China’s Jilin in lockdown after coronavirus cluster: Live updates
An emergence of a local coronavirus cluster in Chinese city of Jilin has fuelled fears of a second wave of infections.
- The Chinese city of Jilin has imposed travel restrictions, closed off residential areas and banned gatherings after a number of coronavirus cases were confirmed.
- Support for US President Donald Trump has dropped in the past month as the toll from the coronavirus rose, according to a Reuters/Ipsos survey. Trump now trails challenger Joe Biden by eight percentage points.
- Dr Anthony Fauci, top US infectious disease expert, has warned that the country does not yet have the disease under control and that easing lockdowns too soon risks unnecessary deaths.
- More than 4.26 million people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus to date, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 291,000 have died – 82,000 of them in the US. Nearly 1.5 million people have recovered.
Here are the latest updates.
Wednesday, May 13
13:50 GMT – Powell warns of a possible sustained recession from pandemic
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of the threat of a prolonged recession resulting from the viral outbreak and urged Congress and the White House to act further to prevent long-lasting economic damage.
The Fed and Congress have taken far-reaching steps to try to counter what is likely to be a severe downturn resulting from the widespread shutdown of the US economy. But Powell cautioned that widespread bankruptcies among small businesses and extended unemployment for many people remain a serious risk.
“We ought to do what we can to avoid these outcomes,” Powell said.
13:30 GMT – Clerics in Montenegro for ignoring COVID-19 rules
Montenegrin police used tear gas as they forcibly dispersed a crowd blocking a road to protest the arrest
of Serbian Orthodox Church clerics who staged a ceremony in violation of coronavirus control guidelines, the daily Vijesti reported online.
Protesters used their cars to block a road after eight clerics, including Joanikije, the bishop of Niksic diocese, had been given 72 hours of detention. Several protesters were arrested, Vijesti reported.
Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Farrah Najar.
13:10 GMT – Sweden boosts healthcare personnel in wake of coronavirus
Swedish authorities and labour unions announced plans to permanently hire up to an additional 10,000 nursing assistants and care workers to address shortcomings in elderly care exposed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The boost in staff is the result of a deal between the government, Sweden’s largest labour union Kommunal, and the country’s municipalities which are tasked with managing elderly care.
“The virus outbreak has shown that elderly care is vulnerable, and that has structural explanations,” Health Minister Lena Hallengren told reporters. “It’s basically about staff’s conditions.”
12:55 GMT – Remote Lesotho becomes last country in region to record COVID-19 case
Lesotho recorded its first case of COVID-19, the health ministry said, becoming the last country in southern and East Africa to be afflicted by the virus.
The ministry said it conducted 81 coronavirus tests from travellers from South Africa and Saudi Arabia, of which one was positive.
The remote, high-altitude kingdom, nestled in a South African mountain range, had previously been spared the coronavirus, although its bigger, more industrialised neighbour has recorded more than 10,000 cases.
The disease has struck at a time of political uncertainty in Lesotho, with embattled Prime Minister Thomas Thabane due to step down by the end of next week after his coalition collapsed in parliament.
12:50 GMT – Morocco hopes to boost domestic tourism to save key sector
Morocco’s government and tourism industry hope to encourage more Moroccans to explore the ancient souks of Marrakech and the beaches of Agadir this year, to make up for the collapse in foreign visitors due to the global pandemic.
A TV advertising campaign, launched by the government, reminds citizens of the country’s many attractions with the slogan “until we meet”.
Tourism represents seven percent of Moroccan economic activity, employing more than half a million people and generating $8bn in foreign currency inflows last year, when 13 million foreigners flew into the North African kingdom.
“We know foreign tourists are not coming this summer,” said Tourism Minister Nadia Fettah Alaoui, adding encouraging domestic tourism was the starting point for reopening the sector.
12:35 GMT – Europe seeks to save the summer holidays
The EU set out plans for a phased restart of travel this summer, hoping to save millions of tourism jobs threatened by the coronavirus pandemic across Europe, the world’s top holiday destination.
Travel restrictions to combat the virus have already had a devastating impact on the sector, with airlines around the continent forced to shed tens of thousands of jobs.
Under new guidelines from Brussels, holidaymakers could be asked to wear facemasks on planes, respect social distancing on the beach and even book slots to use hotel pools. Tourism is vital to the EU as a whole, accounting for 10 percent of GDP and supporting 23 million jobs. It is especially important to southern countries already struggling with debt and the impact of COVID-19 – notably Greece, Italy and Spain.
12:28 GMT – Turkish pandemic package reaches $34bn, Albayrak says
The Turkish government’s steps to support the economy in the face of the coronavirus pandemic have reached a value of 240bn lira ($34.4bn), state-owned Anadolu agency quoted Finance Minister Berat Albayrak as saying.
Albayrak said the amount was the equivalent of 5 percent of gross domestic product.
The government has stepped in to top up income or pay daily stipends as the pandemic forced businesses to shut and furlough staff. Businesses and consumers are also being given access to fresh loans.
11:38 GMT – Rising infection rates abroad are a warning for Britain: PM
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that increasing rates of infection in other countries which have relaxed some rules to tackle the outbreak was a warning to Britain not to move too fast.
“We are watching intently what is happening in other countries and it is very notable that in some other countries where relaxations have been introduced there are signs of the R (reproduction number) going up again, and that is a very clear warning to us not to proceed too fast or too recklessly,” Johnson told Parliament.
11:08 GMT – Poland to reopen restaurants, hairdressers
Poland will reopen restaurants and hairdressers on May 18 as it begins easing coronavirus-linked restrictions, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said.
“At least to some extent we have contained the epidemic, therefore we can gradually unfreeze the economy,” Morawiecki told a news conference, a day after Poland saw its largest spike in coronavirus cases in a single day.
Morawiecki also said that schools would partially reopen to provide day care for children in the first three years of primary school.
10:51 GMT – Spain’s daily death toll at 184
Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus inched up to 184 fatalities from 176 on Tuesday, the country’s health ministry said.
The overall death toll from the disease rose to 27,104, while the overall number of diagnosed cases rose to 228,691 from 228,030 the previous day.
09:29 GMT – Emirates Airline plans scheduled flights from May 21 to nine cities
Emirates Airline from May 21 plans to operate scheduled flight services from Dubai to London Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Chicago, Toronto, Sydney and Melbourne, it said in a statement.
It will also offer connections in Dubai for travellers between Britain and Australia, it said.
09:19 GMT – Hong Kong reports first locally transmitted cases in weeks
For the first time in three weeks, Hong Kong has reported two coronavirus cases not linked to anyone who travelled overseas, with authorities scrambling to trace the origin of the infections.
The Asian financial hub has been one of the most successful cities in the world at containing the pandemic, with most cases found among incoming travellers and quarantined immediately.
The city reopened bars, gyms and cinemas last week and announced tentative plans to bring some students back to school at the end of the month, but a ban on groups larger than eight remains in place.
The latest government health report, including two local cases – a 66-year-old housewife and her five-year-old granddaughter – and one imported, brings the total in the city to 1,051, four of whom have died. Only a few dozen have yet to fully recover.
08:58 GMT – Malaysia reports new cases, deaths
Malaysia reported 37 new cases, taking its cumulative total to 6,779 infections.
The health ministry also reported two new deaths, raising the total number of fatalities from the outbreak to 111.
Ireland may introduce a legally enforceable 14-day quarantine for people arriving in the country to replace the current system in which it is merely advised, says Taoiseach, or Prime Minister, Leo Varadkar.
“We may need to tighten it up a bit,” Varadkar told Today FM radio, speaking days after the United Kingdom announced plans for a quarantine.
Restrictions on entering Ireland, part of a Common Travel Area with the United Kingdom but not a member of the European Union’s Schengen free-travel area, would need to be in place “at least until we have some kind of international agreement” on air travel, Varadkar said.
08:16 GMT – Philippines records 21 new deaths, 268 more infections
The Philippines’ health ministry recorded 21 more coronavirus deaths and 268 additional infections.
In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths from the coronavirus have reached 772 while confirmed cases have risen to 11,618. But 145 more patients have recovered, increasing total recoveries to 2,251.
08:05 GMT – Russia suspends use of ventilator type after hospital fires
Russia has suspended the use of Russian-made medical ventilators of a certain model manufactured after April 1, a state healthcare regulator said, following two hospital fires reported to involve two such machines.
The Aventa-M ventilator was used at the Saint George’s Hospital in St Petersburg where five people died in a fire on Tuesday, and also in a hospital in Moscow where a fire killed one person on Saturday.
Roszdravnadzor, the regulator, said on Tuesday it was checking the quality and safety of the ventilators in the two hospitals.
07:55 GMT – Saudi Arabia to enforce lockdown over Eid
Saudi Arabia will enforce a countrywide 24-hour curfew during the five-day Muslim Eid al-Fitr holiday later this month.
A full lockdown will be imposed from May 23 to 27 following the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, the interior ministry said in a statement published by the official Saudi Press Agency.
Read more here.
07:36 GMT – Russia reports more than 10,000 new cases
Russia reported 10,028 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, pushing its nationwide tally to 242,271.
Russia’s coronavirus response centre said 96 people died overnight, bringing the official death toll to 2,212.
07:24 GMT – Chinese city of Jilin under partial lockdown
A northeastern Chinese city has partially shut its borders and cut off transport links after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fueled growing fears of a second wave of infections in China.
Jilin, with a population of more than four million, suspended bus services and said it will only allow residents to leave the city if they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the past 48 hours and complete an unspecified period of “strict self-isolation”.
Cinemas, indoor gyms, internet cafes and other enclosed entertainment venues must shut immediately, and pharmacies must report all sales of fever and antiviral medicines, the local government said in a statement.
A cluster of infections was reported in the suburb of Shulan over the weekend, with Jilin’s vice mayor warning Wednesday that the situation was “extremely severe and complicated” and “there is major risk of further spread”.
The city reported six new cases, all linked to the Shulan cluster, bringing the total number of cases linked to a local laundry worker to 21.
07:22 GMT – Dubai reopens parks, hotel beaches
The United Arab Emirates business and tourism hub Dubai has allowed public parks to reopen and hotel guests to access private beaches, state media said, as the emirate gradually lifts restrictions.
On April 24, Dubai eased a full curfew to eight hours at night, and allowed dine-in restaurants and shopping malls to reopen at limited capacity.
Public parks are now open for groups of up to five people, state news agency WAM said. Hotel guests must practise physical distancing at beaches.
Tram and ferry services also resumed and groups of up to five can now practise recreational activities in open areas. Mosques, cinemas, public beaches and nightclubs remain closed.
07:16 GMT – Singapore confirms 675 new cases
Singapore’s health ministry said it has confirmed another 675 cases of coronavirus infections, taking the city-state’s tally to 25,346.
Austria and Germany plan to open their border on June 15 after being closed for two months, the government in Vienna said.
“From June 15, the opening of the border between Germany and Austria will be possible,” Tourism Minister Elisabeth Koestinger told state radio station O1.
06:28 GMT – UK economy shrinks 5.8 percent in March
Britain’s economy shrank by a record 5.8 percent in March from February as the coronavirus crisis escalated and the government ordered a shutdown of much of the country.
In the first three months of the year, gross domestic product contracted by 2.0 percent from the last three months of 2019, the Office for National Statistics said, the largest quarter-on-quarter fall since the end of 2008.
April will likely see an even bigger fall because the entire month was spent under lockdown.
06:16 GMT – California cancels fall university classes
California’s state university system, the largest in the United States, canceled classes for the fall semester because of the coronavirus, while Los Angeles County said its stay-at-home order was likely to be extended by three months.
In one of the first indications the pandemic will continue to have a significant impact into autumn, the chancellor of California State University said classes at its 23 campuses would be canceled for the semester that begins in September, with instruction moved online.
“Our university … is a place where over 500,000 people come together in close and vibrant proximity with each other on a daily basis,” the chancellor, Timothy White, said in a statement.
“That approach, sadly, just isn’t in the cards now.”
05:57 GMT – Sumo wrestler infected with coronavirus dies
A 28-year-old sumo wrestler has died from COVID-19, becoming the first sumo wrestler to die from the virus, the Japan Sumo Association said.
Wrestler Shobushi, whose real name is Kiyotaka Suetake, was hospitalised last month and died on Wednesday in a Tokyo hospital due to multiple organ failure related to the coronavirus, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said.
04:55 GMT – Twitter says staff can work from home ‘forever’ if they want
Twitter says that its staff can work from home “forever” if they are in a role and situation that allows them to do so.
Jennifer Christie, the company’s vice president, people, also said Twitter did not expect to be one of the first companies to return to its offices, that there would be no business travel before September and no in-person company events for the remainder of 2020.
Proud of the decisions we made to prioritize decentralization pre-COVID-19 that are allowing us to continue putting our employees first today. Whether you prefer to work from your kitchen or one of our offices there’s a place for you. #LoveWhereverYouWork https://blog.twitter.com/en_us/topics/company/2020/keeping-our-employees-and-partners-safe-during-coronavirus.html …
Keeping our employees and partners safe during #coronavirus
The safety of our people and those around us is our top priority. We’ve been closely monitoring #coronavirus COVID-19 developments and wanted to share our current plans and travel policies.
Thailand has reported no new cases of coronavirus for the first time since March 9.
04:45 GMT – Singapore to test all migrant workers for coronavirus
Singapore plans to test all 323,000 migrant workers living in company dormitories for the coronavirus, the local Straits Times newspaper reported, citing National Development Minister Lawrence Wong.
The city-state, which relies on the workers for construction and other manual jobs, will use polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests and serological tests (for antibodies) to ensure they are free of the virus.
The authorities are currently doing 3,000 tests a day in the dormitories, and will step up testing with a view to completing the process by July, Wong said.
Thousands of workers were confined to their dormitories after a spike in coronavirus cases.
04:05 GMT – Handbags at dawn: South Korean shoppers line up for Chanel
More than 100 people defied fears of a second wave of coronavirus infections to queue from as early as 5am outside Chanel in Seoul to buy the French brand’s luxury goods ahead of an expected rise in prices.
54-year-old Lee Ji-yeon told Reuters she was hoping to get a handbag for her daughter, who is getting married. Her future son-in-law was queuing at a Chanel concession in a department store, she said.
“We’ve been to the Chanel store several times before and agonising whether to buy it or not,” Lee said. “Since the prices are going up, we decided to buy it now.”
There has been a spike in coronavirus cases in Seoul after an outbreak linked to clubs and bars, with 119 cases across the country now linked to the 29-year-old who tested positive in early May.
03:50 GMT – London mayor says June ‘too early’ to resume Premier League
London mayor Sadiq Khan says it’s “too early” to be discussing the resumption of the Premier League and other high-profile sports in the UK capital because the country is “still in the grips of this crisis, and hundreds of people (are) dying every day”, the Evening Standard reported, citing a spokesman for the mayor.
Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur are among the five Premier League clubs in London.
The possibility of games resuming next month got a boost after the government said elite-level sport could resume behind closed doors from June 1.
Teams have been told no tackling will be allowed once training resumes.
03:30 GMT – Top Jilin city official warns of huge risk from new coronavirus cases
Gai Dongping, the vice mayor of Jilin in China’s northeast, has told reporters the six new cases confirmed on Wednesday morning raised the risk of the virus spreading further and the city was stepping up measures to curb and contain the virus.
The city is the second-biggest in the province of the same name and lies nearly 100km (63 miles) east of the capital Changchun.
02:45 GMT – Coronavirus hobbles cyclone response for Vanuatu and Pacific
The coronavirus pandemic is slowing efforts to help people in Vanuatu and other parts of the Pacific after Cyclone Harold tore through the region a month ago, destroying homes and livelihoods.
Michel Kerf, who heads the World Bank in the region, said the cyclone had been a “shocking reminder” of Vanuatu’s vulnerability to natural disasters.
Read more here.
01:45 GMT – Iceland to ease restrictions on international arrivals from June
The government of Iceland says it plans to ease restrictions on international arrivals no later than June 15 and expects to be able to give travellers a choice between a COVID-19 test on arrival or two weeks of quarantine. A final decision will be made at the end of the month.
“When travellers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic,” Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, minister of tourism, said in a statement. “Iceland’s strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far. We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us.”
Iceland has already revised the quarantine regime that was first imposed in January, with essential workers and those involved in vital infrastructure eligible for a modified quarantine that does not require then to stay at home. The scheme will be extended to filmmakers, scientists and some others from May 15.
01:30 GMT – China confirms seven new cases; focus on northeastern Jilin province
China’s National Health Commission has confirmed seven new cases of coronavirus, six in the northeastern province of Jilin where the city of Shulan increased its risk level from medium to high on May 10.
The new cases were found in Jilin, the province’s second-biggest city, five of which were linked to an earlier case in Shulan. Jilin city temporarily suspended train services as a result of the outbreak.
China’s other case was found in a traveller returning to Shanghai.
00:05 GMT – Brazil reports more cases than Germany; daily deaths reach record
Brazil’s confirmed cases of coronavirus surpassed Germany on Tuesday as the country recorded 881 deaths in 24 hours – the highest since the outbreak began.
Brazil has confirmed 177,589 cases of coronavirus, compared with 170,508 in Germany.
The country’s president, Jair Bolsonaro, has sought to downplay the disease and is now battling with state governors over a presidential decree he signed on Monday designating beauty salons and gyms as “essential” services, a move that would allow them to open during lockdowns.
At least 10 governors have said they will not comply with Bolsonaro’s decree.
“Bolsonaro is walking towards the precipice and wants to take all of us with him,” Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel wrote on Twitter.
23:30 GMT (Tuesday) – Trump support ebbs as coronavirus death toll climbs
Americans have become more critical of Trump over the past month as the coronavirus outbreak in the country deepened, according to a survey released on Tuesday.
A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows 56 percent of those surveyed now disapprove of Trump, up five points from a similar poll in mid-April. His approval rating slipped four points to 41 percent.
It also found that 46 percent of registered voters would back Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the November 3 election, while 38 percent would vote for Trump.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Read all the developments from yesterday (May 12) here.
SOURCE: AL JAZEERA AND NEWS AGENCIES