UK at ‘dangerous moment’ as lockdown to ease: Live updates

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  • A third member of a scientific advisory body to the British government has warned that it is too soon to lift the COVID-19 lockdown because the test and trace system is not yet fully operational.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India is facing a “long battle” ahead in its efforts to defeat the pandemic as the country set a new record for daily coronavirus infections.

  • United States President Donald Trump has said the US is “terminating” its relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO), saying the agency has not made coronavirus reforms.

  • Brazil’s coronavirus deaths reached a total of 27,878, surpassing the toll of hard-hit Spain and making it the country with the fifth-highest number of deaths.

  • More than 5.9 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Some 365,000 people have died, while more than 2.4 million have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Saturday, May 30

23:18 GMT – New York to grant benefits to families of deceased front-line workers 

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has signed a bill granting death benefits to the families of police officers, public health workers and other front-line workers who have died of the coronavirus.

The bill passed by state lawmakers provides an accidental death benefit that is more substantial than the regular death benefit that public workers’ families receive. Dozens of police officers, public health workers, transit workers and paramedics have died of COVID-19 in the months since New York became the epicentre of the pandemic in the United States.

Meanwhile, Cuomo reported that 67 people died of COVID-19 in the state on Friday, the same number as Thursday and a steep drop from the height of New York’s outbreak in April, when more than 700 people were dying of the disease daily.

21:46 GMT – Russia plans coronavirus vaccine clinical trials in two weeks: Report

Russian scientists plan to start clinical trials within two weeks on a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus, the health minister was quoted as saying as authorities approved the country’s first anti-COVID-19 drug.

“The tests are under way and we plan to start clinical trials in the next two weeks,” Health Minister Mikhail Murashko was quoted as saying by the TASS news agency. He said volunteers had been selected to take part in the trials.

The Russian Direct Investment Fund said the Health Ministry had approved Avifavir for the treatment of COVID-19.

It was developed on the basis of a drug known generically as favipiravir.

RDIF said Avifavir had proved highly effective in treating patients with coronavirus in the first phase of its clinical trials. The final stage of clinical trials is under way, with the participation of 330 patients.

21:33 GMT – Romania’s Orban breaches own coronavirus rules, pays fine

Romanian Prime Minister Ludovic Orban paid a 3,000 lei ($690) fine for breaking his own coronavirus restrictions by not wearing a face mask and smoking indoors, state news agency Agerpres said.

A picture which went viral on social media shows Orban in his office, sitting around a table with several other cabinet members, smoking a cigarette while none of them wore masks. Their masks were thrown on the table.

In a statement, Orban acknowledged breaching the rules, saying some cabinet members gathered at his office after a long working day on May 25, his 57th birthday.

“The prime minister knows rules must be obeyed by all citizens, regardless of their position. If the law is broken then sanctions must be enforced,” the agency quoted the statement as saying.

21:04 GMT – Botswana to help repatriate citizens stranded abroad

Botswana will help repatriate citizens stranded abroad by coronavirus travel bans, with more than 100 due to arrive on Wednesday from Ethiopia, President Mokgweetsi Masisi has said.

“In order to alleviate the plight of our citizens abroad who have been adversely impacted by the pandemic, mostly students and those affected by the global travel bans, we have decided to assist them with financial assistance to either cope where they are or to return them home,” Masisi said in a televised speech.

Masisi said the government has helped 400 return from South Africa and neighbouring countries.

Botswana has recorded just 35 coronavirus cases and one death.

20:35 GMT – US CDC reports total of 1,737,950 coronavirus cases, 102,785 deaths

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported a total of 1,737,950 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 18,123 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,074 to 102,785.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by the new coronavirus, as of 4 p.m. EDT on May 29 versus its previous report released on Friday.

19:56 GMT – Coronavirus cases in South Africa pass 30,000, says minister

The number of coronavirus cases in South Africa rose past 30,000, Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has said.

South Africa reported 1,727 new cases, taking the cumulative total to 30,967. The death toll increased by 32 to 643.

19:16 GMT – South Africa to allow domestic air travel for business from June 1

South Africa will allow domestic air travel for business purposes only from June 1 as the country further eases coronavirus lockdown regulations, the transport minister said.

The country has been largely shut since a nationwide lockdown began in late March. South Africa has reported 29,240 cases of the new coronavirus, with 611 deaths.

From next month, Africa’s most industrialised economy will allow most economic sectors including mining and manufacturing to fully resume operations and has also allowed the sale of alcohol but for home consumption.

“As the country moves to level 3, with more industries resuming operations, learners returning to school, the transport sector must be responsive to enable mobility of both workers and learners,” Minister of Transport Fikile Mbalula said in a televised briefing.

“In doing so, we must maintain a delicate balance between enabling mobility and arresting the spread of the virus.”

The resumption of domestic flights will be rolled out in three phases, with only four airports allowed to be opened under phase one, he added.

18:43 GMT – Divert weapons funding to research to prevent next pandemic, pope says

Pope Francis urged politicians to divert funds spent on weapons to research to prevent another pandemic, as he led the largest gathering in the Vatican in nearly three months.

Francis presided at an outdoor prayer service with about 130 people, including many directly affected by the pandemic.

They prayed the rosary in the Vatican gardens as tens of thousands of people in about 50 Catholic shrines around the world joined in. A large screen in the gardens showed video links with about 25 locations.

In his closing prayer, Francis said national leaders should take a far-sighted attitude, helping the most needy now and putting in place long-term economic and social solutions.

He prayed that the Madonna would “touch (leaders’) consciences so that enormous sums spent to possess more armaments and to perfect them be instead destined to the promotion of sufficient research to prevent such catastrophes in the future”.

Pope Francis delivers the Christmas Day

Pope Francis presided at an outdoor prayer service with about 130 people [File: Yara Nardi/Reuters]

18:11 GMT – India allows partial reopening, extends lockdown in high-risk zones

India extended its coronavirus lockdown until June 30 in high-risk zones but permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen elsewhere from June 8 despite a record high number of cases detected nationwide.

The home ministry ordered state governments and local authorities to identify “containment zones”, or areas that should remain under lockdown, as they continue to report high numbers of infections.

The government allowed hospitality and retail sectors and places of worship to open from June 8 and expected authorities to ensure physical distancing rules and staggered business hours.

17:53 GMT – Belgian prince tests positive for coronavirus after attending gathering in Spain

A nephew of Belgium’s King Philippe, Prince Joachim, has tested positive for coronavirus after attending a party in Spain, which Spanish media said broke lockdown rules because of the number of people there.

The prince, 28, tested positive after attending the gathering in the southern city of Cordoba on May 26, a spokesperson for the Belgian Royal Palace said.

The spokesperson said the palace could not confirm the number of people in attendance at the party. The palace said Joachim travelled to Spain from Belgium on May 24 for an internship and was still there.

El Pais newspaper said the prince, who is tenth in line to the Belgian throne, attended the party along with 26 other people.

This would be a breach of lockdown rules in the province of Cordoba, where the maximum number of people permitted to meet is currently 15.

17:35 GMT – Britain at a very dangerous moment in the pandemic, says health official

Britain is at a very dangerous moment as it starts to ease some of its lockdown measures, England’s deputy chief medical officer said, warning that people would need to follow the guidelines and not “tear the pants out of it”.

Jonathan Van-Tam told the daily coronavirus briefing that people have got to be “sensible and proportionate with the freedom that we absolutely want to give to people because we need to see loved ones”.

He said the public needed “to actually follow the guidance, don’t tear the pants out of it, and don’t go further than the guidance actually says”.

17:16 GMT – British competitive sport given green light for June 1 restart

After a near three-month shutdown, all competitive sport in Britain can resume from June 1 behind closed doors provided strict conditions are met, the government said.

The first major live event is expected to be the 2000 Guineas Stakes horse race at Newmarket on June 6.

No competitive top-level sport has taken place in Britain since March as the country deals with the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 38,000 people in the UK.

In a document published on Saturday by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden outlined the strict criteria that must be met to allow elite athletes and professional sportsmen to resume.

“The wait is over. Live British sport will shortly be back on in safe and carefully controlled environments,” he said.

“This guidance provides the safe framework for sports to resume competitions behind closed doors. It is now up to individual sports to confirm they can meet these protocols and decide when it’s right for them to restart.”

17:10 GMT – Italy records 111 new coronavirus deaths, 416 new cases

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 111, against 87 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases fell to 416 from 516 on Friday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 33,340 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 232,664, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Spain, Britain and Brazil.

16:50 GMT – UK COVID-19 confirmed death toll rises by 215 to 38,376

The United Kingdom death toll from people who have tested positive for COVID-19 rose by 215 to 38,376, the government said.

16:35 GMT – Spain coronavirus death toll up by four to 27,125

Spain’s death toll from the novel coronavirus rose by four to 27,125, the health ministry said.

It said the total number of COVID-19 infections increased by 664 on Saturday to 239,228.

16:30 GMT – Sri Lanka fears new virus outbreak after funeral breaks curfew

Sri Lankan authorities fear a fresh outbreak of coronavirus infections after thousands of mourners paid their respects to the body of a respected union leader, defying a curfew and social distancing rules.

Large crowds were seen jostling to bid farewell to Arumugam Thondaman, the leader of a tea plantation union and a government minister.

The 55-year-old died of a heart attack on Tuesday and is due to be cremated on Sunday at Nuwara Eliya, in the country’s tea-growing highlands.

Authorities had imposed a 24-hour curfew in an unsuccessful attempt to stop crowds from visiting Thondaman’s body.

A statement by a group of government doctors warned the funeral “could undermine public confidence in measures taken so far to contain the spread of the virus and lead to a second wave”.

The doctors expressed “displeasure” over the public farewell for Thondaman at a time when health authorities had asked people to restrict funeral attendees to close family members.

16:10 GMT – Merkel won’t attend G7 summit in person if US goes ahead

Chancellor Angela Merkel will not personally attend a meeting in the US with the leaders of the world’s major economies if President Donald Trump goes ahead with it, unless the course of the coronavirus spread changes by then, her office said.

After cancelling the Group of Seven summit, originally scheduled for June 10-12 at Camp David, Trump said a week ago that he was again considering hosting an in-person meeting of world leaders because it would be a “great sign to all” of things returning to normal during the pandemic.

Immediately after that announcement, Merkel suggested she had not yet made up her mind on whether to attend in person or by video conference, but her office told the dpa news agency she has now made a decision.

“As of today, given the overall pandemic situation, she cannot commit to participating in person,” her office said. It added that the chancellor would continue to monitor the coronavirus situation in case things change.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel briefs the media after a meeting with German federal state governors at the Chancellery in Berlin

German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office said she would continue to monitor the coronavirus situation in case things change [File: Markus Schreiber/Reuters]

15:45 GMT – Parisians head for the park as lockdown eases

Parisians flocked to parks and gardens as they reopened in the sunny French capital, one of the last areas of France to ease restrictions, for the first time after almost 11 weeks of coronavirus lockdown.

With public impatience mounting and temperatures up to 28 degrees Celsius (82 Fahrenheit) forecast over the holiday weekend, authorities brought forward the parks’ reopening, initially scheduled for June 2.

“At last we’re free,” said Anne, a Parisienne standing near the gates of the 400-year-old Luxembourg Gardens on the city’s Left Bank soon after they reopened. “This feels like being released from a kind of prison.”

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has pressured the government to reopen parks since the national lockdown was eased on May 11. Hidalgo is standing for re-election next month.

Eve of the gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has pressured the government to reopen parks since the national lockdown was eased on May 11 [File: Charles Platiau/Reuters]

15:10 GMT – Qatar records highest daily increase in COVID19 cases

Qatar’s ministry of public health announced the registration of 2,355 new confirmed coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of positive COVID-19 cases to 55,262.

Doha did not announce any new deaths, but 36 people in the country have so far died from the coronavirus.

14:50 GMT – Third British scientist warns over rush to lift lockdown

A third member of a scientific advisory body to the British government has warned that it is too soon to lift the COVID-19 lockdown because the test and trace system is not yet fully operational.

Professor Peter Horby, chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group (NERVTAG) and a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said Britain could not afford to lose control of the virus.

“We really can’t go back to a situation where we’ve got the numbers of cases and deaths we’ve had in the past,” he told BBC Radio, adding that a test, trace and isolate system needed to be in place. “As we know, it’s not yet fully operational so that is where the risk lies,” he said.

14:20 GMT – Philippines confirms eight more coronavirus deaths, 590 new cases

The Philippines’ health ministry reported eight additional deaths from the novel coronavirus and 590 new infections.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths have increased to 950, while confirmed cases have reached 17,224. It added that 88 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 3,808.

——–

Hi, this is Arwa Ibrahim in Doha, Qatar taking over the coverage of the coronavirus pandemic from my colleague Virginia Pietromarchi.

13:00 GMT – The EU urges the US to reconsider cutting ties with WHO

The European Union has called on the US to “reconsider” its decision to cut ties with the WHO over the health agency’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

In a joint statement, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell and Europan Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said “the WHO needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future”.

It added that “global cooperation and solidarity through multilateral efforts are the only effective and viable avenues to win this battle the world is facing.”

12:35 GMT – China gov’t body says vaccine could be ready before 2021

A Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine could be ready by the end of this year, China’s State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission said in a social media post.

More than 2,000 people have taken part in vaccine trials developed by the Wuhan Institute of Biological Products and the Beijing Institute of Biological Products. These vaccines have entered Phase II clinical trials.

The Beijing Institute of Biological Products’ production line will have an annual manufacturing capacity of 100 million to 120 million doses, according to the message posted on WeChat.

11:47 GMT – Don’t treat us like a ‘leper colony’: Italy FM

Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi di Maio lashed out at other European Union countries easing coronavirus restrictions after some decided to keep their borders shut to Italian visitors.

“If anyone thinks they can treat us like a leper colony, then they should know that we will not stand for it,” di Maio wrote on Facebook, adding that foreigners coming to Italy will receive a warm welcome this summer.

EU urges end to lockdown as tourism industry collapse

Di Maio did not name a country but his rant came after Greece said it would reopen its frontiers to citizens from 29 countries on June 15 – but not to people coming from countries hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic including Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom.

For its part, Italy will reopen its national borders on June 3 in an attempt to revive the key tourism sector which amounts to 13 percent of its economy.

11:15 GMT – Domestic flights to resume in Turkey 

The Turkish government has announced that domestic flights will resume on June 1, taking a further step towards post-coronavirus normality.

The news was announced by Transport and Infrastructure Minister Adil Karaismailoglu, who added that first flights will be from Istanbul to major cities of Ankara, Izmir, Antalya, and Trabzon provinces. Flights to other cities will resume gradually, the minister said.

Turkey has so far recorded 162,120 confirmed coronavirus cases, the 10th highest tally globally, and more than 4,400 related deaths.

10:20 GMT – Rwanda uses robots to minimise coronavirus risk

Rwanda has deployed robots to carry out medical tasks such as measuring temperatures and monitoring patients to reduce contact between patients with COVID-19 and healthcare workers.

The three robots, which were donated by the United Nations Development Programme, are operating in the Kanyinya COVID-19 treatment facility, near Rwanda’s capital, Kigali.

High-tech robots developed by Zora Bots, a Belgium-based company, and donated by the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) are seen during a demonstration at the Kanyinya

High-tech robots developed by Zora Bots, a Belgium-based company, are seen during a demonstration at the Kanyinya treatment centre that treats coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patients, in Kigali, Rwanda [Clement Uwiringiyimana/Reuters]

“It doesn’t remove the tasks the doctors are supposed to do, it’s just complementing their efforts,” Francine Umutesi, a health technology operations specialist at the ministry of health, told Reuters News Agency.

Rwanda already uses drones to deliver blood and enforce restrictions designed to slow the spread of COVID-19.

09:35 GMT – ‘Long battle’ awaits India as it reports record jump in cases

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said India is facing a “long battle” ahead against the pandemic as the country reported a new daily record of additional coronavirus infections.

“Our country (is) besieged with problems amidst a vast population and limited resources,” Modi said in an open letter marking his first year into his second mandate.

The prime minister also acknowledged labourers and migrant workers had “undergone tremendous suffering” due to coronavirus restrictions.

The comments came as India reported 7,964 new coronavirus cases, a 24-hour high, bringing the total number of infections to 174,020. Nearly 5,000 people have died due to coronavirus.

A home ministry official reportedly said the government could extend the lockdown beyond May 31, without elaborating on further details.

Sanjay Meriya, 30, also known as the Spindoctor, wearing a protective gear checks temperature of a woman in a temporary health center where he coaches slum dwellers on the precautions

A doctor checks the temperature of a woman in a temporary health centre where he coaches slum dwellers on the precautions they should take to avoid being infected with the coronavirus in Mumbai, India [Hemanshi Kamani/Reuters]

08:51 GMT – Latest figures:

Malaysia: 7,762 cases (+30), 115 deaths 

Indonesia: 25,773 cases (+557), 1,573 deaths (+53)

Russia: 396,575 cases (+8,952), 4,555 deaths (+181)

Singapore: 34,366 cases (+506), 23 deaths 

Thailand: 3,077 cases (+1), 57 deaths

South Korea: 11,441 cases (+39), 269 deaths

08:27 GMT – Germany warns over Trump’s decision to split from WHO 

The German health minister has criticised President Donald Trump’s decision to terminate the US’s relationship with the WHO, calling the move a “disappointing backlash for international health”.

In a Twitter post, Jens Spahn said the global health agency “needs reform” if it is “to make any difference in the future” and called on the European Union to “take a leading role and engage more financially”.

07:52 GMT – Abu Dhabi GDP to contract by 7.5 percent: S&P

S&P Global Ratings has said Abu Dhabi’s economic growth is expected to contract by 7.5 percent this year because of lower oil production due to the effect of the coronavirus pandemic.

The fiscal deficit of the oil-rich state will rise to about 12 percent of GDP this year from 0.3 percent in 2019, the ratings agency estimated.

07:31 GMT – Scientific advisers warn it is too soon to lift UK lockdown

The coronavirus is still spreading too fast in the UK to lift restricting measures, three scientific advisers to the British government said, with one describing the move as a political decision.

The comments come as the UK is starting to slightly ease the lockdown from Monday, with groups of up to six people allowed to meet outside and primary schools reopening to certain year groups.

Jeremy Farrar, director of the Wellcome Trust and member of Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE), said: “COVID-19 is spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England.”

“TTI (test, trace, isolate) has to be in place, fully working, capable dealing any surge immediately, locally responsive, rapid results & infection rates have to be lower. And trusted,” he said on Twitter.

His SAGE colleague, John Edmunds, from the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said that “we are taking some risk here” with an “untested” test and trace system, describing it as a political decision.

A third member of SAGE and chairman of the New and Emerging Respiratory Virus Threats Advisory Group, Professor Peter Horby, said Britain could not afford to lose control of the virus.

06:52 GMT – Taiwan approves Gilead’s remdesivir to treat COVID-19

Taiwan’s government has approved remdesivir, Gilead Sciences’ potential COVID-19 treatment drug. 

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Centre said the Taiwan Food and Drug Administration took into account “the fact that the efficacy and safety of remdesivir has been supported by preliminary evidence” and its use is being approved by other countries.

The US regulators approved the medicine this month for emergency use. Japan and the UK have also cleared the drug for use and moved to begin supplying it to patients.

California-based Gilead has said it will donate 1.5 million doses of remdesivir, enough to treat at least 140,000 patients, to combat the global pandemic.

06:25 GMT – Uzbekistan extends curbs, but eases some restrictions

While Uzbekistan has extended measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus until June 15, it has also eased some restrictions, such as resuming domestic tourism and football games.

Authorities have divided the country into “green”, “yellow” and “red” zones on the basis of the rates of newly-detected infections. Activities will gradually resume depending on the zones they fall under.

In the green zone, businesses including children’s summer camps, recreational and sports centres will start working and people will be allowed to hold weddings and other traditional ceremonies with up to 30 guests starting from June 1.

Central Asia’s most populous nation of 34 million, which resumed domestic air flights and train services this month, said the domestic football league would resume, without spectators, from June 5.

05:47 GMT – US Supreme Court rejects churches’ challenge against California lockdown laws 

The US Supreme Court has rejected a challenge by a group of churches to block the lockdown’s rules in the state of California.

New restrictive measures issued this week limited attendance to 25 percent of building capacity or 100 people.

The nine justices split 5-4 in rejecting a bid by South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista to block the rules issued by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Hi, this is Virginia Pietromarchi in Doha, Qatar taking over the coverage of the coronavirus pandemic from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed. 


04:21 GMT – Singapore to resume flights to six cities in China  

A “fast lane” for business and “essential” travel between Singapore and China will open next week, allowing some flights to resume between the two countries after a four-month hiatus.

Singapore’s foreign ministry said travel will initially resume between Singapore and six Chinese cities and regions, including Shanghai and Guangdong.

The ministry said Singapore believes “the prevention and control of COVID-19 and the economic and social recovery” in both to have “entered a new phase”.

03:26 GMT – Hundreds of German workers return to China

Some 400 German managers, workers and family members have begun returning to China aboard charter flights.

A pair of flights from Frankfurt to the Chinese business hubs of Tianjin and Shanghai were organised by the German Chamber of Commerce in China in cooperation with Germany’s diplomatic missions and airline Lufthansa and are the first repatriation flights from Europe to China for foreign nationals.

China has largely banned all foreigners from entering the country because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The first flight with 200 passengers was due to arrive shortly before noon on Saturday in Tianjin, a port city just east of the capital, Beijing. The second flight was expected to arrive in Shanghai around midday on Thursday, June 4.

03:08 GMT – Two UN peacekeepers die of coronavirus

Antonio Guterres, the secretary-general of the United Nations, announced the deaths of two UN peacekeepers from COVID-19.

Both peacekeepers were serving in Mali, he said, praising “the service, sacrifice and selflessness” of the more than 95,000 men and women serving in the UN’s 13 peacekeeping missions around the world.

According to the UN peacekeeping department, there have been 137 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in UN peacekeeping operations, with the greatest number by far – 90 cases – in Mali. The deaths are the first from the virus among peacekeepers.

02:55 GMT – China reports four new cases

China reported four new confirmed cases of coronavirus, all brought from outside the country, and no new deaths.

Just 63 people remained in treatment and another 401 were under isolation and monitoring for showing signs of having the virus or of testing positive for it without showing any symptoms.

China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths among 82,999 cases since the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beijing

People wait to be seated outside a popular restaurant following the coronavirus outbreak in Beijing, China, on May 29, 2020 [Thomas Peter/ Reuters]

01:36 GMT – Twelve migrants test positive at Mexico shelter

Twelve migrants have tested positive for coronavirus at a government-run shelter in the Mexican border city of Ciudad Juarez, the Mexican labour ministry said.

The patients have been isolated to prevent further spread of the virus in the Leona Vicario centre, which houses 337 people, the ministry said.

Ciudad Juarez, which neighbours the US city of El Paso, Texas, has received thousands of migrants under a Trump administration policy that sends US asylum seekers to Mexico to await the outcomes of their cases.

01:05 GMT – Brazil death toll hits 27,878, surpassing hard-hit Spain

Brazil’s coronavirus deaths have reached a total 27,878, surpassing the toll of hard-hit Spain and making it the country with the fifth-highest number of deaths.

The Ministry of Health said Brazil saw 1,124 deaths in 24 hours. It also had a record number of new cases – 26,928 in one day – bringing the total number of infections to 465,166.

As of the end of Friday, Spain had recorded 27,121 deaths, with virus deaths there rapidly slowing. Brazil could soon surpass France, which has seen 28,714 deaths.

“There is no way to foresee” when the outbreak will peak, the Ministry of Health said, and experts say the number of cases in Brazil could be 15 times higher than the confirmed figure because there has been no widespread testing.

00:55 GMT – Merkel rejects Trump invite to attend G7 summit: Report

German Chancellor Angela Merkel turned down US President Donald Trump’s invitation to attend an envisaged G7 summit in the US, according to Politico.

“The federal chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G7 summit at the end of June in Washington. As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, to a journey to Washington,” the report quoted German government spokesman Steffen Seibert as saying.

“She will of course continue to monitor the development of the pandemic.”

Trump believes there would be “no greater example of reopening” than holding a G7 summit in the US near the end of June, the White House said on Tuesday.

00:21 GMT – Chile, Peru secure credit lines from IMF

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) approved a two-year $24bn credit line for Chile as the nation battles the coronavirus pandemic. The move comes a day after the IMF approved an $11bn credit line for Peru.

The Flexible Credit Line (FCL) is a renewable funding mechanism granted to countries with strong economic policy track records, and Chile is only the fifth country to receive one. Along with Peru, Mexico and Colombia currently have FCLs in place.

Kristalina Georgieva, the IMF’s managing director, said the backstop should help to boost market confidence, and Chile intends to treat the credit line as “precautionary and temporary”, and exit the backstop after 24 months.

Peru likewise sees the programme as precautionary, and will consider exiting once the crisis has passed and “the insurance provided by an FCL arrangement would no longer be necessary”.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

You can find all the updates from yesterday, May 29, here.

Britain at very dangerous moment says official: Live updates

A third member of a scientific advisory body to the British government has warned that it is too soon to lift the COVID-19 lockdown because the test and trace system is not yet fully operational.

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