Latest news on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially the elderly and people with existing health problems, this can lead to more serious illness or death.
– The French Minister of Health wants to limit the use of the drug against malaria to treat the virus.
– Some English beach communities urge people to say far during the holidays.
– New cases in India exceed 6000 for the second consecutive day.
– Several thousand supporters of the Spanish far-right Vox party demonstrate in Madrid.
PARIS – The French Minister of Health wants to limit the use of a popular antimalarial drug as a treatment for coronaviruses after a new study found it ineffective and warned of an increase in health risks.
Olivier Veran tweeted Saturday that he had asked the French public health council to draft new rules for prescribing hydroxychloroquine and other treatments within 48 hours.
He specifically cited a study of 100,000 patients worldwide, published in The Lancet on Friday, claiming that hydroxychloroquine and related drug chloroquine were ineffective against the virus and were linked to an increased risk of death and problems heart rate.
Prominent French virologist Dr Didier Raoult has drawn international attention – including that of US President Donald Trump – for his research at the start of the pandemic suggesting that hydroxychloroquine is reducing the symptoms of the virus. Raoult’s office did not comment on the minister’s decision.
France has included the drug in a trial of multiple treatments and has authorized its use for hospitalized patients.
ALBANY, N.Y. – Governor Andrew Cuomo has given New Yorkers a break from cabin fever by easing the state’s ban on rallies in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The governor signed an order Friday authorizing people to meet in groups of 10 or less if they maintain social distance or wear masks when they cannot.
New York beaches are also open this weekend, but no swimming is allowed and masks must be worn. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the ban on swimming aims to curb the spread of the coronavirus by preventing people from accessing public transportation.
BERLIN – A German health official says more than 40 people have tested positive for the coronavirus after a church service in Frankfurt.
René Gottschalk, the head of the city’s health bureau, told the dpa news agency that most of them are not too sick and only one is hospitalized.
The deputy head of the Evangelical Baptist Christian congregation, who held the service, said that it took place on May 10. He said that the community respected the hygiene rules set by the authorities for the resumption of religious services.
Authorities say at least 16 infected people are from nearby Hanau. They decided as a precaution to cancel the Muslim prayers for a stadium in Hanau on Sunday.
MADRID – Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez has said that Spain will reopen its borders to foreign tourists in July.
Sánchez also announced his intention to declare 10 days of national mourning for the thousands of Spaniards who died from the pandemic.
The Spanish tourism sector has been anchored since the government declared a state of emergency to fight the pandemic in March, interrupting international travel and closing hotels.
Spain receives more than 80 million visitors each year. The tourism industry accounts for 12% of Spain’s GDP and employs 2.6 million people. Its economic importance is even greater in the Canary and Balearic Islands of Spain.
There have been more than 28,000 confirmed deaths in Spain from the virus, the fourth highest total behind the United States, Great Britain and Italy.
LONDON – Beachfront communities along the coast of England are urging people to stay away on the first weekend of vacation after the relaxation of some restrictions on coronaviruses.
England, on May 13, allowed people to travel any distance for exercise or entertainment, although they must be within 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) of others. The rules remain more stringent in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Thousands of people have flocked to English beaches during the sunny spring since the rules were changed, much to the chagrin of the police and local authorities.
Authorities in the city of Brighton on the south coast issued a statement saying, “I wish you were here – but not right now,” noting that hotel restaurants, bars, and non-essential stores remain closed. Another large resort, Bournemouth, urged people to avoid the beach if it is busy.
More than 36,000 people with COVID-19 died in the UK, the second confirmed total after the United States.
MOSCOW – Russia has reported 9,434 new cases of coronavirus infection in the past day.
The numbers come after several days of daily increases of less than 9,000, but the number is lower than the more than 10,000 daily cases recorded earlier in the month.
The total number of cases in Russia now stands at 335,882 with 3,388 deaths, according to the national working group on coronaviruses and the count of Johns Hopkins. There have been 139 deaths recorded in the past day. On Friday, Russia reported 150 people dead, its highest level ever.
Russia’s relatively low death rate has raised eyebrows in the West, with some suggesting that the country’s government could underreport virus-related deaths and manipulate statistics.
The Russian authorities deny the allegations and attribute the low figures to the effectiveness of the measures taken to curb the spread of the epidemic.
The United States leads the world with 1.6 million reported cases and more than 96,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.
ROME – Detainees in several Italian prisons will soon be making masks for themselves, prison staff and others.
Domenico Arcuri, Italian COVID-19 emergency commissioner, says it is part of a larger effort to ensure everyone has access to the masks. Despite promises made weeks ago by Arcuri that people in Italy can buy surgical masks at low prices in pharmacies across the country, many pharmacists say they have not received them.
Arcuri said the masks, which cost a fixed price of 50 euro cents each, were supplied to 20,000 smokehouses across Italy. Tobacco stores in Italy are a common item, which also sells bus tickets and other items.
Arcuri said masks will be available by June 17 for teachers and other school staff. The government plans to open the schools in September.
BERLIN – East German state governor says he wants to end statewide coronavirus restrictions in early June and move to a system under which local authorities would take action, if necessary.
German states began easing measures on April 20 after a lockdown of about a month. The country’s 16 state governments are responsible for imposing and lifting the restrictions. They have evolved at different rates over the past few weeks.
Bodo Ramelow, the Governor of the State of Thuringia, told the regional newspaper Mediengruppe Thueringen on Saturday: “I would like to lift the general lock-in of June 6 and replace it with a package of measures in which local authorities are at the forefront . “
We did not immediately know what that would entail. The state government said a cabinet meeting on Tuesday would discuss the details.
MADRID – Several thousand supporters of the far-right Spanish Vox party have gathered in Madrid and other cities to protest the government’s management of the coronavirus epidemic.
Vox called on protesters to come in their cars and motorcycles to circumvent the country’s current ban on social gatherings under the country’s two-month state of emergency.
“Let your desire be heard for the resignation of the government,” said Vox leader Santiago Abascal from the open top bus driving cars down a boulevard in Madrid.
Vox called the protest “a caravan for Spain and freedom”.
Most of the cars were adorned with Spanish flags and there were also small groups of people participating on foot, some not respecting the rules of social distance of two meters.
Other protests have taken place in Barcelona, Seville and other provincial capitals.
It has been confirmed that more than 28,000 Spaniards have died from COVID-19.
The foreclosure succeeded in reducing the daily contagion rate from over 20% at the height of the crisis to less than 1% last week.
DAMASCUS, Syria – The Syrian government has announced the largest one-day jump in recorded cases in the country, where testing has so far been limited.
The health ministry said on Saturday that 11 people had tested positive on their return from Kuwait and were among Syrians repatriated from the Gulf.
This brings the total number of infections recorded in Syria to 70 and four deaths. The war-torn nation has limited testing capabilities and a severely damaged health system.
Two northern regions of the country, with a population of nearly 8 million, are outside government control, so testing has been even more limited.
Health officials have reported no infections in the rebel-held northwest.
In the northeast, the Kurdish-led government has started to carry out its own tests and has so far registered three infections and one death.
NEW DELHI – New cases of coronavirus in India surpassed 6000 for the second day in a row, marking a new record leap for the South Asian country in 24 hours.
India reported 6,654 new cases on Saturday, bringing the national total to 125,102, including 3,720 deaths.
The country’s infection rate, which stands at 1.3 billion, has increased as the two-month lockdown eased.
States with relatively few cases have experienced peaks in recent days as residents, including migrant workers traveling on special trains, have returned home.
Assam’s northeast border state authorities laid criminal charges on Saturday for quarantine violators after more than 100 people at state quarantine facilities tested positive for COVID-19 .
BERLIN – A warden says that several members of a congregation have tested positive for coronavirus after a church service in Frankfurt.
The dpa news agency reported on Saturday that Wladimir Pritzkau, the deputy head of the Evangelical Christian Baptist congregation involved, allegedly said that the service took place on May 10. hospital.
Religious services have been authorized in the region since May 1, with conditions that include a distance of 1.5 meters (5 feet) between the faithful and the supply of disinfectant.
Pritzkau said the rules were being followed. The church has canceled all rallies and is now hosting online services.
The head of the city’s health bureau did not confirm or deny the case, citing medical confidentiality.
JERUSALEM – The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem will open on Sunday for the first time in two months.
It is built on the site where Christians believe that Jesus was crucified, buried and risen,
Leaders of the three faiths sharing the site said in a statement on Saturday that entry will be limited to 50 people at a time.
Devotees cannot enter if they have symptoms and must wear face masks and must keep a distance of 2 meters (six feet). They should also avoid touching or kissing stones and other objects in the holy place.
The church was closed in March, as were most of the other sites in the Holy Land, in accordance with strict measures imposed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority to contain the epidemic.
It remained closed throughout Holy Week and Easter last month, when the old city of Jerusalem is normally teeming with tens of thousands of pilgrims and tourists. The priests observed the rituals of Holy Week in small groups, mainly behind closed doors.
VATICAN CITY – The Vatican Museums will reopen again on June 1 with all visitors wearing face masks and having their temperature checked before entering.
The Vatican said on Saturday that medical staff will be present and that, as reservations will now be required, the advance ticketing fee of 4 euros ($ 4.50) is waived.
On the museum route is the Sistine Chapel, with its ceiling decorated with frescoes by Michelangelo, while thirsty visitors can book a sundowner on Fridays and Sundays in a Vatican courtyard.
Ticket sales and souvenir revenues are an important source of revenue for the Holy See. For now, museums are suspending the free entry initiative on the last Sunday of each month.
Open bus tours of the well-kept Vatican Gardens will be offered, and on weekends the public can visit the popes’ summer residence in Castel Gandolfo, a mountainous city near Rome.
There have been 12 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the tiny Vatican City State or among its employees.
BERLIN – Austria, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden have presented a counter-proposal for a European coronavirus recovery fund with a two-year deadline and a focus on loans.
The Austrian News Agency said the countries released their position papers on Saturday. It follows a Franco-German proposal for a 500 billion euro ($ 550 billion) fund that would provide direct grants to help countries and endorse joint borrowing.
The agency said the four countries should not accept “instruments or measures that lead to debt pooling or significant increases” in the EU budget.
The proposal did not quantify the aid that should be granted, but APA said the Austrian chancellery said the money should be used for “reconstruction and resilience of the health sector and the economy” . Climate-related research, innovation and investments could be supported.
The EU’s executive board is expected to unveil its own stimulus package next week, from which EU member states must then find a compromise.
BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel defends the restrictions of the coronavirus in her country and calls on her compatriots to continue to respect the rules of social distancing.
Germany began easing its lock restrictions on April 20 and since then has at least partially reopened many areas. At the same time, the country has experienced frequent protests against the foreclosure measures.
Merkel said in her weekly video message on Saturday that the measures were necessary and officials must continue to justify why certain restrictions cannot be lifted while ensuring that they are proportionate.
Merkel said Germany “has so far succeeded in achieving the goal of preventing our healthcare system from being overwhelmed.”
PARIS – France authorizes the resumption of religious services from Saturday after a legal challenge to the government’s ban on such gatherings.
Religious leaders welcomed the decision but said it would take time to put in place the necessary security measures.
To prevent the spread of the virus, visitors to places of worship in France must wear masks, wash their hands when entering, and keep a distance of at least one meter (three feet) from other people.
The French government had banned religious services until June 2, although stores and other businesses started reopening last week. The State Council, the country’s highest administrative body, overturned the ban and the government issued a decree on Saturday authorizing the resumption of services.
The French Bishops’ Conference said it would work with church leaders to prepare for the reopening, including for Pentecost Sunday services on May 31.
The rector of the Grand Mosque of Paris has declared that he would not be ready to reopen on Sunday for the celebrations of Eid al-Fitr, the end of the holy month of Ramadan.
BERLIN – Authorities say seven people appear to have been infected with the coronavirus in a restaurant in northwest Germany, in the first known case since the restaurants reopened in the country two weeks ago.
Local government officials in Leer County said Friday evening that the cases, reported between Tuesday and Friday, had led to the quarantine of at least 50 people.
Previously, no new cases had been confirmed in the region for more than a week.
Germany began easing its coronavirus restrictions on April 20 and this process has accelerated recently. The state of Lower Saxony, where Leer is located, allowed restaurants to reopen on May 11 with hygienic precautions.
These currently include a distance of 2 meters (6 ½ feet) between tables, masks for servers and an obligation to take the name, address and telephone number of guests in order to detect possible infections.
UNITED NATIONS – The Chief of Disarmament of the United Nations said that the COVID-19 pandemic was advancing the world towards increased technological innovation and collaboration, but “Cybercrime is also on the rise, with a 600% increase in malicious emails during the current crisis. “
Izumi Nakamitsu said at an informal meeting of the United Nations Security Council on Friday that “disturbing reports have also included attacks on healthcare organizations and medical research centers around the world.”
She said increasing digital dependence has increased vulnerability to cyber attacks and “it is estimated that such an attack takes place every 39 seconds.”
According to the International Telecommunication Union, “almost 90 countries are still in the early stages of their cybersecurity engagement,” said Nakamitsu.
The High Representative for Disarmament Affairs said that the threat of the misuse of information and communications technology “was urgent.” But she said there was also good news, highlighting some global progress at the United Nations to address threats arising from the development of standards for the use of these technologies.
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