|

"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 19th May 2020

News Highlights

Schools reopen in France, despite worries of new infections

France has recorded 70 cases of Covid-19 across the 40,000 primary schools reopened since May 11. However, EU education ministers said that the reopening of schools in 22 European countries has not led to a significant increase in infections among children, parents or staff.

Cafes, churches open in Italy and football restarts in Germany

German football champions Bayern Munich played and won their first match in more than two months on Sunday. The match was played in an empty stadium. Meanwhile in Italy, a handful of visitors queued up outside St Peter's Basilica for the first time since March 10.

Diners eat out in Hunan as pollution rises to pre lockdown levels in China

Air pollution levels in China have risen back above last year's levels, after dropping during the strict lockdown measures. People in Hunan are celebrating their freedom from lockdown by dining out, for the first time in many months, with some restaurants almost 70% occupied.

New Zealand: Children return to schools and PM turned away from restaurant

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealand children returned to school on Monday, after two months of home education. Meanwhile, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, and a group of friends, were turned away from a cafe because it had already reached its customer limit.

New lockdown restriction in some countries

About 108 million people in the Chinese province of Jilin were placed into lockdown on Monday, after roughly 34 new cases of coronavirus and one death. Five other countries have had to restart partial coronavirus lockdowns, weeks after loosening them, this includes: Germany, Iran, South Korea, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia.

Lockdown Exit
UK cities are awakening as lockdown is eased
alking and driving in the UK surged on Saturday, 16 May – the first weekend day since the government eased lockdown restrictions, new data show. The new rules, combined with warm spring weather, saw movement rates rise to 60 per cent of pre-Covid-19 levels on Saturday, 16 May. That compares to nearer 30 per cent towards the end of March. Numbers have been edging up in recent weeks, with the Bank Holiday weekend between 8 May and 10 May showing an increase in walking in particular, ahead of the lockdown restrictions being partially lifted.
Coronavirus: Ireland begins first phase of easing lockdown rules
The Republic of Ireland is beginning the first phase of relaxing its Covid-19 restrictions. Some construction firms will return to work and garden centres and hardware stores can reopen. Tom Parlon, the director general of the Construction Industry Federation, estimates that about 30,000 builders - a fifth of the industry's workforce - will return to work. Social distancing will be observed on site and travelling to and from work. "Remaining two metres apart will be a big challenge," he said. "But builders will be using masks and shields to protect themselves."
Coronavirus: Commuters shun trains as they return to work after easing of lockdown
Commuters returning to work for the first time after Boris Johnson eased lockdown restrictions shunned train services despite rail firms adding extra carriages to help preserve social distancing. Network Rail, which manages Britain’s 20 busiest stations, said passenger numbers on Monday morning were “very similar” to last week, when they were around 93 percent below average.
Churches, beaches and restaurants in Italy open their doors as tough lockdown rules eased
The cornerstones of Italian life have opened their doors after three months of lockdown as the government's tough restrictions were cautiously lifted. Restaurants, bars, shops, church, museums, hairdressers and beaches reopened on Monday as life outside the home slowly returned to an altered normal in one of Europe’s hardest hit countries. Some churches welcomed worshippers to Mass as the second phase of the lockdown allowed the faithful to attend religious ceremonies.
Restaurants, bars and churches reopen in Italy with Saint Peter's Basilica even taking visitors again
Once the worst-hit country in the world, Italy will take its latest step in a cautious, gradual return to normality, allowing businesses and churches to reopen after a two-month lockdown. Saint Peter’s Basilica also throws its doors open to visitors today. In the face of much opposition, including from Pope Francis, churches in Rome were shuttered at the beginning of the coronavirus emergency in early March. Most, however, opened shortly thereafter, with entry reserved for prayer only. “I share the joy of those communities who can finally reunite as liturgical assemblies, a sign of hope for all society,” Pope Francis said yesterday during his live-streamed prayer.
Coronavirus: Italy reopens restaurants, cafes and hairdressers after 10-week lockdown
Shops, bars, cafes and restaurants have reopened in Italy, after more than two months of nationwide lockdown measures. Customers can again sip their morning cappuccino at their favourite bar after restrictions were eased on Monday, providing they stick to COVID-19 social distancing rules. "I haven't worked for two-and-a-half months. It's a beautiful, exciting day," said Valentino Casanova, a barman working in Rome's central Piazza del Popolo.
Global report: Italy reopens cafes as Spain prepares for return of tourists
A handful of visitors, including nuns, queued up outside St Peter’s for the first time since 10 March. Police officers wearing face masks checked temperatures before allowing them to enter. Masses in churches across Rome also resumed. Worshippers sat apart on disinfected pews. In Venice gondoliers wearing face masks ferried passengers along the Grand Canal, while mothers with small children sat in cafes overlooking the Rialto. Clients in Milan got their hair done, while local markets in the city of Salerno reopened. The prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, described the ending of national curbs as a “calculated risk”. Italy was the first European country to go into full lockdown, more than two months ago. It is now returning to a semi-normality, after nearly 32,000 deaths. Its economy has shrunk by 10%.
France records 70 cases of Covid-19 in schools since lifting lockdown
70 cases of Covid-19 have been reported in the 40,000 ‘maternelle’ and primary schools re-opened in France since 11 May. But this will not affect the gradual return to junior schools which resumes on Monday. In an interview with RTL radio, France's Education minister confirmed that several schools had been forced to close their doors since 11 May in Mayenne, Cantal, Haute-Garonne and Nice. These closures "show that we are strict," said Blanquer, who added that these cases "occured almost every time outside of school."
Coronavirus: People playing football and sunbathing in groups can still be fined despite lockdown relaxation, police say
People playing football or spending time with friends in parks will still be fined for breaking coronavirus laws, police have warned as another warm weekend begins. Officials are appealing for people not to flood to beaches and beauty spots to enjoy the weather following the relaxation of lockdown restrictions in England.
Schools reopening has not triggered rise in Covid-19 cases, EU ministers told
The reopening of schools in 22 European countries has not led to any significant increase in coronavirus infections among children, parents or staff, a videoconference meeting of education ministers from around the EU has heard. With a debate raging in the UK over the risks of allowing children back into the classroom, some member states are planning summer lessons to aid pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Ireland cautiously begins to lift virus lockdown
Ireland took the first tentative steps to ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions Monday, with outdoor workers returning to their jobs, some shops reopening and sports facilities unlocking their doors. The modest tweaks to the restrictions in place since March 28 start a staggered process that is set to last until August. "I'm both pleased and nervous," Health Minister Simon Harris told state broadcaster RTE. "I'm pleased that we've gotten to this point because of the incredible efforts of the Irish people in suppressing this virus."
'Yellow vest' protests restart on first weekend France loosens its lockdown
Although France has relaxed some rules as it moves into 'phase 1' of lifting lockdown, gatherings of more than 10 people in public places are still banned. Police broke up gatherings of around 50 protesters in Bordeaux and Paris and groups of 300 in Lyon and 350 in Montpellier. A female protester was injured in Montpellier. In Toulouse, shopkeepers held a counter protest, accusing 'yellow vests' of endangering public health and damaging the first weekend of trade for many businesses in two months
Europeans savour lockdown easing but elsewhere virus cases surge
German football champions Bayern Munich played and won their first match in more than two months on Sunday as Spain and Britain recorded their lowest daily coronavirus death tolls since March, but the pandemic continued its devastation elsewhere. With a worldwide virus death toll above 314,000 and the global economy reeling from the vast damage caused by lockdowns, numerous European countries are lifting restrictions to provide much-needed respite for their beleaguered and impatient populations. But the virus is still surging in Brazil, which saw its number of deaths soar past 15,000 with more than 230,000 infections, making it the country with the fourth-highest number of cases.
Traffic jams, dining out, reopened schools — China resumes ‘normal life’ after lockdown
While some people still have concerns about dining out, others have no such qualms. “We’ve been staying at home far too long,” said Tom Long, a businessman in the southern province of Hunan who’s started regularly eating out now life’s returning to normal. It seems big restaurants are as much as 70% occupied, while hawker centers are full, Long said by phone.
9 Shanghai residents on life after lockdown
In one of China's most populated city restrictions are being eased, people are back at work, and stores and nightclubs have reopened — but life is still very different.
China sees post-lockdown rise in air pollution
China's levels of some air pollutants have risen back to above last year's levels after dropping when the government imposed strict lockdown measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic, according to a study published on Monday. The rebound was likely due to industrial activity, the researchers said, adding there were concerns that after months of unusually low pollution levels, a drive to kickstart economic activity was causing emissions to spike. "There are early warning signs that China's recovery from the COVID-19 crisis is reversing air quality gains," the Helsinki-based Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA), which produced the study, said.
Japan's economy falls into recession as virus takes its toll
Japan has fallen into recession for the first time since 2015 as the financial toll of the coronavirus continues to escalate. The world's third biggest economy shrank at an annual pace of 3.4% in the first three months of 2020. The coronavirus is wreaking havoc on the global economy with an estimated cost of up to $8.8tn (£7.1tn).
Good news for Australians hoping to get back to the gym as lockdowns are eased
Fitness fanatics were back in the gym today in some parts of Australia. Others stuck to outdoor training bootcamps after restrictions were eased. But many embattled businesses across the country are still unsure of their future. The NT, WA, SA, QLD and Tasmania have all given given dates for opening. But those in NSW, ACT and Victoria don't know when they'll open their doors
Joy, tears and nerves as students return to class around New Zealand
Students across New Zealand have flocked to classes for the first time in nearly two months. In a day filled with hugs, tears, excitement and trepidation, schools reopened on Monday as part of the move to lockdown level 2. While classrooms have been open to younger children if needed since level 3, attendance levels have been low, with the vast majority opting to keep learning from home
New Zealand braces for spike in child abuse reports as Covid-19 lockdown eases
Head of children’s welfare agency says toll could start to emerge after lockdown created ‘perfect storm’ of stress for struggling families
Covid-19 coronavirus: Kiwis head back to office and school after months in lockdown
For the first time in nearly two months thousands of New Zealanders are swapping their slippers for shoes today as we enter our first full week of level 2. And with the mass return of Kiwis to offices and schools, the Prime Minister has confirmed the number of people allowed to attend church gatherings could also increase in the next two weeks. New Zealand is again the focus of headlines across the globe, with the Washington Post reporting how the country "quashed Covid in 49 days".
Back to school for New Zealand kids after COVID-19 lockdown
Hundreds of thousands of New Zealand children returned to school on Monday (May 18) after two months of home education as part of a COVID-19 lockdown. Excited youngsters greeted classmates for the first time in eight weeks, while teachers reinforced messages about social distancing and hand-washing to combat the coronavirus. Education Minister Chris Hipkins said the return to a noisy, bustling environment would be a "culture shock" after a challenging period for both children and parents. "Our message is it's safe to send kids back to school, we want kids back at school and catching up with any learning that they've lost during the lockdown," he told reporters.
'Still fearful': Wuhan struggles to recover after coronavirus lockdown
The economic impact of the Covid-19 outbreak is only beginning to be felt by the city where the disease first emerged. The effects are being felt by everyone from farmers to kindergarten workers, and even working for the local government may no longer offer any security
New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern turned away from cafe under virus lockdown rules
In New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern was denied entry to a cafe because of her own social distancing rules. Ardern, her fiance Clarke Gayford and a group of friends were turned away from a cafe in Wellington on Saturday because it had already reached its customer limit. “I have to take responsibility for this, I didn’t get organised and book anywhere,” Gayford tweeted in response to another diner, who had spotted the couple being turned away. As New Zealand eases out of its coronavirus lockdown, cafes were allowed to reopen on Thursday, but must maintain social distancing between tables and customers must remain seated.
Migrants will rebuild the UK economy post-lockdown
As the economy struggles under the strain of a partially lifted lockdown, and as politicians try to navigate a way back to some form of normality, one thing is certain: migrants will play a crucial role in the rebuilding process. We always do. The UK offers so much for us, and we offer so much in return. Many come from poor backgrounds and from parts of the world where opportunities are limited. We drive innovation and economic development.
Exit Strategies
When will shops reopen? UK coronavirus lockdown plan for opening non-essential stores - and what the current rules say
Boris Johnson set out the government’s lockdown exit plan in a speech to the nation on Sunday (10 May), unveiling plans to begin to reopen some shops and getting the economy restarted. The UK entered lockdown on 23 March, with non-essential businesses temporarily closing their doors, including most retail outlets. The closure of shops during lockdown has had a significant impact on the retail industry, with clothing outlets Oasis and Warehouse closing permanently, resulting in the loss of 1,800 jobs.
Coronavirus: Garden and recycling centre centres reopen as NI lockdown plan debated
Garden centres and recycling centres in NI can reopen from today, as part of the first steps to ease lockdown. Marriage ceremonies where a person is terminally ill are also allowed. Last week, the executive published a five-phase blueprint for lifting restrictions but it did not include a timeframe. Ministers have been meeting to decide whether the latest scientific advice means other restrictions can be lifted.
Put Army on Scotland-England border to stop lockdown trips, says councillor
“The Scottish police force don’t have the capacity to stop every car that is crossing the Border. I personally would put the Army on the Border and get them to stop people. “It will get worse and I can see it getting steadily worse in Oban and if it’s the case in Oban, it’s the case across the Highlands and islands.” He added that there was a noticeable increase in the number people who were not local appearing in the area and said: “I have seen people in what are reported to be holiday homes, different people in different weeks. There are still people getting here one way or another and sitting in holiday homes.
Fast in, first out: Denmark leads lockdown exit
Four weeks after Denmark began easing its lockdown, Danes on Monday returned to cafes and restaurants, confident that the coronavirus outbreak is under control. Denmark last month became the first country in Europe to reopen schools,
Which European countries are easing travel restrictions?
As several European countries reopen restaurants, bars, shops and some attractions, we round up lockdown easing measures and travel restrictions country-by-country
Italy prepares to ease lockdown restrictions
Manfredi Catella, CEO of COIMA, discusses the lifting of lockdown measures in Italy.
Coronavirus latest: Italy moves to lift travel restrictions as lockdown eases
The decision is a huge step in the country's efforts to kick-start its economy following two months of lockdown inactivity. Shops and restaurants are set to reopen on Monday providing that social distancing measures are adhered to. Religious services across faiths will also be allowed to go ahead from Monday. Worshippers will be asked to wear facemasks, as well as to adhere to social distancing restrictions.
Spain and Italy Ease Lockdown Restrictions
Spain and Italy, two of the hardest-hit European countries, eased coronavirus restrictions by opening shops and restaurants with new social distancing measures.
Spain aims to reopen borders to tourism in late June
Tourism-dependent Spain aims to reopen its borders around the end of June as its coronavirus lockdown fully unwinds, a minister said on Monday, while deaths fell below 100 for the second day in a row. Madrid last week surprised its European Union partners by imposing a two-week quarantine on all overseas travellers and effectively keeping its borders closed, saying it wanted to avoid a second wave of COVID-19. But the move was meant to be temporary and Transport Minister Jose Luis Abalos said it would be phased out in parallel with travel being allowed within Spain.
Lockdowns eased across Europe as UK, Italy and Spain record significant falls in daily death tolls
Lockdowns across Europe are being eased, as the UK, Italy and Spain recorded a significant drop in their daily Covid-19 death tolls over the weekend. On Monday, beaches, restaurants and bars will reopen in Italy, which was the first country in Europe to implement a national lockdown. The easing of restrictions comes after Italy recorded its lowest daily death toll since its lockdown started in early March, with 145 people dying from coronavirus in the 24 hours up to Sunday.
Coronavirus: European countries further relax restrictions
Italy and Spain are among a number of European countries further easing their coronavirus lockdown restrictions on Monday. Most businesses in Italy, including bars and hairdressers, are reopening after more than two months of nationwide lockdown measures. Spain meanwhile has slightly eased restrictions on some of its least affected islands. The measures follow consistent drops in the number of daily recorded deaths. On Sunday, Italy recorded the fewest daily deaths since it entered lockdown in March.
Coronavirus: Don't book your holiday to France yet, as confusion over quarantine continues
The government then said there was no exemption for France and that talks were ongoing to negotiate how the border crossing would work to ensure the spread of COVID-19 is contained. Now, Oliver Dowden, secretary of state for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, has said details of any quarantine between the UK and France are not yet confirmed. The Times has reported that lorry drivers travelling between the two countries could be among those who would be exempt from a two-week self-isolation period.
ANALYSIS: The nervous wait to see if France got its lockdown strategy right
It was a couple of days before life started to look something like normal - perhaps too normal. There were reports on Sunday of crowds on beaches or river-banks all over France. In my tiny village in Normandy, I saw three large groups of walkers pass my house - three more than on a pre-virus Sunday. Who can blame them? Should we blame them? We will soon know. Confusing and contradictory figures exist but it appears to take three to five days - and up to 14 days - for the first symptoms of Covid-19 appear.
Scotland aims to ease lockdown on 28 May
Coronavirus lockdown measures in Scotland could begin to be lifted from 28 May, Nicola Sturgeon has announced. The first minister said this would mean people could meet someone from another household as long as social distancing is maintained. More outdoor activities and sports like golf and fishing will also be allowed. Ms Sturgeon also announced that coronavirus testing will be extended to everyone in Scotland over the age of five who is displaying symptoms.
Coronavirus in the UK: Restaurants could sell food outdoors in next lockdown phase
Restaurants and pubs could be allowed to sell food and drink outdoors within the next few weeks as part of the next steps in easing the lockdown. The Government has now hired more than 17,000 contact tracers who will help to stop future outbreaks by identifying those who may have been infected with coronavirus. Ministers say the tracing system will be in place by the end of this month, potentially allowing further lockdown measures to be lifted.
NSW to unveil post-lockdown congestion management plan
The New South Wales government is set to unveil a plan today to manage the influx of people returning to work and school as the state moves out of lockdown. Premier Gladys Berejiklian has expressed concern over an increased use of roads and public transport, with more people likely to choose personal modes of transport to avoid being in close proximity to people on buses and trains. The plan to mitigate the added congestion would include new pop-up car parks, implementing social distancing on public transport and adding an extra cycling lane on some roads.
Expert says 4 key differences between US, Australia COVID-19 strategy
After months of lockdown, countries around the world are beginning to ease the lockdown restrictions put in place to curb the coronavirus' spread. Some Australian states and territories have begun to loosen their coronavirus restrictions, which were implemented early on in the country's outbreak. The country's overall number of coronavirus cases per day has been largely decreasing since early April. The US is also eager to reopen its economy, and several US states have begun to loosen lockdown measures. But as a whole, the country is still seeing huge spikes in its number of cases, and experts say some states are yet to reach their peak. Dr. Lesley Russell, who advised both the US and Australian governments on health policy, told Insider how Australia managed to get ahead of the virus while the US continues to lag behind.
Australia’s coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions explained: how far can you travel, and can I visit my family or friends?
Politicians have said these rules are simple, but it is clear the public still has a lot of questions about coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions. In most states enforcement is left up to police officers’ discretion, therefore it is difficult to provide exact information on what is or isn’t allowed. Here we try to answer some of the most common questions people have about the new laws based on the information, though these answers should not be treated as legal advice. An asterisk indicates Guardian Australia has sought clarification from the state or territory government and will update when it is received.
This is where Australians can travel during coronavirus lockdown
Over the past several weeks, Australia has successfully flattened the curve, making it one of just a handful of countries ready to start easing restrictions designed to stop the spread of coronavirus. But with NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk in a war of words over when state borders should reopen, it is clear not every leader is ready for life to return to some semblance of normal. All over the country, there have been strict quarantines enforced with few, if any, exemptions. Here's a rundown of what to expect in each state and territory.
New Zealand to roll out 'digital diary' app to help people track movements
New Zealand will launch a contact-tracing app on Wednesday to help people track their movements as the country eases one of the world's most rigid lockdowns designed to slow the spread of COVID-19. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the app can be best described as a 'digital diary' helping people to record their personal movements, adding the data would not be shared to anyone else besides the user. "It's just in case in the future if you find yourself with COVID-19, you've got an easy reference to tell where you've been over a period of time," Ardern said during a media briefing in Wellington. "It's for you, it's on your device, and it's your data and your information." New Zealand slightly eased curbs in late April and moved to 'level 2' in its scale of alert last week, allowing cafes, shops, restaurants and other public spaces including playgrounds to reopen under strict social distancing rules.
Coronavirus: Could London be allowed to ease its lockdown restrictions before the rest of UK?
Research suggesting the UK’s coronavirus infection rate varies significantly in different regions in England has sparked speculation over whether the government could lift lockdown restrictions at different times across the country. A study by Public Health England and the University of Cambridge‘s MRC Biostatic Unit found the rate of Covid-19 infections (R value) in England was on average 0.75 overall, but varied in different regions. This was most clear in London, which had an average R value of 0.4 ⁠— meaning for every 10 people who become infected with the virus, four other people will become infected.
Partisan Exits
China's Xi announces $2B for coronavirus response as WHO faces calls for investigation
Tensions surrounding the global handling of the coronavirus pandemic came to a head at the World Health Organization's assembly Monday, with China pledging an extra $2 billion to deal with the crisis and the United States blaming the WHO for a failed response that "cost many lives." Speaking by video link, Chinese President Xi Jinping told the 73rd World Health Assembly that his country's funding package would aid "economic and social development" in developing countries hit badly by COVID-19.
China supports review of global response to pandemic, as calls for inquiry grow
China's President Xi Jinping has said his country will support a review of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic after it is brought under control. Speaking via video-conference at the start of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) annual assembly, Mr Xi also said his country would provide £1.6 billion over two years to help with the response to the pandemic. His comments come amid calls for an independent inquiry into the origins of the pandemic - led by Australia - while in the US President Donald Trump has accused the WHO of helping China to "cover up" the extent of the initial Covid-19 outbreak.
US lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests
Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states, and even crossing into neighboring ones. The data, provided to the Guardian by the progressive campaign group the Committee to Protect Medicare, raises the prospect that the protests will play a role in spreading the coronavirus epidemic to areas which have, so far, experienced relatively few infections. The anonymized location data was captured from opt-in cellphone apps, and data scientists at the firm VoteMap used it to determine the movements of devices present at protests in late April and early May in five states: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Colorado and Florida.
New clashes with police as anti-lockdown protests erupt across Europe
Thousands of people across Europe took to the streets to oppose their governments’ lockdown measures amid the pandemic. From London to Berlin and Warsaw, demonstrators clashed with police, who made several arrests, including that of Piers Corbyn, the brother of ex-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. In Italy, hospitality workers protested in front of the Pantheon in Rome, claiming the safety measures required by the government will hinder their recovery efforts. .
Jair Bolsonaro joins anti-lockdown protest as Brazil overtakes Spain and Italy in confirmed coronavirus cases
A day after the country passed Spain and Italy to have the world's fourth-largest COVID-19 outbreak, Mr Bolsonaro did push-ups with paratroopers and flouted social-distancing measures to pose for photos with children. The rally came two days after the country's second health minister resigned within a month after contradicting the President's response to the outbreak. Brazil's confirmed COVID-19 cases have exceeded 230,000, behind only the United States, Russia and the UK, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Lockdown protests may have spread virus widely, cellphone data suggests
Cellphone location data suggests that demonstrators at anti-lockdown protests – some of which have been connected with Covid-19 cases – are often traveling hundreds of miles to events, returning to all parts of their states,
With cases still rising, why is Vladimir Putin pushing Russia out of its COVID lockdown?
Vladimir Putin has liberated his nation from its six-week coronavirus lockdown, but many Russians appear unsure what that means or if it's even prudent to exercise their newfound freedoms given that the country likely hasn't hit a peak in infections. "I don't know what to think," Christa Ivanovo told CBC on her way to the grocery store in Moscow, her one-year-old in tow. "If the rest of the world is under strict isolation … it makes sense we should [continue], too." Out of an abundance of caution, Ivanovo plans to maintain the self-isolation regime Muscovites have been living under for the past month and a half. I'm waiting to see what happens next week."
Coronavirus update: Brazil's President flouts social-distancing advice, Deputy CMO weighs into war of words over borders
The mayor of Brazil's largest city has urged residents to stop flouting coronavirus lockdown rules with Sao Paulo's public hospital system reaching 90 per cent capacity, as the country's President ignored social-distancing advice to pluck kids out of a crowd of supporters in Brasilia.
Coronavirus update: Boris Johnson admits public frustration with new 'complex' restrictions
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has admitted there is public frustration with his government's measures to ease the coronavirus lockdown following widespread criticism of the new rules, which have been lashed for being confusing and containing mixed messages. Meanwhile, Australia's milling companies have switched to 24-hour operations and add new staff to keep up with the demand that saw supermarket shelves around the country stripped of all flour.
More anti-lockdown protests seen in Germany as coronavirus fatigue spreads in Europe
A number of protests against the government’s coronavirus policy and restrictive measures took place in various Germany cities, including Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart, on Saturday. Lockdown fatigue has grown in Europe despite the gradual easing of restrictions.
Continued Lockdown
India extends lockdown to May 31, to relax rules in some areas
India on Sunday extended a nationwide lockdown to May 31, as cases exceeded 90,000 and further clashes erupted between police and stranded migrants. Schools, malls and other public places will remain mostly closed, though rules will be relaxed in areas with low numbers of cases, according to an order from the interior ministry. "New guidelines have permitted considerable relaxations in lockdown restrictions," the ministry said in a tweet accompanying the order. Large gatherings are still prohibited, but outside of containment zones with high numbers of active cases "all other activities will be permitted", it said, potentially allowing commerce and industry to reopen across much of the country.
UK on brink of mental health crisis because of lockdown
The UK could be on the brink of a mental health crisis as millions of Brits suffer the effects of lockdown. Studies and surveys are already showing the pandemic’s impact on mental health globally. Psychologists say children are anxious and increases in cases of depression have been recorded in several countries. Domestic violence is also rising, while health workers are reporting an increased need for psychological support
UK benefits ban leaves migrants struggling for food during lockdown
When Shabana Aslam’s husband, Irfan, was made redundant from his marketing job at a multinational entertainment company last month as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, the loss of the main household income left her wondering how the family would eat. The decision by Mr Aslam’s employer not to put him on to the UK’s job retention scheme meant the family’s monthly take-home pay fell 75 per cent, leaving the couple and their 11- and 13-year-old daughters to rely on Ms Aslam’s £1,300 monthly income as a teaching assistant. But rent alone comes to £1,400 a month and the couple are barred from claiming state benefits.
India extends lockdown as it surpasses China for most COVID-19 cases in Asia
India has extended a two-month-old lockdown by two weeks after reporting nearly 5000 new coronavirus cases but says restrictions could be eased in low-risk areas to boost economic activity.
India extends lockdown to May 31
The Indian government has extended its nationwide lockdown to May 31. But it now allows states to ease restrictions and reopen some businesses in areas with low numbers of infections. The federal government announced the two-week extension on Sunday, the day the lockdown was to end. The move came as the country recently recorded about 4,000 new infections per day. The cumulative figure has surpassed 90,000.
India forced to extend lockdown for another fortnight as case numbers surge
While announcing lockdown 4, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said it would come in a "completely different form", with new rules. "Corona will be with us for a long time but our lives cannot revolve around it. We will wear masks, we will follow the six-foot distance, but we won't let it derail our targets," Modi said. Lockdown curbs were loosened further in many parts of the country. In many cities, restaurants were allowed to operate takeaway services, while sports complexes and stadiums could host events without spectators, the home affairs ministry said. The fourth phase of the lockdown in India will start from May 18 and last till May 31.
India extends COVID-19 lockdown after surge in cases
India on Sunday extended its nearly 2-month-old lockdown by two weeks after reporting nearly 5,000 new coronavirus cases, but said restrictions could be eased in low-risk areas to boost economic activity. After surpassing China on Saturday, India now has the most confirmed virus cases in Asia, with nearly 91,000. New Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and some other key regions are still battling to control the rising curve of coronavirus infections. But the Home Ministry said low-risk areas will be allowed to restore economic activity.
Scientific Viewpoint
Vaccine could train body to fight coronavirus, say scientists
A vaccine could train the immune system to fight coronavirus, according to US scientists. Neutralising antibodies have been found in the first eight people who took part in safety trials for the experimental mRNA-1273 vaccine. The drug, being tested by firm Moderna, injects a small sample of Covid-19’s genetic code into patients.
WHO special envoy for Covid-19 says proper 'test, track and trace and isolate strategy' system needed in UK to 'reduce lockdown'
A senior doctor in the World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that "test, track and trace and isolate strategy" is key for the UK to emerge from the Covid-19 lockdown. Dr David Nabarro, special envoy for the director-general of the WHO for the Covid-19 pandemic, said that being able to properly identify and track cases of Covid-19 is key to easing restrictions.
Coronavirus Resurgence
108 Million People in China Put Into Lockdown After 34 New Coronavirus Cases Detected
The Chinese province of Jilin has placed about 108 million people into lockdown on Monday after roughly 34 new cases of coronavirus and one death were identified in the region over the past few weeks, according to a new report from Bloomberg News. The new lockdown demonstrates widespread fear in China of witnessing another uncontrollable outbreak like the one in Wuhan that set off the global covid-19 pandemic in December 2019.
Chaos as eight schools in French city forced to close after child catches coronavirus
The schools in Roubaix, northern France, closed on Monday after a child caught Covid-19, just one week after schools reopened across the country, with 70 cases confirmed at other schools
Covid 19 coronavirus: Australia closes 12 McDonald's restaurants
Twelve Australian McDonald's restaurants have been closed for deep cleaning after a delivery truck driver contracted coronavirus. It comes after seven new cases of the virus were recorded in Victoria on Sunday and one new case in NSW.
Alarm as Germany uncovers another abattoir cluster after easing coronavirus lockdown
Germany has uncovered another cluster of coronavirus infections at a slaughterhouse, fuelling alarm about working conditions in the country's meat packing plants. A total of 92 employees at the Westfleisch slaughterhouse in Lower Saxony state have tested positive, local authorities in Osnabrueck district announced late Sunday (May 17). The plant has been closed until further notice and staff have been placed in quarantine, joining a string of German slaughterhouses that have suffered similar outbreaks.
Coronavirus flare-ups force France to re-close some schools
Just one week after a third of French schoolchildren went back to school in an easing ofthe coronavirus lockdown, there's been a worrying flareup of about 70 COVID-19 cases linked to schools. Some schools were opened last week and a further 150,000 junior high students went back to the classroom Monday as further restrictions were loosened by the government. The move initially spelled relief: the end of homeschooling for many hundreds of thousands of exhausted French parents, many whom were also working from home.
Coronavirus: France reports 70 new COVID-19 cases linked to schools one week after reopening
There have been 70 new cases of COVID-19 linked to schools in France just one week after they reopened. The spike in coronavirus cases came just days after a third of French children returned to school as the country eased its coronavirus lockdown. Boris Johnson has outlined plans for schools in England to reopen from 1 June, with Downing Street saying on Monday a decision on whether to go ahead will be taken this week. The government claims four-year-olds are capable of social distancing, but it is fighting a war of words with teachers, parents and doctors who say it is “too risky” to let children return to schools.
China tightens lockdown measures on north-eastern cities after discovering new coronavirus clusters as officials arrange mass-testing to prevent a second wave
Chinese officials enforced more restrictions on Shulan, a city of 600,000 people. Shulan has been under lockdown since May 9 after reporting an infection cluster. The city of Jilin with 4.5 million residents sealed off one of its districts yesterday. The cities of Jilin and Shulan are located in the same northwestern province Jilin. Over 40,000 local citizens were screened for COVID-19 to avoid a second wave
Coronavirus: Fresh outbreak continues to spread despite hundreds of Chinese villages being placed under lockdown
A fresh outbreak of coronavirus in northeastern China is continuing to spread despite lockdowns being imposed on hundreds of villages and multiple cities. A trickle of new cases in Jilin province had initially been attributed to Chinese nationals returning from across the Russian border, largely centred in Shulan city, where a partial lockdown was swiftly imposed on 600,000 residents last weekend. But by Saturday, the province had reported a total of 125 locally transmitted cases, including two deaths, state media reported. Some 28 patients are still in hospital, 95 have been discharged and nearly 1,000 close contacts are under observation.
Coronavirus Victoria: Villa Maria aged care in lockdown over inconclusive diagnosis
A Melbourne aged care facility has gone into lockdown after a resident returned an inconclusive test result for coronavirus. The Villa Maria Catholic Homes (VMCH) Bundoora resident was taken to hospital with a body temperature of 39 degrees at the weekend. "As this is a symptom of COVID-19, the resident was tested, with the initial test results being inconclusive (neither negative nor positive)," a VMCH spokeswoman said in a statement.
New Lockdown
Over 100 Million in China’s Northeast Thrown Back Under Lockdown
Some 108 million people in China’s northeast region are being plunged back under lockdown conditions as a new and growing cluster of infections causes a backslide in the nation’s return to normal.
Countries that imposed lockdown again as coronavirus cases spiked
At least six countries have had to restart their coronavirus lockdowns weeks after loosening them. China, Germany, Iran, South Korea, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia all reimposed partial new measures after discovering a spike in infections. The renewed lockdowns are often limited to various districts where the virus has spiked, or limited to particular aspects such as travel restrictions or a curfew. The decision to ease lockdown measures may not have been dictated solely by public health: many of these six countries have been under political or economic pressure to reopen.