said.

Drones to deliver equipment to hospitals

Drones are set to be used to deliver medical supplies and personal protective equipment to hospitals in the US state of North Carolina.
A company called Zipline will be allowed to use drones on two specified routes after the Federal Aviation Administration granted it an emergency waiver.
It is the first time the FAA has allowed beyond-line-of-sight drone deliveries in the US.
Read more here.

The advice you would give your pre-lockdown self

With the benefit of hindsight, it's easy to think of things we wish we'd done before coronavirus uprooted our lives.
We asked you - if you could go back to the beginning of 2020, what would your pre-lockdown advice for yourself be?
Responses ranged from "buy stock in Zoom" and "find a partner to self-isolate with", to "spend as much time with loved ones as you can and hug them extra tight."
Read a selection of the answers and tell us your own here.

That's all for now

That's it for Wednesday's live page coverage.
Here's a look back at some of the most significant developments from around the world today:

  • The US is now very close to becoming the first country to lose 100,000 lives to Covid-19. The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths worldwide has reached more than 353,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University
  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson faced more questions about his top adviser Dominic Cummings, who is accused of breaking lockdown rules. Johnson today ruled out an inquiry and said it was time to "move on" from the row
  • The prime minister also announced a massive test and trace system , which aims to find people who come into close contact with those infected with coronavirus
  • A recovery fund worth €750bn (£670bn; $825bn) was proposed by the EU's executive Commission. The package of grants and loans will be distributed among EU member states to help tackle the "unprecedented crisis"
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a foundation that will allow it to target new sources of funding - including the general public
  • A UN agency has warned that younger workers are being disproportionately hit by a global surge in unemployment caused by the pandemic. Covid-19, it says, could impact on the career opportunities of a "lockdown generation" for decades to come

And finally... You've been kept up-to-date today by a few of us here at the BBC, including Owen Amos, Saira Asher, Andreas Illmer, Krutika Pathi, Yvette Tan, Frances Mao, Sean Fanning, Claire Heald, Gareth Evans, Rob Greenall, Joseph Lee, Steven Sutcliffe, Emlyn Begley, Rebecca Seales, Kate Whannel, Jennifer Scott, Jo Couzens, Holly Honderich, Mal Siret and Paulin Kola.

    Current date/time is Tue Sep 29 2020, 18:43