What you need to know today
- The UK now has thousands more fatalities than Italy, making it the heaviest-hit country in Europe
- German car companies and top politicians discuss ways to boost sales
- Turkey has pledged to reopen all key factories next Monday
- The German state of Baden-Württemberg said it would allow people to play golf and tennis again
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
23:50 US drugmaker Gilead said it was in talks with chemical and drug makers to produce its coronavirus drug remdesivir for Europe, Asia, and other developing countries through 2022.
Remdesivir received the US FDA’s emergency use authorization as treatment for COVID-19 patients. Gilead has said it will donate the first 1.5 million doses of the drug.
23:00 Texas governor Greg Abbott announced that nail and hair salons and barber shops will be allowed to open in the state from Friday. He also announced that gyms and office buildings will be allowed to reopen on May 18.
“We have slowed the spread in Texas, but the fact remains this: As it stands today, there is no cure for COVID-19,” he said.
Businesses will be expected to follow social distancing rules once they reopen. Abbott also recommended that people above 65 or those with medical conditions should continue to self-isolate at home. The virus has killed more than 900 people in the state.
The lockdown measures include Sao Luis, the capital of Maranhao state, as well as three other surrounding municipalities. In total, 1.3 million people in the northeastern state are affected by the measures, which bar people from going outside except to buy groceries, medicine or cleaning supplies. The lockdown is due to last until at least May 14.
Brazil is the hardest-hit country in South America, with 110,156 confirmed cases and 7,485 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 tracker. President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the threat of the virus, while approaches to handling the outbreak have varied wildly across the country.
The government has been pushing to hold the election as scheduled despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, arguing that the vote could be held safely.
Poland’s opposition, which controls the Senate, argued that the mail-in-ballots do not adequately reduce health risks. The postal vote plans have also been heavily criticized amid concerns that the hastily thrown together election might not hold up to democratic standards.
The lower house of Parliament will have the final say this week on the bill. The PiS party has a slight majority in the lower house, but faces division within its own ranks over the push to hold the election amid the pandemic.
21:15 Airbnb announced that it is laying off 25% of its employees as the tourism and travel industries face a steep decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Brian Chesky, the CEO of the home-sharing platform, announced the move in a blog post, saying the cuts will impact “teams across all of Airbnb.” Out of the company’s 7,500 workers, 1,900 will have to be let go. The company is also cutting its investments in hotels, movie production and other areas that don’t directly support its core home-sharing business.
“We are collectively living through the most harrowing crisis of our lifetime,” Chesky wrote. Airbnb lists around 7 million properties on its website.
19:01 Germany is aiming for a nationwide controlled reopening bars and restaurants between May 9 and May 22, news agency DPA has reported, following a video conference of state economy ministers with Germany’s federal economy minister Peter Altmaier. Reopening of tourist accommodations is under consideration for the end of May.
18:07 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has spoken out in favor of lifting more coronavirus restrictions in Germany, including those placed on schools and sporting events.
According to sources who attended a digital party meeting of Merkel’s conservative Christian Democratics, the chancellor acknowledged an “understandable” desire for more restrictions to be lifted, and said that she was in favor of a step-by-step reopening of schools and nurseries as well as large and small sporting events.
Merkel said such decisions were to be decided on a state-by-state level, and that states must make sure that new steps to relax restrictions don’t unleash a second wave of infections. The chancellor said she supported a regional, graded approach to lifting restriction, in which the infection rate in a given area is considered before security measures there are relaxed.
17:31 Dozens of members of an indigenous community in Ecuador have disappeared into the Amazon rainforest for shelter, fearing their community could be wiped out by the coronavirus. The 744-member Siekopai nation, found along the border between Ecuador and Peru, has 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Two elderly leaders died after displaying symptoms of the infection, the group said.
After the community’s first fatality in mid-April, Siekopai leaders asked Ecuador’s government to isolate and test its members. Piaguaje said they had not received a response.
“We don’t want our people saying that there were 700 of us and now there are 100. What a scandal it would be for the Ecuadorian government to leave us with such a sad story in the 21st century,” he said.
Dozens of children and elderly Siekopai have since fled in canoes to Lagartococha, a large wetland in the center of the jungle, to escape infection. Other indigenous groups in Ecuador have also reported cases of coronavirus. Indigenous groups in Peru in April filed a complaint with the United Nations, saying the government risked committing “ethnocide by inaction.”
Human rights organizations working in Ecuador say the health ministry has neglected these communities, many who have yet to receive testing or medical supplies.
“They are in serious risk of being physically and culturally wiped out by the spread of COVID-19 in their territory,” said Maria Espinosa, a human rights defender with the group Amazon Frontlines.
16:18 US President Donald Trump says the US will make public its report regarding the origins of the coronavirus, but did not provide details or say when it would happen.
“We will be reporting very definitively over a period of time,” the president told reporters at the White House on Tuesday.
Trump has speculated that the coronavirus originated in a laboratory in China, an idea originally touted by conspiracy theorists that has been rejected by the majority of the scientific community. Meanwhile, White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett has said he expects the US unemployment rate topped 16% in April due to the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak.
“My guess right now is it’s going to be north of 16%, maybe as high as 20%,” Hassett said in an interview with CNN about the unemployment rate the federal government will report on Friday. “So we are looking at probably the worst unemployment rate since the Great Depression. It’s a tremendous negative shock, a very, very terrible shock.”
The unemployment rate in March was 4.4%, up from 3.5% in February.
15:25 A coronavirus vaccine developed jointly by Germany and the US will be administered to human test subjects in the US, the companies involved have confirmed.
German company Biontech and US-based Pfizer are moving forward with a clinical trial of BNT162 — an mRNA vaccine — in the US, following preliminary tests done in Germany.
Up to 360 health volunteers are to be vaccinated in the US study. The trial will initially only include test subjects between the ages of 18 and 55. Older participants will be added later.
A second round of tests involving 200 volunteers in the same age range will take place in Germany.
First results are expected by June. If the results are promising, tests will continue with both healthy and high-risk test subjects.
15:00 Over 70% of coronavirus cases detected over the past 24 hours in Spain have been medical staff, the country’s health ministry has said. New cases peaked in Spain over a month ago. The new figures confirm an emerging trend that shows medical professionals accounting for the majority of new infections.
Spain has recorded over 250,000 cases of COVID-19 since the outbreak began. Some 18% of infections — or 43,956 cases — were health staff, a “significant occurance,” according to head of the health ministry’s emergencies department Fernando Simon.
Two large hospitals in the hard-hit regions of Madrid and Catalonia had “an 11% infection rate among staff,” he said. In general, however, these infections have been mild, he said, as the employees tended to be younger. The mortality rate among healthcare workers was 0.1%, compared to 7.8% for the general population.
14:59 German carmaker Volkswagen, with support from the German government, will convert one of its old factories in South Africa into a coronavirus treatment clinic. The facility, located in Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province, is large enough for 4,000 beds, chief of Volkswagen South Africa Thomas Schäfer said Tuesday. The first portion of the clinic will open in 6 weeks with an initial 1,400 beds. From there, the facility will be expanded as necessary, Schäfter said. The clinic will be run by the German government, who will also finance most of the renovation.
The 66,000-square meter (710,000-square foot) factory has been closed since the end of 2019. Volkswagen had been in the process of selling it.
14:15 Germany will seek measures to stimulate its car industry towards “more innovative vehicle technologies,” said Angela Merkel’s spokesman Steffen Seibert, after a meeting involving the country’s carmakers, Angela Merkel, and top government officials.
The government delayed the decision on offering car buyers financial incentives, a move urged by the carmakers to boost demand. Instead, they would continue the talks within a “working group” and then discuss the results — possibly including buyer bonuses — in early June.
14:09 Government-backed hackers are trying to “obtain intelligence” from healthcare and research institutions working on the global response to the coronavirus outbreak, UK and US officials have said.
The US Cybersecrutiy and Infrastructure Security Agency and the UK’s National Cyber Security Center said in a joint statement shared Tuesday that hackers “are actively targeting organisations involved in both national and international COVID-19 responses.”
They said the attacks were likely part of an effort to “obtain intelligence on national and international healthcare policy or acquire sensitive data on COVID-19 related research,” the agencies said.
Separately, German federal prosecutors on Tuesday morning issued an arrest warrant for a hacker suspected of infiltrating the computer system of the German Parliament on behalf of Russian intelligence.
13:53 The state of New York has reported 1,700 previously undisclosed coronavirus deaths, in an updated list released late Monday night. The list accounts for previously unreported deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities, putting the state under increased pressure for how it handled protecting vulnerable residents from the deadly virus.
The new list of fatalities from Governor Andrew Cuomo’s administration states that at least 4,813 residents with confirmed or presumed cases of coronavirus have died at 351 of the state’s 613 nursing homes since March 1. Nursing home deaths account for between one-fourth and one-fifth of New York’s total coronavirus fatalities. The new figures reveal that 22 nursing homes had at least 40 deaths and 64 homes had between 20 and 49 deaths.
Early on in March, when New York still had relatively few confirmed cases of COVID-19, Cuomo had promised to make a “special effort” to protect nursing home residents. The new figures reveal, however, that nursing homes were harder hit by the virus than previously thought. Over 19,000 people in New York state have succumbed to the coronavirus.
13:09 As Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt prepare to reopen their restaurants and hotels, Germany’s tourism commissioner Thomas Bareiss said that taking a summer holiday should be possible in Germany and many other EU countries.
“This includes primarily our neighboring states, like Austria, France, Belgium, Poland, or the Netherlands,” he told the public broadcaster ARD. “But I would not sign off other regions in Europe, such as the Balearic Island (the Spanish archipelago including Mallorca and Ibiza) or the Greek islands,” he said.
The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has shut down borders and paralyzed travel across the globe. On Tuesday, however, the German states of Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt announced plans to open their hospitality and tourism sectors under strict hygiene measures by the end of the month. Bavarian Premier Markus Söder said his state’s residents should stay in Bavaria during the Pentecost weekend, which starts on May 30th.
“Everyone is here, they might as well as stay here now,” he said.
“What I can say is that we will limit major international travel, even during the summer holidays,” he said. “We will stay among Europeans, and depending on how the epidemic evolves, we might have to reduce that a little more,” the French leader said, adding that more information would be available in early June.
13:08 France’s controversial coronavirus tracing app StopCovid will be ready on June 2, the country’s minister for digital technology Cedric O told France’s BFM Business TV. The app, which aims to trace people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in a bid to curb the outbreak, has sparked debate in France over privacy concerns. French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe suggested that the use of the contact-tracing app would be submitted to a vote but no date has been set yet.
The French government also accused Apple on Tuesday of undermining its effort to combat the coronavirus by refusing to help make its iPhones more compatible with the StopCovid app. Contact-tracing apps would deploy the Bluetooth feature that allows phones to interact with nearby devices to help detect when users come into contact with people who potentially carry the coronavirus.
Apple’s iPhones normally block access to Bluetooth unless the user is actively running an app. French officials want Apple to modify the settings to let their app access Bluetooth in the background so that it is always on.
“Apple could have helped us make the application work even better on the iPhone. They have not wished to do so,” Cedric O stated. “Given that a large company that is doing so well economically is not helping out a government in this crisis,”
The minister added that StopCovid should be ready by June regardless of Apple’s stance, and would enter a testing phase in the week of May 11 when France starts to ease its lockdown. A spokesman for Apple in France declined to comment.
Meanwhile, Britain will start testing its own COVID-19 tracing app on the Isle of Wight from Tuesday.
12:53 Austria’s opening of smaller shops, DIY and garden centers in mid-April has not triggered a new spike in infections, health officials said. Health Minister Rudolf Anschober said that the data shows “that we managed this first opening step excellently.”
“The situation is very, very constant, very, very stable, and that is a really very, very positive, good situation,” he said.
Austria was one of the first countries in Europe to impose a lockdown in mid-March. It was also among the first to ease some of the measures on April 14. It has so far seen 15,650 cases and 606 deaths, a somewhat lower per capita rate than Germany, according to the Johns Hopkins Institute.
With the long incubation period of the new coronavirus, the latest figure do not show the effects of the more recent loosening of restrictions which saw hair salons, larger shops and service providers opening their doors on May 1. The country’s restaurants, bars, museums and hotels are also set to open this month.
At the same time, Anschober and Interior Minister Karl Nehammer urged the public to wear face masks and maintain social distance.
“Personal responsability and discipline remain the most important thing because a possible second wave (of infections) must not become a tsunami,” said Nehammer.
12:22 Germany will likely face a second and a third wave of coronavirus infections, according to the head of the country’s official disease control institute. The second wave will come “with great certainty,” said Lothar Wieler from the Robert Koch Institute, adding that most experts share this belief.
“This is a pandemic,” he told reporters in Berlin. “And in a pandemic, this virus will cause disease until 60 to 70% of the population is infected.”
Wieler also noted “very good news” of the daily infections dropping to a spectrum between 700 and 1,600 in recent days. In the early days of the infection, German Chancellor Angela Merkel sparked criticism by saying that 60% to 70% of the German population might become infected, with Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis accusing her of spreading panic.
12:02 The southwestern German state of Baden-Württemberg has further relaxed its coronavirus-related restrictions, to allow “contactless outdoor sports” again from next week. Minister President Winfried Kretschmann on Tuesday announced the new measures, which allow for outdoor sports, such as golf and tennis to be played, as participants can easily maintain distance rules.
During the same announcement, Kretschmann added that he was in favor of a coordinated nationwide approach to loosening restrictions. “You can’t stay together if everyone has decided in advance what they want to do,” he said.
11:54 Bavaria will allow beer gardens to reopen on May 18 with restaurants to follow a week later, Premier Markus Söder said. Hotels would also resume operations before the end of May.
“The time has come for a cautious reopening,” Söder said on Tuesday.
He urged Bavarians to spend the Pentecost weekend — May 30 and 31 — in the Alpine state, and to resist the urge to travel.
“Everyone is here now, they might as well as stay here now,” he said.
Bavaria was the first German state to introduce strict lockdown measures aimed at reducing coronavirus infections. On Tuesday, Söder also announced an easing of restrictions and said that half of kindergartners would return to daycare centers before the end of the month.
11:38 The EU state of Luxembourg called on Germany to reopen their shared border. The move follows Germany’s announcement that travel restrictions would remain in place at least until May 15. Germany will also maintain control on border crossings to Austria, Switzerland, France, and Denmark, but not with Belgium or the Netherlands. Berlin says the checks were only introduced “where it seems necessary” to curb the spread of the infection. Other German neighbors, such as Poland and the Czech Republic, have themselves closed their borders with Germany.
On Friday, Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn wrote to Germany’s Interior Minister Host Seehofer to protest the measure, warning that “the border closures and controls are causing growing discontent among the population on both sides.”
Luxembourg has so far seen 96 deaths from the coronavirus in its 620,000 population. The fatality rate is smaller than in both Belgium and the Netherlands. The wealthy duchy is also extremely reliant on foreign workers commuting from neighboring countries.
10:45 Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) announced on Tuesday that it had secured a government-backed credit line worth 3.3 billion kronor (€308 million, $336 million) to help it deal with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic which has grounded most international aviation.
The loan allows SAS to access funds to support its liquidity for three years, and is 90% guaranteed by the Swedish and Danish governments. In mid-March, SAS furloughed 90% of its staff and in late April the airline said it was laying off 5,000 staff – about 40% of the company’s workforce.
The coronavirus pandemic has hit airlines hard, suspending much of global air travel. Europe’s biggest budget airline Ryanair saw a 99.6% fall in passenger numbers in April, while smaller Hungarian low-cost carrier Wizz Air said numbers fell 98% in April compared to the same month last year.
10:33 More than 32,000 people in the United Kingdom have died with suspected COVID-19, marking the highest official death toll reported in Europe so far.
The total, which includes figures from England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, exceeds that of Italy, which was previously Europe’s worst-hit country. Italy currently has a known total death toll of 29,079. However, Italy and the UK have different methods of recording deaths.
09:37 Spain’s unemployment rate rose again in April, with a record 5.2 million people now fully or partly depending on unemployment benefits after one of the world’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns brought the economy to a standstill.
According to the Labor Ministry, the number of people registering as unemployed increased by 7.97% in April from a month earlier — or by 282,891 people — leaving 3.8 million people out of work. Spain had a monthly average of 548,000 fewer jobs in April than in the same month last year.
The regions most affected by unemployment are those with a high dependence on tourism, such as Andalusia.
Spain’s cost of unemployment benefits last month soared 207% from a year earlier to €4.5 billion – making it “the highest spending in the history” of the unemployment services in Spain, Secretary of State for Employment Joaquin Perez Rey said at a news conference.
08:50 The reproduction rate for the coronavirus in Germany is currently estimated at 0.71, according to the Robert Koch Institute, a small decline from Monday’s figure.
Keeping the rate of transmission below 1 — meaning that each infected person gives the virus to another — is broadly seen as a prerequisite for lifting lockdown measures.
07:30 Professional sport is resuming in South Korea after the coronavirus shutdown starting with the delayed opening of the new baseball season on Tuesday.
Fans were not allowed to enter the stadium at all.
Players must have their temperature checked twice before games and wear face masks in all areas except the playing field and the dugouts.
Players have also been asked not to shake hands or exchange high-fives, while spitting is prohibited.
South Korea’s football league will resume on Friday under similar conditions while a women’s domestic golf tournament is scheduled for next week.
07:00 China registered one new case of coronavirus on Tuesday and zero deaths, marking three weeks since it recorded a coronavirus-related fatality.
According to officials at the National Health Commission, 395 people remained under treatment in hospital, while 949 were under isolation and observation — either as suspected cases, or after testing positive for the virus despite showing no symptoms.
China has reported 4,633 deaths from the coronavirus among 82,881 cases.
The country is slowly resuming public events after months of containment efforts involving strict travel restrictions, quarantining, testing and case tracing policies.
05:50 British new car sales plummeted by around 97% in April to roughly 4,000 cars, most of them fleet purchases by companies. It’s the lowest single month figure in the UK since February 1946.
The slump, logged in preliminary data from the London-based Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), came as factories and dealerships shut as part of restrictions on activity. The body’s full-year forecast also sank to 1.68 million registrations compared with last year’s total of 2.31 million cars.
Lockdowns across Europe have limited the movement of millions of people and closed many businesses, taking a blow on a an industry already struggling with changing technologies even before the outbreak.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to hold a special summit on Tuesday morning via video conference with the premiers of the country’s 16 federal states and representatives of major German car manufacturers including Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW.
Carmarkers have begun resuming some operations in Europe after weeks of standstill, but many employees have been put on furlough with the government picking up much of their remaining pay.
05:10 The Australian economy is losing AU$4 billion (roughly €2.4 billion or $2.6 billion) each week amid its ongoing coronavirus shutdown, according to figures announced by its treasury.
“For every extra week that that current restrictions remain in place, the treasury estimates that close to $4 billion will be reduced in economic activity, from a combination of a reduced workforce participation, reduced productivity, and reduced consumption,” said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg.
While the country has successfully flattened the curve of the virus, and has seen a steady decrease in the number of new cases recorded each day, over a million workers have also lost their jobs. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the country has seen a 7.5% drop in employment, while 31% of households have faced more financial difficulty in the five weeks leading to April 18.
03:45 In Germany, the number of COVID-19 deaths rose by 139, bringing the country’s total to 6,831, according to the latest figures released by the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases on Tuesday.
The daily death toll rose significantly compared to the previous day’s 43 reported new deaths, although Germany’s figures tend to jump at the beginning of the week as health authorities file figures from the weekend. The number of new confirmed cases remained steady, rising by 685 to a total of 163,860 coronavirus cases.
03:10 Away from the US, here’s the latest from the rest of North and South America:
Canada: The country’s worst-hit province of Quebec began relaxing coronavirus restrictions on Monday, with some stores allowed to reopen — except in Montreal. Canada’s second-largest city and outbreak epicenter was due to reopen shops next week, but the end of the lockdown has been pushed back to May 18. Quebec accounts more than half of the country’s 4,000 deaths and nearly 62,000 cases.
Mexico: The Interior Ministry warned state governments not to threaten prison sentences in order to enforce lockdowns to combat the virus. The warning came after lawmakers in the state of Queretaro approved a bill threatening prison terms of four to six years for people who violate the lockdown. Mexico logged over 1,400 new cases on Monday, bringing the total cases to 24,905 and a total of 2,271 deaths
Guatemala: Deportation flights from the United States are due to resume after Washington agreed to test all deported migrants for COVID-19. Guatemala suspended deportation flights from the US after 44 people tested positive for the virus on a flight in mid-April. Migrants deported from the US have also reportedly faced harassment back in Guatemala over fears that they could be carrying the virus. Guatemala has logged 730 coronavirus cases and 19 deaths so far.
Honduras: Hundreds of people blocked a highway outside the capital Tegucigalpa to prevent funerals for people who died due to COVID-19 from taking place in their neighborhoods. Some 300 people burned tires and used boulders to block the highway out of concerns that mourning family members could spread the virus to local communities. Honduras has registered 1,055 cases and 82 deaths so far.
Brazil: Leaders of indigenous communities have asked the World Health Organization (WHO) to set up an emergency fund to help protect their people from the threat of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
The number of indigenous people in Brazil who have died from the coronavirus has risen to 18, according to an indigenous umbrella group. However, the Brazilian government has only officially reported six of the deaths.
Meanwhile Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich on Monday disputed the need to set up a new hospital to fight the coronavirus pandemic in hard-hit Amazonian city of Manaus. Hospitals in the city are overwhelmed and officials have resorted to burying COVID-19 victims in mass graves.
Chile: The health ministry says the number of confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infection has exceeded 20,000, with 270 fatalities. However, the number of hospitalizations there is said to have plateaued.
The country is one of South America’s most developed nations and it has won some praise for its handling of the coronavirus outbreak, with an early lockdown and quick initial testing.
Health Minister Jaime Manalich, a kidney specialist who once ran one of the most prestigious hospitals in Chile, has clashed with local officials about the timing of quarantines and closures on several occasions.
Peru: Right-wing opposition leader Keiko Fujimori has been released from prison after three months in custody amid fears of the pandemic.
Fujimori had asked to be freed over fears she might contract the novel coronavirus while on pre-trial detention over corruption charges. She left a prison in the capital Lima on bail, and wearing a face mask and white gloves, saying she would be immediately taking a test for presence of SARS-CoV-2.
In other prisons in Lima, inmates have rioted complaining that authorities are not doing enough to halt the spread of the virus.
02:50 A cabinet meeting of Australian ministers on coronavirus was joined by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. The two countries are considering opening their borders for a trans-Tasman travel bubble. Both nations have a mortality rate of 1%, and are planning to gradually reopen their economies.
02:20 Germany could soon see all stores reopen and soccer matches return after Chancellor Angela Merkel holds talks with state leaders this week, sources familiar with the talks told Reuters.
Merkel is due to hold a teleconference with the heads of Germany’s 16 states on Wednesday to discuss further measures to reopen the country.
According to the two sources, state leaders and the federal government are due to sign off on reopening large shops next week — meaning that all stores in Germany would be allowed to reopen. Smaller stores were previously given the green light, provided that customers wear masks and stores kept to social distancing measures.
Germany’s Bundesliga soccer competition is also expected to receive the green light to resume football matches as early as May 15, but only if teams play without fans in stadiums. Outdoor sports for children and non-professional leagues would also be allowed to take place under the new measures.
The German Football League (DFL) previously said it wants to restart matches in mid-May, but has been waiting on the green light from the German government
The states also reportedly agreed to reopen schools for students in all grade levels, although children will likely only be allowed to go to class on a rotating schedule and not all at once, the sources told Reuters.
01:10 In the United States, the number of deaths over the past 24 hours rose by 1,015 — making it the lowest daily death figure in a month, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
On Monday, the Senate convened for the first time since March, despite concerns the move could put lawmakers and staff at risk of contracting COVID-19. Although back in session, lawmakers dampened hopes for quick action passing any new relief legislation.
Democrats are hoping to approve a new coronavirus aid package as virus-stricken states and cities are struggling to pay nurses, firefighters and other workers on the frontlines. Republicans are wary of approving more federal funds and hope the pressure on states to re-open will reduce the aid needed.
Meanwhile, the US Treasury announced it will have to borrow a record $2.99 trillion in the current quarter to cover the cost of current coronavirus relief measures.
President Donald Trump’s administration is projecting a steady rise in the number of deaths in the country over the next few weeks, reaching up to 3,000 daily deaths in June, the New York Times reported. The projections come as Trump pushes states to loosen their stay-at-home orders and reopen businesses. The White House projects that 100,000 to 240,000 people in the US will die from COVID-19. Several scientific models predict Trump’s worst-case scenario of 100,000 deaths could be reached already by Jun
00:45 India is preparing to repatriate up to a million stranded nationals who were told to remain where they were when Delhi first imposed a lockdown. Many of the distressed Indians are migrant workers in the Gulf countries.
00:01 Here are some of the major developments on the spread of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours.
Over a quarter-of-a-million people have died around the world due to the novel coronavirus, according to the latest tallies of government data, while the number of active cases has risen to over 3.5 million. Most of the new deaths were logged in North America and Europe, although numbers also rose in Latin America, Russia and some African countries.
An EU-led fundraiser to support efforts to create a vaccine raised billions. World leaders pledged €7.4 billion ($8.07 billion) to raise money for developing a coronavirus vaccine and treatments. The European Commission and Norway led the field of donors, while Germany pledged over €500,000 million.
Many European countries continued ease coronavirus restrictions, with students returning to class in Austria, hair salons reopening in Germany, and restaurants offering take-out services re-opening for business in Rome, Italy.
00:00 Catch up on yesterday’s coronavirus news here: Italy’s mortality rate rises nearly 40%