Only locals will benefit from Spain’s open beaches for the time being. Travel between regions is still forbidden and foreigners arriving in Spain must quarantine for 14 days.
But the government plans to reopen the borders to foreign tourists in July. The lockdown, in force since mid-March, has been among the most severe in the world.
In the first few weeks, Spaniards could hardly set foot outside and their children were kept indoors. Many residents have become impatient over the government’s slow and cautious process of lifting the restrictions.
Thousands of people protested on Saturday by car in major Spanish cities at the call of the far-right Vox party.
Drivers honked their horns, waved Spanish flags and banged on pots and pans to denounce the management of the coronavirus crisis by the left-wing government of Pedro Sanchez.
First Spanish beaches to reopen as lockdown eases
Coronavirus lockdown measures will finally be eased for people in Madrid and Barcelona from Monday, while elsewhere in Spain the first beaches are due to reopen, AFP reports.
Residents in the two cities can now meet in groups of up to 10 people in their homes or on the terraces of bars and restaurants.
The gates of the capital’s parks will also be reopened, and major museums will be able to receive a limited number of visitors.
People walk at Barceloneta beach in Barcelona on 20 May 2020 during the hours that were reserved for the elderly. Photograph: Lluís Gené/AFP via Getty Images
The Madrid and Barcelona regions, the most populated in the country, and a large part of Castile-Leon in the northwest are moving into the first phase of Spain’s four-phase deconfinement programme, following what has been one of the strictest lockdowns in the world.
These regions have been on a slower deconfinement track as they bore the brunt of the pandemic in Spain, which has killed more than 28,700 people to date, one of the world’s highest tolls.
Everyone must continue to wear a mask, which is already compulsory in buildings and on public streets when it is not possible to keep a distance of two metres (six feet).
The rest of the country meanwhile – 22 million out of Spain’s 47 million inhabitants – is moving on to the second phase, which is expected to last until the end of June.
Restaurants may then reopen to a limited number of customers, and outings for walks or sports will no longer be limited to certain hours of the day.
Americans defy Covid-19 social distancing rules to celebrate Memorial Day holiday
Americans across the country appeared to abandon social distancing guidelines as they sunbathed on beaches and gathered for pool parties on Memorial Day weekend.
The long weekend traditionally signals the start of the US summer, and despite the country’s Covid-19 death toll approaching 100,000, many revellers dismissed any safety concerns to celebrate.
At the Lake of the Ozarks, made famous by the television series with the same name, hundreds gathered for a pool party to enjoy the warm spring weather. Bar tables installed in the pool were filled with drinks, as people danced and apparently forgot that Covid-19 existed.
Missouri, where the Ozarks are located, has had 686 deaths from Covid-19. On Friday the state’s Democratic governor, Laura Kelly, relaxed coronavirus restrictions to include gatherings of up to 15 people. But she also listed Memorial Day activities which were banned, including using “community, public and other non-backyard pools for parties or gatherings”.
The governor’s website advised wearing masks “especially in places where social distancing is difficult to maintain”.
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Global cases pass 5.4m
There are currently 5,405,029 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The death toll stands at 345,036.
Both figures are likely to be higher, due to differing test rates, definitions and deliberate underreporting.
These are the ten worst-affected countries worldwide in terms of numbers of infections:
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Australian children return to shool
Australia’s most populous state, New South Wales, on Monday deployed hundreds of crowd control staff to enforce social distancing on public transport amid an expected commuter surge as schools and offices reopened and coronavirus cases fell.
Australia has reported just over 7,100 Covid-19 infections, including 102 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.
People cross the road at Annandale Public School in Sydney, Australia, 25 May 2020. Photograph: Joel Carrett/EPA
With fewer than 20 new Covid-19 cases most days, Australian states are pressing ahead with a three-stage plan to remove most social restrictions imposed by July.
In New South Wales, which includes the city of Sydney, children returned to full-time face-to-face learning on Monday, allowing many parents to return to offices.
But officials warned locals to expect travel delays, with buses and trains operating at significantly reduced capacity due to distancing requirements. “We’ve got 1.2 million kids on the move,” NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance told Australia’s Channel 9.
“We just need everyone to be patient.”
With international borders likely to remain closed for months, Morrison is also pressing locals to begin holidays locally to help support Australia’s tourism sector.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken to the heads of the country’s six big banks to get their views on the state of the economy and the Covid-19 relief efforts, the Globe and Mail reported on Sunday, citing multiple sources.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau returns to Rideau Cottage following a daily news conference in Ottawa, Friday 22 May 2020. Photograph: Canadian Press/REX/Shutterstock
This was Trudeau’s first one-on-one dialogue with the CEOs since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the report, which added that the calls took place around the Victoria Day long weekend.
The topics covered included adjustments required in relief efforts rolled out by the government, need for further support and pressures faced by clients of the banks, the report said, adding that the talks were ‘high-level check-ins rather than deep policy discussions’.
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Brazil registers 15,813 new cases, 653 new deaths
Brazil, the world’s second-worst coronavirus hotspot behind the United States, registered 653 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, taking the total number of fatalities to 22,666, the Health Ministry said.
Brazil has 363,211 confirmed cases, up 15,813 from Saturday, the ministry said.
Physician Fabiano Simplicio attends a woman showing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, Covid-19, during a day of free health checks at the Unidos de Padre Miguel samba school headquarters in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 24 May 2020. Photograph: Mauro Pimentel/AFP/Getty Images
New Zealand expected to further loosen lockdown restrictions
The Guardian’s Charlotte Graham-McLay reports:
New Zealand has reported another day of no new cases of Covid-19, with the news from health officials coming hours before Jacinda Ardern, the prime minister, is expected to announce further loosening of lockdown restrictions on the country.
After a week of “zero days” for the coronavirus, peppered with the odd day of one new case – most recently on Friday – New Zealand’s total number of confirmed instances of Covid-19 remains under 1,500.
People enjoy socialising with a drink outside at the bars in Auckland’s Wynard Quarter on 21 May 2020 in Auckland, New Zealand. Photograph: Phil Walter/Getty Images
97% of all confirmed and probable cases of the virus have recovered, health officials said in a statement on Monday. One person in New Zealand is in hospital with Covid-19. They are not in intensive care.
Ardern has drawn praise for a strict, swift lockdown of the country in late March, at a time when there were just over 200 cases and no deaths. 21 people have now died of the virus.
She has slowly relaxed restrictions on the country as new case numbers have fallen, and is expected to announce today that her Cabinet has agreed gatherings can be increased to more than 10 people.
She will also outline a plan to take the country from its current status of alert level 2 – out of a possible 4 – down to level 1. There is not currently a timeline in place for that to happen.
Mexican health officials on Sunday reported 2,764 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 215 deaths, bringing the totals to 68,620 and 7,394, respectively.
A sanitary team disinfects the Jamaica Market, which is schedualed to reopen on 25 May, in Mexico City, Mexico. Photograph: Jorge Nunez/EPA
Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that the novel coronavirus could cost as many as a million jobs in the country as many industries considered not essential remain shut, Reuters reports.
The Mexican economy was already in recession before the pandemic struck and different investment banks have forecast contractions as large as 9% for this year with only a gradual recovery next year.
“My prediction is that with coronavirus, a million jobs will be lost,” Lopez Obrador said in a televised speech. “But we will create two million new jobs.”
The job loss number matches the estimate by the country’s business coordinating council.
Lopez Obrador’s government repeatedly said it had the outbreak under control but since posted record numbers for new cases and deaths.
Earlier this week, his government issued guidelines for restarting operations in carmaking, mining and construction in Latin America’s second-largest economy that is linked to the United States and Canada through a free trade agreement.
In April, the finance ministry said in an annual economic report used to guide the budget that the economy could contract by as much as 3.9% this year, adding that the numbers incorporated a “drastic” impact from coronavirus.
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China reported 11 new imported cases yesterday, compared to three the day before, according to the People’s Daily.
There were 40 new asymptomatic cases, up from 36 the day before.
There were no new deaths.
People’s Daily, China
On Sunday, the Chinese mainland reported:
– No new #COVID19 deaths
– 11 new cases, all imported (10 in Inner Mongolia)
– 40 new asymptomatic cases
– 83 active cases in total, including 7 in critical condition pic.twitter.com/WOVyojsJia
May 25, 2020
People wearing facemasks are seen on a tourist ship that sail in Yangtze River in Wuhan, in Chinas central Hubei province on 23 May 2020. Photograph: Héctor Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
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South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said a controversial ban on the sale of alcohol would be lifted for home consumption when the country moves into level three of a five-tier coronavirus lockdown next month.
South Africans were prohibited from buying alcohol and cigarettes when the country went into one of the world’s strictest lockdowns on 27 March.
Young children wait to receive food donations in Johannesburg, South Africa, 20 May 2020. Food insecurity is one of the main issues facing the country since the start of the lockdown imposed on 30 April 2020. Photograph: Kim Ludbrook/EPA
The booze ban was meant to prevent a spike in violence and reduce pressure on emergency wards as hospitals geared up to face a virus that has infected at least 22,583 people across the country and killed 429.
“Alcohol will be sold for home consumption only under strict conditions on specified days and for limited hours,” Ramaphosa announced in an address to the nation.
“The sale of tobacco products will remain prohibited in alert level 3 due to the health risks associated with smoking,” he added.
South Africa started gradually easing confinement measures on 1 May, allowing citizens to exercise outdoors in the morning and some businesses to partially resume operations.
Japan is considering a fresh stimulus package worth over $929bn that will consist mostly of financial aid programmes for companies hit by the coronavirus pandemic, the Nikkei newspaper said on Monday.
The package, to be funded by a second extra budget for the current fiscal year beginning in April, would follow a record $1.1tn spending plan deployed last month to cushion the economic blow from the pandemic, reports Reuters.
People wearing masks walk in a street in Asakusa, Tokyo, Japan, 24 May 2020. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock
The second extra budget, worth ¥100tn ($929.45bn), will include ¥60tn yen for expanding loan programmes that state-affiliated and private financial institutions offer to firms hit by virus, the paper said.
Another ¥27tn will be set aside for other financial aid programmes, including ¥15tn for a new programme to inject capital into ailing firms, it said.
The government is expected to approve the budget, which will also include subsidies to help companies pay rent and wages as they close businesses, at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has repeatedly urged Virginia residents to cover their faces in public during the coronavirus pandemic. On Friday, he told reporters wearing a mask “could literally save someone else’s life”.
But the Democrat did not heed his own advice on Saturday, when he posed without a mask for photographs with residents during a visit to the Virginia Beach Oceanfront.
A spokeswoman for the governor’s office said Northam should have had a mask.
“He was outside and not expecting to be within 6ft of anyone,” Alena Yarmosky said. “This is an important reminder to always have face coverings in case situations change. We are all learning how to operate in this new normal, and it’s important to be prepared.”
Northam has suggested he will announce a statewide policy on face coverings on Tuesday. At the beach on Saturday, he told reporters his administration was still working on the details.
Critics on social media chided Northam, a doctor, for not practicing what he has preached.
“Physician, heal thyself,” tweeted Todd Gilbert, Virginia’s Republican House minority leader.
Chile’s healthcare system is under strain and “very close to the limit,” President Sebastian Pinera said on Sunday, as the number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections approaches 70,000 after a rapid increase in recent days, Reuters reports.
The Ministry of Health reported 3,709 new cases in the last day, bringing the total to 69,102. The death toll is at 718.
A city worker, dressed in protective gear, delivers a box of food during a mandatory quarantine ordered by the government amid the new coronavirus pandemic in Santiago, Chile, 22 May 2020. Photograph: Esteban Félix/AP
“We are very close to the limit because we have had a very large increase in the needs and demands for medical care, and for intensive care unit beds and ventilators,” Pinera said during a visit to a hospital in Santiago, which has the highest concentration of cases.
More than 1,000 people have been hospitalized for disease associated with the coronavirus, according to the government.
Chile, the world’s top copper producer, confirmed its first case of coronavirus in early March and surpassed 50,000 infections this week.
A third of Chile’s population of about 19 million is under mandatory quarantine after the government put Santiago and several other cities under lockdown.
Here’s the full story on Robert O’Brien, Donald Trump’s national security adviser, accusing China of a cover-up that will “go down in history along with Chernobyl”, and ramping up efforts to deflect attention from a Covid-19 death toll in the US fast closing on 100,000.
White House official likens China’s handling of coronavirus to Chernobyl cover-up
A top White House official on Sunday likened China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak to the Soviet Union’s cover-up of the meltdown at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986.
National security adviser Robert O’Brien said Beijing knew what was happening with the virus, which originated in Wuhan, from November but lied to the World Health Organization and prevented outside experts from accessing information.
“They unleashed a virus on the world that’s destroyed trillions of dollars in American economic wealth that we’re having to spend to keep our economy alive, to keep Americans afloat during this virus,” O’Brien said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“The cover-up that they did of the virus is going to go down in history, along with Chernobyl. We’ll see an HBO special about it ten or 15 years from now,” he added, referring to a television miniseries.
US National Security Advisor Robert O’Brien (R) is seen on the front driveway of the White House following an interview on 24 May 2020 in Washington, DC. Photograph: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images
The disaster at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, in the former Soviet republic of Ukraine, released radioactive nuclear material that killed dozens of people within weeks and forced tens of thousands to flee. Moscow delayed revealing the extent of what is regarded as the worst nuclear accident in history.
“This is a real problem and it cost many, many thousands of lives in America and around the world because the real information was not allowed to get out,” O’Brien said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.” “It was a cover-up. And we’ll get to the bottom of it eventually.”
More on the US travel ban from Brazil:
The White House on Sunday broadened its travel ban against countries hard-hit by the coronavirus by denying admission to foreigners who have been in Brazil during the two-week period before they hoped to enter the US.
President Donald Trump had already banned travel from the United Kingdom, Europe and China. He said last week that he was considering similar restrictions for Brazil.
The ban on travel from Brazil takes effect late Thursday. As with the other bans, it does not apply to legal permanent residents. A spouse, parent or child of a US citizen or legal permanent resident also would be allowed to enter the country.
US bars travellers who have been in Brazil in last two weeks
The White House has announced it is prohibiting foreigners from traveling to the US if they had been in Brazil in the last two weeks, two days after the South American nation became the world No. 2 hot spot for coronavirus cases.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the new restrictions would help ensure foreign nationals do not bring additional infections to the US, but would not apply to the flow of commerce between the new countries.
White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany. Photograph: REX/Shutterstock
Brazil became the No. 2 hot spot for cases on Friday, second only to the US. Brazil has recorded over 347,000 infections, while the US has over 1.6 million.
The decision follows comments by the national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, to CBS.“We hope that’ll be temporary, but because of the situation in Brazil, we’re going to take every step necessary to protect the American people,” O’Brien said.
Hello and welcome to today’s live global coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.
I’ll be bringing you the very latest news for the next few hours – as always, it would be great to hear from you via Twitter @helenrsullivan or email: helen.sullivan[at]theguardian.com. Tips, questions, feedback or fun are welcome.
British PM Boris Johnson has doubled down on his defence of chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, who breached lockdown rules to drive his wife, who who was suffering coronavirus symptoms, and son 425km (264 miles) to his parents’ farm in Durham.
Cummings is facing a possible police investigation after retired chemistry teacher Robin Lees made a complaint to the police over the breach.
Meanwhile in the US, the Trump administration has barred travel from Brazil, which now has the second-highest number of confirmed cases worldwide. The White House announced it is prohibiting foreigners from traveling to the US if they had been in Brazil in the last two weeks.
Here are the main developments from the last few hours:
Global toll passes 340,000 The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases stands at 5,344,539, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. There have been 342,695 deaths officially linked to coronavirus around the world.
Dominic Cummings reported to police over lockdown breach. Boris Johnson’s chief advisor is facing a possible police investigation under health laws over a claim that he breached self-isolation rules in north-east England, after a weekend of mounting pressure on the prime minister to sack his chief adviser. Boris Johnson described Cummings as acting “responsibly, legally and with integrity”.
US bars travellers who have been in Brazil in last two weeks. The White House has announced it is prohibiting foreigners from traveling to the US if they had been in Brazil in the last two weeks, two days after the South American nation became the world’s second-worst affected country in terms of coronavirus cases.
France has lowest daily rise in new coronavirus cases and deaths since lockdown. French authorities reported the smallest daily rise in new coronavirus cases and deaths on Sunday since before a lockdown began on 17 March, raising hopes that the worst of the epidemic is over in France.
The French government has discouraged citizens from travelling abroad this summer, recommending they holiday in France, the environment minister Elisabeth Borne has said. This follows Emmanuel Macron saying it was unlikely that French people would be able to undertake major foreign trips this summer.
South Africa announces further easing of lockdown. South Africa will further relax coronavirus lockdown restrictions from 1 June, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced, allowing large areas of the economy to fully reopen. “Cabinet has determined that the alert level for the whole country should be lowered from level four to level three,” he said in an address broadcast on television, describing the move as a significant shift in approach to the pandemic.
South Africa’s AngloGold Ashanti has suspended operations at its Mponeng mine after at least 164 employees tested positive for coronavirus. The mining company said it had tested 650 workers at the gold mining site in Merafong, Gauteng province, after a first case was detected last week. Contact tracing and sanitisation processes are under way.
India resumes domestic flights despite record spike in new cases. Domestic flights will resume across India on Monday, the federal civil aviation minister has said, despite a 24-hour record increase in new cases on Sunday. The announcement follows a day of “hard negotiations”, the minister said, after some states sought to limit the number of flights.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Canada has risen to 84,081 from 82,892. There have been 103 more deaths, bringing the country’s toll up to 6,380.
German authorities are trying to trace the people who attended a church service in Frankfurt after 107 tested positive for the coronavirus. The service took place at a Baptist church on 10 May, and it is not clear whether all the 107 attended the service, or whether the figure includes those who were infected by those who did.
China’s top diplomat Wang Yi has said the US should stop wasting time in its fight against the coronavirus and work with China to combat it, instead of smearing the country. State councillor Wang’s comments came as he expressed his sympathy to the US for the pandemic, where the death toll is approaching 100,000.
Thousands of pro-democracy protesters assembled in Hong Kong against a controversial security law proposed by China, defying a coronavirus measure banning gatherings of more than eight people. The planned legislation is expected to ban treason, subversion and sedition, and the clashes between police and demonstrators were the most intense seen in months.
Italy has recorded 50 new deaths – but worst-hit Lombardy’s figures are missing due to late reporting. The number of new infections rose by 531, down from 669 on Saturday. There have been 32, 785 deaths and 140,479 people have recovered.
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