The daily coronavirus death toll in Spain has fallen below 100 for the first time in two months. The new count comes as Madrid seeks parliament’s approval to extend its state of emergency.
- Nearly 314,000 people worldwide have died due to COVID-19, while nearly 4.7 million cases have been registered
- US health secretary says no spike in infections yet in areas where lockdown has been eased
- Deaths in Spain have dropped below 100 for the first time since mid-March
- Germany’s R-value, the rate at which the virus spreads from one person to another, has remained below the crucial 1 at 0.87 over the past week
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
00:00 We’re closing this live updates article now. Read here for the latest.
23:45 Wearing a face mask, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro posed for photographs with children plucked out of a crowd of supporters on Sunday, disregarding public health advice aimed at containing one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks.
Bolsonaro’s latest flouting of social-distancing guidelines came after he lost two health ministers in a month, both of whom resisted his fight against quarantines. Brazil’s confirmed cases of the virus passed those of Spain and Italy on Saturday, making it the site of the world’s fourth-largest outbreak.
22:42 US President Donald Trump said he looked forward to once again seeing the return of big crowds to golf, hailing the return of the sport in a live two-on-two charity match.
The competition was one of the few such events to take place, since coronavirus restrictions have put a damper on pro sports competitions.
“It’s a wonderful thing to see. I’m getting a little tired of watching 10-year-old golf tournaments where you know who won,” Trump told the NBC Sports Broadcast. “We want to be back to normal where you have the big crowds, and they’re practically standing on top of each other and they’re enjoying themselves, not where they’re worried,” he added.
21:52 Hundreds of thousands of people across Spain took part in a final round of nationwide applause for medical workers on Sunday.
Since March 14, people across Spain have been clapping and playing music from their windows and balconies every evening to honor those working on the frontlines of the pandemic.
With Spain’s case numbers gradually falling and with lockdown measures slowly lifting, residents decided to do one last blowout.
“For a dignified end and so that the applause does not gradually end, we want to offer from our balconies this Sunday at 8 p.m. the best and longest honors to those who tirelessly protect us and who have slowed down the pandemic,” said one message circulated online.
In some areas of the capital Madrid, people clapped for 25 minutes straight — much longer than the previous occasions. Some also banged pots and pans in the street to protest against the government’s strict lockdown measures.
With over 27,500 deaths and more than 230,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases, Spain is one of the countries hit the hardest by the pandemic. Over 50,000 medical workers have been infected with the virus while 35 of them have died.
21:25 With Germany appearing to handle the coronavirus situation well, the Bundesliga was allowed to return this weekend, attracting interesting from across the globe. But fundamental questions are still being asked closer to home, writes DW’s Matt Ford.
20:54 Nigeria has impounded a plane operated by a British airline after the carrier was “caught” flying commercial flights. The Nigerian government had introduced a flight ban due to the coronavirus pandemic set to remain in force at least until June 4. However, planes are allowed to evacuate or repatriate people, as well as deliver food supplies and humanitarian aid.
Aviation Minister Hadi Sirika said that a UK airline was “given approval for humanitarian operations but regrettably we caught them conducting commercial flights.”
“The craft is impounded, crew being interrogated,” he added in a tweet. “There shall be maximum penalty.”
The minister named the airline Flair Aviation, but a spokesman later told the Reuters news agency that the company’s name was FlairJet.
20:37 South Africa on Sunday has reported its highest daily rise since the first case was recorded in March, data released by the health ministry there shows.
The 1,160 new coronavirus infections take the cumulative tally to 15,515 with the touristic Western Cape province accounting for nearly 60 percent of the national figures. The numbers of fatalities rose by three to 263.
20:03 A refugee home in northwestern Germany has seen 70 people test positive for the coronavirus. Authorities tested around 300 residents of the compound in the city of St. Augustin, near Bonn. The infected were isolated and most of them showed weak symptoms or no symptoms at all, district authorities said.
At least two other refugee homes have reported outbreaks in the same region of Germany.
Separately, authorities lamented the spread of the infection between foreign workers at several meat-packing plants in the same part of the country, who are often housed in cramped and unsanitary conditions.
20:00 German police have prevented an illegal football tournament with some 300 would-be participants in the northern city of Oberhausen. Visitors from several other cities set up the competition via Whatsapp and even set up a prize fund, according to the police.
They were set to meet at the home grounds of the local football club, Post SV Oberhausen 1931. However, the club’s spokesperson noticed a growing crowd when he turned up on Sunday to conduct renovation work, so he alerted the police.
The would-be footballers fled but returned within the hour, however, the pitch had been closed by police.
Germany became the first country in Europe to restart its major league, the Bundesliga after it was suspended due to the pandemic. While the matches resumed on Saturday, fans were not allowed into the stadiums. Large public events remain banned in the country to minimize infection risk.
19:36 France has reported 483 new coronavirus deaths but it is not due to a “sudden rise in deaths” from the previous day’s tally of 19. Instead, Sunday’s figure includes 429 deaths at retirement homes and takes into account “additional data” provided by local health agencies, said a health ministry spokeswoman.
COVID-19 has killed 28,108 people across the country. France also reported 190 new cases for a total of 142,481 confirmed infections. The number of people in hospitals and in intensive care has continued to drop.
19:18 Germany might lift its travel global warning by June 15, said Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. Instead of advising its citizens not to go abroad, Germany will replace the warning with “travel advisories that would help people know: Where can we go to? Is it responsible [to do so]? Are we welcome?” Maas said in comments televised by public broadcaster ARD.
The diplomat is set to discuss the issue with his counterparts from ten popular tourist destinations around Europe, including Greece, Italy, Spain, Malta, Portugal, and Croatia. The foreign minister also called for orders on quarantine to be lifted for visitors from other EU countries and keep them in place for travelers outside the bloc.
At the same time, Maas said that there would still be restrictions in place for holidaymakers across Europe.
“What we consider to be normal for our summer vacation, will not exist anywhere,” he said.
19:02 New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo has received a test new coronavirus on live TV while giving his daily briefing.
“If I am not here tomorrow, that means I tested positive,” the 62-year-old Cuomo joked after a nurse took a nasal swab.
He called on New York state residents to get tested if they have any flu-like symptoms or have been exposed to someone who is sick, but also if they are medical workers or nursing home employees, if they are returning to their jobs after the lockdown, or if they interact with the public for a living.
“We just don’t have enough New Yorkers coming to be tested,” the governor said.
18:52 White House trade advisor Peter Navarro has criticized the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC), saying that the public health institute “let the country down” on providing tests. “Early on in this crisis, the CDC, which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space, really let the country down with the testing,” Navarro told NBC.
However, Health Secretary Alex Azar hit back the claim, saying that the health agency was never meant to be “the backbone” of mass testing in the US. “I don’t believe the CDC let this country down,” Azar said told CBS. “I believe the CDC serves an important public health role.”
Navarro also accused China of crippling the US economy “in 30 days” but pledged that US President Donald Trump would rebuild it. He added that keeping the lockdown in place would kill “a lot more people” by suicides, drug abuse, and missed medical procedures.
The White House has been pressuring states to ease the coronavirus restrictions in order to mitigate the economic damage.
18:18 Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro wore a mask while meeting his supporters on Sunday, but also posed for photos with children and mingled with the crowd in a show of defiance to social distancing rules. The Brazilian people “want freedom, they want democracy, they want respect,” he told supporters in front of the presidential palace.
On Saturday, Brazil overtook Spain and Italy by the number of confirmed infections and is now the fourth heaviest-hit country in the world by caseload, behind the US, Russia, and the UK. Nearly 15,000 new cases were reported in the previous 24 hours, bringing the total to 233,142. Brazil has seen over 15,600 deaths.
Two health ministers resigned within a month after bumping heads with Bolsonaro over his push to lift the lockdown and reopen businesses. This week’s poll showed two-thirds of Brazilians agree with the need for social distancing.
17:51 Over 250 people have protested in the northern Germany city of Schwerin against coronavirus restrictions, calling for the public’s “fundamental rights” to be returned. Another 400 people gathered away from the area designated for the protest. The rally was held under the slogan “Corona-panic is eating the Basic Law.”
Sunday’s event comes after thousands protested against social distancing and other anti-pandemic measures across the country. At the same time, rival rallies were held by people decrying conspiracy theories propagated by a section of the protest movement.
17:25 The R number, which shows how many other people become infected by an average virus carrier, continues to remain below 1 in Germany. According to an estimate of the country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, one coronavirus patient infected 0,87 people on average this week. As long as the value remains below one, health authorities can expect that the number of active cases will continue to drop.
After the R-value stayed above 1 last weekend, many were worried that a new escalation of the pandemic would prompt the government to reimpose some of the restrictions. However, it dipped below 1 again on Tuesday.
German researchers have also repeatedly noted that the reproduction value was not the only factor in determining the risks of infection.
17:10 India has extended its nationwide lockdown until the end of May, but rules will be relaxed in communities with a low number of cases. Several Indian states said they would allow some businesses to restart.
Large gatherings are still prohibited nationwide but “all other activities will be permitted” outside heavy-hit areas, the country’s Interior Ministry said.
India, the second biggest country in the world by population, has seen 92.239 cases and 2,911 deaths as of Sunday evening.
16:57 A baby has been born with the coronavirus in Russia to a mother who was infected, doctors in the North Ossetia city of Beslan said. The woman and her baby “are now at home, their state is satisfactory,” said the spokesman for the regional health ministry.
While the scientists remain unclear on transmission from mother to child, this is at least the second recorded birth of a coronavirus-positive infant, following one in Peru in mid-April.
The news from Russia’s Caucus region comes days after a woman was readmitted to hospital treatment after apparently recovering from the coronavirus in the Siberian city of Ulan-Ude.
16:38 Kuwait and Qatar say they will jail people who refuse to wear facemasks. A person breaking the face-covering order in Kuwait could face up to three months in prison, while the penalty would be three years in Qatar. Offenders would also be required to pay steep fines.
The 2.8-million nation of Qatar has seen over 32,600 coronavirus cases but only 15 deaths since the start of the outbreak. Kuwait reported a total of 14,850 cases and 112 deaths within its 4.1-million population.
16:34 Italy has reported 145 coronavirus deaths, its lowest daily death toll since March 9, and 675 new cases — 200 fewer than the day before. The heavily-hit country has now seen 225,435 confirmed infections, the sixth-biggest caseload in the world, and 31,908 fatalities.
Shops, restaurants, and hair salons are set to open on Monday, followed by gyms, swimming pools, and sports centers a week later. Tourists from the EU will be allowed to enter the country once more on June 3. The government is taking a “calculated risk” by easing restrictions despite the danger of new infections, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Saturday evening.
16:16 Catholics in France have gathered for their first drive-in mass in the city of Chalons-en-Champagne east of Paris.
Some 500 worshipers drove to the car park in front of the city’s main exhibition hall, parking a total of 200 cars at least one meter (3.3 feet) from one another to curb the risk of transmitting the coronavirus.
“It was a triumph of life,” Bishop Francois Touvet told the AFP news agency. Worshipers who wanted to receive communion signaled their wishes by turning on hazard lights. They were also asked to clean their hands with sanitizing gel before interacting with masked priests. “Clean hands give the communion, clean hands receive it,” Touvet said.
The congregation was banned from leaving their vehicles.
16:00 In Algeria, the death of a pregnant doctor from COVID-19 has prompted outrage and led to a hospital director getting fired. The 28-year-old doctor was eight months pregnant and working in the intensive care surgery unit before catching the coronavirus and dying on Friday.
The woman had asked the hospital chief for early maternity leave. However, her supervisor refused her request, according to AFP news agency. The doctor’s colleagues reportedly signed a petition to back her request, but this was also ignored.
Algeria’s Health Minister Anderrahman Benbouzid has now fired the head of the Ras El Oued hospital in the east of the country.
At the onset of the outbreak, a presidential decree granted pregnant women and those raising children the right to take exceptional leave from work. Algeria, with its 42 million residents has seen 6,821 confirmed infections and 542 deaths since February.
15:50 Public dissatisfaction with the UK government’s handling of the pandemic is rising, according to a survey published by research firm Opinium on Sunday. The poll showed that 42% were unhappy with the government’s response while 39% approve their handling of the crisis.
This is the first time since the start of the outbreak that more people rejected the government’s course than agreed with it, the researchers said. Opinium surveyed 2,000 adults between May 13 and 14.
The UK leads Europe in coronavirus-linked fatalities, and is second globally behind the US. On Sunday, authorities reported 170 new COVID-19 fatalities for a total of 34,636 deaths. With 3,142 new confirmed cases, the country has now seen at least 243,303 coronavirus infections.
15:45 The US economy might not fully recover before the end of next year, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told CBS’ 60 minutes program on Sunday.
“Assuming there is not a second wave of the coronavirus, I think you will see the economy recover steadily through the second half of this year,” he told CBS, adding that a full recovery would need people to be “fully confident and that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine.”
Even before lockdowns were put in place, the US central bank slashed interest rates and pumping trillions of dollars into the financial system, including through loans to corporations, small-and-medium-sized firms, and state and local governments.
15:29 Russia has entered a period of “stabilization” after a rapid growth of coronavirus cases, according to health officials. On Sunday, authorities confirmed 9,709 new cases, and while the daily jump is substantial, it remains well below 11,656 reported last Monday.
“We’ve moved towards the level of stability that we’ve all been waiting for,” said the head of Russia’s public health watchdog, Anna Popova. “I would say that of today, we have halted the growth,” she told public broadcaster Rossiya-1.
The announcement comes after President Vladimir Putin declared that factory and construction workers should go back to work.
Despite the immense caseload, Russia has seen a very low mortality rate with 2,631 deaths. This has prompted accusations from opposition leaders that the government is misrepresenting the number of fatalities.
Russia has seen 281,752 confirmed infections, second only to the US.
14:47 After the Bundesliga, Germany’s top-tier football league, resumed matches on Saturday, Bavarian Prime Minister Markus Söder criticized footballers for breaking special distancing rules imposed to reduce infection risk.
While players are obligated to avoid hugging and physical contact during celebrations, the rule was ignored on several occasions — notably when Hertha’s Dedryck Boyata kissed his teammate Marko Grujic on the cheek after Grujic scored against Hoffenheim.
“I didn’t like it,” Söder said, commenting on the incident.
“Football has an extreme function to be a role model, so we should stick to our instructions and pay attention to it next week,” he told Sport1 broadcaster on Sunday.
Bundesliga is the first top European soccer league to resume operations with no fans allowed in the stadiums.
14:40 Polish police have defended their decision to detain 380 people ignoring a temporary ban on public gatherings during Saturday’s so-called business-protest in Warsaw. The protesters were demanding that coronavirus restrictions be lifted faster.
The police accused the protesters of aggressive behavior, while the demo participants said the officers responded with undue violence and that their use of teargas was unnecessary.
Several other countries, including Germany, the UK, and Switzerland, saw protests against coronavirus restrictions on Saturday. In France, the yellow vest movement held its first weekly rally after the lockdown.
14:13 US authorities are not seeing a spike in new cases in the areas where restrictions have been lifted, US Health Secretary Alex Azar told US broadcaster CNN on Sunday. When asked about people congregating close together near bars, Azar said that “in any individual instance you’re going to see people doing things that are irresponsible.”
“That’s part of the freedom we have here in America,” the health secretary added.
Azar’s comments seem to be at odds with remarks made by New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, who said on Saturday that a spike of new cases in the state came from people who were leaving their homes to go shopping, do exercise or meet with their friends.
“The infection rate among essential workers is lower than the general population and those new cases are coming predominantly from people who are not working,” Cuomo said.
For several weeks, President Donald Trump and his administration have been calling for restrictions to be lifted, while many state-level officials believe easing the curbs too soon would cause a new wave of infections.
13:50 By studying hamsters, researchers in Hong Kong found that face masks can sharply reduce coronavirus transmission rates. The scientists placed a cage with infected hamsters next to a cage with healthy animals with a surgical mask obstructing the airflow from the infected cage. This cut the infection rate by over 60%, they found.
With the air flowing freely to the non-infected cage, some two-thirds of the previously health animals became infected within a week. With the mask, the infection rate plunged to around 15% and the infected animals had smaller concentrations of the virus in their bodies.
The team is led by one of the world’s most prominent coronavirus experts, Professor Yuen Kwok-yung.
“It is very clear that the effect of masking the infected, especially when they are asymptomatic – or symptomatic – it’s much more important than anything else,” Yuen told reporters.
The state-owned company was billions in debt even before the pandemic. But restrictions in place to curb the spread of COVID-19 saw passenger numbers and freight traffic plummet. The Deutsche Bahn group has said it expects to lose up to €13.5 billion ($14.6 billion) by 2024, with the rail network accounting for up to €10.2 billion of that amount.
“Deutsche Bahn wants to save about €5 billion ($5.4 billion) in return for state aid — €2.25 billion of which will come from personnel,” acting EVG chairman Klais-Dieter Hommel told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. That agreement will result in more than 10,000 job losses across Germany, he added.
The German government is planning an initial cash injection of €4.5 billion ($4.87) in the next few weeks, with more funds to follow later in the year. Hommel said he feared “a harsh austerity policy at the expense of employees that will halve training positions and freeze urgently needed new recruitments.”
Deutsche Bahn has about 211,000 employees in Germany, according to the company’s website.
13:37 As more countries lift their border restrictions, Germany’s official tourism commissioner, Thomas Bareiss, said it was likely that German visitors would be able to travel abroad for their holidays.
“There are good chances that we would be able to spend our vacation not only in Germany, but also in other European countries,” he told Stuttgarter Zeitung and Stuttgarter Nachrichten.
Yesterday, Italy said that travel restrictions for tourists will be lifted in early June. Foreign visitors would be allowed to enter the country without the 14-day quarantine after June 3.
12:47 Egypt is to bring forward the start of its nationwide curfew by four hours to 5 p.m. (1500 UTC) and halt public transport during the six-day Eid holiday from May 24 as it seeks to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the prime minister said on Sunday.
Shops, restaurants and parks will also be closed for the holiday at the end of the holy Muslim month of Ramadan, and restrictions on citizens’ movements will be extended for a further two weeks afterward, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly
After Eid, the curfew will last from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. as it did before Ramadan.
12:30 The city of Wuhan, where the new coronavirus outbreak originated in China, conducted nearly a quarter of a million tests on Saturday — almost double the previous day’s total, the local health authority said.
Wuhan kicked off a campaign on May 14 to look for asymptomatic carriers — people who are infected but show no outward sign of illness — after confirming last weekend its first cluster of COVID-19 infections since its release from a virtual lockdown on April 8.
Wuhan is conducting the testing on a voluntary basis in the city of 11 million. Those who were previously tested do not need to participate.
No confirmed cases with symptoms have been identified over the first three days of testing, though 28 new asymptomatic carriers were found.
10:44 The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) fears a spike in corruption is looming, with governments pledging billions in coronavirus aid packages at a time when authorities are simply overstretched.
“We suspect that we’ll see a lot more corruption in the coming months, especially if these large funds are used to revive the economy,” OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger told Austria’s APA news agency. “Criminals are adapting quickly to the systemic weaknesses caused by the coronavirus crisis.”
The Swiss diplomat also warned that human trafficking was expected to rise because the introduction of border checks at Europe’s internal borders would ”totally overwhelm the border authorities in the Schengen area.”
Gremminger also lamented that the pandemic seemed to have reinforced a tendency towards “very national reflexes … and unilateral isolationist approaches.”
He added that he hoped for more cooperation between OSCE countries, saying it was the only way to “deal with such a transnational threat.”
09:53 Spain’s Health Ministry has said the daily death count was 87 on Sunday, the first time it’s been below 100 in two months. In mid-March, Spain implemented one of the strictest lockdowns in the world to curb the spread of the virus. The government has since started easing many restrictions, and has announced plans to extend its state of emergency by another month. As part of the latest changes, clubs in Spain’s football league will be allowed to begin group training sessions on Monday after weeks of players practicing by themselves. Some 27,650 people have died from the virus in Spain, while more than 230,600 have been infected.
09:16 Five new cases were recorded on mainland China on May 16, national health authorities said Sunday. That’s down from eight the previous day. Two of the cases were reported to be imported infections, while the other three were domestically transmitted in the northeastern city of Jilin. Residents there have been advised not to leave the city. The coronavirus has killed 4,634 people in China and infected nearly 83,000 since it was first detected there in late 2019.
Meanwhile in South Korea, authorities reported 13 new cases, bringing the total to 11,050 with 262 deaths. Five of the new COVID-19 infections were locally transmitted and linked to bars and nightclubs in Seoul. The country relaxed coronavirus restrictions on May 6 after weeks of no new cases. But the emergence of small clusters at nightspots has prompted the government to close some locales and delay the planned reopening of schools by a week.
Singapore registered 682 more infections in the past 24 hours, taking the city-state’s total tally to 28,038, the Health Ministry said Sunday. Most of those new cases are migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry added.
In the Philippines, 208 new cases and seven more fatalities were reported on Sunday, bringing the death toll to 824. Most of the Southeast Asian country’s 12,513 infections are in the capital, Manila.
In Malaysia, the total number of cases reached 6,894 on Sunday after 22 more people tested positive for COVID-19. The death toll remained 113, with no new deaths reported.
08:08 Russia has reported 9,709 new coronavirus cases, bringing the overall tally of infections to 281,752. The latest daily jump in diagnoses is higher than the 9,200 new cases reported on Saturday. Authorities also said the death toll stood at 2,632 after 94 new deaths over the past 24 hours.
The capital Moscow, the hardest-hit city, has extended its lockdown until the end of May. However, some sectors, including industry and construction, have been allowed to start up again. The national football championship is set to resume by late June.
07:36 Germany’s Greens are calling for major reforms in the meat production industry after coronavirus outbreaks in several slaughterhouses shed light on catastrophic working conditions. The party laid out its demands in a seven point plan published by the Funke Media Group on Sunday. The list includes proposals such as a minimum price for animal products, a ban on contract work, increased state control in companies, and above-board remuneration for workers.
Greens leader Robert Habeck said the mass production of meat at dumping prices inevitably led to workers losing out.
“They slave away under miserable working and wage conditions, live in catastrophic accommodation, and the protection of their health comes last,” he said.
In one particularly bad case, more than 250 workers were infected with the coronavirus at an abattoir in Coesfeld, in the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia. You can read more about ‘modern slavery’ in the industry here.
07:06 The United Nations is warning that the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated risks faced by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Marking the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia on Sunday, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said members of the LGBTI community “are experiencing heightened stigma as a result of the virus, as well as new obstacles when seeking health care.”
He added that the UN had received reports of security authorities abusing coronavirus measures in some countries to target LGBTI individuals and organizations.
“As the pandemic unfolds, the United Nations will continue to highlight these and other injustices, as well as the need for everyone to be protected and included in the response to the crisis,” he said.
07:03 The number of confirmed cases in Germany has increased by 583 to 174,355, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The death toll climbed by 33 to 7,914.
Germany has started reopening its economy and relaxing restrictions introduced in mid March. Schools have reopened for students, while shops, restaurants and hairdressers are serving customers.
This is how Sunday’s figures compare to previous days:
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
Monday, May 11: 357 new cases; 22 new deaths
Sunday, May 10: 667 new cases; 13 new deaths
Saturday May 9: 1,251 new cases; 103 new deaths
Friday May 8: 1,209 new cases; 147 new deaths
Thursday May 7: 1,284 new cases; 123 new deaths
Wednesday May 6: 947 new cases; 165 new deaths
Tuesday May 5: 685 new cases; 139 new deaths
Monday May 4: 679 new cases; 43 new deaths
Sunday May 3: 793 new cases; 74 new deaths
Saturday May 2: 945 new cases; 94 new deaths
05:32 Spain is refusing to budge on travel restrictions that only allow Spaniards and permanent residents to enter the country, despite angry protests from Germans with holiday homes on the island of Mallorca.
According to AFP reports, several hundred Germans have sent pleading or angry letters to the regional government of the Balearic Islands in recent weeks, asking to be allowed to visit their second homes on the island popular with vacation travelers.
The letters are part of a protest campaign organized by German national and Mallorca resident Ralf Becker, who has said that the travel restrictions are “completely over the top.”
The German protesters have threatened they could reconsider their investments on the island if not allowed to return.
Mallorca is wildly popular holiday destination for Germans, with around 4.5 million of them traveling to the island last year.
The Spanish government is holding fast in its decision to limit travel, wary of a second coronavirus outbreak as it slowly relaxes lockdown measures. Over 27,000 people have died from COVID-19 in Spain, making it one of the worst-affected countries. Sea and air travel to the country is currently limited to Spanish nationals and permanent residents as well as people in certain professions. The restrictions are expected to stay in place for the duration of the country’s state of emergency, which could be extended to end late June.
05:28 Up to 20 million people in the EU may have already lost their jobs due to the coronavirus crisis, according to estimates from a European trade union. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), which represents workers at a European level, said that at least 15 million and as many as 20 million are already out of work. Another 42 million people have seen reduced working hours or similar schemes introduced.
“Of course it depends a lot on the different countries, the different industries, and the measures that different countries have implemented,” ETUC General-Secretary Luca Visentini said in Brussels.
According to Visentini, one source of this job loss is the lack of access to a reduced hours working scheme.
“At the beginning of the lockdown, only 16 out of the 27 EU countries had some sort of reduced working hours or income compensation measure,” Visentini said. By mid-April, all countries had followed suit, he said.
Such reduced working hours schemes allow employers, backed by government support, to keep employees at home in times of economic crisis without having to lay them off. Workers continue to receive an income.
In terms of job security in the coronavirus crisis era, Visentini said there are big differences between industries. People who work for public hospitals or in public transportation as well as supermarket employees are relatively well protected from job loss, he said, while those working in agriculture, food delivery, or for private nursing homes are in a much less secure position.
04:05 In a nationwide speech to high school graduates, former US President Barack Obama took a second apparent jab at the Trump administration’s approach to handling the COVID-19 pandemic, comparing it to the way children behave.
“Doing what feels good, what’s convenient, what’s easy, that’s how little kids think,” Obama said in a nationally broadcast and live-streamed speech.
“Unfortunately, a lot of so-called grown-ups, including some with fancy titles and important jobs, still think that way — which is why things are so screwed up,” he added.
Obama urged graduates to “ground yourselves in values that last,” including honesty, responsibility and “respect for others.” It was the former US president’s second commencement speech of the day — and his second rare public rebuke of Trump — after he earlier addressed graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
03:50 A new study looking at Germany’s first coronavirus cases confirmed that patients can transfer the novel coronavirus to others before their first symptoms even appear.
In their study, published in the scientific journal “The Lancet Infectious Diseases,” German researchers found that “infectiousness before or on the day of symptom onset was substantial.”
Researchers conducted a detailed analysis of 16 patients who comprised Germany’s first outbreak cluster. The virus first emerged in late January at an automotive supplier outside Munich after a China-based employee visited for a business trip before she was diagnosed with the virus.
The study revealed that at least one of the 16 patients infected others with the virus before they experienced any symptoms. Researchers noted they believe this could have also been the case for five other patients as well.
Furthermore, at least four patients infected others with the virus on the same day that they started experiencing symptoms.
“These results suggest that although the outbreak was controlled, successful long-term and global containment of COVID-19 could be difficult to achieve,” researchers wrote in the study.
03:00 One of Australia’s principal opera sopranos Jane Ede, along with several other musicians will perform in the courtyard of a hotel in Sydney, on Monday. The performance is for 450 guests who have spent two weeks in government-ordered hotel quarantine after returning from abroad.
Guests will be able to watch the performance from their balconies, in-room TVs, or other electronic devices. Ede said, ”It’s really just to sort of bring everyone together and it will be quite an uplifting concert to sort of have a moment of connection and celebration before they end their quarantine.”
02:35 The city of Shanghai will soon be restarting some classes in schools, while giving students the option to attend virtually. Shanghai, Beijing and some other cities had already started middle and high school classes for students preparing for exams.
Domestic flights are being resumed in China, and a number of flights have resumed 60% of pre-outbreak levels. More than 10,000 flights operated per day for the first time since February 1. Tourism spots such as Beijing’s Forbidden City palace complex and Shanghai’s Disneyland resort have also been reopened with strict social distancing measures.
China reported five new cases on Sunday. Two were imported, and three originated from the northeastern province of Jilin, which borders Russia and had already seen a small spike in rises. The number of COVID-19 positive patients in hospitals has reduced to 86. Another 519 are in supervised isolation. No new deaths have been reported in China for the past month, apart from one death added by Jilin province from a past date.
02:20 The coronavirus crisis has put more than 10,000 jobs at risk at Germany’s national rail operator Deutsche Bahn, according to trade union estimates.
In exchange for financial aid from the German government, Deutsche Bahn wants to reduce costs by around €5 billion ($5.4 billion) — including around €2.25 billion in personnel.
“The implementation of this agreement between the company and the federal government means in plain terms the reduction of well over 10,000 Deutsche Bahn jobs throughout Germany,” Klaus-Dieter Hommel, the head of the railworkers union EVG, told the daily Bild newspaper.
Hommel worries that the crisis will lead to a “a tough austerity policy that will fall on the backs of employees” including slashing apprenticeship positions and enacting hiring freezes. Deutsche Bahn currently has 213,000 employees.
01:35 Mexico has registered 47,144 cases of coronavirus on Saturday, with the country’s death toll rising to 5,045, health authorities said.
Experts say Mexico has suffered a slightly higher death rate than the global average so far from coronavirus because of the widespread presence of pre-existing conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
01:21 Eight more sailors from the USS Theodore Roosevelt have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number affected for a second time to 13. The Navy had stated on Friday that 5 additional sailors tested positive for the second time, but a navy official told AP on Saturday that the number was 8.
The US Navy ship had seen an outbreak in March after more than 4,000 of its crew of 4,800 tested positive. The sailors who had previously tested positive went through at least two weeks of isolation.
This month, hundreds of sailors began returning to the ship. Before they were allowed, they had to test negative twice in a row.
01:00 Nepal has seen its first coronavirus-related death. The victim was a 29-year-old woman who had recently given birth, from Sindhupalchowk district, 90 kilometers (56 miles) away from the capital Kathmandu.
Her newborn child and other family members will be tested for the virus. She was brought back from a Kathmandu hospital after giving birth. After showing symptoms of fever and respiratory problems she was treated at a local hospital. As her condition worsened, she was referred to another hospital.
Nepal has reported only 281 cases of COVID-19 so far. Experts say that is due to an extremely low rate of testing. The country has conducted less than 100,000 tests so far. It was the first country in South Asia to report a case, back in January. Nepal has been in lockdown since March 24.
00:45 Brazil has overtaken Spain and Italy in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, making it the fourth-largest outbreak in the world.
The country logged 14,919 new cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the country’s total to 233,142. Over 15,600 people have died due to the coronavirus in the country so far.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly downplayed the seriousness of the outbreak, dismissing the virus as a “little flu.” Brazil is currently the worst-hit country in Latin America, with experts warning that the real figures could be much higher.
00:01 In a rare move, former US President Barack Obama issued a thinly veiled criticism of the Trump administration’s handling of the pandemic in a speech to the class of 2020 on Saturday.
He did not name current President Donald Trump or any other US officials in his commencement speech for graduates of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), but said there was a lack of leadership in the crisis.
“More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain on the idea that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing,” Obama said.
“A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge,” he added.
Since leaving office in 2017, Obama has typically refrained from criticizing his successor following a tradition among former US presidents. Obama is also due to give another commencement speech for high school graduates later on Saturday.
00:00 Catch up on yesterday’s coronavirus news here: Trump considers restoration of some funding to WHO: Live updates