3.43am BST

“Children interrupting Zoom meetings could be the reboot corporate culture needed,” writes Catharine Lumby:

The other day I was in a Zoom meeting with colleagues I don’t know that well. The tone was serious and formal when suddenly everything changed. The door behind the man chairing the meeting burst open and his toddler ran in, jumped on his lap and smeared Vegemite all over his computer screen.

It reminded me of the video that went viral in 2017. Prof Robert Kelly was being interviewed live by the BBC when his small daughter strutted into the room behind him. His toddler spotted the open door and followed his sister in with great delight. The clip ends with a frantic mother removing the kids.

We may not be seeing each other at work these days but in some ways we’re seeing a lot more of each other than we anticipated. That revelation is making me think that screens might be perversely better at connecting us than face-to-face workplace life.

3.31am BST

China’s Vice Premier Liu He said the country’s economic situation has gradually improved, and that various indicators have shown marginal progress, in prepared remarks delivered on Thursday by the chief securities regulator.

Liu also said in the remarks that China and the United States should create the conditions and atmosphere to implement the Phase 1 trade deal reached earlier this year.

Aerial view of ships at a ship building yard during the summer fishing moratorium on 17 June 2020 in Wenling, China. Photograph: VCG/Getty Images

3.19am BST

The coronavirus lockdown has put a strain on Australian couples, new data has confirmed, with family therapists and lawyers noting a jump in clients seeking counselling or divorce.

A study on the impacts of Covid-19 by Relationships Australia, the leading national provider of relationship support services, found that 42% of people had experienced a negative change in their relationship with their partner during the last few months.

Its national executive officer, Nick Tebbey, said this statistic was directly related to the finding that 55% of people reported feeling challenged by their living arrangements during this time:

3.06am BST

Podcast: the crew members trapped on cruise ships

Guardian US reporter Erin McCormick describes why thousands of crew are still stranded on cruise ships after coronavirus bought the industry to a standstill in March. Will Lees describes how it took him 82 days to get back to Canada while Perry, who hasn’t had a salary since March, is still stuck and doesn’t know when he will get home to his family in Mauritius:

2.48am BST

As always, it would be great to hear from you on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com – questions, comments, tips and news from your part of the world are most welcome.

2.41am BST

“Over the last few months, our team has dealt with hundreds of compassionate leave applications – some of which have been profiled in the media and have been very tragic,” says Dr Ashley Bloomfield.

2.40am BST

New Zealand Director General of Health, Dr Ashley Bloomfield, is speaking now at a press conference.

The two women recently arrived from Britain who were infected with Covid-19 and allowed to leave quarantine without being tested, did not break any laws, he says.

2.38am BST

New Zealand confirms one new case

New Zealand has confirmed another coronavirus case, Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield has announced.

The case is a man in his 60s, who is in quarantine, the New Zealand Herald reports:

New Zealand has another new Covid-19 case.

The man is in his 60s and is now in a quarantine facility in Auckland – the Jet Park Hotel.

He flew from Pakistan to Doha and on to Melbourne on June 11, and then to Auckland on Flight NZ124 on June 13.

The man wore a mask on the flight.

He developed symptoms on June 15.

The Ministry of Health is in the process of contacting all people on the flight.

at 2.38am BST

2.33am BST

Mexico’s near-record level rise in coronavirus cases on Wednesday came as officials acknowledged the country is on a plateau with few signs of decrease, even as the economy starts reopening.

The Health Department reported that confirmed cases rose by 4,930, the second-highest daily increase to date, to reach an accumulated total of 159,793.

Deaths rose by 770, the third-highest daily number, after one-day increases of 1,092 and 816 earlier this month. Those death tolls rivaled those of the United States. Mexico’s overall death toll now stands at 19,080.

Both case and death totals are clearly undercounts because Mexico does very little testing. Moreover, reporting has been slow and faulty.

Personnel from an assembly factory hand out job application forms to job seekers in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico 17 June 2020. Photograph: José Luis González/Reuters

The Mexican Social Security Institute, the nation’s largest health care provider, said Wednesday that 957 confirmed Covid-19 deaths had not been added to official counts because the information had not been typed into computer systems. Mexicos official toll will probably also rise when deaths at home, or deaths where no test were performed, are added.

Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell said the numbers indicate a “progressive tendency of prolonging the epidemic … longer than originally predicted.”

López-Gatell had originally predicted a peak in the epidemic in May, but the latest figures show a peak in early June. However, because of delays in testing and reporting and the large number of suspected coronavirus deaths and cases that may later be confirmed it is unclear when the peak occurred or it if is still to come.

He also predicted the first wave of the epidemic may not go into definitive decline until September or October, especially in some states are just starting to be hit hard.

2.17am BST

Norway and Ireland won contested seats on the powerful UN Security Council Wednesday in a series of UN elections held under dramatically different voting procedures because of the Covid-19 pandemic, AP reports.

In the most closely watched race, Canada lost out to the two European countries for two Western seats on the 15-member council. It was Canadas second consecutive defeat in a bid for a seat and a blow to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

In previous years, ambassadors from all UN member states have gathered in its vast chamber to vote by secret ballot, but the Covid-19 pandemic forced the world body to adopt new rules.

United States ambassador to the United Nations, Kelly Craft, right, casts a vote during UN elections, Wednesday, 17 June 2020, at UN headquarters in New York. Photograph: Eskinder Debebe/AP

While the UN headquarters complex overlooking New Yorks East River remains open for essential workers, Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has ordered staff to work from home until 31 July because of the pandemic.
On Wednesday morning the new rules went into operation a few ambassadors arriving at the assembly during spaced-out time slots to avoid a large gathering and ensure social distancing.

And instead of voting separately for the next General Assembly president, five new members of the Security Council and 18 new members of the Economic and Social Council, the three elections were held at the same time by secret ballot.

Each arriving ambassador wore a mask, presented a voting card to a UN staff member, received three different colored paper ballots in an envelope, and went up an escalator into the nearly empty chamber where Assembly president Muhammad-Bande presided over the elections.

2.05am BST

New Zealand coronavirus defences under scrutiny as more breaches emerge

Charles Anderson reports for the Guardian from Nelson:

More reports have emerged in New Zealand of people leaving isolation without being tested and going on to meet friends, placing government officials under increasing scrutiny over the rigour of their Covid-19 quarantine rules.

Police revealed that six people absconded from managed isolation after being granted compassionate leave from Covid-19 quarantine to attend a funeral in Hamilton.

TVNZ reported that a birthday party for a girl in isolation brought people together who should not have been mingling.

A Christchurch funeral director told Stuff that about 10 people had been let out of quarantine early to attend one of the funerals it had arranged on Tuesday. Steve Parkyn, chief executive of funeral directors Lamb and Hayward, said he refused to let them attend the service after being contacted by health authorities, but they joined mourners at the burial, accompanied by a health official. Around 200 people attended the funeral.

On Tuesday, New Zealand recorded its first new cases of the virus for 24 days after two New Zealanders, sisters returning after travelling to the UK, were found to be infected. The pair, who were permitted to leave their managed isolation early to visit a dying parent, but had not been tested.

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