UK economy takes 25 percent hit from coronavirus: Live updates

Britain’s economy shrinks by a quarter over March and April as entire sectors are shuttered by the coronavirus lockdown.

Outside image - blog - 19 may - UK headline
  • Beijing reported its first instance of local transmission in weeks – a 52-year-old man who said he had not left the Chinese capital for more than two weeks and had not been in contact with anyone from outside the city.

  • A vaccine against COVID-19 developed by United States biotech firm Moderna will enter the third and final stage of its clinical trial in July with 30,000 participants, the manufacturer has announced.

  • The British economy has dwindled 25 percent over March and April as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, dwarfing previous downturns.
  • More than 7.48 million people have now been confirmed to have the coronavirus and at least 420,000 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, June 12

20:30 GMT – Ukraine leader limits exposure after wife tests COVID-19 positive

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has suspended official travel and is limiting his exposure to other people after his wife tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the presidential office said.

The head of state is not allowed to delegate his presidential tasks to any other individual under the Ukrainian constitution and therefore cannot go into full isolation, it said in a statement.

The 42-year-old will be subjected to coronavirus tests daily and will only be in close physical contact with aides and bodyguards.

Ukrainian President Zelensky Looks For Mandate From Snap General Election
Olena Zelenska, left, said she felt well, was not hospitalised, but was isolated from her husband, right, and children [File: Getty Images]

20:00 GMT – UN health chief: Fighting virus very hard in divided world

The head of the World Health Organization said he is “truly concerned” about divisions the coronavirus has created globally and within individual countries, calling it an “invisible but a very small virus causing havoc”.

“The world has never seen anything like this since the flu in 1918,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a press briefing, comparing the ongoing pandemic to the Spanish influenza pandemic more than a century ago that is believed to have killed at least 50 million people.

Calling on nations to learn from history and “to do better,” Tedros said the lack of political unity during the current crisis was problematic. “This is a very dangerous virus, and it’s very hard to fight this virus in a divided world,” he said.

19:25 GMT – Lebanon to reopen Beirut international airport from July 1

Lebanon will reopen Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport for commercial flights beginning July 1, but will keep air traffic at 10 percent of capacity from a year ago, a statement from the prime minister’s office said on Friday.

Private flights will resume from June 24, the statement said. Passengers will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival and obliged to practise home quarantine if testing positive, it added. 

19:00 GMT – Coronavirus pandemic exposes South Africa’s inequality

The coronavirus is hitting South Africa’s mainly Black townships harder than areas that were once the exclusive preserve of white people, according to new data that highlights the lasting effect of apartheid-era housing policies.

More than 25 years after the end of white minority rule, South Africa remains one of the most unequal countries in the world, according to the World Bank, with urban areas starkly divided along racial lines.

Read more here.

A general view of shacks during a nationwide 21 day lockdown in an attempt to contain the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Umlazi township near Durban
South Africa has more than 58,500 confirmed cases and 1,284 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University [Reuters]

18:20 GMT – French 24-hour death toll under 30 for third day in a row

France reported that the number of people who died from coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours increased by just 28 to 29,374, the third day the toll remained under 30 and the lowest three-day toll since lockdown started in mid-March.

On Thursday and Wednesday the toll stood at 27 and 23, after averaging over 50 in the previous seven days and 91 in the 33 days since the end of lockdown on May 11.

However, the ministry also reported that the number of new coronavirus infections rose by 726 or 0.5 percent to 156,287, the highest daily increase in eight days.

Gradual end to a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris
France has a total of 158,641 coronavirus-related deaths [Reuters] 

17:50 GMT – Coronavirus hitting the Americas hardest: WHO

The Americas are bearing the brunt of the global coronavirus pandemic at present, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, with North and South America currently having four of the 10 worst-hit countries in the world.

The disease was “highly active” in Central and South America, the WHO’s top emergency expert Mike Ryan said, highlighting problems in Brazil and Mexico.

The current situation in Brazil, now one of the global hotspots for the virus, was of increasing concern especially in heavily-populated cities, he told a press conference. 

Brazil is the second worst hit country in the world, with some 800,000 cases and 41,000 deaths. Mexico, meanwhile, has nearly 130,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and more than 15,000 deaths, the WHO said.

16:50 GMT – Breast milk has no links to spread of coronavirus: WHO

Breastfeeding mothers do not seem to be passing on the new coronavirus to their infants, a World Health Organization (WHO) expert said on Friday.

“So far we have not been able to detect live virus in breast milk,” Anshu Banerjee, a senior adviser for WHO’s Department of Reproductive Health and Research, told a news conference.

“So the risk of transmission from mother to child so far has not been established,” he said, adding that only “fragments” of the virus had been found in breast milk.

16:30 GMT – Canada to mandate temperature checks for air passengers: PM

Canada will take airline passengers’ temperatures before they fly and anyone with a fever will not be allowed to travel, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.

“Temperature checks will not be detecting people with COVID-19,” Trudeau said in a news conference. “It’s an extra layer of safety to encourage people who might feel sick to stay home and not put others at risk.”

The screening will be phased in, with those arriving in Canada being screened by the end of June, and then for those leaving the country as well as for domestic travellers at the country’s four big airports by the end of July.

Trudeau: ‘Temperature checks will not be detecting people with COVID-19’  [File: Reuters] 

16:00 GMT – Daily Turkish coronavirus cases rise again above 1,000

The number of new coronavirus cases in Turkey rose above 1,000 in the last 24 hours for the first time since May 29, Health Ministry data showed, after the easing of travel restrictions and reopening of public facilities at the start of last week.

The data showed 1,195 new cases were identified, up from a low of 786 last Tuesday, and 15 people died in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases rose to 175,218. Daily infections stood above 5,000 on April 11.

15:25 GMT – Italy’s coronavirus death toll rises by 56 to 34,223

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 56 on Friday against 53 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, taking the total toll to 34,223.

The official tally of new cases rose by just 163 against 379 on Thursday, but this was muddied by a recalculation of past data by the southern region of Campania, which subtracted previous cases and reported a total of -229 on Friday.

The northern region of Lombardy, where the outbreak was first identified, remains by far the worst affected of Italy’s 20 regions, reporting 272 new infections.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Rome

15:55 GMT – UK economy takes 25 percent hit from COVID-19

Britain’s economy shrank by a quarter over March and April as entire sectors were shuttered by the coronavirus lockdown in what looks likely to be the bottom of a “catastrophic” crash before a long and slow recovery.

Dwarfing previous downturns, the economy contracted by 20.4 percent in April from March, when it shrank by nearly six percent. It was 24.5 percent smaller than in April 2019.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the figures were no surprise as Britain’s huge services sector was being hit particularly hard by social distancing measures, but he said recovery would follow.

15:30 GMT – Spain’s Galicia to be first region to exit lockdown

Spain’s northern region of Galicia will be the first to exit the country’s coronavirus lockdown from Monday, Health Minister Salvador Illa said, part of a gradual opening up that Spain hopes can save its summer tourism season.

A state of emergency, declared country-wide in mid-March, will be effectively lifted in Galicia, while it remains in force in all the other 16 of Spain’s regions.

The government will lift some restrictions in other regions, which have been following a four-phase plan to gradually exit from lockdown as the epidemic ebbs.

15:15 GMT – Turkish medical association: Coronavirus lockdown eased too soon

Turkey’s top medical association criticised the decision to ease restrictions imposed to combat the spread of the coronavirus, saying moves were not backed by science and had come too soon, before the country had overcome the pandemic’s initial wave.

Cavit Isik Yavuz, a member of the coronavirus research team at the Turkish Medical Association (TTB), said there was still no proof that the outbreak was under control, and warned the lifting of restrictions was resulting in more infections.

Since June 1, Turkey has lifted weekend stay-at-home orders, ended curbs on intercity travel, resumed some international flights and reopened cafes, restaurants, parks, beaches and gyms. Nearly 4,800 people have died of COVID-19 so far in Turkey, according to official data, with the daily death toll falling in recent weeks to about 20.

People wearing protective face masks walk at the spice market, also known as the Egyptian Bazaar, as it reopens after weeks of the close doors amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in
Nearly 4,800 people have died of COVID-19 so far in Turkey, according to data released by the government [Reuters] 

15:00 GMT – Norway shuns Sweden in lifting travel restrictions

Norway will allow travel to and from Finland, Iceland and the Swedish island of Gotland from Monday, but will maintain travel restrictions on mainland Sweden due to its higher level of COVID-19 cases.

Denmark, Finland and Norway have lifted some of the controls on leisure travel they imposed to slow the coronavirus pandemic, but they have kept most of those imposed on Sweden, the most populous of the Nordic countries.

Leaving most of Sweden out of the arrangements breaks with long-standing close cooperation between the Nordic countries, and goes against the wishes of the European Commission, which wants to lift by Monday the internal borders in the Schengen travel area, which in normal times has no borders.

14:30 GMT – Japan aims to launch coronavirus tracking app next week

Japan aims to launch a smartphone app based on technology from Apple Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google next week to help curb the spread of coronavirus by tracking close contact with those infected, the health ministry said.

Smartphones with the app installed can detect each other via Bluetooth short-range wireless and log those who have come in close contact.

If a phone user is found to be infected, people who spent more than 15 minutes within a radius of one metre of that individual sometime over the previous 14 days will be notified that they were in close contact with a coronavirus-infected person, and be prompted to seek medical consultation. 

Such a message will be sent only if the infected individual gives consent, and the person with a positive diagnosis will remain anonymous to the receivers of the notification.

Japan has reported about 17,300 confirmed cases and 922 known deaths to date [Issei Kato/Reuters] 

Hello, this is Umut Uras in Doha taking over from my colleague Shereena Qazi.

12:40 GMT – Quarantine rules are to protect public health: UK PM’s spokesman

UK’s government brought in quarantine rules to protect public health, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, declining to comment on legal action brought by British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair.

“I would emphasise that we’ve obviously brought these quarantine rules into place to protect public health and ensure we don’t import the virus as cases in the community reduce,” the spokesman told reporters, adding that the government does not comment on “ongoing legal matters”. 

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Liverpool
Only four countries have recorded more coronavirus cases than the UK [Phil Noble TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY [Reuters] 

12:25 GMT – Asymptomatic COVID-19: Five things to know

Since the first cluster of cases of the novel coronavirus was reported in China last December, scientists have been racing to get a better understanding of the highly contagious disease, COVID-19, and how to stop its spread.

The Technological Vaccine Center of the Federal University of Minas Gerais is Testing a Vaccine against the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) and also Testing Diagnosis Kits

The coronavirus is transmitted from person to person through direct contact, droplets of saliva while coughing or discharge from the nose when sneezing. 

But there is ongoing scientific debate and research concerning the contagion passing on from asymptomatic carriers.

What is asymptomatic? Find out here.

12:15 GMT – Wife of Ukraine president tests positive for COVID-19

Olena Zelenska, the wife of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said on Friday she had tested positive for coronavirus but her husband and their two children had tested negative.

“Today I received a positive test for coronavirus. Unexpected news. Especially considering that I and my family continue to follow all the rules – masks, gloves, a minimum of contacts,” Zelenska wrote on Facebook.

Ukrainian President Zelensky Looks For Mandate From Snap General Election
Olena Zelenska, left, said she felt well, was not hospitalised, but was isolated from her husband, right, and children [File: Getty Images]

12:05 GMT – Pakistan hospitals struggle as coronavirus cases explode

From our correspondent Asad Hashim in Islamabad, Pakistan – Atiqullah did not know what else to do. He spent three days scouring the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar for a ventilator for his 60-year-old father, who had tested positive for the coronavirus and was in a critical condition.

“The doctors were trying their best but we couldn’t find a bed in the Intensive Care Unit [ICU],” he told Al Jazeera. “For three days we were trying to get him shifted into an ICU because he was in such a serious condition.”

People wearing masks to help curb the spread of the coronavirus shop in a market in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Tuesday, June 2, 2020. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

Ultimately, he found a bed in an isolation ward at the Lady Reading Hospital – the city’s largest government hospital – but there was still no ventilator available.

Read the full story here.

11:45 GMT – EU’s health chief warns COVID-19 health crisis not over yet

The public health crisis caused by COVID-19 in Europe is not over yet, the European Union’s top health official warned, urging governments to remain vigilant and plough ahead with testing and tracing the population.

“This is not behind us yet. We need to be vigilant,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told EU health ministers in a videoconference, amid fears of a new surge in infections as EU states gradually reopen business and borders and after mass protests in recent days across the continent.

Gradual end to a nationwide lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris
France has a total of 158,641 coronavirus-related deaths [Reuters] 

11:20 GMT – Qatar records 1,517 new cases

Qatar’s health ministry recorded 1,517 news cases, taking the total number of infections in the country to 76,588.

One person died from the virus, bringing the total death toll to 70, according to the ministry.

11:02 GMT – Germany well placed to avoid second wave of COVID-19 infections: Minister

Germany is well placed to avoid a second wave of coronavirus infections, Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said on Friday, warning that the absence of a vaccine meant social distancing as well as testing and tracing measures were necessary.

“We are living with the virus, which I describe as a new normal. And it will only change when we have new medical therapies and when we have a vaccine,” Scholz said. “As long as this is not the case, we have to organise our lives so as to avoid a second wave.”

He added that the chances were “very, very large” that Germany could avoid a second wave.

A German police officer wearing a protective mask during a car control at the border crossing between Austria and Germany, near the German village of Oberaudorf as Germany enforce
Germany has reported 8,776 coronavirus deaths, much less than other European countries like the UK, France and Spain [Christof Stache/AFP]

10:40 GMT – Coronavirus patients ‘treated worse than animals’: India court

As deaths caused by the novel coronavirus disease continue to mount, India’s top court has expressed outrage over the way the patients are being handled by hospitals and authorities.

India burial 6
India has overtaken Britain to became the fourth highest in the world with 297,535 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 8,498 deaths [Manish Swarup/AP]

“COVID-19 patients are [being] treated worse than animals,” said the Supreme Court, as it issued notices to the federal and state governments on the “deplorable condition”, Indian media reports said on Friday.

“In one case, a body was found in the garbage,” said the court. “Patients are dying and nobody is there to even attend to them.”

Read more here.

10:30 GMT – Philippines records more 600 new COVID-19 cases

The Philippines on Friday reported 615 more coronavirus infections, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 24,787.

In a health ministry bulletin, the Southeast Asian country also recorded 16 additional fatalities related to the novel coronavirus, taking its death toll to 1,052.

Doctor's note - antibody serological test
The Philippines has recorded more than 24,700 cases of coronavirus [Ezra Acayan/Getty]

The health ministry said three duplicate cases were removed from the total number of infections reported as of June 11.

10:25 GMT – Prosecutors to question Italy’s PM over coronavirus response

Italy’s public prosecutors are set to question Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, along with Health Minister Roberto Speranza and Interior Minister Luciana Lamorghese, over the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Conte in Genoa - Reuters
Friday’s interrogations aim to determine if there are grounds for any charges of criminal negligence[Reuters]

Friday’s interrogation comes weeks after the investigation was launched on April 8 by the prosecutors from Bergamo, the city in the northern Lombardy region worst hit by the virus that killed more than 34,000 people in the country.

Read more here.

10:10 GMT – Pegasus Airlines to resume international flights

Turkey’s low-cost Pegasus Airlines will resume international flights on Saturday, the company announced.

Pegasus said in a statement that it will operate the first flight to Germany following the temporary suspension of flights as part of the restrictions to combat COVID-19.

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul
The low-cost carrier restarted its domestic flights on June 1 after halting flights on March 28 [Murad Sezer/Reuters]

Pegasus will gradually restore flights between Turkey and several European destinations from June 15.

The company will fly to Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, England, the Netherlands, France, and Belgium in the first phase.

09:07 GMT – Indonesia reports new COVID-19 cases, deaths

Indonesia reported 1,111 new coronavirus infections and 48 new deaths, taking the total number of cases to 36,406 and fatalities to 2,048, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto said 577 more patients had recovered from COVID-19, bringing the total number of recovered cases to 13,213.

Indonesia has tested a total of 302,147 people as of Friday.

09:05 GMT – Aid groups ‘alarmed’ by little US coronavirus assistance

More than two dozen international aid organisations have told the US government they are “increasingly alarmed” that “little to no US humanitarian assistance has reached those on the front lines” of the coronavirus pandemic.

The letter obtained by The Associated Press and signed by groups including Save the Children, Mercy Corps, World Vision and others says that “in spite of months of promising conversations with USAID field staff, few organisations have received an executed award for COVID-19 humanitarian assistance”.

It calls the delays “devastating” and says the window is closing for the US to help mitigate the worst impacts of the pandemic around the world.

08:45 GMT – EU warns COVID-19 crisis not over yet

The public health crisis caused by the COVID-19 epidemic in Europe is not over yet, the European Union’s top health official warned, urging governments to remain vigilant and plough ahead with testing and tracing the population.

“This is not behind us yet. We need to be vigilant,” EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides told EU health ministers in a videoconference, amid fears of a new surge in infections as EU states gradually reopen business and borders and after mass protests in recent days across the continent.

08:25 GMT – Air France accelerates resumption of summer flights

Air France announced it was accelerating moves to resume flights over the summer holiday period.

It said several routes would resume between Paris and the French regions, as well as inter-regional routes, particularly to and from Corsica.

The number of services will also be increased to the French overseas departments and territories, as well as to Europe, mainly to Spain, Greece, Italy and Portugal.

08:20 GMT – India fourth worst-hit nation

India has reported a total of 297,535 coronavirus infections, surpassing the United Kingdom to become the fourth worst-affected country in the world, behind only the United States, Brazil and Russia.

The number of infections increased by 10,956 on Friday from the previous day, and the death toll reached 8,498, India’s ministry of health and family welfare said.

Read more here

07:40 GMT – Pakistani PM warns more deaths of coronavirus 

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned citizens that the number of deaths from the coronavirus will continue to rise in the country, as the death toll hit a single-day record of 107 on Thursday.

Addressing the nation, Khan continued to rule out imposing any widespread lockdown, as per the World Health Organization’s advice, saying that instead there would be greater monitoring of social distancing and hygiene directives, with businesses that do not comply being shut down.

Pakistan saw 6,397 new cases of the coronavirus on Thursday, taking its total tally to 125,933. 

06:45 GMT – Australian clot-busting drug holds hope for COVID-19 treatment

An experimental drug developed by an Australian researcher could help prevent deaths from COVID-19 by controlling the formation of blood clots responsible for breathing difficulties, organ failure, stroke and heart attack.

About three in four critical COVID-19 patients in ICUs develop clots with their recovery rate critically low, said Professor Shaun Jackson from the University of Sydney and the Heart Research Institute.

Following successful phase-one trials in 72 healthy patients, the researchers now want to urgently move into phase two trials by testing the effectiveness and safety of the drug in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

05:57 GMT – South Korea warns of tougher physical distancing measures

South Korea will extend physical distancing guidelines until daily new infections drop to single digits, the health minister said, failing which he warned of a return to tougher measures.

Park Neung-hoo urged residents of the Seoul metropolitan area to stay home as much as possible as new cases have persisted in the mid-double digits daily, with 56 new cases reported at the end of Thursday. Public facilities including nightlife spots, religious establishments, museums, and parks, will remain closed.

Tougher social distancing rules will be considered if 50 daily infections persist for more than two weeks, depending on the number of new outbreak clusters, Park added.

South Korea
An ice carving robot for minimising human contact to avoid the spread of the coronavirus disease is seen during its demonstration at a bar in Seoul, South Korea, June 3, 2020 [Kim Hong-Ji/ Reuters]

05:31 GMT – Electronics firm PCI to make Singapore’s virus-tracing device

Singapore-based electronics maker PCI has won a bid to supply 300,000 dongles for a government project that could eventually see everyone in the city-state given the wearable device to help identify people who have interacted with COVID-19 carriers.

The 6 million Singapore dollars ($4.3m) tender, equivalent to 20 Singapore dollars ($14.35) a unit for the Bluetooth-enabled TraceTogether Tokens, was awarded by Singapore’s Government Technology Agency to the firm on May 14, according to a government notice.

The pilot project comes after an earlier smartphone-based contact tracing app had limited take-up as it did not work efficiently on some devices.

Like the app, the token will use Bluetooth signals to record nearby devices but cannot capture location data and does not have internet or cellular connectivity, according to the government, which has pledged to protect user privacy.

Singapore coronavirus
Essential workers queue to take a nasal swab test to detect the new coronavirus before returning to work in Singapore on June 10, 2020 [Roslan Rahman/ AFP]

05:10 GMT – Maldives to ease lockdown, but no family visits allowed

Health authorities in the Maldives say residents of the capital, Male, will be allowed to leave their homes without permits starting from June 15 as part of a phased easing of its two-month old lockdown.

Domestic airports will open, and restaurants and cafes can resume takeaway and delivery services.

The Health Protection Agency, however, is advising against visiting family members at their homes and is banning gatherings of more than three people in any public spaces.

Masks are mandatory in public spaces, it added. The Indian Ocean island nation has reported eight deaths and 1,976 infections, of which the vast majority were in the congested capital. 

04:27 GMT – Morrison ‘pushes for reopening of Australia’s internal borders’

Australia’s federal government stepped up pressure on state and territory leaders on Friday to reopen internal borders, a step viewed as key to reviving the country’s coronavirus-hit economy.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison made the plea at a meeting of the national cabinet dealing with the crisis, Reuters news agency reported, citing two people with knowledge of the meeting.

“State borders should be open,” Finance Minister Mathias Cormann told Sky News on Friday, adding that a second wave of infections could cost the economy A$80bn ($52bn) over the next two years. “Tourism operators in North Queensland would like to be able to draw on tourists in New South Wales.”

03:30 GMT – Beijing reports first locally transmitted case in weeks

China has reported seven new coronavirus cases, including the first instance of local transmission in Beijing in weeks.

Authorities said the other six cases were all brought into the country by Chinese citizens arriving from abroad. No new deaths were reported.

Officials in Beijing say the locally transmitted case involves a 52-year-old man who arrived alone at a clinic displaying an intermittent fever but no other symptoms. He was swiftly diagnosed as having COVID-19, prompting authorities to isolate family members and reinstate anti-virus measures in his neighbourhood.

The man said he had not left Beijing for more than two weeks and had not been in contact with anyone from outside the city.

A street vendor selling sweets waits for customers along a street in Beijing on June 11, 2020 [Noel Celis/ AFP]

02:46 GMT – Double lung transplant saves young virus patient

Surgeons in Chicago in the United States have given a new set of lungs to a young woman with severe lung damage from the coronavirus.

Only a few other COVID-19 survivors, in China and Europe, have received lung transplants. The patient, who is in her 20s, was on a ventilator and heart-lung machine for almost two months before her operation at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  

The 10-hour procedure was challenging because the virus had left the patient’s lungs full of holes and almost fused to the chest wall, said Dr Ankit Bharat, who performed the operation.

“This important milestone indicates that, while the transplant procedure in these patients is quite challenging technically, it can be done safely,” he said. “And it offers the terminally ill COVID-19 patients another option for survival.”

02:27 GMT – Report says UK BAME groups must get targeted health advice

An unpublished United Kingdom government report said that Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) groups in the UK should be given targeted health advice in the event of a second wave of the coronavirus outbreak, according to Sky News.

Earlier this month, a Public Health England report revealed that Black and Asian people in the UK are up to 50 percent more likely to die after being infected with COVID-19.

01:26 GMT – Famed Thai temple bars foreigners entry

One of Thailand’s major tourist attractions is barring entry to foreigners, professing fear that they could spread the coronavirus.

Signs seen Thursday morning at the main gate of Wat Pho, the Buddhist temple adjacent to the Grand Palace in Bangkok, said in English: “Open for Thai only,” “ONLY THAI PEOPLE,” and “NOW NOT OPEN FOR FOREIGNERS.”

The temple is one of the country’s grandest, with murals and gold trim covering many surfaces, but is best known for housing the 46-metre-long (151-foot-long) Reclining Buddha, which is covered in gold leaf.

One of Wat Pho’s administrative staff explained by phone that the temple committee decided to exclude foreigners because of concerns about COVID-19. However, there is no known government order to ban foreigners from the temple.

Thailand Wat Pho
In this March 13, 2020 photo, a tourist wearing a protective mask walks in front of the giant Buddha at Wat Pho temple in Bangkok, Thailand [Sakchai Lalit/ AP]

00:46 GMT – Hundreds of suspected child virus deaths in Indonesia

Hundreds of children in Indonesia are believed to have died from COVID-19, giving the Southeast Asian country one of the world’s highest rates of child deaths from the new coronavirus.

Since Indonesia announced its first coronavirus case in March, it has recorded 2,000 deaths, the highest in East Asia outside of China.

A total of 715 people under 18 had contracted the coronavirus, while 28 had died, according to a health ministry document dated May 22 and reviewed by Reuters news agency.

Indonesia also recorded more than 380 deaths among 7,152 children classified as “patients under monitoring”, meaning people with severe coronavirus symptoms for which there is no other explanation but whose tests have not confirmed the infection.

Indonesia’s Jakarta is reopening after weeks of lockdown (2:39)

Even the official figure for children who have died of the coronavirus, at 28 as of May 22, would give Indonesia a high rate of child deaths, at 2.1 percent of its total. In comparison, deaths for those aged under 24 in the US are a little over 0.1 percent of that country’s fatalities.

“COVID-19 proves that we have to fight against malnutrition,” Achmad Yurianto, a senior health ministry official, told Reuters.

He said Indonesian children were caught in a “devil’s circle”, a cycle of malnutrition and anaemia that increased their vulnerability to the coronavirus. He compared malnourished children to weak structures that “crumble after an earthquake”.

00:17 GMT – Puerto Rico to reopen beaches, gyms

Wanda Vazquez, the governor of Puerto Rico, announced that she will lift nearly all restrictions aimed at curbing coronavirus cases, which means beaches, churches and businesses including cinemas and gyms across the US territory will reopen after three months.

The changes will occur starting on June 16, Vazquez said, when businesses also will be allowed to operate seven days a week and restaurants at 50 percent capacity. However, she tweaked an ongoing curfew that will remain in place for two weeks from 10pm to 5am.

Vazquez also said Puerto Rico will be officially ready to welcome tourists starting from July 15 and that airport screenings will continue.

Many stranded in Philippines capital after losing jobs amid pandemic (2:39)

00:07 GMT – Number of extreme poor ‘could rise to 1.1 billion’

The economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic could plunge an extra 395 million people into extreme poverty and increase the total number of those living on less than $1.90 a day worldwide to more than one billion, according to a new report.

The document – published by the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economics Research (UNU-WIDER) – played through a number of scenarios, taking into account the World Bank’s various poverty lines – from extreme poverty, defined as living on $1.90 a day or less, to higher poverty lines of living on less than $5.50 a day.

Under the worst scenario – a 20 percent contraction in per capita income or consumption – the number of those living in extreme poverty could rise to 1.12 billion. The same contraction, applied to the $5.50 threshold among upper-middle-income countries, could see more than 3.7 billion people – or just over half the world’s population – live below this poverty line.

“The outlook for the world’s poorest looks grim unless governments do more and do it quickly and make up the daily loss of income the poor face,” said Andy Sumner, one of the report’s authors.

“The result,” he said, “is progress on poverty reduction could be set back 20 to 30 years, making the UN goal of ending poverty look like a pipe dream.”

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

You can find all the updates from yesterday, June 11, here.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies