Spanish lawmakers vote to extend the state of emergency for the sixth time as cases surpass 240,300.
Mosques have reopened for daily prayers in the Gaza Strip. The besieged enclave has recorded 61 confirmed infection cases, and one death during the health crisis.
Sweden’s top epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has said there was room for improvement in the country’s controversial softer approach to curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
More than 6.4 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 381,000 people have died, including some 106,000 in the US. More than 2.7 million have recovered from the disease.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, June 3
23:12 GMT – Mexican glass maker Vitro to shut two U.S. plants due to coronavirus
Mexican glass producer Vitro has announced that it will shut two plants in the United States before the end of the year after the effects of the novel coronavirus pandemic hit demand from the automotive sector.
The two plants are in Evansville, Indiana, and Evart, Michigan, Vitro said in a statement to the Mexican stock exchange. Clients would not be affected, the firm added.
“The decision to permanently close all operations in these plants came because of the need to deal with the excess capacity caused by the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the automotive industry,” Vitro said.
20:50 GMT – Germany approves 130 bln euro coronavirus stimulus package
Chancellor Angela Merkel said her conservatives and their Social Democrat coalition partners have agreed on a stimulus package worth 130 billion euros that is designed to speed up Germany’s economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
The coalition partners resolved differences on incentives to buy new cars and relief for highly indebted municipalities, paving the way for a fiscal programme that is substantially bigger than similar packages by Germany’s euro zone partners.
20:30 GMT – Democrats’ bid to immediately pass coronavirus small business bill stalls in US Senate
US Republican Senator Ron Johnson on Wednesday stopped an attempt by Democrats to immediately pass a bill giving small businesses more flexibility in using new federal loans during the coronavirus pandemic.
Johnson said the legislation, which overwhelmingly passed the House of Representatives on May 28, possibly could be passed later on Wednesday or on Thursday pending closed-door negotiations that were continuing.
19:35 GMT – UK business minister tested after feeling unwell: BBC
British business minister Alok Sharma has been tested for coronavirus and is self-isolating after feeling unwell in parliament, the BBC has reported, citing a spokesman.
Britain’s lower house of parliament reopened to legislators on Tuesday after the government ended measures allowing them to vote remotely, forcing them to stand in long queues to vote on replacement measures.
19:25 GMT – WHO set to resume hydroxychloroquine trial in battle against COVID-19
The WHO will resume its trial of hydroxychloroquine for potential use against the coronavirus, its chief has said, after those running the study briefly stopped giving it to new patients over health concerns.
The UN agency last month paused the part of its large study of treatments against COVID-19 in which newly enrolled patients were getting the anti-malarial drug to treat COVID-19 due to fears it increased death rates and irregular heartbeats.
But the WHO’s director-general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said its experts had advised the continuation of all trials including hydroxychloroquine, whose highest-profile backer for use against the coronavirus is US President Donald Trump.
19:05 GMT – Trump administration selects five vaccine candidates as finalists: Report
The Trump administration has selected five companies, including Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca Plc and Pfizer Inc, as the most likely candidates to produce a vaccine for the novel coronavirus, the New York Times has reported, citing senior officials.
The other two companies are Johnson & Johnson and Merck & Co Inc, according to the paper. The selected companies will get access to additional government funds, help in running clinical trials, and financial and logistical support, the paper reported.
There is no approved vaccine for COVID-19 caused by the new coronavirus, and drugmakers as well as research organisations are racing to develop a vaccine.
18:40 GMT – Turkey not planning keeping weekend stay-at-home order
Turkey’s health minister has said his team would not recommend extending a weekend stay-at-home order nearly two months after it was imposed as the government continues to ease coronavirus containment measures.
Turkey has rolled out a series of measures against the outbreak since April 11, including weekend lockdowns, closure of shops and restaurants, intercity travel restrictions and more.
Speaking after a meeting with his coronavirus science team, Koca said the lockdown rule, due to expire on June 6, could be reimposed in certain provinces depending on the infection rate.
18:12 GMT – France death toll passes 29,000
France’s death toll has risen by 81 or 0.3 percent, to reach 29,021, which is the fifth-highest death toll in the world.
The rate of increase has decreased compared to Tuesday, when fatalities were up 0.4 percent, and the number of people hospitalised has continued its long-running decline, the health ministry said in a statement.
18:05 GMT – Dutch study: children are not big spreaders
A study by the Netherlands’ National Institute for Health (RIVM) has concluded that children under the age of 12 play little role in transmitting the new coronavirus.
The study in the country’s leading medical journal Nederlands Tijdschrift Voor Geneeskunde followed the progress of the disease in 54 families, including 227 people in all.
Studies in other countries have previously found that children are less often infected by the virus and, once infected, less often become seriously ill.
“Yes, children can become infected, but transmission takes place primarily between adults of similar age, and from adults to children,” the study said in its conclusion.
17:46 GMT – Mexico’s death toll could surpass 30,000: deputy health minister
Mexico’s death toll may reach 30,000, a senior health official has said in a newspaper interview, while suggesting fatalities could be even higher if social distancing measures were relaxed too fast.
With 10,637 deaths registered so far, Mexico has the seventh-highest coronavirus death toll in the world.
Hugo Lopez-Gatell, an epidemiologist, said the pandemic is “not yet (tamed), neither in Mexico nor in the world” and urged local governments and citizens to stick to social distancing.
“It is a range between 6,000 to 30,000, with an average of 12,500,” Lopez-Gatell told the El Universal newspaper in an interview, while cautioning that the death range would not hold if local governments opened up bars or businesses too quickly.
17:43 GMT – Spain extends emergency until June 21
Spanish lawmakers have voted to extend the state of emergency a final time through to June 21.
It is the sixth time the measure has been renewed, meaning the restrictions will remain in force, although they have been eased since the start of the lockdown in mid-March.
17:28 GMT – Qatar announces easing of coronavirus restrictions
Starting June 4, people can exercise outdoors without wearing a mask, and up to four people can be in the same vehicle.
Read more here.
17:16 GMT – UK’s Johnson tells EU workers to come back but to quarantine
Workers from the EU who left Britain while the lockdown shut much of the economy should come back, but must quarantine like other travellers, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
“What I’d say to our Italian friends, Italians who’ve been living and working in the UK who now want to come back, I say come back,” Johnson said at a daily news conference in answer to an Italian journalist who asked about the impact of quarantine plans on EU workers.
“You’ve got to quarantine… but we want you back.”
17:13 GMT – Italy will receive 20 billion euros from EU job insurance plan
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has said Italy would receive some 20 billion euros ($22.47bn) from a new European scheme to mitigate the impact on jobs caused by the epidemic.
Conte added at a news conference that Italy would also benefit from funds made available by the European Investment Bank, as part of a wider EU package designed to boost the bloc’s economic recovery.
Novel coronavirus losing potency, top Italian doctor says
Coronavirus: Travel restrictions, border shutdowns by country
Which countries have made wearing face masks compulsory?
16:12 GMT – Italy records 71 more deaths, 321 new cases
Coronavirus-related deaths in Italy has climbed by 71, compared with 55 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases was roughly stable at 321 versus 318 on Tuesday.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 33,601, the agency said, the third-highest in the world after the US and the UK.
There are 233,836 confirmed cases, the sixth-highest global tally behind the US, Brazil, Russia, Spain and the UK.
15:55 GMT – Afghanistan testing just 20 percent of suspected cases
Afghanistan is testing only about 20 percent of its daily suspected coronavirus cases, officials and experts have said, as infections surpassed 17,000 on Wednesday.
“The health ministry is really concerned about the spread of the virus,” Deputy Health Minister Waheed Majroh told reporters.
“Unfortunately, the number of cases nationwide is more than what we record daily. We have capacity to conduct up to 2,000 tests a day, but the demand is way more.”
15:44 GMT – UK doctors to trial ibuprofen in patients with breathing difficulties
UK doctors are trialling a formulation of anti-inflammatory ibuprofen to see if it reduces respiratory failure in patients with severe symptoms of COVID-19.
The trial involves a particular formulation of ibuprofen, which researchers said had been shown to be more effective than standard ibuprofen for treating severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), a complication of COVID-19.
The formulation is already licensed for use in the UK for other conditions.
15:36 GMT – Spain reports first new COVID-19 death since Sunday, total at 27,128
Spain has reported its first death from the coronavirus since Sunday, health ministry data has showed, bringing the country’s total death toll to 27,128.
Confirmed cases of COVID-19 increased by 219 from the previous day to 240,326, according to the ministry.
15:17 GMT – UK death toll rises by 359 to 39,728
The UK’s coronavirus death toll has risen by 359 to 39,728, the government has said.
15:14 GMT – Deaths in Canada rise to 7,414
Canada’s coronavirus death toll has risen to 7,414 from 7,344 a day earlier, according to official data.
14:56 GMT – Belgium to reopen businesses on June 8, borders on June 15
Belgium will allow almost all businesses to reopen on June 8, including cafes and bars, following its lockdown to combat the coronavirus, the country’s prime minister has said, although social distancing measures will remain.
Belgium will reopen its borders on June 15. However, cultural activities will continue without any public until July 1, when cinemas and other cultural spaces can open with a maximum of 200 people, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes told a news conference.
Hi, this is Mersiha Gadzo in Doha, taking over the live updates from my colleague Elizabeth Melimopoulos.
13:00 GMT – Saudi Arabia records 30 new deaths, 2,171 new infections
Deaths from the coronavirus pandemic in Saudi Arabia has climbed by 30, the Ministry of Health has reported, while it registered 2,171 new infections.
The total death toll stands at 579, with 91,182 confirmed cases.
12:40 GMT – UN accuses Asian nations of censorship during pandemic
The United Nations rights chief Michelle Bachelet has warned that China and other Asian countries are using the coronavirus crisis as an excuse to clamp down on free expression and to tighten censorship.
The UN rights office said it had received information on “more than a dozen cases of medical professionals, academics and ordinary citizens who appear to have been detained, and in some instances charged, for publishing their views or other information on the situation related to COVID-19”, or for being critical of the government’s response to the crisis.
12:10 GMT – Japanese sportsmen test positive for COVID-19
Two Japanese baseball players and a striker in the J League have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, their clubs have announced, in a major blow for professional sport attempting to restart in the country.
Football team Nagoya Grampus announced that forward Mu Kanazaki tested positive for the virus, less than a week after the J League announced plans to restart the campaign on July 4, albeit without fans in stadiums, and as many clubs returned to full training.
Later on Wednesday, the Tokyo-based Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB) team Yomiuri Giants announced that two players, shortstop Hayato Sakamoto and catcher Takumi Oshiro, had also tested positive.
Global sports face ‘unprecedented’ test amid coronavirus outbreak
Coronavirus: What sporting events are affected by the pandemic?
‘Playful escape’: How sport is tackling coronavirus pandemic
11:55 GMT – UK PM Johnson says quarantine vital to prevent COVID-19 reinfection
Quarantine measures the UK plans to introduce for almost all international travellers from June 8 are vital to ensure the country’s rate of COVID-19 infection does not increase again, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.
Asked by a lawmaker in Parliament why the UK was introducing the steps now, just as many other countries are lifting quarantine rules, Johnson said: “As we get the rate of infection down, with the efforts that we are making as a country, it is vital that we avoid reinfection.”
11:30 GMT – Mosques and nursery schools reopen in Gaza
Mosques have reopened for daily prayers and children returned to nursery schools in an easing of coronavirus restrictions in the Gaza Strip.
The enclave, whose borders are tightly controlled by Israel and Egypt, has recorded 61 confirmed infection cases, all in quarantine facilities, and one death during the health crisis.
Two million Palestinians live in Gaza.
‘I feel lost’: Palestinians stranded abroad urge for repatriation
Palestinian Authority rejects UAE aid sent via Israeli airport
Gaza reports first COVID-19 death amid outbreak fears
11:15 GMT – Novavax partners with contract drugmaker for vaccine manufacturing
US biotech firm Novavax Inc has entered into a deal with contract drugmaker AGC Biologics to manufacture its experimental COVID-19 vaccine.
An add-on component of Novavax’s vaccine that could help enhance the immune response against the coronavirus would be manufactured by privately held AGC Biologics, the contract drugmaker said.
11:00 GMT – Spain seeks to open up to some foreign tourism from June 22
Spain is working to gradually open up to tourists from countries considered more secure in the fight against COVID-19 from June 22, a tourism ministry spokesman has said.
Madrid has previously set July 1 as the date to reopen its borders to tourism, which accounts for some 12 percent of the country’s economy, after a months-long shutdown due to the pandemic.
Separately, Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya tweeted that Germany would lift a recommendation to its nationals to avoid travelling to Spain as soon as the country lifts restrictions on travel from abroad.
10:30 GMT – Austria to scrap controls at all land borders except Italy
Austria is lifting all coronavirus-related border restrictions including quarantines for new arrivals from all of its neighbouring countries except Italy as of Thursday, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg has said.
“We will lift all the coronavirus-related border and health checks in relation to seven bordering countries – those are Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary.
“We are thereby returning to the pre-corona situation regarding these countries,” he told in a news conference.
10:15 GMT – Putin declines UK invitation for coronavirus summit: Kremlin
Russian President Vladimir Putin does not plan to take part in an online summit on a possible coronavirus vaccine being organised by the British government this week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov has said.
Putin received an invitation to take part in the summit from British Prime Minister Boris Johnson last week, the Kremlin had said.
Scheduled to take place on June 4, the Global Vaccine Summit 2020 is designed to mobilise resources needed to ensure universal availability of the vaccine against the novel coronavirus.
10:00 GMT – Sweden should have done more to combat coronavirus, health chief says
Sweden should have done more to combat the coronavirus and prevent a much higher national COVID-19 death rate than in neighbouring countries, the man behind the Public Health Agency’s pandemic strategy has said.
Nearly 4,500 Swedes have died in the outbreak, a higher mortality rate than in Denmark, Norway and Finland, and criticism has been growing over the government’s decision not to impose lockdown measures as strictly as elsewhere in Europe.
“If we were to run into the same disease, knowing exactly what we know about it today, I think we would end up doing something in between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world has done,” Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at the Public Health Agency, said
“Yes, I think we could have done better in what we did in Sweden, clearly.”
09:30 GMT – Germany to lift travel ban for EU, Schengen countries and UK
Germany will lift a travel ban for European Union member states along with the UK, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland from June 15 as long as there are no entry bans or large-scale lockdowns in those countries, the foreign minister has said.
Speaking to reporters, Heiko Maas said all countries concerned met those criteria except Norway due to an entry ban, and Spain, where he said parliament was deciding whether to extend an entry ban.
09:00 GMT – US embassy declines UAE offer to test staff for COVID-19: FT
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has offered the US embassy hundreds of tests to screen embassy staff, but the gesture was “politely declined”, due to privacy concerns, the Financial Times reported.
According to a US official, the offer raised a “red flag” due to the involvement of Chinese firms and technology.
The UAE testing facility opened in late March by a joint venture between Chinese genomics company BGI and artificial intelligence group G42, which has links to the Abu Dhabi ruling family.
08:45 GMT – Air Arabia lays off more staff due to COVID-19 impact
Air Arabia, the only listed carrier in the UAE, has made further job cuts due to the business impact of COVID-19, a spokesman has said.
The Sharjah-based airline, which has about 2,000 employees, did not say how many employees had been affected. It laid off 57 employees in May.
The latest job cuts were a “last alternative” after the airline took a series of steps in past months to protect jobs, the spokesman said without elaborating.
08:30 GMT – Coronavirus pushes up German unemployment
The coronavirus pandemic has contributed to another rise in unemployment in Germany in May.
Some 169,000 people were added to the jobless list between April and May, with the total number of unemployed now at 2.8 million, according to official figures.
08:15 GMT – Russia’s coronavirus case tally passes 430,000
Russia has reported 8,536 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing its nationwide tally to 432,277, the third-highest in the world.
The death toll reached 5,215 after the authorities said they had recorded another 178 deaths from the virus in the past day.
08:00 GMT – Kyrgyzstan to resume domestic flights, allow Chinese charter flights
Kyrgyzstan will resume domestic flights and bus service between its provinces and allow charter flights from China this month to bring in staff for numerous Chinese investment projects, the government in Bishkek said.
Kyrgyzstan will also resume domestic flights and public transit between its provinces from June 5.
Employees of Chinese companies will be tested for novel coronavirus before and after the flights, Deputy Prime Minister Erkin Asrandiyev said.
07:45 GMT – NZ sport set for fans boost with end to COVID-19 curbs in sight
Professional sport in New Zealand could welcome fans back to stadiums as early as next week with the government set to decide whether to lift all social distancing restrictions imposed to due the COVID-19 pandemic.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern will decide on Monday whether the country is ready to bring its alert system down to level 1, which would lift limits on mass gatherings that were imposed to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
That would open the door for fans to attend the opening round matches of New Zealand’s “Super Rugby Aotearoa” tournament starting on June 13.
07:30 GMT – Myanmar court denies bail to Canadian preacher who defied virus ban
A Myanmar court has denied bail to a Canadian Christian preacher who held church services in defiance of a ban on gatherings to prevent the spread of the coronavirus that led to infections in dozens of people including himself.
David Lah, a Canadian of Burmese origin, and another man, Myanmar national Wai Tun, are facing up to three years in prison under a disaster management law over church services held in the city of Yangon in early April.
07:15 GMT – Lufthansa reports net loss of $2.3bn
German airline giant Lufthansa has said it will undergo “far-reaching” restructuring as it posted a first-quarter net loss of 2.1 billion euros ($2.3bn), hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.
“Global air traffic has come to a virtual standstill in recent months. This has impacted our quarterly results to an unprecedented extent.
“In view of the very slow recovery in demand, we must now take far-reaching restructuring measures to counteract this,” Chief Executive Carsten Spohr said in a statement.
07:00 GMT – Italy reopens to tourists from Europe
Italy has reopened to travellers from Europe, three months after the country went into coronavirus lockdown, with all hopes pinned on reviving the key tourism industry as the summer season begins.
Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by the coronavirus and has officially reported more than 33,000 deaths. It imposed an economically crippling lockdown in early March and has since seen its contagion numbers drop off dramatically.
06:45 GMT – Study shows coronavirus antibodies in 5.5 percent of Dutch blood donors
A study of Dutch blood donors has found that about 5.5 percent of them have developed antibodies against the new coronavirus, blood donation firm Sanquin revealed.
The study, conducted among 7,000 donors between May 10 and 20, gives an indication of what percentage of the Dutch population may have already had the disease.
A similar study in April showed antibodies in 3 percent of Dutch blood donors.
06:30 GMT – Pakistan provincial minister dies from coronavirus
Ghulam Murtaza Baloch, the Sindh provincial minister for human settlement in Pakistan, has died after contracting the novel coronavirus.
Cases in the South Asian country have been spiking as the government has lifted restrictions on public gatherings and businesses.
On Tuesday, the country saw its highest single-day spike in cases for the second consecutive day, with 4,065 new cases taking the country’s tally to 80,463.
06:15 GMT – India’s coronavirus cases cross 200,000
India’s coronavirus infections have crossed 200,000, the health ministry said, and a peak could still be weeks away in the world’s second-most populous country.
Cases jumped by 8,909 over the previous day in one of the highest single-day spikes, taking the tally to 207,615. Six other nations, from the United States to the United Kingdom and Brazil, have a higher caseload.
India to ease coronavirus lockdown despite record new cases
India now world’s No 7 in coronavirus cases as lockdown eases
A toddler trying to wake up dead mother shocks Indians
Hi, this is Elizabeth Melimopoulos in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
I’ll be handing over the blog to my colleagues in Doha shortly. Before I go, a quick recap of what happened over the past few hours. Brazil has reported a record number of coronavirus deaths for a single day; overall, it has the fourth-highest number of deaths in the world with little sign the outbreak is easing.
There have also been a couple of interesting developments in scientific studies – The Lancet is conducting an audit of the supporting data in a recent study on the controversial drug hydroxychloroquine, while scientists whose funding was pulled by the US have published the preliminary findings on bats and coronaviruses.
And in today’s “positive” news, it looks like New Zealand could lift the last of its coronavirus restrictions as early as next week. That means a return to normal life although New Zealanders still will not be able to travel overseas because borders will remain closed.
05:10 GMT – Recession alert: Australian economy shrank in the first quarter
Australia’s economy shrank in the first three months of 2020, setting the country up for its first technical recession in 30 years.
Official data shows the economy contracted 0.3 percent in the three months ended March 31, compared with the last three months of 2019, the first decline in nine years.
Read more on that story from our AJ Impact team here.
04:20 GMT – Mumbai braces for cyclone as coronavirus cases top 200,000
At least 100,000 people, including coronavirus patients, have been moved out of the path of Cyclone Nisarga, which is threatening India’s west coast and the city of Mumbai.
The cyclone is expected to make landfall on Wednesday afternoon, just south of Mumbai, which has not been hit by a cyclone in 70 years.
The Health Ministry said the number of coronavirus cases in the country has exceeded 200,000 with a rise of 8,909 cases in a single day.
“We are very far away from the peak,” said Dr Nivedita Gupta of the Indian Council of Medical Research.
01:05 GMT – Bolivia feels coronavirus strain as cases exceed 10,000
Authorities in Bolivia are making door-to-door checks in regions with severe coronavirus outbreaks to try and stem the spread.
The landlocked country registered its first cases on March 10, and until May 21 had reached 5,000 cases. That number has since doubled, government data shows.
More on that story here.
00:00 GMT – Brazil sets another daily record for coronavirus deaths
Some 1,262 people in Brazil died from coronavirus in the 24 hours to Tuesday evening, the country’s Health Ministry said.
It is another daily record for the South American country where the outbreak shows no sign of slowing down.
Brazil also confirmed 28,936 additional infections, bringing the total cases to 555,383. A total of 31,199 people in Brazil have died from coronavirus.
COVID-19 began in the country’s wealthy neighbourhoods and large cities where there were links with international travellers, but it is now making its way to poorer and more isolated areas to devastating effect. You can read more on that here.
23:30 GMT (June 2) – The Lancet raises new questions about hydroxychloroquine study
The Lancet has commissioned an independent audit of the data behind a study it published last month that found hydroxychloroquine increased the risk of death in COVID-19 patients.
The May 22 study was based on data provided by healthcare analytics firm Surgisphere and not a traditional clinical trial that would have compared hydroxychloroquine to a placebo or other medicine.
The editors of the British medical journal said serious scientific questions had been brought to their attention.
Several clinical trials into the use of the drug, including one by the WHO, were suspended after the paper was published. Hydroxychloroquine is usually prescribed for illnesses such as malaria or lupus, but has been trumpeted as a COVID-19 treatment by US President Donald Trump and other right-wing leaders.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the updates from yesterday (June 1) here.
Source: Read Full Article