China abandons GDP target amid ‘great uncertainty’; Trump pictured in mask for first time; Italy death toll could be 60% higher than assumed
- Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov ‘hospitalised with suspected Covid-19’
- UK coronavirus updates – live
- Coronavirus latest: at a glance
- See all our coronavirus coverage
Fighting has forced 660,000 people to flee their homes since the UN secretary general called for a global ceasefire to focus on handling the coronavirus pandemic, an NGO says.
On Thursday, Antonio Guterres, the UN secretary general reiterated his call for an end to fighting, which he first issued on 23 March. But the Norwegian Refugee Council said that the UN’s security council, comprised of its most-powerful member states, had failed to provide leadership for ceasefires, peace talks or protection of civilians during the pandemic.
While people are being displaced and killed, powerful members of the UN Security Council squabble like children in a sandbox.
World leaders must rise to the occasion and jointly push parties to cease their fire and unite in protecting all communities from Covid-19. Now is not the time for kindergarten politics.
Fifty more people have died from Covid-19 in Pakistan, the government reports, its third highest official daily death toll since the pandemic began, bringing the total number of deaths from the outbreak to 1,067.
According to the latest update, out of 16,387 tests carried out in the past 24 hours, 2,603 people tested positive for the coronavirus, taking the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 47,429. So far, 15,201 people have recovered.
The coronavirus is tearing through Native Hawaiian and other Pacific Islander communities in California, fanning longstanding health disparities and killing community members at a higher rate than any other racial group in the state, Mario Koran reports for the Guardian US from Oakland.
Data from California’s department of public health reveals that Pacific Islanders have contracted coronavirus at nearly twice the state’s overall rate. As of 17 May, they have died from the virus at a rate 2.6 times higher than the state population – the highest death rate of any racial or ethnic group.
Fifty-one people in Iran died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, as 2,311 more tested positive for the coronavirus, according to the health ministry.
In his daily update, Kianoush Jahanpour, the health ministry’s spokesman, said the total number of confirmed cases across the Islamic republic, scene of one of the earliest outbreaks outside China, had now reached 131,652, of whom 102,276 patients had subsequently been given the all-clear.
It would be hard to overstate the importance of developing a vaccine to Sars-CoV-2 – it’s seen as the fast track to a return to normal life, writes Ian Sample, the Guardian’s science editor. That’s why the health secretary, Matt Hancock, said the UK was “throwing everything at it”.
But while trials have been launched and manufacturing deals already signed – Oxford University is now recruiting 10,000 volunteers for the next phase of its research – ministers and their advisers have become noticeably more cautious in recent days.
Africa is approaching 100,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization’s regional office for the continent.
In its daily update on Twitter, the WHO African region office reported that there were over 99,400 cases across the continent, about 4,500 more than on Thursday.
Over 99,400 confirmed #COVID19 cases on the African continent – with more than 39,000 recoveries & 3,078 deaths. View country figures & more with the WHO African Region COVID-19 Dashboard: https://t.co/V0fkK8dYTg pic.twitter.com/46DZhvIegy
Tax revenues in Germany fell by a quarter last month, compared with a year earlier, as Europe’s largest economy faced its most severe recession since the second world war.
According to the finance ministry’s monthly report, published on Friday, the central government and the 16 federal states pulled in about 39bn euros in April, 25.3% less than the same month in 2019, Reuters reported.
Hi, this is Damien Gayle taking over the blog now, bringing you the latest in coronavirus-related news from around the world.
Here’s an outline of some of the key global coronavirus updates so far this morning.
The transmission of coronavirus is believed to be “already widespread” in Yemen, the UN has said.
Aid agencies have said the country is “really on the brink right now” and that its health system “has in effect collapsed” according to a spokesman.
Amazon is to hire 50,000 temporary workers in India to meet a surge in online shopping in the country amid a national coronavirus lockdown.
Although online outlets faced a massive disruption to operations in the first days of lockdown, an easing of restrictions has allowed many to resume business as usual.
The Afghan health minister asked the waring sides to don’t shelter inside medical centres as number of confirmed coronavirus cases has passed 9,000 and Kabul recorded its third worst day of the crisis straight.
Ferozuddin Feroz, the country’s health minister has asked the militant groups, Afghan government and international forces to don’t use medical centres as shelter.
In case you missed this earlier, here’s a video of Donald Trump telling reporters at a Michigan Ford plant on Thursday that he had worn a mask during part of a tour.
Cases of coronavirus in Singapore have surpassed 30,000 as the city-state continues to report hundreds of new infections in cramped migrant worker dormitories.
On Friday, the lowly-paid workers represented the vast majority of the 612 new cases. Total cases in Singapore, which has one of the highest daily infection rates in Asia, now stand at 30,426.
Pictures of Donald Trump wearing a face mask while on a visit in Michigan have emerged.
In a photo since published by both Sky News and NBC, the US president can be seen wearing a navy blue mask.
President Trump wears a mask during his tour of the Ford Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where ventilators, masks and other medical supplies are being manufactured. https://t.co/UCqBVUEuBZ
Russia has reported a record daily rise in coronavirus fatalities of 150 in the past 24 hours, taking the country’s nationwide death toll to 3,249.
The country’s coronavirus response centre also reported 8,894 new infections, bringing the total number of cases to 326,448.
The leader of New Zealand’s main opposition party has been ousted after opinion polls showed prime minister Jacinda Ardern’s soaring popularity over her handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
Simon Bridges was replaced by Todd Muller in an emergency caucus meeting of his centre-right National Party following a week of disastrous poll results.
More on China’s plans to impose national security legislation in Hong Kong. The chief executive of the global financial hub, Carrie Lam, has said the legislation would not affect its judicial independence or that of its legal entities.
Reuters has reported that Lam said Beijing’s intention was to tackle illegal activities that the government believed had damaged national security.
#JUSTIN #CarrieLam said HK gov will cooperate with Beijing to promulgate the national security law in Hong Kong, and HK gov still has the responsibility to complete local legislation of Article 23 of Basic Law. pic.twitter.com/86vbWNWdSA
India has reported 6,000 new cases of the coronavirus, the country’s biggest 24-hour rise since the pandemic began.
Figures on the new infections come as New Delhi eases the nationwide lockdown and some domestic flights resume.
Thailand is to maintain its state of emergency over the coronavirus until the end of June.
The country’s Covid-19 taskforce said on Friday that the measure would be kept in place to keep infections under control as the government prepares to ease restrictions further in early June.
Australia has almost halved the number of people it will support with its wage subsidy scheme during the pandemic.
The revision, which will save the government around $60bn (Australian dollars), comes as the Treasury said successful efforts to control the outbreak and errors on subsidy applications meant only 3.5 million people will need to be covered.
The impact on the public purse from the programme will not be as great as initially estimated,” Australian Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said in a statement.
Hong Kong activists have called for people to rise up against Beijing’s plans to impose national security legislation in the city, saying that the new laws could erode its freedoms through “force and fear”.
A proposed march at noon on Friday in the central financial district did not materialise after the online calls drew the attention of only a handful of activists and as riot police made their presence visible on the streets.
Bulgaria, which has started to ease its lockdown, has scrapped a ban on the entry of visitors from the European Union and Schengen visa zone countries, the health ministry said in a statement late on Thursday.
In mid-March European Union member Bulgaria banned entry to its territory to travellers from many countries in an attempt to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Here’s a brief look at some of the UK newspaper front pages.
The Guardian splashes on No 10’s u-turn on the surcharge on foreign National Health Service workers.
In case you missed this earlier, China has abandoned a GDP target for first time in decades the amid “great uncertainty” of virus.
Chinese premier Li Keqiang told the opening of the National People’s Congress in Beijing on Friday: “We have not set a specific target for economic growth this year. This is because our country will face some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment.”
Our global report today looks at the growing number of cases in the world’s fourth most populous nation, Indonesia.
Rebecca Ratcliffe writes:
If you are just joining the blog, here’s a summary of the key events so far:
Global infections have passed 5.1 million, deaths pass 332,000: Global cases stand at 5,102,573, with deaths reported at 332,924, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker. Deaths in the US, stand at 94,702. The UK’s death toll is 36,124, with 252,246 infections
South Korea reported has 20 more cases of the new coronavirus, as health authorities work to contain the cluster connected to Seoul nightclubs. South Korea has had a total of 11,142 infections and 264 deaths.
The war of words between China and the US has continued, with Chinese State media telling US senators who are pushing for sanctions in response to Beijing’s new national security laws for Hong Kong. The Global Times says the Chinese public is “outraged” by the senator’s calls, and will continue to “defend its sovereignty as HK has always been part of China”.
It’s hard to escape the escalating rhetoric between these two world superpowers on several fronts.
#US senators who are pushing for new sanctions in responding to #HK new national security law have outraged the Chinese public who vow to defend sovereignty as HK has been always part of China, and object to all forms of foreign intervention https://t.co/sOXdDu36Wz pic.twitter.com/Ig3RfKNuRB
Among those imagining a new world post-coronavirus is the technical director of the French secret service, who has said the DGSE wants to recruit geeks rather than budding young James Bonds.
After weeks of insisting the Washington DC area is not ready to end restrictions, the mayor, Muriel Bowser, has said the numbers are pointing to the start of a gradual reopening process at the end of the month.
Bowser has set Friday, 29 May, as a potential start date for phase 1 of the District of Columbia’s proposed three-phase reopening plan. That includes restaurants allowing outdoor seating, non-essential businesses offering curb-side pickup and hair salons and barbers operating by appointment at limited capacity.
While we’re on China, there have also been some significant announcements coming out of the Congress about Hong Kong.
China’s proposed new legislation for Hong Kong requires the territory to quickly finish enacting national security regulations under its mini-constitution, the Basic law, according to a draft of the legislation seen by Reuters.
Today might be the most chaotic day of work ever for doing China stuff and that is no small feat
More on the announcements coming out of China’s National People’s Congress. Ahead of the meeting, which is largely rubber-stamp parliament, China’s top leaders promised to step up stimulus to bolster the virus-ravaged economy amid rising worries that job losses could threaten social stability.
China’s key policy targets/goals for the year
A. No GDP target
B. Budget deficit at least 3.6% of GDP
C. CPI target of 3.5%
D. 1 Trlnyuan in special treasury bonds
E. Cut corporate fees/taxes by 2.5 trln yuan
E. Defense budget to rise 6.6%
China has taken the rare move of not setting an annual GDP target this year after the coronavirus battered the world’s second-largest economy and ravaged global growth, Premier Li Keqiang said on Friday.
It is the first time that China has not set target since the government began publishing such goals in 1990.
Tributes from former first families have rolled in after the death from Covid-19 of Wilson Jerman, a former White House butler who was a fixture in Washington under 11 presidents.
Jerman, who was 91, started working as a cleaner under Dwight Eisenhower and retired as an elevator operator during the presidency of Barack Obama.
Consumer prices in Japan fell for the first time in more than three years last month, official data shows, dragged down by the coronavirus pandemic and collapsing oil prices.
Core prices in April, excluding volatile fresh food, slipped 0.2%t from a year earlier, reversing a rise of 0.4 % in March, according to the internal affairs ministry.
Australia is seeking an exemption from a requirement that travellers arriving in the UK quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
The British government is planning a 14-day quarantine for most people arriving in the country in the coming weeks to try to prevent a second peak of the pandemic, with details to be finalised next month.
And on a serious note on President Trump, he has just tweeted that he has asked for all flags on federal buildings and national monuments to fly at half mast for the next three days, honouring victims of the virus.
I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus….
This isn’t normal behavior. The president is not well. https://t.co/MIle1KCscT
President Trump’s confusing statement today on his latest coronavirus test, has made it to Tiktok. The president said he had tested positively, in that he had tested negative.
First the President’s version…and then Sarah Cooper on Tiktok, whose videos lip-syncing Trump have been widely viewed.
Here is a quote from Trump:
“I tested very positively in another sense so— this morning. Yeah. I tested positively toward negative, right. So. I tested perfectly this morning. Meaning I tested negative.” pic.twitter.com/xA0DBUcfr9
I tested very positively pic.twitter.com/lp4fE2bbai
British PM, Boris Johnson, has instructed civil servants to make plans to end UK’s reliance on China for vital medical supplies and other strategic imports in light of the coronavirus outbreak, The Times newspaper reported on Friday.
Italy’s death toll from Covid-19 in March and April could be nearly 19,000 higher than the official figure of 32,000, the national social security agency said Thursday.
The Istituto Nazionale della Previdenza Sociale (INPS), the largest social security and welfare institute in Italy, said in a new study that the official death figures were not “reliable”.
Still in Russia and the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, was on Thursday reportedly being treated for coronavirus in Moscow according to Russian news agencies.
The 43-year-old calls himself the Kremlin’s “foot soldier” but is widely thought to enjoy carte blanche from Moscow, which turns a blind eye to heavy-handed tactics in his North Caucasus fiefdom in exchange for loyalty.
Russia’s industrial output fell by 6.6% in April compared to the previous year, dampened by the country’s coronavirus lockdown, the state statistics agency said Thursday.
Russia imposed a “non-working” period across the country at the end of April which “served as the decisive factor in lowering industrial output,” Rosstat said in a statement.
Still on Brazil, and President Jair Bolsonaro, a long-running advocate of malaria drug chloroquine to treat Covid-19, said on Thursday he knew there was no proof it works, but said there are cases in which it appears to have been successful, Reuters reports.
On Wednesday, Brazil’s health ministry issued new guidelines for the wider use of anti-malarial drugs in mild coronavirus cases, in defiance of public health experts warning of possible health risks.
Brazil has had another terrible day with coronavirus figures passing the 20,000 Covid-19 deaths, as the Guardian’s Latin America correspondent, Tom Philips, reports:
Brazil has just passed another grim coronavirus milestone, with more than 20,000 deaths from Covid-19 now officially confirmed here.
On Thursday evening Brazil’s health ministry announced a daily record of 1,188 deaths confirmed in the last 24 hours, taking the total number of officially recorded deaths to 20,047.
Brazil also confirmed another 18,508 infections, taking the total number to 310,087. That is the third highest number in the world, after the US and Russia.
It’s been another controversial day in the US for President Trump, who visited a Ford plant in the crucial battle state of Michigan.
Trump toured the Ford plant, which has been recast to produce ventilators and personal protective equipment, without wearing a face mask in front of TV cameras. This was despite Ford on Tuesday reiterating its policy that all visitors must wear them.
Trump starts his tour of Ford’s Rawsonville Plant with four executives in face masks. He isn’t wearing one. pic.twitter.com/GZm6FTdEcv
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s ongoing live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.
Donald Trump has promised that he is working on plans to allow churches to hold Sunday services again, and “you’re going to see something come out very soon”. He made his remarks at a Ford factory in Michigan, where he did not wear a mask, despite, the state’s attorney general writing an open letter to him yesterday saying the president had “not only a legal responsibility, but also a social and moral responsibility” to wear a mask during his tour. Trump has locked horns with Michigan’s Democratic governor Gretchen Whitmer, over the states lockdown rules and restrictions.