New lockdown in Iran after coronavirus spike: Live updates

County in southwestern Iran placed under lockdown after people failed to ‘observe social distancing rules’.

Mourners wearing protective clothing, face masks and gloves, pray over the body of a victim who died after being infected with the new coronavirus, in the outskirts of the city of Babol, in north of I
  • Both China and South Korea report new spikes in coronavirus cases, with Seoul recording 34 new cases – its biggest single-day jump in about a month.

  • Barack Obama launches a scathing attack on US President Donald Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, calling it an “absolute chaotic disaster”.

  • Spain registers its lowest coronavirus death toll since mid-March, 143.

  • Globally, more than 279,000 have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, while the number of confirmed infections has surpassed four million. More than 1.3 million people have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Sunday, May 10

20:30 GMT – Who should look after migrant workers affected by the pandemic?

Foreign workers are often the backbone of many societies. They are doctors, nurses, shop assistants and managers.

Others perform low-skilled work that citizens of wealthier nations will not do. They have families that depend on the money they send back home. But millions of migrant workers have seen their livelihoods evaporate as the coronavirus spreads.

Salaries are being cut or staff fired as economies are disrupted by lockdowns. The World Bank says global remittances will drop by 20 percent this year, the sharpest fall in recent history.

So will the crisis change the way wealthy countries use foreign labour?

20:10 GMT – White House considers more coronavirus stimulus, with conditions 

The White House has started informal talks with Republicans and Democrats in Congress about next steps on coronavirus relief legislation, officials said on Sunday, but they stressed any new federal money would come with conditions.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Fox News Sunday programme he was having discussions with legislators from both parties to understand their concerns about state budgets. But he said the White House is in no hurry to pass another fiscal relief bill.

“Let’s take the next few weeks,” Mnuchin said.

Here more here

20:00 GMT – Iran locks down southwest county after spike in coronavirus 

A county in southwestern Iran has been placed under lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus, Tasnim news agency reported, also quoting the provincial governor as saying there had been a sharp rise in new cases across the province.

Gholamreza Shariati, governor of Khuzestan province that borders Iraq and includes the county of Abadan, said people had not been observing social distancing rules.

“Because of this the number of corona patients in the province has tripled and the hospitalisation of patients has risen by 60 percent,” Shariati said.

Iran, one of the countries in the Middle East hit hardest by the coronavirus, has begun easing restrictions on normal life in order to keep afloat its economy, already battered by US sanctions.

18:30 GMT – UK coronavirus lockdown to remain in place until June 1: Johnson 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Sunday that Britain’s coronavirus lockdown will be in place until at least June 1, as he unveiled cautious plans to lift restrictions imposed seven weeks ago.

 “This is not the time simply to end the lockdown this week,” Johnson said in a televised address. “Instead we are taking the first careful steps to modify our measures.”

From Monday, those who cannot work from home will be actively encouraged to go to work, he said, and from Wednesday people will be allowed to take unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

“You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household,” he said. 

Read more here

17:30 GMT – New York to test nursing home staff twice a week 

All nursing homes in New York state will be required to test staff twice a week for the novel coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus in its most fertile breeding ground.

At his daily briefing, Cuomo announced new rules to protect nursing home patients, including mandating that hospitals cannot discharge a COVID-19 patient to a nursing home until the person has tested negative for the disease.

“That is a rule, not an ‘I appreciate it if you did’,” Cuomo said, adding that facilities would lose their license if they do not adhere to the rules. 

16:45 GMT – France coronavirus deaths rise by 70 to 26,380

France’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 70 to 26,380, the health ministry said, a smaller increase than the previous day as the country prepared to emerge from lockdown on Monday.

The ministry said the number of people in intensive care units fell by 36 to 2,776, down from a peak of 7,148 seen on April 8.

16:30 GMT – Canada sees drop in coronavirus fatalities

The death toll from the coronavirus in Canada rose by just 2.2 percent to 4,728 on Sunday, one of the lowest daily increases since the pandemic started, official public health data agency showed.

The figure for those diagnosed with the coronavirus rose to 67,996, according to a statement posted on the agency’s website. On Saturday there were 4,628 deaths and 66,780 positive diagnoses. 

15:50 GMT – Britain’s coronavirus death toll rises by 269 to 31,855

The UK’s death toll from the coronavirus has risen by 269 to 31,855, according to figures announced by the Department of Health.

15:10 GMT – Lebanon extends curfew amid spike in coronavirus cases

Lebanon extended a night curfew amid a rise in the number of coronavirus infections.

In a statement, Interior Minister Mohamed Fahmi said the curfew will last from 7pm to 5am local time (16:00 to 02:00 GMT).

The move came as Lebanese health authorities confirmed 36 new virus infections in the country, taking the total cases to 845. So far, 26 people have died from the disease.

14:50 GMT – Arrests, conspiracy theories at Australia’s anti-lockdown protest

Ten people were arrested and a police officer injured at an anti-lockdown protest in Melbourne, where demonstrators claimed coronavirus was a government-engineered conspiracy designed to control the population.

About 150 protesters rallied outside Victoria’s state parliament to protest against a shutdown aimed at stemming the spread of COVID-19, while also peddling conspiracy theories about the virus.

Australian chief medical officer Brendan Murphy said there was “a lot of very silly misinformation out there”, including that the virus was linked to 5G.

“I have unfortunately received a lot of communication from these conspiracy theorists myself. It is complete nonsense. 5G has got nothing at all to do with coronavirus,” he said.

14:45 GMT – US unemployment rate will get worse, Treasury’s Munchin warns 

The staggering US unemployment rate reported by the government on Friday amid coronavirus lockdowns may get even worse, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has warned..

“The reported numbers are probably going to get worse before they get better,” Mnuchin told the Fox News Sunday program.

The unemployment rate surged to 14.7 percent in April, the Department of Labor reported. That shattered the post-World War II record of 10.8 percent touched in November 1982.

14:30 GMT – Philippines coronavirus cases reach 10,794, total deaths 719

The Philippines’ health ministry has reported 184 new coronavirus cases, taking the Southeast Asian nation’s total reported infections to 10,794.

Fifteen more deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, were recorded, bringing the toll to 719, while 82 patients have recovered to bring total recoveries to 1,924, it said in a bulletin. 

14:25 GMT – UK gov’t wants to ‘slowly’ and ‘cautiously’ ease lockdown 

The British government wants to slowly and cautiously restart the economy, housing minister Robert Jenrick said ahead of a televised address from the prime minister to set out plans to begin easing the coronavirus lockdown measures.

It has been nearly seven weeks since Boris Johnson asked Britons to stay at home to help prevent the spread of the virus, all but shutting down the economy.

“The message … of staying at home now does need to be updated, we need to have a broader message because we want to slowly and cautiously restart the economy and the country,” Jenrick told Sky News.

Jenrick said the easing of the lockdown would be conditional on keeping the spread of the virus under control, and if the rate of infection begins to increase in some areas, more stringent measures could be re-introduced.

14:00 GMT – UK test-and-trace app trial on Isle of Wight ‘going well’ 

A trial of Britain’s proposed coronavirus test-and-trace app being conducted on the Isle of Wight off the coast of southern England is going well, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said on Saturday.

“The trial in the Isle of Wight of that tracking app, the NHSX app designed to help assist people, is going well. People have been downloading it enthusiastically and I know that the plan is later in the month to make it more widely available as well,” Shapps said at the government’s daily news briefing.

13:45 GMT – Malaysia coronavirus cases reach 6,656, total deaths 108 

Malaysian health authorities have reported 67 new coronavirus cases, bringing the cumulative total to 6,656

The health ministry reported no new deaths, with total fatalities at 108. 

13:05 GMT – Senior citizens allowed out in Turkey

Turkey’s senior citizens have been allowed to leave their homes for the first time in seven weeks under relaxed coronavirus restrictions.

Those aged 65 and over, deemed most at risk from the virus, had been subjected to a curfew since March 21, but they were permitted outside Sunday for four hours as part of a rolling programme of reduced controls. Under-20s will be allowed outside for a similar period later in the week.

“It’s very nice to be out of the house after such a long time,” said Ethem Topaloglu, 68, who wore a medical mask as he strolled in a park in Ankara. “Although I’ve been able to sit on the balcony, it’s not the same as walking around outside.”

Health Minister Fahrettin Koca tweeted his thanks to the elderly for their “great supportin fighting the outbreak by staying at home, and he reminded them to wear masks outside.

Turkey has recorded 137,115 cases of the virus and 3,739 deaths attributed to COVID-19, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.

12:29 GMT – Coronavirus spread accelerates again in Germany 

New coronavirus infections are accelerating again in Germany just days after its leaders loosened social restrictions, raising concerns that the pandemic could once again slip out of control.

The Robert Koch Institute for disease control said in a daily bulletin the number of people each sick person now infects – known as the reproduction rate, or R – had risen to 1.1. When it goes above 1, it means the number of infections is growing.

The institute said the confirmed number of new coronavirus cases had increased by a daily 667 to 169,218, while the daily death toll had risen by 26 to 7,395.

12:06 GMT – Iran warns of virus resurgence after 51 new deaths

Iran warned of a resurgence of the novel coronavirus as it reported 51 new deaths, almost a month after it started to relax a nationwide lockdown.

Authorities reimposed more stringent measures in the southwestern Khuzestan province, reversing a phased return to work meant to revitalise the battered economy.

“The situation should in no way be considered normal” in Iran, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said in televised remarks.

11:15 GMT – Montenegro promotes itself as ‘CoronaFree’ holiday destination

Montenegro has advertised itself as a holiday destination where the coronavirus pandemic will soon no longer pose a threat, with its premier saying the small Adriatic nation will prepare for the tourism season in coming weeks.

“Montenegro is on its way to becoming a CoronaFree destination!” tweeted Prime Minister Dusko Markovic on Sunday.

The government in Podgorica recently indicated that it expects the holiday season to start on July 1. 

10:40 GMT – Pope calls for EU solidarity to deal with coronavirus

Pope Francis is calling on leaders of European Union countries to work together to deal with the social and economic consequences of the coronavirus pandemic.

The pope noted in his Sunday blessing that 75 years have passed since Europe began the challenging process of reconciliation after World War II. He said the process spurred both European integration and “the long period of stability and peace which we benefit from today”.

He prayed that the same spirit that inspired European integration efforts “not fail to inspire all those who have a responsibility in the European Union” to deal with the coronavirus emergency in a “spirit of harmony and collaboration”.

09:43 GMT – COVID-19 cases top 4 million amid soaring joblessness

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide has surged past four million as some of the hardest-hit countries prepare to phase out drastic restrictions despite lingering fears about a second wave of infections.

Read more here.

09:24 GMT – Spain’s coronavirus daily death tolls falls again

Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus fell to 143, down from 179 the previous day, the health ministry reported.

It marks the lowest daily death toll since mid-March.

Overall deaths rose to 26,621 from 26,478 on Saturday and the number of diagnosed cases rose to 224,390 from 223,578 the day before, the ministry said.

09:02 GMT – Philippines reports 184 new cases, 15 more deaths

The Philippines’ health ministry confirmed 184 new coronavirus cases, taking the Southeast Asian nation’s total of reported infections to 10,794.

Fifteen more deaths related to COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus, were recorded, bringing the toll to 719, while 82 patients have recovered to bring total recoveries to 1,924, it said in a bulletin.

07:50 GMT – Russian coronavirus cases above 200,000

The Russian authorities said they had recorded 11,012 new cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, bringing the nationwide tally to 209,688.

Russia’s coronavirus task force said 88 people had died in the past day, pushing the national death toll to 1,915.

Russian coronavirus cases overtook French and German infections this week to become the fifth-highest in the world.

07:42 GMT – Australia’s biggest state to ease lockdown from May 15

Australia’s most populous state, home to Sydney, will allow restaurants, playgrounds and outdoor pools to reopen on Friday as extensive testing has shown the spread of the coronavirus has slowed sharply, New South Wales state’s premier Gladys Berejiklian said.

The state has been the worst hit by the coronavirus in Australia, with about 45 percent of the country’s confirmed cases and deaths. 

However, it recorded just two new cases on Saturday from nearly 10,000 people tested, clearing the way for a cautious loosening of lockdown measures.

07:11 GMT – Hard-hit Djibouti to ease virus lockdown measures

Djibouti, the tiny Horn of Africa nation with the highest prevalence of coronavirus cases on the continent, plans to begin lifting lockdown measures largely for economic reasons, its foreign minister announced.

“By tomorrow (Monday) the process of incrementally unlocking the country will start in Djibouti,” Mahmoud Ali Youssouf said in one of a series of Twitter posts.

“The stakes are high but there is no other option: people need to make their living and go to work,” he added.

2-day coronavirus restrictions in Istanbul
Employees of certain job sectors are exempted from the coronavirus restrictions in Istanbul [Serhat Cagdes/Anadolu]

06:52 GMT – Malaysia extends curbs on movement, businesses to June 9

Malaysia’s government extended the time frame for movement and business curbs by another four weeks to June 9, amid a gradual reopening of economic activity stunted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Earlier this week, businesses were allowed to resume business as usual, albeit under strict health guidelines, after having to close shop for two months as health authorities worked to contain the pandemic.

Existing rules under a conditional movement control order remain in place until the new expiry date in June, which include practising strict hygiene and social distancing, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said in a televised address on Sunday.

06:29 GMT – Thailand reports five new cases, no new deaths

Thailand reported five new coronavirus cases but no deaths, bringing the total to 3,009 cases and 56 deaths since the outbreak started in the country in January.

However, four more infected people from the resort island of Phuket will be included in figures to be reported on Monday, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.

Of the new cases reported on Sunday, two were linked to previous cases and three had travelled abroad, he said.

06:23 GMT

Hello, this is Tamila Varshalomidze in Doha, Qatar, taking over the live updates from my colleague Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.

05:15 GMT – Deadly fire at Moscow hospital treating virus patients

A fire at a Moscow hospital treating people infected by the new coronavirus killed one patient and forced the evacuation of about 200 others.

News reports said the fire at the facility in the northern part of the city has been extinguished.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin confirmed reports that a patient had died and said those evacuated would be transferred to other hospitals. It was not clear how many of the evacuees were suffering from COVID-19.

04:28 GMT – Moon Jae-in tells South Koreans not to lower guard in virus fight

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in urged citizens not to lower their guard but said there is no reason to panic amid worries of a new surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

“The infection cluster which recently occurred in entertainment facilities has raised awareness that, even during the stabilization phase, similar situations can arise again anytime, anywhere in an enclosed, crowded space,” he said, referring to a slew of new cases linked to Seoul’s nightclubs.

“We must never lower our guard regarding epidemic prevention.”

There was no reason to panic, he said, adding that South Korea has “the right quarantine and medical systems combined with experience to respond quickly to any unexpected infection clusters that might occur”.

04:09 GMT – US’s Fauci in self-quarantine after COVID-19 exposure 

Dr Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House’s coronavirus taskforce, placed himself in quarantine after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

The director of the US’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases tested negative for COVID-19, according to the institute, and will continue to be tested regularly.

It added that he is considered at “relatively low risk” based on the degree of his exposure and that he would be “taking appropriate precautions” to mitigate the risk to personal contacts while still carrying out his duties.

While he will stay at home and telework, Fauci will go to the White House if called and take every precaution, the institute said. He is the third member of the White House coronavirus taskforce to place themselves in self-quarantine in recent days.

Trump Fauci
Dr Anthony Fauci speaks as US President Donald Trump listens during the daily press briefing on the Coronavirus pandemic situation at the White House [File: Brendan Smialowski/AFP]

03:01 GMT – South Korea reports biggest single-day jump in a month

South Korea reported 34 additional cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours as a spate of transmissions linked to clubgoers threatens the country’s hard-won gains in its fight against the virus.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said a tentative assessment showed 26 of the 34 new patients were locally transmitted cases, while the rest were imported.

The Yonhap news agency said it was the first time that South Korea’s cases rise above 30 in about a month.

A list of precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is seen at an entrance of a club in Seoul
A list of precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19 at the entrance of a club in Seoul, South Korea [Yonhap via Reuters]

Most of the new cases in the past few days were linked to nightclubs in Seoul’s Itaewon entertainment neighbourhood.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun instructed officials to find an estimated 1,510 people who visited clubs in Itaewon last week and test them.

The KCDC has also urged visitors of those clubs to self-isolate to limit the possible spread of the virus, according to Yonhap. 

02:42 GMT – China reports double-digit rise in new cases

China reported its first double-digit rise in new rises cases in 10 days on Sunday, saying 14 new cases had been detected, 12 of them domestic infections and two brought from abroad.

Eleven of those domestic cases were in the northeast province of Jilin and one in Hubei province, whose capital Wuhan is considered to have been the original epicentre of the global pandemic.

Jilin shares a border with North Korea, where the virus situation is unclear.

02:14 GMT – US airlines endorse temperature screenings

A US trade group representing major airlines said its members support having the government do temperature checks of passengers as long as necessary during the coronavirus crisis.

Airlines for America said the checks would add a layer of protection for passengers as well as airline and airport employees.

The association said passenger screening is the responsibility of the Transportation Security Administration.

“Having temperature checks performed by the TSA will ensure that procedures are standardised, providing consistency across airports so that travellers can plan appropriately.”

01:55 GMT – New Zealand reports two new cases

Health authorities in New Zealand reported two new coronavirus cases on Sunday, a day before Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her cabinet decided to further ease physical distancing restrictions.

One case was linked to a facility for older people, while the second involved a traveller from overseas.

01:27 GMT – One-third of all US coronavirus deaths linked to nursing homes

At least 25,600 residents and workers have died from the coronavirus at nursing homes and other long-term care facilities for older adults in the US, according to a New York Times database.

“While just about 10 percent of the country’s cases have occurred in long-term care facilities, deaths related to COVID-19 in these facilities account for a third of the country’s pandemic fatalities,” the Times said.

The virus has infected more than 143,000 people at some 7,500 facilities, it added.

01:12 GMT – US CDC, FDA chiefs in self-quarantine following COVID-19 exposure

Two cabinet-level US officials are in self-quarantine after coming into contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19, according to a spokesman and a media report.

Robert Redfield, the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “will be teleworking for the next two weeks” after a “low-risk exposure” on Wednesday to a person at the White House who has the disease, the Washington Post reported, citing a spokesman.

Stephen Hahn, US Food and Drug Administration commissioner, is also in self-quarantine for the next two weeks after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, an FDA spokesman told Reuters late on Friday.

Hahn immediately took a diagnostic test for the coronavirus and the results were negative, the FDA said.

00:25 GMT – Brazil records 10,000 deaths

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in Brazil surpassed 10,000, according to figures from the Ministry of Health.

There are now 10,627 deaths and 155,939 confirmed cases recorded in the country, but scientists think the real toll could be 15 or even 20 times worse, given the country’s inability to carry out widespread testing.

After Brazil surpassed the 10,000 deaths mark, the National Congress decreed an official mourning period of three days and asked Brazilians to follow health authorities’ recommendations to reduce infection rates while the country prepares for “a safe and definitive return back to normal”.

00:12 GMT – Musk threatens to exit California over restrictions

Tesla CEO Elon Musk threatened to pull the company’s factory and headquarters out of California and sued local officials who stopped the company from reopening its electric vehicle factory.

In a lawsuit filed in federal court, Tesla accused the Alameda County Health Department of overstepping federal and state coronavirus restrictions when it stopped Tesla from restarting production at its factory in Fremont. The lawsuit contends Tesla factory workers are allowed to work during California’s stay-at-home order because the facility is considered “critical infrastructure”.

“Frankly, this is the final straw,” Musk tweeted. “Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately.”

He wrote that whether the company keeps any manufacturing in Fremont depends on how Tesla is treated in the future.

Alameda County said on that it has been working with Tesla to develop a safety plan that “allows for reopening while protecting the health and wellbeing of the thousands of employees” who work at the factory and that it looks forward to coming to an agreement on a safety plan very soon.

But Fremont Mayor Lily Mei expressed concern about the potential economic implications of continuing the shelter-in-place order without provisions for manufacturers such as Tesla to resume. Mei urged the county to work with businesses on “acceptable guidelines for reopening”.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.

Go here for all the updates from yesterday, May 9.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies