- Russia has 300,000 registered cases, and India more than 100,000, as the global total nears 5 million
- The World Medical Association has criticized the German government for relaxing its lockdown solely on economic grounds
- US President Donald Trump says he is taking hydroxychloroquine, despite warnings from his own government
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
00:00 We’re closing this live updates article now. Read here for the latest.
“We are considering it,” Trump told reporters at the White House. “I don’t want people coming over here and infecting our people. I don’t want people over there sick either. We’re helping Brazil with ventilators. … Brazil is having some trouble, no question about it,” he added.
Brazil is currently only behind the US and Russia in terms of the total number of coronavirus infections. The country has so far recorded 271,628 cases and 17,971 deaths, while 100,459 have already recovered.
21:20 Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has pardoned several hundred prisoners in order to curb the spread of COVID-19, his office has announced.
Preacher Bandiougou Doumbia was among those released and was even named in the official announcement on social media. Doumbia was jailed just two months ago for comments he made where he notably praised jihadist leaders Iyad Ag Ghali and Amadou Koufa. His jail term was due to be two years.
“As part of anti-COVID-19 measures, the president of the republic has granted pardons to 400 prisoners, including the preacher Bandiougou Doumbia,” the presidency stated. All those pardoned, with the exception of Doumbia, were set for release in January 2021, the West African country’s Justice Minister Malick Coulibaly told news agency AFP.
The largest diplomatic gathering in the world, which typically sees thousands of officials gather in September for debates, meetings and speeches, would this year mark the UN’s 75th anniversary.
19:50 US President Donald Trump has signed a decree to cut “unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery.”
Addressing reporters at a Cabinet meeting, Trump said that the executive order was about making pandemic-related exceptions to certain federal regulations permanent.
“I’m directing agencies to review the hundreds of regulations we’ve already suspended in response to the virus and make these suspensions permanent where possible,” Trump said.
19:42 France said the coronavirus caused 217 fewer deaths than previously believed. After analyzing the latest data from regional health centers on Tuesday, the authorities revised the total death toll downwards from 28,239 to 28,022.
The country also reported 524 new cases for a total of 143,427, a slight increase on Monday’s tally of 483. Tuesday’s figures present a 0.4% increase compared to the average 0.3% growth in infections seen since the lockdown was lifted on May 11.
19:35 Roughly four weeks after oil prices briefly dipped into negative numbers owing to the coronavirus pandemic, Argentina imposed a price of $45 (€41.1) per barrel of crude to help protect the domestic oil industry. Globally, the benchmark Brent Crude oil traded for $35 on Tuesday.
The Argentinian government said it was fixing prices to protect its industry from “the drastic fall” of global oil prices. The decree is set to stay in force until the end of the year, but the local price reference would be voided if Brent Crude exceeds $45 per barrel for 10 consecutive days.
For most of 2019, oil was trading in the region of $60 per barrel. It had already begun sinking prior to the pandemic amid a production dispute between OPEC and Russia.
The decree said firms would need to maintain production and employment at 2019 levels. The South American country boasts a massive shale deposit, Vaca Muerta, which is roughly the size of Belgium.
19:30 Ecuador will reduce the salaries of government employees, shut down some embassies and sell off a number of state-owned enterprises, as part of an effort to reduce costs by $4 billion (€3.66 billion) in the wake of the pandemic.
Ecuador has been hit hard in particular by the drop in oil prices, one of its main exports, during the pandemic. President Lenin Moreno said that the cost-cutting measures were essential if the South American country wanted to control debt and prioritize health and education.
“We are fighting to stop infections and reduce the number of deaths wrought by coronavirus,” Moreno said in a televised address to the nation. “But at the same time we need to stop our economy from collapsing.”
18:39 Greenhouse gas emissions dropped 17% in the first quarter of the year compared with 2019, according to a new study.
The findings showed the sharpest drop in emissions since records began, as the world’s economy ground to a halt most global air travel was grounded.
But with life gradually returning to normal, the brief respite will likely be “a drop in the ocean” when it comes to mitigating climate change, scientists said.
In their study of carbon emissions during the pandemic, the researchers found that the figures were already starting to increase once more; they predicted an annual total between 4% and 7% lower than what was reported in 2019.
For one week in April, the US managed to slash its output of carbon dioxide by a third while China cut its pollution by nearly a quarter in February, according to a study in the journal Nature Climate Change. Both countries were at their peaks in terms of restrictions during those periods.
The September party conference was expected to draw in around 13,000 people. It would have been the first under Keir Starmer, who replaced Jeremy Corbyn as party leader in April.
“Our priority is the safety of members, staff and visitors to our events and the need to protect the public health,” a party spokeswoman said while announcing the cancellation of the Liverpool event.
The ruling Conservative Party is currently set to meet for its own annual conference in Birmingham from October 4-7.
18:18 Annie Glenn, wife of the late astronaut and US Senator John Glenn, has died at the age of 100 after complications related to the novel coronavirus.
Glenn’s death was confirmed by Hank Wilson, a spokesman for the Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University. She died at a nursing home near St. Paul, Minnesota, where she’d moved in recent years to be near her daughter.
17:35 After France and Germany pitched a €500-billion recovery plan, complete with a common debt instrument, Austria’s Sebastian Kurz said four fiscally conservative EU countries were working on a counter proposal.
“We believe that it is possible to boost the European economy while avoiding EU debts,” said the center-right chancellor.
Austria is coordinating with Denmark, the Netherlands, and Sweden; their leaders will present their alternative to the French-German plan in the coming days, Kurz told the daily Oberösterreiche Nachrichten.
While the Franco-German plan stops short of the so-called “coronabonds” scheme, pushed by Italy, Spain, and Portugal, it would allow the European Commission to take out large debts in the name of the bloc. The more fiscally conservative northern countries of the bloc reject the “coronabonds” idea, leading to emotionally-charged clashes with the more heavily impacted, mostly southern, EU nations.
17:14 The United States says it will start delivering 200 medical ventilators to Russia this week, after previous aid had gone the other way in early April.
Russia, which has the second highest tally of recorded infections in the world behind the US, logged new cases in its daily update. It now has a total of 299,941 registered infections. An additional 115 fatalities have been reported, bringing Russia’s death toll to 2,837 from the virus.
Moscow has been working recently to secure medical aid from the US to help with the pandemic, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov revealed on Monday. Ryabkov said that US President Donald Trump had promised that Washington would be ready to help once the US was mass producing ventilators and now that this has been achieved, hard-hit Russia can expect an initial batch later this week.
17:05 The US economy could suffer “permanent damage” if the coronavirus lockdown remains in place, according to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
“We’re conscious of the health issues and we want to do this in a safe way,” he said.
Mnuchin also admitted the government was willing to take risks with the financial package it put together to stimulate the economy in the aftermath of the pandemic.
16:25 Three German citizens have been refused entry after landing in Mallorca, the local government said on Tuesday.
The two men and one woman boarded a flight in Cologne, bound for the Spanish island, but had to return to Germany after authorities deemed they did not have a sufficiently good reason for a trip made by more than 4 million Germans in a more typical year.
Spain has imposed a travel ban to curb the spread of COVID-19. Only residents or people with important business to conduct may enter the country. In addition, anyone visiting from abroad must spend an initial 14-day period in quarantine.
Foreign ministers across Europe met on Monday to discuss opening up the continent to some much-needed tourism. Italy announced it would be open to tourists as of June 3 but Spain is not yet ready.
“I hope that we can resume tourist activities at the end of June,” Spanish Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said. But “we cannot allow the entry of foreigners while still subjecting the Spanish population to a curfew.”
15:05 Unemployment benefit claims in Britain surged by 856,000 last month, to 2.1 million, the highest since 1996, and an increase of 69% on March’s figure, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) revealed.
Economists said the sudden rise in unemployment would have been much higher without the government’s emergency furlough program. Some 8 million jobs have been protected by the scheme, in which 80% of workers’ monthly salaries are covered by the state, up to £2,500 (€2,800, $3,000) per month. The ONS does not include furloughed workers in its unemployment statistics.
15:00 India has now registered over 100,000 coronavirus cases, overtaking China, as infections continue to rise in the home states of migrant workers forced out of cities and towns when a nationwide lockdown prevented them from working.
The country that is home to some 1.3 billion people is currently registering in excess of 4,000 new cases per day. States including West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha and Gujarat, where India’s migrant labor is prominent, are showing major spikes as the country’s lockdown restrictions have eased. More than 3,100 people are known to have died from the novel coronavirus, according to Indian Health Ministry figures.
13:15 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas wrote on Twitter that he welcomed the unanimous decision from WHO members to conduct an independent evaluation of the global response to the pandemic, saying “it’s important to strengthen the WHO, to support it and to prepare it even better for the future.”
He also welcomed the call at the World Health Assembly for future treatments or vaccines to be as widely available worldwide as possible.
“Together, the global community is calling for just and fair access to medicine, vaccines, and diagnostics — this is a huge success and an important sign of our international cooperation against the coronavirus,” Maas said in a statement published by the Foreign Ministry.
Maas reiterated a sentiment often proffered by Chancellor Angela Merkel that only a coordinated response will be able to overcome this international crisis. “In a globalized world, the crises are also global,” he said.
12:30 World Health Organization (WHO) member states have agreed to an independent investigation into the UN agency’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The EU backed the move, while at the same time defending the WHO from US President Donald Trump’s threats to withdraw US funding over his claims that the organization was “a puppet of China.”
“This is the time for solidarity, not the time for finger-pointing or for undermining multilateral cooperation,” European foreign affairs spokeswoman Virginie Batti-Henriksson told reporters on the second day of the World Health Assembly.
11:57 Children may not spread coronavirus as rapidly as adults, while human immunity to the virus may not last very long, according to two top epidemiologists.
“We think that children are less likely to get it so far but it is not certain, we are very certain that children are less likely to have severe outcomes and there are hints that children are less infectious but it is not certain,” said Dr. Rosalind Eggo, who is on committees that advise the British government on its infectious disease response.
It was also striking how children did not seem to play a large role in spreading the virus, said John Edmunds, a member of Britain’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.
“It is unusual that children don’t seem to play much of a role in transmission because for most respiratory viruses and bacteria they play a central role, but in this they don’t seem to,” Edmunds told the House of Lords’ science committee. “There is only one documented outbreak associated with a school — which is amazing,” he added.
11:43 The European Commission will propose a mix of grants and loans when it submits its economic recovery plan next week, a spokesman said. The Commission will not copy the Franco-German proposal, which suggests using just grants to revive the economy, said Commission spokesman Eric Mamer.
France and Germany on Monday proposed a €500 billion ($548 billion) recovery plan that would offer grants to European Union regions and sectors hardest hit by the pandemic, to financially assist them without increasing their debt levels.
“In our proposal there would be a balance of grants and loans,” said Mamer. “We will see what the balance is when we come out with our proposal next week.”
10:50 Jersualem’s Al-Asqa Mosque, one of the holiest sites in Israel, is set to reopen to worshippers after the Eid holiday, its governing body has announced.
“The council decided to lift the suspension on worshippers entering the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque after the Eid al-Fitr holiday,” a statement from the Waqf organization read. The holiday, which marks the end of Ramadan, is expected to start this weekend.
10:33 Former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has told DW that US President Donald Trump’s threat to withdraw funding from the World Health Organization (WHO) is “irresponsible” and reflects the “chaotic” nature of his presidency.
“For the President of the United States to give a blanket smear that the WHO is acting as a ‘puppet’ simply doesn’t do it justice,” said Rudd, who is the President of the Asia Society Policy Institute. “Trump is very quick to criticize others, while most us would agree his own domestic policies have been chaotic.”
Rudd also suggested that Trump may be attempting to shift responsibility for the pandemic, which has claimed the lives of over 90,000 US citizens, away from his own administration.
“To unilaterally announce that all problems to do with the mishandling of the pandemic can be slated back to the WHO flies in the face of reality,” Rudd explained. “I think Trump is attempting to deflect criticism of his own handling of the crisis.”
However, Rudd acknowledged that both the WHO and China “have legitimate questions to answer” and China is “not off the hook.”
He also stressed the importance of the WHO in providing aid to poorer countries. “The WHO is America’s child,” he said. “The US has funded the WHO for three-quarters of a century. To stop now would be irresponsible.”
09:56 Slovenia has begun to allow Croatian nationals to enter the country without quarantine or self-isolation, Slovenian media has reported. The move comes days after Slovenia officially announced the end of the coronavirus epidemic last week. Safety measures will remain until the end of May.
The government has laid out a plan to allow foreigners into the country, beginning with fellow EU members. Croatia was the first on Slovenia’s list. The number of new infection in Slovenia has remained near zero for several weeks.
09:31 The Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has returned to work after being diagnosed with COVID-19. The Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin had returned prime ministerial powers to him after they were delegated to Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov since April 30.
The news comes as the number of cases in Russia approaches 300,000, with 9,000 new infections logged on Tuesday. Mishutsin said the situation remains “difficult.” Russia now has the second-highest number of cases in the world after the US, but the death count remains relatively low at 2,837.
Russian health officials have said the reason the death count remains lower than the US or many European countries is because they only measure deaths directly caused by coronavirus. Critics have accused Russia of downplaying the death count.
09:20 Spain has lifted a ban on direct flights and ships coming from Italy. The ban has been in place since March 11. Travelers from Italy will still be required to go into quarantine for two weeks as the state of emergency remains in place, just like all other foreign visitors.
Spain and Italy both began to open up on Monday after lockdowns that had been in place for around two months. Two of the worst-hit countries in Europe, they have seen 60,000 deaths from coronavirus between them.
08:40 Greenpeace is predicting a surge in cars on the road in Germany and an increase in pollution due to the pandemic.
People in Germany are being encouraged to avoid public transport and as lockdown restrictions are eased and more people head back to work, Greenpeace expects more people to drive. The number of kilometers traveled by car in large cities alone could increase by up to 20 billion, the environmentalist group estimates.
“To prevent coronavirus from creating a traffic surge, cities must now create more space cyclists and pedestrians,” Greenpeace traffic expert Marion Tiemann said.
Berlin is the only major German city that has moved to improve cycle paths and pedestrian walkways in this time, Tiemann wrote on Twitter.
08:37 The German economy is expected to shrink by at least 10% this year, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) has announced.
“This year, and there is no way around it, we will witness a historic economic downturn,” DIHK President Eric Schweitzer said. The body presented figures that will see an economic plunge in the double digits. At least 75% of German industries surveyed by the DIHK anticipate some sort of loss.
The German government has forecast a record recession of 6.3% this year. Schweitzer pointed out how reliant Germany is on exports: “One in four jobs in the DIHK is directly dependent on experts; in the industry at large it is one in two,” he said.
07:32 Israel has relaxed policies of wearing masks in public places owing to a heat wave that has seen temperatures surge pass 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit).
School pupils will be allowed to take off their masks in the classroom until the weekend, health officials have confirmed. In squares in large cities people will be allowed to take off masks, unless large groups are gathering together.
Temperatures are expected to drop in Israel by the end of the week. Israel has seen 16,643 confirmed cases and 276 people have died.
07:12 Car sales in Europe have taken a historically steep nosedive, according to numbers published by the European Automobile Manufacturers Association (ACEA). About 270,000 cars were sold across the bloc in the month of April, compared to 1.14 million in the same month the year before — a drop-off of over 76%.
“The first full month with COVID-19 restrictions in place resulted in the strongest monthly drop in car demand since records began,” the Brussels-based ACEA said.
The automobile industry is a key sector in the German economy, employing over 850,000 people and accounting for a significant portion of the country’s GDP. Germany’s Volkswagen Group, which also owns Audi, Porsche, and Skoda, amongst other brands, said their sales in Europe fell by 61% in April.
07:10 The amount of people claiming unemployment benefits in the UK has soared to over 2 million, its highest level since 1996 in April, new data has shown.
The British Office for National Statistics shows a rise of 856,000 claimants in April, the biggest ever month-on-month leap. The total number of claimants reached 2.097 million. The effects were slightly curbed by a government furlough scheme which saw 80% of wages being paid by the government to workers put on temporary leave by their employers. The UK entered lockdown at the end of March.
The unemployment rate was estimated at 3.9%, a slight increase on previous years. This figure is expected to increase to over 10% in the next few months.
Research by the UK Resolution Foundation published this morning showed that young people were disproportionately affected by the pandemic. Around 9% of 18-24-year-olds have lost their jobs altogether and a further 25% have been furloughed, the highest figure of any age group.
06:31 Poland could reopen borders on June 15, and lift all other restrictions by the end of June, the deputy prime minister has told a Polish newspaper.
Restaurants, cafes, bars and shopping centers opened on Monday with social distancing regulations in place. Deputy Prime Minister’s Jadwiga Emilewicz’s desire to lift the travel ban would see Poles able to travel abroad on the same day that Germany plans to open most of its borders.
The prime minister’s chief of staff, Michael Dworczyk, has also told Polish media that he hopes Polish presidential elections will go ahead on June 28. Many elections around the world have been postponed in the wake of the pandemic.
Poland has seen its rate of infection slow in recent days. There have been 18,885 infections and 936 people have died.
06:28 The number of coronavirus cases in Germany has risen by 513 to 175,210, according to disease control agency the Robert Koch Institute in its daily update. There have been 72 new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in Germany to 8,007.
This is a rise from Monday, when 342 new cases were reported and 21 people died. However, it continues a downward trend over the last week, since Germany saw a worrying increase in cases after the country began to reopen many parts of public life.
The all-important reproduction number (R number) has remained under 1, after also briefly rising above 1 last week. Chancellor Angela Merkel and health experts have repeatedly stressed the importance of the R number continually remaining well below 1 before the country could consider a complete end to restrictions.
Here are the German figures for the past week:
Tuesday, May 19: 513 new cases; 72 new deaths
Monday, May 18: 342 new cases; 21 new deaths
Sunday, May 17: 583 new cases, 33 new deaths
Saturday, May 16: 620 new cases; 57 new deaths
Friday, May 15: 913 new cases; 101 new deaths
Thursday, May 14: 933 new cases; 89 new deaths
Wednesday, May 13: 798 new cases; 101 new deaths
Tuesday, May 12: 933 new cases; 116 new deaths
06:18 Health workers in Germany are at a significantly higher risk of contracting coronavirus than other members of the public, a new study by German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung has reported.
Research shows that medical professionals in hospitals along with care home and nursing home workers have been infected at a rate of more than 230 a day since the middle of May, over 20,000 in total. This means 11% of coronavirus infections in Germany have been among this group.
06:02 New Zealand has reported no new coronavirus cases for the second day in a row, but authorities have said they will not be moving down the scale of alert.
The island nation is currently at a “Level 2” risk level and has reported just 19 new cases during May after an effective lockdown and social distancing regulations. New Zealand has avoided a high number of casualties and has recently launched a contact tracing app to help people track their movements — but life won’t return to normal any time soon.
“Even at this point, when we’ve got zero or no cases that we can identify, that doesn’t mean we’re out of the woods,” Director-General of Health Ashley Bloomfield told reporters.
New Zealand has had 1,500 confirmed cases and 21 people have died in a country of around 5 million.
05:24 World Medical Association Chairman Frank Ulrich Montgomery accused the German government of underestimating the risk to public health and acting solely on economic grounds in its move to ease coronavirus-related restrictions.
Montgomery warned against opening the inner-European borders to tourism and said that a return to normality was not yet possible, in an interview with broadcaster Deutschlandfunk. The German borders should remain closed to tourists moving in both directions, he said.
“For health reasons, it would be best if people stayed where they lived,” he added.
04:11 President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently cut off US funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) in a letter addressed to its Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, which he also tweeted. Trump called for “substantive improvements” to be made in the organization’s functioning in the next 30 days or payments would be canceled permanently.
“It is clear the repeated missteps by you and your organization in responding to the pandemic have been extremely costly for the world. The only way forward for the World Health Organization is if it can actually demonstrate independence from China,” Trump said in the letter. “If the World Health Organization does not commit to major substantive improvements within the next 30 days, I will make my temporary freeze of United States funding to the World Health Organization permanent and reconsider our membership in the organization,” he said.
The tweet was posted hours after the WHO acknowledged that there had been shortcomings in the organization’s virus response, giving in to calls for an independent review.
03:35 Australian children are set to return to school next week in the country’s most populous state. New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian is hoping the move will lift childcare responsibilities for the parents and carers of around 800,000 children in public schools, as Australia hopes to stem a surge in unemployment and restart the economy.
The move comes as Australia’s states and territories are beginning to allow more public activity under a three-step plan to end two months of shutdown. Officials have credited the lockdown with keeping the country’s exposure to the pandemic relatively low.
Australian carrier Qantas Airways Ltd, meanwhile, said it could restart 40-50% of its domestic capacity in July, provided that states relax border controls. The airline said it would offer low and flexible fares to stimulate travel demand.
Qantas said it will introduce measures on board such as providing masks and cleaning wipes to ensure safe travel and give passengers peace of mind during the pandemic, but will not leave middle seats empty.
03:11 Almost half of Chile’s senate has been placed under quarantine after at least three senators tested positive for the coronavirus. Four ministers of the Chilean government have also been quarantined, as the country reported over 46,000 confirmed cases and 478 deaths.
Finance Minister Ignacio Briones was tested on Friday after being in regular contact with Senator Jorge Pizarro who was infected with the virus. Briones’ test came back negative, but he has begun “preventative quarantine.”
Around 20 of Chile’s 50 senators are currently in isolation. As the number of coronavirus cases in the country keeps rising, violence has been reported from parts of Santiago, where economically-disadvantaged sections of society demand food aid that was promised by the government last month.
02:09 Tokyo stocks opened higher, following gains on Wall Street the previous day, as markets reacted with some optimism to the easing of coronavirus lockdowns across the world and promising preliminary clinical results of a COVID-19 vaccine candidate.
The Nikkei 225 index was up 1.65% in early trade, while the broader Topix index rose by 1.44%. The rally rubbed off in Hong Kong, where stocks of the Hang Seng Index jumped 2.32% at the opening.
As a result, the dollar saw losses against major currencies, as encouraging data from the trial of a vaccine for COVID-19 reduced safe-haven demand for the US currency.
01:47 Mexico is set to start reopening its economy under new guidelines issued overnight. The country has so far recorded 51,633 coronavirus infections, with 5,332 deaths. The guidelines will impact the automotive, mining and construction sectors, as the country faces pressure from the US to reopen its factories.
“Today they can start doing the paperwork so that companies in the construction, transport and mining industries can start their activities, beginning with their health protocols,” Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador announced during his daily news conference.
Under the guidelines, companies will be required to report the health protocols that they will be implementing. Within 72 hours, the authorities will inform the company if operations may be resumed. As a part of the process, firms will also be required to fill an extensive questionnaire. The move has faced criticism from several sections of society over unsafe work sites and rising virus numbers.
01:23 New data from New York City shows that the coronavirus had a disproportionate effect on predominantly poorer, nonwhite neighborhoods, outside of Manhattan.
The ZIP code with more deaths per capita than any other place in New York was that of Starrett City, a huge complex of apartment towers in Brooklyn, which is the largest federally subsidized housing development in the US.
Nearly 63% of the people living in the ZIP code are black and it has the largest percentage of older people in the city, which likely contributed to the high fatality rate.
Brooklyn’s Coney Island and the Far Rockaway section of Queens both had high fatality rates, as did the northeastern-most parts of the Bronx, including Co-Op City, another huge apartment project similar to Starrett City.
The data released by the city confirmed earlier revelations that black and Hispanic New Yorkers were both more than twice as likely to be killed by the virus as white people.
The figures also showed a direct link between death and poverty. Neighborhoods with very high poverty levels suffered an average of 232 deaths per 100,000 residents while areas with low poverty rates experienced 100 deaths per 100,000 residents.
01:00 Brazil confirmed 674 new coronavirus deaths and a total of 254,220 confirmed cases, overtaking the UK to become the country with the third-highest number of infections behind the US and Russia.
16,792 people in Brazil have so far died from the virus. President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the health crisis and encouraged measures to open up the economy. The president has clashed with state governors and health ministers, who have backed lockdowns and disagreed with his relaxed approach.
00:25 The Supreme Court of El Salvador ordered the immediate suspension of a coronavirus state of emergency that had been declared by President Nayib Bukele.
The emergency declaration had been rejected by the legislature, but the president signed it anyway. It was supposed to be in force over the next 30 days, extending previous lockdown measures such as the suspension of classes, restrictions on movement in areas affected by the pandemic and a ban on gatherings of large groups.
It also authorized additional government spending during the emergency. But Bukele has been harshly criticized by human rights groups for using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to enforce authoritarian policies in the Central American nation.
Salvadorans have protested measures taken during the quarantine — which they say have led to job losses — by banging pots, honking car horns and playing loud music.
Recently, photos of hundreds of jailed gang members stripped to underwear and pressed together in formation, while wearing facemasks, were met with outcry from human rights advocates.
“All presidents in the democratic history of our country have had the power to declare a state of emergency and have exercised it, without legislative approval,” Bukele wrote in a post on Twitter on Sunday. “Will a president be prevented for the first time from exercising that vital power?”
00:15 US President Donald Trump said that he is taking the malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to protect against the new coronavirus, despite warnings from his own government that it should only be administered for COVID-19 in a hospital or research setting due to potentially fatal side effects.
Trump said he has been taking hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now.”
The president spent a number of weeks pushing the drug as a potential cure for the novel coronavirus, despite several of his administration’s top medical professionals urging caution. The drug has the potential to cause significant side effects in some patients. Trump said his doctor did not recommend the drug to him, but he requested it from the White House physician. The president told reporters: “I started taking it, because I think it’s good. I’ve heard a lot of good stories.”
Meanwhile, Trump continued his attack on the World Health Organization (WHO), saying he would make a decision on financing soon, having previously said he would withdraw from funding the UN’s health body.
Asked why he had not addressed a virtual meeting of the WHO’s annual assembly earlier in the day, he replied: “I chose not to make a statement today. I’ll be giving them a statement, sometime in the near future, but … I think they’ve done a very sad job in the last period of time.”
00:00 Catch up on yesterday’s coronavirus news here: France, Germany propose vast recovery fund
jcg/sri (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)