China reports no cases on mainland for 22 May as US president says worship ‘essential’ and Muslims worldwide prepare for Eid
- Trump orders governors to allow places of worship to reopen | US news
- Man in his 60s died in Victoria taking Australia’s Covid-19 death toll to 102
- Hydroxychloroquine: Trump’s ‘cure’ increases deaths, global study finds
- Coronavirus latest: at a glance
Hallo this is Paul MacInnes, sitting in for Damien while he takes a deserved break.
A “car demo” called by the far-right Vox party in Spain to protest against the government’s handling of the pandemic led to some streets in Madrid and other cities filling with honking vehicles, Sam Jones reports from the Spanish capital.
Vox, the third largest party in the Spanish parliament, wants the Socialist-led coalition government to resign and it urged people to get in their cars and create caravans of stationary vehicles. In order to limit possible infections, participants were told to stay in their cars and wear the mandatory face masks.
The only things that the state of emergency limits its people’s freedom of movement and reunion.
Very often, some of the shouts you hear during these demonstrations are contradictory because people are out protesting. Some people shout ‘freedom’ when they’re actually exercising the right to criticise things and protest. But you can’t mix up freedom with the freedom to infect people.
Bangladesh has reported its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases after 1,873 more people tested positive for the virus in the past 24 hours.
The south Asian country, which is still cleaning up after its worst cyclone in nearly two decades this week, now has a total 32,078 confirmed cases. Twenty more deaths over the past 24 hours took its total toll from Covid-19 to 452.
France has announced it will bring in a “reciprocal” 14-day quarantine for all visitors from the UK on the same day the UK imposes quarantine on all those coming into the country from abroad, writes Kim Willsher, the Guardian’s Paris correspondent.
However, unlike in Britain, visitors will be asked to voluntarily self-quarantine at home. The French measure appears to be a tit-for-tat political move by Paris after the UK quarantine decision was announced without any apparent consultation.
#quarantine « Les voyageurs en provenance du , quelle que soit leur nationalité, seront invités à effectuer une quatorzaine lorsque la mesure britannique de quatorzaine, annoncée ce soir, entrera en vigueur.» #quarantaine #COVIDー19 pic.twitter.com/U1ualAAK5q
Kenya is to take out a €188m (£165m) loan from the African Development Bank to support its efforts to contain its coronavirus pandemic, the bank reported on Saturday.
Poorer countries around the world are being forced to take on huge amounts of debt to finance their efforts against the spread of Covid-19. The AfDB said the money would help Kenya to “strengthen the national health system to effectively respond to the pandemic, build economic resilience and ensure quick recovery,” as well as support poorer people.
We are very pleased to join other development partners in supporting the government of Kenya’s efforts in mitigating the financial impact of the pandemic, especially in terms of the country’s expenditure in the health, social and economic sectors. The next step will focus on helping build resilience for post Covid-19.
We have recorded 31 new cases of coronavirus, the tally now at 1192; President Uhuru Kenyatta.#KomeshaCorona update.
The Philippines has reported 180 more cases of coronavirus, and six more deaths.
In a bulletin, the health ministry said total infections have risen to 13,777 and the death toll had reached 863. Eighty-five more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 3,177.
Updates from @DOHgovph this 23 May:
There are 180 people newly confirmed with #COVID19PH, bringing the total confirmed cases in the Philippines to 13,777.
85 additional people with COVID-19 have recovered. The total recoveries are 3,177 so far. pic.twitter.com/pjpCVFrlEd
Splits are already emerging in plans for the post-lockdown economic recovery in Europe.
Four EU countries calling themselves the “frugal four” presented their own proposals on Saturday, AFP reports. Restating their rejection of any jointly issued debt instruments, Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden said they wanted help for badly affected countries to take the form of one-off loans, according to a proposal published by the office of the Austrian chancellor, Sebastian Kurz.
The deputy health minister in Afghanistan survived an assassination attempt on Saturday as the country recorded its worst day yet in the coronavirus crisis while war rages on with full intensity, Akhtar Mohammad Makoii reports for the Guardian from Herat.
Wahid Majroh escaped unharmed when armed men opened fire on his vehicle as he was on the way back to Kabul early on Saturday. He has been spending most of his time visiting medical centres and briefing the media on coronavirus since the crisis began.
The 102-year-old car rental firm Hertz has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after its business all but vanished during the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reports.
Hertz said in a US court filing on Friday that it had voluntarily filed for Chapter 11 reorganisation. Its international operating regions including Europe, Australia and New Zealand were not included in the US proceedings.
The 54 countries of the African Union were reporting a total of 103,933 cases of coronavirus on Saturday morning, according the Africa Centres for Disease Control.
So far African nations have reported 3,183 deaths from Covid-19, and 41,473 people have recovered since the virus was first detected on the continent 14 weeks ago.
#COVID19 update in Africa (As of 23 May 2020, 9 am East Africa Time)
54 @_AfricanUnion Member States reporting 103,933 cases, 3,183 deaths, and 41,473 recoveries.
More information at https://t.co/vEZ4eupedf#COVID19 #FactsNotFear #AfricaResponds pic.twitter.com/GlqVUAqYT5
Case numbers have not grown at the same exponential rate as in other regions and so far Africa has not experienced the high mortality seen in some parts of the world. Today, there are 3,100 confirmed deaths on the continent.
By comparison, when cases reached 100,000 in the World Health Organization (WHO) European region, deaths stood at more than 4,900. Early analysis by WHO suggests that Africa’s lower mortality rate may be the result of demography and other possible factors. Africa is the youngest continent demographically, with more than 60% of the population under the age of 25. Older adults have a significantly increased risk of developing a severe illness. In Europe nearly 95% of deaths occurred in those older than 60 years.
Now that countries are starting to ease their confinement measures, there is a possibility that cases could increase significantly, and it is critical that governments remain vigilant and ready to adjust measures in line with epidemiological data and proper risk assessment.
Russia said on Saturday that 9,434 new cases of the novel coronavirus had been reported in the last 24 hours, pushing its nationwide tally to 335,882, according to Reuters.
The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre reported 139 more deaths, after a record of 150 deaths the day before, bringing the death toll to 3,388.
Singapore has reported 642 more coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 31,068, Reuters reports.
The vast majority of the newly infected people are migrant workers living in dormitories, the health ministry said in a statement. Six are permanent residents.
Here are the headlines from the UK papers this morning:
Hi, this is Damien Gayle taking over the world news blog now, for the next eight or so hours, bringing you all the latest developments in the global coronavirus outbreak.
As ever, I am keen to hear your comments, tips and suggestions for coverage of news around the world. If you want to get in touch drop me a line either via email to email@example.com, or via Twitter direct message to @damiengayle.
Here is a rundown of some of the biggest events from the last few hours:
China has betrayed the people of Hong Kong so the west should stop kowtowing to Beijing for an illusory great pot of gold, says Chris Patten, the last governor of the former British colony.
“The Hong Kong people have been betrayed by China,” Patten was quoted as saying by the Times newspaper. Britain has a “moral, economic and legal” duty to stand up for Hong Kong, he said.
Moscow doctors have described their ordeal as the city is overwhelmed with Covid-19 cases.
“Frankly speaking, I just want to be in silence for a couple of days. I would like to go somewhere in the mountains where there is no cell phone signal, so I can sit quietly and have some air,” the intensive care physician Dr Osman Osmanov told the Associated Press at the end of yet another long shift at the epicentre of Russia’s coronavirus outbreak.
Still on the UK for a moment, Dave Penman, the general secretary of the FDA, the union that represents senior civil servants, says Boris Johnson must explain reports that his chief aide, Dominic Cummings, broke lockdown rules.
The comments come after the chief adviser was accused of travelling 260 miles during the lockdown.
The Dorset police and crime commissioner, Martin Underhill, has urged UK residents not to travel to Dorset, in the south of England, over the weekend after their beaches were clogged with tourists on Friday. He spoke to BBC radio today:
Yesterday was the busiest day for our police in nine weeks. It was a normal Friday …
As the numbers increase the chances of socially distancing are reducing. And, of course, the issue of Dorset is that some of our beauty spots, the zigzag at Bournemouth beach going down to the beach, you can’t socially distance trying to get to the beach, and therefore we’re saying think twice, and please use common sense when you come to us, if you are going to come, is what you’re doing safe and is it fair.
The United Kingdom has drawn up plans to require employers to cover 20% to 30% of furloughed employees’ wages from August to reduce the burden of the coronavirus crisis on government finances, the Times newspaper has reported.
The UK on 12 May extended its job retention scheme – the centrepiece of its attempts to cushion the coronavirus hit to the economy – by four months but told employers they would have to help to meet its huge cost from August.
Australia continues to ease restrictions in some states as case numbers there remain in single digits.
The New South Wales government has flagged the “imminent” reopening of gyms and beauty salons as the state prepares over the next two weeks for a landmark easing of Covid-19 lockdowns.
Some news from the plane that crashed into homes in Pakistan’s port city of Karachi on Friday afternoon.
One of the two survivors has described his escape from the burning plane after it came down during a second attempt at a landing.
Hello, Matilda Boseley here, I’ll be taking over from Melissa Davey and guiding you through all the important news from across the globe for the coming hours.
We have published a breakdown of the latest events from the past 12 hours or so.
There have now been 5,213,483 confirmed cases and 338,225 deaths globally, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University.
On Saturday Thailand reported three new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing the country’s total to 3,040 confirmed cases and 56 dead since the outbreak started in January.
The new cases are two Thai nationals recently returned from overseas and under quarantine and a 49-year-old Italian man living in Phuket, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government’s coronavirus task force.
Australians are being invited to record their coronavirus experiences for future generations in a new campaign by the country’s postal service. Australia Post says it’s important to mark this moment in the nation’s history as the past few months have had an extraordinary impact on families, communities and our way of life.
It’s created a “national letterbox” for people to write describing how the Covid-19 pandemic affected them. The project is in conjunction with the National Archives, which will keep some of the Dear Australia letters for posterity.
Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing politicians have sought to allay worries about the impact of China’s proposed national security legislation on the Asian financial hub’s business environment, saying it would boost investor sentiment, Reuters reports.
The legislation aims to tackle secession, subversion, terrorism and foreign interference and could see mainland intelligence agencies set up bases in Hong Kong, raising fears of direct law enforcement. The US said the legislation would end the Chinese-ruled city’s autonomy and would be bad for both its and China’s economies.
The Tasmanian premier, Peter Gutwein, has added to calls for the Australian government to extend the jobkeeper payment scheme in which eligible employers, sole traders and other entities can apply to receive $1,500 for each eligible employee a fortnight.
It follows revelations that there have been reporting errors relating to the scheme. Rather than costing the federal budget $130bn, that figure has been slashed to $70bn. The government was also forced to downgrade its forecast that 6.5m employees would be assisted, down to 3.5m employees.
Germany has reported an increase of 638 cases, taking its total to 177,850. An additional 42 deaths have been recorded, taking the death toll there to 8,216.
Boris Johnson has been forced to cave into to Conservative backbench rebels opposed to the presence of Huawei in 5G networks and has drawn up plans to reduce the Chinese company’s involvement to zero by 2023, Dan Sabbah reports:
The UK prime minister’s retreat is designed to stave off what could have been an embarrassing defeat when his existing proposal to reduce Huawei to a 35% market share was to be voted on in the Commons.
The US is preparing to add 33 Chinese firms and institutions to an economic blacklist for alleged ties to China’s military or persecution of Uighurs.
Seven companies and two institutions were listed for being “complicit in human rights violations and abuses committed in China’s campaign of repression, mass arbitrary detention, forced labour and high-technology surveillance against Uighurs” and others, the commerce department said. Two dozen other companies, government institutions and commercial organisations were added for supporting procurement of items for use by the Chinese military, it also said.
The coronavirus crisis has forced Greece to take rapid steps to computerise its lumbering civil service and belatedly introduce e-governance in one of the EU’s worst digital laggards, experts say.
After recording its first coronavirus death on 12 March, Athens took unprecedented measures totally at odds with its previous love affair with paperwork and red tape. Diomidis Spinellis, head of the department of management science and technology at the Athens University of Economics, says the Covid-19 crisis “accelerated” Greece’s digital turn, although critics say the country has a long way to go.
Indonesians are turning to smugglers and bogus travel documents to get around bans on an annual end-of-Ramadan exodus that could send coronavirus cases skyrocketing in the world’s biggest Muslim majority nation, AFP reports.
Thousands are using any trick in the book to reach their home towns in time for celebrations at the end of Islam’s holy fasting month this weekend, a festival known as Eid al-Fitr.
To recap the latest news from around the world over the past few hours:
Earlier we reported that China recorded no new confirmed Covid-19 cases on the mainland for 22 May, the first time it had seen no daily rise since the pandemic began in the central city of Wuhan late last year.
It has seen a sharp fall in locally transmitted cases since March as major restrictions on people movement helped it to take control of the epidemic in many parts of the country. However, Reuters reports it has continued to see an influx of imported cases, mainly involving Chinese nationals returning from abroad, while new clusters of infections in the north-eastern border provinces of Jilin and Heilongjiang have emerged in recent weeks.
Australia’s death toll is now 102.
On Saturday, Victoria’s deputy chief health officer, Dr Annaliese van Diemen, said 10 new cases had been recorded in the state and that a man aged in his 60s had died in hospital; 19 people have died in Victoria, where there has been 1,602 cases.
The more than a century old car rental firm Hertz Global Holdings Inc has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US after its business all but vanished during the coronavirus pandemic and talks with creditors failed. Its international operating regions including Europe, Australia and New Zealand were not included in the US proceedings.
Reuters reports that the firm, whose largest shareholder is the billionaire investor Carl Icahn, is reeling from government orders restricting travel and requiring citizens to remain home. A large portion of Hertz’s revenue comes from car rentals at airports, which have all but evaporated as potential customers eschew plane travel.
The New South Wales health minister, Brad Hazzard, has just given an update in Sydney saying the state had three additional cases of the virus yesterday. That takes the state’s total to 3,086. Almost 9,000 were tested in the last recorded 24-hour period.
“I must say, as the health minister, I would love to see a lot more people coming forward,” he said. “That is absolutely essential as we move forward. As we try to relax the restrictions that we have lived under for the past two months, it is crucial, absolutely crucial, people come forward for testing if they have the slightest hint of any respiratory issues at all, a cough, a cold, temperature, whatever it may be.
In Australia the opposition leader, Anthony Albanese, said the government’s massive multibillion-dollar jobkeeper mistake raises questions over how it will manage the economic recovery coming out of the coronavirus pandemic.
The payment scheme is a temporary subsidy for businesses. Eligible employers, sole traders and other entities can apply to receive $1,500 for each eligible employee a fortnight.
The New York Times reports that the press secretary of the White House accidentally revealed Donald Trump’s private bank account and routing numbers. At a press conference on Friday Kayleigh McEnany announced Trump would donate his quarterly pay cheque to the health and human services department as it responds to Covid-19.
As she held up the $100,000 cheque, it was complete with the relevant banking details. An administration official told the New York Times mock cheques were never used in the briefing. We have cropped out those details in the image below.
Sydney’s lord mayor, Clover Moore, has been speaking to the ABC about how the city and its public transport will manage as office workers return to the CBD.
Moore said that unlike other Australian capitals such as Adelaide and Perth, where people are being encouraged to drive rather than take public transport, Sydney’s city centre is geographically constrained. The government and the council have been encouraging workers to ride to work, and temporary bike lanes will be installed, but Moore acknowledged there were limits to what can be done.
Science magazine has an interesting article by Gretchen Vogel which describes how Sweden wasted a rare opportunity to study coronavirus in schools.
Despite bucking a global trend by keeping primary schools open since Covid-19 emerged without any major adjustments to class size, lunch policies or recess rules, Swedish officials have not tracked infections among schoolchildren. This was even the case when large outbreaks led to the closure of individual schools or staff members died of the disease. Vogel writes:
Australia, Canada and the United Kingdom have issued a joint statement expressing deep concern at proposals from China for introducing legislation related to national security in Hong Kong that will impinge on civil liberties.
“Making such a law on Hong Kong’s behalf without the direct participation of its people, legislature or judiciary would clearly undermine the ‘one country, two systems’ principle under which Hong Kong is guaranteed a high degree of autonomy,” the statement says.
In Australia, thousands of people in Sydney have had their vehicles sanitised for free in a trial launched and funded by the state government in April. Point-to-point vehicles were eligible, including all taxis, ride share and hire vehicles.
The trial included disinfecting outside and inside door handles, boot handle, window controls, steering wheel, visors, centre console, gear stick, handbrake, grip handles, glove box, dashboard, seatbelts, seats, headrests, mobile phone holders, cup holders, fuel door, fuel cap meters, and payment equipment. It is not a car wash service. Spot cleaning in between sanitisation is also required by drivers.
Mexico has recorded another single-day record for Covid-19 deaths, with 62,527 total cases since the pandemic began. On Friday the health ministry said 479 more deaths had been recorded, along with 2,960 new infections.
The previous daily peak of 424 fatalities was reported by authorities on 20 May. There have been 6,989 deaths in total.
Argentina surged past the 10,000-mark of total coronavirus cases on Friday in a fourth record day of sharply rising numbers. Nearly all
are concentrated in the capital Buenos Aires and its surrounding Greater Buenos Aires area.
The Buenos Aires metropolitan area, with a population of 12m, reported 93% of Friday’s 718 new cases, bringing the
total so far to 10,649 reported cases across the country. The total
death count is now 433, with 17 deaths reported on Friday.
Chinese media are reporting no new cases of the virus were detected in China on Friday. There have been 4,638 deaths from the virus in that country.
As mentioned, the US president, Donald Trump, declared churches, mosques and synagogues “essential services” and threatened to override governors who refuse to reopen them this weekend – a power he does not possess.
The Guardian’s US reporter, David Smith, reports from Washington that Trump held a two-minute press conference without taking questions from media, declaring: “The governors need to do the right thing and allow these very important essential places of faith to open right now. For this weekend. If they don’t do it, I will override the governors. In America we need more prayer, not less.”
The president has called three prominent black journalists dumb in the last month alone. pic.twitter.com/XXUTeRL6XS
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. To recap the latest developments around the world: