Coronavirus news live: South Africa reverses decision to open schools; sharp rise in Iran’s infection rate

 

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “No new Covid-19 deaths in Spain for first time since March – as it happened” was written by Helen Sullivan (now and earlier); Damien Gayle, Caroline Davies, Simon Burnton, and Alison Rourke, for theguardian.com on Tuesday 2nd June 2020 00.32 UTC

1.29am BST

We’ve launched a new blog at the link below and will be closing this one shortly. Head here for the latest:

1.06am BST

UK ministers have been accused of not taking seriously the threat posed to black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) Britons by Covid-19, after it was reported that the release of an official review of the issue had been delayed over fears of potential civil unrest.

According to Sky News, officials are concerned about the effect the publication could have amid global anger over the death of George Floyd, an African American man who pleaded for air as a white Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee on his neck.

Citing an unnamed government source, Sky said the release of the Public Health England (PHE) review, due by the end of May, had been pushed back yet further because of “worries” around “current global events”.

The source was quoted as saying there were concerns in Whitehall about the “close proximity to the current situation in America”, where protesters are demanding an end to police violence against black people. The source reportedly said it would be a “bad combination” if the review was released amid such tensions.

De Cordova added: “There is a gross irony in delaying the release of a report into the unequal suffering of the BAME community, on the basis of global events that relate to the suffering of black communities around the world.

12.33am BST

Get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

12.27am BST

Trump’s remarks come as the US faces not only national protests, but the number of highest coronavirus infections and deaths worldwide, as well as the Depression-level unemployment the pandemic has caused.

The US has 1,804,206 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data. There have been 105,003 fatalities. Both figures are far higher than any other country.

Brazil has the next highest cases, with roughly half a million. The UK has the next highest deaths, with more than 39,000 lives lost.

The US accounts for more than a quarter of cases and deaths worldwide.

12.21am BST

12.14am BST

Meanwhile, new analysis from the US has found that masks and social distancing can help control the coronavirus but hand washing and other measures are still needed, AP reports.

Researchers concluded single-layer cloth masks are less effective than surgical masks, while tight-fitting N95 masks provide the best protection. A distance of 1 meter (more than 3 feet) between people lowers the danger of catching the virus, while 2 meters (about 6 1/2 feet) is even better.

Eye protection such as eyeglasses or goggles can help too. None of the strategies work perfectly and more rigorous studies are needed, according to the analysis published Monday.

With the coronavirus still new, health officials have relied on studies involving its cousins, severe acute respiratory syndrome and Middle East respiratory syndrome. The findings come from a systematic review of 44 studies, including seven involving the virus causing Covid-19. The remaining focused on SARS or MERS.

Public health officials have given conflicting advice about masks.

The World Health Organization, which funded the new analysis, has said healthy people need to wear a mask only if they are caring for a person with Covid-19. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants everyone to wear at least a cloth mask when grocery shopping or in similar situations where keeping distance is difficult.

12.10am BST

Fact check: Trump said he “strongly encouraged” states to activate the National Guard. He did not note that many states have already done this.

According to one estimate, there are now more than 17,000 National Guard troops activated in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Some have argued that the presence of the National Guard has only further escalated tensions and resulted in increased clashes and violence by police.

12.04am BST

Trump says he is deploying military in Washington DC

Trump said he would deploy the military if governors failed to sufficiently deploy national guard members, but that he was immediately deploying the military in Washington DC.

Our country always wins. That is why I am taking immediate presidential action to stop the violence and restore security and safety in America.

First we are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now. Today I have strongly recommended to every governor to deploy the National Guard in sufficient numbers that we dominate the streets. Mayors and governors must establish an overwhelming law enforcement presence until the violence has been quelled. If a city or state refuses to take the actions that are necessary to defend the life and property of their residents, then I will deploy the United States military and quickly solve the problem for them.

I am also taking swift and decisive action to protect our great capital – Washington DC. What happened in this city last night was a total disgrace. As we speak, I am dispatching thousands and thousands of heavily-armed soldiers, military personnel, and law enforcement officers to stop the rioting, looting, vandalism, assaults, and the wanton destruction of property.

We are putting everybody on warning – a 7:00 curfew will be strictly enforced. Those who threaten innocent lives and property, will be arrested, detained and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I want the organisers of this terror to be on notice that you will face severe criminal penalties and lengthy sentences in jail. This includes Antifa and others who are leading instigators of this violence.

Updated at 12.17am BST

12.03am BST

Here are those comments in more detail. Trump mentioned the virus once, saying the protests mean, “Brave nurses who have battled the virus are afraid to leave their homes.”

My fellow Americans, my first and highest duty as president is to defend our great country and the American people. I swore an oath to uphold the laws of our nation and that is exactly what I will do.

All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd. My administration is fully committed that for George and his family, justice will be served. He will not have died in vain. But we cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protesters to be drowned out by an angry mob, the biggest victims of the rioting are peace-loving citizens in our poorest communities and as their president I will fight to keep them safe. I will fight to protect you.

Innocent people have been savagely beaten like the young man in Dallas, Texas, who was left dying on the street or the woman in Upstate New York viciously attacked by dangerous thugs. Small business owners have seen their dreams utterly destroyed. New York’s finest have been hit in the face with bricks. Brave nurses who have battled the virus are afraid to leave their homes.

A police precinct has been overrun here in the nation’s capital, the Lincoln Memorial and the World War II Memorial have been vandalised. One of our most historic churches was set ablaze. A federal officer in California, an African-American enforcement hero, was shot and killed. These are not acts of peaceful protests. These are acts of domestic terror, the destruction of innocent life and the spilling of innocent blood is an offence to humanity and a crime against God.

Updated at 12.15am BST

11.51pm BST

Trump has ended his speech without taking questions from the press.

11.50pm BST

“What happened in [Washington DC] last night was a total disgrace,” he says. Those who ignore the curfew in Washington will be arrested and prosecuted to “the fullest extent of the law.”

He is deploying “thousands” of soldiers into the city.

11.49pm BST

“We are ending the riots and lawlessness that has spread throughout our country. We will end it now,” says Trump.

Trump has recommended to every governor to deploy the national guard in “sufficient numbers until we dominate the streets.”

Those cities who do not deploy sufficient national guard members will see the military deployed there by the president.

11.47pm BST

US President Donald Trump has started his address.

“All Americans were rightly sickened and revolted by the brutal death of George Floyd,” he says. He will not let it go unpunished.

“We cannot allow the righteous cries of peaceful protestors to be drowned out by an angry mob,” he says.

“I am your president of law and order and an ally of all peaceful protestors.”

He says in recent days the country has been gripped by rioters, looters, and antifa, among others.

He calls some of the acts of destruction in the protest acts of “domestic terror.”

Updated at 11.51pm BST

11.34pm BST

This report from earlier explains the worries over how the George Floyd protests sweeping the US may lead to a surge in coronavirus cases:

According to figures from Johns Hopkins University in Maryland, the US has seen nearly 1.8m infections and nearly 104,000 deaths in the Covid-19 pandemic. In a country that does not have universal healthcare, the crisis has disproportionately affected minorities, particularly those who live in crowded urban areas.

Images of demonstrators in close proximity, many without masks, have therefore alarmed leaders – to the point where some are pleading with those on the streets to protest “the right way”, in order to better protect themselves.

Read more here:

11.32pm BST

Fauci says he and Trump no longer in regular contact

My colleagues on our US live blog also report that Anthony Fauci, the government’s top public health expert and Covid-19 task force member, said he was no longer in frequent contact with the president.

Asked whether the president talks to him often about Covid vaccine work, he told a reporter with Stat News, “No … As you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased.”

Fauci noted that they used to have task force meetings daily, including on the weekend, and said that frequently, the two would talk after the meeting, estimating that a month ago, they met four times a week.

Fauci, the director of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also told a CNN reporter that he has not spoken or met with Trump in two weeks and that their last interaction was 18 May, during a teleconference with the nation’s governors.

Updated at 11.39pm BST

11.22pm BST

George Floyd’s death ruled a homicide

Trump’s address comes as the Hennepin County Medical Examiner declares the death of George Floyd a homicide, saying he died of “cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual restraint, and neck compression”, according to Reuters, who cited a local a Minneapolis station.

Updated at 11.39pm BST

11.18pm BST

Hi, Helen Sullivan joining you now. US president Donald Trump is due to begin speaking shortly, in his first address since the protests in the US began. We’ll be bringing you his comments as they relate to the pandemic live.

Get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan.

Updated at 11.22pm BST

10.57pm BST

Citing an unnamed government source, Sky News is reporting that the release of the Public Health England (PHE) review is being pushed back because of “worries” around “current global events”.

The source is quoted as saying there are concerns in Whitehall about the “close proximity to the current situation in America”, where protesters are demanding an end to police violence against black people. The source reportedly said it would be a “bad combination” if the report was released amid such tensions.

10.51pm BST

In the UK, the opposition Labour party is condemning the government as it is reported that the publication of an official review of how people of black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) backgrounds are affected by the virus is being delayed due to concerns about potential public unrest.

Marsha de Cordova, the shadow women’s and equalities secretary, has said:

It is unacceptable that this review should be delayed without a given date for its publication. BAME communities need answers.

There is a gross irony in delaying the release of a report into the unequal suffering of the BAME community, on the basis of global events that relate to the suffering of black communities around the world.

If anything, recent events make the release of this report all the more urgent. If the government is serious about tackling racial injustice, they should not be shying away from understanding into why these injustices exist.

10.27pm BST

Critics round on No 10 over ‘ridiculous’ rules for 14-day quarantine

Tens of thousands of new arrivals to the UK will be able to go food shopping, change accommodation and use public transport from airports during a 14-day quarantine imposed to prevent a second wave of coronavirus, under draft plans to be laid before parliament, Vikram Dodd and Peter Walker write.

The Guardian understands that about a fifth of people are expected to receive a spot-check to ensure that they are staying at the address or addresses they have provided to the authorities, but enforcement of the quarantine will be limited.

The rules, still being finalised and due to be published on Tuesday before coming into effect next week, have prompted cross-party concerns about the potentially limited impact on public health amid warnings of the severe damage that could be caused to the travel and aviation industry.

Updated at 12.36am BST

10.07pm BST

More than 400 British travellers will be able to return home from central and South America on special charter flights this month, the UK government has said.

Two transatlantic flights from Costa Rica and Ecuador will leave for London Stansted on 11 June.

British travellers from Panama, Nicaragua, Guatemala and Chile will be able to board “sweeper flights” which will take them to Costa Rica and Ecuador for the final transatlantic passage back to the UK.

The government has brought back more than 2,100 British travellers from the region during the pandemic. Foreign and Commonwealth Office minister for the Americas Wendy Morton said:

Our teams across the region are doing everything they can to get as many people as possible home to their families and will continue to provide support to British nationals who remain.

The two flights will leave from San Jose in Costa Rica and Quito in Ecuador. Priority will be given to short-term British travellers aged over 70, those who have medical requirements, people travelling with young children and others located in remote or “at-risk” areas, the government said.

8.59pm BST

In the UK, ministers in the devolved administrations have criticised limits imposed by Westminster on the number of students from England they can recruit to their universities.

The new temporary cap is designed to prevent over-recruitment by higher education institutions to make up for lost revenue caused by a drop in international students because of the pandemic. The Welsh minister for education Kirsty Williams tweeted:

Scotland’s higher education minister Richard Lochhead said:

In the face of huge uncertainty, Scottish universities and colleges are working to continue to deliver world class, and safe, learning and teaching.

So the UK government’s plan to restrict the number of English students that can come to Scotland – a plan which neither the Scottish government nor Universities Scotland have agreed to – is deeply disappointing.

It is completely unnecessary and could add further damage to the sector, given that around 10% of current enrolments are from England.

The UK government should be working with the devolved administrations to support higher education at a time of crisis not imposing, without agreement, targets and sanctions which are aimed at stabilising the English market and are not relevant to Scotland.

8.48pm BST

Egypt has confirmed 1,399 new cases, the country’s health ministry says; the first time it has decelerated for a week. That is down from 1,536 reported the day before, but still almost double the number on the same day a week ago.

Egypt has reported a total of 26,384 cases, of which 6,297 have recovered and 1,005 died, the ministry said.

8.25pm BST

Pakistanis urged to ‘live with the virus’

Pakistanis are being urged to “live with the virus” as the country’s prime minister Imran Khan pushes ahead with a plan to lift lockdown restrictions despite rising infections and deaths, citing the economic losses being suffered.

Pakistan has rolled back almost all measures, primarily to avert an economic meltdown. The country will open to tourism but cinemas, theatres and schools remain closed.

The nation of 220 million has reported 72,160 cases and 1,543 deaths, which jumped lately to as high as 80 a day.

The country cannot afford to match the losses incurred as many other countries have done, Khan said. He cited 50 million people who live below the poverty line and 25 million daily wagers.

He said his government has given cash handouts to the poor, which wasn’t possible to continue on such a large scale, adding around 130 million to 150 million people were adversely affected by the shutdowns.

Our conditions don’t allow that we keep feeding money to them, how long we can give them money.

He urged people to act responsibly but more infections and deaths were inevitable.

This virus will spread more. I have to say it with regret that there will be more deaths. If people do take care they can live with the virus.

Updated at 12.34am BST

7.54pm BST

Slovakia is undoing more restrictions this week, including opening indoor sports centres and pools, as the country with one of the world’s lowest death rates from the outbreak moves ahead with reopening.

The government has agreed to relax rules in restaurants by cutting the distance between customers, to open up sports events to limited crowds and to make it easier to visit people in hospital, the prime minister, Igor Matovič, said.

From 10 June, up to 500 people will be allowed at public events and the limit will rise to 1,000 from July.

Updated at 8.01pm BST

7.35pm BST

The Israeli prime minister’s office says an employee has tested positive for Covid-19.

Benjamin Netanyahu’s office said an “epidemiological investigation is being conducted, which will provide appropriate guidelines for those who came into contact” with the staff member. It did not say whether the 70-year-old leader has been exposed.

Netanyahu has already gone into isolation twice. The first time was in March, after he came into contact with an infected aide. The second was in April, after his then-health minister was diagnosed with the virus. The premier tested negative on both those occasions.

Israel’s health ministry generally requires 14-days of self-isolation for anyone deemed to have been in proximity with an infected person.

Updated at 7.39pm BST

7.18pm BST

The Czech Republic will welcome foreign travellers from 15 June as it introduces a system to classify other countries according to the level of risk Prague believes they pose.

Czech officials will place 19 European states, mostly central, eastern and south-eastern nations, in the least-risky category under their new colour-coded system, while putting travel to and from the UK and Sweden in the riskiest category.

The Czech Republic has undone most restrictions, with restaurants and hotels fully reopened on 25 May. But tourism suffered as lockdown measures hit the economy, and only short-term business travellers from the European Union, people in transit or students were allowed into the country.

Updated at 7.21pm BST

7.00pm BST

Summary

Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:

  • Known global cases of coronavirus have exceeded 6.2m, according to researchers at Johns Hopkins University. They say at least 6,206,773 people are known to have been infected and at least 372,752 are known to have died since the outbreak began.
  • Spain has reported no coronavirus deaths in a 24-hour period for the first time since March. The emergency health response chief, Fernando Simón, called the development very encouraging. There were only 71 new infections over the past 24 hours, he said.
  • Public trust in the UK government as a source of accurate information about the epidemic has collapsed, suggesting ministers may struggle to maintain lockdown restrictions in the aftermath of the Dominic Cummings affair.
  • There were fears of resurgence in Germany, after the country’s disease control body confirmed 333 new infections and 11 new deaths. The reproduction rate rose to 1.04 on Sunday, staying above the critical threshold of 1 for a second day.
  • Malaysia’s health ministry has said it is now 10 days since Malaysia suffered a coronavirus-related death. On Monday, the country reported 38 new cases, bringing the cumulative total to 7,857 cases. The death toll stands at 115.
  • Bars and restaurants reopened in the Netherlands for the first time in three months. Along with museums, cinemas and theatres, they were allowed to open their doors as long as they followed strict social distancing rules.
  • Long queues stretched outside railway stations in major Indian cities as authorities eased a nationwide lockdown despite a record daily rise in cases. Rail services, apart from the movement of some essential cargo, were halted in late March ahead of efforts to contain the virus that froze almost all economic activity.
  • The family of a Covid-19 victim have called for an inquiry into the Champions League match between Liverpool v Atlético Madrid in March. Richard Mawson, 70, was “fit and healthy” before the match on 11 March, his wife Mary said.

Updated at 11.12pm BST

6.45pm BST

The coronavirus outbreak has led to a childcare crisis that threatens to undermine the reopening of the US economy, the Associated Press reports.

More than one-third of families report that someone has stayed home from work to mind their children because of the outbreak, according to a nationwide survey by the Urban Institute, an economic policy research group.

In most states, schools are due to remain closed until September, while most summer camps are not scheduled to take place this year. Thousands of daycares are closed, many of them following the lead of school districts, while some remain open only for the children of essential workers. The informal network of relatives and friends that many parents rely on has disintegrated in a world of social distancing.

“People are going to find that if there is no childcare system to return to, they aren’t going to be able to go back to work,” said Catherine White, director of childcare and early learning at the National Women’s Law Center, which supported a coalition of more than 500 childcare providers and advocates in calling for the bn relief bill.

“Women especially are going to pay the price,” White added, noting that even before the pandemic, mothers were more likely than fathers to leave the workforce over childcare difficulties. “Women are over half the workforce. What does that mean for our economy if women can’t go back to work?”

Updated at 11.39pm BST

6.32pm BST

Churches and mosques will reopen in Nigeria from Tuesday, the chairman of the presidential taskforce for Covid-19 has said.

Boss Mustapha, the country’s most senior civil servant, also said a lockdown in the northern city of Kano would be eased, one of a number of changes over four weeks from Tuesday.

Another official said the aviation industry had been asked to prepare for the possible resumption of domestic flights from 21 June. He added that a national curfew would be shortened to 10pm-4am from Tuesday, from the current 8pm-6am order.

Traffic on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway last week.
Traffic on the Lagos-Ibadan expressway last week. Photograph: Akintunde Akinleye/EPA

Nigeria’s financial sector will also be able to resume normal working hours, said Sani Aliyu, the national coordinator of the taskforce.

Other curbs remain in place, such as a ban on interstate travel, with a few exceptions, such as for essential workers. And face masks must still be worn in public. Nigeria has recorded 10,162 confirmed cases and 287 deaths.

“Nigeria has not reached the peak of confirmed cases,” Mustapha told reporters.

Updated at 6.45pm BST

6.18pm BST

The World Health Organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, has said he wants his organisation to continue working with the US, despite Donald Trump’s decision to cut ties with it.

At the UN health agency’s regular coronavirus briefing, Tedros said US involvement with the organisation had made a “great difference” over the decades and “it is WHO’s wish for this collaboration to continue”.

Trump, the US president, said on Friday he was severing US ties with the WHO, which he says failed to do enough to combat the initial spread of the novel coronavirus. He has accused the Geneva-based organisation of being a “puppet” of China.

Responding to Trump’s announcement, Tedros said on Monday: “We have received questions about Friday’s announcement by the president of the United States of America. The world has long benefited from the strong, collaborative engagement with the government and the people of the United States.

“The US government and people’s contribution and generosity towards global health over many decades has been immense, and it has made a great difference in public health all around the world. It is WHO’s wish for this collaboration to continue.”

Tedros said the “only communication” the WHO had had with US authorities was Friday’s statement from Trump.

Updated at 6.20pm BST

6.07pm BST

The prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, has said he has tested positive for the novel coronavirus and that members of his family were also infected, Reuters reports.

“I didn’t have any symptoms, I decided to take a test as I was planning to visit the frontline,” Pashinyan said during a Facebook live video.

Armenia, which has a population of 3 million, had registered 9,492 confirmed coronavirus cases and 139 deaths as of Monday.

The deputy prime minister, Tigran Avinyan, said later on Monday that the country would resume international flights in mid-July to support the domestic tourism industry.

Updated at 6.13pm BST

5.45pm BST

There has been one death from Covid-19 in Ireland, the department of health has reported. Meanwhile, the total death toll from the disease has been revised down by three.

Updated at 5.54pm BST

5.32pm BST

A scientific row has erupted after a leading doctor in Italy claimed that the coronavirus “no longer exists” in the country.

“In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” said Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele hospital in Milan, capital of the northern Lombardy region, which has been the worst hit by the pandemic.

“The swabs performed over the past 10 days have showed a viral load that is absolutely infinitesimal in quantitative terms compared to those carried out a month or two months ago,” he said in an interview on RAI television on Sunday. “Someone has to take responsibility for terrorising the country.”

Other experts countered that Zangrillo may have mistaken a higher detection rate of asymptomatic cases for diminished potency of the virus.

“In a situation where the numbers of severe cases are falling, there may be time to start observing people with less severe symptoms – giving the impression that the virus is changing,” said Martin Hibberd, a professor at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dr Oscar MacLean, of the MRC-University of Glasgow centre for virus research, said Zangrillo’s claims were “not supported by anything in the scientific literature, and also seem fairly implausible on genetic grounds”.

The dispute came as Italy prepares its next big step in easing its three-month-old national lockdown with the readmittance of foreign tourists from Wednesday and an end to the ban on travel between regions. The government has insisted that this is one of the most dangerous phases of the pandemic and has urged people to abide by social distancing rules and wear masks to prevent the virus from spreading once again.

Italy reported 355 new cases of the virus on Sunday, mostly in the Lombardy region.

Updated at 5.41pm BST

5.23pm BST

No new Covid-19 deaths in Spain for the first time since March

Spain is reporting no deaths in a 24-hour period from the new coronavirus for the first time since March, according to the Associated Press.

The emergency health response chief, Fernando Simón, said the development was very, very encouraging. He told a news conference on Monday that there had been only 71 new infections over the past 24 hours.

The official death toll now stands at 27,127, with 240,000 confirmed cases.

Updated at 5.25pm BST

5.12pm BST

People in South Africa rushed to off-licences on Monday as a nine-week ban on alcohol sales, brought in when the country went into coronavirus lockdown, was finally lifted.

The mood was festive in Soweto, on the outskirts of Johannesburg, where customers carrying crates of empty beer bottles waited out the meandering lines, some stationed in their cars, blasting loud music from their stereos, AFP reports.

“We are overwhelmed, over the moon, so excited,” said queueing customer Bongani Khumalo. “This place is jamming,” he exclaimed, adding that celebrations were expected throughout the township.

“I’m here to buy my beloved beer,” said 31-year-old nurse Anele Mapoma. “It has been a while since I had a taste of that foam and burping (so) I am here so early to satisfy my habit,” he said.

Another Soweto resident, who asked not be named, said she had been looking forward to “this day for an entire month”.

“I had to wake up super early to be here so I’m all good now,” the 24-year-old said as she stood outside a liquor store in the suburb of Pimville, wearing a face mask and dark hoodie.

On Monday, South Africa moved to level three of its five-tier shutdown. The easing of measures comes despite a recent surge in coronavirus cases, with 1,674 more announced on Monday bringing the cumulative total in the country to 34,357. Of those, 705 people have died and 16,808 have recovered.

4.51pm BST

The Colosseum, completed under Emperor Titus in AD80, was among many of famous cultural sites in Italy, including the Vatican Museums, to come back to life on Monday after being closed for more than three months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, writes Angela Giuffrida, the Guardian’s Rome correspondent.

And many Romans are making the most of having the city’s landmarks all to themselves: gone are the snake-like queues, street pedlars and ticket touts.

“This is the only silver lining during these dark times,” said Francesco Cipolla, 25, who lives near Rome and was also touring the Colosseum for the first time. “It just feels incredible to be inside this gigantic Roman structure. It’s a time to appreciate all we have. The lack of crowds helps you live the experience more. We are going to the Vatican Museums after this.”

4.47pm BST

Just a single lab confirmed case of coronavirus was reported by Thailand on Monday, as authorities allowed the reopening of some beaches as part of an easing of public health measures.

In Pattaya, visitors marvelled at the clarity of the turquoise-blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand, as pensioners eager for exercise walked along the beach, AFP reported. Social distancing rules still applied, with local authorities ordering beachgoers to stay at least a metre apart.

People take a dip at Pattaya beach.
People take a dip at Pattaya beach. Photograph: Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

Thailand has been under various lockdown restrictions since mid-March, when authorities declared a state of emergency against the coronavirus – shuttering malls, leisure centres and public spaces, including its famed beaches.

Not all beaches were closed during the lockdown, and not all re-opened Monday. Phuket, in the south, is still off-limits, while sleepy Hua Hin remained open throughout.

Thailand has recorded 3,082 cases of coronavirus. Of those 2,965 have recovered and 57 have died. Sixty are still receiving treatment.

4.36pm BST

Long queues stretched outside railway stations in major cities in India on Monday as authorities eased a nationwide lockdown despite a record daily spike in coronavirus cases, AFP reports.

Rail services, apart from the movement of some essential cargo, were abruptly halted in late March ahead of efforts to contain the virus that froze almost all economic activity, putting millions out of work overnight.

But as New Delhi tried to get the economy moving again, officials reported 8,392 fresh coronavirus infections – the steepest daily increase yet – taking the toll to more than 190,000 cases with over 5,000 dead.

At least 149,000 passengers were expected to board trains on Monday as Indian Railways ramped up the number of journeys from 30 to 200.

Almost 2.6 million people are booked to travel in June on interstate trains – a network which normally carries over 20 million passengers a day, the railway ministry said.

Passengers wait in queues as they arrive at the railway station in New Delhi.
Passengers wait in queues as they arrive at the railway station in New Delhi. Photograph: EPA

4.25pm BST

The World Health Organization’s regular coronavirus briefing is just beginning. You can watch it in the player embedded at the top of the blog.

4.20pm BST

An employee wearing a thermal imaging VF helmet monitors passengers at the entrance of Istanbul airport.
An employee wearing a thermal imaging VF helmet monitors passengers at the entrance of Istanbul airport. Photograph: Yasin Akgül/AFP/Getty Images

4.07pm BST

Lebanon’s health minister has said it is too early to declare victory over the coronavirus, even as the country opens back up from restrictions to curb its spread.

“I think the worst-case scenario has passed and is behind us, but at the same time we need to stay alert and we are taking measures in all regions,” Hamad Hassan told AFP.

“It’s still early to announce a victory but we have scored points against the virus and we won’t relinquish our lead,” Hassan said speaking from his home in the city of Baalbek.

After weeks of lockdown, the government announced on Sunday that restrictions would be eased this week, including a curfew which is pushed back from 7.00pm to midnight.

The country of six million has recorded a remarkably low number of cases and the official death toll is around 10 times lower than some countries with roughly the same population such as Israel, Norway or the United Arab Emirates.

3.49pm BST

The Democratic Republic of Congo reported 125 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, plus a fresh case of another, far more worrying outbreak.

Doctors in the central African country confirmed a case of Ebola in the western province of Equateur, more than 1,000 km (620 miles) away from the ongoing outbreak in the country’s east, the health minister, Eteni Longondo, said.

In April, DRC was days from declaring the end of the second-largest Ebola epidemic on record when a new chain of infection was confirmed in the east.

3.40pm BST

Terraces throughout the Netherlands filled quickly on Monday, Reuters reports as bars and restaurants were allowed to open for the first time in almost three months.

Along with museums, cinemas and theatres, they were allowed to open their doors from Monday morning as long as they follow strict social distancing rules.

They are now allowed to receive a maximum of 30 customers at a time, who have to make reservations in advance and need to be seated at tables spaced at least 1.5 metres apart.

Public transport, which had been limited during the lockdown, also returned to regular service on Monday with all travellers and staff required to wear face masks.

Customers on a terrace at the Vrijthof in Maastricht.
Customers on a terrace at the Vrijthof in Maastricht. Photograph: Marcel van Hoorn/EPA

On Monday, the Dutch institute for public health reported that a further 103 people had tested positive for coronavirus, the lowest number reported since 10 March, raising the total number of cases in the country to 46,545.

Six more have died, taking the country’s death toll to 5,962.

Secondary schools will reopen on Tuesday, following a partial opening of primary schools last month.

Updated at 4.23pm BST

3.20pm BST

Sweden reported 232 new cases of coronavirus on Monday.

Eight more people have been recorded as dying of the virus, according to the latest update, which puts the total death toll at 4,403 and the cumulative case load at 37,814.

Sweden generally reports comparatively few deaths and new infections on a Monday, given delays in reporting over the weekend. But even taking that into account it is clear there has been a fall in the spread and mortality of its Covid-19 outbreak.

The Drottninggatan in central Stockholm on Saturday.
The Drottninggatan in central Stockholm on Saturday. Photograph: Henrik Montgomery/TT News Agency/AFP/Getty Images

Observers have kept a keen eye on developments in the country, which chose not to impose the kinds of strict, mandatory lockdown measures used in attempts to contain the spread of the virus elsewhere in Europe.

Its approach, mostly based on voluntary social distancing and basic hygiene, has been criticised by some as a dangerous experiment, but also touted as a model for responding to the outbreak by the World Health Organization.

Critics leaped on figures last week that showed Sweden had the highest number of Covid-19 deaths in Europe per capita over a seven-day-period. However, its death rate from the outbreak remains well below other badly affected European countries that did impose strict containment measures, such as Italy, Spain and the UK.

Updated at 3.54pm BST

2.26pm BST

Dozens of fireworks displays erupted simultaneously across Japan on Monday to cheer up the public, urge the gods to end the pandemic and provide practice for struggling pyrotechnic artisans.

Fireworks explode over the Okunitama shinto shrine in Fuchu in the western suburbs of Tokyo on June 1, 2020.

Fireworks explode over the Okunitama shinto shrine in Fuchu in the western suburbs of Tokyo on June 1, 2020.
Photograph: Charly Triballeau/AFP/Getty Images

More than 160 manufacturers launched their displays at precisely 8:00 pm (1100 GMT) at secret locations across the country for a five-minute display called “Cheer up Hanabi” (fireworks).

Updated at 2.26pm BST

2.13pm BST

Many South Africans spent their Monday morning lining up outside liquor stores, as alcohol sales were allowed again after a two-month ban because of the coronavirus outbreak.

But while South Africa with the continent’s most developed economy and the highest number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 relaxed its strict lockdown, the reopening of most school classes was delayed and there was debate about how churches could safely resume services, the Associated Press reports.

The government postponed the planned opening of two grades for another week so that some under-prepared schools could get ready to resume classes for grades 7 and 12, the final years of elementary school and high school.

Places of worship were allowed to open from Monday with limits on the number of people in congregations, yet many religious groups said they would refuse the opportunity as they were concerned about the danger of allowing people to gather in an enclosed building.

South Africa has reported over 32,000 Covid-19 cases and more than 600 people have died, with warnings the peak is not expected until August or September.

The relaxation of the alcohol ban came as a relief to many, who chose restocking their liquor cabinets instead of going straight to work on the day much of the country’s economy also reopened.

In the township of Macassar, near Cape Town, people left home at 4.30am, residents said, to secure places in lines at liquor stores. The stores were set to open at 9am for the first time since 26 March.

Some walked with plastic crates to carry the bottles of beer and wine that they planned to buy, according to the report.

Cheers rose in a Johannesburg supermarket when screens were removed from wine racks to allow sales to begin.

Shelves of popular brands of alcohol were emptied in two hours at one liquor shop in an affluent suburb of Johannesburg.

Alcohol is only allowed to be sold from Monday to Thursday between 9am and 5pm, under the new relaxed measures.

Workers help a customer load alcohol in his van moments after purchasing at Makro Silverlakes Liquor Store in Pretoria on June 1, 2020.
Workers help a customer load alcohol in his van at Makro Silverlakes liquor store in Pretoria. Photograph: Phill Magakoe/AFP/Getty Images

Updated at 2.28pm BST

1.57pm BST

Hi. This is Caroline Davies taking over the blog for a while. You can contact me on caroline.davies@theguardian.com

1.55pm BST

Prevention and treatment services for cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other non-communicable diseases have been severely disrupted around the globe by the Covid-19 pandemic, the World Health Organization has said.

More than half (53%) of the countries surveyed have partially or completely disrupted services for hypertension treatment; 49% for treatment for diabetes and diabetes-related complications; 42% for cancer treatment, and 31% for cardiovascular emergencies.

Rehabilitation services have been disrupted in almost two-thirds (63%) of countries, despite the importance of rehabilitation to a healthy recovery following severe cases of Covid-19.

The most common reasons for discontinuing or reducing services were cancellations of planned treatments, a decrease in public transport available and a lack of staff because health workers had been reassigned to support Covid-19 services.

In one in five countries reporting disruptions, one of the main reasons for discontinuing services was a shortage of medicines, diagnostics and other technologies.

The 155-country survey carried out for the UN health body found that the impact was being felt the most in poorer countries.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director general of the World Health Organization, said:

The results of this survey confirm what we have been hearing from countries for a number of weeks now. Many people who need treatment for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have not been receiving the health services and medicines they need since the Covid-19 pandemic began.

It’s vital that countries find innovative ways to ensure that essential services for non-communicable diseases continue, even as they fight Covid-19.

Updated at 2.46pm BST

1.49pm BST

It is now 10 days since anyone died a coronavirus-related death in Malaysia, according to the latest update from the health ministry.

On Monday, the country reported 38 new coronavirus cases, bringing the cumulative total to 7,857 cases, Reuters reports. The death toll stands at 115.

Updated at 2.28pm BST

1.43pm BST

Cross-country and local train services have resumed in Ukraine, AFP reports.

With the number of new cases falling in recent weeks, the country has been gradually easing restrictions, allowing the Kiev subway, shopping malls, outdoor cafes, beauty salons, dental clinics and parks to reopen.

On Monday, about 40 long-distance train services and more than 200 suburban routes reopened, with passengers required to wear face masks and follow social distancing rules, the French news agency cited officials as saying.

A passenger leaves a train in Kiev.
A passenger leaves a train in Kiev. Photograph: Gleb Garanich/Reuters

Passengers would have their temperatures taken and train cars would be disinfected after each trip, the national railway operator said in a statement. Ticket sales would also be limited to half of the usual seats to prevent crowding.

Ukraine had recorded 24,012 coronavirus cases and 718 deaths as of Monday, fewer than in many countries but enough to raise concerns for its under-funded healthcare system.

1.30pm BST

Germany recorded 333 confirmed new infections and 11 new deaths linked to Covid-19, the country’s disease control body said on Monday, writes Philip Oltermann, the Guardian’s Berlin bureau chief.

According to the Robert Koch Institute, Germany has recorded a total of 181,815 people infected with the virus since the outbreak of the pandemic, and 8,511 deaths.

The reproduction number (R), indicating how many new cases one infected person generates on average,rose to 1.04 on Sunday, staying above the critical threshold of one for the second row in a day.

The Robert Koch Institute has warned that the R was more likely to fluctuate while the overall number of new infections was low, and the latest rise might be linked to an outbreak of the virus in the city of Göttingen, in Lower Saxony.

At least 36 people were tested positive and more than 150 put into quarantine after health authorities in the city linked an outbreak to a number of private parties and an illegally opened shisha bar.

Updated at 2.29pm BST

1.16pm BST

Greece has taken another step towards normality today lifting lockdown restrictions on hotels, open-air cinemas, golf courses and public swimming pools, writes Helena Smith, the Guardian’s Athens correspondent. The measures come as the country prepares to “welcome the world,” according to a new travel advisory released by the Greek foreign ministry at the weekend.

All air links into Athens and Thessaloniki, Greece’s northern metropolis, will resume as of 15 June which effectively means the nation will be re-opening to all foreign visitors after months of pandemic-enforced closure although regulations will be strict and ultimately dependent on points of departure: mandatory Covid-19 testing, and one or two- week periods of quarantine, will be required if passengers fly in from airports deemed by Europe’s aviation safety agency, EASA, to be in “high risk” coronavirus transmission areas.

After enforcing strict lockdown measures early on, Greece has managed to contain the virus relatively well, recording less than 3,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and a death toll of 175.

In a nation so dependent on tourism, arrivals are now eagerly awaited with Greek media reports suggesting hotels are already receiving bookings. As preparations get underway the owners of open-air cinemas – a quintessential delight of any Greek summer – were also getting in the mood this morning.

Cine Thision, Athens’ oldest open-air cinema, prepares to open as Greek authorities ease lockdown measures.
Cine Thision, Athens’ oldest open-air cinema, prepares to open as Greek authorities ease lockdown measures. Photograph: Helena Smith/The Guardian

At the Cine Thision, Athens’ oldest outdoors cinema within view of the Acropolis, Michalis Maniakis who oversees the family-run business with his uncle, Thomas, expressed confidence even if the venerable institutions will only be able to operate at 40 % capacity thanks to the virus.

“We got through ten years of economic crisis, we’ll get through coronavirus too,” he said. “The summer is around the corner and the heat will pick up. There’ll be lots of long perfect nights to watch movies.”

Primary school children also went back to class today.

Updated at 1.38pm BST

1.03pm BST

Istanbul’s iconic Grand Bazaar is once again bustling.
Istanbul’s iconic Grand Bazaar is once again bustling. Photograph: Ozan Köse/AFP/Getty Images

Istanbul’s 550-year-old Grand Bazaar reopened its doors on Monday for the first time in more than two months as cities across Turkey prepared to ease restrictions imposed to control the Covid-19 crisis, writes Bethan McKernan in the Turkish capital.

Cafes, restaurants, public buildings, sports facilities, childcare centres, parks and beaches have been allowed to reopen from today, although in Istanbul at least torrential rain kept public spaces empty.

An intercity travel ban was also lifted Monday, with cross-country rail travel and some domestic flights resuming. International flights are scheduled to restart from 10 June.

Turkey currently has the tenth worst coronavirus outbreak in the world by number of cases, at 163,942, but has recorded a much lower death rate than other badly-hit countries, which reached 4,540 on Sunday.

People over 60 and under the age of 18 are still subject to a curfew until further notice.

12.51pm BST

Some schools in parts of Catalonia are reopening today as the region eases out of lockdown, but attendance will be voluntary, writes Sam Jones, the Guardian’s Madrid correspondent.

In nurseries and primary schools, priority is being given to the children of parents who cannot work from home, while secondary schools will be resuming with groups of no more than 15 pupils. Most Spanish children will not return to school until September.

As of Monday, almost 70% of Spain is in the third and penultimate stage of the de-escalation. While much of Catalonia is in the third stage, the Barcelona metropolitan area remains in the second phase, as does the Madrid region. Both areas have been hit hard by Covid-19, which has killed 27,127 people in Spain and infected 239,479.

La Barceloneta beach in Barcelona.
La Barceloneta beach in Barcelona. Photograph: Quique García/EPA

The Balearic island of Formentera is now in the final phase, as are the Canary island of La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa.

Cultural institutions are also coming out of lockdown this week. Bilbao’s Guggenheim museum, which reopened on Monday, has cut visitor capacity to one third, and visitors will have their temperatures taken on the way in.

Madrid’s famous trio of art museums – the Prado, the Reina Sofía and the Thyssen – are due to open again on Saturday.

On Sunday, the prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, announced that his Socialist-led coalition government would be seeking congress’s approval for a sixth and final extension of the state of emergency, which has been in force since 14 March.

If granted, the extension will run until 21 June.

12.36pm BST

Patrick Wintour, the Guardian’s diplomatic editor, has now written an update on the situation in Iran where, as I reported earlier, figures suggest a second wave of coronavirus infection is spreading. He writes:

Fresh signs that Iran has failed to bring the Coronavirus outbreak under control emerged today when the Iranian health ministry said 3,000 new infections had been recorded in the previous 24 hours, the highest figure for two months.

Iran’s new infections total has been rising for nearly two weeks, but now the pace is accelerating leading the Iranian authorities to acknowledge a second wave is underway.

Critics will claim Iran lifted controls prematurely. Others will claim the rise is due to an increase in the numbers being tested, and the reversal is confined to three or four provinces.

The latest figures showed 2,979 new infections in the previous 24 hours taking the total of infections to 154,445. The daily figure is the highest since the end of March. The comparative figure for 1 May was 802 new infections.

The number of deaths is also starting to rise with 81 dead in the previous 24 hours, the highest figure since 27 April.

The government has been slowly lifting travel restrictions, and opening mosques. But the health ministry admitted that the new guidelines were not being followed in many workplaces and on public transport. Projected new buses for use in Tehran, necessary to reduce overcrowding, have not materialised.

Iran has been under economic pressure to lift the restrictions, and get its economy, already shattered by sanctions, back moving. Nearly .5bn damage has been in 13 sectors of the economy, the government estimated yesterday. Inflation is projected to settle at 24 % next year.

12.30pm BST

Afghanistan has recorded 545 new coronavirus cases and 8 deaths on Monday as Kabul recorded lowest number of new infections in more than a month, Akhtar Mohammad Makoii reports from the city of Herat.

The latest update takes total number of transmissions in Afghanistan to 15,750, and the death toll to 265. There have been 1,428 recoveries.

Most of the new cases on Monday were detected in the western province of Herat, which is the country’s worst affected area in number of deaths.

The capital, Kabul which is Afghanistan’s worst affected area by number of infections, with 6,212 confirmed cases, has reported a record low day in the number of new infections for more than a month as health ministry recorded 66 new cases out 333 tests. Yesterday, the number of new infections in Kabul was 371.

A medical worker in Herat.
A medical worker in Herat. Photograph: Jalil Rezayee/EPA

Wahid Majroh, deputy health minister said on Sunday that the the virus is spreading so fast in Afghanistan because people continue to break lockdown regulations. “We can control the pandemic in around four weeks if people cooperate, but in the case which witness Kabul’s streets these days, the catastrophe will spread more” Majroh said.

He said the situation in Afghanistan is critical and asked all health workers of the country to join the health ministry to help the fight against coronavirus.

The situation in southern province of Kandahar is increasingly concerning as no suspected patient had been tested in around three weeks, due to a problem in the testing process that has generated a huge backlog.

Health officials have been sending samples from suspected patients to nearby provinces such as Helmand. Majroh said he has instructed the health sector of Kandahar and nearby provinces to send samples to Kabul.

Elsewhere in the country, eastern province of Nangarhar and northern province of Balkh, which saw a surge in number of new infections, recorded 96 new cases combined.

12.10pm BST

People in Finland and Norway can enjoy a long-awaited drink with friends today, with both countries set to reopen bars after months of closures.

Things will not be as they remember them, however, as both governments are only allowing reopenings subject to new social distancing guidelines and shorter hours, the French news agency AFP reports.

In Finland, where bars and restaurants have been closed to indoor customers since 4 April, they will only be allowed to admit half of their normal capacity, according to regulations that will stay in place until at least the end of October.

Outdoor terraces and gardens will have no customer limits, however, with the law telling punters not to get “too close” to each other without specifying a minimum distance. Finland, a country of 5.5 million, has reported 6,776 Covid-19 infections and 314 deaths.

In Norway many were expected to take advantage of the warm weather on Monday’s bank holiday to enjoy an “utepils” – a beer consumed outdoors. Rules stipulate that groups must be limited to 20 people, with distances of 1 metre (3ft) between each person except for those living under the same roof.

Only table service is allowed, regular disinfection of tables and chairs is required, and establishments must close by 11.30pm. Bars that also serve food were authorised to reopen in early May.

Norway, which has confirmed 8,411 cases and 236 deaths from coronavirus, imposed strict measures to curb the spread of the virus on 12 March.

Updated at 12.29pm BST

11.55am BST

Restaurants and cafes reopened under strict rules in Turkey on Monday, as the country continued easing its coronavirus restrictions.

As millions of public sector workers returned to work, and an intercity travel ban was lifted, many other amenities, including parks, beaches, libraries and museums, also reopened across the country.

The national flag carrier Turkish Airlines said its first plane since the ban took off from Istanbul to the capital Ankara at 0700 GMT. International flights have been suspended until 10 June.

Turkey, with a population of 83 million, has recorded about 164,000 coronavirus infections and more than 4,500 virus-related deaths. But with nearly 128,000 patients now recovered, the government is boasting of its success in handling the outbreak and avoiding becoming a virus hotspot such as Italy or the UK.

Officials say the pandemic is now under control, but have warned the public to respect social distancing rules and wear masks outside.

Men eat at a restaurant in Adana on Monday.
Men eat at a restaurant in Adana on Monday. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Updated at 12.30pm BST

11.43am BST

Child protection experts say that Covid-19 school closures have exposed children around the world to human rights abuses such as forced genital mutilation, early marriage and sexual violence, Harriet Grant writes.

Globally, the World Bank estimates that 1.6 billion children were locked out of education by Covid-19. As schools in England and around the world prepare to reopen this week, NGOs warn that millions of the world’s most vulnerable children may never return to the classroom, and say that after decades fighting for girls’ education the pandemic could cause gender equality in education to be set back decades.

In Tanzania, girls sent home from boarding schools where they were being protected from FGM have already been cut. In the Sahel region, where early marriage is widespread, Unicef worries that many girls will never return to school.

The Dutch charity Terre des Hommes runs a safe house for girls in Tanzania, protecting them from FGM.

The community has taken advantage of this situation of Covid-19 and where children are now back at home they are cutting their girls. They know it is against the law but they are not afraid. We had one mother who was jailed for a year after carrying out FGM but for her she is happy. She is locked up but her girl is cut.

Many girls have been cut, including girls we had managed to keep safe through the cutting season, which began in October last year. Some girls escaped and they ran to our FGM centre; we had several girls just turn up. For these children, school is a safe place.

11.33am BST

Iran sees highest daily rise in infections since 1 April

Iran has counted its most new cases of coronavirus on any day for nearly two months, with 2,979 more people testing positive for the virus since yesterday, according to the health ministry.

The last time Iran counted more new infections was 1 April, when 2,988 were detected. The latest surge suggests the country is now in the grip of a second wave of widespread infection. Saeed Namaki, the health minister, warned the epidemic could come back stronger than before.

“The outbreak is not over yet and at any moment it may come back stronger than before,” he was quoted as saying by Reuters. “If our people fail to respect the health protocols … we must prepare ourselves for the worst situation.”

Government employees went back to work and mosques resumed daily prayers on Saturday as part of the continuing relaxation of the lockdown, which last week saw cafes and restaurants reopening in some parts of the country. But authorities had to reimpose restrictions in the southern provinces of Khuzestan and Sistan Baluchestan in mid-May after an uptick of cases there.

In his daily update, Kianoush Jahanpour, the health ministry spokesman, said 78% of the new cases detected on Monday were mild. Eighty-one more people had died from Covid-19 in the past 24 hours, he said, while 2,578 patients with the disease were in a critical condition in hospital.

So far, Iran has recorded a total of 154,445 confirmed cases of coronavirus, of which 121,004 have survived and 7,878 have died, Jahanpour was quoted as saying by the Islamic Republic News Agency.

Updated at 12.32pm BST

11.17am BST

Nearly 145,000 people have now tested positive for the coronavirus in Africa, the World Health Organization’s regional office for the region says.

So far out of those cases reported by the 54 countries on the continent, more than 61,100 people have recovered and 4,100 have died.

South Africa, sub-Saharan Africa’s most industrialised nation, has the most cases, while Egypt, on the other end of the continent, has counted the most deaths.

11.12am BST

Hi, this is Damien Gayle taking the reins of the live blog now, and for the next eight or so hours. If you feel like getting in touch, if you have any comments, tips or suggestions for coverage, please do drop me a line, either via email to damien.gayle@theguardian.com, or via Twitter direct message to @damiengayle.

10.55am BST

Eighty-six crew members in one of American Seafoods’ fish processing vessels have tested positive for Covid-19, the fishing company has said. “American Seafoods Company previously reported that a crew member from the American Dynasty tested positive for Covid-19,” they said in a statement. “As a result, the company decided to test the entire crew and on May 30 an additional 85 crew members were confirmed positive. Results are pending for nine outstanding tests.”

Every crew member had been tested before departure and 100% of those who sailed had tested negative. The number of people on board the boat is now known, but the American Dynasty has a carrying capacity of 142 people. The crew is now being quarantined in its home port of Seattle.

10.46am BST

In Bolivia, the interim president Jeanine Áñez has postponed elections, and her government, which mixes militarism with religious zeal, is accused of persecuting political opponents. Laurence Blair and Cindy Jiménez Bercerra report:

As locked-down Bolivians looked to the skies this Easter, they were met with an unusual sight. Cassock-wearing priests, some wielding statues of the apostles, sprinkled holy water and blessings over four cities from circling air force helicopters.

The episode encapsulated the uneasy mix of militarism and religious zeal that has defined six months of the caretaker presidency of Jeanine Áñez. A little-known evangelical politician from Bolivia’s tropical lowlands, Áñez was catapulted to power last November with one job: to hold new elections as soon as possible.

The long-running presidency of Evo Morales had transformed the Andean-Amazonian country, bringing many of the indigenous majority out of poverty. But it ended in violent demonstrations, a police mutiny, and pressure from the army to step down amid allegations of electoral fraud.

Morales and other senior figures from his Movement for Socialism (Mas) resigned and fled, and Áñez – as second vice-president of the senate – assumed interim rule pledging to “rebuild democracy”.

Six months on, even critics of Morales argue that the 52-year-old has instead deepened divisions in the multi-ethnic nation of 11 million people – and is using the coronavirus pandemic to further her own political ambitions.

Much more here:

Updated at 10.54am BST

10.42am BST

Sport is happening in Britain again, as from today. The first greyhound race finished about 20 minutes ago, while somewhere between Kettering and Barnsley there are a lot of competitive pigeons:

Racing pigeons are released in Northamptonshire
4,465 pigeons belonging to members of the Barnsley federation of racing pigeons are released at Wicksteed Park in Kettering, Northamptonshire. Photograph: Jacob King/PA
Racing pigeons are released in Northamptonshire
4,465 pigeons belonging to members of the Barnsley federation of racing pigeons are released at Wicksteed Park in Kettering, Northamptonshire. Photograph: Jacob King/PA
Racing pigeons are released in Northamptonshire
4,465 pigeons belonging to members of the Barnsley federation of racing pigeons are released at Wicksteed Park in Kettering, Northamptonshire. Photograph: Jacob King/PA

10.23am BST

A claim by a leading Italian doctor that the new coronavirus “no longer exists” in the country has sparked a furore, with the government urging caution, reports AFP.

Italy is preparing this week for the next big step in easing a national lockdown imposed three months ago. From Wednesday, foreign tourists will be able to enter again and people will be able to move between regions.

But the government has insisted this is one of the most dangerous phases of a pandemic that has claimed 33,500 lives in the country. It has urged people to abide by social distancing rules and wear masks to prevent the virus from spreading once again.

“In reality, the virus clinically no longer exists in Italy,” said Alberto Zangrillo, head of the San Raffaele Hospital in Milan, the capital of the northern Lombardy region, which has been the worst-hit by the pandemic. “The swabs performed over the past 10 days have showed a viral load that is absolutely infinitesimal in quantitative terms compared to those carried out a month or two months ago,” he said in an interview on RAI television on Sunday. Someone has to take responsibility for terrorising the country”.

That prompted cries of disbelief from other experts and a warning from the government that it was too early to celebrate.

“Pending scientific evidence to support the thesis that the virus has disappeared, I would invite those who say they are sure of it not to confuse Italians,” health ministry under-secretary Sandra Zampa said in a statement.

National Health Council head Franco Locatelli said he was “baffled” by Zangrillo’s comments. “It’s enough to look at the number of new positive cases confirmed every day to see the persistent circulation in Italy of the new coronavirus,” he said.

The director of the prestigious Spallazani infectious diseases institute in Rome, Giuseppe Ippolito, said there was no scientific proof the virus had mutated or changed in potency.

A contact-tracing app to help the country avoid a virus relapse was being launched Monday in four of the country’s 20 regions, with others soon to follow.

Updated at 10.55am BST

10.13am BST

This week will see the reopening of much of France following the Covid-19 emergency. Lockdown measures have been further eased across most of the country designated “green” on the health authorities’ coronavirus map.

The Paris region, however, remains “orange” on the map, meaning there are concerns that the virus is still circulating. The situation in the capital will be reassessed in three weeks.

While most museums and monuments have been given the all-clear to reopen, the capital’s most popular attractions, including the Louvre and the Centre Pompidou, will remain closed for a while longer. Some will require visitors to reserve tickets online before visiting.

France’s borders remain closed to foreign visitors except those with a “compelling” family or professional reason to enter the country until at least 15 June.

Cafes, bars, restaurants and hotels will open on Tuesday in green areas but not until 22 June in orange areas. Until then, establishments in the Paris area will have to serve customers on terraces only. Public gardens, parks, beaches, lakes, woods, can open across the country.

Opening dates of selected sites in and around Paris:
Sacré-Coeur: Open
Château de Versailles: 6 June
Musée d’Orsay: 23 June
Centre Pompidou: 1 July
Louvre: 6 July

Updated at 10.56am BST

10.10am BST

The Philippines has confirmed 552 new cases of Covid-19, and three deaths. That brings its total number of deaths to 960, with 18,738 confirmed cases of which 3,979 have recovered. Indonesia has reported 467 new infections, bringing their total to 26,940, of whom 7,637 have recovered. There have also been 28 deaths since yesterday, taking the country’s total to 1,641.

Updated at 10.11am BST

10.05am BST

Christiana Figueres, the head of the UN climate change convention that achieved the Paris agreement in 2015, writes on the opportunity we have been given by coronavirus to build a low-carbon future:

The air is clean and fresh, fish have reappeared in urban waterways, birds are frequenting uncut gardens, wild mammals are meandering through cities and greenhouse gas emissions will likely drop by an unprecedented 8% this year. Nature has clearly benefited from several months of dramatically reduced economic activity. From a climate crisis perspective, this drop in emissions is astonishingly close to the 7.6% yearly reduction in emissions that scientists have advised will be necessary during the next decade. And yet none of this is cause for celebration.

The resilience of nature is temporary, and will last only as long as the lockdown is enforced. More importantly, the reduction in greenhouse gases is not the result of decarbonising the economy, but the unintended consequence of economic paralysis that has come with painful human consequences and huge costs to lives and livelihoods. This is not what addressing the climate crisis looks like. The thoughtful reduction of greenhouse gases has to be intentional not circumstantial, sustained not temporary. Above all, it must lead to improved human wellbeing, not to human or economic suffering.

More here:

9.45am BST

Other things reopening today include: cinemas in Thailand:

Customers at a cinema in Bangkok, Thailand
People wear face mask to help curb the spread of the coronavirus during a movie at the Paragon Cineplex cinema in Bangkok, Thailand. Photograph: Sakchai Lalit/AP

Ikea stores in Britain:

Customers queue outside an Ikea store in Nottingham
Customers queue outside an Ikea store in Nottingham before it reopens, after the British government relaxed lockdown measures. Photograph: Michael Regan/Getty Images
Customers queue at Ikea in Warrington
Customers queue at Ikea in Warrington as it re-opens following the lifting of lockdown restrictions in the United Kingdom. Photograph: Phil Noble/Reuters

And amusement parks in Japan:

A dolphin performs at Hakkeijima Sea Paradise near Tokyo, Japan
People wearing face masks enjoy a dolphin performance as the Hakkeijima Sea Paradise amusement park opens after a two-month closure due to the preventative measures to help curb the spread of the coronavirus in Yokohama near Tokyo. Photograph: Koji Sasahara/AP

9.34am BST

Trains are running today in Manila for the first time in two months, as the lockdown is eased in the Philippines. Many of the seats are blocked off to ensure social distancing, leading to long queues to get into stations:

Workers disinfect a train in Manilla, Philippines
Workers in personal protective equipment disinfect the seats of a train in Manila, on the first day of train operations since the lockdown in the Philippines. Photograph: Eloisa Lopez/Reuters
Passengers queue to go to the train platform in Manila, Philippines.
Passengers queue to go to the train platform as social distancing is strictly implemented on the trains on its first day of reopening since the lockdown in Manila, Philippines. Photograph: Eloisa Lopez/Reuters

9.27am BST

Hong Kong police have formally banned this week’s vigil for the Tiananmen Square massacre, citing Covid-19 measures.

It was expected, especially after the Hong Kong government extended its ban on public gatherings in groups larger than eight, but the announcement confirms that for the first time since the Chinese military killed untold numbers of protesters in 1989, there will be no event.

Hong Kong’s is traditionally the largest and only commemorative event in China. The sombre and peaceful event, normally attended by tens of thousands, is also often a vehicle for other causes. Attendees last year also drew awareness to the proposed extradition bill which would draw a million people to the streets in protest just a few days later, and spark months of demonstrations.

Today, the Hong Kong police force wrote to organisers of the vigil to object, citing the current social distancing measures (due to expire the following day). It said public assemblies were a “high-risk activity” due to the large crowds which gather.

Police believe the event will not only increase participants’ chances of contracting the virus, but also threaten citizens’ lives and health, thus endangering public safety and affecting the rights of others.

On Monday, Hong Kong reported its first locally transmitted case of the virus in more than two weeks. Numerous restrictions, including on swimming pools and religious gatherings, were recently lifted, prompting accusations that bans on public gatherings were only staying in place to prevent protests, and the vigil.

Updated at 10.09am BST

8.50am BST

Russia has reported 9,035 new cases of Covid-19 today, down slightly on the previous day, taking the country’s total number of confirmed cases to 414,878, and 162 deaths, bringing the overall death toll from the virus to 4,855.

On Saturday, Russian authorities approved the antiviral drug Avifavir, known generically as favipiravir, which was developed in Japan in the late 1990s but modified recently in Russia, and will start using it to treat patients from 11 June, the head of Russia’s RDIF sovereign wealth fund, Kirill Dmitriev, has told Reuters. Dmitriev said that in clinical trials involving 330 people the drug successfully treated the virus in most cases within four days.

“We believe this is a game changer. It will reduce strain on the healthcare system, we’ll have fewer people getting into a critical condition, and for 90% of people it eliminates the virus within 10 days,” he said. “We believe that the drug is key to resuming full economic activity in Russia. People need to follow social distancing rules, and of course we need to have a vaccine, but it’s a combination of those three levers.”

Updated at 10.10am BST

8.43am BST

The big controversy in Cordoba, Spain concerns Prince Joachim of Belgium, who flew into the country on 24 May, attended a party with 26 other people when he should have been in a 14-day quarantine period and has now tested positive for coronavirus. ““I would like to apologise for not having respected all the quarantine measures during my trip. In these difficult moments, I did not intend to offend or disrespect anyone,” the prince said in a letter released yesterday. “I deeply regret my actions and accept the consequences.”

Prince Joachim of Belgium
Prince Joachim of Belgium, archduke of Austria-Este, son of princess Astrid and prince Lorenzo and nephew of Philippe, king of Belgium. Photograph: Stéphanie Lecocq/EPA

8.29am BST

The good news for residents of Kolkata, India, is that hairdressers are open again. The bad news is they’ve got to look like this:

Hairdressers in PPE in Kolkata, India
Hairdressers wearing personal protective equipment work in a beauty salon in Kolkata, India, as lockdown regulations are eased. Photograph: Piyal Adhikary/EPA
Hairdressers in PPE in Kolkata, India
Employees of a beauty salon in Kolkata, India wearing personal protective equipment. Photograph: Piyal Adhikary/EPA

8.21am BST

Social distancing in action at a primary school in Tokyo, Japan today:

Primary school students in Tokyo
Primary school students wearing face masks amid concerns over the spread of Covid-19 at their reopened school in Tokyo on 1 June 2020, one week after the Japanese government lifted the state of emergency nationwide. Photograph: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

7.49am BST

Anti-Discrimination NSW has recorded a surge in anti-Asian racism in the Australian state of New South Wales during the coronavirus pandemic.

The state anti-discrimination body has received 241 official complaints in the four months between 1 January to 30 April this year. Of those, 62 were on the grounds of race – an average of four complaints a week just in one state. This includes people being abused or spat at in public, harassed for wearing a face mask, and car windows being smashed.

More here:

7.37am BST

The Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, has confirmed this morning that he and some members of his family have tested positive for Covid-19. “I will continue to work from the prime minister’s residence,” he said. “I have all means of communication, all the necessary conditions, an office. I will work from here as much as needed, but of course, under conditions of isolation. We all are in the same situation, we do not have a fever or any symptoms, but symptoms can come at any moment.”

The Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, confirms on Facebook that he has tested positive for Covid-19.

7.22am BST

The president of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa, gives an update about school reopenings. Schools in the country had been told to open their doors today, only for the education ministry to back down at the last minute as teachers’ unions, school staff and governing associations pledged to defy the order. Changes to lockdown regulations today also include letting people outside for work, worship, exercise or shopping, and allowing mines and factories to run at full capacity.

7.12am BST

Jordanian brothers Hussein and Zeyad Ashish
Jordanian brothers Hussein and Zeyad Ashish, boxers who have qualified for next year’s Olympics, training on the roof of their home at Al-Baqaa Palestinian refugee camp, near Amman, Jordan. Photograph: Muhammad Hamed/Reuters

From boxing brothers in Jordan to a domestic worker in South Africa, people tell us what they will miss about life in lockdown when it comes to an end:

7.05am 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!

7.00am BST

Summary

That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thank you for following along. My colleague Simon Burnton will be taking on the blog now to continue our round-the-clock coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

A reminder that we have a blog dedicated to the George Floyd protests here.

Below are the latest developments from the last few hours:

  • Manila eases lockdown. Traffic jams and crowds of commuters returned to the Philippine capital on Monday, as Manilla relaxed antivirus measures in a high-stakes gamble to slowly reopen the economy while fighting the coronavirus outbreak. Public transport was still limited and many commuters waited for hours to get a ride despite the government deploying special buses. School classes remain suspended for the next two weeks. Barber shops and beauty salons can open next week at a third of their capacity. The Philippines remains a south-east Asian hotspot for Covid-19, with more than 18,000 infections and 957 deaths.
  • Japan may open doors to travellers from selected countries. Japan is considering reopening its borders to travellers from selected countries that have low levels of coronavirus infections, as it begins to ease restrictions put in place earlier this year to control the outbreak. As schools, cinemas, sports clubs and department stores reopened in Tokyo on Monday, media have reported that the government is also planning to allow travellers in from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand in the coming months. There was no immediate comment from the foreign ministry.
  • Hong Kong reports first locally transmitted case in two weeks. Hong Kong has confirmed its first locally transmitted coronavirus cases in more than two weeks, fuelling concerns over its spread as restrictions on movement are relaxed, Reuters reports. The Centre for Health Protection said on Sunday it was investigating two confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the number of cases so far to 1,085. Four people have died of the disease in Hong Kong.
  • Wuhan reports zero new asymptomatic cases. Wuhan, the Chinese city of around 11 million people where the Covid-19 pandemic began, reported no new asymptomatic cases on Sunday, according to Chinese health officials. State media, Xinhua, said on Monday more than 60,000 nucleic acid tests were conducted on Sunday, finding no asymptomatic cases. Mainland China reported 16 new cases overall on Sunday, the highest daily number in three weeks. All were reported as imported cases – 11 in Sichuan province, three in Inner Mongolia, and two in Guangdong.
  • Brazil passes 500,000 Covid-19 cases. Brazil has reported 16,409 new cases, taking the total of infected cases to 514,849. It keeps the country in second place in terms of infections, behind the US on 1.78 million cases. Brazil has moved into fourth in terms of deaths, with 29,314 fatalities, according to the health ministry. President Jair Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the severity of the virus and continued to flout social distancing measures. On Sunday, he rode a horse to a rally calling for the supreme court to be shut down for investigating him.
  • Moscow eases lockdown despite high virus caseload. Shopping malls and parks are set to reopen in Moscow on Monday as the Russian capital eases coronavirus restrictions despite having the world’s third-largest caseload, with 405,843 infections. The relaxation of the confinement orders in Moscow, the centre of Russia’s outbreak with a population of more than 12 million, comes after President Vladimir Putin announced the epidemic had passed its peak in the country.
  • North Korea to reopen schools. North Korea will reopen schools this month after shuttering them over the coronavirus pandemic, reports said on Monday. Pyongyang has not confirmed a single infection but has imposed strict rules, including closing its borders and putting thousands of its people into isolation. The new school term – initially scheduled to start in early April – has been repeatedly postponed, although some universities and high schools were allowed to resume classes in mid-April.
  • The Queen makes first public appearance. In the UK, the Queen has been pictured riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle – her first public appearance since the lockdown began. Windsor is said to be the Queen’s favourite royal residence and she has been photographed over the weekend riding one of her ponies, a 14-year-old Fell pony called Balmoral Fern. The 94-year-old regularly rides in the grounds of Windsor and has been a passionate horse lover and breeder of thoroughbred racehorses throughout her reign.
  • Spain to extend lockdown. Spain’s prime minister, Pedro Sanchez, has said the country needs 15 more days of lockdown until 21 June “to finish with the pandemic once and for all”, and that he would ask parliament to approve a final two-week extension to the stay home rule. “We have almost achieved what we set out to do,” Sanchez told a press conference, as he expressed his intense relief that the number of new cases in Spain, one of the nations hardest-hit by the virus, had fallen dramatically.
  • Bangladesh lifts lockdown. Bangladesh lifted its coronavirus lockdown on Sunday, with millions heading back to work in densely populated cities and towns even as the country logged a record spike in deaths and new infections. “The lockdown has been lifted and we are heading almost towards our regular life,” health department spokeswoman Nasima Sultana said, calling on those returning to work to wear masks and observe social distancing. It comes as Bangladesh – which on Friday took an emergency pandemic loan from the International Monetary Fund – reported its biggest daily jump in infections Sunday, with 2,545 new cases and a record 40 deaths.

Updated at 7.13am BST

6.50am BST

Not even Donald Trump’s harshest critics can blame him for a virus believed to have come from a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, nor for an attendant economic collapse, nor for four centuries of slavery, segregation, police brutality and racial injustice.

But they can, and do, point to how he made a bad situation so much worse. The story of Trump’s presidency was arguably always leading to this moment, with its toxic mix of weak moral leadership, racial divisiveness, crass and vulgar rhetoric and an erosion of norms, institutions and trust in traditional information sources. Taken together, these ingredients created a tinderbox poised to explode when crises came.

Trump, they say, was uniquely ill-qualified for this moment. He tried to wish away the threat of the coronavirus and failed to prepare, then paid no heed to how communities of colour bore the brunt of its health and economic consequences. As unrest now grips dozens of cities, he speaks an authoritarian language of “thugs”, “vicious dogs” and “when the looting starts, the shooting starts”.

6.41am BST

The front pages of US newspapers over the past few days tell of the double tragedy of a nation rocked by protests over the death of George Floyd and the growing coronavirus toll.

6.30am BST

UK front pages, Monday 1 June

6.25am BST

In Australia, what started out as a fun and inclusive initiative has turned sour after the NRL’s scheme to put cardboard cut-outs of fans in stadiums was hijacked.

Over the weekend a photograph of mass murderer Harold Shipman made an appearance in the stands, then a TV sketch featured an image of Adolf Hitler, prompting furious criticism from Australia’s Jewish community.

The broadcaster and the show’s host subsequently apologised, while the NRL said it would review its screening process.

The Fan in the Stand scheme, an effort to keep fans involved in the game while not allowed to watch their teams live, was rolled out for the first time as the 2020 season resumed last week in empty stadiums after a 10-week break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Most supporters took part in the scheme in good faith, uploading images of themselves for a fee of plus GST, which were then printed out on 100% recyclable material and placed in the stands.

But other likenesses have appeared alongside genuine fans, including an image of Shipman, Britain’s most prolific serial killer, which was spotted during the Panthers’ clash with the Knights in Campbelltown on Sunday afternoon.

Shipman was found guilty in 2000 of murdering 15 of his patients by lethal injection, and while he may not be as infamous in Australia as he is in the UK, the inclusion of his likeness raises questions over the vetting procedure used by the NRL in its scheme.

Updated at 6.34am BST

6.21am BST

Stars on the shows that couldn’t go on

How does it feel to see a show you’ve spent years working on being pulled? From Love Islanders to Foals, Laura Wade and Wayne McGregor, artists reveal their darkest days – and deepest worries:

6.08am BST

Global report: Wuhan reports no asymptomatic cases for first time

The Chinese city of Wuhan, where the Covid-19 pandemic began, reported no new asymptomatic cases for the first time on Sunday, according to Chinese health officials.

Mainland China reported 16 new cases overall on Sunday, the highest daily number in three weeks. All were reported as imported cases – 11 in Sichuan province, three in Inner Mongolia, and two in Guangdong.

The virus continues to rage in other parts of the world, including Brazil which passed half a million cases on Sunday. In England, senior public health officials have pleaded for the government to cancel an easing of lockdown restrictions that starts Monday.

The pandemic – which has now infected at least 6 million people worldwide, and killed more than 372,000 – began late last year in Wuhan. On Sunday, the city reported it had no new cases and no new symptomatic cases, after an ambitious push to test all 11 million residents following a small outbreak.

Nationally, the health commission also reported 16 asymptomatic cases. Three of the asymptomatic cases were local transmission.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan was considering reopening to travellers from countries with low infections rates – including Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand – and the Philippines capital began easing its long lockdown.

Meanwhile, the virus continued to spread rapidly in the Americas.

5.47am BST

Summary

  • Manila eases lockdown. Traffic jams and crowds of commuters returned to the Philippine capital on Monday, as the metropolis relaxed antivirus measures in a high-stakes gamble to slowly reopen the economy while fighting the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Hong Kong reports first locally transmitted coronavirus case in two weeks. Hong Kong has confirmed its first locally transmitted coronavirus cases in more than two weeks, fuelling concerns over its spread as restrictions on movement are relaxed. The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said on Sunday it was investigating two confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the number of cases so far to 1,085. Four people have died of the disease in Hong Kong.
  • Japan may open doors to travellers from selected countries. Japan is considering re-opening its borders to travellers from selected countries which have low levels of coronavirus infections, as it begins to ease restrictions put in place earlier this year to control the outbreak. Media have reported that the government is also planning to allow travellers from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand into the country in the coming months.
  • Wuhan, China reports zero new cases. Wuhan, the Chinese city of around 11m people, where the Covid-19 pandemic began, reported no new asymptomatic cases on Sunday, according to Chinese health officials. Mainland China reported 16 new cases overall on Sunday, the highest daily number in three weeks. All were reported as imported cases – 11 in Sichuan province, three in Inner Mongolia, and two in Guangdong.
  • Moscow eases lockdown despite high virus caseload. Shopping malls and parks are set to reopen in Moscow on Monday as the Russian capital eases coronavirus restrictions despite having the world’s third-largest caseload, with 405,843 infections.
  • North Korea to reopen schools as virus fears ease. North Korea will reopen schools this month after shuttering them over the coronavirus pandemic, reports said Monday. Pyongyang has not confirmed a single infection but has imposed strict rules, including closing its borders and putting thousands of its people into isolation.
  • Brazil passes 500,000 Covid-19 cases. Brazil has reported 16,409 new coronavirus cases taking the total of infected cases to 514,849. It keeps the country in second place in terms of infections, behind the US on 1.78 million cases. Brazil has moved into fourth in terms of deaths, with 29,314 fatalities, according to the health ministry. President Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the severity of the virus and continued to flout social distancing measures.
  • The Queen makes first public appearance. In the UK, the Queen has been pictured riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle – her first public appearance since the coronavirus lockdown began.
  • Spain to extend lockdown. Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez says the country needs 15 more days of lockdown until 21 June “to finish with the pandemic once and for all”, and he would ask parliament to approve a final two-week extension to the stay home rule.
  • Bangladesh lifts lockdown. Bangladesh lifted its coronavirus lockdown Sunday, with millions heading back to work in densely populated cities and towns even as the country logged a record spike in deaths and new infections. Bangladesh – which on Friday took an emergency pandemic loan from the International Monetary Fund – reported its biggest daily jump in infections Sunday, with 2,545 new cases and a record 40 deaths.
  • India’s lockdown, which was due to end on 31 May, has been extended until 30 June in a number of zones identified as ‘high-risk’ by individual states, while the rest of the country prepares to reopen.
  • Spain’s prime minister said on Sunday the country needed 15 more days of lockdown until June 21 “to finish with the pandemic once and for all”, and he would ask parliament to approve a final two-week extension to the stay home rule.
  • Saudi Arabia enforced strict measures when mosques reopened on Sunday, including face masks and personal prayer mats. It comes two months after communal prayers were abandoned due to virus fears.
  • In England, senior public health officials have made a last-minute plea for ministers to stop Monday’s easing of the lockdown, warning the country is unprepared to deal with any surge in infection.
  • More that 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Chile, the health ministry has reported, with 827 of the deaths occurring in May alone. The country has had 99,688 confirmed cases and 1,054 deaths.
  • South Africa has delayed Monday’s reopening of schools by a week, the Department of Basic Education has announced, saying that many are not ready to welcome back pupils.
  • Poverty in the occupied West Bank may double as Palestinians are hammered by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Bank has warned.

5.33am BST

Manila eases lockdown

Traffic jams and crowds of commuters returned to the Philippine capital on Monday, as the metropolis relaxed antivirus measures in a high-stakes gamble to slowly reopen the economy while fighting the coronavirus outbreak, AP reports.

Workers from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority install traffic cones as they prepare for the rush of commuters due to the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Manila, the Philippines on 31 May, 2020.
Workers from the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority install traffic cones as they prepare for the rush of commuters due to the easing of the Covid-19 lockdown restrictions in Manila, the Philippines on 31 May, 2020. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

Commuter trains, taxis, ride-sharing cars, special shuttle buses and motorcycles rumbled back on the road in metropolitan Manila but were only allowed to carry a fraction of their capacity as a safeguard.

Public transport was still limited by the relaxed rules and many commuters waited for hours to get a ride despite the government’s deployment of buses.

Classes remain suspended for the next two weeks. Barber shops and beauty salons can open next week at a third of their capacity.

The Philippines remains a Southeast Asian hot spot for Covid-19, with more than 18,000 infections and 957 deaths.

5.22am BST

The Queen makes first public appearance

In the UK, the Queen has been pictured riding in the grounds of Windsor Castle – her first public appearance since the coronavirus lockdown began.

Windsor is said to be the Queen’s favourite royal residence and she has been photographed over the weekend riding one of her ponies, a 14-year-old Fell Pony called Balmoral Fern.

The 94-year-old regularly rides in the grounds of Windsor and has been a passionate horse lover and breeder of thoroughbred racehorses throughout her reign.

Wearing a colourful headscarf and smartly dressed in a tweed jacket, jodhpurs, white gloves and boots, the head of state enjoyed the sunny weather that has been a contrast to the sombre mood of the lockdown.

Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II rides Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, in Windsor Home Park over the weekend at the end of May, in Windsor, England. The Queen has been in residence at Windsor Castle during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II rides Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, in Windsor Home Park over the weekend at the end of May, in Windsor, England. The Queen has been in residence at Windsor Castle during the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. Photograph: Steve Parsons/AP

The last public picture of the Queen was taken as she was driven away from Buckingham Palace to her Windsor Castle home on 19 March.

One of the Queen’s dorgis – she has two named Candy and Vulcan – could be seen next to her as they both looked out of the car window.

The Queen carried out official duties the day before her planned departure, but held her weekly audience with Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the phone rather than face to face as usual.

The Queen has made two televised addresses to the nation during the lockdown, the first a speech to reassure the country that coronavirus would be overcome and those in isolation “will meet again”, and another on a similar theme to mark VE Day.

She has been joined by the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle and it is likely a small group of household staff have been isolating with her.

Updated at 5.44am BST

5.10am BST

Asia’s factory pain deepened in May as the slump in global trade caused by the coronavirus pandemic worsened, with export powerhouses Japan and South Korea suffering the sharpest declines in business activity in more than a decade, Reuters reports.

A series of manufacturing surveys released on Monday suggest any rebound in businesses will be some time off, even though China’s factory activity unexpectedly returned to growth in May.

China’s Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) hit 50.7 last month, marking the highest reading since January as easing of lockdowns allowed companies to get back to work and clear outstanding orders.

An employee works on a production line manufacturing steel structures at a factory in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China 17 May 2020.
An employee works on a production line manufacturing steel structures at a factory in Huzhou, Zhejiang province, China 17 May 2020. Photograph: China Daily/Reuters

But with many of China’s trading partners still restricted, its new export orders remained in contraction, the private business survey showed on Monday. China’s official PMI survey on Sunday showed the recovery in the world’s second-largest economy intact but fragile.

Japan’s factory activity shrank at the fastest pace since 2009 in May, a separate private sector survey showed while South Korea also saw manufacturing slump at the sharpest pace in more than a decade.

Taiwan’s manufacturing activity also fell in May. Vietnam, Malaysia and the Philippines saw PMIs rebound from April, though the indices all remained below the 50-mark threshold that separates contraction from expansion.

Official data on Monday showed South Korea extending its exports plunge for a third straight month.

Asia’s economic woes are likely to be echoed in other parts of the world including Europe, where economies continue to suffer huge damage in factory and service sectors.

4.51am BST

Hong Kong reports first locally transmitted coronavirus case in two weeks

Hong Kong has confirmed its first locally transmitted coronavirus cases in more than two weeks, fuelling concerns over its spread as restrictions on movement are relaxed, Reuters reports.

The Centre for Health Protection (CHP) said on Sunday it was investigating two confirmed cases of coronavirus, taking the number of cases so far to 1,085. Four people have died of the disease in Hong Kong.

The global financial hub last reported a locally transmitted case on 14 May, when a 62-year-old man with no travel history was confirmed with coronavirus.

The two new cases involved a 34-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man. Neither had a travel history during the incubation or infectious period, CHP said. Contact tracing was under way, it added.

Pedestrians walk past an electronic display board with a message of thanks to doctors and nurses in Hong Kong on 13 May 2020.
Pedestrians walk past an electronic display board with a message of thanks to doctors and nurses in Hong Kong on 13 May 2020. Photograph: Anthony Wallace/AFP via Getty Images

The woman is a night-shift worker at a Kerry Logistics warehouse in Kwai Chung district where she labels food items imported from the United Kingdom, broadcaster RTHK reported.

Two co-workers, who fell ill about a month ago, tested positive for Covid-19 and authorities are investigating if the warehouse where one of the patients works represents a new cluster of infections, RTHK reported, citing CHP.

About 25 staff in the warehouse and three medical staff who dealt with one of the patients are being quarantined for 14 days, RTHK reported.

4.34am BST

Australia’s three decades of uninterrupted prosperity are coming to an abrupt end as the global coronavirus pandemic crashes one of its most lucrative sources of income: immigration, Reuters reports.

The country has been successful in managing the outbreak and reopening its AUtn (US.33tn) economy, thanks in part to an early closure of its borders.

But the policy has led to a halt in mass immigration – a key source of consumer demand, labour and growth – in an economy which is facing its first recession since the early 1990s.

Officials look on before passengers disembark for immigration procedures on 30 March 2020 in Perth, Australia.
Officials look on before passengers disembark for immigration procedures on 30 March 2020 in Perth, Australia. Photograph: Paul Kane/Getty Images

Net immigration, including international students and those on skilled worker visas, is expected to fall 85% in the fiscal year to June 2021, curbing demand for everything from cars and property to education and wedding rings.

The drought in international student arrivals, who in recent years made up about 40% of the migrant intake, is expected to hit the AUbn education sector, Australia’s second largest services export after tourism.

A fall in new arrivals could also dampen the construction boom in Australia’s all important housing sector, which has been fuelled by migrants in big cities like Sydney and Melbourne.

4.22am BST

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 333 to 181,815, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday.

The reported death toll rose by 11 to 8,511, the tally showed.

4.09am BST

Japan may open doors to travellers from selected countries

Japan is considering re-opening its borders to travellers from selected countries which have low levels of coronavirus infections, as it begins to ease restrictions put in place earlier this year to control the outbreak, Reuters reports.

As schools, cinemas, sports clubs and department stores reopened in the nation’s capital Tokyo on Monday, media have reported that the government is also planning to allow travellers from Thailand, Vietnam, Australia and New Zealand into the country in the coming months. There was no immediate comment from the foreign ministry.

High school students wearing face masks attend a ceremony for reopening of school on 1 June 2020.
High school students wearing face masks attend a ceremony for reopening of school on 1 June 2020. Photograph: JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images

16,751 coronavirus cases have been confirmed in Japan as of early Monday, according to Johns Hopkins University figures, with 898 deaths. Since February, Japan has banned entry by foreigners to limit the spread of the virus from overseas visitors.

The government is considering allowing business travellers from the four countries to enter if they test negative for Covid-19 in two separate tests conducted upon departure from their home country and arrival in Japan, the Asahi Shimbun reported, citing unnamed sources.

Once permitted into the country, visitors’ movements would be restricted to areas including place of stay, company offices and factories, the newspaper said, adding that use of public transportation would be banned.

3.58am BST

Wuhan, China reports zero new cases

Wuhan, the Chinese city of around 11m people, where the Covid-19 pandemic began, reported no new asymptomatic cases on Sunday, according to Chinese health officials.

State media, Xinhua, said on Monday more than 60,000 nucleic acid tests were conducted on Sunday, finding no asymptomatic cases.

Chinese nurse Zhang Dan poses for a photo with colleagues at the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province, Friday, 4 April 2020.
Chinese nurse Zhang Dan poses for a photo with colleagues at the Wuhan Pulmonary Hospital in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province, Friday, 4 April 2020. Photograph: Zhang Dan/AP

Earlier this month Chinese authorities drew up an ambitious plan with the apparent goal of having all 11m residents of Wuhan tested within 10 days, after an outbreak was detected in a housing residence. Authorities have reported testing up to 1.4m people a day.

Xinhua said Sunday’s results indicated the mass testing campaign had seen effects.

Mainland China reported 16 new cases overall on Sunday, the highest daily number in three weeks. All were reported as imported cases – 11 in Sichuan province, three in Inner Mongolia, and two in Guangdong.

The health commission also reported 16 asymptomatic cases – a distinction the Chinese health authorities have made since April. Three of the asymptomatic cases were local transmission.

3.46am BST

North Korea to reopen schools as virus fears ease

North Korea will reopen schools this month after shuttering them over the coronavirus pandemic, reports said Monday.

Pyongyang has not confirmed a single infection but has imposed strict rules, including closing its borders and putting thousands of its people into isolation.

The new school term – initially scheduled to start early April – has been repeatedly postponed, although some universities and high schools were allowed to resume classes in mid-April, AFP reports.

“Education authorities have been asked to furnish thermometers and hand sanitisers at every gate of schools and classrooms and offices, while workers at schools and nurseries have been advised to stick to anti-virus principles,” Yonhap news agency reported.

Sanitary and quarantine station personnel disinfect school facilities in Pyongyang, North Korea area to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Sanitary and quarantine station personnel disinfect school facilities in Pyongyang, North Korea area to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Photograph: KCNA VIA KNS/AFP via Getty Images

Analysts say the North is unlikely to have avoided infections from the virus, which first emerged in neighbouring China and went on to sweep the world, and that its ramshackle health system could struggle to cope with a major outbreak.

The number of coronavirus infections worldwide has risen to more than 6.1 million, with around 370,000 dead across 196 countries and territories.

3.35am BST

In Moscow, Russia, the regulated walks and exercise unleashed a flood of mockery on social media, with political commentator Alexander Golts calling them “sheer lunacy”.

Critics quipped that life in Moscow was beginning to imitate dystopian fiction such as the novels of Aldous Huxley and Yevgeny Zamyatin.

Comedian Maxim Galkin, who has nearly eight million followers on Instagram, released a sketch in which Putin and Sobyanin discuss a “breathing schedule” for Moscow residents (in Russian):

The five-minute parody has been viewed nearly six million times over the past few days.

When the restrictions are relaxed, dry-cleaners, laundry services and repair workshops will be allowed to reopen, while restaurants, cafes and cinemas will remain closed for now.

Moscow authorities also said that no mass gatherings would be allowed during the city-wide quarantine that will remain in place until at least 14 June.

3.25am BST

Moscow eases lockdown despite high virus caseload

Shopping malls and parks are set to reopen in Moscow on today (Monday) as the Russian capital eases coronavirus restrictions despite having the world’s third-largest caseload, with 405,843 infections.

The relaxation of the confinement orders in Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s outbreak with a population of more than 12 million, comes after President Vladimir Putin announced the epidemic had passed its peak in the country, AFP reports.

Russian honour guards stand on duty under the heavy rain at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall in downtown Moscow on 31 May 2020, during a strict lockdown in Russia to stop the spread of the Covid-19, (the novel coronavirus).
Russian honour guards stand on duty under the heavy rain at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier by the Kremlin wall in downtown Moscow on 31 May 2020, during a strict lockdown in Russia to stop the spread of the Covid-19, (the novel coronavirus). Photograph: AFP Contributor#AFP/AFP/Getty Images

Under lockdown since 30 March, residents of Europe’s most populous city were until now only allowed to leave their homes for brief trips to shop, walk dogs or travel to essential jobs with a permit.

While Muscovites welcomed the opportunity to return to parks and malls after weeks of being cooped up at home, many ridiculed the Moscow mayor’s “experiment” aimed at regulating people’s walks and exercise.

As a two-week test measure, Sergei Sobyanin said residents of Moscow will be allowed to take walks according to a staggered schedule based on their home address.

Sobyanin said on his blog he feared that without limits on walking, people would throng the streets in scenes reminiscent of May Day outpourings in Soviet times.

3.14am BST

Podcast: The coronavirus crisis in Britain’s prisons

As Britain faced an unprecedented lockdown, the situation for the 80,000 people in prison was even more stringent. David Adams was recently released from jail and describes how prisoners were confined to their tiny cells for more than 23 hours a day:

3.08am BST

Hi, Helen Sullivan taking the reins now. I’ll be bringing you the latest for the next few hours.

A reminder that you can (and should!) get in touch on Twitter @helenrsullivan or via email: helen.sullivan[at]theguardian.com.

Updated at 3.51am BST

2.59am BST

In case you missed it, global deaths from Covid-19 currently stand nearly 372,000. The US passed the grim landmark of 100,000 last week, but the UK, which has 276,000 infections, is approaching 40,000. As of Sunday 38,571 had died from Covid-19.

Senior public health officials have made a last-minute plea for ministers to scrap Monday’s easing of the coronavirus lockdown in England, warning the country is unprepared to deal with any surge in infection and that public resolve to take steps to limit transmission has been eroded.

The Association of Directors of Public Health (ADPH) said new rules, including allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors and in private gardens, were “not supported by the science” and that pictures of crowded beaches and beauty spots over the weekend showed “the public is not keeping to social distancing as it was”.

Beaches such as Durdle Door, Dorset, and other beauty spots were busy over the weekend as people anticipated lockdown easing.
Beaches such as Durdle Door, Dorset, and other beauty spots were busy over the weekend as people anticipated lockdown easing. Photograph: Andrew Matthews/PA

On Saturday and Sunday, parks and seafronts were packed as people anticipated the lifting of restrictions on what has been dubbed “happy Monday”. Car showrooms and outdoor markets will also be reopened, millions of children will return to primary schools and the most vulnerable “shielded” people will be allowed out for the first time since lockdown began in March, all as long as physical distancing is maintained.

You can read our full story below:

2.30am BST

I’m sure many of you have been following the unrest in America with widespread protests across the country. You can follow our live coverage here, but the pictures of large crowds gathering will certainly alarm those tasked with fighting the virus, with growing concerns the proximity of so many people on the streets may lead to a surge in cases.

Large crowds of angry New Yorkers on the streets for multiple rallies, protests and marches in solidarity with the people of Minnesota over the death George Floyd
Large crowds of angry New Yorkers on the streets for multiple rallies, protests and marches in solidarity with the people of Minnesota over the death George Floyd Photograph: G Ronald Lopez/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock
Protests in Brooklyn.
Protests in Brooklyn. Photograph: Justin Heiman/Getty Images
Washington DC
Washington DC. Photograph: Jim Lo Scalzo/EPA

Updated at 2.47am BST

2.14am BST

Bangladesh lifts lockdown

Bangladesh lifted its coronavirus lockdown Sunday, with millions heading back to work in densely populated cities and towns even as the country logged a record spike in deaths and new infections.

“The lockdown has been lifted and we are heading almost towards our regular life,” health department spokeswoman Nasima Sultana said, calling on those returning to work to wear masks and observe social distancing.

The lifting comes as Bangladesh – which on Friday took an emergency pandemic loan from the International Monetary Fund – reported its biggest daily jump in infections Sunday, with 2,545 new cases and a record 40 deaths.

People in Bangladesh travel to their hometown after the country partly eased a more than two-month lockdown on 31 May.
People in Bangladesh travel to their hometown after the country partly eased a more than two-month lockdown on 31 May. Photograph: Suvra Kanti Das/ZUMA Wire/REX/Shutterstock

2.10am BST

Still in the Middle East and Abu Dhabi has announced it will cordon off the UAE’s capital as well as banning travel between regions within the emirate for a week from Tuesday to rein in the novel coronavirus, AFP reports.

The announcement on Sunday means that residents of the United Arab Emirates will not be allowed to travel from the capital Abu Dhabi to the services hub of Dubai, 90 minutes on a major highway, without a permit.

The decision came as the authorities said they were easing other restrictions within Abu Dhabi, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE.

The authorities placed “a ban on movement entering and exiting the emirate and between its regions” from 2 June, the Abu Dhabi media office tweeted.

Abu Dhabi will enforce new restrictions from Tuesday.
Abu Dhabi will enforce new restrictions from Tuesday. Photograph: Hamad I Mohammed/Reuters

It added that residents may move freely within their own regions between the hours of 6am and 10pm.

But malls, restaurants, and hotel beaches will be allowed to reopen on Monday at 40% capacity, the media office said.

It added that outdoor activities, such as horse riding, cricket, cycling, golfing, sailing were also now allowed.

The UAE has so far recorded more than 34,000 cases of the COVID-19 respiratory disease, including 264 deaths.

Earlier this week, Dubai emirate moved to lift restrictions on businesses and shortened a nighttime curfew.

2.05am BST

Poverty in the occupied West Bank may double as Palestinians are hit by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Bank warned on Monday.

AFP reports that the Palestinian territories have seen low infection rates after acting quickly, with three deaths out of 450 cases registered among some five million residents in Gaza and the West Bank.

But the Palestinian Authority’s financial situation is “expected to become increasingly difficult” due to loss of income and increased spending on healthcare and other areas, the World Bank said in a report.

The fallout is expected to see the number of households living below the poverty line increase this year from 14 to 30% in the West Bank, largely due to Palestinians being unable to cross into Israel for work.

A worker prepares food for customers at a restaurant as Palestinians ease Covid-19 restrictions in Jenin.
A worker prepares food for customers at a restaurant as Palestinians ease Covid-19 restrictions in Jenin. Photograph: Raneen Sawafta/Reuters

1.56am BST

Egypt has shortened its night curfew by one hour, bringing the end time forward to 5am from 6am. It begins at 8pm each night.

The Health Ministry said 1,536 new cases had been confirmed including 46 deaths, bringing total cases to 24,985 and deaths to 959.

People wearing face masks are seen at Ramses railway station in Cairo.
People wearing face masks are seen at Ramses railway station in Cairo. Photograph: Xinhua/REX/Shutterstock

1.52am BST

We’re getting some updated figures from Mexico … the Deputy Health Minister, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, says there were 151 new coronavirus deaths and 3,152 new cases on Sunday. This takes the country’s totals to 9,930 fatalities and 90,664 cases.

The country’s fatality curve continues to rise.

Mexico’s daily new confirmed Covid-19 deaths, as represented in Our World in Data at 0150GMT, 1 June.
Mexico’s daily new confirmed Covid-19 deaths, as represented in Our World in Data at 0150GMT, 1 June. Photograph: Our World in Data

Updated at 1.52am BST

1.29am BST

Saudi Arabia has reopened its mosques after a two-month closure. Worshippers were required to take their own prayer mats and face masks and stand two metres apart. Worshippers were required to perform their ablution rite of washing their face, arms and legs before prayer, at home.

The Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages, which attract millions of Muslims globally, remain suspended.

Muslim worshippers perform noon prayer at the Prophet Mohammed’s mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Medina.
Muslim worshippers perform noon prayer at the Prophet Mohammed’s mosque in Saudi Arabia’s holy city of Medina. Photograph: Majed Al-Charfi/AFP/Getty Images

1.13am BST

Spain to extend lockdown

Spain’s prime minister Pedro Sanchez says the country needs 15 more days of lockdown until 21 June “to finish with the pandemic once and for all”, and he would ask parliament to approve a final two-week extension to the stay home rule.

“We have almost achieved what we set out to do,” Sanchez told a press conference, as he expressed his intense relief that the number of new cases in Spain, one of the nations hardest-hit by the virus, had fallen dramatically.

Spain’s prime minister says the country needs 15 more days of lockdown.
Spain’s prime minister says the country needs 15 more days of lockdown. Photograph: Emilio Morenatti/AP

From 21 June a national state of emergency will end and with it the lockdown, allowing citizens to move freely in their regions. From 1 July, citizens will be able to move throughout the country.

Spain’s death toll rose by two on Sunday to 27,127, the health ministry said, while the number of infections rose by 96 overnight to 239,429.

Spain imposed a state of emergency on 14 March which involved a strict lockdown under which people could leave their homes only to buy food, seek medical care or for jobs where they could not work from home. Children were initially confined inside all day. Restrictions are being gradually eased.

Updated at 1.17am BST

1.06am BST

India extends lockdown for high risk zones

Indian states on Sunday began identifying high-risk zones where coronavirus lockdowns should continue while the rest of country gears up to reopen in June.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government has extended lockdown, that was due to end on 31 May, to 30 June, in so-called containment zones that continue to report a high number of infections.

Restaurants, malls and religious buildings will be permitted to reopen elsewhere from 8 June. India has reported 190,609 confirmed cases, with 5,408 deaths according to the Johns Hopkins tracker.

West Bengal has been under lockdown restrictions for 68 days.
The state of West Bengal has been under lockdown restrictions for 68 days. Photograph: Biswarup Ganguly/Pacific Press/REX/Shutterstock

In Uttar Pradesh, the country’s most populous state, a health official said 1,111 containment zones has been identified, while authorities in the western Gujarat state said that more than 400,000 houses were marked as high-risk zones.

Officials in the western state of Maharastra said all markets, except malls and congested spaces, will be allowed to function in a staggered manner. West Bengal identified 285 containment zones in its capital, Kolkata.

In a radio address on Sunday, Modi warned people to remain vigilant.

“The fight against the coronavirus is intense, we cannot drop our guard,” he said.

Updated at 1.07am BST

12.52am BST

Brazil passes 500,000 Covid-19 cases

Brazil has reported 16,409 new coronavirus cases taking the total of infected cases to 514,849. It keeps the country in second place in terms of infections, behind the US on 1.78 million cases. Brazil has moved into fourth in terms of deaths, with 29,314 fatalities, according to the health ministry.

President Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the severity of the virus and continued to flout social distancing measures. On Sunday he road a horse to a rally calling for the supreme court to be shut down for investigating him.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro rides a horse greeting supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasilia on Sunday.
Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro rides a horse greeting supporters outside the presidential palace in Brasilia on Sunday. Photograph: Andre Borges/AP

Also on Sunday the White House said it would send two million doses of hydroxychloroquine and 1,000 ventilators to Brazil, despite warnings over the anti-malarial drug’s safety. The White House said in a joint statement with Brazil that the drug would be used as a preventative treatment for frontline healthcare workers in Brazil, despite its known dangers.

“It will also be used as a therapeutic to treat Brazilians who become infected,” the statement said.

The countries will also carry out a joint research effort, including “randomised controlled clinical trials”.

Last week the WHO stopped hydroxychloroquine trials amid safety fears over the drug.

The WHO’s director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in light of a paper published in the Lancet medical journal that showed people taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death and heart problems than those who were not, it would pause the hydroxychloroquine arm of its solidarity global clinical trial.

12.26am BST

Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Brazil has passed 500,000 cases of coronavirus as the White House announced it was sending 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine and 1,000 ventilators to the country. The move to send Brazil the anti-malarial drug comes despite medical warnings about the risks associated with it and just days after the WHO suspended testing it on Covid-19 patients due to health concerns. Mass protests in Brazil and in the US over the weekend have fuelled fears of a surge in cases.

We’ll be bringing you the latest virus developments but to kick off, here’s a summary of the top points so far

  • India’s lockdown, which was due to end on 31 May, has been extended until 30 June in a number of zones identified as ‘high-risk’ by individual states, while the rest of the country prepares to reopen.
  • Spain’s prime minister said on Sunday the country needed 15 more days of lockdown until June 21 “to finish with the pandemic once and for all”, and he would ask parliament to approve a final two-week extension to the stay home rule.
  • Saudi Arabia enforced strict measures when mosques reopened on Sunday, including face masks and personal prayer mats. It comes two months after communal prayers were abandoned due to virus fears.
  • In England, senior public health officials have made a last-minute plea for ministers to stop Monday’s easing of the lockdown, warning the country is unprepared to deal with any surge in infection.
  • More that 1,000 people have died from the coronavirus in Chile, the health ministry has reported, with 827 of the deaths occurring in May alone. The country has had 99,688 confirmed cases and 1,054 deaths.
  • South Africa has delayed Monday’s reopening of schools by a week, the Department of Basic Education has announced, saying that many are not ready to welcome back pupils.
  • Poverty in the occupied West Bank may double as Palestinians are hammered by the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Bank has warned.

Updated at 12.50am BST

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