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"COVID-19 Lockdown Exit Analysis" 27th May 2020

News Highlights

U.S. stocks rise amidst ease in lockdown restrictions

U.S. stocks rallied to their highest levels since March 5th as countries around the world eased lockdowns and investors speculated that 'the worst had already passed.' The stocks of Merck & Co also rose as the company unveiled plans for a vaccine and Covid-19 treatment.

Spain: Malaga police santion hundreds for flouting lockdown restrictions

Police at Costa del Sol reported 457 people over the weekend for flouting lockdown restrictions and fined more than half of them for failing to wear masks or social distancing. Since the beginning of the lockdown, 8,636 people have been reported for breaching lockdown restrictions in Malaga

South Korea: 19 new coronavirus cases reported as children return to school

South Korea reported 19 new coronavirus cases just as more than 2 million children get ready to return to school. Most of the new cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan areas, where authorities are tracing transmissions that originated from a nightclub last week.

WHO suspends hydroxychloroquine trial over safety; UK authorises Remdesivir

The WHO announced that it was suspending the hydroxychloroquine arm of its 'Solidarity' trail after a study revealed higher mortality rates among Covid-19 patients who took the drug. Meanwhile, UK authorities have approved the use of the anti-viral drug Remdesivir, which has been used previously against Ebola, for select Covid-19 patients.

Lockdown Exit
'The price you pay': Sweden struggles with 'herd immunity' experiment
"I’d say it hasn’t worked out so well," said Dr. George Rutherford, professor of epidemiology at the University of California, San Francisco. "I think the mortality in Norway is something like ten-fold lower. That’s the real comparator." (Norway's 7-day rolling average death rate is less than .01 per 1 million people.) "If you let this go or don’t try very hard or go about it in somewhat of a more restrained way rather than we have here, this is the price you pay," Rutherford said. "Maybe it didn’t hurt businesses, but you have twice the mortality rate of the United States. All those people who died were part of families and they were citizens and part of the fabric of Swedish society. And now they’re gone because of a policy that hasn’t worked out quite the way they thought it would."
After The Health Crisis Comes Poverty, Italy Warns The World
Many Italians are now being forced to accept aid from criminal organizations who are capitalizing on the government's delays and those fearing to expose their involvement in undeclared work. The Mafia has been distributing food packages and providing loans in the South of Italy, in a move "to exploit the desperation of the new poor from coronavirus," according to the mayor of the Sicilian capital Palermo, Leoluca Orlando.
Coping with coronavirus: return to work comes with scars for Italian family-run factory
In this series, the FT is following an Italian family-owned company through the pandemic crisis. After the initial shock of the lockdown, in this second instalment the factory and its workers grapple with their new reality as they go back to work.
Ryanair will ramp up services when Spain reopens to tourists on July 1
Ryanair confirmed plan to ramp up flights to 40 per cent of its normal schedule. The budget airline group has now launched a sale for flights in July and August. Spain said 14-day quarantine measures for passengers will be lifted from July 1
Spain’s Costa del Sol police sanction 457 people for flouting lockdown restrictions with more than half fined for failing to wear masks or social distancing
Malaga’s police have reported that 457 people in Malaga over the weekend have been reported for flouting lockdown restrictions, with more than half receiving fines for failing to wear masks or social distancing. Of the 457 people reported, 92 have been sanctioned for not wearing face masks, such as in confined public spaces and on public streets where social distancing cannot be maintained. Another 236 people have been fined for not adhering to social distancing measures, and the rest for other state of alarm restrictions, such as not complying with outing timetables. That takes the total number of people reported for breaching lockdown restrictions to 8,636, since the beginning of State of Alarm, according to Malaga’s law enforcement authorities.
First post-lockdown concerts return to Spain
The first post-lockdown live music events are taking place in Spain this week, as the country embarks on phase two of its lockdown easing plan. As of 25 May, outdoor events of up to 400 people and indoor concerts with a maximum capacity of 50 people have been allowed to resume in Spain. Although the reopening measures have been criticised by members of the Spanish live industry for being unclear and unrealistic, a number of event organisers have taken the opportunity to restart business. This week, five concerts are taking place in the northern region of Cantabria as part of the local government’s ‘Culture Counterattack’ campaign. Performances by acts Rulo, Vicky Castelo, Billy Boom Band, Deva and Repion will take place this weekend (29 to 30 May) in the cities of Santander, Torrelavega and Muriedas.
France's cultural industry eager to bounce back after lockdown
In France, the month of May is usually synonymous with the Cannes Film Festival. But this year, the world's biggest movie extravaganza did not take place due to the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it's cinema, theatre or music, all branches of France's prized cultural sector have taken a hit from the lockdown and it's unclear when things will improve. Facing harsh criticism from the artistic world, the French government recently unveiled a rescue plan. Will it be enough to save the country's prized cultural industry? Join us for this episode of French Connections.
Lockdown-free Sweden's coronavirus death toll tops 4,000
Sweden reported 33,843 coronavirus cases on Monday and 4,029 deaths Totals far exceed Nordic neighbours, even when population taken into account Government under fire for shunning strict lockdown in favour of social distance State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell says approach will be best in the long-term
Iconic sites reopen as world eyes life after lockdown
There were also signs of hope at some of the world's best known and symbolic destinations. In Bethlehem, the Church of the Nativity -- built on the spot where Christians believe their saviour Jesus was born -- reopened its doors after more than two months. Once inside, Greek Orthodox Bishop Theophylactos kissed an icon while a priest scattered holy water in the grotto where Jesus is said to have rested in a manger. Palestinian authorities believe the COVID-19 virus came to Bethlehem with a group of Greek tourists -- and the virus outbreak has devastated the travel industry worldwide. Nevertheless, in Italy -- once the world epicentre of infections after it spread to Europe from China -- the site of a previous natural disaster also reopened to visitors. The ruins of the Roman city of Pompeii, destroyed by a volcanic eruption in 79 AD and preserved through the centuries in a layer of ash, attracted four million visitors last year.
Victims of lockdown abuse struggle to speak out
France and Spain show a sharp increase of requests for help during the lockdown, officials and support groups say many more victims have been afraid or unable to come forward. “There are women who have had the courage to leave the prisons that their homes have become,” said Mariti Pereira, from Spain’s Federation of Associations for Assistance to Victims of Gender and Sexual Violence, of the lockdown period now being phased out in both Spain and France. “But there are many victims of violence who have stayed where they are — because of economic concerns, or worries about coronavirus, or simply because they are scared.”
Coronavirus: French alarm at Covid-linked Med pollution
The group's founder, Laurent Lombard, who shot the underwater footage and posted it on Facebook, says "these masks - we haven't had them for long, and we're going to have billions, so I say watch out, it's the beginnings of a new type of pollution". Diving off Golfe-Juan, near Antibes, he found five disposable face masks and four latex gloves on the seabed, along with the usual plastic rubbish such as empty bottles.
How Germany's coronavirus contact tracers helped to ease its lockdown
In our new series, the first wave, Times and Sunday Times foreign correspondents examine pandemic responses around the world and ask what happens next. Oliver Moody reports from Berlin
Robot barista helps maintain social distancing measures at South Korean cafe
A South Korean cafe has found an innovative way of serving its customers during the coronavirus pandemic, with an efficient robot barista. The new robot barista at the cafe in Daejon is "courteous and swift" as it delivers coffee and tea to its customers,
NYSE Trading Floor Reopens as Lockdowns Loosen Further
Some developing countries are reopening in efforts to save their economies, even as caseloads continue to rise at worrisome rates. In Brazil and Mexico, car factories are firing back up, while mines are restarting in Peru. Domestic flights started taking off again in India, even though the country is hitting its highest levels of new cases. On Tuesday, India reported 6,535 new cases, extending a stretch of days above 6,000. Total confirmed cases stand at 145,380 with 4,167 deaths, according to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. Iran reopened restaurants around the country Tuesday, the first day after the Eid holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. The move followed weeks of easing lockdown restrictions that have included reopening religious sites, museums, shopping malls and bazaars.
Life in Palestine back to normal after 82 days' coronavirus lockdown
Life in the West Bank has returned to normal after Palestinian government decided to lift most of the precautionary measures against the coronavirus pandemic. Big cities in the West Bank is unprecedentedly busy and crowded. Public transportation and traffic were all resumed in the area on Tuesday, the last day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr. The West Bank cities, towns, villages, and refugee camps have also witnessed the return of busy trade and commercial activities, where all private sector establishments, stores, pubic parks, and squares were opened. The Palestinian ministries and official establishments will get back to work all over the West Bank on Wednesday amid the government's instructions for people to keep committed to personal precautionary measures
European stocks rise as lockdown easing boosts sentiment
US stocks surged to the highest since March 5th as investors speculated the worst of the pandemic’s damage to the global economy has passed after countries moved to ease lockdowns. A dollar gauge fell by the most in almost two months. The S&P 500 jumped more than 2 per cent following a three-day holiday weekend, propelling it past 3,000 for the first time since early March. Merck and Co rose after it unveiled development plans on both a treatment and vaccine for Covid-19.
Global report: Europe eases out of lockdown as Memorial Day draws big US crowds
Residents of Spain’s two biggest cities can now meet in groups of up to 10 in their homes or on the outside terraces of bars and restaurants, as both moved belatedly into the second phase of looser lockdown restrictions. Small shops can also open without appointments. Madrid’s mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, marked the occasion by tweeting a picture of himself in the city’s famous El Retiro park. “Open,” he tweeted. “Good morning, and let’s be responsible.” Almost half of Spain has already moved to phase three, with shopping centres allowed to open and restaurants to serve customers indoors at 40% capacity. Cinemas and theatres may also reopen, but sell no more than 30% of tickets for each performance.
Coronavirus: Kiwis more positive about farming after Covid-19 lockdown
Kiwis are beginning to see farmers in a new light after lockdown, research shows. Figures from UMR Research show 63 per cent of New Zealanders hold a positive view of sheep and beef farming, an increase of 9 per cent compared to just eight months ago. Support for dairy farmers has also jumped, rising from 51 per cent to 60 per cent. Horticulture tops the list with a positive rating of 65 per cent, while ratings for fisheries have clicked over into majority positive territory at 53 per cent, up from 47 per cent
Life after lockdown in New Zealand: a night out in Wanaka
After a strict seven weeks of confinement, the atmosphere in the resort town’s reopened bars varies from restrained to raucous
New Zealand Reopens Bars After Two Months Of Lockdown
After three consecutive days of no new coronavirus patient, New Zealand decided to reopen bars and other businesses last Thursday, i.e., May 21st. The country was under lockdown for two months during which many bars struggled to stay afloat but the government decided not to open them early as they were deemed as high-risk spots. The lockdown got shifted from “Level 4” to “Level 2” with Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern saying "level 2" restrictions will mean retail, restaurants and other public spaces including playgrounds can reopen from Thursday. "I am announcing that Cabinet agrees we are ready to move into level 2, to open up the economy, but to do it as safely as possible," Ardern told a news conference. However, businesses will be required to have physical distancing and strict hygiene measures in place.
Access Hollywood: Hundreds of foreigners slip through border as Avatar production resumes
Hundreds of foreigners have been allowed through New Zealand's closed borders, including key production crew to the blockbuster Avatar sequels. The film industry says allowing key film personnel, like producers and cast, into New Zealand would be "huge" as it could trigger thousands of jobs for Kiwis. Economic Development Minister Phil Twyford revealed today there was a little-known category for border exemptions for foreigners deemed essential to a project of "significant economic value".
Spaniards can hit the beach and drink on the terrace as lockdown eases
Barcelona and Madrid will begin easing their lockdown rules from today, allowing residents to meet in groups of up to ten people either at home, in the park, or on terraces of bars and restaurants. Some major museums will also be allowed to reopen, but with a limited number of visitors and people will still be required to wear a mask when it is not possible to keep two metres apart. Barcelona and Madrid account for half of the country's deaths from COVID-19 but now move into phase one of deconfinement as the country shifts into the second phase of its lockdown.
Exit Strategies
Coronavirus lockdown: Which shops will open next month?
After 10 weeks of lockdown, thousands of high street shops, department stores and markets across England can start reopening from next month. At a daily news briefing in Downing Street - overshadowed by Dominic Cummings' response to claims he broke lockdown rules - the prime minister outlined which businesses can begin trading again from Monday. Boris Johnson said Step 2 of the plan to "unlock the lockdown", in place since 23 March, would see the following changes.
Coronavirus: Can we stay safe as lockdown eases?
The most obvious is distance. Research that began in the 1930s showed that when someone coughs, most of the droplets they release either evaporate or fall to the ground within about one metre. That's why the World Health Organization (WHO) settled on its "one metre" rule for social distancing. Some governments have opted for a safer limit of 1.5m with the UK and others preferring an even more cautious 2m. The guidance essentially means that the further you're apart, the safer you ought to be but it's not distance alone that matters. The second key factor is timing - how long you're close to someone.
Germany aims to ease distancing, lift European travel warning - media
Germany's government and its state premiers have agreed to extend social distancing rules until June 29 to contain the coronavirus pandemic, a government spokesman said. Tuesday's deal, confirmed by the spokesman after being revealed to Reuters by a source, follows a dispute over how quickly to ease lockdown measures that have helped Germany weather the outbreak with far fewer deaths than European peers. Under the agreement, public gatherings of up to 10 people would also be allowed from June 6, the government spokesman said. Chancellor Angela Merkel originally suggested extending the distancing rules, which require people to stay 1.5 metres apart, until July 5, as the conservative leader is worried about a second wave of cases that could require another costly lockdown.
Germany's corona detectives led way out of lockdown
As the coronavirus permeated Germany with a speed that was scarcely credible, there was no technology in the world that could track it. Instead, the job of mapping and slowing the advance of the pandemic has been carried out largely by hand, often with little more than a telephone, a fax machine and many cups of coffee. The secret of Germany’s much-lauded contact-tracing system, one of the central pillars of its relative success in managing Covid-19, is not ingenious software nor an all-seeing state. It is an impromptu army of students, off-duty planning inspectors, social workers, police officers, military health workers, administrators and, in at least one case, the local fire brigade.
Italian Leaders Threaten to Reimpose Restrictions After Sunshine Draws Out Crowds
Italian politicians threatened to reinstate restrictions on people’s movements and announced plans to recruit 60,000 unemployed volunteers to help oversee social distancing, after thousands of Italians celebrated the end of the country’s lockdown by going out for a drink. Many Italians hit beaches, parks and bars over the weekend, sometimes flouting distancing rules and requirements to wear face masks when near other people. The return of crowds to places that have been deserted for most of the spring sparked an angry reaction from some politicians, who warned that Italy’s progress in containing the coronavirus could reverse if people relaxed the restriction rules too much.
Italy won't re-allow travel if post-lockdown partying continues, warns minister
The Italian government will revise its plans to allow travel between regions again if people keep socializing in the streets after Italy's long coronavirus lockdown, a cabinet minister has warned.
Coronavirus: Tourists can visit Spain from 1 July with no quarantine
Tourists will be able to visit Spain from the beginning of July without having to quarantine for two weeks, after the government eased coronavirus lockdown rules. The world’s second-most visited nation currently demands all foreign visitors isolate themselves for 14 days on arrival, but has decided to lift the controls in an attempt to revive its tourist industry for the holiday season. Prime minister Pedro Sanchez has said he wants Spain to establish reciprocal “safe corridors” with other countries in Europe, so long as “they don’t bring risks to our country”.
When can I travel to Spain? Latest FCO guidance as country relaxes quarantine rules
Despite there being only vague ideas of when lockdown measures might fully end in the UK, people are already thinking about the potential of summer travel
Spain Wants Common EU Rules on Cross-border Movement as Pandemic Lockdowns Ease
In a discussion paper submitted by Spain to a Future of Europe consultation process between EU member states, Madrid also called for the monitoring of tourists' health via individual checks as part of a common EU-wide procedure. "It would be appropriate to consider, in coordination with UNWTO and WHO, options for health checks, either upon the purchase of tickets or at the airport itself, should the results of those checks be available within a reasonable timeframe," read the document, seen by Reuters. "The definition of a safe and operational passenger transit system is key to restoring the normality of tourist flows in a sustainable manner," it said.
Confidence rises in Germany as lockdown is relaxed
A regular business survey by the Ifo Institute offered a glimmer of hope by beating expectations. “Sentiment has recovered somewhat after a catastrophic few months,” the Munich-based researcher said. Its index reading was 79.5 points in May, up from a downwardly revised 74.2 points in April. Klaus Wohlrabe, economist at the institute, said: “The German economy is again seeing light at the end of the tunnel. But we are still far away from optimism.” Although the outlook is improving, second-quarter growth will be dismal. Ifo said that German GDP would shrink by more than 10 per cent. Factory order books remain weak and businesses still expect exports to fall. Germany is already in recession after contracting in both the final quarter of last year and the first three months of 2020.
What can we expect from 'phase 2' of France's lockdown?
The initial loosening of France's strict lockdown on May 11th was a three-week phase, so as that moves to a close what can we expect from phase 2 of the 'déconfinement'?
South Korea unveils new coronavirus rules, including bars registering all patrons
South Koreans will be required to wear masks when using public transportation and taxis nationwide starting Tuesday as health authorities look for more ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus as people increase their public activities. Health Ministry official Yoon Taeho on Monday said masks also will be enforced on all domestic and international flights from Wednesday. From June, owners of "high-risk" facilities such as bars, clubs, gyms, karaoke rooms and concert halls will be required to use smartphone QR codes to register customers so they can be tracked down more easily when infections occur.
Poor Countries Weigh Easing Lockdowns as Coronavirus Cases Continue to Rise
“We looked into all the scenarios, including total lockdown, but to be honest we can’t afford it,” Egyptian Information Minister Osama Heikal said in a television interview last week. Pakistan’s top court last week ordered all stores to be allowed to open, including shopping malls in Karachi, arguing that the government was focusing too much on stopping the spread of the pandemic. While leaders in wealthier countries face similar trade-offs, the dilemma for leaders in developing countries is especially stark: Each week that the reopening is postponed creates more poverty, increasing chances of social unrest and violence. But reopening too soon may cause new outbreaks.
Japan Ends Coronavirus Emergency With 850 Deaths and No Lockdown
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced the end of his state of emergency declaration for the novel coronavirus pandemic, with just 851 deaths reported and without ever implementing a lockdown. "I have decided to end the state of emergency across the nation," Abe said during a televised press conference on Monday. "In just over a month and a half, we almost brought (the infection) situation under control." Abe cautioned that lifting the order did not mean that the novel virus was gone from Japan. "Our battle against the virus will continue," he said, while urging the Japanese people to continue following stringent social distancing guidance.
Europe lifts virus shutters as Japan ends emergency - The Jakarta Post
Europeans flocked to parks, gyms and pools on Monday as more countries eased coronavirus restrictions, while Japan lifted its state of emergency but urged vigilance to avoid another wave of infections. In the United States, as the pandemic death toll approached the horrific milestone of 100,000, stir-crazy Americans also headed en masse to beaches and parks for the big Memorial Day weekend.
Call to fast-track bike lanes to boost jobs and take advantage of lockdown-induced bicycle sales
Australia’s peak cycling organisation is calling on governments to capitalise on a surge in lockdown-induced bicycle sales by fast-tracking the construction of all 750km of planned bike lanes around the country, a move it says would promote physically distanced commuting while taking “tens of thousands” of cars off city roads. The rising interest in cycling has also been noticed by Queensland’s transport and roads minister, Mark Bailey, who told the Guardian the Palaszczuk government would consider “further investments in cycleways across Queensland in the near future” as a result of the demand.
Australia to outline economic recovery plans as lockdowns ease
With Australia confident it has suppressed the spread of coronavirus, Morrison will on Tuesday turn to how to revive the country’s economy as debt levels rise to about 30% of GDP. Morrison will say in a speech that tax reform, deregulation and lower energy costs will be central to stimulating economic growth as Canberra begins to unwind its more than A$250 billion worth of stimulus.
Coronavirus update: German COVID-19 restrictions could be eased earlier than expected, local media reports
Thailand will extend its state of emergency until the end of June, despite the country’s dwindling number of Covid-19 cases and a gradual easing of lockdown measures. Germany may ease social-distancing steps a week earlier than previously planned and aims to lift a travel warning for 31 European countries, German media reports. Brazil has recorded more coronavirus deaths in a day than the United States, even as some leaders in the South American nation consider loosening lockdown measures. Closer to home, the southern hemisphere's first human trials of a potential coronavirus vaccine have started in Melbourne, with the program set to expand to Brisbane within a week
Australia’s coronavirus lockdown rules and restrictions explained: how far can I travel, and can I have people over?
Australians have been slowly emerging from Covid-19 lockdowns since the federal government announced a three-stage plan in May to ease restrictions across the country. It is up to each state and territory to decide when and how far they will relax restrictions. Here we try to answer some of the most common questions people have about the laws, based on the information current as of 25 May.
Dr Hilary Jones replacement explains lockdown guidelines means you can’t travel 50 miles to sit in garden
The telly doc went on to explain the rationale behind the current rules against meeting loved ones in their gardens, saying it’s very easy to slip into bad habits such as using their toilet. ‘Those are the rules,’ Dr Mark added. ‘You cannot and should not go to your sister’s garden but you can meet her in a park near her house.’
BBQs, groups of 10 and seeing parents again in June lockdown plans
The Prime Minister revealed during Monday’s press conference that markets and car dealerships will be able to open from June 1, while all ‘non-essential’ retail will begin resuming from June 15. The changes are dependent on the coronavirus daily death toll continuing to fall. Now the government is reportedly working on proposals to allow small social gatherings outdoors, such as garden parties or barbecues. The plans are said to be part of a wider implementation of ‘social bubbles’, which could see people mix with up to 10 other people at a time.
A four-day work week in New Zealand could boost domestic travel
According to Prime Minister Ardern, 60 percent of New Zealand is dependent on tourism. Therefore, New Zealanders should travel domestically in order to support the tourism industry. She believes that a four-day work week will leave enough time for domestic travel. She has left employers and employees to decide on the four-day work week scenario; and rightly pointed out that the lockdown has caused us to learn a lot about our work; about how it is really possible to be productive while working from home.
Coronavirus: Ireland records no new COVID-19 deaths as Varadkar hails 'day of hope'
"First day with no reported #CoVid19 deaths since March 21st. This is a day of hope. We will prevail." Dr Tony Holohan, Ireland's chief medical officer, said figures over the past week indicated "we have suppressed COVID-19 as a country". He added: "It has taken strict measures to achieve this. "It will take another week to see any effect on disease incidence that might arise from the easing of measures in Phase 1."
The full list of lockdown measures that will be lifted next week as Australia's active coronavirus cases fall below 500 for the first time since March 17
WA lifting most internal travel restrictions but interstate borders remain shut. Tasmania eases aged care restrictions, announces infrastructure spend. South Australia to open venues from June 1 to up to 80 people in groups of 20. NSW suspects a newly diagnosed Sydney woman may have been sick for weeks Hospitality industry lobbies for spillover trade onto parks and footpaths in NSW Victoria lifts restrictions, prepares for Stage Two easing on June 1 Queensland, WA remain firm on border closures despite industry pressure Tasmania allows aged care residents to have two visitors in a single day
Partisan Exits
In Bolsonaro's Brazil, everyone else is to blame for virus
With Brazil emerging as one of the world’s most infected countries, President Jair Bolsonaro is deflecting all responsibility for the coronavirus crisis, casting blame on mayors, governors, an outgoing health minister and the media. By contrast, he portrays himself as a clear-eyed crusader willing to defend an unpopular idea — that shutting down the economy to control COVID-19 will ultimately cause more suffering than allowing the disease to run its course. The refusal of governors to fall into line with his decree allowing gyms to open, he said, verged on authoritarianism.
Kentucky lockdown protesters condemned for hanging effigy of governor from tree
Political leaders in Kentucky have condemned rightwing protesters against the state’s measures to fight the coronavirus, after the demonstrators hanged an effigy of Democratic state governor Andy Beshear from a tree. The incident happened on Sunday during a protest in favor of gun rights and other mostly conservative causes. Several men produced a rope and an effigy and strung it from a tree outside the state capitol building in Frankfort. The state representative Charles Booker, who is African American and the Democratic party challenger for the Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell’s seat in Kentucky in November, described the representation as “ vile and traumatic”.
Coronavirus lockdown: Scots' concerns over UK response
As Scotland prepares to ease its coronavirus lockdown from Friday, Scots have voiced concerns about the UK government's handling of the crisis and the risk of lifting restrictions "too quickly". A survey for BBC Scotland suggested that a majority of people thought Boris Johnson and UK ministers had handled the pandemic "fairly" or "very" badly. Meanwhile 82% of respondents said First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had handled the crisis well overall, with only 8% saying she had done badly.
Germany: Central and regional government tussle over lifting lockdown
The row erupted after Bodo Ramelow, premier of the eastern state of Thuringia, said on Saturday he would scrap rules on mask-wearing and distancing, relying instead on local measures. The states set most rules affecting day-to-day life in Germany. Though his proposal echoes federal government policy, which envisages gradually reopening the economy while responding fast to outbreaks with local lockdowns and contact-tracing, officials fear muddying the message could undermine public discipline.
Pub bosses in plea to revise social distancing guidelines to help trade when lockdown is lifted
Some smaller venues will have to stay shut if the two-metre rule remains in force with others claiming it would not be economically viable to reopen
Continued Lockdown
Closed bathrooms afflict US homeless in coronavirus lockdown
U.S. lockdown closures leave hundreds of thousands of rough sleepers without access to soap and water, putting them at increased risk of infection, advocates say
Care home creates a drive-through so families can visit their loved ones safely during lockdown
Gracewell of Ascot set up a drive-through for people to visit loved ones safely The Berkshire care home keeps residents outside while visitors stay in their cars Many of the cars were decorated cheerfully with balloons, flags and drawings
UK records lowest number of hospital deaths since lockdown began
The UK’s coronavirus death rate has fallen to its lowest point since the lockdown began in March after another 77 people were confirmed dead. NHS England today recorded 59 more deaths in hospitals – but this does not take into account other settings like care homes. Across all settings, Scotland announced three more deaths, while Wales had seven and Northern Ireland had eight.
UK food banks see demand soar up to 325% during lockdown with many children affected
Of those depending on food banks, 67% cited Covid-19 and lockdown restrictions as the cause of their visit and some of the hardest hit cities include London, Bristol, Bournemouth and Sheffield
Coronavirus: A day of lockdown for young people in the UK
It’s week ten of lockdown in the UK, after restrictions were introduced on 23 March to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Some of these measures have started to be lifted but others remain in place. Though the impact has been felt by everyone, young people are one of the demographics hit hardest - with traditionally smaller incomes and living spaces. So how are they coping? We asked young people across the UK to document a day in their life.
Coronavirus: Hairdressers offer virtual appointments in lockdown
Hairdressers have been offering virtual appointments to help people style their hair at home. Stylists are using apps including FaceTime, Zoom, and YouTube to provide customers live one-to-one advice and tutorials. While salons have already reopened in France and Germany, hairdressers in the UK expect to remain closed until July.
Europe’s elite skewered for lockdown double standards
Austria's President Alexander Van der Bellen apologized on Sunday after he and his wife were caught by police breaking curfew rules at a restaurant. The country's coronavirus restrictions include the mandatory closing of restaurants and bars at 11 p.m., but police said the couple still had drinks at their table after midnight Van der Bellen said on Twitter that he had gone out to eat for the first time since lockdown began with his wife and two friends. "We lost track of the time while chatting and unfortunately overlooked the hour," he wrote. "I am sincerely sorry. It was a mistake. If the restaurant host suffers any damage from this, I will take responsibility for it."
Russia reports record coronavirus deaths, recoveries
A man in a face mask on a Moscow Metro train. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin made mandatory wearing face masks and gloves in public places and on public transport since May 12. The self-isolation regime is extended in Russia through May 31 in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection.
I'm 21 and have had chemotherapy during lockdown. I was one of the lucky ones
When I was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s lymphoma at the beginning of February, my mind immediately turned not to the illness and pain I knew would have to endure, but to the sadness of putting my life on pause. I could never have predicted that the world would end up putting its life on pause with me. My treatment – an intensive chemotherapy regimen – began on 4 March and finished on 12 May, coinciding closely with the UK lockdown which began on 23 March and is looking to be relaxed over the coming weeks. I have been lucky that, despite Covid-19, treatment at my Teenage Cancer Trust unit has been able to go ahead without interruption. Most adult patients from my hospital have been transferred to a local private hospital. Other cancer patients have not been so fortunate.
Coronavirus: Clamp-down on barbers offering lockdown haircuts
Thirty barber shops in Kent have been ordered to cease trading after a BBC investigation found businesses offering haircuts during lockdown. Trading standards issued prohibition notices to premises suspected of breaking legislation intended to halt the spread of coronavirus. It came after BBC South East found that 19 of 50 barbers contacted by phone were still offering appointments. Hairdressers and barbers are not expected to reopen before 4 July. "What these select number of barbers are doing is unfair, said Steve Rock, of Kent County Council Trading Standards.
Coronavirus: Russia remains in lockdown as cases top 350,000
Moscow remains "at serious risk" and its coronavirus lockdown has been extended until May 31, according to its mayor, Sergey Sobyanin. Sobyanin has also made the wearing of masks and gloves in public places mandatory.
New Mum Diagnosed With Breast Cancer During Lockdown Urges Others To Get Symptoms Checked
Health experts concerned as number of people seen by doctors for suspected cancer in March was 26,000 below expected figure.
Coronavirus: drones used to enforce lockdown pose a real threat to our civil liberties
Some argue that the use of surveillance tools such as drones is a price worth paying if it helps to control the spread of infections. But drones offer a simplistic technological solution to a complex public health crisis. The overzealous deployment of surveillance drones risks damanging public trust in the police, in public bodies and in the lockdown measures. Many are also worried that using a health crisis to justify the introduction of public surveillance will enable it to continue after the emergency has passed. To prevent this scenario from unfolding, we need to have a serious conversation about the use and oversight over drones, how their use impacts on our rights, and their effectiveness in combating the pandemic. The actions taken during this pandemic, and the use of technologies that implement them, must be lawful, necessary, proportionate and time-limited.
Soldiers deployed in Indonesia to enforce lockdown before reopening
Indonesia has deployed soldiers and police personnel to enforce the partial lockdown in a bid to bring the COVID-19 infections down as the country plans to relax restrictions to shore up the ravaged economy. Nearly 350,000 troops and police on Tuesday started guarding mall shopping centers, public transport and tourist attractions in the capital of Jakarta and three other provinces as well as 25 cities, Indonesian Military Chief Air Marshall Hadi Tjahjanto said. President Joko Widodo stressed that the soldiers and police personnel would make people abide by the protocols of social distancing so that the infection rate would continue to fall. "Starting today (Tuesday), military and police personnel will be stationed in spots where mass usually gather to discipline the people, making them obey the health protocols," Jokowi, as the president is known, said when visiting a mass rapid transport station in Jakarta
Lockdown 'really rubs against conservative predisposition for freedom'
US Studies Centre Research Associate Elliott Brennan says anti-lockdown protests in the US are gaining momentum in republican states which are democratically governed. Mr Brennan told Sky News anti-lockdown protests were most active in “states that went to Donald Trump in the 2016 election but have democratic governors that are largely being viewed as tyrannical in the way they are imposing these lockdowns”. “It really rubs against conservative predisposition for freedom,” he said. “We all know the United States is the land of the free and they’ve been told at the moment their freedoms are limited. “And for people who have been affected economically and just want to work to provide for their families, this is a really frustrating phenomena.”
Scientific Viewpoint
Merck in collaboration to develop coronavirus vaccine, with clinical trials to start this year
U.S. drugmaker Merck plans to work alongside nonprofit scientific research organization IAVI to develop a potential vaccine against the coronavirus. Most experts agree that it could take 12 to 18 months for a safe vaccine to be rolled out to the market. Even if an effective vaccine becomes available, many have warned of significant logistical challenges around distributing enough doses for the global population.
Japan delays approval of Fujifilm drug for treating coronavirus
Japan has delayed the approval of an anti-flu drug as a potential coronavirus treatment after interim results from its first randomised clinical trial provided no solid evidence of its effectiveness. The decision has cast doubt on Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s early enthusiasm for Fujifilm Holdings’ Avigan, which was touted as a promising treatment even before the completion of randomised clinical trials. Mr Abe had indicated the drug, which has the generic name favipiravir, could be approved this month but government officials admitted on Tuesday that more clinical research was required.
Coronavirus: WHO suspends hydoxychloroquine trial over safety
Hydroxychloroquine is most typically used to treat malaria, lupus and arthritis. The WHO had been testing the drug as part of its Solidarity trial looking at the safety and efficacy of four medications against coronavirus. But a study on Friday revealed higher mortality rates among COVID-19 patients who took the drug On Monday, the WHO announced it was suspending the hydroxychloroquine arm of its trial over safety concerns. President Donald Trump announced on Sunday that he finished taking his two-week prescription of the drug, which he had used as a prophylactic
Coronavirus: UK authorises anti-viral drug remdesivir
A drug treatment called remdesivir that appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus is being made available on the NHS. Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began. Remdesivir is an anti-viral medicine that has been used against Ebola. UK regulators say there is enough evidence to approve its use in selected Covid-19 hospital patients. For the time being and due to limited supplies, it will go to those most likely to benefit.
Coronavirus: Sports events in March 'caused increased suffering and death'
Just 24 hours before Cheltenham opened its gates to 250,000 spectators on 10 March, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden rebuffed growing calls for a ban on mass outdoor gatherings. He told the BBC: "There's no reason for people not to attend such events or to cancel them at this stage." But Prof Spector from King's College London said "people will have probably died prematurely" because of the decision.
Public disclosure of COVID-19 cases is more effective than lockdowns
South Korea is a standout in the current battle against COVID-19, largely due to its widespread testing and contact tracing; however, key to its innovation is publicly disclosing detailed information on the individuals who test positive for COVID-19. These measures prove more effective at reducing deaths among than comprehensive stay-home orders, according to new research from University of California San Diego, Pennsylvania State University and the University of Chicago.
Covid 19 coronavirus: Call for NZ clinical trials after Govt's $37m vaccine spend
Scientists have hailed a just-announced $37m Government spend toward a Covid-19 vaccine – and now a major clinical research organisation has called for trials to be carried out here. This afternoon, ministers revealed the fund would be sending $10m toward local vaccine research and $5m for exploring manufacturing a vaccine here. Up to $15m would also be steered toward global research collaborations and $7m would go to Gavi - an alliance that distributes vaccines to developing nations.
Coronavirus: Dr Ashley Bloomfield urges New Zealand to have some perspective as impatience grows about alert level restrictions
New Zealanders should have a little perspective as impatience grows about alert level restrictions, the Director-General of Health says. Gatherings of up to 100 people will be allowed from Friday but alert level 2 will likely remain in place for another month. New Zealand moved to alert level 2 on May 14. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the expansion of mass gatherings on Monday but said the country would not move to alert level 1 for at least another month when Cabinet will reassess the situation.
Front-line coronavirus workers could be vaccinated as soon as this year, Novavax CEO says
Workers on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic will be first to receive a vaccine and that could come as soon as later this year, Stanley Erck, CEO of vaccine development company Novavax, said Tuesday. Novavax announced Monday that it has launched clinical trials of its coronavirus vaccine candidate and it expects preliminary results in July. Erck said his company plans to price its potential vaccine on a tiered approach based on affordability.
Merck Leaps Into COVID-19 Development Fray With Vaccine, Drug Deals
Merck & Co Inc, which has largely kept to the sidelines of the race for COVID-19 treatments, said it was buying Austrian vaccine maker Themis Bioscience and would collaborate with research nonprofit IAVI to develop two separate vaccines. It also announced a partnership with privately held Ridgeback Biotherapeutics to develop an experimental oral antiviral drug against COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Bill Gates Funds a Crucial COVID-19 Vaccine Human Trial, Merck Adds 2 Candidates
Novavax’s vaccine effort is backed by $388 million from the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness and Innovation (CEPI), a nonprofit founded by Bill Gates. The billionaire philanthropist created the organization in 2015 to prepare the world for “a global respiratory epidemic,” which he prophetically warned about in a TED talk the same year. The Novavax project is the CEPI’s largest investment to date. The funds are supposed to cover up to phase 2 clinical trial and production of millions of doses by the end of 2020, CEPI said in a funding announcement earlier this month.
WHO warns of 'second peak' in areas where COVID-19 declining
The world is still in the middle of the first wave of the coronavirus outbreak, WHO emergencies head Dr Mike Ryan told an online briefing, noting that while cases are declining in many countries they are still increasing in Central and South America, South Asia and Africa. Ryan said epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided. There was also a chance that infection rates could rise again more quickly if measures to halt the first wave were lifted too soon.
Coronavirus Resurgence
South Korea reports 19 new coronavirus cases as children return to school
South Korea has reported 19 new coronavirus cases on the eve of the return to school for more than two million children. The majority of the new cases were in the Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been actively tracing transmissions linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues. South Korea’s Centres for Disease Control and Prevention also reported two more deaths, bringing the country’s total to 269 fatalities from 11,225 cases. Wednesday will see around 2.4 million pupils return to school, and health minister Park Neung-hoo urged school officials to double-check their preventive measures.
The Latest: South Korea reports 19 new virus cases, China 7
South Korea has reported 19 new cases of the coronavirus, most from the Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been actively tracing transmissions linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues
The way South Korea crushed its second wave is a warning to us all
There are signs that the rigorously efficient contact tracing regime deployed by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) is bringing this new outbreak under control. As of May 20, there have been 336 new cases of Covid-19 since the beginning of the month, a far cry from February when there were more than 3,000 in just two weeks. However, the incident still serves to illustrate the challenge that South Korea and other countries face in avoiding a second wave of the virus in the months and years to come.
China's Latest Regional Flare-Up Highlights Challenge of Emerging From Lockdown
Though the country first hit by the coronavirus pandemic has largely brought it under control, regional flare-ups continue to menace China and highlight the difficulty of reopening and restarting an economy. In this case Shulan in Northeast China's Jilin province. Where the city rolled out a series of new restrictions on Sunday, effectively putting residents back into lockdown, after a cluster of a dozen cases appeared in recent days
Coronavirus cases at Melbourne aged care home increase as two workers test positive
The two diagnoses take the total number of cases at Lynden Aged Care in Camberwell to three. The facility went into lockdown on May 19 after a resident was diagnosed with the virus. The Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) said the source of the latest infections was under investigation. But the new cases were not identified as close contacts of the first case so the two staff members continued to work at the facility. Staff members identified as close contacts of the two new cases have been placed into quarantine.