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Coronavirus - 3rd June

Kitkat
Kitkat
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Posts : 6173
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 3rd June Empty Coronavirus - 3rd June

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jun 03 2020, 10:35

Summary for Wednesday, 3rd June


  • Travellers from most European countries will be allowed into Italy from Wednesday, with no quarantine
  • Italy is also lifting restrictions on domestic travel, allowing people to move between regions
  • The UK government defends its 14-day quarantine for travellers, which begins on Monday
  • The Lancet "raises concern" about a hydroxychloroquine study that caused the WHO to suspend trials
  • Brazil's death toll exceeds 30,000, the highest in South America
  • Globally, there have been almost 6.4m confirmed cases and 379,000 deaths


Welcome back to our rolling coverage of the global coronavirus crisis. We’ll be keeping you posted on all developments from around the world as the day moves from Asia across Europe and Africa to the Americas.
Here’s what you need to know this morning:

  • Italy is getting ready to open its borders today to travellers from most European countries. It's also lifting domestic travel restrictions between regions
  • Across Europe, new cases are steadily declining, the World Health Organization says. The only exceptions are Russia and other Eastern European countries where infection rates remain high
  • In the UK, a study has found that people from the black and Asian minorities are at a much higher risk of dying if ill with Covid-19. The UK death toll is now close to 40,000
  • In Brazil, the death toll has moved beyond 30,000. The country is the worst-hit in Latin America, the world’s current hotspot of the pandemic
  • India has registered a new record daily spike of fresh infections, even as restrictions ease


Italy open for tourists again

As Europe gradually eases lockdowns and restrictions, Italy will open its borders to tourists from most other European countries in a few hours.
Travel restrictions within the country will also be lifted, so people can move freely between different regions.
"We're facing a calculated risk in the knowledge that the contagion curve may rise again," Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in May when announcing the plans. "We have to accept it otherwise we will never be able to start up again."
Tourism is vital for Italy's economy but had come to a complete standstill during the virus crisis. Some landmarks like the Colosseum in Rome have already opened over the past days.
Italy has been one of Europe's worst-hit countries with more than 230,000 infections and 33,500 deaths.

Australians warned to brace for recession

Australia's GDP shrank 0.3% for the first three months of the year due to bushfires and the early stages of the virus's impact, official data released this morning shows.
That means the country - which has been quite successful in containing the virus - will sink into its first recession in 29 years. The government has warned Australians to brace themselves.
The March quarter figures take into account the preliminary impact of border and business closures. But it's the June quarter results which will show the greater impact - the treasury has estimated a GDP hit of over 10% - which would be the largest fall on record.
The unemployment rate is also expected to reach over 10%. More than a quarter of Australia's workforce is currently on some form of welfare.

Australians most intense panic buyers in the world

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The scene at supermarkets in Australia in March

Panic buying was a phenomenon in many countries in the first stages of the virus lockdown – you’ll remember that staples such as toilet paper, pasta and rice were all hard to get hold of.
But researchers have now assessed that Australians were most caught up in the rush – and for seemingly no good reason. Supermarket sales jumped 20% in March – the biggest increase on record.
“The experience of Australia is notable for the incredible speed and scale with which panic took hold," the University of New South Wales team found.
"Unlike in other countries, the escalation in panic does not appear to correspond with any significant increase in domestic Covid-19 cases."

Instead they argue that Australians, watching the crisis unfold in Italy and the US at the time, were reacting to overseas restrictions and the country’s borders being shut.
The researchers created the "Panic Index" from Google search data across 56 countries.

Backlash in China after front-line doctor dies

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The death of a front-line doctor in China is provoking a backlash against the government's handling of the virus. Dr Hu Weifeng passed away on 2 June, after a months-long fight with Covid-19.
The news has triggered an outpouring of anger on Chinese social media sites.
He and a colleague made headlines in March, when their skin turned black "due to liver dysfunction" during the treatment.
They became known as "the two black-faced Wuhan doctors", and won nationwide praise for fighting back against the virus, as both had been critically ill.
The Communist Youth League called them "angels who had fought with death", and Weibo users sympathised with how much they had to endure.


First death in Bangladesh Rohingya refugee camp

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A 71-year old man has become the first Rohingya living in the refugee camps in south-east Bangaldesh to die of coronavirus.
The man died in an isolation centre run by the medical charity MSF. He had been living in Kutupalong, the largest of the camps in Cox's Bazar district bordering Myanmar.
So far at least 29 Rohingya refugees have been confirmed to have the coronavirus in the most densely populated refugee camp in the world. Officials say only 339 tests have been done.
"We are living in fear about what we are going to do if there is a big outbreak," refugee Mohammed Rafiq told Reuters.
"It is a ticking time bomb," says Alejandro Agustin Cuyar of Relief International. "Once the virus takes hold, it will be incredibly challenging to flatten the curve, so we are gravely concerned the numbers needing treatment will soon be overwhelming."
Nearly a million Rohingya Muslims who fled violence in Myanmar are living in Bangladesh.

Daily record toll puts Brazil deaths past 31,000

Brazil has registered another record number of new daily coronavirus deaths. The 1,262 new fatalities put its overall death toll at 31,199.
The jump comes as several major cities start to open back up. In Rio people were seen on the beaches and in Sao Paulo some commerce has opened.
Marcos Espinal, director of the Pan American Health Organization, said it was difficult to see how the virus would be contained in Brazil unless restrictive measures and more testing were used.
Brazil has 555,383 confirmed infections, second only to the US. The country is deeply divided over how to respond to the crisis, with health specialists and local governors arguing for a lockdown while President Jair Bolsonaro says an economic crisis would be more harmful than the virus itself.

Australia Treasurer says economy 'in recession'

The Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg is speaking on the just-released GDP figures - which showed a 0.3% contraction in the first three months of the year.
This was inevitable given the impact of the virus and ongoing drought and bushfire effects. But because Australia has dealt so well with the virus on the health front - essentially flattening the curve in March and April - the economic hit may not be as bad as predicted, he says.
Nonetheless, June figures are expected to show GDP fall over 10%, and unemployment around that level too.
The nation is certain to enter a recession (two quarters of GDP decline) on those numbers.
But with the country exiting lockdown last month and re-opening businesses, household spending is slowly rebounding, the Treasurer says.
The local share market is recovering, the Australian dollar has regained its losses, and most importantly, tourism and other service industries are kicking back into life.
"It's a challenging time but the economy is holding up comparatively well to other nations," says Frydenberg.
"What we were facing was an economist's version of Armageddon. We have avoided the economic fate, and the health fate, of other nations because of the measures we took."

Zoom sees sales boom amid pandemic

Natalie Sherman - New York business reporter
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When it comes to its growth rate, video conference company Zoom has lived up to its name.
Use of the firm's software jumped 30-fold in April, as the coronavirus pandemic forced millions to work, learn and socialise remotely.
At its peak, the firm counted more than 300 million daily participants in virtual meetings, while paying customers have more than tripled.
Zoom said it expects sales as high as $1.8bn (£1.4bn) this year - roughly double what it forecast in March.


South Korea approves remdesivir

South Korea has approved the import of remdesivir, a drug that appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus.
Remdesivir cut the duration of symptoms from 15 days down to 11 in clinical trials at hospitals around the world.
The drug is already approved for treatment of Covid-19 in the US, Japan and India.
Scientists around the world are rushing to develop a vaccine against SARS-CoV-2 or a treatment for Covid-19, the illness resulting from infection.
Remdesivir is an anti-viral medicine that has been used against Ebola. Other drugs being investigated include medication used for malaria and HIV.

Covid patients evacuated as cyclone nears Mumbai

More than 100 patients from a recently-built Covid-19 field hospital in Mumbai are among the 10,000 people to be evacuated as a cyclone approaches.
Cyclone Nisarga, which is approaching across the Arabian Sea from the south-west, would be the first serious cyclone to make landfall in the city since 1891.
With 20 million people, Mumbai is India's most populous city and its financial capital.
And with more than 40,000 confirmed virus cases, and almost 1,400 deaths, it is the worst-affected city in India.


G7 finance ministers to discuss virus fallout

The finance ministers of the G7 countries will hold a phone conference on Wednesday evening to discuss the economic impact the pandemic will have and how to combat that.
An actual G7 summit has recently been postponed. US President Donald Trump had invited leaders to Washington for a meeting in June but the summit was called off after some leaders said they would not attend in person due to the ongoing crisis.
The summit is now thought to be moved to an unspecified future date and Trump has suggested adding Russia, South Korea, Australia and India to the list of countries invited.

Pakistan city 'may have 670,000 asymptomatic cases'

Health officials have recommended that Pakistan's Punjab province be placed under a 30-day lockdown after a government sample survey suggested that 670,000 people in the provincial capital, Lahore, could be asymptomatic carriers of Covid-19, report local media.
Lahore, home to around 12 million, has more than 27,000 confirmed cases.
The report also warned that "no workplace and residential area of any town" is free from the virus , reported the Dawn newspaper.
Earlier this week, PM Imran Khan defended lifting the lockdown amid rising cases and a devastated economy, saying Pakistanis would have to "live with the virus". The country has confirmed more than 76,000 cases and 1,621 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

New Zealand may shift to lowest alert level

New Zealand may drop its alert to the lowest level as early as next week, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has said. That would mean lifting all social distancing measures and a return to normal life - except international travel.
The country had only a few infections and deaths and for the past 12 days has not had any new cases. There is just one active case remaining.
That's more than two months after the government imposed a severe lockdown, closing most businesses and forcing people to stay home.
Ardern said that by next Monday she'll make the call on whether to take the country to the lowest alert level.

Premier League clubs given go-ahead for friendlies

The Premier League has given clubs permission to play friendly matches, with strict restrictions, before the restart on 17 June.
Top-flight sides made requests to face other teams in preparation for the league's return, which was accepted, according to the Telegraph. Premier League leaders Liverpool held an 11-a-side game in training at Anfield on Monday.
Friendlies can be played at either stadiums or training grounds.
However, the Premier League has outlined a number of conditions such as negative Covid-19 tests being returned by players involved.


Students might have to stay in 'protective bubble'

Sean Coughlan - BBC News, education correspondent
Students in the UK might have to stay in a "protective bubble" of the same small group, when university campuses reopen in the autumn.
University leaders suggested students would live and study with the same group to minimise mixing.
They were setting out safety measures for a socially-distanced student life - including a virtual freshers' week.
A survey suggested 71% of students would prefer to start the term later, if they got more in-person teaching.
University campuses have been closed since the coronavirus lockdown, with teaching switching online, and their representative body, Universities UK, has been setting out how they might bring students back for the autumn term.


Ibuprofen tested as a treatment

Michelle Roberts - Health editor, BBC News online
Scientists are running a trial to see if ibuprofen can help hospital patients who are sick with coronavirus.
The team from London's Guy's and St Thomas' hospital and Kings College believe the drug, which is an anti-inflammatory as well as a painkiller, could treat breathing difficulties.
They hope the low-cost treatment can keep patients off ventilators.
In the trial , called Liberate, half of the patients will receive ibuprofen in addition to usual care.
The trial will use a special formulation of ibuprofen rather than the regular tablets that people might usually buy. Some people already take this lipid capsule form of the drug for conditions like arthritis.
Studies in animals suggest it might treat acute respiratory distress syndrome - one of the complications of severe coronavirus.

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UK holidaymakers 'welcome' in Portugal

Tom Burridge - Transport correspondent
Portugal's foreign minister has said anyone in the UK thinking of going to Portugal this summer would be "most welcome".
Augusto Santos Silva said tourists will be warned how full beaches are so that they can avoided crowded spots.
Santos Silva told the BBC that an "air bridge" agreement between the UK and Portugal could be in place by the end of June.
Holidaymakers would not be subject to a 14-day quarantine under a deal.
He said any travel quarantine "was an enemy of tourism", but that he respected the UK government's decision to enforce one on almost all arrivals to the UK from next Monday.
Santos Silva said "rules" would ensure that people would be able to holiday safely.


F1 boss says positive test would not cancel a race

Andrew Benson - BBC Sport's chief F1 writer

A race would not be cancelled in the re-started season if a driver or team member tested positive for coronavirus, says Formula 1 boss Chase Carey.
The F1 chairman and chief executive was speaking after F1 announced the first eight races of a rescheduled 2020 season starting in Austria on 5 July.
"We will have a procedure in place that finding an infection will not lead to a cancellation," said Carey.
"If a driver has an infection, [teams have] reserve drivers available."
The season-opening Australian Grand Prix was called off in March after a McLaren team member tested positive.
But Carey told the F1 website: "The array of 'what ifs' are too wide to play out every one of them, but a team not being able to race wouldn't cancel the race."


Latest UK headlines

Good morning, and welcome to those of you joining us from the UK. We’ll be keeping you updated on all the latest developments from Westminster and around the country.
Here’s what you need to know this morning:

  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been accused of mismanaging the easing of virus restrictions in the UK by Labour leader Keir Starmer, who said the PM was "winging it"
  • Mr Johnson and Sir Keir will go head-to-head later at Prime Minister's Questions for the first time since the row erupted over the prime minister's chief adviser Dominic Cummings
  • The government will also give more details of its proposals to require the majority of those arriving in the UK from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days, amid criticism of the quarantine plan
  • Portugal’s foreign minister says British tourists will be “most welcome” this summer. Augusto Santos Silva says Portugal is in talks with the UK and is hoping to reach an agreement so people returning from holidays in the country don't have to isolate
  • Universities are setting out plans for social distancing when campuses re-open in the autumn. Students may have to live and study with the same small group of people


Woolworths gives staff bonus worth $1,000

Woolworths supermarket is giving their full-time employees in Australia and New Zealand bonuses worth $1,000 ($645; £551).
The bonuses won't be paid in cash, but are made up of $750 of shares in the company and $250 in-store credit.
Chief Executive Brad Banducci tells local media that it's a recognition of the "critical role" their staff will play "as we all adjust to the new normal".
The company added that Woolworths will now have the largest number of shareholders in Australia and New Zealand.

Virus hits Australia's 'lucky country' status

Shaimaa Khalil - BBC News, Sydney
Australia has long been dubbed The Lucky Country. Not anymore, if this year is anything to go by. New official figures show it's headed for its first recession in nearly 30 years.
Australia has had steady growth for decades with a combination of abundant natural resources like coal, iron ore and natural gas and a steady demand from its biggest trade partner China.
Tourism has also been a big driver of growth. According to Tourism Australia, the year 2018-2019 saw a revenue of A$122bn ($85bn; £67bn) from domestic and international tourists.
Then the country was hit hard. Twice.
When the bushfires ravaged through more than 12m hectares of the country, tourism was pummelled and thousands of small business lost months of essential seasonal revenue.
Then Covid-19 became a global pandemic. Australia closed its borders and imposed strict social distancing rules to control the spread of the virus. Nearly a million people lost their jobs as a result.
The government has pumped more than A$200bn into economic stimulus packages including wage subsidy schemes. And while Australia has fared better than many in controlling the virus and in subsequent economic slump, this country of abundance will have to face a much harsher reality for a while.
Read more: Australia set for first recession in three decades

South Africa lockdown rules 'unconstitutional'

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Cigarette smoking is banned under lockdown measures

A South African court has found some coronavirus lockdown regulations imposed by the government were "unconstitutional and invalid".
The case was filed by a community group, Liberty Fighters Network, which challenged the response measures announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The high court in the capital Pretoria ruled on Tuesday that "the regulations are not rationally connected to the objectives of slowing the rate of infection or limiting the spread thereof".
However it suspended the judgement for 14 days to give government time to overhaul the regulations.
The cabinet has said it will "review, amend and republish the regulations" but that the measures will remain in place "for now", according to a statement.
South Africa has some of the most stringent coronavirus containment measures in the world.
It eased a month-long lockdown on 1 May after dropping the alert level from level 5 to level 4, and to level 3 on 1 June.
Alcohol sales resumed this week following a two-month ban. All gatherings, except funerals and for work, are still banned. Travel between provinces is also prohibited, and international flights are cancelled except for those repatriating citizens.
The country has the highest cases of coronavirus on the continent , about 30,000 confirmed so far and 700 deaths.
Read: Coronavirus in South Africa: Eight lessons for the rest of the continent

Sweden admits it should have imposed restrictions

Sweden's state epidemiologist, who was behind the country's policy of not having a lockdown, has admitted it should have imposed more restrictions to control the spread of the virus.
For months Anders Tegnell defended his approach as more sustainable, while criticising other countries for their lockdowns.
But this morning, when an interviewer on Sveriges Radio said too many people had died in the country, Tegnell agreed.
He then said: "If we would encounter the same disease, with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did."
Sweden has a higher per-capita death rate from coronavirus than neighbouring countries that imposed tougher restrictions. More than 4,400 people in the country have died, while Norway, Denmark and Finland all have death tolls of fewer than 600.

French death toll moves above 100 again

France's daily death toll from coronavirus has risen above 100 for the first time in 13 days.
On Tuesday evening, authorities said deaths had increased by 107 to a total of 28,940, the fifth-highest official tally worldwide.
Like much of Europe, France is in the process of easing restrictions and restarting public life.
The French Finance Minister meanwhile told reporters the government now expects the economy to contract by 11% this year, a worse prediction than the previous estimate of 8%.
If that happens, the recession would be the worst since World War Two.

UK minister 'hopeful' for 2020 holidays

Junior UK health minister Edward Argar says he "hopes" British people will be able to go abroad on holiday this year, but the government doesn't want to risk a second wave of the virus.
The UK government currently advises against all but essential international travel. It will outline details later of its quarantine proposals - due to come in on Monday - which will require the majority of those arriving in the UK from abroad to self-isolate for 14 days.
Argar told BBC Breakfast: "I know that one of the many things that people will desperately want to do is have a holiday, but as a health minister I’m very cautious on this.
"I hope that people will be able to go on holiday at some point this year, but I can’t make that promise as I have to be cautious and go with the science."

Big queues as McDonald's drive-thru restaurants re-open





McDonald's reopened some of its Scottish drive-thru restaurants on Tuesday, but it was a case of big queues as well as Big Macs for customers, as police were needed to direct cars waiting to order.
The fast-food giant closed all its outlets more than 10 weeks ago as lockdown restrictions came into force, but is aiming to reopen 1,000 of its drive-thru or delivery outlets by Thursday.
Last week the company said it would reveal the locations of the restaurants that were to open their doors on the day of each reopening to help manage demand. It said it was also working with police and local authorities.
McDonald's said Perspex screens, face coverings, gloves and social distancing measures were in place. It is offering a limited menu only and capping spending at £25.
Rival chains, including Subway, Burger King, Pret A Manger, Nando's and Wagamama, have recently laid out plans to rapidly open more sites as eateries get to grips with social distancing.

The latest from Europe

Italy reopens its borders as Sweden’s coronavirus chief backtracks. Here’s the latest from Europe:

  • Italy has reopened its borders and ended travel restrictions between regions, hoping to encourage tourists back in time for the summer. The country was the first in Europe hit hard by the outbreak and has recorded more than 33,000 deaths
  • Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, has conceded that too many have died in Sweden. The country is one of the few in Europe that has not imposed a strict lockdown. He told Sveriges Radio: “If we encountered the same disease with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did”
  • The reproduction rate has risen to 1.95 in Berlin, authorities said – meaning each infected person in the German capital is passing the virus on to nearly two others. Berlin’s health minister Dilek Kolat said it showed a “trend reversal”
  • The German city of Göttingen wants to test all 700 residents of a residential complex after an outbreak following private Eid al-Fitr celebrations
  • And Ukrainian football team Karpaty Lviv has been placed in quarantine for two weeks after 25 players and staff tested positive for the virus. The club’s next two games have been cancelled


Quick test results 'essential' for test and trace - Hunt

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt says his "biggest concern" with the UK's test and trace systems is the length of time it is taking for people to get coronavirus test results.
He says the government’s scientific advisers have previously warned that for test and trace to be effective, the contacts of people who test positive have to isolate within 48 hours - but he says that is impossible if test results are taking 48 hours to come back.
He told Radio 4's Today programme: "I strongly welcome the prime minister's new 24-hour test turnaround target, but at the moment the government isn't saying how many tests are being met within that target, and for test and trace it is absolutely essential that they all are."
Hunt, who chairs the Commons health select committee which scrutinises the government, says some "teething problems" with the new system are inevitable as it was "set up in less than a month from a standing start".

8:53

US issues new travel alert on Tanzania


Sammy Awami - BBC News, Dar es Salaam
The US embassy in Tanzania has issued a fresh travel advisory for American citizens regarding the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
In a statement, the embassy suggested that the risk of contracting the virus in the commercial hub, Dar es Salaam, remained high, but gave no evidence to support its claims.
It suggested US citizens should avoid socialising and leaving their homes.
“Healthcare facilities in Tanzania can become quickly overwhelmed in a healthcare crisis,” read the statement.
The advisory comes days after Tanzania’s foreign ministry summoned the acting US ambassador, Inmi Patterson, to protest against a similar travel advisory issued by the embassy last month.
According to a statement released by the ministry after the meeting, Permanent Secretary Wilbert Ibuge told the US diplomat that its advisory contained false information and risked causing panic among Tanzanians and visitors.
Unlike many countries in the East African region, Tanzania chose to adopt a relaxed strategy in its approach towards coronavirus, avoiding lockdown and instead emphasising protection of the economy.
On Monday, Health Minister Ummy Mwalimu said there were only four Covid-19 patients in hospitals in Dar es Salaam.
High schools, colleges and universities were re-opened on 1 June and sport events allowed to continue.

London bus drivers 'spat at 60 times' during lockdown

Tom Edwards - Transport Correspondent, BBC London
If we needed more evidence that transport workers are on the front line of this virus, we got it at the Transport for London (TfL) board meeting yesterday.
One of the most shocking stats to emerge was that, since the lockdown began, there have been 60 reports of drivers being spat at - an offence classed as common assault, and which the police say they are using DNA tests and CCTV to investigate.
TfL says it has introduced sealed screens on all buses which it says should help protect drivers.
There have been prominent stories of transport workers being attacked in this way.
In April, railway worker Belly Mujinga died of Covid-19 after being spat at by someone who claimed he had the virus - although British Transport Police has now ruled the assault did not lead to her death.
Read the full story here.

China denies it was slow to share info with WHO

China says a news report claiming it delayed sharing information on Covid-19 with the World Health Organization is totally untrue.
During the government's daily briefing, foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian strongly denied claims of "significant delays" by China and "considerable frustration" among WHO officials, as cited in the Associated Press report.
AP reported that China "sat on" releasing the genetic map of the virus for more than a week, citing internal documents and dozens of interviews.
It contrasted this with the WHO's public statements at the time, which repeatedly praised China's fast response to the virus and specifically thanked the country for sharing the genetic map "immediately".

Top Ukrainian football team quarantines as 25 test positive

A top-flight football team in Ukraine has been quarantined for at least two weeks after several players and coaching staff contracted coronavirus.
Premier League side Karpaty's game against Mariupol on Sunday was cancelled after the positive tests, and the Lviv-based team's training sessions have also been called off during the period of quarantine.
Media reports said 25 members of the club had returned positive tests out of 65 who were tested.
Karpaty said in a statement that the team hoped to resume matches once the quarantine period was completed, and asked the recently-resumed league not to stop other fixtures. It called on clubs to be as responsible as possible in testing players, coaches and staff.

Russia battles world's third-highest number of infections

Russia has reported 8,536 new coronavirus cases and 178 deaths on Wednesday, bringing its nationwide infection tally to 432,277, the third highest in the world.
In total 5,215 people are confirmed to have died with the virus there.
In a statement on its Telegram channel, the Moscow-based coronavirus HQ said the majority of cases are in Moscow (1,842), the Moscow Region (736), and St Petersburg (380).
Residents in Moscow are now allowed outdoors again after restrictions were eased on 1 June, but regulations remain in place, such as wearing face masks and being given assigned times to go for walks.

Labour fears government has 'no strategy' for England's lockdown exit

Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Rachel Reeves has reiterated Labour's concern over the way lockdown restrictions are being eased in England - saying there appeared to be "no strategy to make it work".
Speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today programme, Reeves said the test and trace system in place was not yet "effective".
Echoing comments from Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer in the Guardian, she added: "There are practical things that government can do to make the easing of these lockdown restrictions actually work and we're urging government to get a grip and put those things in place."
Her comments come after former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said his "biggest concern" with the UK's test and trace systems is the length of time it is currently taking for people to get test results.

Warm weather sparked lockdown breaches, London police say

There is a “strong” link between people breaching the lockdown, warm weather and holiday periods, according to analysis by the UK’s largest police force.
The Metropolitan Police looked at data from 27 March to 14 May, when 973 people were issued fixed penalty notices and 36 arrested in London.
Peaks of police action in St James' Park coincided with warm temperatures in early April, the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, and on 15 April, after the temperature rose by six degrees.
But Assistant Commissioner Mark Simmons stressed that overall there had been “good compliance” when officers intervened and the force used enforcement for breaches such as gathering in groups only as a last resort.

'We've brought this on ourselves' - Jane Goodall

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Renowned primatologist Jane Goodall has warned that humanity will be "finished" if we don't make drastic changes to our food system in response to the coronavirus and climate crisis.
Speaking at an online event held by Compassion in World Farming, she blamed Covid-19 on our exploitation of the natural world, saying that "we have brought this on ourselves".
“Our disrespect for wild animals and our disrespect for farmed animals has created this situation where disease can spill over to infect human beings,” she added.
It's believed the coronavirus originated in a meat market in Wuhan, China late last year.
Kitkat
Kitkat
Admin

Posts : 6173
Join date : 2011-03-19
Location : Around the bend

Coronavirus - 3rd June Empty Re: Coronavirus - 3rd June

Post by Kitkat on Wed Jun 03 2020, 13:20

Prisons warn of outbreak risk if restrictions are relaxed

Danny Shaw - BBC Home Affairs Correspondent
Prison officials have warned that relaxing lockdown measures could increase the risk of an outbreak of coronavirus in jails across England and Wales.
The warning is contained in a Ministry of Justice document setting out plans to ease curbs in prisons, where inmates have been confined to their cells for 23 hours each day.
Lucy Frazer, prisons and probation minister, said the “success” of curtailing movement, visits and activities in jails had helped contain the spread of the virus and limit deaths.
Since March, 1,438 prisoners and staff have tested positive for the virus across 105 establishments - 23 prisoners and nine staff have died.
Frazer said ministers and officials were now able to consider how to “cautiously” restart aspects of prison life.
But a “conditional road map”, containing details of the plans says the timing of changes may not mirror those in the community because of the heightened dangers in prisons.

Germany to lift European travel warning from 15 June

Jenny Hill - BBC Berlin correspondent
Germany will remove its general warning against travel to European countries from 15 June, the German foreign minister said on Wednesday.
However it will continue to advise against travel to Britain for as long as the UK government continues to demand a 14-day quarantine for new arrivals.
Foreign minister Heiko Mass said that in place of the general travel warning, the German government will issue travel advice for individual destinations based on criteria including local infection rates and healthcare provision.
A general warning against travel remains in place for other countries, including Turkey.

London's Tube use to be 'severely restricted'

Tom Edwards - Transport Correspondent, BBC London
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A severely reduced number of passengers will be allowed to use the Tube network in order to stick to strict social distancing rules, a leaked Transport for London report has warned.
The report, seen by BBC London, shows that even with a 100% service and two-metre social distancing, only 50,000 passengers could board every 15 minutes. That compares to 325,000 normally boarding every 15 minutes at the peak of rush-hour prior to lockdown.
Even with a reduced one-metre social distancing and a full service, the Tube could handle only 80,000 passengers boarding every 15 minutes.
London's transport bosses are grappling with how lifting the lockdown will affect services and are facing unprecedented challenges on many fronts.
Read more here

North Korean children go back to school

The new school term in North Korea was due to start in April, but the coronavirus pandemic got in the way.
Now, two months late, classrooms have reopened and children in Pyongyang have been filing into schools wearing protective face masks.
Despite not confirming a single case of the virus, Pyongyang imposed strict restrictions - including putting thousands of people into isolation, and closing its borders.

Labour wants to pin blame for 'mistakes' to UK PM

Norman Smith - Assistant political editor
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has adopted a fairly clinical, restrained, analytical approach so far, and a lot of his MPs believe it has paid dividends - forcing Prime Minister Boris Johnson to concentrate on detail where he's not so comfortable.
What we get today, though, is a significant raising in the stakes.
Starmer is now, in effect, saying that the PM will be personally culpable if there is a rise in infections, if the virus spreads, or if there is an increase in deaths because of his handling of the easing of the lockdown - which he frankly thinks has been mishandled.
Some in Labour take the view that this should have been Starmer's approach all along - that actually he's been a bit bloodless and let the PM off the hook.
But the thinking of "Team Starmer" is that Johnson is one of those politicians who always manages to evade responsibility.
What they want to do is to pin the blame very directly on the PM for the mistakes they believe will be shown to have been made, and which have already led to us having the highest Covid-19 death rate in Europe.

  • Johnson and Starmer will go head-to-head at Prime Minister's Questions later. We'll bring you coverage here from about 12:00 BST.


'No talks' between Italy and UK over air bridges

The Italian foreign ministry says it has not held conversations "at this point" with the UK about the possibility of establishing "air bridges" between the two countries, which would mean British tourists don't have to self-isolate after visiting Italy.
The UK is bringing in a two-week quarantine period for anyone arriving from abroad on Monday - although air bridges could be introduced at a later date so that visitors from certain countries can avoid the restrictions.
The UK government is to outline further details of its quarantine plans later. Read more about them here.
Italy has lifted travel restrictions today, allowing visitors from most European countries to visit with no quarantine.

Contact tracer 'getting paid to watch Netflix'




A contact tracer on England's Test and Trace coronavirus scheme says she has not been asked to make a single phone call since beginning work last week.
She told the BBC she had worked 38 hours and spent the time watching Netflix (nearly three series of comedy The Good Place, to be precise).
"It's frustrating to know that I'm sat idle when there's people that need contacting," the clinician said.
The government said this does not reflect the amount of work under way.
It comes as Channel 4 News reported data showing 4,456 confirmed Covid-19 cases were flagged to the scheme in the three days after it launched on 28 May.
"Becky" spoke to BBC presenter Victoria Derbyshire on condition of anonymity. Watch the interview in the video above and read more here

Schools in Wales to reopen on 29 June

Schools in Wales will reopen on 29 June, Education Minister Kirsty Williams has said.
They will be open to all pupils from all year groups for limited periods during the week, and with no more than a third of pupils in school at any time.
Summer term will also be extended by a week, ending on 27 July.
Schools and councils will make their own decisions on how the return will be managed, Williams added.
Parents who choose not to send their children back to class will not face fines.
Read more
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jun 03 2020, 17:44

Welsh teaching unions condemn school-opening plan

Hywel Griffith, BBC News Wales Correspondent
Teaching unions in Wales have condemned plans to allow all school years to return to classes later this month.
The Welsh government has announced that up to a third of pupils will be able to attend at any one time, from 29 June. The plan involves splitting year groups into smaller cohorts and staggering their attendance.
It means, over the four-week period, most would only be in school for six or seven days – the rest of the learning would be done from home. Vulnerable pupils and the children of key workers will be able to attend for longer.
Teaching unions have criticised the announcement – which seems to have taken them by surprise. The NASUWT says allowing all year groups the opportunity for contact time is the most dangerous option, putting lives at risk.
In England, only reception, year one and year six pupils have been allowed to return to school so far.

What's going on around the world?

If you're just joining us, here are some of the latest headlines regarding the coronavirus pandemic around the world.

  • Italy has reopened its borders and ended travel restrictions between regions, hoping to encourage tourists back in time for the summer
  • However, the Italian foreign ministry says it has not held conversations "at this point" with the UK about the possibility of establishing "air bridges" between the two countries, which would mean British tourists don't have to self-isolate after visiting Italy
  • Russia has reported 8,536 new coronavirus cases and 178 deaths on Wednesday, bringing its nationwide infection tally to 432,277, the third highest in the world
  • China says a news report claiming it delayed sharing information on Covid-19 with the World Health Organisation is totally untrue
  • Germany will remove its general warning against travel to European countries from 15 June, the country's foreign minister said on Wednesday
  • Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, has conceded that too many have died in Sweden. The country is one of the few in Europe that has not imposed a strict lockdown. He told Sveriges Radio: “If we encountered the same disease with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did”
  • A South African court has found that some coronavirus lockdown regulations imposed by the government were "unconstitutional and invalid" - the judge picked out rules around funerals, informal workers and amount of exercise as "irrational"
  • And children in North Korea are returning to school wearing protective face masks, two months after the the new term was due to get under way


Two thousand fraud cases linked to pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has been linked to 2,130 fraud cases in England and Wales, a senior police officer has said.
MPs on Home Affairs Select Committee have been told of incidents involving the sale of fake Covid testing kits and personal protective equipment. There were also attempts to defraud the NHS and other public sector organisations.
Cdr Karen Baxter of the City of London police said losses totalled £4.9m of losses.
She said 47 people have been arrested and two people charged so far.
The types of fraud that have increased were said to include “smishing”, where text messages are used to trick people into handing over computer passwords and other personal information.

Israel quarantines 7,000 students after outbreaks in schools

Yolande Knell - BBC Middle East correspondent, Jerusalem
Almost 7,000 students and teaching staff in Israel are now in quarantine and more than 40 schools are closed because of outbreaks of Covid-19, according to official figures. However, the government has decided that, in general, schools and kindergartens should stay open for now.
In recent days, Jerusalem’s Gymnasia High School has seen the largest concentration of new cases of the coronavirus - with some 130 people testing positive. Local media have reported that a sick teacher became a “super-spreader”, causing multiple infections.
The outbreaks at schools and in other institutions have raised concerns of a potential second wave in the country.
On Tuesday, the health ministry recorded 116 new cases - the biggest daily rise in a month. Israel has reported 17,342 cases and 290 deaths in total - still a relatively low number compared to other countries.
A lockdown was imposed early on in the pandemic, with restrictions eased in mid-April, gradually allowing schools, offices, shops, restaurants and beaches to reopen.

Dutch government to kill thousands of minks

The Dutch government plans to kill thousands of minks in farms where the animals have coronavirus, according to Dutch broadcaster RTL.
A government source confirmed the report was accurate but could not elaborate, Reuters said.
There have been two cases of minks believed to have transmitted the virus to humans.
Coronavirus has been found on eight of the Netherlands' 120 farms - all of which are due to close in 2023 after a law banning mink farming was passed in 2013.

Austria to fully open land borders - except with Italy

Austria will end "coronavirus-related border and health checks" on Thursday for all countries except for Italy.
Visitors from the other seven bordering countries - Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary - will not face quarantine measures.
"We are thereby returning to the pre-corona situation regarding these countries," said Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.
"For Italy, unfortunately the pandemic figures do not yet allow such a step. I emphasise, not yet."
The government is considering a proposal from Alto Adige, a mainly German-speaking region in northern Italy, to allow people to travel to Austria from certain parts of rhe country.

New date set for Bolivia poll and protests in Panama

Here are some of the latest virus headlines from Latin America:

  • In Panama, trade unions have been protesting against the loosening of virus restrictions. Construction, some parts of the mining sector and industry were allowed to resume on Monday. But the workers demonstrating in front of the Ministry of Labour said that the move had come too soon and would put workers' lives in danger. With more than 14,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, Panama is the worst-affected country in Central America
  • The electoral tribunal in Bolivia says the general election which was scheduled for 3 May and had to be postponed because of the pandemic will now be held by 6 September. Bolivia has been led by interim president Jeanine Áñez since November after a contentious election which saw incumbent President Evo Morales resign and seek asylum in Mexico following allegations of electoral fraud
  • In Mexico, the coronavirus epidemic has reached "its maximum level of intensity", according to Assistant Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell after the country registered another 3,891 cases on Tuesday. It is not the first time López-Gatell said that Mexico had reached the peak of the epidemic. In mid-May he said the country was going through "the most difficult moment of the first wave of the epidemic"


Global air traffic rose by 30% in May, IATA says

With restrictions on travel in place around the world, the aviation industry has been hit heavily.
Global passenger traffic rose 30% in May from a very low level in April, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said.
Airlines have cut their domestic fares by an average of 23% to encourage passengers to return.
During an online presentation, IATA Chief Economist Brian Pierce said: "Airlines need cash because of the crisis and they're seeking to encourage passengers into seats by offering low fares."
International tourist arrivals could fall as much as 78% globally this year, according to a United Nations forecast .
A number of airlines have been forced to lay off workers. Air Canada announced plans to lay off half of its workforce, while British Airways said there would be 12,000 job losses there.

'Quarantine measures' to protect UK - Patel

UK Home Secretary Priti Patel says travellers from overseas could increase the spread of Covid-19, as she outlined time-limited quarantine measures for England.
Making a statement to the House of Commons, Patel said the UK was past the peak of coronavirus but the country was "now more vulnerable to new infections being brought in from abroad".
She confirmed the measures would be in place from 8 June and would require arrivals to self-isolate for 14 days.
Patel said: "The government is acting now by taking a proportionate and time-limited approach to protect the health of the British people."

Death toll rises in England, Scotland, Wales and NI

A further 179 people have died with coronavirus in hospitals in England, latest daily figures show.
It takes the total number of deaths reported by Public Health England to 27,044.
In Scotland, 11 more people have died in hospitals after testing positive - bringing the total to 2,375.
In Wales, 17 more have died - taking the total number to 1,371.
And in Northern Ireland, eight more people have died - with the total figure now at 534.
Unlike England, death tallies reported by Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland do not include those who had positive test results from commercial labs.
UK-wide figures, which are collated differently, are expected later.

France will reciprocate UK quarantine plans

A source at the French foreign ministry has told the BBC that France and the UK have not opened bilateral talks over a possible lifting of the upcoming quarantine between the two countries.
"For the moment, we are applying the principle of reciprocity. If the UK imposes a quarantine period, we will apply it too," the official said.
Earlier, Germany said it will remove its general warning against travel to European countries from 15 June but will continue to advise against travel to Britain for as long as the UK government continues to demand a 14-day quarantine for new arrivals.
The Italian foreign ministry also said it has not held conversations "at this point" with the UK about the possibility of establishing "air bridges" between the two countries, which would mean British tourists don't have to self-isolate after visiting Italy.

Timing of UK quarantine questioned by opposition

Labour's shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds called for the UK government to be clear on the scientific advice surrounding its plans to introduce a quarantine for overseas arrivals.
He told MPs: "If these measures are necessary from 8 June, why have they not been necessary in recent weeks or from when they were first announced by the home secretary herself on 22 May?"
He said there had to be reassurance that the quarantine "has a genuine public health benefit now", which, according to the government, it did not have in past months.
He added the new new measures should not be "a three-week fudge to try to spare the government embarrassment for failing to grip this issue at the right time".

Italy opens its borders again

It's a big day for travellers inside Italy and for tourists from abroad, as Italy lifts its travel lockdown. But with Europe's biggest death toll after the UK, there are tight rules and restrictions.
No-one will be allowed into stations in the central Lazio region with a temperature of over 37.5C. Meanwhile, authorities on the island of Sardinia require all arrivals to fill in a questionnaire detailing where they are going.
In Veneto in the north-east, Governor Luca Zaia says no new deaths have been recorded since Tuesday and they are "Covid-free" and open to visitors.
"We've done it, thanks to the sacrifices everyone has made," declared Regional Affairs Minister Francesco Boccia reminding Italians of the 33,530 who have died and the tireless efforts of health workers.
But not everyone is ready for Italy's open borders. Austria will reopen all its borders to neighbouring countries bar Italy on Thursday.

Quarantine plans will close off UK, says Theresa May

Earlier, former prime minister Theresa May suggested the UK should be taking a lead in developing an international aviation health screening standard - “instead of bringing in measures to close Britain off from the rest of the world”.
The government plans to force arrivals into quarantine for 14 days.
Speaking in a House of Commons debate on the impact of Covid-19 on the aviation industry, May said the sector supports a million jobs in the UK and without international air travel "there is no global Britain".
May said a new standard would save jobs and ensure Britain is open for business.
Transport minister Kelly Tolhurst said the government was working with the sector “looking at how we are able to get exactly that", while meeting the “objective to keep people safe” and reduce the spread of coronavirus.
You can read more about the new rules for travellers to the UK here

More than 800 health workers in Nigeria contract virus

Mary Harper - Africa editor, BBC World Service
More than 800 health workers in Nigeria have contracted coronavirus, according to the country's Centre for Disease Control.
That's a significant proportion of the total of 10,800 confirmed cases in the country.
Medical staff have been complaining about a lack of protective equipment. Some unions have threatened to go on strike over the issue.
Nigeria's authorities say adequate supplies have been distributed.
Private hospitals were previously forbidden from treating Covid-19 patients as the government said they did not have properly trained staff. The decision has now been reversed.
More than 300 people have died from the virus in Nigeria.

Londoners urged to follow lockdown rules during protests

Dominic Casciani - Home Affairs Correspondent
Police have urged Londoners to maintain lockdown rules during expected protests over the death of George Floyd later.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said British police chiefs were "appalled" by Floyd's death in the US - but that they also had a legal obligation to keep people safe from the coronavirus.
Speaking to the London Assembly, she urged anyone considering joining protests to consider the risks still present from the virus.
"You must think about your safety and the safety of others in the context of social distancing," she said.
"Each time [the lockdown has] changed, it has depended more on people being socially responsible and doing the right thing than on enforcement."
Under the current coronavirus regulations in England, gatherings of more than six people are illegal - and people should keep 2m apart.

Brazil's industrial production suffers 'historic' fall

Brazil's industrial production plummeted by 18.8% in April from the month before the coronavirus outbreak.
Newly released official figures show it was also a 27.2% drop compared to the same time last year, the deepest decline since industrial production started being tracked by the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE) in 2002.
Lockdown measures hammered the country's economy in April, the IBGE says, calling the fall in production "historic".
Brazil is the epicentre of the virus in Latin America, with more than 31,000 deaths and the world's second-highest number of confirmed cases.

Poland picks June date for delayed election

Poland's presidential election was due to take place last month but was postponed because of the pandemic. The speaker of the Polish parliament says it will now be held on 28 June instead.
The ruling Law and Justice party had tried to rush through a postal-only vote on 10 May, as its ally, incumbent President Andrzej Duda, was ahead in the polls.
But it ran out of time in parliament (the Sejm) amid widespread criticism that it was sidelining the electoral commission. It will now take place in polling stations and will be organised by the commission.
However Duda's lead in the polls is down and Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski is in a strong second place. President Duda is unlikely to win outright on 28 June and could lose a run-off on 12 July.

Patel criticised over UK quarantine plan

The BBC's chief political correspondent Vicki Young says the UK's Home Secretary Priti Patel has had "a very difficult time" in Parliament over her quarantine plans.
Our correspondent says MPs have expressed concerns about job losses in aviation and tourism, while Labour are arguing the "horse has bolted" as millions of people entered the UK unchecked when the virus was widespread abroad.
Those to criticise Patel from her own party included Conservative MP Ben Spencer, who described the measures as a "very blunt tool with many downsides" and urged her to bring in a more "precise and targeted approach".
Tory former cabinet minister Theresa Villiers urged Patel to suspend the introduction of the "blanket quarantine" to allow time to bring in air corridors in order to "save jobs".
Labour's Lloyd Russell-Moyle said the measures were "too late". Read more about the plans here.

Czech Republic and Slovakia restore free movement

Rob Cameron - BBC Prague Correspondent
The Czech Republic and Slovakia are to restore free movement between the two countries from midnight, their leaders have said.
It comes as Slovak PM Igor Matovic is visiting the Czech capital Prague - his first foreign trip since his election in March.
Meanwhile Slovakia begins its next major stage of exiting lockdown on Wednesday, with most remaining restrictions eased: people will be able to visit swimming pools without face masks, and more sporting facilities will reopen.
However, face masks will remain obligatory in confined spaces and outside where a two-metre distance cannot be maintained.
For now, the state of emergency remains in place, and the borders remain closed to tourists. However from 15 June travel both in and out of the country should be eased, in accordance with similar moves across Europe, even though technically the border restrictions were recently extended to 26 June.
Slovakia has conducted 179,293 tests for Covid and has reported 1,522 total cases. It has one of Europe's lowest death tolls, with 122 active cases, 1,372 recovered, and 28 deaths.

No more fences to split our towns, say Swiss and German mayors

Coronavirus - 3rd June D8d17d10

It was one of the enduring images of the lockdown, when two border fences were erected between interconnected towns on the Swiss-German border.
The barriers finally came down last month between Constance in Switzerland and the German town of Kreuzlingen, although border controls will only be lifted on 15 June.
Now the mayors of the two towns say fences must never appear again between them. Switzerland is part of the EU's border-free Schengen zone and Constance Mayor Uli Burchardt has told Neue Zürcher Zeitung that they are one, indivisible town. "You might just as well have built a fence between two parts of Zürich or Stuttgart," he says.
Kreuzlingen Mayor Thomas Niederberger says if there is a second surge or another virus in future "we have to solve our problems differently".
Read more about the Swiss-German border fence here
Coronavirus - 3rd June E6629510
The fences finally came down on 16 May


UK announces another 359 deaths

A further 359 deaths of people who tested positive for coronavirus have been confirmed in the UK, across all settings, taking the total number to 39,728.
The Department of Health's latest figures also showed 171,829 tests had taken place over the most recent 24-hour period, with 1,871 positive results.

Ryanair: Quarantine plan ineffective and useless

Ryanair has described plans to force arrivals to the UK to isolate for 14 days as "ineffective and useless".
A spokesman said passengers could potentially spread infection on public transport from the airport, while most visitors from Europe were arriving from countries with lower infection rates.
EasyJet called for a “risk based approach” to be adopted, with “air bridges” in place to remove quarantine for travellers from countries where Covid-19 is under control.
British Airway's parent company IAG reiterated earlier comments from chief executive Willie Walsh, who said that the move has "seriously set back recovery plans" for the airline sector.
The Confederation of British Industry called for more detail on how the policy would be reviewed, and the creation of international travel corridors with key trading partners.
The British Chambers of Commerce said: “Co-ordinated checks at departure and arrival airports, together with other internationally-agreed safety measures, would alleviate the need for a blanket quarantine."

Tel Aviv football stadium installs tunnel to disinfect players

A football ground in Israel has installed a tunnel which sprays players arriving for matches with a disinfectant mist, which it hopes will help prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv is home to Hapoel Tel Aviv, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Bnei Yehuda, who all play in the Israeli Premier League, which has recently restarted behind closed doors after being suspended due to the pandemic.
The tunnel uses electrolysed water - produced by the electrolysis of water and salt - which has been approved for use as a disinfectant.
A water pump machine senses when someone enters the tunnel and spray nozzles automatically open for 15 seconds, bathing players and their belongings in a sanitising mist.
"We are not a cure for the coronavirus, we are fighting against its spread,” said Eran Druker, president for business development at RD Pack, an Israeli company which installed the disinfectant dispersal system into the tunnel.
In April, US President Donald Trump was lambasted by the medical community after suggesting research into whether coronavirus might be treated by injecting disinfectant into the body.
Coronavirus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes small droplets - packed with the virus - into the air. These can be breathed in, or cause an infection if you touch a surface they have landed on, then your eyes, nose or mouth.

Volunteers and medical staff to get Italy's Order of Merit

Italy's president has announced a list of people who will receive honours for their service during the coronavirus outbreak.
Those being awarded the Order of Merit include medical staff, researchers and virologists.
But it also includes a number of volunteers who stepped up to help the country when it was hit by large numbers of cases.
Italian international rugby player Maxime Mbanda is on the list of honours.
He had been scheduled to face England in the Six Nations in March when all sport was suspended. Instead, he volunteered as an ambulance driver with a volunteer medical group in the region of Emilia-Romagna, one of the areas most affected by coronavirus.
The list also includes a taxi-driver who took a three-year-old girl on a free 1,300km journey to Rome for a cancer check-up.
A student who cooked free meals for medics in a hospital that was under intense pressure, and a volunteer who set up a phone service to provide company for lonely people during the lockdown, will also be recognised.

What's been happening in the UK?

Today’s UK coronavirus press briefing is due to begin in about 30 minutes.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson will be joined by Professor Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, and Sir Patrick Vallance, Chief Scientific Adviser to the UK government.
While we're waiting for that, here's a round-up of the coronavirus-related stories coming out of the UK today:

  • Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed plans to force almost all arrivals to the UK to isolate for 14 days – with fines of up to £1,000 for those who don’t comply
  • All schools in Wales will reopen on 29 June, but with staggered class times to ensure only a third of pupils are in school at any one time
  • The PM has promised all coronavirus tests will be turned around within 24 hours by the end of June
  • Johnson and Sir Keir Starmer clashed over the government’s handling of coronavirus at Prime Minister’s Questions
  • In Scotland more people have now died with coronavirus in care homes than in the country's hospitals
  • A contact tracer working on the NHS Test and Trace coronavirus scheme says she has not been asked to speak to anyone since beginning work last week


Tottenham football club confirms one positive virus test

Tottenham Hotspur say one person at the club has tested positive for coronavirus after England's Premier League announced 1,197 players and club staff were checked on Monday and Tuesday in the latest round of testing.
The league said the person will self-isolate for seven days.
There have now been five rounds of testing for Covid-19, and the total number of positive results has increased to 13 from 5,079 tests.
Premier League players and staff are currently tested twice a week, with the league set to resume on 17 June.
Read more here.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jun 03 2020, 19:03

7:01 - UK press conference
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson is now opening today's coronavirus press conference.
He is accompanied by Professor Chris Whitty, England's chief medical officer and Sir Patrick Vallance, the UK government's chief scientific adviser.

'We are with families of lost ones'

Boris Johnson starts by running through the latest figures, confirming that a further 359 deaths have been recorded in the past 24 hours.
We are with the families of those who have lost loved ones, he says.

Test and trace 'vital' to next phase

The PM moves on to talk about what the government is doing to control the virus now the pandemic is past its peak.
He says the test and trace system is "vital" to these efforts and everyone "must play their part" in that.
He says thousands of people are newly self-isolating as a result and encourages everyone with symptoms to take a test, saying there is "capacity for everyone who is eligible".

PM defends 14-day quarantine plans

Johnson moves on to talk about the controversial plans to ask anyone arriving in the UK to self-isolate for 14 days - plans outlined by the home secretary earlier.
He says there was screening of passengers arriving from China and other countries early in the outbreak but this was halted due to high levels of community transmission.
Now that these levels have decreased, he says there is a need to impose strict controls to stop the risk of imported cases.
He says the measures are tough and necessary and will be reviewed.
He also says that "air bridges" or international air corridors will be considered with countries with low transmission rates but "only when it is safe to do so".

Johnson: Do not move gatherings indoors

The PM now talks about global efforts to find a vaccine for the Covid-19, pointing out that he is chairing a summit of the Gavi interntional vaccine alliance on Thursday alongside Bill Gates.
He again describes the virus as an invisible enemy and "frankly none of us is safe until we are all safe" and says "humanity must unite" over the hunt for a vaccine.
He says he is sure the British public will continue to show the resolve it has had done up to now by minimising infection rates through social distancing and hygiene measures.
And he urges people, with a spell of wet weather expected, not to move outdoor gathering indoors.
He says the risk of transmission indoors is much higher and people must not "undermine and reverse" the progress that has been made.

Vallance: We have to tread very carefully

Sir Patrick Vallance now talks through today's data slides.
He says there is a steady downward detection of new cases, however he notes the true number could be higher - up to 8,000 a day - as the data only counts those who get tested.
He says that is why it is important to make sure more people get tested.
On the infection rate he notes, "it is not coming down fast".
"That means we have to tread very carefully," he warns.

What is risk of second wave of cases?

The first question is from Amy from Brighton, who asks what the UK can learn from Spain, which recently saw days without any deaths and as yet has not seen a resurgence - despite easing restrictions.
Vallance says the news from Spain is encouraging but we "are not out of this yet" and there have been fresh spikes in Germany and South Korea.
The PM claims the virus is a "kinetic force" and there is the risk of a "second pulse" and that is why the UK must remain vigilant.
Whitty points out that a second wave is "common" in most new diseases.

What help is there for parents without childcare?

The next question comes from Toni from Manchester who asks what help there is for parents who are going back to work but have no childcare options as their children aren't yet back at school.
Boris Johnson says he sympathises and expresses the hope more primary school children will be able to go back to school soon.
"The best we can do is to keep supporting you through the furlough scheme and the job retention scheme," he says.
He also urges employers "to be reasonable" in such situations.

PM 'not advising people on summer holidays'

Now we are onto questions from journalists, starting with the BBC's transport correspondent Tom Burridge.
He asks whether anyone should be booking a holiday this summer and what people should do if they have paid a deposit and want to cancel.
The PM says he does not want to advise people on their travel arrangements but points out that the Foreign Office is advising against all non-essential travel abroad at the moment and "we need to knock this virus on the head".
In response to another question on the scientific evidence behind the 14-day quarantine proposals for new arrivals, Vallance says such measures are most effective when rates of domestic transmission are low and they are targeted at countries with much higher levels.

What can cause a second wave?

Reality Check
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been talking about the series of measures the government is taking “to prevent a second wave of infections that could overwhelm the NHS".
A second wave is not inevitable, but the key is to ease the lockdown in ways that limit the spread of disease. Experts are worried about the virus re-emerging during winter months, when the health service is already under additional pressure because of seasonal flu.

Johnson: I was sickened by George Floyd death

Beth Rigby from Sky News references the protests that have been taking place in London following the death of George Floyd and asks what is the PM's message to US President Donald Trump.
Boris Johnson says he was "sickened" by what happened.
"I would urge people to protest in accordance with the rules on social distancing," he says adding "everybody's lives matter, Black lives matter."

Why relax restrictions when still at level 4 alert?

Beth Rigby also asks why restrictions have been relaxed when the UK is still at level 4 on the government's alert system.
Chris Whitty says the alert system is in place to help identify virus hotspots.
He says that is different from the five tests, set by ministers, which had to be met in order for restrictions to be eased.

PM to look at 'safe air corridors'

ITV's Robert Peston brings up comments by Boris Johnson's predecessor, Theresa May, who has warned that the 14-day quarantine plan for people arriving or returning to the UK would be damaging as it would "close off Britain to the rest of the world".
He asks whether the PM will, instead, back Mrs May's calls for the UK to lead the way in developing international standards for screening at airports.
The PM says the danger of routine testing at airports is of it producing many "false negatives".
But he repeats his earlier point that the UK will consider the case for "safe corridors" with other countries with similar or lower levels of the virus and these will be "developed as we go forward".
Peston also asks whether the easing of the lockdown restrictions is happening a month too early given that data from the test and trace system will not be available for weeks and won't be able to inform measures to tackle local outbreaks.
Whitty gives what he says is a "long answer", saying the UK needs a "multi-layered defence", easing some restrictions but tightening others if necessary, to address the fact there will be plenty of people without symptoms who can infect others.
He talks about hygiene, including "cough etiquette," the test and trace system, and shielding of the most vulnerable.

Concern not enough people getting tested

Nick Triggle - Health Correspondent
The prime minister used today's Downing Street briefing to urge people to come forward for tests, a plea then reiterated by Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Patrick Vallance.
The concern is that not everyone is asking for tests when they are showing symptoms.
Surveys suggest there are around 8,000 new infections a day, but at the moment the national testing system is just picking up less than 2,000.
If people are not tested, they may not be isolating and their contacts cannot be traced.
That could undermine the ability of the UK to keep on top of local outbreaks.

Testing 'is not the single answer'

The Sun's Tom Newton-Dunn asks what capacity the test and trace system is at and when further lockdown measures can be eased.
"We are not at cruising altitude yet," says Chris Whitty but adds that the number of tests is increasing.
Sir Patrick Vallance adds that testing is "not the single answer".
"We still need to carry on with social distancing," he says.

PM: There will be many job losses

The Sun's Tom Newton-Dunn also asks what help those who have lost their job - because of the virus - will get.
"There will be many many job losses," replies the prime ministers. "That is inevitable."
He says there are few countries who have done "as much in terms of putting our arms around workers" and promises investment in the economy and infrastructure.
"For young people it is going to be vital that we guarantee apprenticeships," he adds.

UK must have 'clear-eyed' relations with China

The Telegraph's Steve Swinford asks about the UK's relationship with China in light of its much-criticised handling of the virus and tensions over Hong Kong.
He specifically wants to know whether the PM plans to eventually exclude Chinese firm Huawei from involvement in the UK's 5G network.
The PM says there is a risk that a proposed new national security law will erode civic and political freedoms in the ex-British colony and the UK is going to "hold out the hand of friendship and loyalty" to British National Overseas Passport holders who want to come to the UK.
He insists that he is a Sinophile and that he believes that China is an incredible country and civilisation and condemns xenophobic attacks on Chinese people living in the UK.
The UK needs to have a good, friendly and clear-eyed relationship with China going forward while protecting its national security interests, particularly in relation to its 5G infrastructure, the PM says.

Children not having their education is 'a huge disadvantage'

Josh Layton from the Coventry Telegraph asks what reassurance can be given to those parents who are worried about sending their children to school.
Chris Whitty says children not having their school education is "a huge disadvantage".
He also says children are at less risk of catching the disease than adults.
And he adds that rates of transmission are much lower than they were.

PM’s careful use of language on testing

Reality Check
Prime Minister Boris Johnson was careful to say “carried out or posted out” when talking about test numbers at today’s UK daily briefing.
Yesterday the head of the UK Statistics Authority, Sir David Norgrove, criticised the way ministers spoke about figures – accusing them of simply talking about tests “carried out” when the daily statistics also included “posted out” numbers.
Norgrove accused the government of using data to "show the largest possible number of tests, even at the expense of understanding".
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said UK government data was as transparent as possible.
Why we don't know how many are being tested? Find out more here

Are European workers welcome to return to the UK?

The last question is from a reporter for the Italian broadcaster RaiUno, who asks about the prospects for the hundreds of thousands of Italian people, and other Europeans, who worked in the UK but left the country once the pandemic struck and the service sector closed.
Given the tough new quarantine rules, are they welcome to return to the UK as the economy opens up again?
The PM says the new quarantine rules are "an imposition" on people's movements but they are needed to save lives.
But he says that he would love people to return to the UK to help its recovery, saying, in Italian, that everyone is welcome.

PM: We want to take more steps to unlock society

The questions come to an end, but before leaving Boris Johnson makes a few last points.
He says the UK is seeing continuing falls in deaths and "that is why we have been able to take cautious steps".
"We want to take more steps to unlock our society," he says but urges people to follow "basic rules".
"Wash your hands, self-isolate, take a test and observe social distancing.
"We are beating this disease - and we will beat it if everyone works together."

Analysis: PM sticking by quarantine plan

Nick Eardley - Political correspondent
Boris Johnson faced a lot of criticism from his own MPs earlier over the plans for a blanket quarantine of people coming into the UK.
It’s clear the PM is sticking by the idea, arguing now is the time to take measures to avoid new cases being brought into the country.
It’s not, however, totally clear from the answers we’ve heard at the briefing that the scientists advised taking this approach now.
It is clear that Mr Johnson is going to keep facing pressure on this, both in Westminster and from the aviation and tourism industries.

What did we learn from today's UK briefing?

The daily press conference was held by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Prof Chris Whitty, the chief medical officer, and Sir Patrick Vallance, the government's chief scientific adviser.
Here's what they told us:

  • Boris Johnson said the new quarantine measures for travellers were tough but “necessary” to stop the risk of imported cases triggering a second peak. "Travel corridors" with countries with low infection rates will be considered, but "only when it is safe"


  • The PM refused to be drawn on whether Britons should book a summer holiday to Europe


  • The NHS test and trace strategy is a "vital" part of stopping the virus re-emerging


  • There are global efforts to find a vaccine for the Covid-19, and the PM will chair a summit of the Gavi international vaccine alliance on Thursday


  • Boris Johnson urged people not to move outdoor gatherings indoors in wet weather, saying the risk of transmission would be much higher and "undermine" the progress that has been made


  • He said not being able to secure childcare was a reason to be let off returning to work by employers


  • Asked why restrictions have been eased when the UK remains at level four on the alert system, Chris Whitty said people were conflating two different things - it was the five tests set by ministers which had to be met before restrictions were relaxed

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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jun 03 2020, 19:11

Planning permission probe over Cummings' Durham cottage visit

Richard Moss - Political editor, North East & Cumbria
Council planners are investigating complaints that the Durham property which Dominic Cummings used during his lockdown trip doesn't have the correct planning permission.
The county council says it has received a number of complaints and is looking into them.
The Prime Minister's senior adviser stayed in what he described as a cottage on his parents' farm with his wife Mary Wakefield and four-year-old son during the start of April.
North Lodge, the Cummings family property, is on the outskirts of Durham.
The only planning applications listed on the council's website for the farm cover a pitched roof over a swimming pool in 2001, and the removal and trimming of various trees.
The City of Durham Labour MP Mary Foy, whose constituency includes North Lodge, says she has also raised questions with Durham County Council.
She says she received a number of complaints from constituents, and has asked the council whether the property Dominic Cummings stayed in had proper planning permission, and whether it was registered for council tax.
She has yet to receive a reply.
Downing Street declined to comment.
Read more here .

Republicans 'forced' to find new convention location, says Trump

US President Donald Trump says Republicans have been "forced" to find another state to host the party's 2020 National Convention, after North Carolina refused to budge on possible coronavirus restrictions.
The president said on Twitter that North Carolina's governor would not guarantee Republicans could use the venue "as originally anticipated and promised".
Governor Roy Cooper tweeted that Republicans had resisted "changes to keep people safe".
The convention is set to take place from August 24 - 27. It was hoped more than 19,000 people would attend.
Several other states have volunteered to host the event instead.
By Tuesday, North Carolina had reported 29,900 total coronavirus cases and 900 deaths.
Read more here

Black Lives Matter protests outside Downing Street

As the press conference was going on inside Downing Street, outside protests at the death of George Floyd were taking place:
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A quarter of Covid-19 cases give contacts online

Earlier the head of England's Track and Trace system was quizzed over how it was working. Dido Harding told MPs somewhere between 25% and 33% of people diagnosed with Covid-19 in England have filled out the details of their contacts online themselves.
She said this was "more than we were expecting" - and was one of the reasons England's 25,000 contact tracers had not been busier.
It came after one contact tracer told the BBC that she had not been asked to speak to anyone in 38 hours of work since beginning work last week - and was using the time to catch up on her favourite Netflix programmes.

'Testing still taking too long' - former UK health secretary

Speed is the "missing link in the chain" in England's Track and Trace system, former UK health secretary Jeremy Hunt says.
"I think the effectiveness of Test and Trace is all about speed - how quickly you can take people out of circulation," he told the BBC.
Baroness Harding refused to release data on how many tests are turned around within 24 hours, and on how people with Covid-19 are then contacted within a day - until it had been "validated" by the UK's statistics watchdog.
When asked why he though the details were not being released, Hunt said: "They've got all this data at their fingerprints. I suspect the reason is because the testing is still taking too long".
He also said evidence suggested 20% of negative results could be false .
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said coronavirus tests would all be turned around within 24 hours by the end of June.

Venezuelan president and opposition leader agree to cooperate on coronavirus fight

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader Juan Guaidó have come to an agreement to cooperate and raise funds for the fight against coronavirus.
The two sides have agreed to "coordinate" to request Covid-19 aid from foreign countries and organisations, and to obtain technical and administrative help from PAHO, which is the inter-American arm of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The agreement also establishes priority measures for dealing with the pandemic.
Relations between the two have been tense. Guaido is recognised as an interim president by a number of countries including the US. He claims the elections there in 2018 were rigged.

Today's main developments from around the world

The World Health Organization has announced that clinical trials of the drug hydroxychloroquine will resume as it searches for potential treatments for the virus. Here are some of the major lines from around the world today:

  • Italy is lifting restrictions on domestic travel, allowing people to move between regions
  • Primary school children in North Korea have returned to school. The start of their regular school year was put on hold because of virus
  • Home Secretary Priti Patel has confirmed plans to force almost all arrivals to the UK to isolate for 14 days – with fines of up to £1,000 for those who don’t comply
  • More than 800 health workers in Nigeria have contracted the virus, a significant proportion of the total 10,800 cases, according to the country's Centre for Disease Control
  • Global passenger traffic rose 30% in May, from a very low level in April, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said
  • China says a news report claiming it delayed sharing information on Covid-19 with the World Health Organisation is totally untrue
  • Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, has conceded that too many have died in Sweden. The country is one of the few in Europe that has not imposed a strict lockdown
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jun 03 2020, 22:26

Asymptomatic care workers unknowingly spread coronavirus

Large numbers of staff could have been unknowingly spreading coronavirus through care homes, according to the UK's largest charitable care home provider.
Data from MHA shows 42% of its staff members who recently tested positive for coronavirus were not displaying symptoms.
And nearly 45% of residents who had a positive test were also asymptomatic.
Speaking to BBC Newsnight MHA CEO Sam Monaghan said: "It is not difficult to imagine that a lot of people may not have ended up dying if we'd had earlier testing and we'd been therefore better able to manage infection control in our homes."
You can read more here.

Can superspreading be stopped?

Scientists have been keeping track of clusters of Covid-19 since the pandemic began.
As well as hospitals, care homes and cruise ships, these concentrated outbreaks have also been repeatedly appearing in meat-processing plants, choirs, bars and gyms.
So why is it so important to understand where superspreading is happening and how it can be stopped?
Well, according to Dr Adam Kucharski, of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, 10-15% of people with coronavirus are responsible for about 80% of infections.
So, scientists say, learning how to avoid these superspreading events would be "huge".
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Choir practice could help spread the virus



Why are UK MPs concerned about quarantine?

Nick Eardley - Political correspondent
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Many MPs - including Conservatives - were in the Commons raising concerns about the government’s approach to the quarantine of people arriving in the UK.
Firstly, they argue this policy is being brought in too late. They believe it should have been introduced when the virus was spreading in Europe - and before it took hold here.
Many now have concerns the government is over-reacting as it tries to prevent a second spike.
They told the home secretary they are worried a blanket quarantine will have a devastating impact on airlines, airports and the wider tourism industry. Very few MPs showed support for the government’s approach.
They want the government to take a more targeted approach - finding ways of allowing travel from certain countries where transmission levels are lower.


What is England's Covid alert level for?

Reality Check
“We’re at Level 4, but the relaxation of restrictions is already happening. Is that not cause for concern?” asked Sky News’s Beth Rigby at the Downing Street briefing.
Covid alert level 4 in England means that transmission of the virus remains high and that social distancing should continue.
There are “two separate things that I think people are getting conflated together,” replied Chief Medical Officer Prof Chris Whitty.
The alert level would help with virus hot spots in the future, he said, and relaxing the lockdown was instead set by the government’s five tests - which included making sure the NHS was protected.
But at the 11 May briefing, UK PM Boris Johnson said the alert level would “determine the level of social distancing measures in place. The lower the level, the fewer the measures; the higher the level, the stricter the measures.”
Read more on how the Covid-19 alert system works

Beach visit for recovering coronavirus patients

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Having been hit hard by coronavirus, Spain has brought its outbreak under control in recent weeks and now some hospital patients in Barcelona are being take to the seafront as part of their recovery from the virus.
Medical teams at the Hospital del Mar have been photographed wheeling people on stretchers to the beach.
In total, Spain has confirmed 240,326 infections and 27,128 deaths.
On Wednesday, its health ministry registered its first coronavirus related death in three days.
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Business Secretary Alok Sharma tested for coronavirus

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Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating and has been tested for coronavirus, BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley reports. Sharma began feeling unwell earlier today while speaking at the despatch box in the House of Commons.
The news comes after MPs approved the removal of the temporary remote voting measures in the Commons.
Members trooped through the Commons on Tuesday in socially distanced lines to vote on the government's plan.
MPs had to queue up outside the Commons chamber, observing social distancing, before walking to the Speaker's chair to say their name and which way they were voting.

UK and Sweden remain on Netherlands' 'banned' list

Anna Holligan - BBC News Hague correspondent
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Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said the UK and Sweden remain on the country's "banned list" of destinations for visitors from the Netherlands, because of the risk of contracting coronavirus.
Rutte told reporters: "The message is, we do not want British people and Swedes here at the moment. If they do come, they will have to go into quarantine for two weeks."
From June 15, people from the Netherlands can visit 12 countries, including Germany, Belgium, Italy, Croatia and the Dutch ABC islands in the Caribbean.
The decision was determined by the level of containment and infection that exists in each country.
"The health risks have to be the same as they are here," he said.
Other European nations, such as Spain and France, will be added to the list of countries if they formally lift restrictions on tourists from the Netherlands.
A colour code has been put in place to identify which nations are allowed. Countries that have imposed quarantine on people from the Netherlands – such as Denmark – will also remain on the orange list where travel should be avoided, but their residents will be allowed to enter the Netherlands.
Beyond the EU, the travel guidance advises only essential journeys and everyone who takes such trips will have to go into quarantine for two weeks on their return. The public health institute will monitor and possibly modify the recommendations every week.
The Dutch have been asked to avoid travel during peak season where possible.

Fifty dead in one Yemen hospital, says MSF

Sebastian Usher - BBC Arab Affairs Editor
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These people, wearing face coverings, were waiting at a food distribution centre in Sanaa

The Houthi rebels who control Yemen's capital Sanaa have so far only acknowledged a handful of cases of coronavirus.
However, a quarter of the 200 patients being treated in the coronavirus unit set up by international medical organisation MSF in Sanaa have died.
The Houthis have downplayed the outbreak so far, but the limited facilities to treat the virus in Sanaa - one hospital for testing and one for treatment - have been overwhelmed.
The Houthis have now asked private hospitals to make beds available for coronavirus patients.
A doctor in Sanaa - just recovering from the virus himself - has said that he's already lost a number of colleagues to the disease.
Unconfirmed reports suggest a heavy toll on health workers, who are having to use one set of personal protective equipment for an entire shift.
The true extent of the outbreak is unknown - with many Yemenis fearful of going to hospital at all.
In the southern city of Aden - controlled by the internationally recognised government - recent weeks have seen a surge of cases, all appearing to confirm the warnings of catastrophe that aid agencies had been issuing since January.
Despite this, a UN call for emergency funding on Tuesday fell far short of its target.

WHO to resume hydroxychloroquine trials

The World Health Organization (WHO) is resuming its trial of hydroxychloroquine as a potential treatment for coronavirus.
The trials were suspended more than a week ago over concerns about the drug's safety as a treatment for Covid-19 patients.
A study published in medical journal The Lancet suggested the drug increased mortality rates. The journal has since distanced itself from the study saying in an "expression of concern" that "important questions" hovered over it.
Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria and conditions like lupus or arthritis.
Following a review, it has been decided that there is no reason not to continue with the trial, in which patients from 35 countries have been enrolled.
US President Donald Trump took the drug for two weeks saying it was being used as a preventative measure. His White House physician said he had no side effects from taking the drug.
Read more about coronavirus and hydroxychloroquine here .

Spain extends state of emergency

Spain's parliament has approved extending the country's state of emergency until 21 June.
The state of emergency is in place due to the coronavirus outbreak. The latest extension is thought to be the last.
It allows the government to impose limitations on freedom of movement during the outbreak.
However some restrictions have been lifted. Earlier this week, the country reopened most of its beaches for the first time in months. It is set to reopen its borders to tourists in July.
Spain is one of the worst affected countries in Europe with more than 27,000 deaths.
The extension was opposed by Spain's main centre-right opposition and the far-right Vox party, who have criticised how the socialist prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, has handled the crisis.

Italy's 'time to smile’ as travel allowed again

"We deserve to smile, to be cheerful, after weeks of great sacrifice," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said, as the country moves to its final stage in easing lockdown restrictions..
He added that now was the time for the country to enact economic reforms.
Italy is now allowing domestic travel between regions and opening its international borders.
With more than 33,600 fatalities and almost 234,000 cases since the coronavirus outbreak began, it has been one of the hardest-hit countries in the world.
Only the US and the UK have so far recorded higher death tolls.
Read our full article here .

Hydroxychloroquine no better than a placebo, study claims

Hydroxychloroquine is no better than a placebo in preventing infection with coronavirus, a study by the University of Minnesota claims.
US President Donald Trump has promoted the drug as a treatment for coronavirus - or indeed to prevent it.
Researchers tested 821 people who had been exposed to the virus or lived in a high-risk household.
They found that 11.8% of people given the drug developed symptoms compatible with Covid-19, compared with 14.3% of those who were given a placebo (the difference was not statistically significant).
When it came to side effects, 40% of those who took the drug in the trial reported less serious side effects such as nausea and abdominal discomfort, compared to just 17% in the placebo group.
Lead researcher Dr David Boulware said: "Our data is pretty clear that for post-exposure [preventative treatment], this does not really work."

Extra cleaning for House of Commons

More on the news that Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating and has been tested for coronavirus after becoming unwell in Parliament on Wednesday [see the entry at 20:39].
Sharma looked uncomfortable while taking part in a debate earlier, mopping his brow several times with his handkerchief while speaking.
House of Commons authorities have confirmed that they carried out "extra cleaning" after Mr Sharma departed.
He was one of a handful of ministers to attend Tuesday's cabinet meeting in Downing Street in person.
In April, Prime Minister Boris Johnson was in intensive care in hospital after testing positive for coronavirus before making a recovery.
In March, England's Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he had also contracted coronavirus, while Health Minister Nadine Dorries was the first government minister to be diagnosed with coronavirus.

Hydroxychloroquine: The drug backed by President Trump

US President Donald Trump took a course of hydroxychloroquine in a bid to ward off coronavirus.
He announced during a news conference last month that he was taking the drug alongside a daily zinc supplement and received a single dose of azithromycin, an antibiotic meant to prevent infection.
Trump said he had requested it himself.
Today his doctor said he had had no side effects from a two-week course of the drug.
The president is regularly tested for the virus and has been negative each time, according to a summary of results from his annual medical check-up released by his White House doctor on Wednesday.
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Post by Kitkat on Wed Jun 03 2020, 22:45

22:39

Thanks for tuning in to our live coverage


Thanks for tuning in to our live page; we're now wrapping up coverage of today's events.
Before we go, here's a round-up of some of the biggest stories from around the world today:

  • In the UK, Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating and has been tested for coronavirus. He began feeling unwell earlier today while speaking at the despatch box in the House of Commons
  • Home Secretary Priti Patel earlier confirmed new quarantine measures on international travellers from 8 June
  • Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people not to go inside others' homes as parts of the UK brace for wet weather
  • Italy is lifting restrictions on domestic travel, allowing people to move between regions
  • The World Health Organization is resuming its trial of hydroxychloroquine as a potential coronavirus treatment
  • Global passenger traffic rose 30% in May, from a very low level in April, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said

We'll be back early on Thursday to bring you more coverage of the coronavirus pandemic - in the meantime you can follow the latest updates on our website and on the BBC News app.

Our team of writers and editors around the world updating you today were:
Anna Jones, Frances Mao, Andreas lllmer, Krutika Pathi, Tom Spender, Rebecca Seales, Vicky Baker, Claudia Allen, Vanessa Barford, Alex Kleiderman, Ashitha Nagesh, Sophie Williams, Emlyn Begley, Neil Johnston, Alex Bysouth, Katie Wright, Kate Whannel, Gavin Stamp, Matt Cannon, and Sam Tonkin.

    Current date/time is Wed Aug 05 2020, 11:59