Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Global cases pass 5.4m
There are currently 5,407,701 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The death toll stands at 345,060. Both figures are likely to be higher, due to differing test rates, definitions and deliberate underreporting.
US bars travellers who have been in Brazil in last two weeks
The White House has announced it is prohibiting foreigners from traveling to the US if they had been in Brazil in the last two weeks, two days after the South American nation became the world’s second-worst affected country in terms of coronavirus cases. Brazil meanwhile registered 15,813 new cases and 653 new deaths in 24 hours, taking the total number of fatalities to 22,666, and cases to 363,211 confirmed cases, the Health Ministry said.
White House official likens China’s handling of coronavirus to Chernobyl cover-up
A top White House official on Sunday likened China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak to the Soviet Union’s cover-up of the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986. Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, accused China of a cover-up that will “go down in history along with Chernobyl”, ramping up efforts to deflect attention from a Covid-19 death toll in the US fast closing on 100,000.
China says virus pushing US ties to brink of ‘Cold War’
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday that Washington seemed infected by a “political virus” but that Beijing would nevertheless be open to an international effort to find the coronavirus source.“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,” Wang said.
Dominic Cummings reported to police over lockdown breach
Boris Johnson’s chief advisor is facing a possible police investigation under health laws over a claim that he breached self-isolation rules in north-east England, after a weekend of mounting pressure on the prime minister to sack his chief adviser.
Boris Johnson described Cummings as acting “responsibly, legally and with integrity”.
First Spanish beaches to reopen as lockdown eases
Coronavirus lockdown measures will finally be eased for people in Madrid and Barcelona from Monday, while elsewhere in Spain the first beaches are due to reopen, AFP reports. Residents in the two cities can now meet in groups of up to 10 people in their homes or on the terraces of bars and restaurants. The gates of the capital’s parks will also be reopened, and major museums will be able to receive a limited number of visitors.
Australian children return to school
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, on Monday deployed hundreds of crowd control staff to enforce social distancing on public transport amid an expected commuter surge as schools and offices reopened and coronavirus cases fell. Australia has reported just over 7,100 Covid-19 infections, including 102 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.
Chile’s healthcare system ‘very close to the limit’
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said on Sunday that the country’s healthcare system is under strain and “very close to the limit”, as the number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections approached 70,000, after a rapid increase in recent days. The Ministry of Health reported 3,709 new cases in the last day, bringing the total to 69,102. The death toll is at 718.
India resumes domestic flights despite record spike in new cases
Domestic flights will resume across India on Monday, the federal civil aviation minister has said, despite a 24-hour record increase in new cases on Sunday. The announcement follows a day of “hard negotiations”, the minister said, after some states sought to limit the number of flights.
South Africa announces further easing of lockdown
South Africa will further relax coronavirus lockdown restrictions from 1 June, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced, allowing large areas of the economy to fully reopen. “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.