US coronavirus deaths pass 80,000: Live updates

The grim milestone comes as France, Spain and Russia begin to lift restrictions.

People in Personal Protective Equipment (P.P.E.) work to break down an area of The Samaritan''s Purse Emergency Field Hospital in Central Park during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19)
People in Personal Protective Equipment (P.P.E.) work to break down an area of The Samaritan''s Purse Emergency Field Hospital in Central Park during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, U.S., May 9, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly [Reuters]
  • The number of people who have died from the coronavirus in the United States, hardest-hit country in the world, passed the 80,000 mark on Monday, according to a tally by Reuters news agency. 

  • Saudi Arabia will impose tough austerity measures, tripling its value-added tax and halting monthly handout payments to citizens to cope with record low oil prices and a coronavirus-led economic downturn.

  • Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said Russia will begin easing coronavirus restriction on Tuesday, even as the country reported a record 11,656 new cases in 24 hours. At least 221,344 people have been infected in Russia, with over 2,000 deaths confirmed from COVID-19. 

  • France and Spain, two of the hardest pandemic-hit countries in Europe are gradually easing the restrictions they imposed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

  • Lebanese authorities warn of a new wave of coronavirus cases after the number jumped to its highest point in more than a month as the government eased some restrictions on public life.
  • Globally, more than four million cases of the coronavirus have now been confirmed, and 1.4 million people have recovered, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 282,500 people have died from COVID-19.

Here are the latest updates.

Monday, May 11

22:40 GMT – Brazil records 5,632 new coronavirus cases, 396 deaths

Brazil registered 5,632 new coronavirus cases and 396 deaths from the disease, according to the Health Ministry.

The country has now registered a total of 168,331 confirmed cases of the virus and 11,519 deaths. Reporting of coronavirus cases from state health authorities to the ministry tends to slow over the weekend.

21:35 GMT – Trump pushes back against critics after White House staff exposure

During a news conference, US President Donald Trump pushed back against criticism when asked about the exposure of White House staffers to the virus.  

“It can happen,” he said. “It’s the hidden enemy, remember that. It’s the hidden enemy, so remember that.”

Trump said that the vice president’s press secretary Katie Miller, who tested positive, “will be fine.”

Arguing in favour of reopening US businesses, the president added that Americans are dying from drug addiction and suicides as a result of social distancing measures.

“Don’t forget, people are dying the other route,” he said. “Everything closed up, you’re in your house not allowed to move. People are dying with that too. You look at drug addiction. You look at suicides. Look at some of the things that are taking place.”

21:25 GMT – Senegal to reopen mosques and churches despite surge in cases

Senegalese President Macky Sall announced that mosques and churches can reopen and eased the other restrictions imposed to contain the disease – even as the country recorded the largest one-day jump in cases.

Sall ordered places of worship closed back in March and imposed a dawn-to-dusk curfew. Since then, the daily pace of new cases continued to rise. Senegal has a total of 1,886 confirmed of coronavirus cases and 19 deaths.

20:45 GMT – Twitter launches labels for misleading coronavirus posts 

Social media giant Twitter on Monday said it is introducing labels and warnings on some posts containing disputed or misleading information on the coronavirus pandemic.      

The labels and warning messages are to “provide additional explanations or clarifications” in cases where the risks of harm associated with a tweet are not severe enough for it to be removed, “but where people may still be confused or misled by the content,” the company said in a blog post. 

“This will make it easier to find facts and make informed decisions about what people see,” Twitter said.       

The labels will link to a page curated by the company or an external trusted source containing information on the claims made within the tweet. Warnings may also be added to inform users that a tweet conflicts with public health experts’ guidance before they view it. 

20:15 GMT – California governor to probe Tesla reopening in defiance of health order

California Governor Gavin Newsom has said both he and local health officials would speak to officials at Tesla Inc, after the company ordered workers back on the job despite continuing coronavirus restrictions in Alameda County, where its auto plant is located.

Newsom said he expected the plant to open as soon as next week, and that he did not know about the order to return to work or photographs circulating on San Francisco Bay Area news sites showing that its parking lot was full. 

19:50 GMT – UN: Sub-Saharan Africa AIDS deaths could double due to COVID-19

The number of deaths from AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa could double if the provision of healthcare to HIV sufferers is disrupted during the coronavirus crisis, the United Nations has said.

A six-month disruption of antiretroviral therapy due to the COVID-19 pandemic could lead to more than 500,000 extra deaths in the region in 2020-21, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UNAIDS said in a joint statement on Monday.

In 2018, the latest figures given, an estimated 470,000 people died of AIDS-related illnesses in sub-Saharan Africa.

Read more here

Nine-year-old Tumelo holds his grandmother's hand after taking his medication at Nkosi's Haven, south of Johannesburg
Since the first cases were reported more than 35 years ago, 78 million people have become infected with HIV [Siphiwe Sibeko/Reuters]

19:30 GMT – White House directs West Wing staff to wear masks at all times

The White House has directed staff working in the West Wing, where the daily operations of President Donald Trump’s administration are carried out, to wear masks at all times in the building, except when they are at their own desks, a senior administration official confirmed to the Associated Press news agency. 

TV network ABC News first reported that a new memo directing everyone who enters the wing to cover their faces. With Trump’s valet and Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary both testing positive for the deadly coronavirus last week, the pressure is growing for the White House to take further steps in protecting the health of country’s 73-year-old president.

19:15 GMT – US passes 80,000 deaths: Reuters tally

Over 80,000 people in the US have died from the coronavirus, according to a tally by Reuters news agency. 

The US has been by far the hardest hit by the pandemic than any country in the world, with over 1.33 million reported infections. 

19:00 GMT – Qatar continues reopening of Industrial Area

Authorities in Qatar have continued the reopening of its Industrial Area, which was placed under complete lockdown in early March following a cluster of infections.

Last week, vehicles and individuals, including employers, employees and residents, were permitted to enter the area from Street One to Street 32 as long as they adhered to the government’s safety guidelines. 

Entry for vehicles and individuals will now be permitted from Street 34 to Street 54, the remaining portion of the area, according to the Ministry of Public Health’s website. Those who enter will have to adhere social- distancing measures, wear masks, operate 50 percent capacity on worker transportation and continually sanitise, as well as download and use a tracing app. 

18:45 GMT – Majority in US disapprove of lockdown protests: Poll

A majority of Americans disapprove of protests against restrictions aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus, according to a new poll that also finds the still-expansive support for such limits – including restaurant closures and stay-at-home orders – has dipped in recent weeks.

The new survey by the University of Chicago Divinity School and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds 55 percent of Americans disapprove of the protests that have popped up in some states as some Americans begin chafing at public health measures that have decimated the global economy. Thirty-one percent approve of the demonstrations. 

Read more here

Coronavirus protests
Demonstrators calling for California Governor Gavin Newsom to end the stay-at-home orders during a protest at the Capitol in Sacramento, California [Rich Pedroncelli/AP Photo]

18:30 GMT – IMF approves $2.77 bn in emergency pandemic aid for Egypt

The International Monetary Fund or IMF’s executive board have approved Egypt’s request for $2.77bn in emergency financing to help the Egyptian government meet urgent budget needs related to the new coronavirus pandemic, the Fund said.

The IMF said it remained closely engaged with the Egyptian government and the Central Bank of Egypt, and stood ready to provide further support as needed.

IMF First Deputy Managing Director Geoffrey Okamoto said Egypt would need “additional expeditious support” from multilateral and bilateral creditors to close its remaining balance-of-payments gap, ease the adjustment burden, and preserve Egypt’s hard-won macroeconomic stability.

18:15 GMT – Germany’s reproduction rate remains above critical threshold

The reproduction rate for the coronavirus pandemic in Germany remained above the critical threshold of one with an estimated value of 1.07 on Monday after 1.13 on Sunday, the Robert Koch Institute for public health and disease control said.

The number indicates that 100 infected people on average infect 107 others, meaning the number of new infections is accelerating again which could signal the beginning of a second wave of the pandemic in Europe’s largest economy.

“The increase in the reproduction number R makes it necessary to observe the development very closely over the coming days,” RKI said in its daily report.

18:00 GMT – Ghana president says one person infected 533 at fish factory

A worker at a fish-processing factory in Ghana’s Atlantic seafront city of Tema infected 533 other workers at the facility with the coronavirus, Ghana’s President Nana Akufo-Addo said in a broadcast late on Sunday.

Health authorities reported the outbreak late on Friday, but did not provide details.

“All 533 persons were infected by one person,” Akufo-Addo said. He did not say how the disease spread in the facility or if safety measures had been in place.

He said that the 533 positive cases, which represent around 11.3 percent of Ghana’s total infections, were part of a backlog of about 921 cases going back as far as April 26 that are only recently being reported.

17:45 GMT – France reports spike in deaths, raising total to 26,643

Deaths from the coronavirus epidemic in France have risen by 263, against 70 the day before, the Health Ministry has said, as the country started unwinding an almost two-month national lockdown put in place to contain the spread of the disease.

In percentage points, the one percent rise is the highest in five days. But figures often tend to register a spike after the weekend lull. The total death toll since the outbreak now stands at 26,643 the ministry said, the fifth highest in the world after those of the United States, Britain, Italy and Spain.

There were 2,712 people in intensive care on Monday, edging down from 2,776 on Sunday, maintaining a long-running decline.

17:30 GMT – Study: Virus death toll in NYC may be worse than official tally

New York City’s death toll from the coronavirus may be thousands of fatalities worse than the official tally kept by the city and state, according to an analysis released by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Between mid-March and early May, about 24,000 more people died in the city than researchers would ordinarily expect, based on the season, the report said. That’s about 5,300 more deaths that had been previously attributed to the coronavirus during that time period.

These so-called “excess deaths” could have been caused by byproducts of pandemic, the report found, including “the demand on hospitals and health care providers and public fear related to COVID-19” prompting delays in people seeking or receiving lifesaving care.

“Tracking excess mortality is important to understanding the contribution to the death rate from both COVID-19 disease and the lack of availability of care for non-COVID conditions,” the report says, adding the further investigation is required.

US Jersey City
A report by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests the coronavirus death toll in the NYC may be higher than official tally. [Eduardo Munoz/Reuters]

17:15 GMT – Turkey’s Erdogan imposes four-day lockdown from Saturday

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said that a lockdown would be imposed starting on Saturday and ending after Tuesday, May 19, which is a national holiday.

Ankara has imposed lockdowns in major cities over the past four weekends, as well as on national holidays to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting, Erdogan said intercity travel restrictions on nine more cities had been lifted, as Turkey gradually eases measures taken against the coronavirus.

The restrictions on the three largest cities, Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir, remain in place.

17:00 GMT – China’s Wuhan plans city-wide testing over period of 10 days: Report

The Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of China’s coronavirus outbreak, plans to conduct city-wide nucleic acid testing over a period of 10 days, according to an internal document seen by Reuters news agency and two sources familiar with the situation.

Every district in the city has been told to submit a detailed testing plan by Tuesday for their respective area, the document showed.

The city of 11 million people reported its first cluster of new infections over the weekend, after a months-long lockdown was lifted on April 8.

Woman wearing face mask in Wuhan China
A woman wearing a mask walks along a street in Wuhan, China [Aly Song/Reuters]

16:40 GMT – WHO says ‘extreme vigilance’ needed in exit from lockdowns

The WHO has said that “extreme vigilance” is needed as countries begin to exit from lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, amid global concerns about a second wave of infections.

Germany earlier reported an acceleration in new coronavirus infections after it took early steps to ease its lockdown. South Korea, another country that had succeeded in limiting virus infections, has seen a new outbreak in nightclubs.

“Now we are seeing some hope as many countries exit these lockdowns,” Dr Mike Ryan, head of the WHO’s emergencies programme, told an online news briefing, but he added that “extreme vigilance is required”.

“If the disease persists at a low level without the possibility to investigate clusters there’s always the possibility that the virus takes off again,” he said.

16:25 GMT – WHO says it has ‘no mandate’ to invite Taiwan to assembly meeting

The WHO’s director-general has “no mandate” to invite Taiwan to take part in its assembly next week, the body’s lawyer has said, adding member states had “divergent views” on the self-ruled island’s participation.

WHO principal legal officer Steven Solomon told an online news briefing that only member states could decide who attends the World Health Assembly (WHA). Taiwan, with the strong support of the US, has stepped up its lobbying to be allowed to take part as an observer at next week’s meeting of the WHO’s decision-making body, to China’s anger.

China berated New Zealand on Monday for its support for Taiwan’s participation at the WHO, saying the country should “stop making wrong statements” on the issue to avoid damaging bilateral ties.

Taiwan - coronavirus
People wear face masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus as they visit a night market in Taipei, Taiwan [Chiang Ying-ying/The Associated Press]

16:10 GMT – Italy daily new cases fall, death toll edges up

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy have risen by 179, against 165 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, as the daily tally of new cases fell to 744 from 802 on Sunday.

It was the lowest number of new cases announced on any given day since March 4.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 30,739 the agency said, the third-highest in the world after those of the US and Britain.

The total number of confirmed cases amounted to 219,814, the fifth-highest global tally behind those of the US, Spain, Britain and Russia.

16:00 GMT – Jordanian civil servants to return to work on May 26: Gov’t

Jordan’s cabinet has decided to allow civil servants to return to work on May 26 following a break of around two months imposed as part of measures to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, a government spokesman said.

Amjad al Adailah said that the civil servants, who comprise the bulk of Jordan’s public sector, would return after a three-day Muslim Eid holiday that will mark the end of Ramadan.

The government will also maintain a night curfew until further notice despite the easing of a tight lockdown over the last two weeks that has allowed most businesses to resume work, he added.

15:50 GMT – All mosques in Iran to reopen on Tuesday 

All mosques in Iran will reopen on Tuesday, a further step in the government’s plans to ease restrictions which aimed to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, the official IRIB news agency has reported.

The move comes even though some parts of the country have seen a rise in infections. At least 6,685 have died from the coronavirus in Iran amid 109,286 cases, 

Last Friday, prayer gatherings resumed in up to 180 Iranian cities and towns seen as being at low risk of coronavirus contagion after a two-month suspension, state media reported.

The resumption of Friday prayers, which are still banned in the capital Tehran and some other major cities, followed the reopening last Monday of 132 mosques in areas consistently free of the virus. Schools will reopen next week, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, according to the official presidency website.

Read more here

Iran mosque coronavirus Qom
A couple wearing protective face masks, following the outbreak of coronavirus walk on the street in Qom, Iran in March [Reuters]

15:40 GMT – Denmark’s Superliga to resume on May 28 says Danish League Association

Denmark’s top-flight Superliga will resume on May 28 following a gap of more than two months due to the new coronavirus pandemic, the Danish League Association has said in a statement. 

On Monday, Denmark entered its second phase of reopening society after a two-month lockdown, allowing the country’s top football teams to resume playing.

The League Association said the season would restart without fans in the stadiums, and that it expected the campaign to conclude with the Europe playoff games on July 29. Elsewhere in Europe, some leagues are also set to resume, with the German Bundesliga due to start on May 16.

15:25 GMT – Philippines: Duterte’s war on drugs continuing despite the lockdown

The Philippines’ war on drugs presses on despite the coronavirus lockdown.

President Rodrigo Duterte’s radical policy has led to more than 20,000 deaths since 2016 — most of which were extrajudicial killings. Al Jazeera’s The Take podcast speaks to filmmaker Leah Borromeo to understand how classism has upended society in the Philippines.

15:15 GMT – UK Johnson: Country at ‘most perilous moment’ as curbs ease

Britain faces the most delicate point in its battle against the coronavirus as it passes a peak in infections and starts gradually to ease guidance on social distancing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said.

“Our journey has reached the most perilous moment where a wrong move could be disastrous,” he told parliament on Monday. “So at this stage, we can go no further than to announce the first careful modification of our measures.”

On Sunday, Johnson encouraged employees who cannot work from home to return to their workplaces this week where businesses remained open and it was safe to do so. The government is set to announce guidelines for some businesses to return to work later on Monday. 

In this grab taken from video issued by Downing Street on Sunday, May 10, 2020, Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers an address on lifting the country's lockdown amid the coronavirus pandem
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered an address on lifting the country’s lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic on Sunday [The Associated Press]

15:00 GMT – Elite sport in England cannot return until June 1: Document

Elite sport in England cannot return until at least June 1 and will have to take place without spectators present, a government document containing guidelines on easing lockdown restrictions says, according to Reuters news agency.

Most professional sport in England has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The government guidance concerning the easing of restrictions on elite sport is laid out in “step two” of the document, and will be made no earlier than June 1. 

Step two includes “permitting cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast while avoiding the risk of large-scale social contact,” the guidelines say.

14:40 GMT – Journalists on front line of Pakistan outbreak

At least 30 journalists have tested positive for the coronavirus in southwest Pakistan, taking the total number of journalists infected across the country to more than 50, data from an independent media watchdog shows, as the South Asian nation continues to ease its lockdown amid a spike in cases and deaths.

At least 54 journalists and media workers have tested positive for the coronavirus across Pakistan, according to data released by the Freedom Network rights group on Monday, indicating that news organisations’ guidelines for journalists were either being ignored or needed better enforcement.

“I was in the office and my body felt like I had a fever, and I felt really dizzy,” said Salman Ashraf, a reporter for local television station Geo News in the southwest city of Quetta. Ashraf was one of the first journalists to test positive for the virus in the country.

Read more here

Pakistan media
A healthcare worker takes a testing sample from a journalist during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown in Quetta [Banaras Khan/AFP]

14:25 GMT – Putin announces easing of lockdown measures in Russia

President Vladimir Putin has said that Russia would start gradually easing coronavirus-related lockdown measures from Tuesday, but that individual regions would need to tailor their approach to varying local conditions.

In a televised address on Monday, Putin also announced new welfare payments for families with children and new support measures for the Russian economy.

14:10 GMT – Abu Dhabi’s Etihad lays off staff, warns of further cuts: Report

Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways has laid off a large number of employees due to the coronavirus pandemic that has shattered global travel demand, and warned staff to brace for further cuts, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters news agency. 

The state-owned airline declined to comment. But during a previously unreported US-UAE Business Council webinar on April 29, Etihad Chief Executive Tony Douglas said the airline had made “quite sizeable redundancies”.

It was not immediately clear how many employees had been affected or from which departments. Etihad has grounded scheduled passenger flights and temporarily cut wages by as much as 50 percent. It has said it plans to restart flights from mid-June.

13:45 GMT – UK death toll rises 210 to 32,065

Britain’s COVID-19 death toll has risen by 210 to 32,065, according to figures announced by the Department of Health.

The figures, collated by government agency Public Health England and equivalents in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland, comprise deaths in all settings following positive coronavirus tests and cover the period up to 1600 GMT on Sunday.

13:30 GMT – Germany’s Merkel: We must stick to basic rules even as lockdown eases

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has stressed that people needed to continue keeping their distance from one another and covering their mouths and noses even as Germany eases some of the restrictions it had imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

“It’s very important to me to again draw attention to the fact that we’re entering a new phase of the pandemic and that it will now be necessary, with all the easing of measures, to be sure that people stick to the basic rules i.e. keeping their distance, wearing mouth and nose protection and showing consideration for each other,” Merkel told reporters


This is Joseph Stepansky in Doha taking over the live updates from my colleague Umut Uras.


13:05 GMT – Qatar Airways CEO says air travel demand unlikely to recover until 2024

Global travel demand will take years to recover from the coronavirus pandemic and many business travellers may never return to the skies, the head of Qatar Airways said.

The state-owned airline is one of only a few to have maintained some scheduled passenger flights through the pandemic. Earlier this month, it said it would start rebuilding its network in anticipation of governments easing travel restrictions.

Qatar Airways expects to fill between 50 percent and 60 percent of seats on flights over the coming weeks as it reopens more routes and increases the frequency of flights.

“There are still a lot of people stranded around the world, [and] people who want to go and visit their loved ones,” Akbar al-Baker told Reuters news agency by phone.

But Baker said he would be “very surprised” if travel demand recovered to pre-pandemic levels before 2023-2024.

13:02 GMT – Saudi Arabia to cut oil output by another 1 million barrels a day    

Saudi Arabia’s energy ministry said it asked oil giant Aramco to make an additional voluntary output cut of one million barrels per day starting from June to support prices.    

The move will reduce the production of the world’s biggest crude exporter to 7.5 million barrels per day, the energy ministry said in a statement cited by the official Saudi Press Agency. 

13:00 GMT – Anti-lockdown protests threaten Germany’s coronavirus battle

German politicians expressed alarm over anti-lockdown protests held in major cities at the weekend, warning conspiracy theorists and others with an agenda were exploiting frustration with measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

While protests held in Berlin, Munich and Stuttgart were relatively modest in size, several resulted in violent clashes with police as densely packed crowds violated social-distancing requirements designed to prevent the virus from spreading.

The protests – mounted in part by proponents of conspiracy theories blaming everyone from vaccine makers to billionaire software tycoon and philanthropist Bill Gates for the disease – came as the virus’s reproduction rate in Germany ticked back above the critical threshold of 1.

“Germany has a free media landscape that informs about all aspects of the pandemic,” government spokesman Steffen Seibert said. “Abstruse claims and hate-filled assertions, theories about evils machinating globally, are something quite different.” 

12:55 GMT – Thirsty Czechs toast return to beer gardens as lockdown eases

Thirsty Czechs were allowed to return to beer gardens in one of the government’s most eagerly anticipated measures to relax coronavirus restrictions.

Authorities also permitted some schools, hairdressers, malls, cinemas and other businesses to reopen. Museums and galleries opened their doors and the government gave the green light for weddings, cultural and religious events of fewer than 100 people. Professional sports teams resumed full training.

But for many Czechs – who rank as the world’s biggest beer drinkers per capita – the reopening of restaurant terraces and beer gardens was a highlight of the government’s plan to re-start the economy in stages.

“Considering the beer is finally in a glass rather than a plastic cup from a take-away window, it is absolutely great,” said Ivan Verner, a retiree sipping a Pilsner Urquell at the historic U Pinkasu pub in central Prague. 

12:50 GMT – Easing restrictions to boost Australian economy by $6bn a month

Once Australia removes most social distancing restrictions by July, its economy will be boosted by $6.15bn each month, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg will say on Tuesday in a speech updating lawmakers on his budget planning.

Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison said last week social distancing restrictions imposed since March will be eased in a three-step process, as Canberra aims to remove most curbs by July and get nearly one million people back to work amid a decline in coronavirus cases.

Frydenberg will lay out some of the economic benefits of the relaxations in restrictions in his speech, extracts of which were provided in advance to media.

12:45 GMT – Thailand tourist arrivals may fall by as much as 65 percent in 2020

The number of foreign tourists in Thailand may plunge as much as 25.8 million to 14 million this year, the lowest level in 14 years, as the coronavirus pandemic hits global travel, the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) said on Monday.

The TAT now predicts only 14 million to 16 million foreign visitors this year, sharply down from 33.8 million projected in March. Last year’s foreign arrivals were a record 39.8 million.

12:35 GMT – Lebanon fears second coronavirus wave as new infections surge

Lebanese authorities warned of a new wave of coronavirus cases after the number jumped to its highest point in more than a month as the government eased some restrictions on public life.

The country has been under lockdown since mid-March to rein in an outbreak that has infected 859 people and killed 26.

Lebanon started lifting restrictions last week as part of a longer-term plan, letting restaurants, hair salons, construction sites and other businesses open so far at lower capacity.

People pray as they wear face masks and practice social distancing as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Beirut
COVID-19 has infected 859 people and killed 26 in Lebanon [Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

12:20 GMT – Georgia eases anti-virus restrictions

Georgia lifted most of the restrictions on economic activity that were imposed as part of measures to contain the coronavirus spread.

Industrial production and trade were allowed to resume, with the exception of large shopping malls and clothing retailers.

The government has said the country will reopen to foreign tourists as of July 1, while domestic tourism is set to resume in mid-June.

12:00 GMT – Sri Lanka: Muslims face extra threat as coronavirus stirs hate

Buddhist-majority Sri Lanka had originally agreed on burials of the coronavirus victims, but amended the guidelines on April 11 making their cremations mandatory.

Prominent Muslim activists and personalities have expressed their concerns against the ban on burials which they see as part of anti-Muslim rhetoric amid the pandemic.

Read more here

epa08399868 Sri Lankan health workers wearing Personal Protective collecting blood samples from a Muslim man at a locked-down area in Colombo, Sri Lanka, 04 May 2020. The Government has implemented a
The island nation’s top Ulama body urged the government to allow burial of coronavirus victims [EPA]

11:40 GMT – China will step up macro-economic policy adjustments: PM

China will step up macro-economic policy adjustments as the country’s development faces unprecedented difficulties and challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic, Premier Li Keqiang said, according to state-owned TV.

China will also strive to achieve economic and social development targets and tasks this year, the China Central Television quoted Li as saying in a meeting with top officials from other political parties to discuss the government’s work report, which is soon to be revealed at the annual parliament meeting later this month.

11:10 GMT – Marriott quarterly profit dives 92 percent on decline in bookings

Marriott International Inc reported a 92 percent slump in profit for the first quarter, as bookings plunged due to coronavirus-led travel restrictions.

Net income fell to $31m, or nine cents per share, in the quarter ended March 31, from $375m, or $1.09 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, Marriott earned 26 cents per share in the quarter. Revenue slumped seven percent to $4.68bn.

11:10 GMT – Russia sets new daily record of coronavirus cases

Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the nation about the coronavirus, as a new record of daily confirmed infections was set and number of deaths surpassed 2,000.

Putin will speak about the deadly pandemic and measures to support the Russian economy, the Kremlin said in a statement.

According to the official coronavirus data website set up by the Russian government, 11,656 people tested positive in the last 24 hours, with the total now at 221,344.

Outside image - blog - 10 may - russia update
According to the official coronavirus data, 11,656 people tested positive in the last 24 hours [EPA]

13:55 GMT – Germany takes uptick in coronavirus reproduction seriously: ministry

The German health ministry is taking the most recent rise in the coronavirus reproduction rate in the country seriously but the higher number does not mean there is an uncontrolled outbreak, a ministry spokesman said.

The Robert Koch Institute for disease control had said 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.

10:35 GMT – Low-skilled men suffer highest COVID-19 fatalities in England and Wales

Men in the lowest-skilled jobs had the highest rate of death involving COVID-19 among working-age people in England and Wales, according to data, which also showed deaths among nurses and doctors was no higher than the average.

The data was published after Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that manufacturing and construction workers should be encouraged to go back to their jobs, drawing concern from trade union groups.

Men in the lowest-skilled jobs suffered 21.4 COVID-related deaths per 100,000 males in the period up to April 20, more than double the average for working-age males of just under 10 deaths per 100,000, the Office for National Statistics said. The average death rate for working age women was 5.2 per 100,000.

10:10 GMT – Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll falls to 123

Spain’s daily coronavirus death toll fell to 123, the health ministry said, its lowest level in seven weeks.

The overall death toll from the epidemic rose to 26,744 on Monday from 26,621 on the previous day. The number of confirmed cases rose to 227,436 from 224,390 on Sunday.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Barcelona
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Mediterranean country are 227,436 [Reuters]

09:40 GMT – Abu Dhabi offers partial refund for restaurant and tourism property leases

Abu Dhabi has announced a 20 percent refund on annual commercial property leases for restaurants and for tourism and entertainment facilities, state news agency WAM reported.

Eligible businesses will have to apply online for the refund, which is calculated against fixed rental costs, WAM reported, citing the emirate’s department of economic development.

The refund scheme is aimed at easing pressure on businesses affected by government measures to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, WAM said.

09:10 GMT – Philippines coronavirus infections breach 11,000 mark

Confirmed coronavirus infections in the Philippines have broken past the 11,000 mark, the health ministry said.

In a bulletin, the health ministry reported 292 additional cases, bringing the total to 11,086. It recorded seven more deaths, increasing the total to 726 while 75 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 1,999.

08:55 GMT – Coronavirus clips the wings of the world’s second-oldest airline

Avianca Holdings, Latin America’s second-largest airline, has filed for bankruptcy after failing to meet a bond payment deadline, while its pleas for coronavirus aid from Colombia’s government have so far been unsuccessful.

If it fails to come out of bankruptcy, Bogota-based Avianca would be one of the first large carriers worldwide to go under as a result of the pandemic, which has crippled world travel.

Read more here.

Avianca might be one of the first large carriers worldwide to go under as a result of the pandemic [Jaime Saldarriaga/Reuters]

08:40 GMT – How much surveillance is too much during a pandemic?

In the fight against the novel coronavirus, governments around the globe are using police drones, security cameras and mobile apps to track people’s health and location.

In such an environment, how much surveillance is too much?

Al Jazeera’s Start Here explains.

08:20 GMT – Migrants stranded in Greece by COVID-19 fly to UK

A group of 50 refugees and asylum seekers flew from Greece to Britain to reunite with relatives in a transfer that had been held up by the coronavirus lockdown.

The group includes 16 unaccompanied minors, Greek migration ministry officials said. Some 130 Greek nationals stranded in the UK because of the COVID-19 lockdown will be repatriated on the return flight, the ministry said.

Greece hopes to gradually relocate around 1,600 vulnerable persons from its refugee camps to other countries in the coming months.

08:00 GMT – French minister warns lockdown easing could be reversed

France could reverse the relaxation of its nationwide lockdown if there is a resurgence of the coronavirus outbreak, Health Minister Olivier Veran warned.

“If the virus were to resume its wild race, we would again take lockdown measures,” Veran told BFM television.

France, with the world’s fifth-highest death toll, has enforced an eight-week lockdown since March 17 to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. It is gradually lifting those restrictions.

07:45 GMT – Malls, salons reopen as Turkey eases coronavirus lockdown

Shopping malls, barbershops and hair salons have been allowed to reopen across Turkey after a nearly two-month closure, with stepped-up safety and hygiene measures in place for containing the new coronavirus.

The easing of restrictions is the start of a nationwide post-coronavirus normalisation as the death toll and the number of infections eases in the country.

On Sunday, Turkey’s senior citizens also got their first chance to venture outside in seven weeks, after being subjected to a stay-at-home curfew since March 21.

Read more here.

Turkey’s senior citizens on Sunday got their first chance to venture outside in seven weeks [Ozan Kose/AFP]

07:20 GMT – Colombian woman’s 100th birthday celebrated despite lockdown

A Colombian neighbourhood found a way to celebrate a resident’s 100th birthday despite the coronavirus lockdown.

Here is the moment Sara Veron’s neighbours came together to throw her a big surprise party from their terraces and balconies.

07:05 GMT – Raab: UK economy will not be back to work until July at very earliest

Non-essential retailers would not go back to work until June at the earliest while other sectors will not go back to work until July at the earliest, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said.

“There’s the other changes for things like non-essential retail and people going back to school, particularly primary school, which won’t start until the earliest on the first of June, subject to conditions,” Raab said.

“Starting from the 4th of July at the very earliest, those other sectors where they are inherently more difficult because people are mixing together and it’s difficult to maintain the social distancing, we wouldn’t be able to say … that we would start them at least until the 4th of July.”

06:40 GMT – Men have high levels of enzyme key to COVID-19 infection: Study

Men’s blood has higher levels of a key enzyme used by the new coronavirus to infect cells than women’s, the results of a big European study showed – a finding which may help explain why men are more vulnerable to infection with COVID-19.

Angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2) is found in the heart, kidneys and other organs. In COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus, it is thought to play a role in how the infection progresses into the lungs.

The study, published in the European Heart Journal, also found that widely prescribed drugs called ACE inhibitors or angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) did not lead to higher ACE2 concentrations and should therefore not increase the COVID-19 risk for people taking them.

An illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depicts the 2019 Novel Coronavirus
The ultrastructural morphology exhibited by the novel coronavirus [Dan Higgins/Reuters]

06:10 GMT – India to ‘gradually’ restart rail operations in lockdown easing

One of the world’s largest train networks will “gradually” restart operations from Tuesday as India eases its six-week coronavirus lockdown.

The move comes after the government faced widespread criticism for its treatment of migrant workers, who were forced to walk hundreds of kilometres from cities to reach their home villages as factories and businesses where they earned their livings shut down due to the lockdown.

Read more here.

Migrant workers in India
The total number of cases in India has passed 67,000 with more than 2,200 deaths. [Amit Dave/Reuters]

05:55 GMT – Coronavirus interrupts world’s longest-running cartoon

Production of the world’s longest-running cartoon and a mainstay of the Japanese weekend has been interrupted by the coronavirus, forcing the broadcast of re-runs for the first time in decades.

“Sazae-san”, which first aired in 1969, revolves around the life of Mrs Sazae, a cheerful but klutzy full-time housewife who lives with her parents, husband, son, brother and sister.

The cartoon, recognised as the longest-running animated TV series by Guinness World Records, has been hamstrung by the outbreak of the virus, with animation dubbing halted to keep staff safe, broadcaster Fuji Television Network said. It is the first time the network has been forced to air re-runs since 1975.

05:37 GMT – Saudi announces tough austerity measures

Saudi Arabia will triple its value added tax (VAT) and halt monthly handout payments to citizens in tough new austerity measures amid record low oil prices and a coronavirus-led economic slump.

The measures, which could stir public resentment with the cost of living rising, come as the country steps up emergency plans to slash government spending to deal with the twin economic blow.

“It has been decided the cost of living allowance will be halted from June 2020 and VAT will be raised from 5 percent to 15 percent from July 1,” Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said in a statement released by the official Saudi Press Agency.

Read more here.

04:55 GMT – Markets reopen in Pakistan as lockdown eased

Pakistan will allow markets and shops to open for several days a week from Monday, as it loosens its coronavirus lockdown, Al Jazeera’s Asad Hashim reports.

Confirmed cases have exceeded 30,000 with 667 deaths, but planning minister Asad Umar reiterated on Sunday the government’s approach to containing the outbreak would be to focus on targeted lockdowns in areas where a large number of cases were reported.

Markets can open for between three and four days a week depending on the province.

04:30 GMT – New Zealand to ease nearly all restrictions

New Zealand will allow restaurants, cafes, cinemas, and shopping centres to reopen, as well as travel within the country to resume from Thursday as it eases most of the restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said schools can open from May 18 and bars by May 21.

Gatherings would be limited to 10 people, she added.

03:20 GMT – South Korea scrambles to contain Seoul-centred outbreak

South Korean officials are scrambling to contain a spike in coronavirus cases linked to Seoul’s nightlife after 35 new cases were reported on Monday.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported a total of 69 cases in the past 48 hours, most of them connected with an outbreak at several bars and nightclubs in the capital. Some 4,000 people have been tested, but authorities are still trying to track down 3,000 more who were at the venues.

“Our top priority is to minimise the spread of the infections in the greater Seoul area,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Monday.

“We should quickly find and test them.”

02:40 GMT – Tunisia reports zero new cases for first time since March

Tunisia reported no new cases of coronavirus on Monday for the first time since March.

The North African country reported its first case on March 2, and has confirmed 1,032 cases and 45 deaths. It began loosening its coronavirus lockdown last week, and shopping centres, clothing stores and hairdressers are due to open on Monday.

Tunisia recorded zero new cases of coronavirus on Monday for the first time since March [Zoubeir Souissi/Reuters]

02:35 GMT – Pence not in quarantine, will be at White House on Monday

US Vice President Mike Pence is not in quarantine and will be at the White House on Monday, spokesman Devin O’Malley said in a statement on Sunday.

O’Malley said Pence had tested negative “every single day” amid reports he was in self-quarantine after a member of his staff tested positive for coronavirus.

“Vice President Pence will continue to follow the advice of the White House Medical Unit and is not in quarantine,” the statement said.

02:30 GMT – China reports new cases, five in Wuhan

China reported 17 new cases of coronavirus, including five in Wuhan, the city where the virus first emerged late last year.

The five Wuhan cases all involve people living in the same residential compound.

Seven other cases were among travellers returning from overseas travel, and the remainder in the northeast where there concerns about the resurgence of the virus have prompted some cities to step up their response.

01:45 GMT – Australia’s Victoria state announces ‘cautious next steps’

Australians living in the southeastern state of Victoria will be able to visit more friends and family under a slight relaxation to the lockdown in the state.

Larger gatherings – of up to ten people outdoors and five visitors inside a home – will be allowed. Residents will also be able to do more outdoor sports – provided physical distancing rules are followed – and more people will be able to attend funerals.

The changes come into effect at 11:59pm (13:59 GMT) on Tuesday.

01:10 GMT – Saudi Arabia to distribute $493m in ‘Ramadan aid’

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Monday ordered the distribution of ‘Ramadan Aid’ worth 1.85 billion riyals ($492.6m) to social security beneficiaries, according to the state news agency.

Individuals supporting families will get 1,000 riyals each, while family members will each get 500 riyals.

00:15 GMT – Shanghai Disneyland to welcome first guests

Shanghai Disneyland will welcome its first guests in more than three months on Monday.

The park, the first of Disney’s theme parks to reopen since the coronavirus pandemic began, will operate at 30 percent capacity (24,000 people) and visitors will have to wear masks and follow strict rules on physical distancing. 

Shanghai Disney
One of the first visitors to Shanghai Disneyland after the theme park reopened on Monday [Aly Song/Reuters]

00:00 GMT – Some Australian children return to school

Some children in the Australian states of New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland began returning to school on Monday after weeks off school because of the coronavirus.

NSW has equipped schools with sanitiser, soap, personal protective equipment and temperature monitors, while class sizes will be smaller and personal contact reduced.

“I know this is a huge relief for families,” NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters. “It is a huge relief for the state government because we know how important it is for students to receive that face-to-face teaching.”


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage fo the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.&

Read all the updates from yesterday (May 10) here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies