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Coronavirus - 4th June


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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 04 2020, 10:08

Summary for Thursday, 4th June

  • Mexico reports more than 1,000 daily deaths for the first time
  • Brazil sets a new record of 1,349 daily deaths
  • In the UK, Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating
  • Prince Charles says he "got away quite lightly" when diagnosed in March
  • Austria is reopening almost all its borders on Thursday
  • Globally there have been 6.4m infections since the outbreak began, and 383,000 deaths

Welcome back to our rolling coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic. Here’s are the latest developments and hotspots we are watching:

  • Iran has reported more than 3,000 daily infections for the second day in a row. It was one of the first places globally to suffer a major outbreak of the virus earlier this year, but after a drop in daily cases, number have been rising again
  • Mexico reported 1,092 virus deaths yesterday – the highest daily toll so far. The number of deaths was more than double a previous record, and daily infections were also at a high of 3,912
  • Over in Europe, Austria is scrapping entry checks at its land borders for all its neighbouring countries – except Italy. This means travellers will no longer be quarantined or subject to testing requirements
  • Globally, almost 6.4 million people have been infected with the virus, with the US responsible for a vast majority of these cases. The global death toll now stands at 384,463

Iran fears 'second wave' of infections

Virus infections are seeing a renewed spike in Iran with more than 3,000 new cases for the second consecutive day. Officials said there were 3,134 positive tests, taking the total to over 160,000. There were also 70 new fatalities linked to the virus and the country’s overall death toll is now at 8,012.
Iran has begun lifting some of its restrictions but the government warned they might have be reimposed if there is a "second wave".
“If in any part of the country these warnings aren’t taken seriously and God forbid the outbreak of illness peaks again, the authorities will have to reimpose restrictions,” President Hassan Rouhani said.
Iran had been one of the first hotspots outside of China before the pandemic broke out in Europe and later the US. In early May numbers dropped to a two-month low but in June have begun accelerating again.
The country’s health minister said he was concerned “that people have become completely careless regarding this disease”.

Australia's recession 'heartbreaking', PM says

It was confirmed yesterday that Australia's much-envied streak of 29 years without a recession was coming to an end.
Speaking today, Prime Minister Scott Morrison described it as "heartbreaking" and "something that I never wanted to see happen in Australia ever again".
Data shows that the economy shrank by 0.3% in the first three months of the year, amid bushfires and the early stages of the outbreak.
But Mr Morrison insists Australia is well placed to recover economically amid low numbers of infections. Australia has five people with the virus currently in intensive care, according to official figures .
"There are many lives and livelihoods that are going to be impacted by the dreadful impact of the coronavirus, both on the health impact and on the economic impact - jobs lost, businesses closed. But Australia is reopening," Mr Morrison said.
Political opponents have criticised some stimulus measures as privileging the wealthy – such as government grants for those who spend A$150,000 (£82,000; $103,000) or more on home renovations.

Mexico reports highest daily deaths so far

Mexico has reported 1,092 novel coronavirus deaths for the past day, the country's highest daily toll so far, taking the total fatalities to 11,729.
Daily infections were also at an all-time high of 3,912 - the overall number of confirmed infections now stands at 101,238.
Officials have said that the real numbers are expected to be much higher and the government is facing growing criticism for opening up parts of the economy over the past days. The car industry, mining and construction have all returned to work this week.
The Pan American Health Organisation has asked Mexico not to open its economy too fast because of the risk of accelerating infections.

China to allow foreign airlines in

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China's civil aviation regulator says it will allow foreign airlines currently not permitted to operate international flights into China to start once-a-week routes from June 8, state media said.
A report in the Shanghai publication The Paper cites an order from the Civil Aviation Administration of China that said qualifying airlines can choose one destination to which they want to fly.
It comes after the US ordered the suspension of all flights by Chinese carriers into the US because Beijing had barred US airlines from coming into China.

Recession looms in India

Nikhil Inamdar - BBC News, Mumbai
India is gradually unlocking its economy after a shutdown that lasted more than two months. But it's unlikely to be business as usual for millions of retailers, small enterprises and factories.
By all accounts, reversing the disruption caused by India's lockdown will be a long haul - and the price businesses, especially small firms, have paid is just starting to become clear.
“At least 20% of neighbourhood mobile shops that sell smartphones may never reopen again,” says Arvinder Khurana, president of India's mobile retailers association.
The reasons are many, he adds - on the one hand, owners have fled the cities and are yet to return, and on the other, with job losses mounting and banks averse to offering consumer loans, there is no demand for high-end phones.
Read more here.

Qantas plans to 'ramp up' Australian flights

Australian airline Qantas says it hopes to increase domestic flights to 40% of pre-pandemic levels by August, up from 5% currently.
That's contingent on state borders reopening as expected, says chief executive Alan Joyce.
The airline and its budget carrier, Jetstar, will welcome back some furloughed staff. But "the majority" of those 25,000 employees will remain stood down for now, the company said.
"We know there is a lot of pent up demand for air travel and we are already seeing a big increase in customers booking and planning flights in the weeks and months ahead," Mr Joyce said in a statement.
"We can quickly ramp up flying in time for the July school holidays if border restrictions have eased more by then."

China 'did not delay releasing virus data': FM

China's foreign ministry has refuted claims that Beijing delayed releasing coronavirus data to the WHO, saying this was "seriously inconsistent" with the facts.
It comes after the Associated Press yesterday reported that there had been "considerable frustration" among WHO officials who were not getting the information they needed.
The report claimed that the WHO were lauding China in public because they wanted to coax more information out of the government, citing obtained recordings.
"I can assure you certain reports were seriously inconsistent with facts," said Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian at a media briefing, according to a Global Times report.
"China's coronavirus response is open to the world, with clear data and facts that can stand the test of time and history."

'Brazil's death toll is soaring'

Katy Watson - BBC South America correspondent
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For the second day running Brazil has posted a record death toll – 1,349 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total to more than 32,500. Brazil also has nearly 600,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus.
The country's death toll is soaring – yet in the middle of this pandemic, it still doesn’t have a permanent health minister.
Eduardo Pazuello was confirmed as interim minister on Wednesday after nearly three weeks in the job – a sign for many people that the federal government is not taking the issue seriously enough.
Indeed, just this week, Jair Bolsonaro reacted to the rise in fatalities saying death was the destiny of everyone, once again blaming the media for causing panic among Brazilian people.

Scenes from life in Iran

Iran has reported a second day of more than 3,000 virus cases - sparking fears of a second wave of mass infections. But Iran continues to ease restrictions for many in the country:
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Cafes and restaurants reopened in the capital Tehran late last month after more than two months of closure
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Traffic too has returned to the streets
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Some people are wearing masks outside...
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...but others have chosen not to wear masks in public settings, and social distancing is not widely enforced everywhere.

Austria lifts virus-related border restrictions

Austria is lifting coronavirus-related border restrictions for all neighbouring countries - except Italy.
"As of tomorrow there will be no more checks to enter Austria," its foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg said at a press conference on Wednesday, according to an AFP report.
He said the controls on the Italian border would be evaluated again next week, adding that they were considering the possibility of allowing entry from Italian regions where infection figures are low.
Austria which closed its borders in mid-March has around 16,000 virus cases.
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Tests for those travelling between Singapore and China

We've got more information now about a "fast lane" travel agreement between Singapore and China, which is set to start next Monday.
Those that have been approved to travel between the two countries will be exempt from rules that require travellers to serve a quarantine period of up to 14 days upon landing.
However, they must first agree to be tested and bear the costs of this - if they are found to be infected, they will have to be hospitalised and pay for their own treatment either in Singapore or China, said a report by the Straits Times. The new Singapore-China "fast lane" agreement is meant to help facilitate essential business travel between both countries - it will only apply to business and official travel for flights between Singapore and six places in China: Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang.

Tracking the global pandemic

While the easing of lockdowns around the globe might suggest the pandemic is on its way out, there are still hotspots in Latin America and new spikes for instance in Iran. And every country is worried about a false sense of security leading to a second wave.
The BBC's Visual and Data Journalism team has put together a special site where you can always track the global development of the pandemic.
Click here to see their analysis and many graphics that illustrate how the virus spread, which countries have managed to flatten the curve and where cases are still on the rise.

Delhi reduces quarantine for asymptomatic arrivals

Those arriving in Delhi, India's capital, will now need to quarantine themselves for seven days instead of 14.
The reduced home quarantine will apply to those arriving via flights, trains and buses , reported local media.
The change in rules comes just as Delhi witnessed a rise in cases this week as lockdown relaxations kicked in, including the reopening of salons and barbershops.
The capital has reported more than 23,000 cases so far and the city has over a 100 containment zones.
Meanwhile India's death toll crossed 6,000 on Thursday as its total tally of infections jumped beyond 200,000, according to health ministry data.

China's cinemas could face widespread closures

Justin Harper - Business reporter, BBC News Singapore
More than 40% of cinemas in China could go bust according to a bleak report by the China Film Association.
Having been temporary closed during the virus pandemic, audiences may struggle to return, the association says.
Millions of Chinese have enjoyed watching movies online during cinema closures thanks to a wide range of streaming services.
And with a lack of blockbuster movies on their way, thousands of outlets could shut permanently.
Read more here

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

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has offered a hopeful message as the country moved to its final stage in easing lockdown restrictions.
"We deserve to smile, to be cheerful, after weeks of great sacrifice," he said , adding that now was the time for the country to enact economic reforms.
His comments came the same day as the country entered its final phase in easing lockdown restrictions, 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, Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 04 2020, 12:17

No more empty skies between US and China?

Robin Brant - BBC News, Beijing
The worsening relationship between the US and China includes empty skies. American passenger flights haven’t flown here for months.
Now US President Donald Trump said he will ban all Chinese airlines from travelling to the US.
In response to that decision China has signalled an easing of its restrictions. The civil aviation administration said "qualifying" airlines will be allowed to fly once a week to a city here of their choosing.
It also announced that all airlines coming to China will be allowed to increase flights to twice weekly if passengers all test negative for Covid-19 for three weeks in a row.

Prince Charles 'got away lightly'

The UK's Prince Charles has said he "got away with it quite lightly" when he contracted coronavirus earlier in March.
The 71-year-old had self-isolated after testing positive for the virus and only experienced mild symptoms.
"I was lucky in my case," he told broadcaster Sky News. "But I've had it and I can so understand what other people have gone through."
Prince Charles, who is heir to the throne, recovered from the virus after spending seven days in quarantine at his home.
The prince said the experience made him more determined to "push and shout and prod" as he called for nature to return to the "centre of our economy".
"Before this, nature has just been pushed to the peripheries, we've exploited and dug up and cut down everything as if there was no tomorrow, as if it doesn't matter."
Read more on his experience here

What's the latest in the UK?

If you’re joining us from the UK and Europe, good morning and welcome to our rolling coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic. Our UK team is taking over the page from our colleagues in Singapore, and here are the latest headlines from around the UK:

George Floyd had coronavirus

African American George Floyd, whose death in police custody triggered a wave of protests across the US, tested positive for the virus weeks before his death.
A 20-page autopsy report released by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner's Office shows he had the virus on 3 April.
However, because the virus's genetic code can remain in someone's body for weeks, it is likely that he was asymptomatic at the time of his death but showed a "persistent positivity from previous infection", said the medical report.
Dr Michael Baden, a former New York City medical examiner who was one of two doctors who conducted a private autopsy for Floyd, told the New York Times that county officials had not informed him that Floyd had tested positive for Covid-19.
"If you do the autopsy and it’s positive for the coronavirus, it’s usual to tell everyone who is going to be in touch with the body. There would have been more care," he said.

Study casts doubt on hydroxychloroquine as Covid-19 therapy

Hydroxychloroquine did not prevent Covid-19 in a study of 821 participants who had been exposed to patients infected with the virus, according to research from the University of Minnesota Medical School.
The findings, published in the New England Journal of Medicine , are from the first large, controlled, clinical trial of the controversial drug, say local reports.
Study participants were sent either placebo or hydroxychloroquine pills and told to take them for two weeks.
Results showed that there was little difference in who developed Covid-19 symptoms.
"The take-home message for the general public is that if you’re exposed to someone with Covid-19, hydroxychloroquine is not an effective post-exposure preventive therapy,” said the lead author of the study, Dr David R Boulware, from the University of Minnesota, according to a New York Times report.
The anti-malarial drug has been repeatedly promoted by US President Donald Trump, who said he had taken it himself
Read more on what we know about the drug here.

Stalled vaccine schemes put children's lives at risk

Tulip Mazumdar - Global Health Correspondent
Millions of children could die from preventable disease because of severe disruptions to vaccination programmes caused by coronavirus, experts warn.
At least 68 countries have been affected - with some stopping vaccination campaigns completely.
The World Health Organization advised many countries to suspend vaccinations to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
But now the WHO itself is one of several groups expressing concern about the long-term impact.

UAE to resume connecting flights

Connecting flights will soon be allowed to travel through the United Arab Emirates again, the country's government said on Twitter.
The tweet, posted earlier this morning, doesn't say exactly when transit flights are going to be resumed.
Flights stopping over in the Gulf state's airports were suspended in March, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Today's UK newspapers

The news that a new suspect has been identified in the missing person case of Madeleine McCann dominates most of the front pages of today's UK national newspapers but the Metro leads with a grim statistic, reporting that the number of people who have died in the UK with coronavirus has now reached 50,000.
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The Metro's front page also says the total UK death toll comes after new figures from Scotland were released and added to the data from England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The paper says Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted he was "very proud" of the government's handling of the virus.

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Besides the Madeleine McCann update, the Daily Telegraph reports that Boris Johnson is pushing ahead with his quarantine policy, despite criticism from the Tory backbenches for forcing “unnecessary economic isolation”

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The Times' top story is on Boris Johnson's plan to quarantine everyone entering the UK for two weeks from Monday. Leading scientists have warned the plan makes "no sense", the Times says, adding the government's group of scientific advisers were not consulted on the decision.
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The Guardian's top story says the government's push to reopen primary schools in England on Monday "has fallen flat", saying figures show thousands of schools did not open. In large parts of the north-east of England, not a single primary school opened, the paper says.

Tokyo 2020 officials consider scaled back Olympics

Organisers of the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics are apparently looking at a way to scale back next year's Games.
The Games were postponed until July 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic, bringing the additional unplanned-for costs of rescheduling everything.
Because of this, Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike told reporters, organisers are considering ways the Olympics can be "rationalised and simplified".
Local media say this could mean cutting the number of spectators allowed to go to indoor competitions, and reducing participation in the opening and closing ceremonies.

Two Pakistani lawmakers die as cases surge

Two lawmakers in Pakistan died from Covid-19 on Wednesday just as the country reported its biggest daily spike yet with 4,772 new infections , Dawn newspaper reports.
Mian Jamshed Din Kakakhel, 65, a lawmaker in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, died while receiving treatment . Two more lawmakers from the province also tested positive for Covid-19 on the same day.
Later on Wednesday, a lawmaker in Punjab province, Shaukat Manzoor Cheema, also died from the virus, the newspaper. says.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Imran Khan defended lifting the lockdown, saying it was devastating the economy and that citizens would have to "live with the virus". The country has more than 83,000 cases and 1,688 deaths.

What's the latest sports news?

  • Premier League clubs will have their most thorough discussion to date about what should happen if the season is curtailed at their latest meeting on Thursday. All clubs will be given a say over how to finalise the league table if the season cannot be completed, though it is widely expected that relegation will not be scrapped. A fixture list for the first few rounds of the rebooted season is also due to be confirmed, along with kick-off times and broadcast plans
  • Irish football club Bohemians admitted it was an "error" for two groups of three of their players and a coach to have trained at the same venue in Dublin. The Premier Division club was reacting after a video of the players training at Fr Collins Park was shared on social media
  • Some football fans appeared to ignore social distancing guidelines during the Hungarian Cup final on Wednesday. Only the lower tier of the Puskas Arena was open, with fans encouraged to sit apart during Budapest Honved's 2-1 win over Mezokovesd-Zsory but rival groups gathered behind each goal. Hungary became the first European country to allow fans to attend games since the pandemic on 31 May

The latest from Europe

Germany announces a massive economic stimulus while Austria reopens its borders – but not to Italy. Here’s the latest from Europe:

  • After marathon talks with coalition partners, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel unveiled a €130 billion ($146bn; £116bn) economic recovery package, including a cut in VAT to boost consumer spending and a €300 stipend per child for struggling families. Ms Merkel called it a “package for the future”
  • Austria has unilaterally opened its borders, with foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg describing it as a return to “pre-corona” times. But the frontier remains closed with Italy, which fully reopened all its borders on Wednesday. Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said “individualist” approaches by different countries risked damaging the EU
  • The president of Spain’s Balearic Islands, Francina Armengol, has told a German newspaper group that partying tourists face a very different holiday after the virus. “We want to guarantee that holidays in Mallorca are safe,” she said. “Bucket drinks are history”
  • And North Macedonia is imposing a strict curfew in certain cities, running from 9pm tonight until 5am on Monday, after a recent spike in infections

HK protesters find ways to mark Tiananmen despite virus ban

People across Hong Kong are still finding ways to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square crackdown - despite the official vigil being banned due to coronavirus.
The Hong Kong Alliance - which organises the annual vigil - has called on people to mark the date with a home-based commemoration.
They are asking people to light a candle at 20:00 local time "no matter where you are", followed by a minute's silence, songs, and "chanting of slogans".
The ban comes comes as Beijing has proposed a new security law for the city, one that critics say would remove Hong Kong's freedoms and spell the end of the "one country, two systems" way of life.
They also fear the bill could mean no more Tiananmen Square vigils in Hong Kong - even after the virus threat has eased.
Read more about the situation in Hong Kong here.

'Vaccines are more important than ever' - Bill Gates

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Bill Gates is expected to give a speech during a virtual Global Vaccine Summit, hosted by the UK later

US billionaire Bill Gates has called for any successful coronavirus vaccine found in the future to be distributed "on a global basis”.
Gates was speaking to the BBC ahead of a virtual vaccine summit later in which world leaders and some of the wealthiest companies and individuals aim to raise upwards of $7.4bn (£5.9bn) to boost vaccine production.
He said help for vaccines was "more important today than it's ever been" and that every donation means "we can save more lives".
Any funds raised will be used to help get any successful coronavirus vaccine to the world's poorest countries, while also helping immunise against deadly diseases such as polio, typhoid and measles.
The coronavirus pandemic has disrupted vaccination campaigns worldwide, meaning about 80 million babies have missed out on routine immunisations.
But Gates warned that disinformation about vaccines (more on that here) posed a threat to efforts to tackle diseases - including Covid-19.
"Eventually, when we have the vaccine - we will want to develop the herd immunity to have over 80% of the population taken," he added.
"If they’ve heard its a plot or that vaccines are bad, and we don't have people willing to take the vaccine then that will let the disease continue to kill people."

UK quarantine will do 'untold damage' to tourism - Ryanair boss

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Ryanair boss Michael O'Leary

Ryanair chief Michael O'Leary has joined a growing backlash over plans for new UK arrivals to go into isolation for 14 days.
The UK did not follow many other European countries in imposing such a move as outbreaks first hit the continent months ago.
And some senior Conservative MPs have questioned the timing of the decision to implement this now, when other countries are relaxing travel restrictions.
Now budget airline boss O'Leary has told the BBC the move will be "ineffective" and warned it will do "untold damage" to British tourism.
"We don't understand, as an industry, why the British government doesn't follow the European science that says it is perfectly okay to fly as long as you all wear face masks," he said.
But cabinet minster Brandon Lewis has defended the plans and the government's timing, saying such a move would only now be effective because the UK infection rate has dropped.
"That’s why this is the right time to bring this in."

Israeli parliament suspends activities after MP tests positive

Israel’s parliament has suspended most of its activities for the day after a lawmaker tested positive for coronavirus. Staff at the Knesset have been asked not to come into work unless it is essential, while committee meetings have been postponed.
The infected lawmaker, Sami Abou Shahadeh, entered self-isolation two days ago after his driver tested positive. But he told public broadcaster Kan that he had met thousands of people over the past two weeks.
“I went to comfort mourners and also to family events and demonstrations,” he said, according to the Times of Israel . “I was on committees, in the [Knesset] plenary and even the cafeteria.”
Mr Abou Shahadeh has urged people who have been in close contact with him to self-isolate and get tested. "The virus is still among us and a return to so-called routine helps the virus spread with greater magnitude and speed," he tweeted .
Photographs circulated by Kan showed him not wearing a face mask at a mourning tent set up by the family of Iyad Halaq, an autistic Palestinian man shot dead by Israeli police on Saturday.

Demands grow for 'green industrial revolution' after pandemic

Greenpeace has joined a growing list of organisations demanding that the UK government puts protecting the environment at the heart of any post-Covid-19 economic stimulus package.
The campaign group has produced a detailed "manifesto" with measures to boost clean transport and smart power.
The document follows a comparable call from some of Britain's most powerful business leaders earlier this week.
Last week, the prime minister Boris Johnson expressed a similar ambition, saying he wanted to see a "fairer, greener and more resilient global economy " after the pandemic and that "we owe it to future generations to build back better".
More on all this from our environment correspondent, Justin Rowlatt, here.

Aston Martin and Lookers cut 2,000 car jobs

Car dealership Lookers has announced it will cut up to 1,500 jobs with the closure of more showrooms in the UK.
The company reopened its showrooms on Monday after the government lifted lockdown restrictions.
Luxury carmaker Aston Martin also announced 500 redundancies, a week after naming a new chief executive.
It comes as the SMMT trade body said only 20,000 new cars were registered in May - down 89% year-on-year - in the worst May performance since 1952.

Paris cancels Bastille Day parade

The French capital has cancelled its famous military parade for Bastille Day on 14 July because of coronavirus.
Instead, the Elysee says in a statement, they'll hold a ceremony at the Place de la Concorde in central Paris.
The annual parade usually takes place on the Champs-Elysées, and is the biggest event on the French calendar.

German state plans €130bn economic boost

The German government says it will provide a stimulus package worth €130bn (£116bn; $146bn) to kick-start the economy, stricken by the coronavirus pandemic.
The package, to be spread into 2021, includes a €300 payment per child for families and a six-month cut in the VAT rate, from 19% to 16%.
The government is also earmarking €7bn for hydrogen technology to help cut carbon emissions.
Anyone buying an electric vehicle will be entitled to a €6,000 government subsidy towards it – double the current subsidy.
Germany is heading for its worst recession since World War Two because of the pandemic.
The EU already has plans for more than €1 trillion in aid for Europe’s ailing economies, but there are political tensions over the huge spending plans.

Iran reports record number of new cases

Another 3,574 people have been confirmed as having coronavirus in Iran over the last 24 hours, its health ministry has announced - the highest daily figure since the outbreak began in February.
This is also the fourth day running that the number of new cases has been higher than 3,000.
Previously, the highest daily number of new cases was 3,186 - recorded on 30 March, at the height of the country's initial outbreak.
Health Ministry Spokesman Kianush Jahanpur also said in a live phone interview with news channel IRINN that 59 people had died in the last day, and that the total death toll now stands at 8,071.

Quarantine rules a 'killer blow' for travel sector

More concern about UK quarantine rules - we heard from Ryanair earlier.
Now, the boss of the UK's biggest airport services company Swissport has warned the measure could deliver a "killer blow" to the travel sector.
From 8 June all passengers arriving in the UK must self-isolate for 14 days.
Swissport chief executive Jason Holt said the plan would deter people from travelling and put ground staff jobs at risk as a result.
Speaking to the BBC's Today programme, he said: "If it's so important and it's so relevant to the virus, and we all want the country to be safe, why wasn't this done in March? That's why everybody's quite confused on this."
Read more here

Turkey ready to resume international flights

Turkey plans to resume flights to 40 countries this month - and has reached provisional reciprocal agreements with 15 countries.
Germany, Switzerland, South Korea and Qatar are among the destinations for flights starting this month.
Turkey, which resumed domestic flights on 1 June, is talking to 92 countries in total about international travel.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 04 2020, 13:27

How is the rest of Latin America faring?

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Relatives have been taking oxygen to patients in some of Peru's hospitals as shortages widen

With record daily numbers of dead registered in both Mexico and Brazil, how are other Latin American nations doing?

  • In Argentina, President Alberto Fernández is expected to announce an extension of the lockdown until 21 June. The worst affected region is the capital, Buenos Aires, and the metropolitan area surrounding it. Out of the 949 new cases registered in the past day, all but 40 were in this area.
  • Some good news from Peru, where a 50-year-old woman who has Covid-19 has given birth to healthy twins. However, the situation in the country's hospitals is becoming increasingly critical with shortages of oxygen becoming more acute.
  • In Paraguay, a congressman took off his shirt in a parliamentary session in protest at the continuing closure of the border with Brazil. Bare-chested, Congressman Jorge Antonio Brítez said the bridge linking the area he represents with Brazil should reopen as trade provided a key income to many. Brazil has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Latin America, and Paraguay closed its borders in mid-March to prevent the virus's spread.

Eastenders runs out of new episodes

New episodes of EastEnders will be paused from next week.
Filming of the long-running soap - set in London's East End - was halted in March as the coronavirus pandemic hit the UK.
The BBC has been broadcasting fewer weekly episodes since then, in an attempt to make the stock of existing footage last as long as possible.
But the corporation has now confirmed the last new episode will be aired on Tuesday.
A new programme celebrating the soap's history hosted by Stacey Dooley will take its place from 22 June.
EastEnders fan? Read more here

Hong Kong housing estate linked to cluster of new cases

Health officials in Hong Kong have begun evacuating residents from a public housing estate that's believed to be the site of a cluster of new cases.
The South China Morning Post is among the sources reporting that the spread of the virus on the Lek Yuen Estate in Sha Tin could be linked to its sewage system. At least six people living in the Lek Yuen apartments are confirmed to have the virus so far. A 34-year-old woman with no recent travel history tested positive on Saturday, becoming Hong Kong's first local infection in 16 days.
The Chinese territory has so far reported 1,098 cases of Covid-19, with four deaths.

Today's Global Vaccine Summit - what are the aims?

A virtual vaccine summit hosted by the UK is getting under way.
It brings political leaders from about 50 countries together with some of the wealthiest individuals and firms around the globe.
Its aims?

  • To raise at least $7.4bn (£5.9bn) for Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance  - in order help get vaccines to some of the poorest people in the world
  • This includes helping immunise some 300 million children against infectious diseases like measles, typhoid and polio
  • A separate pot of funds will help distribute any successful coronavirus vaccine quickly
  • It also hopes to co-ordinate pharmaceutical companies and world leaders' global approach to immunising against Covid-19

It comes as experts warn that millions of children could die from preventable disease because of severe disruptions to vaccination programmes caused by coronavirus.
Our global health correspondent Tulip Mazumdar has been finding out more

'Unprecedented' fall in British rail journeys

We already know many people have shunned the UK rail network after being told to avoid non-essential travel.
New figures released today show that the number of rail passenger journeys declined by 11.4% in the first quarter of the year.
According to transport regulator the Office of Road and Rail, the number of trips made on the rail network fell by an "unprecedented" 51 million to 394 million - the largest quarterly fall on record.
The Department for Transport is providing financial support to franchised rail operators, which have seen a steep fall in revenue from fares. Services began to increase again from mid-May with about 70% of timetabled routes operating.
But people are still being advised to avoid public transport due to the risk from coronavirus. Our Health team has looked into the risks of taking public transport , while the BBC's transport correspondent has examined how social distancing can be maintained on trains.

Virgin Atlantic announces partial resumpton of flights

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UK-based long-haul airline Virgin Atlantic says it's going to resume flights to five worldwide destinations from London's Heathrow airport from 20 July. Services will operate to Orlando, New York, Los Angeles, Shanghai and Hong Kong.
The carrier - founded by UK entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson - says it's bringing in a range of new safety measures in response to the coronavirus, including hand sanitisers, social distancing at check-in queues and boarding, as well as temperature checks for passengers. The airline adds that aircraft will be cleaned using "hospital grade" products before every flight. It also says that all passengers will be required to wear face masks at all times while on board.
Virgin announced last month that it is cutting 3,000 jobs in the UK following the drop in demand for air travel caused by coronavirus. It is also closing its base at London's Gatwick airport, which was where the airline began its operations in 1984.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 04 2020, 17:52

What's the latest around the world?
Here's a recap of today's headlines from around the world:

  • A virtual vaccine summit hosted by the UK is getting under way, bringing political leaders from about 50 countries together with some of the world's wealthiest individuals and firms
  • Also in the UK, Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating at home after becoming unwell in Parliament
  • Austria is reopening almost all its borders, with foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg describing it as a return to “pre-corona” times
  • Mexico has reported more than 1,000 daily deaths for the first time
  • Brazil has registered a record 1,349 deaths in 24 hours
  • Another 3,574 cases have been confirmed in Iran - the highest daily figure since the outbreak began in February
  • Globally there have now been 6.4m infections and 383,000 deaths

Alok Sharma had 45-minute meeting with Johnson

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Boris Johnson's official spokesman has confirmed the UK prime minister had a 45-minute meeting with Alok Sharma on Tuesday - a day before the business secretary was seen mopping his brow while speaking in the House of Commons.
Sharma is now self-isolating at home and is awaiting the results of a test for Covid-19.
The spokesman added that all those taking part in the meeting at 10 Downing Street had been sitting two metres apart.
Johnson's spokesman said if Sharma did test positive, he would go through the test and trace process.
Earlier this week, MPs voted to return to physical sittings of Parliament, putting an end to a "hybrid" chamber where members could take part in votes, debates and committee hearings remotely.
But several MPs are unhappy with the move, saying it could put them, their families and constituents at risk.
The PM's spokesman today defended the decision to end virtual sittings - and remote voting - saying Parliament had to fulfil all of its functions, including proper scrutiny and passing legislation.

Infection rate has dropped in Scotland - Sturgeon

James Shaw - BBC Scotland reporter
The coronavirus infection rate in Scotland has reduced slightly since last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said.
She said the R number - the measure of how many new people are infected by each case - is now between 0.7 and 0.9.
Last week, it was said to be 0.7 to 1.
But the first minister said the new figures did not reflect the situation since the lockdown was eased last Friday.
Sturgeon also revealed that the Scottish government was considering making the wearing of face coverings mandatory in enclosed public spaces.
She said there was evidence that using them in places such as shops and public transport, where physical distancing is not possible, could help reduce the spread of coronavirus.

Republic of Ireland set to increase travel limit

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The Republic of Ireland is set to move to the next phase of its relaxation of Covid-19 measures on Monday.
This includes reopening small retail outlets where social distancing is possible and an increase in travel restrictions to 20km (12 miles), up from 5km (3 miles).
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said he was concerned by some calls to accelerate the five-stage relaxation plan.
While it was too soon to book a holiday, he said "summer is not yet lost".
Read more here.

Drive-through Botox injections in Florida

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With quarantine measures now relaxing in Florida, people are now getting drive-through Botox injections.
Michael Salzhauer, a plastic surgeon has been conducting the treatments in the garage of his building in Miami, Reuters news agency reports.
He said: "The areas that we inject Botox are the upper face, exactly the parts of the face that aren't covered by the mask so it's really ideal."
Patients are paying an average of $600 (£478) each for the treatment.
Florida relaxed its rules on certain elective medical procedures, including Botox, in May. However other services such as tattoo parlours are still waiting to open.

Reform NI abortion laws during Covid-19 crisis, urges MP

An MP held her baby in the Commons as she has urged Northern Ireland leaders to urgently support abortion law reform - warning of extra risks due to the coronavirus crisis.
Labour's Stella Creasy was speaking in the Commons chamber after Stormont rejected Westminster's calls for changes to abortion laws.
It means abortion laws remain stricter in Northern Ireland than the rest of the UK, with some women journeying to Britain for support.
Creasy told the Commons that "travelling is not a sustainable option", particularly during the coronavirus lockdown, and could lead to some "women making unsafe choices".
The debate on abortion followed news that minister Alok Sharma met the prime minister and chancellor day the before falling ill after appearing unwell in the chamber on Wednesday.
"Additional cleaning" had taken place following Sharma's appearance where he looked unwell, the Commons said.

Public faith in Swedish authorities drops significantly

Maddy Savage - BBC News, Stockholm
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Public faith in Swedish authorities has dropped significantly, as the coronavirus crisis continues, according to a new survey by major pollsters Novus.
The proportion of respondents who had very or fairly high confidence in the government’s ability to deal with Covid 19 has slumped to 45% compared with 63% in the company’s last major survey in April.
Confidence in the Swedish Public Health Authority, led by state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has dropped to 65%, down from 73%. However faith in the country’s health care services remain high, with 80% of people surveyed reporting very or fairly high confidence, compared to 84% in April.
Sweden’s unusual response to the virus, which has involved keeping large parts of society open and relying largely on social distancing measures, has sparked debate around the world.
In more recent weeks the government has faced criticism over the high death toll in care homes and failing to test 100,000 people a week as it had promised.

US unemployment claims slow

New figures show that, over the past week, 1.8 million people made unemployment claims in the US. The rate of increase in joblessness has slowed down, but the number of people out of work still remains very high – since late March 42 million people have filed for benefits.
Economists are now saying the unemployment rate for May could be higher than 20%, which is twice what it was at the height of the 2008 and 2009 recession. Before the pandemic, the country's job market was at its strongest in half a century.

Bastille Day to honour health workers this year

More now on the news we brought you earlier that this year's Bastille Day military parade in Paris has been cancelled as a health precaution.
The spectacular display of troops and armour along the Champs-Elysées is a highlight of the French calendar, commemorating every 14 July the storming of the Bastille prison during the French Revolution in 1789.
This year the capital will honour instead the health workers fighting the Covid-19 pandemic. At least 29,024 people have died with coronavirus in France which is only now beginning to ease its lockdown.
About 2,000 participants and 2,500 guests will gather on the Place de la Concorde, adhering to social distancing rules. For that reason, it is unlikely that members of the public will be admitted.
Fans of military pageant can take some consolation, however, from news that a flypast will still go ahead, in honour of medical personnel and all others "mobilised against the virus".

Parliament reopening puts lives at risk, warns union

The reopening of UK Parliament will put lives at unneccesary risk, says a union representing more than 800 parliamentary staff.
The Public and Commercial Services union (PCS) - whose members include security guards, cleaners and maintenance workers - has written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson to tell him of its concerns.
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka wrote: "Staff believe they are now at increased risk of contracting Covid-19 and this, in turn, is impacting on the mental wellbeing of our members working on the Estate.
"We believe Parliament has opened too soon and the lives of PCS members, and those of our sister unions, are being put at risk unnecessarily."
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Business Secretary Alok Sharma is self-isolating after becoming ill in Parliament on Wednesday

UK sees another 133 deaths recorded on Thursday

NHS England has announced 115 new deaths of people who tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of confirmed reported deaths in hospitals in England to 27,159.
Of the 115 new deaths announced on Thursday, 24 took place on 3 June, 49 were on 2 June and nine were on 1 June.
The figures also show 25 of the new deaths took place in May, seven occurred in April, while one was one 20 March.
A further eight people have died in Wales taking their total number of deaths up to 1,379, while another 35 people have tested positive for the virus bringing the number of confirmed cases up to 14,238.
Northern Ireland, has registered one more death over the last 24 hours, taking their total number of hospital deaths up to 535 since the outbreak began.
Scotland recorded nine new deaths on Thursday, taking its total up to 2,395. It is the first time the nation's daily death toll has dropped to single figure on a weekday since 27 March.

Hong Kong marks Tiananmen anniversary despite ban

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Thousands of people in Hong Kong have defied a police ban on mass gathering to mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre in 1989.
As night fell, people pushed through barricades into Victoria Park, where a vigil is held every year. Those in the park sat down holding candles before a minute's silence.
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Vigils were also held in local neighbourhoods, shopping districts and churches.
Authorities in Hong Kong currently have a ban on public gatherings of more than eight people in a bid to stop the spread of the virus.
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Northern Ireland to ease lockdown next week

Northern Ireland has confirmed steps to ease some lockdown restrictions next week.
From Monday:

The move was dependent on the R rate - the number of people each infected person passes the virus on to - remaining below one.
Latest estimates put the R rate between 0.7 and 0.9, the Northern Ireland Executive said.
It follows earlier steps to allow groups of up to six people who do not share the same household to meet outdoors while socially-distancing.
Garden centres and recycling centres have already been allowed to reopen .

Why has Iran seen a surge in new infections?

Rana Rahimpour - BBC Persian
For the third consecutive day, Iran has reported more than 3,000 new cases of Covid-19.
The situation in several provinces has been classified as “alarming” and some restrictions have been reinstated in Khuzestan, in the south-west of the country, where there is a state of emergency.
Experts believe several reasons are behind the increase in cases.
Most important of all is the fact that many Iranians are not taking social distancing seriously.
Ignoring official advice, thousands of people travelled to northern Iran - then considered a high-risk “red” zone - two weeks ago for the Eid al-Fitr holidays. Undergrounds stations, banks and offices have also been packed with people.
The authorities have been warning about a second wave of the outbreak, but they do not seem interested in a second lockdown in order to contain the virus - at least for now.

Paris art gallery provides winged hats to keep people distant

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An art gallery in Paris is providing hats with winged extensions to ensure people comply with social distancing guidelines.
It says the papier-mache hats are based on headwear from the ancient Chinese Song dynasty, which ruled between 960 and 1279.
Those hats had extensions ensuring people kept one metre (three feet) apart.
In France, people are advised to keep one metre apart to stop the spread of coronavirus.
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Dominique Pouzol, who designed the hats for the 59 Rivoli gallery, told Reuters: "Back in the day, these were worn to prevent public officials from whispering. And so there was already then this notion of social distancing."
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France is slowly loosening its lockdown restrictions and a number of museums are preparing to open. The Louvre in Paris, possibly the world's most famous art museum, remains closed but it's scheduled to open on 6 July. The Louvre Lens, in eastern France, starts to reopen from this week.
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Trump makes unexpected appearance at virtual vaccine meet

Tulip Mazumdar - Global Health Correspondent
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US President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance at the virtual Global Vaccine Summit, which is under way now, hosted by the UK.
Last week, Trump severed ties with the UN's health agency, the World Health Organization, stopping around $400m (£317m) in support, after accusing it and China of mishandling the outbreak. There was international criticism of the decision, particularly because it was made in the middle of a global pandemic.
But today, Trump struck a different tone in what was a very brief and seemingly very off-the-cuff, pre-recorded message.
"As the coronavirus has shown, there are no borders, it doesn't discriminate." he said.
"It's mean, it's nasty but we're going to take care of it together.... We will work hard, we will work strong... good luck, let's get the answer."

Host of European countries ease travel restrictions

Sweden is the latest European country to announce it is easing travel restrictions. Swedes have been told that they can travel freely within the country from 13 June as long as they are symptom-free. Elsewhere in Europe:

  • The Czech Republic government will drop restrictions on travel to and from Austria, Germany and Hungary on Friday. It comes after the border with Slovakia opened on Wednesday
  • Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said he hopes to be able to recommend the resumption of air travel within a select number of countries in a number of weeks
  • Turkey says it plans to resume flights with around 40 countries in June
  • Austria has scrapped entry checks at its borders except with Italy
  • Spain says it will reopen land borders with France and Portugal on 22 June

Rapinoe to miss tournament over virus concerns

US women's soccer star Megan Rapinoe will not play in a one-off tournament to mark the resumption of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL), due to concerns over the spread of the virus.
Women's football is set to become the first US team sport to return after a nationwide sports suspension.The NWSL season had originally been due to start on 18 April.
There have been more than 107,000 deaths and 1.85 million cases in the US since the start of the pandemic.
According to US media, Rapinoe is also said to be concerned about the compressed fixture list - with 25 matches scheduled between 27 June and 26 July.
Rapinoe led the US team to victory in the 2019 World Cup, and later won Fifa's best player award and the Ballon d'Or.
"It's a shame. I understand her motivations but I'm disappointed and frustrated she's not with us to compete in this tournament," said her OL Reign coach Farid Benstiti.
"She will be greatly missed by the team and also women's football."

What's happening in the UK?

We should be hearing from the UK government in the next 30 minutes, but let’s take a look at the latest coronavirus developments across the country first.

UK government's quarantine plans under fire

The daily briefing is due to start in about 15 minutes.
It's being led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who is likely to be questioned about the government's plans to quarantine new arrivals in the UK, starting on Monday.
The plans came under sustained criticism from MPs yesterday, and the travel industry has today warned the mandatory two-week isolation will deter visitors and put jobs at risk.
In preparation for the press conference, you can read the full story here.

What's the latest from the US?

If you're just joining us, welcome to our live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
A lot has been happening today, particularly in the US - which not only has the highest virus death toll by far, but where there are also widespread protests after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Here are the main headlines from the US.

  • George Floyd had coronavirus, a postmortem has found. The 20-page medical report shows he had the virus on 3 April, and although it's likely he was asymptomatic when he died, he showed a "persistent positivity from a previous infection". However, the report states clearly that the virus was unrelated to his death
  • A total of 42 million people have now filed for unemployment benefits in the US since March. In the last week, 1.8 million people have lost their jobs, and economists are now warning that the unemployment rate for the month of May could be at least 20%
  • New research from the University of Minnesota finds that hydroxychloroquine - the anti-malarial drug promoted by President Trump - did not prevent Covid-19 in participants
  • Meanwhile, Trump's doctor says he "remains healthy" after taking hydroxychloroquine
  • A New York Times report says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the US's pubilc health body, made "missteps that undermined America's response" early on in its outbreak

Emergency debate granted over 'virtual Parliament' row

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MPs in the House of Commons are to hold an emergency debate next Monday on the decision to end the "virtual Parliament".
Liberal Democrat Alistair Carmichael, who asked for Commons time to discuss the matter, said the government's insistence that MPs must be present at Westminster constituted "a serious risk to health".
While the prime minister has attempted to allay MPs' fears by allowing proxy votes in the Commons , the move to end remote voting has angered many MPs - especially those who are shielding because of underlying health problems, or who live a long way from London.
The issue of safe working at the Palace of Westminster has come under further scrutiny after Business Secretary Alok Sharma appeared to be unwell while speaking at the dispatch box. He has since returned home to self-isolate and is waiting on the results of a Covid-19 test

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 04 2020, 20:59

UK coronavirus death toll more than 39,900

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps is going through the latest UK coronavirus statistics.
He says of those tested positive for coronavirus in the UK, there have been 176 further deaths.
In total, 39,904 people who have had a positive test have died.
As of 4 June, there have been 220,057 tests carried out or posted out.

Face coverings to be compulsory on public transport in England – Shapps

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps says that as of Monday 15 June face coverings will become mandatory on public transport in England.

How to make your own mask at home

With face masks being made compulsary on public transport in England, many people may be worried about not owning one.
But it is possible to make your own at home.
There are a few simple rules - the more layers of material the better, the mask needs to fit snugly around the face and you should be able to breathe comfortably.
Read here for several ideas of how to make your own masks at home from materials you may have lying round.
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Passengers who do not comply will be fined

Shapps has given more details on plans for the UK government to make non-medical face coverings mandatory on public transport in England from 15 June.
There will be exemptions for young children, he says.
But broadly we are doing what many other countries will do he adds.
"We need to ensure every precaution is taken," Shapps says.
He says "face coverings offer some - albeit limited - protection".
He says those who don't comply can be stopped from travelling and passengers can be fined.
Earlier, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said her government was considering making the wearing of face coverings mandatory in enclosed public spaces in Scotland.

What did we learn from today's UK briefing?

Today's government press conference was led by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who was joined by Sir Peter Hendy, chairman of Network Rail.
Here's what they told us:

  • From 15 June, face coverings (not clinical masks) will be mandatory on all public transport in England. Passengers who refuse to comply will be refused travel or fined, which will be enforced by staff and British Transport Police
  • The Cycle to Work tax break is being extended to apply to e-bikes
  • Travel companies have a duty to offer a refund for cancelled holidays if the customer does not want a voucher, he reiterated
  • Grant Shapps says he spoke to Business Secretary Alok Shama, who has been tested for coronavirus after falling ill in the House of Commons yesterday, and says he is feeling well and working from isolation
  • Holidays are not advised at the moment. Foreign Office advice is against all but essential travel abroad and the rules mean people can't spend the night away from home within the UK.

UK minister does not have virus, test shows

UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma has tested negative for coronavirus.
It comes after he appeared to be unwell while speaking in the House of Commons yesterday.
His spokeswoman said: "Mr Sharma would like to thank the parliamentary authorities and Speaker and also for the kind words from parliamentary colleagues and others who have expressed their well wishes over the last 24 hours."
Asked about Mr Sharma's condition at the Downing Street daily press conference, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said he was "doing fine".

South Africa's hospitals could be overwhelmed within weeks, expert warns

Andrew Harding - BBC News, Johannesburg
After a promising start, South Africa is beginning to struggle.
Intensive care beds in Cape Town are already full and doctors are warning that many hospitals there will be overwhelmed within weeks.
In the nearby Eastern Cape – a poor and notoriously badly run province – the situation is looking even worse.
One of the country’s top Covid-19 experts, Professor Shabir Madhi, called it “alarming” and said the true infection rate was now far higher than indicated by an overloaded testing system.
The professor warned that the struggling Eastern Cape could well give clues as to how the pandemic will affect the rest of the continent.
Anyone who thought South Africa might be spared – perhaps because it has a relatively young population – was, he said, guilty of wishful thinking.

British Airways owner absent from UK quarantine meeting

IAG, the company that owns British Airways, has declined to comment on why it did not send a representative to talks with UK Home Secretary Priti Patel about the government's 14-day quarantine for people arriving from overseas.
BA has said the plan would be "another blow to our industry". Other UK airlines, including EasyJet and Virgin Atlantic, have said they will meet the home secretary.
In April, BA said it would cut 12,000 roles and weaken terms and conditions for its remaining staff, just weeks after it had put 30,000 workers on the job retention scheme which pays workers' wages.
But the UK government's quarantine plan has been criticised across the travel sector, with 200 companies writing to Patel on Monday to call for the idea to be scrapped.

Mexico leader: 1,000 deaths 'no cause for alarm'

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has tried to reassure Mexicans that 1,000 deaths registered in 24 hours is "no cause for alarm".
On Wednesday evening, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell announced that Mexico had registered 1,092 deaths with coronavirus in 24 hours, double that of the previous day and the highest death toll so far in Mexico.
The president stressed that not all of the deaths had occurred in the past 24 hours but that some dated back weeks and were just being recorded late.
"It's not a question of letting our guard down, we have to remain careful and keep our distance but there shouldn't be any psychosis or fear, and we shouldn't pay attention to any fear-mongering," he said in a news conference on Thursday.
Critics of López Obrador say the president was late in reacting to the pandemic and that he is lifting the lockdown too soon, while he argues that restarting the economy is key to Mexicans' livelihoods.

'Get tested', top US health official urges Floyd protesters

People who took part in protests over the killing of George Floyd should "highly consider" getting tested for coronavirus, a top US health official said on Thursday.
"Those individuals that have partaken in these peaceful protests or have been out protesting, and particularly if they're in metropolitan areas that really haven't controlled the outbreak... we really want those individuals to highly consider being evaluated and get tested," Robert Redfield, director for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a House of Representatives committee.
Protests over the death of George Floyd - who died after a white police officer knelt on his neck for several minutes - continued in dozens of cities on Wednesday night despite widespread curfews.
There are fears the large gatherings could further spread the virus in the US.

Isle of Man moves to 'new Manx normal'

The British Crown Dependency of the Isle of Man has announced that it will allow groups of up to 30 people to gather in public as part of what its chief minister has described as "the new Manx normal" .
From 15 June, the self-governing territory in the Irish Sea will also allow restaurants, pubs and cafes to serve diners indoors and gyms will be permitted to partially reopen.
The island, which has seen 24 Covid-19-linked deaths, now has no active cases.

How to keep safe while protesting

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A number of large protests are taking place around the globe. There are concerns that gatherings could cause a spike in cases of coronavirus.
BBC Outside Source spoke with Dr Emma Hodcroft, molecular epidemiologist at the University of Basel in Switzerland about how to keep safe while attending demonstrations. Here's her advice:

  • Always wear a mask when in a large group, even outside. Change it every four hours and safely dispose of the old one. Remember not to touch your mask while wearing it.

  • Stay two metres away from anyone not in your household.

  • Organisers should (as much as possible) provide masks, hand sanitiser, and help arrange people so they can stand/march in a formation that allows plenty of room around each person.

  • Shouting, singing and chanting are likely to produce droplets which can contribute to transmission. Some great alternatives are drums, rattles and other noise-making devices. If you do chant or sing, definitely do not do so without a mask on.

  • Don’t share signs or banners, and don’t touch things that aren’t yours. Bring your own sign, water etc. to avoid having to share with others.

  • Speakers need to be cautious of transmission risks. Microphones and megaphones should be wiped down well with sanitiser between speakers. Extra room should be made between speakers and the crowd – loud speaking produces droplets.

  • If you have any symptoms at all, do not go to a protest.

Parts of Brecon Beacons set to reopen

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Parts of the Brecon Beacons national park are set to reopen next week for the first time since coronavirus restrictions came into effect.
The park authority said it had been reviewing its approach since the Welsh Government announced the easing of some lockdown measures .
It hopes to open some areas from Monday , but more popular sites, such as Pen y Fan, will remain closed.
It said protecting people and health services was the "utmost priority".
Wales' national parks and other beauty spots were thronged with visitors at the start of the coronavirus outbreak , with the closure of many sites then coming with the lockdown at the end of March .

Anxiety over Chinese flight ban

Kerry Allen - BBC Monitoring, Chinese Media Analyst
A forthcoming US ban on flights from China has left some Chinese students worried they won’t be able to get home.
Yesterday, the US announced that it would suspend all Chinese passenger planes from 16 June. This has led to an outpouring of anxiety on social media, with many asking, "What will international students do?"
The independent South China Morning Post said that last year some 370,000 students from China were enrolled in institutes across the US. .
Seemingly in response to reaction to the US ban, the Civil Aviation Administration of China has signalled that it will loosen its own restrictions on arrivals, saying airports in 37 cities across China should now become available to international flights.
This has led to praise online, with users of the popular Sina Weibo platform saying that China is “putting people’s interests first” and that they hope those in the US can “hurry home”.
But there are also concerns. China has gone to great lengths to ensure that it doesn’t see a second wave of Covid-19, implementing mass testing and strict quarantine procedures. Many are worried that an influx of people returning from overseas could lead to a fresh spike in cases.

Premier League agrees temporary change to substitute rules

The Premier League has confirmed that its shareholders have agreed temporary changes to the rules relating to substitutes.
For the remainder of the 2019-20 season, which is set to resume on 17 June, the number of substitutes that can be used during a match will increase from three to five, in line with the temporary law amendment made by the International Football Association Board last month.
Clubs can also increase the maximum number of substitute players on their bench from seven to nine.

Jordan says it will toughen social distancing enforcement

Jordan says it will loosen coronavirus restrictions in the country but warned it would now toughen its enforcement of social distancing.
The country is set to reopen hotels and cafes, allow sporting events without spectators and shorten a night-time curfew from Saturday.
Prime Minister Omar al-Razzaz told reporters that toughening enforcement of social distancing measures was to ensure there is not a resurgence of infections.
The country imposed a state of emergency in March, sealing its borders and enforcing a night curfew.
There have been 757 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and nine deaths. Officials say new infections have dropped to less than 10 a day over the past week.

Three authors retract Hydroxychloroquine study

Three of the authors behind a study in medical journal The Lancet that raised safety concerns over the use of the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 have retracted their paper.
Hydroxychloroquine is being studied by a number of scientists to see if it is a viable treatment for Covid-19. US President Donald Trump took a two-week course of the drug as a preventative measure.
The Lancet said the company that provided the data used in the study would not transfer the full statistics for an independent review.
They concluded they "can no longer vouch for the veracity of the primary data sources", a statement from the medical journal said.
The study claimed there were no benefits to treating coronavirus patients with the drug and said taking it might even increase the number of deaths among those in hospital with the disease.
Following the publication of the study, the World Health Organization (WHO) halted its trial, but it announced on Wednesday that this work would resume.

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Post by Kitkat on Thu Jun 04 2020, 21:55

Long lines for oxygen in Peru

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We reported earlier on people in Peru queuing to buy oxygen tanks for their relatives who are suffering from coronavirus. Here are some pictures of the extraordinary scenes in Lima.
"Prices are very high, but there's an urgent need and lots of companies are taking advantage," resident Erick Vila told the EFE news agency.
Hospitals are stretched across the country and oxygen shortages have caused deaths. Many people suspected of having the virus now prefer to stay at home.
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Peru is now the second most badly affected country in Latin America, behind Brazil. Some 179,000 cases have been recorded and authorities are struggling to contain the spread of the disease.

Children 'told FGM was a coronavirus vaccine'

The prosecutor-general in Egypt has called for urgent legal action after a man reportedly arranged female genital mutilation (FGM) for his three young daughters, telling them it was a treatment for Covid-19.
Both the father and the doctor who performed the procedures have been referred to a criminal court.
The incident was reported to the authorities by their mother who is divorced from the children's father.
He is said to have told the girls they were being "vaccinated" for coronavirus. They were then reportedly drugged and FGM was carried out on them.
FGM has been illegal in Egypt since 2008, however it remains prevalent.

UK government quarantine call 'a shambles'

Tom Burridge - Transport correspondent
Members of the aviation industry have held a conference call with the government following an announcement that people landing in the UK will have to undergo a two-week quarantine period.
Aviation bosses are fuming about the quarantine. And the phone call seems to have made things worse.
One person present on the conference call described it as “a shambles”.
The Transport Secretary Grant Shapps wasn’t there because he was leading the Downing Street briefing and making a big announcement about face coverings become compulsory on public transport.But airline bosses were apparently unimpressed.
They felt they got no reassurances from the Home Secretary Priti Patel that the quarantine would be reduced in any significant way soon by agreeing so-called “air bridges”, safe corridors between the UK and countries with low infection rates meaning people won’t have to self-isolate after they travel.
That is an interesting contradiction in tone from other government sources who insist ministers are working hard to establish a number of air bridges, especially with European countries, as soon as possible.
The fact that British Airways’ sister company, IAG didn’t even attend the call is the ultimate sign that relations between the government and UK aviation are rock bottom.

NBA ready to resume after months out of action

NBA owners have approved a plan to restart the basketball season season at Florida's Disney World Resort on 31 July.
Under the plan, Disney's ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, which has multiple hotels and arenas, will provide a single site for games, training and accommodation.
The NBA was the first US competition to suspend its season due to the pandemic in March.
The end of season playoffs are now due to take place in August, with the NBA Finals set to be completed by 12 October.
The league has also pencilled in a provisional start date of 1 December for the 2020-21 season. It normally begins in mid-October.

Cuomo tells protesters to assume they have been exposed to virus

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New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has told those in New York who have attended protests to assume they have been exposed to the virus.
He said that the state was opening testing facilities for everyone who has attended a protest.
People across the US have been protesting following the death of African-American George Floyd. Cuomo estimates about 30,000 people took to the streets in New York state.
Every region across New York state has been allowed to start reopening aside from New York City.
Cuomo is set to allow New York City to open on Monday for limited economic activity. A second phase of opening could start as early as July and will include outdoor restaurant seating.

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Funeral held in Seville to honour Spain's dead

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A funeral has been held in the Spanish city of Seville, to honour those who have died in the pandemic.
Around 600 people attended Seville's cathedral, with many of the seats reserved for families of the victims and authorities in what is one of the largest gatherings in Spain since the lockdown began in March.
The cathedral, which is a World Heritage site, accommodated the mourners under strict safety conditions, as a 53-person choir, led by four soloists and accompanied by 27 musicians performed Mozart’s Requiem.
Spain has had over 240,000 confirmed cases and in excess of 27,000 deaths according to its official figures, though multiple reports have questioned the way in which those figures have been reached.
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When should I wear a face mask?

Face coverings are to become compulsory for people using public transport in England from Monday 15 June as the government eases restrictions further.
They are already recommended in some enclosed spaces - like public transport and shops - when social distancing (staying more than 2m apart) isn't possible.
But just exactly what do the new rules say and how will they be enforced?
You can find out more here.

Donors pledge billions to fund global vaccine drive

Governments around the world have pledged $8.8bn (£6.98m) in a virtual summit hosted by the UK to raise funds for global vaccine alliance, Gavi, which distributes life-saving immunisations in developing countries.
Pledges by more than 50 countries and individuals like billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, saw the total surpass an initial target of $7.4bn.
The funding will be used to vaccinate 300 million children worldwide against deadly diseases such as polio, measles and cholera.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who hosted the event has pledged £1.65m ($2.08bn) to Gavi over the next five years, making the UK the organisation’s biggest donor.
The summit was also the backdrop for the launch of a $2bn (£1.6m) fund to ensure Gavi has future access to Covid-19 vaccines for poorer countries.

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Education minister fired after announcing sweets plan

Madagascar's education minister Rijasoa Andriamanana has been fired after announcing a plan to buy sweets for students to take the edge off the "bitter taste" of a herbal tea the president claims is a remedy for coronavirus.
Launched as Covid-Organics, the tea is produced from the artemisia plant - the source of an ingredient used in a malaria treatment - and other Malagasy plants. The potential benefits of the tea has not been validated by any specific study.
Andriamanana announced last week that she was ordering $2.2 million (£1.7 million) worth of sweets to go alongside the "cure".
Following outrage, the order was cancelled and the government has now announced she has been sacked.

How to get a better night's sleep

Since the coronavirus lockdown, the hashtag "can't sleep" has been trending with tales of people struggling to get their heads down for the night.
Our Newsbeat team spoke with a psychologist on what can be done to help get a better night's sleep.
One tip is to avoid your bedroom during the day as your mind associates it with being time to sleep. Another suggestion is to keep to some form of routine even if you are currently not working.
Read more ways here

We're bringing Thursday's coverage to an end now - thanks for joining us. The team today was Saira Asher, Krutika Pathi, Yvette Tan and Andreas Illmer, Patrick Jackson, Ashitha Nagesh, Ben Collins, Sean Fanning, Matt Cannon, Claire Heald, Robert Corp, Vicky Baker, Emlyn Begley, Sophie Williams, Steven Sutcliffe and Thom Poole.


  • US health officials advise protesters in cities hit hard by the virus to get tested for Covid-19
  • Transport secretary announces face coverings will be mandatory on public transport in England from 15 June
  • Grant Shapps says people who don't comply while using buses, trains or aircraft will be refused travel, and could be fined
  • Business Secretary Alok Sharma has tested negative for the virus after appearing to show symptoms in parliament
  • France cancels its famous military parade for Bastille Day on 14 July as a health precaution
  • In Latin America, Mexico reports more than 1,000 deaths while Brazil announces a record 1,349 deaths
  • A total of 42 million people have now filed for unemployment benefits in the US since March
  • Globally there have been 6.4m infections since the outbreak began, and 383,000 deaths

    Current date/time is Sat Nov 28 2020, 08:10