Coronavirus live news: WHO urges Pakistan to reimpose lockdown as Brazil restores Covid-19 data

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Africa passes 200,000 confirmed cases after Burundi president dies of suspected Covid-19 – as it happened” was written by Helen Sullivan (now and earlier); Kevin Rawlinson, Jessica Murray, Damien Gayle and Simon Burnton (earlier), for theguardian.com on Wednesday 10th June 2020 23.51 UTC

12.51am BST

12.36am BST

The coronavirus pandemic will hit Coronation Street on 24 July when newly filmed episodes featuring the impact of the health emergency and recorded under strict restrictions are broadcast, although the producers promise the long-running soap will not be turned into a medical drama.

Producers say the most noticeable difference for viewers will be in how the show has been filmed. Shooting resumed on Monday under physical distancing measures, including no kissing and actors over the age of 70 barred, appearing in storylines via Zoom calls. The move has ensured that fans of the 59-year-old soap do not run out of fresh episodes to watch.

12.13am BST

Louise Taylor and David Conn report:

Premier League clubs should be braced for a collective £500m loss of revenue because of the coronavirus pandemic, Deloitte has warned.

The accountancy group predicted the devastating drop in income will result from rebates to broadcasters and commercial partners and the collapse of matchday revenue with games behind closed doors.

Deloitte expects clubs’ 2019-20 accounts to show a £1bn drop in revenue with half of that to be lost permanently. The unusual receipt of broadcast money for this season’s games in June and July will allow clubs, whose financial years end on 31 May or 30 June, to boost revenues in their 2020-21 accounts, potentially to collective record-breaking levels, particularly as next season marks the start of a new, more lucrative TV deal.

11.47pm BST

Summary

Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak so far today include:

  • The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, is to be questioned as part of an investigation driven into alleged errors made by authorities. Prosecutors in Bergamo, the Lombardy province worst hit by the virus, will also question the health minister and the interior minister.
  • France saw a below-average increase in deaths. The death toll has risen by only 23 – well below the average daily increase of 53 seen over the last two weeks – to 29,319. That is the fifth-highest nominal total in the world.
  • A US pharmaceutical company claimed a drug specifically designed to treat Covid-19 could be authorised for use as early as September. The chief scientist at Eli Lilly and Co told Reuters the feat could be achieved if all goes well with either of two antibody therapies it is testing.
  • Hollywood productions will be allowed to resume from Friday, local authorities said. While work could resume, cinemas must remain closed, California state officials said.
  • Prince Joachim of Belgium has been fined €10,400 by authorities in Spain after going to a party in Cordoba, where he caught Covid-19. Joachim flew from Brussels to Madrid and failed to observe two weeks’ quarantine, instead travelling to Cordoba to attend a party with 27 other guests on 26 May, at a time when gatherings were restricted to a maximum of 15 participants.
  • France is likely to suffer 800,000 job losses in coming months, the finance minister has warned, as the economy reels from the effects of lockdown. Bruno Le Maire told a finance committee in parliament: “Our evaluation is that 800,000 jobs will be lost in the coming months, or 2.8% of total employment.”
  • Moscow will report 57% more deaths for the month of May than in the three previous years, a leading Russian radio station has reported, indicating that the city’s coronavirus death toll for the month may be at least two times higher than official tallies for the month,
  • The global economy will contract at least 6% this year, with the unprecedented loss of income and “extraordinary uncertainty” caused by measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has said.
  • Airlines are set to lose bn (£65.9bn) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecast. With most of the world’s airliners currently parked, IATA said revenue would likely halve, falling from 9bn from 8bn last year.
  • China was accused of running disinformation campaigns inside the European Union, as the bloc set out a plan to tackle a “huge wave” of false facts about the coronavirus. The European commission said Russia and China were running “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns. in the EU, its neighbourhood, and globally”
  • The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Africa has passed 200,000, according to the World Health Organization’s office for the region. According to data later published by the Africa Centres for Disease Control, 54 African countries reported 203,899 cases, 5,530 deaths, and 91,398 recoveries by Wednesday evening.
  • Denmark, the first country outside Asia to ease its coronavirus lockdown, said on Wednesday the spread of Covid-19 has not accelerated since it entered its second phase of reopening society last month. The Nordic country allowed restaurants, cafes and malls to resume business during May.
  • Asylum applications in Europe fell to the lowest level for over a decade in April as borders closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, European Union figures show. The number of asylum applications declined to 8,730 during April, an 86% drop from 61,421 in February, according to figures obtained by Reuters.
  • South Korea cases spiked again. South Korea’s coronavirus cases spiked to 50 new cases on Wednesday, after two consecutive days of fewer than 40 cases. “All but three of the locally transmitted cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area,” the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Updated at 7.43pm BST

11.37pm BST

Hi, Helen Sullivan with you now. I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours – please do get in touch with news from your part of the world on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan@theguardian.com.

Updated at 11.37pm BST

11.23pm BST

Brazil has confirmed a total of 772,416 cases, with 32,913 new infections in the last 24 hours, as the world’s second worst outbreak after the US continues to surge. With another 1,274 fatalities, the death toll in Brazil has reached 39,680, the world’s third highest after the US and UK.

11.21pm BST

There has been no sign yet of an increase in cases from two weeks of protests across the US, the country’s vice-president Mike Pence has claimed. He has told Fox Business Network:

What I can tell you is that, at this point, we don’t see an increase in new cases now, nearly two weeks on from when the first protests took effect. Many people at protests were wearing masks and engaging in some social distancing.

Dr Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert on the White House task force Pence chairs, has expressed concern about the protests taking place during the pandemic.

“When you get congregations like we saw with the demonstrations, that’s taking a risk,” Fauci said on Wednesday in an interview on ABC. Last Friday, he said the mass protests were a “perfect setup” for spreading the virus.

10.45pm BST

Mexico City will embark on a large-scale testing effort as the centrepiece of its plan to reopen its economy, its mayor Claudia Sheinbaum has said. The plan sees it diverge from the federal governments strategy, which has shunned widespread testing as a waste of resources.

The goal will be performing some 100,000 tests per month by July and trying to detect and isolate new infections as quickly as possible, Sheinbaum said. The Associated Press reported that it will be paired with an intensive information campaign.

10.23pm BST

Film and TV production can resume in Los Angeles County on Friday, local authorities have said, but cinemas must remain closed.

California state officials said earlier this week that cinemas could reopen as early as Friday, pending approval from local officials. Los Angeles County is the biggest movie market in the United States.

Movie theatres closed their doors around the world in mid-March to help curb the epidemic and movie and television production also ground to a halt.

9.40pm BST

São Paulo, Brazil’s most populous state, has reported a record number of deaths for the second day running – even as its metropolis allowed shops to reopen.

The epicentre of the Brazilian epidemic has recorded 340 new deaths in the last 24 hours, raising the state’s confirmed death toll to 9,862, a fourth of the country’s total fatalities, the governor’s office said.

That did not stop shoppers flocking to the 25 de Março shopping district where around half of the businesses were open. Although stores considered essential, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, have remained open, most shops in São Paulo have been shut since March.

Shoppers packed the streets. Stores allowed in only people wearing masks and provided alcohol gel. Some took the temperature of shoppers at the entrance.

“I’m afraid because the virus is growing, but at the same time we have to go to work and buy things to sell, though always protected by a mask,” said Vanessa Pereira, a saleswoman.

The city’s shopping centres will reopen on Thursday for four hours a day after agreeing with authorities on reducing public access as a precaution against the contagion.

In Rio de Janeiro, the second hardest-hit Brazilian city, the mayor announced malls will also reopen on Thursday as part of a scheduled easing of restrictions.

The decisions to reopen shops has been advocated by Brazil’s far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, who has minimised the gravity of the outbreak and dismissed warnings by public health experts that the contagion is still surging.

Brazil has 739,503 confirmed cases, the world’s worst outbreak after the United States, and has suffered from at least 38,406 deaths.

Earlier, Bolsonaro told an actress to “get out of here” after she criticised his response to the pandemic at a gathering of supporters outside his official residence in the capital Brasilia.

9.18pm BST

Summary

Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak so far today include:

  • The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, is to be questioned as part of an investigation driven into alleged errors made by authorities. Prosecutors in Bergamo, the Lombardy province worst hit by the virus, will also question the health minister and the interior minister.
  • A US pharmaceutical company claimed a drug specifically designed to treat Covid-19 could be authorised for use as early as September. The chief scientist at Eli Lilly and Co told Reuters the feat could be achieved if all goes well with either of two antibody therapies it is testing.
  • Prince Joachim of Belgium has been fined €10,400 by authorities in Spain after going to a party in Cordoba, where he caught Covid-19. Joachim flew from Brussels to Madrid, then travelled to Cordoba to attend a party with 27 other guests on 26 May, at a time when travellers were meant to quarantine for two weeks, and gatherings were restricted to a maximum of 15 participants.
  • France is likely to suffer 800,000 job losses in coming months, the finance minister has warned, as the economy reels from the effects of lockdown. Bruno Le Maire told a finance committee in parliament: “Our evaluation is that 800,000 jobs will be lost in the coming months, or 2.8% of total employment.”
  • Moscow will report 57% more deaths for the month of May than in the three previous years, a leading Russian radio station has reported, indicating that the city’s coronavirus death toll for the month may be at least two times higher than official tallies for the month,
  • The global economy will contract at least 6% this year, with the unprecedented loss of income and “extraordinary uncertainty” caused by measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has said.
  • Airlines are set to lose bn (£65.9bn) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecast. With most of the world’s airliners currently parked, IATA said revenue would likely halve, falling from 9bn from 8bn last year.
  • China was accused of running disinformation campaigns inside the European Union, as the bloc set out a plan to tackle a “huge wave” of false facts about the coronavirus. The European commission said Russia and China were running “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns. in the EU, its neighbourhood, and globally”
  • The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Africa has passed 200,000, according to the World Health Organization’s office for the region. According to data later published by the Africa Centres for Disease Control, 54 African countries reported 203,899 cases, 5,530 deaths, and 91,398 recoveries by Wednesday evening.
  • Denmark, the first country outside Asia to ease its coronavirus lockdown, said on Wednesday the spread of Covid-19 has not accelerated since it entered its second phase of reopening society last month. The Nordic country allowed restaurants, cafes and malls to resume business during May.
  • Asylum applications in Europe fell to the lowest level for over a decade in April as borders closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, European Union figures show. The number of asylum applications declined to 8,730 during April, an 86% drop from 61,421 in February, according to figures obtained by Reuters.
  • South Korea cases spiked again. South Korea’s coronavirus cases spiked to 50 new cases on Wednesday, after two consecutive days of fewer than 40 cases. “All but three of the locally transmitted cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area,” the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Updated at 7.43pm BST

8.48pm BST

Eli Lilly and Co could have a drug specifically designed to treat Covid-19 authorised for use as early as September if all goes well with either of two antibody therapies it is testing, its chief scientist has claimed.

Lilly is also doing preclinical studies of a third antibody treatment for the illness that could enter human clinical trials in the coming weeks, the chief scientific officer Daniel Skovronsky has said in an interview with the Reuters news agency.

Lilly has already launched human trials with two of the experimental therapies.

The drugs belong to a class of biotech medicines called monoclonal antibodies widely used to treat cancer, rheumatoid arthritis and many other conditions. A monoclonal antibody drug developed against Covid-19 is likely to be more effective than repurposed medicines currently being tested against the virus.

7.20pm BST

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 950 more deaths and 17,376 new cases, taking the official totals in the USA to 112,133 and 1,973,797, respectively.

7.06pm BST

Summary

Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak so far today include:

  • The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, is to be questioned as part of an investigation driven into alleged errors made by authorities. Prosecutors in Bergamo, the Lombardy province worst hit by the virus, will also question the health minister and the interior minister.
  • Prince Joachim of Belgium has been fined €10,400 by authorities in Spain after going to a party in Cordoba, where he caught Covid-19. Joachim flew from Brussels to Madrid, then travelled to Cordoba to attend a party with 27 other guests on 26 May, at a time when travellers were meant to quarantine for two weeks, and gatherings were restricted to a maximum of 15 participants.
  • France is likely to suffer 800,000 job losses in coming months, the finance minister has warned, as the economy reels from the effects of lockdown. Bruno Le Maire told a finance committee in parliament: “Our evaluation is that 800,000 jobs will be lost in the coming months, or 2.8% of total employment.”
  • Moscow will report 57% more deaths for the month of May than in the three previous years, a leading Russian radio station has reported, indicating that the city’s coronavirus death toll for the month may be at least two times higher than official tallies for the month,
  • The global economy will contract at least 6% this year, with the unprecedented loss of income and “extraordinary uncertainty” caused by measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has said.
  • Airlines are set to lose bn (£65.9bn) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) has forecast. With most of the world’s airliners currently parked, IATA said revenue would likely halve, falling from 9bn from 8bn last year.
  • China was accused of running disinformation campaigns inside the European Union, as the bloc set out a plan to tackle a “huge wave” of false facts about the coronavirus. The European commission said Russia and China were running “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns. in the EU, its neighbourhood, and globally”
  • The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Africa has passed 200,000, according to the World Health Organization’s office for the region. According to data later published by the Africa Centres for Disease Control, 54 African countries reported 203,899 cases, 5,530 deaths, and 91,398 recoveries by Wednesday evening.
  • Denmark, the first country outside Asia to ease its coronavirus lockdown, said on Wednesday the spread of Covid-19 has not accelerated since it entered its second phase of reopening society last month. The Nordic country allowed restaurants, cafes and malls to resume business during May.
  • Asylum applications in Europe fell to the lowest level for over a decade in April as borders closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, European Union figures show. The number of asylum applications declined to 8,730 during April, an 86% drop from 61,421 in February, according to figures obtained by Reuters.
  • South Korea cases spiked again. South Korea’s coronavirus cases spiked to 50 new cases on Wednesday, after two consecutive days of fewer than 40 cases. “All but three of the locally transmitted cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area,” the Yonhap News Agency reported.

Updated at 7.43pm BST

6.59pm BST

France’s death toll has risen by only 23 – well below the average daily increase of 53 seen over the last two weeks – to 29,319. That is the fifth-highest nominal total in the world. On Tuesday, 87 deaths were reported.

But the number of new confirmed cases was up by 545 to 155,136 after that figure stayed below the 500 threshold during the last three days, Reuters has reported.

6.49pm BST

In the UK, the opposition Liberal Democrats are demanding the government commit to an inquiry into its handling of the country’s epidemic as the prime minister Boris Johnson announces the easing of a series of lockdown measures, including allowing zoos to reopen, while abandoning chaotic plans for a full reopening of schools.

Ed Davey, the acting leader of a party that accounts for 21 of the Commons’ 650 MPs, has said:

Parents and teachers will be asking why the prime minister is talking just about theme parks and zoos when so many parents want to hear about the practical steps to reopen schools safely in the weeks ahead.

The fact remains that a comprehensive test, trace and isolate system is still the only way to keep people safe as we move out of lockdown. Yet the government still hasn’t delivered on this, and apparently won’t be able to until September. Ministers can’t even provide figures for the number of people being tested day-to-day.

The prime minister needs to be utterly transparent about the barriers to opening schools, the limits to testing capacity and the issues affecting the test, trace and isolate system. As more and more questions are raised about key decisions throughout this crisis, Boris Johnson must now commit to an independent inquiry into his government’s handling of this pandemic.

6.38pm BST

6.19pm BST

If you prefer all your coronavirus news in one easily digested story, read our coronavirus global report, written today by Jon Henley.

6.11pm BST

A person dressed as a bunny wearing a face mask advertises a shop in St Petersburg, Russia.
A person dressed as a bunny wearing a face mask advertises a shop in St Petersburg, Russia.
Photograph: Dmitri Lovetsky/AP

5.57pm BST

The UK has reported another 245 coronavirus-related deaths.

According to the department for health, 41,128 people had died in hospitals, care homes and the wider community after testing positive for coronavirus in the UK as of 5pm on Tuesday, up from 40,883 the day before, the PA News Agency reported.

The Government figures do not include all deaths involving coronavirus across the UK, which is thought to have passed 52,000.

Health authorities also said in the 24-hour period up to 9am on Wednesday, 170,379 tests were carried out or dispatched, with 1,003 positive results.

Overall, a total of 6,042,622 tests have been carried out and 290,143 cases have been confirmed positive.

The figure for the number of people tested has been “temporarily paused to ensure consistent reporting” across all methods of testing.

5.43pm BST

The owner of Zara will close as many as 1,200 stores around the world as the clothing retailer tries to boost online sales during the chaos wrought by the Covid-19 pandemic, reports Jasper Jolly for the Guardian’s business desk.

Inditex said it would “absorb” between 1,000 and 1,200 mainly smaller stores, with losses concentrated among older shops from brands other than Zara. The Spanish company’s other brands include Bershka, Pull & Bear and Massimo Dutti.

Closures are expected to be concentrated in Asia and Europe. It is understood that the 107 Inditex stores in the UK are less likely to be significantly affected.

Inditex said that “headcount will remain stable”, with staff offered roles in other jobs such as dispatching online purchases.

The total store count will fall from 7,412 to between 6,700 and 6,900 after the reorganisation, which will also include the opening of 450 new shops.

Inditex, one of the world’s largest clothing retailers, has been hit hard during the pandemic, with sales down 44% to €3.3bn (£2.9bn) between 1 February and 30 April, the first quarter of its financial year.

The company reported a net loss of €409m during the quarter. Almost a quarter of its shops remained closed by 8 June.

5.30pm BST

Angela Giuffrida, the Guardian’s Rome correspondent, has more details on Italian prosecutors’ plans to question their prime minister today. She writes:

The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, is to be questioned as part of an investigation driven by relatives of coronavirus victims into alleged errors made by authorities at the beginning of the pandemic.

Prosecutors in Bergamo, the Lombardy province worst hit by the virus, will also question the health minister, Roberto Speranza and the interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, over the failure by authorities to quarantine the towns of Alzano Lombardo and Nembro after outbreaks occurred there.

The move came after grieving families of Covid-19 victims on Wednesday submitted the first 50 complaints to Bergamo prosecutors as they push for an investigation into possible criminal negligence by authorities.

The files were brought together by members of NOI Denunceremo (we will denounce), a Facebook group set up in April.

“We haven’t identified culprits in the files but the other day we spoke to the prosecutor and explained that our main objective is to find out the truth,” Luca Fusco, the president of NOI Denunceremo, said. “We’re not interested in convictions, we just want to understand what happened. If we understand what happened we can change a system that made mistakes.”

5.15pm BST

Travel restrictions at the European Union’s external borders should be partially lifted by 1 July, the bloc’s top diplomat has said, according to the Associated Press.

Josep Borrell said on Wednesday that the European Commission will discuss a coordinated plan with member nations and “put forward an approach for the gradual and partial lifting of these restrictions as of the 1st of July, with certain third countries.”

All but essential travel from outside Europe is restricted until 15 June. Many ministers from the 27-nation EU suggested earlier this month that they wanted this deadline extended until early July.

As for the EU’s internal borders, Borrell said the executive commission took note that several countries are in the process of lifting internal border controls imposed to keep out people from other member states.

4.52pm BST

Belgian prince fined €10,400 by Spain after breaking lockdown rules

Prince Joachim of Belgium has been fined €10,400 by authorities in Spain after going to a party in Cordoba while the country was under its strict coronavirus lockdown that included two weeks’ quarantine for people arriving in the country.

A scandal erupted after Joachim flew from Brussels to Madrid, then travelled to Cordoba to attend a party with 27 other guests on 26 May, at a time when gatherings were restricted to a maximum of 15 participants.

He subsequently tested positive for coronavirus and all guests at the party were forced to quarantine themselves.

Joachim’s presence at the party, revealed by Spanish newspaper El Confidencial, caused an uproar in both Spain, which has one of the world’s highest death tolls, and in Belgium, which has one of the highest per capita death tolls.

After news of his The Belgian royal family said that Joachim had travelled to Spain for an internship. Since travelling for work was considered essential travel this allowed him to leave the country at a time when borders were closed.

On Wednesday, Spanish authorities slapped Joachim with the fine, not over the party but because he did not quarantine after arriving in Madrid, as had been mandatory at the time, Belgian Flemish-language news website De Morgen reports.

If he pays within 15 days he will only have to pay half.

Updated at 7.44pm BST

4.28pm BST

The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, and the country’s health and interior ministers are to be questioned over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic, reports AFP citing news agencies reported.

Prosecutors from Bergamo, the city in the northern Lombardy region worst hit by the virus, have launched a wide-ranging investigation into the health crisis, which has officially killed over 34,000 people in Italy.

They are looking in particular at why a red zone was not enforced in February around the towns of Nembro and Alzano, with regional officials and the government blaming each other.

The government imposed its first red zone, around the town of Codogno, 24 hours after doctors discovered a patient with the virus. It would go on to shut down 10 other towns, and then large areas of the north before imposing a nationwide lockdown.

Conte, the health minister, Roberto Speranza, and the interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, would be called on by prosecutors in Rome later Wednesday, according to the Corriere della Sera and the Sole 24 Ore dailies.

The team, lead by chief prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota, has already questioned the Lombardy region’s head, Attilio Fontana, and his health minister, Giulio Gallera, who insist it is the role of the national government to decide whether certain areas should be shut.

4.04pm BST

A mannequin displaying protective gear is placed outside a garment shop in Kolkata as India eases lockdown restrictions.
A mannequin displaying protective gear is placed outside a garment shop in Kolkata as India eases lockdown restrictions.
Photograph: Rupak de Chowdhuri/Reuters

4.01pm BST

Guardian science editor Ian Sample explains how vaccines work, runs through some of the main obstacles to creating one for coronavirus and preparing it for public use, and tells us which scenario he thinks is most realistic in the next 18 months.

3.38pm BST

Poland will open its borders with fellow European Union countries on Saturday and allow international flights from next Tuesday, as the country unfreezes its economy despite an increase in coronavirus cases.

Poland closed its borders to foreigners in March to stop the spread of the coronavirus. However, it has been progressively loosening restictions on public life, with shopping centres, hotels and restaurants all reopening in May.

“In some countries…this pandemic is still behaving in a very disturbing way, so for now we limit this decision (opening borders) to European Union countries,” the prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, said.

Poland has seen a recent rise in infections, mostly centred around coal mines in the south. On Monday a record 599 new cases were reported.

As of Wednesday morning Poland, a country of around 38 million people, had reported 27,668 cases of the coronavirus and 1,191 deaths.

Austria said on Wednesday it was lifting checks at its border with Italy and ending quarantine requirements for more than 20 European countries as of next Tuesday.

3.35pm BST

The Coachella music festival in the Southern California desert is unlikely to take place this year, entertainment news website Billboard has reported.

The move comes as Anschutz Entertainment Group, the parent company of the music festival’s organiser Goldenvoice, is laying off 15% of the workforce, the report said.

Earlier in March, Goldenvoice said the music festival had been postponed for six months until October due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Coachella, one of the biggest music festivals in the world, brings half a million fans to an open-air site in Indio, east of Los Angeles, over two weekends and was originally scheduled to take place on 10-12 and 17-19 April.

3.29pm BST

France to see 800,000 job losses in coming months, minister says

France is likely to suffer 800,000 job losses in coming months, the finance minister has warned, as the economy reels from the effects of lockdown.

Bruno Le Maire told a finance committee in parliament:

Our evaluation is that 800,000 jobs will be lost in the coming months, or 2.8% of total employment.

The shock is considerable and calls for massive public policies to support and accompany all those affected.

Such measures include the furlough scheme, tax breaks for companies and financial incentives to hire apprentices, he said.

The Bank of France said on Tuesday the French economy will likely shrink about 10%, resulting from the countrywide strict lockdown imposed in March.

The economy will not recover to pre-crisis levels until mid-2022, it said.

Unemployment is expected to surge to above 11.5% by mid-2021, well above previous peaks, the bank said.

France’s economy shrank 5.3% in the first three months of the year, and statistics office Insee has said the contraction could reach 20 percent in the second quarter.

The country is bracing for its worst recession since World War II.

France is planning an outlay of some €45bn to support the sectors most in danger, according to the latest version of a budget presented by the government Wednesday.

The government has pledged €15bn alone for the country’s aviation industry, where thousands of jobs are on the line as the coronavirus crisis hammers the travel industry.

3.07pm BST

A disenchanted supporter has confronted the president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, outside his official residence, accusing the right-wing populist of “betraying” the country with his response to Covid-19, writes Tom Phillips, the Guardian’s Latin America correspondent, in Rio de Janeiro.

The woman challenged Bolsonaro outside the Palácio da Alvorada in ‎Brasília on Wednesday morning, pulling out a poster with Brazil’s official coronavirus death toll written on it: 38,000.

“These are not 38,000 statistics. They are 38,000 families that are dying right now. 38,000 people who are crying,” the woman told Bolsonaro.

“I voted for you. I campaigned for you … and I feel you have betrayed our people.”

As Brazil’s president walked away she shouted: “People are dying and you are ignoring me!”

According to Brazilian newspapers, Bolsonaro – who is facing growing public anger for his handling of the pandemic – subsequently told the women to “get out of here” and accused her of talking “abobrinha” (courgette) – which roughly translates as talking cobblers.

Brazil looks set to overtake the UK as the country with the second highest official Covid-19 death toll later this week, but on Tuesday Bolsonaro insisted it was time to get back to business.

2.54pm BST

Authorities in Zimbabwe have started publicly naming people who have escaped from quarantine centres and urging the public to report them to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the Associated Press reports.

Zimbabwe has seen a rise in confirmed cases of coronavirus in recent days, with most recorded at quarantine centres.

More than 3,700 people are being detained after entering the country, mostly from neighbouring South Africa and Botswana, but dozens are fleeing the confinement complaining of filthy, unhygienic conditions and spreading infections.

A young boy walks past a mural in Harare urging people to wear face masks.
A young boy walks past a mural in Harare urging people to wear face masks.
Photograph: Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/AP

Zimbabwe had on Wednesday reported 314 cases of coronavirus, according to figures released by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, up from 56 recorded toward the end of May.

Most of the new cases have been reported at the quarantine centres. The information minister, Monica Mutsvangwa, said on Tuesady this showed the effectiveness of the country’s mandatory 21-day isolation regime.

2.40pm BST

A coronavirus-related mural at the San Miguel Chapultepec neighbourhood in Mexico City.
A coronavirus-related mural at the San Miguel Chapultepec neighbourhood in Mexico City.
Photograph: Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images

2.31pm BST

The German government on Wednesday eased entry restrictions for seasonal farm workers that were first introduced to help stem the spread of the coronavirus, AFP reports.

From 16 June until 31 December, seasonal workers from the European Union and the passport-free Schengen zone will once again be allowed to freely enter Germany by land or air to help harvest crops, the agriculture minister, Julia Kloeckner, announced.

“Until the end of the year, farmers can employ additional seasonal workers from abroad,” Kloeckner said, warning however that they would have to follow strict hygiene rules. “This is the only way to work responsibly in times of a pandemic. It’s in all our interests that farmers can keep harvesting and sowing.”

German farms usually require 300,000 foreign harvest helpers a year, mainly from Poland and Romania. But at the height of the coronavirus crisis in March the government closed borders and capped the number of seasonal workers allowed to enter the country at 80,000.

Farmers even chartered special flights to fly in Romanian workers amid fears that strawberry and asparagus harvests could go to waste because of a shortage of labour. By early June, just under 39,000 seasonal workers had travelled to Germany, according to the agriculture ministry.

Under the new guidelines, which come as Germany’s coronavirus outbreak is deemed to be under control, harvest workers have to keep at least 1.5 metres (ft) from each other and work in small teams.

If anyone falls ill with Covid-19, their team is to be isolated immediately and employers must notify the local health authorities.

Updated at 2.33pm BST

2.15pm BST

Google has said it will show commuters public transport alerts on its Maps software, in a bid to help people avoid overcrowding during the coronavirus pandemic.

Transit alerts will appear whenever a trip is likely to be affected by Covid-19 restrictions, with mandatory precautions from official local data, the UK’s PA Media reports. These include warnings if public transport services are suspended due to the pandemic.

Google is rolling out the feature in Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Colombia, France, India, Mexico, Netherlands, Spain, Thailand, the UK and the US.

Public transport has been operating on reduced timetables since the outbreak started, with only key workers advised to make journeys if they have no alternative.

Google is also introducing alerts on Maps for drivers to provide information on checkpoints and restrictions along their route, such as when crossing national borders – though this feature will only be available in Canada, Mexico and the US initially.

Updated at 2.33pm BST

1.55pm BST

Moscow will report 57% more deaths for the month of May than in the three previous years, a leading Russian radio station has reported, indicating that the city’s coronavirus death toll for the month may be at least two times higher than official tallies for the month, writes Andrew Roth, in the Russian capital.

According to data released on Wednesday, Moscow had 5,799 “excess deaths” – the number of deaths exceeding what would regularly be expected – for the month of May, while the city has reported around 2,750 deaths on Wednesday where coronavirus was the primary cause for the month.

The Moscow health department later confirmed the number of excess deaths at 5,799 and revised up the number of people who died from coronavirus in May to 2,757.

Statisticians and doctors have previously told the Guardian that 75% or more of excess deaths are likely to be tied to the coronavirus outbreak.

Citizens enjoy cool air near the War Years fountain in Victory Park in Moscow.
Citizens enjoy cool air near the War Years fountain in Victory Park in Moscow.
Photograph: Vladimir Gerdo/TASS

The data is in line with several other major Russian cities, where total mortality data has shown thousands of deaths not reflected in official coronavirus tallies. St Petersburg last week issued 1,552 more death certificates this May than in the previous year, a nearly 32% rise barely reflected in the official coronavirus death toll for the month of 171.

Moscow will report 15,700 deaths for the month of May, Russia’s Ekho of Moscow radio station said on Wednesday, citing anonymous sources. Its editor, Alexey Venediktov, said the average death toll for May in 2017-19 was 9,996, indicating 5,704 excess deaths.

Data on the city’s mortality rate for May is likely to be released this week, and Ekho of Moscow’s editor has correctly reported the figures in the past before their release.

Russian officials have aggressively denied the data on coronavirus deaths is being massaged. Even if corrected upward to reflect more likely deaths from coronavirus, the death toll in cities such as St Petersburg or Moscow will likely remain lower than in the worst-hit cities like New York.

Updated at 2.36pm BST

1.44pm BST

Two of Britain’s most influential conductors, Sir Simon Rattle and Sir Mark Elder, have warned of a “devastated landscape” after the pandemic in which orchestras may not survive, writes Mark Brown, the Guardian’s arts correspondent.

Rattle and Elder said musicians in the UK felt “out in the wilderness” and called for more clarity from the government of when and how they can return to playing.

The performing arts, including theatre, music and dance, will be some of the last activities to be resumed as the UK climbs out of the lockdown. With no income, many arts organisations are burning through reserves and, without targeted help, some may not survive.

In a letter to the Guardian, Rattle, the music director of the London Symphony Orchestra, and Elder, the music director of the Hallé Orchestra, describe classical music’s situation as desperate.

“There’s a real possibility of a devastated landscape on the other side of this; orchestras may not survive, and if they do, they may face insuperable obstacles to remain solvent in our new reality.”

Updated at 1.48pm BST

1.36pm BST

Iran on Wednesday announced more than 2,000 new coronavirus infections, in line with a recent surge in cases that its president, Hassan Rouhani, attributed to increased testing.

The health ministry spokeswoman, Sima Sadat Lari, said the 2,011 infections confirmed in the past 24 hours had raised Iran’s overall caseload to 177,938. The death toll reached 8,506, after 81 new deaths over the same period.

Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, makes a statement during a council of ministers meeting in Tehran.
Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s president, makes a statement during a council of ministers meeting in Tehran.
Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

In a televised cabinet meeting, Rouhani said: “When more tests are done, then naturally more cases are identified.” But the high number of recent cases “does not have a negative aspect to it, and people should not worry”, he was quoted as saying by AFP.

The ministry says it has carried out more than 1m coronavirus tests since it reported the country’s first cases on 19 February.

There has been scepticism at home and abroad about Iran’s official figures, with concerns the real toll could be much higher.

Rising infection figures since a low in early May and lax observance of social distancing have worried authorities, which have reiterated calls for strict adherence to health protocols.

Updated at 1.49pm BST

1.22pm BST

Austria is to reopen its border with Italy and allow free travel from most other European countries from 16 June, the foreign minister has said, according to AFP.

Last week, Austria relaxed restrictions for travel to some neighbouring states but had excluded Italy, one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic in Europe.

On Wednesday, the foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, told a press conference: “Yes, we are opening the border. Yes, travelling to Italy, to Greece, to Croatia, for example, will be possible.”

However, travel between Austrial and Sweden, Spain, Portugal and the UK will remain restricted. Travellers from those countries will still have to show a negative coronavirus test or undergo a two-week home quarantine.

A travel warning will also stay in place for Lombardy in northern Italy, which emerged as a coronavirus hotspot during the pandemic, Schallenberg said, explaining that the government was urging Austrians to avoid travelling there.

On 10 March, Austria was among the first in the EU to announce that it was closing its borders with Italy to try to curb the spread the coronavirus pandemic.

Austria has been spared the brunt of the health crisis. On Wednesday, it reported 26 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total in the country to 17,005, of whom 15,910 have recovered. The death toll stands at 673, with one new death announced on Wednesday.

Updated at 1.50pm BST

1.08pm BST

Germany is extending its coronavirus pandemic travel warnings for more than 160 countries outside Europe until the end of August, the Associated Press reports.

The government agreed on Wednesday to extend the guidance, first introduced on 17 March, to almost all non-EU countries, with the exception of some that have successfully contained the outbreak.

Last week, Germany downgraded its travel warning for the rest of the 27-nation EU, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Norway, Iceland and the UK.

Also on Wednesday, the government announced the end of border controls for EU citizens coming to Germany. Almost all German states require travellers arriving from countries that have 50 new cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the past seven days to quarantine for two weeks. This is currently the case for fellow EU member state Sweden.

12.54pm BST

Afghanistan’s health minister has asked the nation to learn how to live with the coronavirus as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases passed 22,000 and Helmand recorded two more deaths from Covid-19, writes Akhtar Mohammad Makoii for the Guardian in Herat.

Ahmad Jawad Osmani, the acting health minister, told the public on Wednesday to “learn how to live with coronavirus, because it won’t disappear in a matter of months or weeks”. He was talking from one of the capital’s Covid-19 hospitals and said the problem of compressed oxygen has been solved.

“I talked with all compressed oxygen producer companies, which are six in the capital, and we signed a contract with them so they will produce us more oxygen,” Osmani said. Covid-19 patients and their relatives have been struggling with lack of compressed oxygen since early this week.

A woman breaths through an oxygen mask in the Afghan-Japan special hospital for Covid-19 patients in Kabul.
A woman breaths through an oxygen mask in the Afghan-Japan special hospital for Covid-19 patients in Kabul.
Photograph: Jawad Jalali/EPA

“The oxygen lasts for only five minutes, then we are asked to go to private hospitals. Even if there is oxygen at private hospitals, I must buy the oxygen for 12,000 Afghanis (5) from my own pocket”, a family member of a patient told local television

“The lack of oxygen is a big problem. Recently a patient died here and then my patient started losing hope. The other patient died just because of a lack of oxygen.”

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases has passed 22,000, after the health ministry detected 684 new cases from 1,128 tests in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 22,143. Twenty one patients died overnight, raising the country’s Covid-19 death toll to 405. There have been 2,975 recoveries. The ministry has so far tested 50,658 suspected patients.

Most of the new cases were reported in the capital, Kabul, where the health ministry detected 393 new cases out of 590 tests. Kabul is the country’s worst affected area in both number of confirmed transmissions and deaths with 8,829 cases and 84 deaths.

The western province of Herat recorded 96 new cases out of 163 tests in the last 24 hours as 10 patients died overnight. Herat has so far recorded 4,104 confirmed cases and 76 deaths. Wahid Qatali, the governor of Herat, said on Tuesday night that the actual number of infections in the province may be more than 60,000.

In Helmand, two more patients died of Covid-19, bringing the total number of deaths to eight. Helmand recorded its first death on Saturday.

12.39pm BST

Nearly all economic and social activities have resumed in Malaysia, after nearly three months in pandemic lockdown apparently successfully contained transmission of coronavirus.

Malaysians can now travel for domestic holidays, get haircuts and shop at street markets, the Associated Press reports. Schools and religious activities also will gradually resume.

Malaysia has had 8,336 confirmed infections and 117 deaths. Daily cases have dropped to only seven since Monday, the lowest since the lockdown started on 18 March.

A woman cuts hair at a salon in Kuala Lumpur.
A woman cuts hair at a salon in Kuala Lumpur.
Photograph: Ahmad Yusni/EPA

While happy to be back at work, hairstylist Shirley Chai told the American news agency that is nervous about the strict health rules for hairdressers, especially the one-hour limit for each client.

“I couldn’t sleep at all last night. Very excited because everything is changing,” she said at her salon in a Kuala Lumpur shopping mall.

Malaysia has entered a “recovery” phase until the end of August with certain prohibitions still in place, but officials warn restrictions will be reinstated if infections soar again.

Night clubs, pubs, karaoke bars, theme parks and reflexology centres will stay shut. Contact sports or those with many spectators, and activities involving mass groups, are still banned.

12.29pm BST

Global economy to shrink by at least 6% – OECD

The global economy will contract at least 6% this year, with the unprecedented loss of income and “extraordinary uncertainty” caused by measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development has said.

In the case of a second wave of contagion later in the year, economic output could shrink by as much as 7.6 percent, it warned. In both scenarios, recovery will be “slow and uncertain”.

In its latest economic outlook report, the OECD said:

The lockdown measures brought in by most governments have succeeded in slowing the spread of the virus and in reducing the death toll but they have also frozen business activity in many sectors, widened inequality, disrupted education and undermined confidence in the future.

As restrictions begin to be eased, the path to economic recovery remains highly uncertain and vulnerable to a second wave of infections.

With or without a second outbreak, the consequences will be severe and long-lasting.

The OECD has published several tweets illustrating its forecasts.

Suffice to say, the economic outlook is bleak, to say the least. As the OECD says in its report:

The global economy is now experiencing the deepest recession since the Great Depression in the 1930s, with GDP declines of more than 20% and a surge in unemployment in many countries. Even in countries where containment measures have been relatively light, early data are already making clear that the economic and social costs of the pandemic will be large.

Growth prospects depend on many factors, including how Covid-19 evolves, the duration of any shutdowns, the impact on activity, and the implementation of fiscal and monetary policy support. Uncertainty will likely prevail for an extended period.

Given this uncertainty, two scenarios have been developed to reflect the possible evolution of the global economy. In the double-hit scenario, it is assumed that renewed shutdowns are implemented before end of 2020, following another surge of the Covid-19 virus.

Earlier on Wednesday, my colleague on the business desk, Phillip Inman, wrote more specifically about the OECD’s forecasts for the UK.

12.18pm BST

As traumatised US farmers continue to cull their animals in response to the slaughterhouse crisis, an Iowan pig producer has developed an on-farm method which he believes is quicker and more humane than other available options, writes Sophie Kevany for the Guardian’s Animals Farmed project.

The coronavirus crisis has hit US meat plants particularly hard. As a result there is a lack of slaughter capacity, and farmers are being forced to cull or “depopulate” their animals on-farm.

Approved methods include gassing with CO2, but the practice is controversial. “Dying this way is not a peaceful experience”, even under normal circumstances, let alone in makeshift sheds or trailers, said president of welfare group, Mercy for Animals, Leah Garcés.

Gassing the animals is currently thought to be one of the fastest and most humane methods, leaving animals unconscious within two minutes and dead within 10. The carcasses are incinerated, composted or rendered for fat, fertiliser and pet food.

But for Dwight Mogler of Iowa’s Pig Hill Farms, that is too long. Mogler is a sixth-generation pig farmer with firsthand experience of gassing newborn pigs. “I have talked to people who have been on site for a CO2 depopulation and we have used it for neonatal [new-born] pigs. It can take up to a minute,” he said.

12.04pm BST

Airlines are set to lose bn (£65.9bn) as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) forecast on Tuesday, according to Reuters.

With most of the world’s airliners currently parked, IATA said revenue would likely halve, falling from 9bn from 8bn last year. “Every day of this year will add 0 million to industry losses,” the IATA’s director general, Alexandre de Juniac, said.

The average loss amounts to almost per passenger flown.

British Airways passenger planes on the apron at London Heathrow airport.
British Airways passenger planes on the apron at London Heathrow airport.
Photograph: Adrian Dennis/AFP/Getty Images

In 2021, IATA warned losses could hit 0 billion as traffic struggles to recover and airlines slash fares to win business.

“Airlines will still be financially fragile in 2021,” De Juniac said, predicting “even more intense” competition. “That will translate into strong incentives for travellers to take to the skies again,” he added.

IATA forecast a rise in 2021 revenue to 8 billion.

Airlines are counting the cost of weeks of lost business, a debt pile swollen by bailouts and a diminished demand outlook.

Passenger numbers are seen falling to 2.25 billion this year before rising to 3.38 billion in 2021, still more than 25% below 2019 levels.

11.52am BST

Flags flew at half mast in Burundi on Monday, the morning after the announcement of the sudden death of the president, Pierre Nkurunziza, who many suspect died of Covid-19.

The first lady, Denise Bucumi, who had been recovering from the coronavirus in a hospital in Nairobi, Kenya, flew back to Bujumbura late on Tuesday, a source in the presidency told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Condolences poured in from across Africa. John Magufuli, president of Tanzania, praised Nkurunziza’s “strong leadership and his efforts to fight for peace, development and democracy.”

But critics regretted that Nkurunziza had died without justice being served for human rights abuses under his rule. His 2015 run for a third term in office sparked protests and a failed coup, with violence leaving at least 1,200 dead while some 400,000 fled the country.

The Burundian national flag is taken down in downtown Bujumbura.
The Burundian national flag is taken down in downtown Bujumbura.
Photograph: Tchandrou Nitanga/AFP/Getty Images

Members of the ruling party mourned Nkurunziza’s death. “It is a catastrophe, it is as if the sky has crashed down on us. What will become of us without our supreme guide,” one party leader told AFP, sobbing, on condition of anonymity.

Gerard, a party member in Nkurunziza’s home province of Ngozi, was quoted by the French news agency as saying he could not understand how Nkurunziza “had died just like that … we are obliged to believe this official version, but I don’t understand.”

Rumours swirled on social media, with some wondering if he had been poisoned, while others suspecting he had been infected by coronavirus. Burundi has largely ignored the pandemic, which Nkurunziza declared had spared Burundi thanks to God.

Some in the country were gripped by anxiety over what comes next.

“I am very worried for the future of course, because we don’t know what is going to happen in the coming days, if the CNDD-FDD is not going to tear themselves apart over the leadership,” said Raoul, a young opposition supporter who works in a bank, and like many only gave his first name.

Updated at 12.13pm BST

11.37am BST

China has been accused by Brussels of running disinformation campaigns inside the European Union, as the bloc set out a plan to tackle a “huge wave” of false facts about the coronavirus pandemic, writes Jennifer Rankin, the Guardian’s Brussels correspondent.

The European commission said Russia and China were running “targeted influence operations and disinformation campaigns in the EU, its neighbourhood, and globally”. While the charge against Russia has been levelled on many occasions, this is the first time the EU executive has publicly named China as a source of disinformation.

French politicians were furious when a Chinese embassy website claimed in mid-April, at the height of Europe’s pandemic, that care workers had abandoned their jobs leaving residents to die. The unnamed Chinese diplomat also claimed falsely that 80 French lawmakers had used a racist slur against the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

Vĕra Jourová, a European commission vice-president, told reporters:

I believe if we have evidence we should not shy away from naming and shaming. What we also witnessed is a surge in narratives undermining our democracies and in effect our response to the crisis, for example the claim there are secret US biological laboratories on former Soviet republics has been spread by both pro-Kremlin outlets, as well as Chinese officials and state media.

11.22am BST

Amid the continuing controversy in the scientific community, Greece has resumed production of chloroquine to treat people with coronavirus, AFP reports.

Last week a major UK trial run by Oxford University halted its tests of the drugs, saying there was no evidence they worked against the virus, but scientists in Greece said they are continuing trials with a “calm and distant approach.”

Greek epidemiologists consider chloroquine effective, especially in the early stages of Covid-19.

As the scale of the pandemic became apparent earlier this year, the company Uni-Pharma moved quickly to renew an old manufacturing licence for the drug, which was exported to Africa in the 1990s for the treatment of malaria.

The licence was reactivated in March, just days before Greece closed its borders to contain the spread of the virus, Spyros Kintzios, Uni-Pharma’s development director, told AFP.

Five tonnes of raw material were imported from India and the laboratory went into “high-alert”, said Evangelia Sakellariou, a chemist responsible for quality control in a laboratory in the Athens suburb of Nea Kifissia, was one of the first scientists to have tested the chloroquine tablets used in Greek hospitals.

“On the weekend of 21 March we were working constantly, we were under pressure and in 30 hours we produced 24 million doses, which were then offered to the Greek national health system,” she said of the pills, made under the brand name Unikinon.

“When I saw the first tablets, I felt relieved and happy to have made this effort for a good cause,” Sakellariou added.

11.14am BST

Africa passes 200,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus

The total number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in Africa has passed 200,000, according to the World Health Organization’s office for the region.

According to the latest update by the UN health agency, 201,157 people have tested positive for the virus across the 54 countries in Africa, of whom 90,374 have recovered and 5,486 have died, the UN health agency said.

11.07am BST

Hello everybody, this is Damien Gayle in the hot seat now for the next eight hours or so, bringing you the latest in coronavirus-related headlines and updates from around the world.

As ever, I’m keen to hear from readers. If you have any comments, tips or suggestions for coverage please drop me a line, either via email to damien.gayle@theguardian.com, or via Twitter DM to @damiengayle.

11.00am BST

Denmark: easing lockdown has not increased infection

Denmark, the first country outside Asia to ease its coronavirus lockdown, said on Wednesday the spread of Covid-19 has not accelerated since it entered its second phase of reopening society last month, reports Reuters.

The Nordic country allowed restaurants, cafes and malls to resume business during May in the second phase of easing lockdown restrictions. In April it had allowed day care centres, schools, hair dressers and some small businesses to reopen.

“The level of contagion in society is still very low,” the Danish health authority said in a report on Wednesday, adding that the number of confirmed new infections had continued to fall despite more tests being carried out.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths has hovered between zero and four per day in the last three weeks, after a peak of 22 deaths on 31 March. The number of hospitalisations has fallen to fewer than 100 since the beginning of June.

“There is no sign yet of noticeable changes in the extent of contagion despite the gradual opening of society in April and early May,” the report said.

On Monday, the Danish government raised the maximum limit on public gatherings to 50 from 10 and allowed fitness centres and public swimming pools to reopen. It plans a further easing of restrictions on public gatherings in July and August.

Updated at 11.41am BST

10.49am BST

France is expected to end the official “state of health emergency” introduced for the coronavirus crisis on 10 July. This “exceptional” crisis measure gave the government temporary constitutional powers to introduce restrictions during the pandemic. Now the government is planning legislation allowing it to lift the state of emergency while keeping certain measures to avoid a second wave of Covid-19.

The number of patients in intensive care units in hospitals with the virus has dropped to below 1,000, from a spike of more than 7,000 in April, and the number of deaths each day is falling. A total of 29,296 people have died in France as a result of Covid-19 since the start of the pandemic, according to official figures.

The Paris Zoological Park in the Bois de Vincennes
Visitors watch giraffes at the Paris Zoological Park in the Bois de Vincennes, which reopened after lockdown on Monday.
Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

“Given the positive developments in the health situation, at this stage, the government wishes to end the state of health emergency, which should remain an exceptional mechanism. However, this ending must be rigorously and progressively organised in order to continue to protect the French against a virus that is still circulating in France and could justify the continuation and, if necessary, even strengthening of measures currently in place in the weeks and months to come,” a statement from Prime Minister Édouard Philippe’s office said.

The new legislation would allow the government to control public movements as well as access to public transport, to order the closure of public establishments and to reinforce rules about wearing masks in public places. These measures would last until November, but could be changed according to circumstances. The law would not give the French authorities the power to reimpose a lockdown; if the virus suddenly returns, the government will have to seek a decree authorising new restrictions over the whole or part of France, Matignon, the French equivalent of Number 10, said.

France’s external borders are currently closed to all but essential workers and those with a “compelling” reason to enter the country. The country ended its strict two-month lockdown on 11 May. Most of France has been progressively allowed to return almost to normal, but restrictions still cover the Paris region.

The bill is expected to be presented to MPs in the lower house, the Assemblée Nationale today for debate on 17 June.

10.40am BST

Experts suspect – though there is still no proof – that antibodies will confer immunity. The implications could be wide-ranging. Miranda Bryant reports:

10.14am BST

Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his German counterpart Heiko Maas.
Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi and his German counterpart Heiko Maas greet each other during their meeting in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
Photograph: Ronen Zvulun/Reuters

9.55am BST

Indonesia has reported its biggest daily increase in coronavirus cases for a second successive day, with 1,241 new infections, taking its total to 34,316. There were 36 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the number of fatalities to 1,959, according to health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.

There are 12,129 patients who have recovered, he said. Data from Indonesia’s Covid-19 taskforce shows at least 287,470 people have been tested.

Updated at 10.21am BST

9.37am BST

A team of Polish scientists has designed a remote-controlled ventilator they hope will allow doctors to help critically ill patients breathe, but from a distance, in a bid to make medical personnel safer during the coronavirus pandemic.

If the experimental RespiSave ventilator can be shown to work safely on humans, doctors can observe patients’ vitals through an application, monitoring their condition and adjusting the machine’s settings from anywhere in the hospital, the designers of the project told Reuters.

Leszek Kowalik presents Respisave, a remote-controlled ventilator
Leszek Kowalik presents Respisave, a remote-controlled ventilator, at the Centre for Medical Simulation in Warsaw, Poland.
Photograph: Kacper Pempel/Reuters

Doctors would be notified if the ventilator gets disconnected or the patient’s condition changes drastically.

Respiratory failure requiring support with a mechanical ventilator is common in patients with severe Covid-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

The remote-control feature means the medical personnel can be in less frequent contact with these patients, said Lukasz Szarpak, a medical adviser on the project.

Health care workers caring for critically ill patients are at particular risk of coronavirus infection, in some cases due to a lack of adequate personal protective equipment. The designers, who are among the first to come up with such a device, said they expect use of medical telemetry to expand, especially after the medical crisis associated with the coronavirus.

Leszek Kowalik, the director of the project, said RespiSave will be much less expensive than a typical ventilator, although he did not specify the price of the device. While the technology is still being tested, Szarpak and Kowalik said they hoped it would be available in Poland within the next few months and eventually on a wider global market.

Updated at 10.10am BST

9.11am BST

Taiwan’s Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) has announced that no new cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Taiwan today, the 59th consecutive day without a local infection. According to the CECC a total of 73,751 cases have been reported in the country, of which Covid-19 has been ruled out in 72,824 and confirmed after testing in 443 cases. Of the confirmed cases, there have been seven deaths, and 431 patients have been released from isolation, with the remaining five still in hospital.

8.40am BST

Dozens of scientific papers co-authored by the chief executive of the US tech company behind the Lancet hydroxychloroquine study scandal are now being audited, including one that a scientific integrity expert claims contains images that appear to have been digitally manipulated.

The audit follows a Guardian investigation that found the company, Surgisphere, used suspect data in major scientific studies that were published and then retracted by world-leading medical journals, including the Lancet and the New England Journal of Medicine.

More here:

8.39am BST

Russia has reported 8,404 new cases of the coronavirus today, taking the nationwide tally of infections to 493,657. The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said 216 people had died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the overall death toll to 6,358.

8.36am BST

Ruchi Kumar reports on the women in Afghanistan whose food carts were forced out of business by Covid-19, so converted them into mobile disinfection units:

8.26am BST

Bulgaria will extend the epidemic emergency until the end of June to fight the spread of the coronavirus after an increase in new registered cases, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov has said.

The Balkan country has eased most of the restrictive measures it imposed in the middle of March, allowing restaurants and shopping malls to reopen. Borissov said the government did not plan to introduce new restrictions for the time being but appealed to people to keep social distancing.

Bulgaria has so far recorded 2,889 coronavirus cases, of whom 167 have died. Over the past 24 hours it recorded 79 new cases.

Meanwhile Hungary and Croatia will lift restrictions on cross-border travel from Friday as the pandemic has subsided and remains under control in both countries, Hungarian foreign minister, Peter Szijjarto, said.

7.51am BST

Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, and finance minister Taro Aso
Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe (right), and finance minister Taro Aso (second right) during a budget committee session in the lower house at parliament on Wednesday.
Photograph: JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

Japan’s lower house of parliament has approved an emergency budget worth nearly over £230bn, doubling the scale of measures to pep up the world’s third-biggest economy after the coronavirus tipped it into recession, AFP reports.

Consumer spending has slowed to a crawl despite Japan’s relatively low infection numbers and death toll from the pandemic, prompting the first economic downturn since 2015.

In response, lawmakers approved a second exceptional budget of 31.91tn yen (£233bn/7bn), including subsidies for smaller businesses and cash handouts for medical workers. The budget bill will be sent to the upper house and is widely expected to be enacted as early as Friday.

The cash – to be raised by issuing bonds – will also be used to help finance rescue programmes and loans for struggling businesses.

The government said the size of the package, including loans and investments in addition to actual fiscal spending, is worth about 117tn yen, nearly the same size as the first extra budget enacted on 30 April. Combined with that initial stimulus package, Japan’s total measures amount to 230tn yen when loan schemes are taken into account.

That is 40% of GDP – trumpeted by prime minister Shinzo Abe as the world’s biggest virus programme – and pushes Japan’s debt-to-GDP ratio up to 257%, noted Naoya Oshikubo, senior economist at SuMi TRUST.

“It will be worth it to drive the recovery,” said Oshikubo. “The two supplementary budgets alone should push up real 2020 GDP by three points. In addition, the state of emergency has now ended across Japan and the economy is set to improve.”

Rescue measures include subsidies to help small companies pay rent, subsidies for companies paying leave allowances to their employees, grants to medical workers and grants to help drug and vaccine development.

Japan had recorded 17,251 coronavirus infections and 919 deaths as of Tuesday, a fraction of the toll seen in global hotspots. But a spike in infections prompted Abe to declare a nationwide state of emergency, handing regional governors the power to ask people to stay indoors and call for businesses to close. He lifted the emergency declaration last month but said it would take “quite a long time” for the country to fully return to normal.

Updated at 7.55am BST

7.39am BST

Their raucous clucking deprives residents of sleep. They leave the neighbourhood “wrecked”. And food left out for them attracts “rats the size of cats” to an otherwise peaceful, leafy suburb.

New Zealand’s national lockdown to quell the spread of Covid-19 appears to have vanquished the virus, but it has had one unintended consequence: the re-emergence of a plague – not of frogs or locusts but of feral chickens, a flock of which is once again menacing an area of west Auckland.

A plague of feral chickens is terrorising Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand
A plague of feral chickens is terrorising Titirangi, Auckland, New Zealand, after blooming during the coronavirus lockdown.
Photograph: Greg Presland

Residents of Titirangi, a suburb of fewer than 4,000 people and about 20-30 feral chickens, emerged from New Zealand’s coronavirus lockdown to find a nightmare they thought had ended was not over. The feral chickens, which council contractors had been working to gently capture and rehome since their numbers peaked in 2019, had multiplied during the shutdown.

More here:

7.36am BST

Plans by Nigeria’s government to cut healthcare spending risk undermining the country’s coronavirus response and severely impacting already strained services, health and transparency groups have warned.

Funding for local, primary healthcare services will be cut by more than 40% this year in a revised budget expected to be passed into law in the coming weeks.

The proposed cuts could affect immunisations, childcare, maternal healthcare and family planning services. Nigeria currently spends less than 5% of its federal budget on health. Dwindling oil sales, the crash in global oil prices and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic are understood to be the reason for the cuts.

More here:

7.10am BST

Asylum applications in Europe fell to the lowest level for over a decade in April as borders closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, European Union figures show, compounding the challenges of people fleeing conflict and persecution, Reuters reports.

The number of asylum applications declined to 8,730 during April, an 86% drop from 61,421 in February, according to figures obtained by Reuters from the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). The EU had shut its external borders in March and many of its 27 member states suspended registration of applications.

The EASO figures also show a 44% drop in asylum applications from February to March, when states began imposing lockdowns.

“It is clear the access that potential asylum applicants had was severely restricted over the past few months, especially initially,” EASO executive director Nina Gregori told Reuters. “The situation for those in need of asylum has undoubtedly been very challenging. Already fleeing violence and persecution, the Covid-19 crisis has certainly compounded their situations.”

Most applications during 2020 through April were by Syrians followed by Afghans, Venezuelans and Colombians, EASO data show.

It had already become more difficult for asylum seekers to reach Europe in recent years. The bloc has blocked off previous overland migrant routes and provided aid to Libya and Turkey to inhibit crossings by sea into the EU.

In April, Italy said it would not let migrant boats operated by charities dock as its ports could not be considered safe because of the coronavirus pandemic. Malta also said it could no longer guarantee the rescue of migrants or allow their disembarkation during the coronavirus emergency.

7.04am BST

Morning/evening/whatever-it-is-where-you-are everyone. This is Simon Burnton taking on the live blog for the next few hours. If you have seen any stories that deserve our attention, or if you have any tips, comments or suggestions for our coverage then please let me know by sending me a message either to @Simon_Burnton on Twitter or via email. Thanks!

7.03am BST

Thanks for following along – that’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, for today. My esteemed colleague Simon Burnton will be taking over from here.

In the meantime, the most important recent developments in the coronavirus pandemic are wrapped up in our global report below:

6.45am BST

UK front pages, Wednesday 10 June

This morning’s papers are leading with a mix of coronavirus and statue-toppling news:

6.28am BST

Mumbai cases pass Wuhan peak as India sees close to 10,000 new daily infections

Coronavirus cases in Mumbai, India have passed 51,000, according to the Indian Express. The last 24 hours alone saw close to 10,000 new confirmed infections, with 9,985.

A pastor prays over a coffin of a victim who died from coronavirus at a cemetery in Mumbai, India, 9 June 2020.
A pastor prays over a coffin of a victim who died from coronavirus at a cemetery in Mumbai, India, 9 June 2020.
Photograph: Francis Mascarenhas/Reuters

The BBC points out that the city has more cases than Wuhan, China – where the virus first emerged – had at its peak.

India, which has the fifth-highest number of cases, has 276,146 confirmed infections in total. It has reported 7,750 deaths, which is likely to be an underestimate.

Updated at 6.41am BST

6.21am BST

Personal after-hours shopping trips, online beauty appointments and entertainment for those queuing outside will form part of Selfridges’ coronavirus-era shopping offer when the retailer reopens on 15 June.

The luxury department store group, which operates four shops in the UK, including its London flagship on Oxford Street, will not be able to reopen services such as beauty makeovers, hairdressing or its cafes and cinema because of Covid-19 restrictions. It is hoping a mix of virtual experiences and live entertainments – such as DJs – will help shoppers feel no less pampered.

6.04am BST

Property sales recover to pre-lockdown levels across England

Property sales in most of England have swiftly rebounded to the same levels they were just before the lockdown, although London lags behind the rest of the country and markets in Scotland and Wales remain closed, according to website Zoopla.

Pent-up demand has also meant firmer prices, said Zoopla, with the average asking price of sales agreed in the last week 6% higher than the same week in June last year. Its figures are in sharp contrast with those from Nationwide, which last week said house prices across the UK were falling at the fastest rate since the financial crisis.

“Lower asking prices for homes sold over the lockdown period may drag down indices over May, but this new data suggests house price growth is set to remain positive in the next two months,” said Zoopla research director, Richard Donnell.

However, London’s market has failed to rebound, with buyers seeking properties outside the capital, as work-from-home policies may leave many more employees no longer needing to commute into the city.

5.47am BST

Summary

Here are the key developments in the coronavirus pandemic from the last few hours:

  • Argentina confirmed more than 1,000 new cases in one day for first time. Argentina confirmed more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday as the rate of new infections continued to rise just days after it extended lockdown measures in the capital Buenos Aires, the country’s largest city and epicentre for the virus, Reuters reports. Argentina’s Health Ministry logged 1,141 new cases in the past 24 hours, as well 24 deaths, pushing its totals to 24,761 cases and 717 deaths since the outbreak began in early March.
  • 21 US states reported weekly case increases. On Tuesday, 21 US states reported weekly increases in new cases of Covid-19. Arizona, Utah and New Mexico all posted rises of 40% or higher for the week ended Sunday, compared with the prior seven days, according to a Reuters analysis.
  • Brazil restored on Tuesday detailed Covid-19 data to the official national website, following a scandal about the removal of cumulative totals and a ruling by a Supreme Court justice that the full set of information be reinstated.
    WHO called for new lockdowns in Pakistan. The World Health Organization has told Pakistan it should implement “intermittent” lockdowns to counter a surge in coronavirus infections that has come as the country loosens restrictions, an official said Tuesday.
  • South Korea cases spiked again. South Korea’s coronavirus cases spiked to 50 new cases on Wednesday, after two consecutive days of fewer than 40 cases. “All but three of the locally transmitted cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area,” the Yonhap News Agency reported.
  • A group of EU member states called for medical and equipment stockpiles to be increased. The leaders of Denmark, Spain and Germany, as well as France, Belgium and Poland, called for measures to boost the bloc’s long-term resilience to public health crises and backed proposals for shared research and development of vaccines and treatment.
  • The epidemic in Mexico is advancing toward its peak level of infections, the World Health Organization warned. Mexico, where total confirmed cases exceed 120,000 and the death toll stands at about 14,000, began a gradual re-opening of the economy at the start of June.
  • Pakistan should implement intermittent lockdowns to counter a surge in infections, the World Health Organization advised. The increase has come as the country was loosening restrictions.
  • There have been sharp rises in reports of violence against women across Latin America, already a hotspot for gender-based violence, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Rescue Committee has said. Meghan Lopez, the IRC’s regional director for Latin America, said some women and girls were stuck with perpetrators 24 hours a day.
  • The world faces a food crisis worse than any seen for at least 50 years, the UN has warned. Social protections for poor people are urgently needed as the looming recession following the Covid-19 pandemic may put basic nutrition out of reach.
  • Nearly one in five people in Iran may have been infected with coronavirus since the country’s outbreak, a health official said. This meant the virus was “much less lethal than we or the world had anticipated”, said Ehsan Mostafavi, a member of the taskforce set up to combat Covid-19.
  • Zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas will be allowed to reopen in England from 15 June. Boris Johnson will make the official announcement on Wednesday.

5.26am BST

Economic shocks caused by the new coronavirus are set to fuel poverty, unrest and instability in heavily-indebted and politically fragile countries for years to come, found an international think-tank on Wednesday.

The pandemic’s impacts will undo years of socio-economic development for some countries, the Institute for Economics and Peace said in a briefing released alongside its annual index measuring peace levels around the world.

“The worst is still to come,” said Steve Killelea, head of the Australia-based IEP, which expects to see most of the peace indicators it measures fall for several years.

“The countries which are going to suffer the most are those which are currently fragile because they are the ones which generally have higher levels of food insecurity, the governments are politically less stable and economies are less robust.”

Lockdowns to prevent the spread of the virus have hit economies, with the International Labour Organization estimating some 200 million would lose their jobs and the World Bank predicting the global economy will shrink by 5% in 2020.

Analysts predict it will take five years for world economies to recover back to their 2019 levels, said Killelea.

5.12am BST

In calming, non-coronavirus news: researchers have pioneered a new way of calculating the large green sea turtle population on Raine Island in the Great Barrier Reef. Using drones and a stripe of white paint on the back of adult turtles, the researchers from the Raine Island Recovery Project estimated there were 64,000 endangered green turtles at the Raine Island rookery. The new count shows there may be 1.73 times the number of turtles previously believed and they have now been able to adjust historical data to paint a more accurate picture of the area’s endangered green turtle population:

4.56am BST

The founder US fitness brand CrossFit will step down from his position as CEO of the company following a disastrous few days that have seen the fitness program lose key partnerships, endorsements and the business of hundreds of affiliated gyms around the world.

The move comes after a pair of offensive tweets by Greg Glassman. On Saturday, in response to a tweet from the research centre Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, which stated “Racism is a public health issue”, Glassman tweeted “It’s FLOYD-19”, in reference to the police killing of George Floyd, whose death has sparked a global protest movement.

He went on to say “Your failed model quarantined us and now you’re going to model a solution to racism? George Floyd’s brutal murder sparked riots nationally. Quarantine alone is ‘accompanied in every age and under all political regimes by an undercurrent of suspicion, distrust, and riots.’ Thanks!’”

4.38am BST

21 US states report weekly case increases

On Tuesday, 21 US states reported weekly increases in new cases of Covid-19. Arizona, Utah and New Mexico all posted rises of 40% or higher for the week ended Sunday, compared with the prior seven days, according to a Reuters analysis.

Some of the new cases are linked to better testing. But many stem from loosened public health restrictions that have allowed people to gather in groups and go inside stores to shop, said public health officers in two California counties.

Health officials believe other cases have been passed along by people not following social-distancing recommendations. It is too soon to see whether cases will also spike after protests swept the country over the 25 May death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, an African-American man, officials said.

The number of new infections in the first week of June rose 3% in the United States, the first increase after five weeks of declines, according to an analysis of data from the Covid Tracking Project, a volunteer-run effort to track the outbreak.

4.26am BST

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

4.18am BST

Cases spike in California and US Southwest

Coronavirus cases and hospitalisations are spiking in parts of California and the US Southwest, prompting Arizona to reactivate its emergency plan for medical facilities and California to place counties where half its population lives on a watch list, Reuters reports.

The uptick in cases, which could lead authorities to reimpose or tighten public health restrictions aimed at slowing the virus’ spread, complicates efforts to reopen the US economy, which has been devastated by shelter-at-home rules.

US-VIRUS-HEALTH-NAVAJO-ELDERSBeverly Gorman, a Navajo elder, feeds a newborn lamb with grandchild Nizhoni and daughter Naiyahnikai near the Navajo Nation town of Steamboat in Arizona on 23 May 2020.
US-VIRUS-HEALTH-NAVAJO-ELDERS
Beverly Gorman, a Navajo elder, feeds a newborn lamb with grandchild Nizhoni and daughter Naiyahnikai near the Navajo Nation town of Steamboat in Arizona on 23 May 2020.

Photograph: Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

New Jersey, one of the states hit hardest by the pandemic, with over 12,000 deaths, lifted its stay-at-home order on Tuesday.

More than 18 million of California’s 39 million residents live in counties now on the watch list, which includes Los Angeles, Santa Clara and Fresno, a Reuters analysis showed.

“Many of the cases that are showing up in hospitals are linked to gatherings that are taking place in homes – birthday parties and funerals,” said Olivia Kasirye, public health director of Sacramento County, one of the nine counties on the state watch list that may eventually require them to roll back reopening efforts.

Arizona was among the first states to reopen in mid-May and its cases have increased 115% since then, leading a former state health chief to warn that a new stay-at-home order or field hospitals may be needed.

4.06am BST

Fujifilm Holdings Corp will spend 8 million to double capacity at a drug manufacturing facility in Denmark, which it has pledged to use in producing Covid-19 treatments, as the Japanese company steps up its pivot towards healthcare, Reuters reports.

The investment in Fujifilm Diosynth Biotechnologies will expand production lines for bulk drug substances and cultivate cells for producing viral vaccines, Fujifilm announced on Tuesday. It bought the facility in Hillerod, Denmark, in August from Biogen Inc for about 0 million.

Fujifilm previously announced that the Denmark site would offer future manufacturing capacity to the Covid-19 Therapeutics Accelerator to speed-up the response to the global pandemic.

It is an initiative launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and two other large charities, aimed at accelerating drug development and identifying a promising Covid-19 therapeutic candidate based on efficacy and safety data demonstrated in clinical trials. Fujifilm’s pharma arm is testing its own anti-flu drug Avigan as a treatment for Covid-19.

3.52am BST

Podcast: The Rees-Mogg conga and how the pandemic has changed the UK parliament

3.36am BST

Fauci: coronavirus pandemic that ‘took over the planet’ is far from over

The US’s top infectious disease expert Dr Anthony Fauci warned on Tuesday that the coronavirus pandemic was far from over, calling Covid-19 his “worst nightmare”.

“In a period of four months, it has devastated the whole world,” Fauci said, speaking to executives at a conference of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization. “And it isn’t over yet.”

About 7 million people have been infected with the coronavirus and 400,000 people are known to have died. Many countries, including the US where more than 110,000 have died, are now relaxing quarantine rules despite rising rates of infection in some areas.

“That’s millions and millions of infections worldwide. And it isn’t over yet. And it’s condensed in a very, very small time frame,” said Fauci.

In a videotaped discussion Fauci said he had known that an outbreak like this could occur but he was surprised by how “rapidly it just took over the planet”. Fauci attributed the rapid spread to the contagiousness of the virus and extensive world travel by infected people.

The top White House infectious disease adviser said the coronavirus pandemic differed significantly from other recent public health crises including Ebola and HIV.

3.19am BST

Argentina confirms more than 1,000 new cases in one day for first time

Argentina confirmed more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus on Tuesday as the rate of new infections continued to rise just days after it extended lockdown measures in the capital Buenos Aires, the country’s largest city and epicentre for the virus, Reuters reports.

Argentina’s Health Ministry logged 1,141 new cases in the past 24 hours, as well 24 deaths, pushing its totals to 24,761 cases and 717 deaths since the outbreak began in early March.

A man walks in front of the Argentinian congress in Buenos Aires on 9 June 2020.
A man walks in front of the Argentinian congress in Buenos Aires on 9 June 2020.
Photograph: Juan Mabromata/AFP/Getty Images

Latin America has become the new front in the global coronavirus outbreak. Argentina’s rising rate of infections, though, still remains markedly lower than neighbours Chile, which reported 3,913 cases on Tuesday, and Brazil, with 32,091 new cases.

Argentina last week extended a mandatory lockdown in Buenos Aires, which accounts for the country’s highest concentration of confirmed infections. Other areas have moved to “mandatory and preventive social distancing.”

Much of the nation had been under a shelter-in-place order since 20 March. The country has a commercial flight ban until 1 September, one of the world’s strictest travel measures during the pandemic.

3.03am BST

The Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated already worrisome trends when it comes to doing business in China amid slowing revenue growth, regulatory obstacles and the clout of the state-owned sector, a European business group said on Wednesday.

Only half of European companies surveyed said that their mainland China revenues last year increased by 5% or more, the lowest proportion in a decade, according to a survey of members of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China conducted in February that involved 626 respondents in all, Reuters reports.

A slowdown in the world’s second largest economy was seen as the biggest business challenge by respondents. After widespread lockdowns to control the epidemic, China’s economy shrank by 6.8% in the first quarter, and the government dropped a growth target for the full year.

“The full extent of the negative impact from Covid-19 on revenue growth remains unclear, but the trend is undeniably bleak,” said the report.

Updated at 3.04am BST

2.44am BST

South Korea cases spike again

The Yonhap News Agency reports that South Korea’s coronavirus cases spiked to 50 new cases on Wednesday, after two consecutive days of fewer than 40 cases:

South Korea’s new virus cases spiked again Wednesday as sporadic cluster infections continued in the greater Seoul area, prodding health authorities to consider more stringent social distancing in the densely populated area.

The country added 50 new cases, including 43 local infections, raising the total caseload to 11,902, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

It marked a rebound after the country’s new COVID-19 cases hovered below 40 for the second straight day.

All but three of the locally transmitted cases were reported from the Seoul metropolitan area.

2.26am BST

More than 1,000 doves have died of starvation at Afghanistan’s famed blue-tiled mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif after it closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, caretakers said Tuesday.

Before the mosque complex shut amid a nationwide lockdown, flocks of the snow-white birds would gather at the popular tourist attraction, where visitors would feed them, AFP reports.

But without any visitors to the 12th century wonder in Balkh province in northern Afghanistan, the doves have had little to eat, caretakers said.

“Every day, about 30 doves die. We bury them outside the shrine,” said Qayum Ansari, head of cultural affairs at the mosque, adding that more than 1,000 birds have starved to death in recent weeks.

A man walks as pigeons are seen in the courtyard of Hazrat-e-Ali shrine or Blue Mosque, in Mazar-i-Sharif on June 9, 2020. More than 1,000 doves have died of starvation at Afghanistan’s famed blue-tiled mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif after it closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, caretakers said on 9 June.
A man walks as pigeons are seen in the courtyard of Hazrat-e-Ali shrine or Blue Mosque, in Mazar-i-Sharif on June 9, 2020. More than 1,000 doves have died of starvation at Afghanistan’s famed blue-tiled mosque in Mazar-i-Sharif after it closed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, caretakers said on 9 June.
Photograph: Farshad Usyan/AFP/Getty Images

The doves have been a fixture for decades, with some visitors even considering them sacred. Local officials said authorities were ready to feed the birds if mosque managers allow it.

Afghanistan’s coronavirus crisis is worsening by the day, with authorities reporting 21,459 confirmed cases so far, though the real number is thought to be much higher.

Experts say the country has one of the highest rates of tests coming back positive – about 40%, indicating high levels of undetected infections. Officials have warned the country faces a “disaster,” with hospitals running short of beds as suspected cases surge.

Updated at 2.27am BST

2.01am BST

Boeing Co deliveries slowed even further in May from April as the coronavirus pandemic’s crushing impact on airlines added to a year of crisis following the grounding of its 737 MAX planes, company data showed on Tuesday.

The US planemaker said it handed over just four planes in May, down from the six it delivered in April, its lowest total for the month in six decades and about 87% fewer than it delivered to customers at the same time a year ago, Reuters reports.

The Boeing logo is pictured at its Renton Factory in Washington, where the Boeing 737 MAX airliners are built.
The Boeing logo is pictured at its Renton Factory in Washington, where the Boeing 737 MAX airliners are built.
Photograph: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

Deliveries are financially important to planemakers because airlines pay most of the purchase price when they actually receive the plane.

Customers also canceled orders for another 18 planes last month, including 14 MAX jets that were the company’s top-selling plane until a pair of crashes just over a year ago.

While Boeing resumed production last week and expects to make deliveries of the MAX in the third quarter, many aircraft leasing companies and airlines, including Southwest Airlines , United Airlines, and Brazil’s GOL have canceled or deferred delivery as the industry faces a collapse in air travel since January.

1.41am BST

World Tennis No 1 Novak Djokovic is thinking of skipping the US Open – if it is played – and instead returning to competition on clay ahead of the rescheduled French Open, Reuters reports.

Speaking to Serbia’s state broadcaster RTS on Tuesday, Djokovic said the restrictions that would be in place for the Grand Slam tournament in New York because of the coronavirus pandemic would be “extreme” and not “sustainable.”

Like many sports, tennis went on hiatus in March because of the Covid-19 outbreak. All sanctioned tournaments have been scrapped until at least late July.

That includes the French Open, which was supposed to end last weekend but was postponed until September, and Wimbledon, which was canceled for the first time since 1945.

The US Tennis Association is expected to make a decision as soon as next week about whether to hold the US Open. Main-draw play is scheduled to begin on 31 August.

1.23am BST

Women in Fiji struggling to cope with periods in the pandemic

Talei Tora reports for the Guardian:

The first time AnneMary Raduva, 16, and her sister Faith, 13, went shopping for sanitary pads after the coronavirus outbreak hit their home of Fiji, they noticed two things: there were barely any to choose from, and those that were available cost more than before the pandemic.

Climate Change activist AnnMary Raduva (left) and her sister Faith Lagilagi in Suva, Fiji.
Climate Change activist AnnMary Raduva (left) and her sister Faith Lagilagi in Suva, Fiji.
Photograph: Jovesa Naisua/The Guardian

The Pacific region, which is home to some of the world’s most vulnerable communities, has escaped the worst health impacts of the Covid-19 outbreak, but is feeling the full brunt of its economic effect.

As imports have become limited and incomes have dropped, women in Fiji have reported that prices of sanitary goods have increased by between FJ

The content previously published here has been withdrawn. We apologise for any inconvenience.

.50 and FJ per packet in a country where the minimum wage is .32 an hour.

“Pads are sold from FJ to or more,” said AnneMary. “For a family that is struggling financially, those extra dollars can be stretched to buy an extra loaf of bread, canned tuna, and a slice of butter. This is the reality and we have done our own informal survey and have spoken to a lot of people and the responses are very similar: food over sanitary pads.”

1.12am BST

Brazil restores detailed Covid-19 data to official website after court ruling

Brazil on Tuesday restored detailed COVID-19 data to its official national website following controversy over the removal of cumulative totals and a ruling by a Supreme Court justice that the full set of information be reinstated, Reuters reports.

The move came after days of mounting pressure from across the political spectrum and allegations the government was trying to mask the severity of the outbreak, now the world’s second-largest.

The official website reverted to showing cumulative totals of deaths and infections – as well as breakdowns by state, as it had done until last week.

People ride bicycles in Rio de Janeiro, 9 Jun 2020.
People ride bicycles in Rio de Janeiro, 9 Jun 2020.
Photograph: Ellan Lustosa/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

On Tuesday evening the latest daily numbers were uploaded to the site. They showed 32,091 new infections of coronavirus in the previous 24 hours for a cumulative total of 739,503 cases, and 1,272 new deaths, bringing the toll to 38,406 dead, the third highest after the United States and Britain.

Right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently sought to play down the severity of the coronavirus, dismissing it as a “little flu” and urging governors to reverse lockdown measures battering the country’s economy.

Health experts had feared that by not publishing accumulated totals and releasing only deaths that occurred in the past 24 hours, cases in which someone tested positive for the coronavirus days after their death could disappear from public view.

Here is our full story on the court decision:

1.01am BST

WHO calls for new lockdowns in Pakistan

The World Health Organization has told Pakistan it should implement “intermittent” lockdowns to counter a surge in coronavirus infections that has come as the country loosens restrictions, an official said Tuesday.

Since the start of Pakistan’s outbreak in March, Prime Minister Imran Khan opposed a nationwide lockdown of the sort seen elsewhere, arguing the impoverished country could not afford it, AFP reports.

A woman rides on the back of a motor bike in Karachi, Pakistan 8 June 2020.
A woman rides on the back of a motor bike in Karachi, Pakistan 8 June 2020.
Photograph: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters

Instead, Pakistan’s four provinces ordered a patchwork of closures, but last week Khan said most of these restrictions would be lifted. That decision came as Pakistan’s infection rate is worsening, as it is across all of South Asia, which until recently had lagged Western nations in virus tolls.

Health officials said Tuesday they had recorded a total of 108,317 cases and 2,172 deaths – though with testing still limited, real rates are thought to be much higher.

“As of today, Pakistan does not meet any of the pre-requisite conditions for opening the lockdown”, the WHO said in a letter to Punjab’s provincial health minister Yasmin Rashid. The health body recommended an intermittent lockdown cycle of two weeks on, two weeks off.

Some 25% of tests in Pakistan come back positive for Covid-19, the WHO said, indicating high levels of infection in the general population.

Hospitals across the country say they are at or near capacity, and some are turning Covid-19 patients away.

Updated at 3.32am BST

12.43am BST

Summary

Hello and welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic with me, Helen Sullivan.

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

The World Health Organization has told Pakistan it should implement “intermittent” lockdowns to counter a surge in coronavirus infections that has come as the country loosens restrictions. One in four tests conducted in the country come back positive, the WHO said, which indicates a high level of infection.

Here are the key developments from the last few hours:

  • Brazil restored on Tuesday detailed Covid-19 data to the official national website, following a scandal about the removal of cumulative totals and a ruling by a Supreme Court justice that the full set of information be reinstated.
    The detailed information, with cumulative totals and breakdowns by state, was restored to the website https://covid.saude.gov.br/, Reuters confirmed on Tuesday afternoon.
  • The World Health Organization’s Covid-19 technical lead backtracked on her comment that asymptomatic transmission of the virus was “very rare”. “I think that it’s a misunderstanding to state the asymptomatic transmission globally is very rare,” Dr Maria Van Kerkhove said, noting modelling suggesting 40% of infections could be transmitted by people without symptoms.
  • A group of EU member states called for medical and equipment stockpiles to be increased. The leaders of Denmark, Spain and Germany, as well as France, Belgium and Poland, called for measures to boost the bloc’s long-term resilience to public health crises and backed proposals for shared research and development of vaccines and treatment.
  • The epidemic in Mexico is advancing toward its peak level of infections, the World Health Organization warned. Mexico, where total confirmed cases exceed 120,000 and the death toll stands at about 14,000, began a gradual re-opening of the economy at the start of June.
  • Pakistan should implement intermittent lockdowns to counter a surge in infections, the World Health Organization advised. The increase has come as the country was loosening restrictions.
  • Zoos, safari parks and drive-in cinemas will be allowed to reopen in England from 15 June. Boris Johnson will make the official announcement on Wednesday.
  • There have been sharp rises in reports of violence against women across Latin America, already a hotspot for gender-based violence, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the International Rescue Committee has said. Meghan Lopez, the IRC’s regional director for Latin America, said some women and girls were stuck with perpetrators 24 hours a day.
  • The world faces a food crisis worse than any seen for at least 50 years, the UN has warned. Social protections for poor people are urgently needed as the looming recession following the Covid-19 pandemic may put basic nutrition out of reach.
  • A supreme court judge in Brazil has ordered Jair Bolsonaro’s administration to resume publishing complete Covid-19 statistics. His government sparked outrage on Saturday by purging the health ministry website of data on to pandemic and announcing it would stop publishing the death toll or number of infections.
  • Nearly one in five people in Iran may have been infected with coronavirus since the country’s outbreak, a health official said. This meant the virus was “much less lethal than we or the world had anticipated”, said Ehsan Mostafavi, a member of the taskforce set up to combat Covid-19.
  • Face masks will remain compulsory in all public spaces even after Spain’s Covid-19 state of emergency ends on 22 June. “The message is one of prudence and caution,” said the government spokeswoman, María Jesús Montero. “Until there is a vaccine or a treatment, the virus remains a threat. We can’t think that the danger has gone.”
  • Fifty-two Cuban medics who flew to Italy to help doctors treat Europe’s first mass coronavirus outbreak returned home to a heroes’ welcome. The medical brigade, comprising 36 doctors, 15 nurses and a logistics specialist, arrived in Milan on 22 March and were the first ever to be deployed to a European country.
  • Up to 600 deaths in Kano, northern Nigeria, most within a single week in April, were caused by an undetected outbreak of Covid-19, officials said. Government investigations, which began after reports of hundreds of deaths caused alarm in Nigeria’s second largest city, linked 50-60% of 979 “mysterious” deaths to the virus.
  • Coronavirus may have been present and spreading in Wuhan as early as August last year, according to a study that analysed satellite imagery of car parks outside major hospitals and search engine data.

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News & Media Limited 2010

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.50 and FJ per packet in a country where the minimum wage is .32 an hour.

“Pads are sold from FJ to or more,” said AnneMary. “For a family that is struggling financially, those extra dollars can be stretched to buy an extra loaf of bread, canned tuna, and a slice of butter. This is the reality and we have done our own informal survey and have spoken to a lot of people and the responses are very similar: food over sanitary pads.”