China’s top diplomat Wang Yi has said the US must stop blaming his country, and instead work with Beijing to halt the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, millions of Muslims have marked Eid under lockdown.
- President Trump has imposed a ban on people entering the US from Brazil
- More than 5.3 million cases have been recorded globally and at least 342,000 people have died with COVID-19
- China says the US must stop wasting time with “smears” about the origins of the novel coronavirus
- Muslims have started celebrating the holiday of Eid al-Fitr with hundreds of millions of people confined to their homes
- Russia has reported its highest daily death toll
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
23:29 Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said that COVID-19 could result in the loss of roughly a million jobs as numerous industries regarded as not essential are still shutdown.
The Mexican economy was already in recession prior to the emergence of the novel coronavirus outbreak and various investment banks have forecast contractions as large as 9% for 2020.
“My prediction is that with coronavirus, a million jobs will be lost,” Lopez Obrador said in a televised speech. “But we will create two million new jobs.”
23:03 The Brazilian health ministry has updated its COVID-19 figures, reporting an increase of 15,813 infections, bringing the country’s total to 363,211.
The world’s second hardest hit nation has now seen 22,666 deaths from the novel coronavirus, up 653 from yesterday’s total.
21:41 President Donald Trump has imposed a ban on people entering the United States from Brazil, with the Latin American country having the second-highest number of registered coronavirus infections in the world.
The move suspends entry for anyone trying to come into the US who has been in Brazil during the previous 14 days.
US citizens, permanent residents and spouses of US citizens are among those exempted from the newly introduced condition.
O’Brien said the White House would look at other Latin American nations on a “country-by-country basis.”
21:36 Austria’s President Alexander Van der Bellen has apologized after staying at a restaurant past the 11 p.m. curfew implemented by the government. Owners face fines of up to €30,000 ($32,700) if they break the rules.
“I went out for the first time since the lockdown with two friends and my wife,” Van der Bellen tweeted, adding: “We then lost track of time while chatting. I’m sincerely sorry. It was a mistake.”
France recorded its lowest daily increase in confirmed new infections since the country went into lockdown on March 17.
As a further illustration of the country opening up, families have been heading for the Grande Motte beach on the Mediterranean coast, swimming and sunbathing in areas specially marked to keep a safe distance from each other. Cordoned off areas and wooden stakes were carefully spaced out across the beach, giving each visitor or group an eight-square-meter (85-square-foot) space of their own. Online reservations are required, though at no cost, and there is already a two-day waiting list.
Elsewhere, beaches have also reopened, but only for individual sports or walks, and people weren’t permitted to sit or sunbathe.
In Germany, the state premier of Thuringia has called for an end to all restrictions for the region. Bodo Ramelow said that he hopes to lift the remaining statewide rules on June 6 and replace them with “a concept of recommendations and fighting COVID-19 locally if infection figures rise.”
All 16 states currently have regulations in place, such as social distancing and an instruction to wear face masks on public transport and in shops.
Ramelow was heavily criticized by the chief of staff of neighboring Bavaria’s premier, saying his government was “appalled” at Ramelow’s suggestion. “Thuringia’s plans are a highly dangerous experiment for everyone in this country,” Florian Herrmann told German newspaper Bild. “Lifting all protective measures comes too soon and isn’t appropriate in the current situation, because the virus hasn’t yet been defeated.”
Turkey’s health minister announced 32 new COVID-19 fatalities, taking the country’s death toll to 4,340.
Fahrettin Koca also tweeted there were 1,141 new cases. The total number of infections currently stands at 156,827, making it the ninth highest in the world, though some experts believe it could be much higher than reported.
Restriction measures are still in place in the mostly-Muslim Balkan countries of Albania, Bosnia and Kosovo. Mosques have reopened in the Bosnian capital of Sarajevo but visitors must wear face masks and maintain physical distancing, while older citizens were urged to pray from home.
21:01 The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported 1,622,114 cases of coronavirus, an increase of 1,047 from the day before. The death count rose by 1,047 to 97,049.
The CDC tally does not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual cases. Earlier on Sunday, many US media outlets reported that the death count had reached 100,000.
The US has the highest death count in the world. Many states have relaxed restrictions on public life in recent weeks although the number of new cases continues to rise.
19:53 Germany’s health minister Jens Spahn says US President Donald Trump was not wrong to say the World Health Organization (WHO) should make reforms but added that this discussion should take place after the pandemic.
Last week, Trump threatened to pull the plug on US contributions to the WHO, unless the organization made improvements within 30 days.
“We need to figure out exactly where the money goes,” Spahn said in an interview with British newspaper the Financial Times. He added that the reforms should target governance and accountability.”
“In the middle of a crisis, when you’re putting out fires, you can’t talk about reforming the fire brigade,” he said.
The German Health Minister also expressed that he would be “very sorry” to see the US abandon the WHO.
19:12 In France, there was the lowest daily increase in confirmed new coronavirus infections since the country went into lockdown more than two months ago on March 17.
The figure rose 115 to 144,921 a health ministry official said on Sunday, explaining that the relatively low number may have been because hospitals were slower in reporting numbers over the Ascension holiday weekend.
Beaches in some parts of France have reopened, with social distancing measures in place, while people spent the holiday weekend enjoying time outside as lockdown regulations continue to be eased. Parks in Paris are still closed to the public.
Meanwhile, Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is calling for the government to reopen parks to Parisians, who mostly live in apartments without gardens.
18:23 Spaniards have been preparing for the next phase of reopenings, with further restrictions to public life set to be lifted across the country.
Beaches in many of Spain’s mainland coastal regions, along with the Canaries and the Balearic Islands, will reopen for sunbathing and swimming, but only for certain groups.
Regional authorities will set their own rules for beach use, though social distancing is still in place, and groups cannot gather with more than 15 people.
In Madrid, parks, museums, churches, and outdoor seating at bars this week will also be opened up again on Monday.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced that for the end of June, Spaniards will be allowed to travel between provinces. “There will be a summer season,” Sanchez said, but “under safe conditions.”
Spain is on its third month of the coronavirus national emergency, having suffered one of the highest per-capita death tolls in the world, with Madrid having been the hardest hit. The coronavirus death toll rose by 70 on Sunday to 28,752, the eighth day in a row the daily death toll was under 100, the health ministry said.
The total number of coronavirus cases rose to 235,772, from 235,290.
17:44 South Africa will further ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions from June 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa says, allowing large sectors of the economy to return to full capacity.
“Cabinet has determined that the alert level for the whole
country should be lowered from level four to level three,” he
said in an address broadcast on television, describing the move as a significant shift in approach to the pandemic.
16:58 The President of Austria has apologized after he and his wife were caught by police in a restaurant after a curfew in place to slow the spread of coronavirus.
Alexander Van der Bellen and his wife along with two friends were found in an open-air restaurant in Vienna just after midnight on Saturday night when police entered to conduct a spot check. In Austria, bars and restaurants are currently only permitted to stay open until 11 p.m., with owners facing fines of up to €30,000 ($32,700) if they break the rules.
“I am very sorry,” Van der Bellen wrote on Twitter. “It was a mistake.” He told local media that he had been talking and didn’t notice the time. His party still had drinks on their table when the police entered, but the restaurant was officially closed.
16:26 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said his top aide Dominic Cummings acted “responsibly and legally” a day after allegations emerged that the adviser had traveled 250 miles to visit his parents when he suspected he was infected with COVID-19 — breaking lockdown regulations.
Johnson rejected calls made from across British party lines for Cummings to resign or be fired since the allegations emerged on Saturday. The top adviser is one of the most influential people in British politics, having led the “Vote Leave” pro-Brexit campaign in 2016 and Johnson’s election campaign late last year.
The prime minister, speaking at the UK’s daily coronavirus briefing, outlined the UK’s plan to partially reopen schools on June 1 and move to “Phase 2” of the UK’s plan. He also said he had heard “signs of confidence” about vaccine development.
Johnson confirmed that the UK death toll had increased to 36,793 from 36,675 on Sunday.
15:57 Hundreds of Catholics have gathered in St Peter’s Square at the Vatican, keeping their distance from each other, for the first time in months for the traditional Sunday papal blessing.
Pope Francis has been delivering the blessing from inside the Vatican chambers during the pandemic. Earlier he came to the window and waved to the people in the piazza, although he remained in the library for the blessing itself.
In his blessing, Francis was set to visit a scheduled visit to Naples to look at environmental damage caused by toxic-waste dumping. This weekend marks the five-year anniversary of the presentation of his ecological manifesto. He also draw attention to the Feast of the Ascension, which took place on Thursday.
15:30 Two homes for the elderly in the German city of Wiesbaden have been isolated, following coronavirus breakouts.
Some 26 people tested positive for COVID-19 at the Maternus Seniorencentrum Kapellenstift, near the city center. Eight of them were staff members of the facility.
At the other elderly home, the Toni-Sender-House, located on the outskirts of the city, four people had tested positive so far. The spread there began with one staff member who tested positive. Authorities had to test members of an adjacent daycare center, who had contact with the infected staff member at Toni-Sender-House, but these tests came out negative.
The residents of both elderly homes are undergoing inpatient treatment. Isolation and hygiene measures have been implemented in both facilities, with the two officially under quarantine.
Authorities are now closely monitoring and tracking the chain of infection – the infection potential of people outside the homes who may have come in contact with those who tested positive.
14:30 A Baptist church service in the German city of Frankfurt resulted in more than a hundred coronavirus infections, state officials now say.
The religious service took place two weeks ago, just after the German government eased lockdown rules, including the reopening of churches. Hesse’s Minister of Health Kai Klose said 107 congregants of that live in Frankfurt and elsewhere in the state have so far tested positive for COVID-19.
“This situation shows how important it is for all of us – especially during the loosening that is now being made possible again – to remain vigilant and not to become careless. The virus is still there and wants to spread. Our best common protection is to observe the rules of hygiene, distance and mouth and nose protection,” Klose said.
14:00 Police in the German city of Saarlouis, in the federal state of Saarland, say they had to clear out a pub restaurant Saturday night for failing to comply with coronavirus related social distancing rules.
Authorities found the pub too full, with too many tables and chairs in use, a Saarlouis police spokesman said. City officials arrived at the scene and gave the pub owner 20 minutes to make alterations and enforce the distancing of customers, but the owner refused to carry it out.
At that point, police were called to the pub to clear the guests and close the establishment for the night. It was not clear if the owner would face a fine or if the pub would be reopened.
13:45 Lufthansa has confirmed that it will resume flights to 20 destinations in mid-June as it tries to rebound from the coronavirus pandemic.
The destinations include vacation hotspots Mallorca, Crete, Rhodes, Faro, Venice, Ibiza and Malaga, a Lufthansa spokeswoman said, with further destinations to be announced at the end of next week. All flights will depart from the German airline’s main hub in Frankfurt.
13:35 France wants its citizens to stay at home for their summer holidays and avoid foreign travel, Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne said in an interview with France Inter radio.
However, Borne said the government would decide next week whether to loosen rules on domestic travel, currently limited to 100 kilometers (62 miles) from home.
12:40 Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi has said Trump’s administration is tarnishing relations with Beijing with what it calls a smear campaign over coronavirus, and that China and the US are coming close to a new cold war.
Longstanding tensions between the administrations of US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have worsened in recent weeks over the coronavirus pandemic and China’s recent proposal for imposing new security legislation in Hong Kong, which Wang said should be imposed “without the slightest delay.”
“Aside from the devastation caused by the novel coronavirus, there is also a political virus spreading through the US,” Wang said. “It has come to our attention that some political forces in the US are taking China-US relations hostage and pushing our two countries to the brink of a new Cold War,” the French news agency AFP quoted Wang as saying. The diplomat did not identify the “forces” to which he was referring.
11:30 The Food and Drug Administration in the Philippines has warned the public against injecting an anti-viral drug after social media posts claimed it was “the COVID-19 buster.”
The FDA issued a cease-and-desist order against the use of the Fabunan anti-viral injection, developed by a US-based Filipino physician Ruben Fabunan. The order came amid reports that more people were buying the medication.
Philippines Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire said there was no record of the drug being registered with the FDA. The Fabunan Medical Clinic said in a post on its Facebook page that the drug was “not commercially sold” but has been “used excessively” by doctors at the facility.
10:54 For the first time in a decade, an Israeli aircraft has touched down in Turkey to pick up medical supplies that will help the United States grapple with its coronavirus epidemic.
The Dreamliner jet, modified by Israeli flag carrier El Al into a cargo plane, landed in Istanbul and loaded up with more than 20 tons of humanitarian aid. The plane will fly to Tel Aviv before heading for New York City.
Air traffic between Israel and Turkey ceased in 2010 due to tensions between the two countries. According to the Jerusalem Post, El Al has received permission from the Turkish government to conduct two flights this week.
10:05 Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says any lawsuits brought against China over coronavirus pandemic have “zero factual basis in law or international precedence.” He told reporters on Sunday that China was a victim of the global pandemic alongside other countries and had reached out to assist other governments in need.
“To our regret, in addition to the raging of the new coronavirus, a political virus is also spreading in the US which is to take every chance to attack and discredit China,” Wang said. “Some US politicians, heedless of basic facts, have fabricated too many lies and plotted too many conspiracies,” he added. The minister was referring to US President Donald Trump’s suggestion that the virus that causes COVID-19 was leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, the Chinese city where the respiratory illness first emerged.
Wang said those who would bring such litigation against China are “living in a daydream and will humiliate themselves.” Last month, the US state of Missouri said it was suing the Chinese government over its handling of the coronavirus which it said had led to severe economic losses.
08:38 Muslims around the world began celebrating the three-day Eid al-Fitr – one of their biggest holidays – as the dawn-to-dusk fasting of Ramadan comes to an end. This year, the holiday will be marked with hundreds of millions of people confined to their homes during what is usually a festive time of traveling, visiting families, shopping and gatherings with loved ones.
Saudi Arabia: The Kingdom has declared Eid will begin on Sunday. Prayers will be held at the two mosques in the cities of Mecca and Medina “without worshippers”, authorities said on Saturday as the country began a five-day curfew after infections quadrupled since the start of Ramadan. People are only authorized to leave their homes to buy food and medicine.
Turkey: Ankara has imposed its first nationwide lockdown before the holidays. The four-day curfew went into effect across all 81 provinces at midnight local time (2100 UTC Friday), on the eve of Eid festivities. People are not allowed to attend large gatherings or travel to visit family and friends. Congregational prayers in mosques have been suspended since March 16.
Egypt: The government has moved its curfew four hours earlier to 5 p.m. local time and has banned all public transport for six days from Sunday.
India: The government has banned large gatherings while in some states, Muslims have launched campaigns encouraging people to refrain from shopping for new clothes for the holiday and instead give alms to those in need. India’s 172 million Muslims have faced increased stigma, threats and boycotts by some Hindus who blame the coronavirus outbreak on a three-day convention of Islamic missionaries held in March.
Pakistan: The double tragedies of the pandemic and Friday’s plane crash have cast a shadow over Eid celebrations. Prime Minister Imran Khan refused to close mosques during Ramadan despite pleas from doctors. The country has reported more than 52,000 cases and more than 1,100 deaths. For the first time, Pakistan is celebrating Eid nationwide on the same day, ending an old debate between rival committees over the moon sighting that signals the beginning of the holiday.
Indonesia: The world’s largest Muslim-majority nation has seen a spike in new coronavirus cases in recent days as millions of people prepare for Eid. President Joko Widodo’s lockdown orders to contain the virus mean there will be no congregational prayers at mosques or even open field and no family reunions. In Aceh, the country’s only province enforcing Islamic law, public Eid prayers can still be performed at mosques and fields, but without shaking hands and with shortened sermons.
Malaysia: Authorities will allow residents to visit relatives who live nearby, but such gatherings are limited to 20 people in the same house. Mosques have reopened, but congregations are limited to 30 people. Police have turned away more than 5,000 cars trying to return to their hometowns in the last few days. Malaysia also banned this year their “open house” tradition, where Muslims invite family and friends to their homes for a feast.
Iraq: The exact date of Eid has yet to be determined in the Shiite-majority country, but it will likely be Monday to correspond with the Shiite community’s celebrations in the country, as announced by top cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani. Meanwhile, Sunnis in Iraq will mark the start of the holiday on Sunday. Streets were filled with people busy shopping for clothes, toys and home appliances in the days leading up to the festival. Most businesses have been allowed to reopen in the last few weeks but authorities plan to reinstate a 24-hour curfew over Eid.
Iran: Health Minister Saeed Namaki warned people not to travel during Eid. Iran has suffered the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East with nearly 130,000 cases and more than 7,000 deaths. Ahead of the celebrations, authorities have canceled mass prayers in Tehran traditionally led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Yemen: Houthi rebels have urged believers to wear face masks and stay indoors, as authorities try to prevent viral transmissions at a time usually marked by large-scale multigenerational feasting and collective prayers.
Balkans: Coronavirus restrictions remain in place in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo. In the Bosnian capital, Sarajevo, mosques reopened on May 6 after seven weeks of lockdown. Worshippers are required to wear masks and practice social distancing. The elderly are urged to pray from home. The mufti of Kosovo’s Islamic community led prayers in a mosque in front of a small group of imams sitting 1.5 meters apart, with the sermon broadcast outside on loudspeakers.
07:53 Russia has reported its highest daily death rate so far, with 153 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours. The country’s coronavirus crisis response center said on Sunday that total fatalities had now reached 3,541. Almost 8,600 new cases were reported, fewer than the previous day, pushing the nationwide tally of infections to 344,481.
07:08 Bundestag President Wolfgang Schäuble says the protests against Germany’s coronavirus-related curbs on movement show that democracy is working. “The demonstrations show that our society is an open one, ” Schäuble told Welt am Sonntag.
“That these demonstrations sometimes include people with obscure theories cannot be stopped,” the German politician added. “However, I would advise anyone who stands by our constitution to keep their distance from extremists so as not to have their views corrupted in one way or another.”
Schäuble insisted that Germany’s democracy was never at risk during the nationwide lockdown. “The determination to fight the pandemic was matched by the conviction that the principles of our legal system and parliamentary democracy must be upheld,” he added.
06:33 Claims promoted by US President Donald Trump that the global coronavirus pandemic originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the central Chinese city are “pure fabrication,” the institute’s director said.
Wang Yanyi was quoted by state media Sunday as saying the institute did not have “any knowledge before that nor had we ever met, researched or kept the virus. We didn’t even know about the existence of the virus, so how could it be leaked from our lab when we didn’t have it?”
Wang said the institute now has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the new contagion wreaking chaos across the world.
Scientists think COVID-19 — which first emerged in Wuhan and has killed some 340,000 people worldwide — originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal.
Conspiracy rumors that the biosafety lab was involved in the outbreak swirled online for months before Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo brought the theory into the mainstream by claiming that there is evidence the pathogen came from the institute.
05:35 The New York Times has devoted its entire front page to a long list of names of people in the United States who have died in the pandemic.
The names and brief descriptions were culled from obituaries from around the country and fill six columns under the headline: “US Deaths Near 100,000, an Incalculable Loss,” with a subheadline reading: “They Were Not Simply Names on a List. They Were Us.”
The list replaces the usual front-page articles, photos and graphics in the Sunday edition of the paper.
A tally kept by Johns Hopkins University says more than 96,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the US.
05:24 The Ankara government has urged Germany to ensure Turkey is listed as a safe destination when Berlin lifts its worldwide travel warning in time for the summer vacation season. After Italy and Spain, the country is the most popular holiday destination for Germans.
Turkey is ready to receive tourists from abroad as of mid-June, the Turkish ambassador in Berlin, Ali Kemal Aydin, told the German Press Agency. “All necessary precautions will be taken by the responsible authorities. We are convinced that the [German] Federal Government is taking all this into consideration and will “decide” accordingly.
On March 17th, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas had issued a formal warning against holiday travel abroad until at least June 14.
05:00 Germany’s biggest airline Lufthansa plans to resume flights in June as countries worldwide start to relax travel restrictions, Bild am Sonntag reported.
According to the German newspaper, flights to around 20 destinations are scheduled to take place in the second half of June from Frankfurt alone including Rhodes, Dubrovnik, Faro, Venice, Ibiza, Malaga and Heraklion in Crete. Mallorca, a top tourist destination for Germany, will also have more regular flights from mid-June onwards.
According to Bild, the flight plan also looks to resume a total of 80 additional flights that had previously been grounded due to the pandemic.
From 1 June, 160 of a total fleet of 760 aircraft are expected to resume services with Lufthansa, and its subsidiaries Swiss Airlines and Eurowings.
Lufthansa is reported to be in advanced negotiations for the German government to take a 20% stake in the airline. The aviation sector has suffered a huge financial blow due to the travel bans and border closures imposed globally that have led to entire fleets of aircraft to be grounded for more than two months.
04:52 UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser is under fresh pressure to quit after new reports in Sunday newspapers that he apparently broke the country’s travel restrictions more than once.
The Guardian and the Mirror initially reported on Friday that Dominic Cummings had traveled some 430 kilometers (248 miles) from London to his parents’ home in County Durham at the end of March while he had coronavirus symptoms.
He was reportedly seen in Durham again on April 19, after he had already recovered and returned to work in London, the two newspapers reported in their Sunday editions.
An eyewitness cited by both papers also said he saw Cummings at a well-known tourist spot some 50 kilometers from Durham, in northeast England on April 12.
As of Saturday, the prime minister was standing by his adviser, who is credited with delivering Johnson’s premiership and Brexit policy.
03:56 The Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires has extended its lockdown until June 7 and even tightened some restrictions on movement, after a gradual rise in the city’s confirmed number of cases recently.
Officials will stiffen traffic controls between the city and the province of Buenos Aires, the area with the second-highest concentration of infections, President Alberto Fernandez announced.
Commercial activity in some of Buenos Aires’ more densely populated areas, as well as access to public transport, will be rolled back after some firms had previously been allowed to reopen for business.
The lockdown, which was supposed to end on Sunday, was initially implemented on March 20. Officials have eased restrictions in other parts of the country.
Argentina has a commercial flight ban in place until September 1, one of the world’s strictest travel measures during the crisis.
Meanwhile, Argentina reported 704 new infections, one of the highest single-day surges since the outbreak emerged in the South American country. It has recorded a total of 11,353 cases, the majority of which coming in Buenos Aires, where the city’s low-income neighborhoods have been particularly hard hit, according to government data. The death toll now stands at 445.
03:04 The number of confirmed cases in Germany rose by 431 over the last 24 hours, meaning the country has a total of 178,281 recorded infections, according to the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases.
The death toll in Germany increased by 31 to 8,247, the RKI data showed.
Here are the German figures for recent days:
Friday, May 22: 638 cases; 42 deaths
Thursday, May 21: 460 new cases; 27 new deaths
Wednesday, May 20: 797 new cases; 83 new deaths
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
02:25 Six million Australians have downloaded an application that allows health authorities to trace COVID-19 cases, officials revealed.
Australian Health Minister Greg Hunt said the COVIDSafe app is playing a significant role in the country’s response to the outbreak and numerous countries have shown an interest in how it works with an eye on implementing it too.
If a user tests positive, they can find others who also have the app and have been in close proximity for 15 minutes or more in the previous three weeks.
The government is aiming for at least 40% of Australia’s 26 million people to download the app.
02:12 French churches were readying themselves for their first Sunday masses in over two months after the government caved into a decision that religious services should be resumed, under the proviso that certain precautions are implemented.
Almost two weeks into the easing of the lockdown, the French government finally relented and gave permission for churches, mosques and synagogues to reopen after initially not being a part of the country’s relaxation of the shutdown.
Last Monday, France’s Council of State, which instructs the government on legal issues, requested the lifting of its ban on all religious services. The ruling said that a prohibition of freedom of worship provoked “damage that is serious and manifestly illegal,” ordering the government to lift the ban within eight days.
Nevertheless, priests, pastors, rabbis and imams will still have to ensure certain safety measures are in place. People will have to wear face masks, disinfectant gel must be on hand and the seating will need to be arranged so that worshipers are kept a safe distance apart.
01:13 Mexican health authorities registered 3,329 new cases and 190 new deaths, a health official confirmed in its daily count.
The country has reported a total of 65,856 infections and 7,179 fatalities as a result of COVID-19.
01:12 The United States has registered an additional 1,127 fatalities from the novel coronavirus and its death toll now stands at 97,048.
The country has reported a total of 1,621,658 infections.
00:50 Spain will reopen to overseas tourists from July, after the government promised to ensure the safety of visitors and locals. The country is emerging from one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.
More than 80 million tourists head to Spain every year. In 2019, 11 million Germans headed for the Iberian nation, and the Mediterranean country is desperate to avoid those figures dropping significantly in 2020.
Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the €3 billion ($3.27 billion) scheme to help families most affected by the outbreak would come into effect in the coming weeks.
Sánchez said: “I am announcing that from July, Spain will reopen for foreign tourism in conditions of safety. Foreign tourists can also start planning their holidays in our country. Spain needs tourism, and tourism needs safety in both origin and destination. We will guarantee that tourists will not run any risks, nor will they bring any risk to our country.”
Sanchez said the central and local governments had been planning the return to tourism for some weeks. “We’re sending everyone a message today: Spain will be waiting for you from July.”
The PM also announced that football leagues would be allowed to restart from June 8 after almost three months of inactivity.
He added a 10-day period of national mourning for the 28,628 people who have died from the novel coronavirus would begin on Tuesday.
00:35 Brazil has reported 965 new coronavirus deaths in its daily update, bringing its death toll to 22,013, the health ministry confirmed.
The South American country now has 347,398 confirmed infections, the ministry said, after an increase of 16,508 over a 24-hour period, overtaking Russia to become the world’s second hardest-hit after the United States.
The number of infections and fatalities is actually believed to be much higher than the official numbers disclosed by the government, as the testing capacity of Latin America’s largest country still lags.
The World Health Organization recently described the continent of South America as the new epicenter for the novel coronavirus.
00:30 A man has been attacked outside a Berlin grocery store, after the victim had complained about the would-be attacker not wearing a face mask, police said.
The 53-year-old victim had highlighted the issue to a cashier at the shop, which was overheard by the man and his companion.
Police said the man, who wasn’t wearing a face mask, then approached the victim outside the shop in the Marzahn district of the German capital and, after a short discussion, began beating him.
The city-state of Berlin requires masks that cover both the mouth and nose to be worn in shops and supermarkets at all times as Germany tries to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
00:23 US President Donald Trump hit the golf course in a sign of life returning to normal in the world’s hardest-hit country.
Trump, who wants churches, synagogues and mosques to immediately be allowed to hold services, was not wearing a mask while playing golf, and nor were his three accomplices.
Meanwhile, citizens excited about the Memorial Day weekend flocked to beaches and outdoor areas, hitting the highway at the start of the summer in the United States. The public holiday is held on the last Monday of May every year to honor those who have died while serving in the United States Armed Forces.
The US death toll currently stands at 96,983, the highest of any country in the world, and it has registered more than 1.6 million cases, also a global high.
00:00 Catch up on yesterday’s coronavirus news here: Coronavirus latest: Spain anti-lockdown protest draws thousands of far-right supporters
jsi/mm (AFP, AP, dpa, Reuters) (DW)