An opinion poll has shown President Bolsonaro’s support lies at 33% as disgruntlement increases over his response to the pandemic. Brazil has the world’s second highest number of cases. Follow DW for the latest.
- Unrest over President Bolsonaro’s response is gathering pace in Brazil
- The Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak governments want a larger chunk of the EU’s recovery package
- The WHO says that ‘though the situation in Europe is improving, globally it is getting worse’
- Beijing reported its first COVID-19 case in the capital in nearly two months
- France announced a first-quarter loss of over half a million jobs, caused by the pandemic
All times in GMT/UTC
22:16 Brazil’s COVID-19 death toll has reached 40,919, according to the country’s Health Ministry. There were 1,239 fatalities reported in the last 24 hours. It is now the world’s third worst-affected nation after the US and UK.
Brazil has 30,412 new cases since yesterday, with a total of 802,828 confirmed infections.
21:15 A woman in her 20s has become the first person in the United States to have a double-lung transplant for COVID-19, her doctor has revealed.
She had been in the intensive care unit of Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago for six weeks prior to the procedure, where a life support machine kept her alive.
However, by early June her lungs had deteriorated to the extent that a transplant became her only option.
“Her lungs just showed no signs of recovery, in fact they had started to develop terminal fibrosis,” Ankit Bharat, chief of thoracic surgery at the Northwestern Medicine Lung Transplant Program told news agency AFP.
Bharat has performed numerous lung transplants before, but said this one on June 5 was “very difficult,” lasting 10 hours rather than the usual six.
Bharat said the operation’s success has made him “think and hope that we can operate on many more patients who are now stuck on the ventilator because their lungs have been permanently destroyed.”
20:45 At least 170 police officers in Peru have died from COVID-19 while enforcing the country’s lockdown, the interior minister has revealed.
Nearly 10,000 police officers have contracted the virus while implementing social distancing measures during the South American country’s 12 weeks of stay-at-home policy.
“We have 9,900 infected personnel and 170 deceased personnel. That is the figure that we currently have despite the efforts being made,” Interior Minister General Gaston Rodriguez told reporters.
An additional 4,000 officers were in mandatory quarantine due to their age or health, Rodriguez added.
19:15 Brazilians critical of their government’s reaction to the pandemic have dug 100 graves and placed black crosses in the sand of Rio’s Copacabana beach as a memorial to the almost 40,000 in Brazil known to have died from the virus.
The graves were created on the world-famous beach in a protest arranged by non-governmental organization Rio de Paz
In terms of total number of infection, Brazil is the second-hardest hit country in the world, after the United States, with almost 800,000 cases.
But President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the severity of the outbreak and encouraged local governments to lift restrictions while sending contradictory signals to citizens on whether to wear face masks or socially distance.
“The president has not realized that this is one of the most dramatic crises in Brazil’s history,” said organizer Antonio Carlos Costa, who said Bolsonaro had not shown solidarity with the suffering. “Families are mourning thousands of dead, and there is unemployment and hunger.”.
18:55 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Dr. Denis Mukwege has resigned from a COVID-19 task force in eastern Congo, saying that his hospital needs to concentrate on treating coronavirus patients and lamenting testing delays and other issues in the country.
When announcing his decision to step down, Mukwege said he expected infections to continue to escalate in Bukavu, where his renowned Panzi Hospital treats sexual violence survivors and provides other health care services.
The surgeon said he would “devote myself entirely to my medical responsibilities and to care for this influx of patients.”
Mukwege’s statement highlighted issues regarding regional coronavirus response efforts, including delays of more than two weeks on testing samples sent to a national laboratory in the capital, Kinshasa. He called this “a major handicap for our strategy of ‘test, identify, isolate and treat.'”
18:50 Mexico’s industrial activity took a massive hit for the month of April in comparison with the same period last year.
There had been a slight fall in March as the government began telling people to stay at home, but by April the measures had become far more stringent, having a drastic effect on the industrial output.
Activity in the sector fell 25% in April, the worst monthly fall since the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) began monitoring the data in 1993.
Construction and manufacturing suffered the most, dipping by 38% and 35%, respectively, compared to the previous April.
18:00 Four central European countries have asked for a “fair” allocation of the EU’s €750-billion (US $850 billion) coronavirus recovery fund, treading a fine line between demanding more money for themselves and questioning the wisdom of introducing the package at all.
Wearing face masks and gloves, the Czech, Hungarian, Polish and Slovak prime ministers failed, though, to agree upon a common position on the package at a meeting at a castle in the Czech Republic.
Proposed by the EU last month, the recovery package has faced criticism from fiscally conservative EU members, such as the so-called Visegrad-four (V4).
“We want to send a signal together… that we should be fair,” Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic said. “We should avoid a situation wherein a country with more or less the same population and more or less the same GDP per capita situated in southern Europe will profit from the programme far more than a central European country.”
While Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said: “I think the main criterion should be the GDP slump [for each member] and that must be assessed early next year.”
Viktor Orban said the deal was “philosophically quite far from what the Hungarians think about the world. The Hungarians think you must first make money and then you can spend it.” But he added that the bloc requires “exceptional solutions in an exceptional situation,” and that “we are willing to accept it, because we feel positive about the initiative, but it still needs to be worked upon.”
16:40 US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has said there will be no more shutdowns, even if the United States is hit by a second wave or further spikes in infections.
“We can’t shut down the economy. I think we’ve learned that if you shut down the economy, you’re going to create more damage,” Mnuchin said in an interview on CNBC.
His comments were backed up by President Donald Trump, who voiced optimism about the economic situation on Twitter, despite the Federal Reserve’s Thursday warning of a 6.5% contraction in US GDP in 2020.
Despite the comments from Trump and Mnuchin, decisions on restrictions in the US formally rest with state governors not the federal government.
The shutdown, which began in mid-March, has caused great damage to the world’s largest economy, leading to tens of millions of layoffs and an unemployment rate of 13.3% in May, figures not too dissimilar to those witnessed during the Great Depression almost a century ago.
The US is the worst-hit country in gross terms, with 113,000 fatalities reported and 2 million cases. Furthermore, some states, such as Texas and North Carolina, are experiencing more hospitalizations with COVID-19 sufferers than they did a month ago.
15:50 A minute’s silence in memory of coronavirus victims will be observed ahead of Premier League matches when England’s top flight returns from a three-hitaus on June 17.
Protocols in place for the league’s return include team travel by air or with the use of up to three buses, with all drivers tested for the virus. In addition, balls, goalposts, corner flags and substitution boards will be regularly disinfected at appropriate intervals during games, with a maximum of 300 people allowed in stadiums.
15:00 Kazakhstan has reimposed lockdowns in numerous towns and villages while plans are in place to tighten restrictions in one of its provinces, authorities said, after a surge in infections.
A month ago, the central Asian country ended its nationwide state of emergency. However, after a fresh spike in the central Karaganda region, retailers and public transit would work shorter hours while private cars would be prohibited from moving at night, the government said in a statement confirming the measures would be implemented as of June 13.
Many towns and villages would be under lockdown once more and 70% of public sector employees in the province would work from home, it said, adding that numerous citizens and businesses were not respecting social distancing rules.
The country of around 19 million people has so far registered a total of 13,558 coronavirus cases, resulting in 67 fatalities.
14:30 A further 1.54 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, the Department of Labor reported. The total registered since mid-March, which saw the economy grind to a halt because of lockdown measures, now stands at 44.2 million.
Numbers of unemployed have declined in the US as the peak of the virus passed – 20.9 million people were receiving unemployment payments or had payments refused in the week ended May 30, down from 21.3 million continuing claims in the prior week.
The report showed “another week of ongoing, gradual improvement in weekly filings,” Rubeela Farooqi of economic research consultancy High Frequency Economics told the AFP news agency.
14:00 Bangladesh will resume international flights next week, beginning with a weekly flight between Dhaka and London from Tuesday, said officials. It will be the first international flight in nearly three months after the country suspended almost all routes amid the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Flight frequency will be increased subject to the availability of passengers, said civil aviation ministry spokesman Mohibul Haque. From June 15, Qatar Airways will be allowed to operate a flight three times a week on the Dhaka-Doha route – but only for passengers transiting through Doha, Haque said.
Strict hygiene measures will have to be adhered to and 14-day quarantine will be imposed for passengers who are unable to show a negative COVID-19 certificate on arrival in Dhaka.
The southern Asian country suspended connections on all air routes but one on March 21 but domestic flight operations resumed on a limited scale on June 1 as part of the country easing coronavirus restrictions.
12:20 Egypt will extend its night-time curfew by two more weeks in response to rising coronavirus rates, said Information Minister Osama Heikal. Despite this, the north African country also announced plans to allow international flights to tourists and foreigners from July 1.
Latest figures for the country show 1,342 deaths and 38,284 confirmed cases of the virus. Since late last month, it has been reporting more than 1,000 new cases a day.
Under the updated guidelines, working hours in shops have been extended by one more hour until 6 p.m. local time.
Tourism and flights to coastal cities with “the lowest infection rates” will resume. It is not clear whether this also includes flights to the capital, Cairo.
The government has been seeking to gradually loosen lockdown measures, allowing hotels to partially reopen and resuming some public services. Last month, Egypt’s doctors union warned that a major COVID-19 oubreak could trigger a “complete collapse” of the country’s health system.
11:45 The European Commission has proposed to have all EU borders within the bloc reopen from June 15 and to allow travelers from Balkan countries to enter the bloc from July 1. The recommendation comes as many of the 27 EU member states begin to ease coronavirus restrictions, with some hoping to restart tourism in time for the peak summer season.
The Commission called for a “common coordinated approach” where travel bans will be lifted for countries with similar levels of infection as the EU and where adequate disease control is in place. It was too early to completely lift the ban on travelers from outside the bloc.
Read more: COVID-19: Summer vacation away from the mainstream
Restrictions on Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia will be lifted from July 1, because “their epidemiological situation is similar or better than that of the EU,” said European home affairs commissioner Ylva Johansson.
“International travel is key” for tourism, business and reconnecting friends and family, added the Swedish politician.
Tourism-dependent countries such as Greece and Spain have been pushing for a swift reopening, to help their economies recover from the effects of the pandemic.
10:59 Berlin’s Catholic community is optimally equipped to celebrate the religious holiday of Corpus Christi during the pandemic, said the Archbishop of Berlin Heiner Koch. “We are calling on everyone to adhere to the rules,” he said in comments to public broadcaster rbb.
Hygiene and social-distancing measures will be implemented and the singing-ban enforced, said Koch.
His comments come after at least nine new infections were linked to a priest conducting services in the towns of Stralsund and Grimmen — both in the same diocese as Berlin. Another cluster of 40 infections was traced to a Baptist church service in the city of Frankfurt am Main.
10:42 Turkish Airlines has resumed a limited number of international flights, over two months since the coronavirus pandemic saw the country implement severe international and internal travel restrictions.
The carrier’s gradual resumption of international travel started with flights from Istanbul Airport to London and Dusseldorf. The company later flew to Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich, state news agency Anadolu reported.
More flights are planned to “risk free” nations from June 15 onwards – the same date as many EU countries will lift border restrictions on travel within the bloc.
Not everyone is able to take advantage of the easing of flying restrictions, with travel limited to citizens of the destination countries and those with a residence and work permit, reported state broadcaster TRT.
10:26 Police fired tear gas and used water canon against demonstrators in Nepal who are angry about the government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Nearly 1,000 protesters peacefully marched in central Kathmandu, demanding more COVID-19 tests, better facilities and a concrete plan to contain the pandemic and end the lockdown. Others called for the repatriation of possibly millions of Nepali workers stranded in various work destinations due to global travel restrictions brought on by the virus.
It was the largest protest in the country since a nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 24. The protest turned violent when police tried to disperse the crowd. The police also arrested several people.
Latest figures for the southern Asian country show 4,364 cases and 15 deaths.
09:47 The coronavirus pandemic is “accelerating” in Africa, but it does not appear that severe cases and deaths were being missed, said the World Health Organization.
Ten countries currently account for 75% of the 200,000 cases and 5,000 deaths on the continent, Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Africa regional director, told a Geneva briefing. South Africa accounts for a quarter of cases, followed by Nigeria, Algeria and Ghana.
“One of the biggest challenges in Africa continues be availability of supplies, particularly test kits,” added Moeti.
The WHO report comes as Africa’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called on Tanzania to share its COVID-19 data. The east African nation has not updated its virus statistics since April.
Read more: COVID-19 in Africa: The need to improve communication
09:24 Beijing has confirmed its first COVID-19 case in the capital in nearly two months, Chinese media has reported.
The patient, a 52-year-old man, checked into a clinic on Wednesday due to a fever, according to the official party newspaper People’s Daily. The patient said he has not left Beijing or been in contact with anyone who travelled from overseas in the last two weeks, the report said.
The Chinese government has reported ever-decreasing coronavirus cases and reopened its economy while reporting most new cases as imported from other countries. However, skepticism remains over official government figures.
Read more: Doubts over China’s claim of beating coronavirus
09:15 German guests are expected to arrive at more than 14,000 holiday homes in Denmark on Monday, marking the lifting of Germany’s coronavirus-border restrictions for EU nations, reported Danish broadcaster DR. Around 91% of all the bookings are in the Jutland and Funen regions.
Last year, holidaymakers booked a total of around 20.7 million overnight stays in Danish holiday homes. German guests accounted for almost two-thirds of these with almost 13.3 million overnight stays. However, these figures have collapsed this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic and the resulting closure of the border in Denmark.
09:06 In the first quarter of 2020, France lost just over half a million jobs as its economy struggles with the effects of the pandemic, the country’s official statistics agency Insee has reported.
This represents a decline of 2% compared to the first quarter of last year. Most job losses were in the private sector, accounting for 497,400 out of the total, while the public sector saw cuts to 4,900 positions. The temporary job market was hit hardest, with this area seeing a decline of 40% of positions. Unemployment is now at its highest level since the end of 2017.
“I want economic activity to resume more quickly,” French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told French broadcaster LCI television, adding he wanted activity to be back to normal by this summer.
08:49 Germany will resume taking in refugees from other EU countries parallel with the lifting of the coronavirus-border restrictions for EU nations on June 15, said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, following a cabinet meeting.
A total of 243 children are set arrive in Germany from Greece with their relatives. There are also plans to take in a further 80 refugees from Italy and Malta towards the end of June or in early July, said Seehofer.
Germany has promised to accept particularly vulnerable refugees from the camps on the Greek islands. In April, the first flight arrived with 47 migrant children and youth from Greece. Currently, around 100 people are arriving in Germany daily, however, the number of asylum seekers crossing the border had dropped sharply due to corona-related border closures.
Read more: Migrants accuse Greece of forced deportations
08:13 The European Union must reach a deal on a proposed €750 billion ($821 billion) economic recovery plan to cope with the impact of the coronavirus crisis by July, said French Junior European Affairs Minister Amelie de Montchalin.
“There is no other solution than having a deal by July. If we do not have a stimulus plan, we will have a problem,” Montchalin told French news radio station BFM Business.
At the end of May, the European Commission unveiled the proposed Next Generation EU financial instrument to help Europe’s economic recovery from the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. The plan requires unanimous backing from all 27 EU nations, but progress has come to a standstill with member states divided on how much of the money should be handed out as grants or loans.
07:44 A German study has confirmed results of Chinese research that found blood composition can predict whether a patient will have a severe course of COVID-19 or develop only mild symptoms.
The initial Chinese study conducted research on 40 coronavirus patients in the city of Wuhan, the original epicenter of the disease. The same findings have now been confirmed in several patients in Germany, said the study’s co-author Ulf Dittmer, whose research was published in the EBioMedicine journal.
Some blood contains killer-T cells with a different type of surface marker that destroys virus-infected cells in the body, breaking up the virus’ ability to multiply. “If patients have only a few of these types of cells, they have a higher risk of developing severe symptoms,” said Dittmer. The study found that the elderly, people undergoing chemotherapy and overweight people had less of these important cells in their blood, appearing to explain why they may be more at risk from COVID-19.
Read more: Blood in the time of corona: Why donations are needed more than ever
07:12 A German business delegation has touched down in Russia for the first time since the nations closed their borders in March in a bid to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
A total of 50 leading German and European business leaders landed at Moscow Domodedovo airport during the night, head of the German-Russian chamber of commerce (AHK) Matthias Schepp told the German Press Agency.
Officially, the border is still closed, however the government in Moscow has permitted German carrier Lufthansa to operate a return flight for businesspeople working in Russia.
“Germany was, is and remains Russia’s key economic partner in Europe,” said Schepp, calling on the governments of both countries to allow business travel to resume as soon as possible.
The flight comes a day after Germany extended travel warnings for 160 countries until the end of August, while border controls are set to be relaxed for EU nations from June 15.
06:53 Britain’s Heathrow Airport has started a voluntary redundancy scheme after passenger numbers fell to an all-time low due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“While we cannot rule out further job reductions, we will continue to explore options to minimize the number of job losses,” said Heathrow Chief Executive John Holland-Kaye in a statement.
The airport, which employs around 7,000 staff, was the busiest in Europe before the pandemic. It reported the number of people using the airport was down 97% in May and it was preparing for further declines due to Britain’s recently-introduced 14-day quarantine rule for travelers entering the country.
06:25 India has lifted an export ban on hydroxychloroquine, the anti-malarial drug that is being studied for its potential use in fighting COVID-19.
“Department of pharmaceuticals has approved the lifting of the ban on the export of Hydroxychloroquine API as well as formulations,” tweeted India’s minister for chemicals and fertilizers, Sadananda Gowda.
The country, a leading exporter of generic medicines across the world, banned the export of the drug and its formulations in March as the coronavirus outbreak disrupted supply chains. But India eased some of these restrictions in April and shipped 50 million tablets of the drug to the US that month.
Manufacturers, except export-oriented units and those in special economic zones, would still have to supply 20% of their production to the domestic market, Gowda said.
Several major research studies are looking into the drug, including the WHO, which is resuming its trial of the drug, following a brief pause over health concerns. But UK-based scientists last week halted a major trial after it found that the drug was “useless” at treating COVID-19 patients.
The news comes as India reported 8,102 new coronavirus cases and 357 deaths in the past 24 hours. India’s tally now stands at 286,579 confirmed cases — the fifth-highest in the world — with 8,102 deaths.
The government is, however, still moving ahead with the reopening of restaurants, shopping malls and places of worship in most of India after lockdown of more than two months. Subways, hotels and schools remain closed.
05:15 Bhutan, a small nation in the Himalayas, has successfully averted the COVID-19 crisis — at least for now. With no reported coronavirus-related fatalities, the country contained the pandemic despite limited resources.
DW’s Aditya Sharma has this report on how Bhutan write its own coronavirus success story.
05:00 German Chancellor Angela Merkel is set to discuss the impact of the coronavirus pandemic with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during a video conference later this morning.
One of the key issues the two leaders will tackle is how to reboot trade between the two countries amid the economic downturn that was sparked due to the outbreak. Rising tensions between Washington and Beijing and the consequences for the global market will also likely be discussed.
China is one of Germany’s most important trade partners, but German and European businesses have been struggling and pushing for an EU-China investment agreement. The two leaders will also likely discuss the cancellation of a major EU-China summit that was slated to take place in September in Germany, but was called off.
04:30 For the first time in almost three weeks, Thailand has reported no new infections. The number of confirmed cases remains at 3,125. The death toll also stayed the same with no new fatalities reported. In total, 58 people have died from teh virus in Thailand.
03:59 The US has surpassed 2 million coronavirus cases, with the number of infections rising in 21 different states. The new case count comes as many states ease lockdown measures and move towards a return to normal life. The death toll in the US is now almost 113,000.
Meanwhile, experts with Harvard’s Global Health Institute say that the US could see as many as 200,000 virus-related deaths by September.
“Even if we don’t have increasing cases, even if we keep things flat, it’s reasonable to expect that we’re going to hit 200,000 deaths sometime during the month of September,” Ashish Jha, the head of the institute told CNN. “And that’s just through September. The pandemic won’t be over in September.”
The next hardest-hit country – Brazil – has just over 772,000 cases.
03:46 Germany reported 555 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total up to 185,416, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The death toll also rose by 26, up to 8,755.
Both figures mark an increase from the days prior. On Wednesday, Germany reported just 318 new cases and 18 deaths, while on Tuesday, 252 cases were confirmed.
03:10 South Korea reported 45 new cases of coronavirus, 43 of which were in the capital city of Seoul. The country has been seeing a resurgence of cases recently. Authorities are worried it might lead to a second wave of infections.
South Korea has been reporting 30-50 new cases per day since late May, especially in the capital region. But the government is hesitant to impose restrictions again, over fears of hampering an already fragile economy.
02:12 Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals have been cancelled this year due to concerns over COVID-19. The two festivals, usually held in April outside Palm Springs in California, had been postponed to October earlier, but are now cancelled.
Health officials are concerned about a possible surge in cases during autumn.
Coachella is a music and arts festival, and Stagecoach is a country music festival. Travis Scott, Calvin Harris and Frank Ocean were to headline this year’s Coachella. Lil Nas X, Carrie Underwood and Billy Ray Cyrus were expected to perform at Stagecoach.
02:11 Mexico’s death toll surpassed 15,000 on Wednesday. The country also recorded its highest number of infections in a day at 4,833, bringing the total to 129,184.
Health official Jose Luis Alomia said that 708 fatalities were also recorded in the past 24 hours. Mexico’s death toll now stands at 15,357.
02:09 Mainland China has reported 11 confirmed and four new asymptomatic coronavirus cases. All of the new cases involved travelers from overseas, according to the National Health Commission. Three confirmed cases and five asymptomatic cases were reported the day prior. The official infection total is now 83,057, with a death toll of 4,634.
China does not count asymptomatic patients — or those who have coronavirus but do not show any symptoms — as having confirmed cases.
00:43 Lufthansa has said that the positions of up to 26,000 employees are surplus to the airline’s requirements, suggesting that many more people will lose their jobs, than the earlier predicted figure of 10,000.
The airline estimates that it has a surplus of 22,000 full-time positions, or the equivalent of 26,000 employees, a Lufthansa spokeswoman said after a meeting with trade unions.
The airline last week outlined a restructuring scheme that includes thousands of job cuts and asset sales, in order to repay a €9-billion ($10.26-billion) state bailout. The company is also trying to reach a consensus with labor unions to make employees work part-time before holding a meeting on June 25, when shareholders will vote on the bailout.
The union representing pilots has said its members offered to take a cut in pay of up to 25%, but in return it wants the company to secure as many jobs as possible.
00:42 Peru said that its ginger exports nearly tripled amid the pandemic, as the root is seen as being beneficial to the immune system.
Ginger shipments showed “sustained growth of 168% in the first quarter,” compared to the same period in 2019, according to the Ministry of Commerce.
Most of the exports went to Spain, the Netherlands and the United States. Meanwhile, Spanish imports of Peruvian ginger increased by more than 500%. Peru is the world’s fourth-largest ginger exporter after China, Thailand and India.
00:05 The death toll in Latin America surpassed 70,000 fatalities on Wednesday, according to a tally of figures released by national health ministries. Brazil, the region’s worst-hit country, accounts for almost 40,000 of the total deaths, and has registered 1,274 fatalities in the last 24 hours.
00:00 Catch up on Tuesday’s updates here: Coronavirus latest: WHO urges Pakistan to lock down
In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments, and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.
Germany’s national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.
jsi, lc, kmm/msh (AFP, AP, Reuters, DPA)
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