Coronavirus live news: Barack Obama attacks Trump virus response


Barack Obama said many of those in the Trump administration ‘aren’t even pretending to be in charge’.Photograph: Christof Stache/AFP via Getty Images
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The British government will invest up to ?93m to bring forward construction of a new vaccine manufacturing centre, PA media reports.
The funding will ensure the new centre opens in summer 2021, a year ahead of schedule.

The Vaccines Manufacturing and Innovation Centre (VMIC) is a key component of the UK government’s programme to ensure that once a coronavirus vaccine is available, it can be rolled out quickly in mass quantities, according to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. The not-for-profit facility on the Harwell science and innovation campus in Oxfordshire will have the capacity to produce enough doses for the entire UK population in as little as six months.

In Rio de Janeiro state, which has the second highest number of deaths in Brazil, most hospitals accepting Covid-19 patients have run out of intensive care beds, Associated Press

According to the states health secretary, as of Thursday, 369 people thought to have the virus were waiting to be transferred to an ICU. AP reports from the Sao Jose facility, which was just inaugurated, on May 4, and where already 90% of its 128 beds are occupied. More than 15,000 Brazilians have died from the disease so far, though many experts say the figure is probably significantly higher, with cases missed because of insufficient testing.

In recent days, more than 800 people have been added to the death toll every 24 hours and the crisis peak has yet to hit Latin Americas largest nation, the experts say. President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently downplayed the pandemic, calling the coronavirus a little flu and fiercely criticizing state governors and mayors who have closed businesses, introduced lockdowns and recommended stay-at-home measures. Bolsonaro has instead advocated for everyone who doesnt belong to at-risk groups to return to work so the economy doesnt collapse.

Thailand reported three new coronavirus cases on Sunday and no new deaths. All new infections are among Thai students who have recently been repatriated.
A total of 3,028 cases and 56 fatalities have now been recorded in the country.

Australian trade minister Simon Birmingham has warned China‘s “unpredictable” trade interventions may force Australian producers to sell to other market, my colleague Paul Karp reports:

The trade minister told ABC’s Insiders on Sunday that Australia reserves its right to take China to the World Trade Organisation, and revealed he is still yet to hear back from his Chinese counterpart about the growing trade dispute.

He said his call “ought to be returned”. After Australia called for an independent investigation into the origins of Covid-19, the Chinese ambassador in Australia, Cheng Jingye, threatened a consumer boycott against Australian goods. Since then, China has raised an 18-month-old dispute relating to Australia’s barley exports and imposed a ban on beef from four abattoirs.

On Sunday Birmingham said that he can understand why – given the ambassador’s “very unhelpful remarks” – links have been drawn and questions asked about whether the issues are related. But Birmingham said Australia will “take at face value” China’s claims the trade disputes are genuine and respond in good faith. “Our government has now lodged a comprehensive response in Beijing to the Chinese authorities in relation to their claims of dumping of barley in the Chinese market,” he said.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 583 to 174,355, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 33 to 7,914. Germany has begun easing restrictions, and on Friday began to allow restaurants to reopen for the first time in two months, so long as they obey physical distancing.

People from two separate households can share a table, but have to keep a distance of 1.5m from each other. Waiting staff are required to wear face coverings, while diners are encouraged to do so. Berlin’s senate has also strongly advised restaurants to record customer details, so that they can be traced if an infection is identified.

Germany has also dropped a two-week quarantine requirement imposed in March for passengers arriving from other EU states. Britain, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein and Switzerland are all included in the new arrangement. Quarantine measures will be reimposed if the infection rate rises elsewhere, officials said.

Germans with holiday homes in Mallorca are clamouring to return to the sun-soaked island as the coronavirus lockdowns ease, but Spanish authorities are pushing back, Agence France-Presse reports. Several hundred Germans have in recent weeks sent pleading, sometimes angry letters to the regional government of the Balearic Islands asking them to allow foreign property owners to return to their second homes. The protesters have warned that keeping them away from their properties could make them think twice about their investments on the island.

Mallorca has long been one of the most popular destinations for Germans abroad, so much so that it is sometimes jokingly referred to as Germany’s “17th state”. Some 4.5 million Germans visited Mallorca last year to enjoy its idyllic beaches and bustling nightlife. But the Spanish government is refusing to budge, wary of moving too quickly as it cautiously relaxes lockdown measures in one of Europe’s worst-affected countries.

To limit the risk of a second wave of infections, Madrid has limited air and sea arrivals to Spanish nationals and permanent residents only, as well as people in certain professions. All international arrivals also have to self-quarantine for 14 days. The quarantine measure is expected to stay in place for the duration of Spain’s state of emergency, which Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez aims to extend until late June.

The harbour of Port d’Andratx on the Balearic island of Majorca. Majorca in the mediterranean Sea is one of the most favoured holiday destinations for German tourists. Photograph: Oliver Lang/AFP via Getty Images

In Australia, Victorian premier Dan Andrews has announced plans to ease restrictions. From 1 June, cafes, restaurants, and the dining areas of pubs and clubs will reopen with up to 20 patrons indoors. Three weeks later, on 22 June, that limit will go up to 50 patrons.

In mid-July, it will increase again to 100 patrons. Andrews says that citizens will still need to abide by distancing rules if this is to happen. Restrictions on gyms or outdoor gatherings will remain in place.

Andrews added that by mid-July, as hospitality reopens, the government messaging will change from “stay home” to “stay safe”. The policy of “if you can work from home, work from home” will not change, he said.

Millions of migrant workers remain stranded across India

The Indian Express newspaper has reported on the plight of migrant workers who remain stranded across India. Millions of casual labourers and domestic workers abruptly lost their incomes when the country was placed under lockdown on 24 March.

Many live hand to mouth and had no choice but to return home when the quarantine measures were introduced, but were unable to do so because transport had been halted.
Workers have resorted to walking in the searing heat for hundreds of miles to get home. Others have sought refugee in government shelters.
On Saturday, at least 23 laborers died in northern India when a truck they were traveling in smashed into a stationary truck on a highway.

Last week, a train crashed into a group of tired workers who fell asleep on the tracks while walking back home in western Maharashtra state, killing 16.

Migrant workers and their families wait for transport to a railway station to board a train to their home state of northern Uttar Pradesh, after a limited reopening of India’s rail network following a nearly seven-week lockdown to slow the spreading of the coronavirus in Ahmedabad, India. Photograph: Amit Dave/Reuters

Updatedat 4.56am BST

US states ease restrictions

In the US, where more than more than 88,000 people have died in the coronavirus outbreak, some leaders have begun to ease quarantine measures.
New Orleans took its first steps to loosen restrictions that have been in place for two months, one day after the rest of Louisiana did the same, Associated Press reports. The city is restricting buildings to 25% of capacity, like the rest of the state, but also requires restaurants, nail salons and other businesses to take customers by reservation.

The city has capped the number of people allowed in houses of worship and movie theaters at fewer than 100. Malls and retail stores can reopen, but casinos, video poker, live entertainment and bars are still closed.
Some restaurateurs decided to try reopening. Others planned to stick to takeout or stay closed all together.

Meanwhile, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said horse racing tracks and the Watkins Glen International auto track can reopen with no crowds, no fans. He also said he could envision a return of Major League Baseball in New York, the centre of the US outbreak, also without spectators.

Updatedat 5.27am BST

Obama attacks Trump administration’s handling of coronavirus pandemic

On Saturday, Barack Obama attacked the Trump administration’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, stating that many of the country’s leaders “aren’t even pretending to be in charge”. Without naming Trump directly, Obama said during an online commencement address to graduates of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs):

Let’s be honest, a disease like this just spotlights the underlying inequalities and extra burdens that black communities have historically had to deal with in this country…

We see it in the disproportionate impact of Covid-19 on our communities….
More than anything, this pandemic has fully, finally torn back the curtain that so many of the folks in charge know what they’re doing. A lot of them aren’t even pretending to be in charge.

Here is the Guardian’s full report on his comments.

Updatedat 4.59am BST

The number of coronavirus cases in Mexico has risen to 47,144, while the country’s death toll has increased to 5,045, health authorities said.

The governments plans to reopen parts of the economy from Monday, despite concerns that the country’s outbreak has not yet peaked and that official figures underestimate the true scale of the outbreak.

Mainland China recorded five new confirmed coronavirus cases on Saturday, down from eight the previous day, according to the National Health Commission (NHC). Two of the five confirmed cases are linked to foreign travel, while three are locally transmitted in northeastern Jilin Province.

The number of new asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus fell to 12 from 13, the NHC said. The number of confirmed cases in the mainland stands at 82,947 and the death toll at 4,634

Updatedat 5.02am BST

In Thailand, shopping malls will reopen today and a nighttime curfew will be shortened by one hour, to 2300 to 0400, from 2200 to 0400.

The country is beginning to relax restrictions after reporting single-digit increases of infections from the new coronavirus this month. Parks, hair salons, markets and restaurants have also been allowed to reopen over recent weeks, provided that measures such as temperature scanning and social distancing are in place. On Saturday, the country extended a ban on international passenger flights until the end of June.

Thailand has recorded a total of 3,025 cases and 56 deaths.

Updatedat 5.02am BST

Brazil’s outbreak now fourth largest in the world

Brazil’s confirmed coronavirus cases rose on Saturday past those of Spain and Italy, outbreak the fourth largest in the world, Reuters reports. Brazil’s health ministry registered 14,919 new confirmed cases in the prior 24 hours, taking the total to 233,142, behind the United States, Russia and the United Kingdom. Brazil has done just a fraction of the testing seen in those three countries.

The global distinction is likely to pile pressure on President Jair Bolsonaro, who lost his second health minister in a month on Friday as he defies public health experts and calls for widespread use of unproven drugs. Bolsonaro has been fiercely critical of the orders by many of Brazil’s state governors for strict social isolation and quarantine to combat the spread of the virus, including the closure of schools, shops and restaurants. Bolsonaro argues that the toll on the economy is becoming unbearable and businesses must be allowed to reopen as soon as possible.

The government now expects Brazil will post its biggest annual economic contraction this year since records began over a century ago. Nationwide testing in Brazil still lags far behind European nations. Brazil had processed nearly 338,000 novel coronavirus tests in official labs by the beginning of the week, according to the health ministry.

Another 145,000 tests were under analysis or waiting in line. By contrast, Italy and Spain have each run some 1.9 million official diagnostic tests for the virus.

Hello this is Rebecca Ratcliffe, bringing you the latest global coronavirus updates.

There are now 4,629,575 cases of Covid-19 recorded globally and 311,363 deaths according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. In the US where 1,466,682 infections have been reported, Barack Obama has attacked the Trump administration’s response to the crisis, stating that a lot of the federal leadership “aren’t even pretending to be in charge.” He also highlighted the disproportionate effects of the pandemic on communities of colour in the United States. In other recent developments:

If you think we have missed a story or want to draw our attention to something please do get in touch.

My email is and I’m @rebeccarat on Twitter.


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