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Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Protests Set Off Fears of New Outbreaks – The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageDemonstrators gathered in Atlanta during a protest on Saturday. Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, said she was concerned that the protests could increase infections in communities of color.
Credit…Dustin Chambers/Reuters

Mass protests over police violence against black Americans in at least 75 U.S. cities have spurred concern that the gatherings will seed new outbreaks.

Speaking on CNN, Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, said she was concerned that the protests could increase infections in communities of color, which are already being disproportionately hit by the disease. Death rates among black Americans are double those of whites, and the economic toll of lockdowns has also inflicted disproportionate economic pain.

“I’m extremely concerned we are seeing mass gatherings,” Ms. Bottoms said. “We’re going to see the other side of this in a couple of weeks.”

Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, echoed those concerns. Mr. Hogan told CNN the gatherings of “thousands of people jammed in together in close proximity” could lead to a spike in cases.

Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor of global health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, urged protesters to take safety precautions, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

On the CBS program “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, noted that Minnesota had seen an uptick in cases before the protests. He also predicted that the protests would ignite chains of transmission.

“This country isn’t through this epidemic,” he said. “This is continuing to expand, but at a much slower rate, but it’s still expanding.”

Dr. Theodore Long, who is leading New York City’s contact tracing efforts with its public hospitals agency, urged anyone who had been involved in the demonstrations to get tested for the virus.

The protests, spurred by the killing of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police, are pulsing through a country ragged with anger and anxiety. More than 100,000 Americans who were infected have died, and some 40 million are out of work.

The outbreak has inflicted disproportionate health and economic tolls on black and Latino communities.

“To have corona, and then this — it’s like a gut shot,” said Jimmy Mills, a barber in a working-class area of Minneapolis.

The protests could affect planned reopenings. Mayor Carlos Gimenez of Miami-Dade County said on Sunday that the unrest had prompted him to keep local beaches closed, rather than reopening on Monday as scheduled.

Credit…Byron Smith/Getty Images

This week, as global coronavirus cases pass six million, many nations are entering a pivotal period, giving students, shoppers and travelers more freedom to return to some sense of normalcy after months under lockdown.

Greece, seeking to bolster its crucial tourism sector, announced one of the more aggressive reopening plans. After initially announcing on Friday that it would allow entries from 29 countries whose outbreaks were mostly contained, it shifted to allow flights from all countries.

From June 15 to June 30, the Greek foreign ministry said on Saturday, the flights will go to Greece’s two largest airports, in Athens and Thessaloniki. Passengers from the 29-nation list, including Germany, Australia and South Korea, will be subject to random tests. Those flying in from countries deemed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to have a high risk of virus transmission will be tested.

As of July 1, all Greek airports will reopen to international flights, with random screening for all passengers. Arrivals by sea will be allowed as of July 1, also subject to random testing.

In Britain, more stores will be allowed to open starting Monday, and small groups from different households can meet outdoors. Primary schools will open in England with new social-distancing rules and spaced seating. The government also gave the green light for professional sports to resume under strict protocols, according to government guidelines published on Saturday.

Other countries are creating “travel bubbles,” allowing visitors from nations with low infection rates.

Norway and Denmark will allow leisure travel between the two countries, excluding Sweden, where coronavirus infections are higher. Norway will also allow entry to business travelers from the other Nordic countries from Monday, the government said.

But in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Sunday that he would ask Parliament for a sixth and final extension to the state of emergency, allowing his central government to keep control over the lockdown in Madrid, Barcelona and other parts of the country until June 21.

Mr. Sánchez told a news conference that Spain needed to “immediately” recover its tourism sector, but that quarantine rules for outside visitors would be kept in place until July 1. “We cannot throw away all the work that we have done,” he said.

Credit…Inti Ocon for The New York Times

Nicaragua is one of the last countries to resist adopting strict measures to curb the spread of the virus. It never closed its schools. It did not shutter businesses. Throughout the pandemic, the government not only allowed mass events — it organized them.

Now there are signs everywhere that the virus is raging across the country, though the government insists it has the situation under control.

Long lines have formed at hospitals, and pharmacies have run out of basic medicines. Families of people who die of respiratory illnesses are being forced to hold “express burials” at all hours of the night, for fear of contagion.

Health organizations are struggling to get accurate case numbers. Testing is limited and controlled by the government. Doctors and activists are bracing for disaster, just two years after antigovernment uprisings against President Daniel Ortega turned violent.

Facing withering criticism, the government released a report last Monday stating that critics were trying to sow chaos, and that the vast majority of people in the country, the second-poorest in the hemisphere, could not afford to lose work under a strict lockdown.

Elena Cano said her 46-year-old son, Camilo Meléndez, the facilities manager at the National Assembly building, died on May 19 from “unusual severe pneumonia,” after trying to get medical care several times.

“The whole world has to understand the truth of the crime that our government is committing,” she said.

Credit…Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

Once more, the pronouncements arrived in a torrent, though this time they were about rebirth rather than cancellation.

The N.B.A. was planning to start up again in late July. The N.H.L. announced a playoff tournament would take place through the summer. Major League Baseball was continuing negotiations with its players for a shortened season. The N.F.L. was moving toward opening training facilities. Soccer leagues for both men and women in North America were working toward finalizing plans for summer tournaments. Top-tier soccer leagues in England, Italy and Spain announced they would resume play in June.

After months filled with pessimism, hesitation, quiet planning and uncertainty about whether major sports would happen again in 2020, nearly every sport was preparing to come back, provided that work agreements with players could be negotiated and that public health authorities raised no objections.

With reopening plans underway in all 50 states and with elected officials and the public anxious for business activity to resume, league officials had a growing sense that there would be minimal opposition if they moved ahead with plans.

Also, people who work closely with the leagues and team owners said, the financial consequences of not returning, potentially billions of dollars in losses across the leagues, made trying to come back vital.

Credit…Divisione Produzione Fotografica/Vatican News, via Associated Press

Pope Francis appeared in person on Sunday to bless a gathering of the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square for the first time since the coronavirus exploded in Italy and the government imposed a national lockdown in March.

“Today since the square is open we can return,” he said to a scattered audience that applauded as he approached an open window of his private study. “It is a pleasure.”

Francis recited the Regina Coeli prayer and gave his blessing to the crowd.

“You know that from a crisis such as this we will not be the same as before,” he said. “Let’s have the courage to change in order to be better than before.”

The pope began reciting the Angelus prayer from the Library of the Apostolic Palace on March 8 because of the pandemic. “It is a bit strange this Angelus prayer today,” he said then, “with the pope ‘caged’ in the library. But I can see you. I am close to you.”

Earlier Sunday, the pope celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in front of a limited number of worshipers. In his homily, he urged people to fight three enemies: narcissism, victimhood and pessimism, saying that they “prevent us from giving ourselves” during the pandemic.

Credit…Mason Trinca for The New York Times

Since April, U.S. landlords have looked to the first of the month fearing that tenants would stop paying their rent. For the most part, that has not happened. Despite a 14.7 percent unemployment rate and millions of new jobless claims each week, collections are only slightly below where they were last year, when the economy was booming.

How can this be? Part of the answer is a little negotiation and a lot of government money. The $2 trillion CARES Act, which backstopped household finances with stimulus checks and extended unemployment benefits, has kept many tenants current on their monthly balances. At the same time, many landlords have reduced rents or are partly or completely forgiving overdue payments.

At the same time, many of the numbers showing only a slight dip skew toward higher-end buildings. Other surveys show that buildings with poorer tenants have lower collection rates.

And deferrals and partial payments appear to be increasing: Apartment List, a rental listing service, said 31 percent of respondents failed to make the full May payment on time, up from a quarter the month before. Hoping for a swift recovery, many landlords are telling tenants they can pay later, knowing this often won’t happen.

The rate of those who have been able to continue paying rent is unlikely to remain stable without a swift and robust recovery, which is becoming increasingly unlikely, or without another big injection of government money, which Senate Republicans say will not happen anytime soon.

American households were struggling with rent long before the economy went into free fall, and there are signs — from an increase in partial payments to surveys that show many tenants are putting rent on their credit cards and struggling to pay for essentials like food — that this pressure is building.

Credit…Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Air travel has plummeted in the pandemic, but private jet service has not fallen as hard, in part because of a rise in new paying customers.

For years, jet service providers have ferried executives and wealthy leisure travelers who pay high fees for the privacy and security. Now, with business travel curtailed, those same companies are shifting to meet rising demand from people worried about getting on a commercial flight.

Over the Memorial Day weekend, one of the busiest travel times in the United States in years past, traffic in the private jet industry was 58 percent of the volume from the same time last year, according to Argus, a company that tracks aviation data. But commercial flights fared worse, plunging to 12 percent of the 2019 level.

Five weeks ago, private flights had fallen to 20 to 25 percent of what they were the same time last year, said Doug Gollan, the founder of Privatejetcardcomparisons.com, a research site for consumers. “Now to be back to 60 percent of pre-Covid levels shows the people who have access to private travel are getting back out there,” he said.

NetJets, the largest private jet operator in the world, is seeing a rush in interest from new customers, said Patrick Gallagher, its president.

“May is on track to be the best month of new customer relationships that we’ve seen in the past 10 years,” Mr. Gallagher said.

Companies that carved out a niche with private international flights are also reporting an increase. Thomas Flohr, founder and chairman of VistaJet, which has longer-range jets, said the company’s refueling landings in Anchorage, a major stop for transcontinental flights to Asia, were up 250 percent since the pandemic began.

Credit…Alex Edelman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Thousands of maskless vacationers flocked to the Maryland town of Ocean City this weekend as the Greater Washington region began to emerge from a coronavirus lockdown.

As Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland has emphasized, the state is at Phase 1 of his “Roadmap to Recovery,” which includes restrictions to keep the virus from spreading. Among them are a requirement that face coverings be worn inside businesses.

But at the Quiet Storm Surf Shop, a clerk folding T-shirts said, “We make them optional.” On the boardwalk outside, a police officer said that the problem was that merchants have to enforce the mask order, but many are reluctant to alienate their first summer customers.

Not all of the tourists were nonchalant about the restrictions. Sitting on a wall dividing the boardwalk from the beach, Kelly and Dan Goddard, who live in a Baltimore suburb, were wearing masks. Their children were sporting tie-dyed cloth ones sewn by relatives.

“There are a lot of unknowns and not a lot of real clear guidance,” Mr. Goddard said. “But I don’t think people realize how serious things are, or they don’t care.”

Patrick Kingsley, an international correspondent, and Laetitia Vancon, a photojournalist, are driving more than 3,700 miles to explore the reopening of the European continent after coronavirus lockdowns. Read all their dispatches.

PRAGUE — To attend her first play in more than two months, Marie Reslova, a prominent Czech theater critic, drove into Prague, headed to a large vegetable market, parked next to a convertible sports car and switched off her engine.

Soon, actors from the Czech National Theater strode onto a platform a few yards from Ms. Reslova’s windshield.

The play had begun. And she hadn’t even left her car.

The Czech Republic enforced tighter restrictions than most European countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic. For several weeks, Czechs were barred even from jogging without a mask. Even after the government eased that restriction, masks were still mandatory in most other public contexts.

But the country also loosened the lockdown earlier than most — and that has made it a laboratory for how arts and culture can adapt to a context in which some restrictions on social life have been lifted, while others remain in place.

The drive-in theater at Prague’s vegetable market was an ambitious example. To circumvent restrictions on public gatherings, audience members watched plays, concerts and comedy from behind their steering wheels — in a monthlong program that ended with a variety act by the National Theater last Sunday evening, attended by Ms. Reslova.

Across Europe, drive-ins have become a familiar means of circumventing pandemic restrictions. By default, cars keep their occupants socially distanced, leading even nightclub owners and priests to set up drive-in discos and churches.

Credit…Pool photo by Henning Schacht

President Trump told reporters on Saturday that he was postponing a Group of 7 meeting scheduled to be held in the United States next month. Earlier Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had said she would not attend in person, citing concerns about the coronavirus.

Mr. Trump also said he wanted to invite Russia to rejoin the group.

Making the announcement while returning from the SpaceX launch in Florida, the president said he also planned to invite Australia, India and South Korea to the summit, with an adviser adding that the idea was to bring together traditional allies to discuss China. He said he now wanted to hold the meeting in September.

“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Mr. Trump said. But his intention to unilaterally invite Russia — which was indefinitely suspended in March 2014 after the annexation of Crimea — is certain to inflame other member nations.

In March, with the coronavirus spreading around the world, Mr. Trump said that the June summit would take place virtually. But he changed plans this month, saying he might invite the participating leaders to Washington as a demonstration of a return to normalcy.

Australia said on Sunday that it would welcome an official invitation, and a government spokesman told reporters that Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the United States had made contact to discuss the matter.

As U.S. unemployment claims exceed 40 million and those filing them grow more desperate, an altruistic instinct has emerged among some people who are more financially secure. Yet the sheer breadth of the pain is almost overwhelming, and the appeals are widespread.

So what is the best way to give money to those who require it for food, shelter and other necessities?

Sites and services like GoFundMe can connect donors with real people, but they may lack vetting of recipients, their back stories or their plans. They also may not make it possible to be identified or anonymous based on the preference of a giver or a beneficiary.

Donors with large amounts to give may want to use tax deductions to increase what they can afford to donate but may not be able to get them through one-off cash transfers.

Here are a few ways you can help.

Credit…Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press

Throngs of Muslim worshipers returned to formal services in Israel and Saudi Arabia on Sunday as two of Islam’s holiest sites reopened for the first time since being closed more than two months ago because of the coronavirus.

At the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site, worshipers entering the compound for dawn prayers were greeted by officials who took their temperatures, distributed masks and implored them to follow social distancing guidelines.

“We are depending on your heedfulness,” Omar Kiswani, the mosque’s director, said through a loudspeaker system.

Ibrahim Zaghed, 25, an unemployed resident of Jerusalem, wept as he laid down his prayer mat. “Today is no different than a holiday,” said Mr. Zaghed, who was not wearing a mask. “I feel like a complete person again.”

The compound, which Jews revere as their holiest site and refer to as the Temple Mount, is often at the center of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

In Saudi Arabia, the government said that 90,000 mosques across the kingdom had reopened on Sunday, including parts of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, considered Islam’s second-holiest site. The most revered site in Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca, remains closed.

Imam Kiswani of the Aqsa Mosque, who estimated that about 3,000 people participated in the prayers on Sunday, said that while most followed social-distancing guidelines, some needed to exercise “greater attentiveness.”

Manal Balala, 50, a housekeeper from Jerusalem who was wearing a mask and gloves, was overjoyed as she socialized with her friends after prayers.

“I feel like my soul has been restored,” she said.

Credit…Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When Boris Johnson became the editor of The Spectator in 1999, he said he planned to make the weekly magazine, Britain’s oldest, a “refuge for logic, fun, and good writing.” It would, he promised somewhat paradoxically, “continue to set the political agenda, and to debunk it.”

Now that Mr. Johnson is Britain’s prime minister, the magazine he once ran has never been closer to fulfilling his ambition of being both in bed with the country’s conservative establishment and willing to yank the covers off it.

Yet The Spectator’s incestuous ties with the governing elite have thrust it into the heart of an uproar over a 260-mile drive that Mr. Johnson’s most influential adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his wife made, violating Britain’s lockdown rules.

Mary Wakefield, one of the magazine’s senior editors, is married to Mr. Cummings and wrote a vivid account of how she and her husband both fell ill with the coronavirus. Mr. Cummings, she said, lay “doggo” in bed for 10 days before emerging into “the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown.”

The trouble is, she did not mention that they had gone to northern England — a journey that has brought charges of hypocrisy and calls for Mr. Johnson to dismiss Mr. Cummings.

Ms. Wakefield’s omissions have also cast an unflattering light on The Spectator. Critics have accused it of misleading readers. Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organization, a watchdog group, has received more than 100 complaints about the column. Pending an investigation, it could force the magazine to publish a correction.

Reporting was contributed by Alfonso Flores Bermúdez, Frances Robles, Alexander Villegas, Patricia Mazzei, Niki Kitsantonis, Roni Caryn Rabin, Raphael Minder, Karen Zraick, Conor Dougherty, Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Ron Lieber, Paul Sullivan, Emma Bubola, Jack Healy, Dionne Searcey, Patrick Kingsley, Sharon Otterman, Elizabeth Williamson, Elian Peltier, Yonette Joseph, Hannah Beech, Maggie Haberman, Mike Ives, Aimee Ortiz, Suhasini Raj, Adam Rasgon, Kai Schultz and Derrick Bryson Taylor.

Categories
World News

Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Protests Raise Fears of New Outbreaks – The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageDemonstrators gathered in Atlanta during a protest on Saturday. Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, said she was concerned that the protests could increase infections in communities of color.
Credit…Dustin Chambers/Reuters

Mass protests over police violence against black Americans in at least 75 U.S. cities have spurred concern that the gatherings will seed new outbreaks.

Speaking on CNN, Atlanta’s mayor, Keisha Lance Bottoms, said she was concerned that the protests could increase infections in communities of color, which are already being disproportionately hit by the disease. Death rates among black Americans are double those of whites, and the economic toll of lockdowns has also inflicted disproportionate economic pain.

“I’m extremely concerned we are seeing mass gatherings,” Ms. Bottoms said. “We’re going to see the other side of this in a couple of weeks.”

Larry Hogan, the Republican governor of Maryland, echoed those concerns. Mr. Hogan told CNN the gatherings of “thousands of people jammed in together in close proximity” could lead to a spike in cases.

Dr. Ashish Jha, a professor of global health at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, urged protesters to continue taking safety precautions, including wearing face masks and practicing social distancing.

“The question is how do we do protesting safely,” Dr. Jha said on CNN. “I think masks are a critical part of it.”

The protests, spurred by the killing of George Floyd in the custody of the Minneapolis police, came after weeks of virus restrictions and economic hardship across the country. More than 100,000 Americans who were infected have died, and some 40 million are out of work.

The outbreak has inflicted disproportionate economic and health tolls on racial minorities and immigrants. Black and Latino workers have been more likely to lose their jobs. Many others are among the low-paid hourly workers with jobs that cannot be done remotely.

“To have corona, and then this — it’s like a gut shot,” said Jimmy Mills, a barber in a working-class area of Minneapolis who has struggled to keep his shop open.

Credit…Pool photo by Henning Schacht

President Trump told reporters on Saturday that he was postponing a Group of 7 meeting scheduled to be held in the United States next month. Earlier Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany had said she would not attend in person, citing concerns about the coronavirus.

Mr. Trump also said he wanted to invite Russia to rejoin the group.

Making the announcement while returning from the SpaceX launch in Florida, the president said he also planned to invite Australia, India and South Korea to the summit, with an adviser adding that the idea was to bring together traditional allies to discuss China. He said he now wanted to hold the meeting in September.

“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Mr. Trump said. But his intention to unilaterally invite Russia — which was indefinitely suspended in March 2014 after the annexation of Crimea — is certain to inflame other member nations.

In March, with the coronavirus spreading around the world, Mr. Trump said that the June summit would take place virtually. But he changed plans this month, saying he might invite the participating leaders to Washington as a demonstration of a return to normalcy.

Australia said on Sunday that it would welcome an official invitation, and a government spokesman told reporters that Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the United States had made contact to discuss the matter.

Credit…Byron Smith/Getty Images

This week, as global coronavirus cases pass six million, many nations are entering a pivotal period, giving students, shoppers and travelers more freedom to return to some sense of normalcy after months under lockdown.

Greece, seeking to bolster its crucial tourism sector, announced one of the more aggressive reopening plans. After initially announcing on Friday that it would allow entries from 29 countries whose outbreaks were mostly contained, it shifted to allow flights from all countries.

From June 15 to June 30, the Greek foreign ministry said on Saturday, the flights will go to Greece’s two largest airports, in Athens and Thessaloniki. Passengers from the 29-nation list, including Germany, Australia and South Korea, will be subject to random tests. Those flying in from countries deemed by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency to have a high risk of virus transmission will be tested.

As of July 1, all Greek airports will reopen to international flights, with random screening for all passengers. Arrivals by sea will be allowed as of July 1, also subject to random testing.

In Britain, more stores will be allowed to open starting Monday, and small groups from different households can meet outdoors. Primary schools will open in England with new social-distancing rules and spaced seating. The government also gave the green light for professional sports to resume under strict protocols, according to government guidelines published on Saturday.

Other countries are creating “travel bubbles,” allowing visitors from nations with low infection rates.

Norway and Denmark will allow leisure travel between the two countries, excluding Sweden, where coronavirus infections are higher. Norway will also allow entry to business travelers from the other Nordic countries from Monday, the government said.

But in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Sunday that he would ask Parliament for a sixth and final extension to the state of emergency, allowing his central government to keep control over the lockdown in Madrid, Barcelona and other parts of the country until June 21.

Mr. Sánchez told a news conference that Spain needed to “immediately” recover its tourism sector, but that quarantine rules for outside visitors would be kept in place until July 1. “We cannot throw away all the work that we have done,” he said.

Credit…Mason Trinca for The New York Times

Since April, U.S. landlords have looked to the first of the month fearing that tenants would stop paying their rent. For the most part, that has not happened. Despite a 14.7 percent unemployment rate and millions of new jobless claims each week, collections are only slightly below where they were last year, when the economy was booming.

At the same time, many of the numbers showing only a slight dip skew toward higher-end buildings. Other surveys show that buildings with poorer tenants have lower collection rates.

And deferrals and partial payments appear to be increasing: Apartment List, a rental listing service, said 31 percent of respondents failed to make the full May payment on time, up from a quarter the month before. Hoping for a swift recovery, many landlords are telling tenants they can pay later, knowing this often won’t happen.

The rate of those who have been able to continue paying rent is unlikely to remain stable without a swift and robust recovery, which is becoming increasingly unlikely, or without another big injection of government money, which Senate Republicans say will not happen anytime soon.

American households were struggling with rent long before the economy went into free fall, and there are signs — from an increase in partial payments to surveys that show many tenants are putting rent on their credit cards and struggling to pay for essentials like food — that this pressure is building.

Credit…Divisione Produzione Fotografica/Vatican News, via Associated Press

Pope Francis appeared in person on Sunday to bless a gathering of the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square for the first time since the coronavirus exploded in Italy and the government imposed a national lockdown in March.

“Today since the square is open we can return,” he said to a scattered audience that applauded as he approached an open window of his private study. “It is a pleasure.”

Francis recited the Regina Coeli prayer and gave his blessing to the crowd.

“You know that from a crisis such as this we will not be the same as before,” he said. “Let’s have the courage to change in order to be better than before.”

The pope began reciting the Angelus prayer from the Library of the Apostolic Palace on March 8 because of the pandemic. “It is a bit strange this Angelus prayer today,” he said then, “with the pope ‘caged’ in the library. But I can see you. I am close to you.”

Earlier Sunday, the pope celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica in front of a limited number of worshipers. In his homily, he urged people to fight three enemies: narcissism, victimhood and pessimism, saying that they “prevent us from giving ourselves” during the pandemic.

Credit…Alex Edelman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Thousands of maskless vacationers flocked to the Maryland town of Ocean City this weekend as the Greater Washington region began to emerge from a coronavirus lockdown.

As Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland has emphasized, the state is at Phase 1 of his “Roadmap to Recovery,” which includes restrictions to keep the virus from spreading. Among them are a requirement that face coverings be worn inside businesses.

But at the Quiet Storm Surf Shop, a clerk folding T-shirts said, “We make them optional.” On the boardwalk outside, a police officer said that the problem was that merchants have to enforce the mask order, but many are reluctant to alienate their first summer customers.

Not all of the tourists were nonchalant about the restrictions. Sitting on a wall dividing the boardwalk from the beach, Kelly and Dan Goddard, who live in a Baltimore suburb, were wearing masks. Their children were sporting tie-dyed cloth ones sewn by relatives.

“There are a lot of unknowns and not a lot of real clear guidance,” Mr. Goddard said. “But I don’t think people realize how serious things are, or they don’t care.”

Patrick Kingsley, an international correspondent, and Laetitia Vancon, a photojournalist, are driving more than 3,700 miles to explore the reopening of the European continent after coronavirus lockdowns. Read all their dispatches.

PRAGUE — To attend her first play in more than two months, Marie Reslova, a prominent Czech theater critic, drove into Prague, headed to a large vegetable market, parked next to a convertible sports car and switched off her engine.

Soon, actors from the Czech National Theater strode onto a platform a few yards from Ms. Reslova’s windshield.

The play had begun. And she hadn’t even left her car.

The Czech Republic enforced tighter restrictions than most European countries to combat the coronavirus pandemic. For several weeks, Czechs were barred even from jogging without a mask. Even after the government eased that restriction, masks were still mandatory in most other public contexts.

But the country also loosened the lockdown earlier than most — and that has made it a laboratory for how arts and culture can adapt to a context in which some restrictions on social life have been lifted, while others remain in place.

The drive-in theater at Prague’s vegetable market was an ambitious example. To circumvent restrictions on public gatherings, audience members watched plays, concerts and comedy from behind their steering wheels — in a monthlong program that ended with a variety act by the National Theater last Sunday evening, attended by Ms. Reslova.

Across Europe, drive-ins have become a familiar means of circumventing pandemic restrictions. By default, cars keep their occupants socially distanced, leading even nightclub owners and priests to set up drive-in discos and churches.

Read the full dispatch here.

As U.S. unemployment claims exceed 40 million and those filing them grow more desperate, an altruistic instinct has emerged among some people who are more financially secure. Yet the sheer breadth of the pain is almost overwhelming, and the appeals are widespread.

So what is the best way to give money to those who require it for food, shelter and other necessities?

Sites and services like GoFundMe can connect donors with real people, but they may lack vetting of recipients, their back stories or their plans. They also may not make it possible to be identified or anonymous based on the preference of a giver or a beneficiary.

Donors with large amounts to give may want to use tax deductions to increase what they can afford to donate but may not be able to get them through one-off cash transfers.

Credit…Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press

Throngs of Muslim worshipers returned to formal services in Israel and Saudi Arabia on Sunday as two of Islam’s holiest sites reopened for the first time since being closed more than two months ago because of the coronavirus.

At the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site, worshipers entering the compound for dawn prayers were greeted by officials who took their temperatures, distributed masks and implored them to follow social distancing guidelines.

“We are depending on your heedfulness,” Omar Kiswani, the mosque’s director, said through a loudspeaker system.

Ibrahim Zaghed, 25, an unemployed resident of Jerusalem, wept as he laid down his prayer mat. “Today is no different than a holiday,” said Mr. Zaghed, who was not wearing a mask. “I feel like a complete person again.”

The compound, which Jews revere as their holiest site and refer to as the Temple Mount, is often at the center of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

In Saudi Arabia, the government said that 90,000 mosques across the kingdom had reopened on Sunday, including parts of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, considered Islam’s second-holiest site. The most revered site in Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca, remains closed.

Imam Kiswani of the Aqsa Mosque, who estimated that about 3,000 people participated in the prayers on Sunday, said that while most followed social-distancing guidelines, some needed to exercise “greater attentiveness.”

Manal Balala, 50, a housekeeper from Jerusalem who was wearing a mask and gloves, was overjoyed as she socialized with her friends after prayers.

“I feel like my soul has been restored,” she said.

Credit…Andreea Alexandru/Associated Press

The Romanian prime minister, Ludovic Orban, paid a fine on Saturday for breaking his own coronavirus restrictions, after a photo widely shared on social media showed him with other cabinet members smoking in his office and not wearing a mask.

In a statement, Mr. Orban admitted to breaking the lockdown rules on May 25, his 57th birthday, when some cabinet members gathered at his office after work.

And in Belgium, a nephew of King Philippe tested positive for the coronavirus last week after attending a party in Spain, according to the Belgian royal palace.

The nephew, Prince Joachim, 28, tested positive on Thursday after attending an event in the southern city of Cordoba, the palace said. Spanish news outlets reported that 27 people had attended the party, which would be in violation of regional lockdown rules that limit gatherings in private households to 15 people.

Prince Joachim traveled from Belgium to Madrid and then to Cordoba, where he contracted the virus and has been isolating since then. Under Phase 2 of Spain’s reopening plan, those who violate lockdown rules face a fine of 600 to 10,000 euros, or about $650 to $11,100.

Credit…Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When Boris Johnson became the editor of The Spectator in 1999, he said he planned to make the weekly magazine, Britain’s oldest, a “refuge for logic, fun, and good writing.” It would, he promised somewhat paradoxically, “continue to set the political agenda, and to debunk it.”

Now that Mr. Johnson is Britain’s prime minister, the magazine he once ran has never been closer to fulfilling his ambition of being both in bed with the country’s conservative establishment and willing to yank the covers off it.

Yet The Spectator’s incestuous ties with the governing elite have thrust it into the heart of an uproar over a 260-mile drive that Mr. Johnson’s most influential adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his wife made, violating Britain’s lockdown rules.

Mary Wakefield, one of the magazine’s senior editors, is married to Mr. Cummings and wrote a vivid account of how she and her husband both fell ill with the coronavirus. Mr. Cummings, she said, lay “doggo” in bed for 10 days before emerging into “the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown.”

The trouble is, she did not mention that they had gone to northern England — a journey that has brought charges of hypocrisy and calls for Mr. Johnson to dismiss Mr. Cummings.

Ms. Wakefield’s omissions have also cast an unflattering light on The Spectator. Critics have accused it of misleading readers. Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organization, a watchdog group, has received more than 100 complaints about the column. Pending an investigation, it could force the magazine to publish a correction.

Reporting was contributed by Niki Kitsantonis, Roni Caryn Rabin, Raphael Minder, Karen Zraick, Conor Dougherty, Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Ron Lieber, Emma Bubola, Jack Healy, Dionne Searcey, Patrick Kingsley, Elizabeth Williamson, Elian Peltier, Yonette Joseph, Hannah Beech, Maggie Haberman, Mike Ives, Aimee Ortiz, Suhasini Raj, Adam Rasgon, Kai Schultz and Derrick Bryson Taylor.

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Coronavirus: Brazil now fourth-highest nation in Covid-19 deaths – BBC News

Health tests are carried out in the rural area of Manaus, Amazonas Image copyright EPA
Image caption Covid-19 tests are carried in a rural area near Manaus in Amazonas state

The number of coronavirus fatalities in Brazil has risen by almost 1,000 in a day, making the country’s overall death toll the world’s fourth highest.

Its figure of 28,834 has now surpassed France, and only the US, the UK and Italy have recorded more deaths.

President Jair Bolsonaro has consistently played down the outbreak, although the country has the world’s second-highest number of cases.

He has criticised state lockdowns for harming Brazil’s economy and jobs.

What are the latest figures?

Brazil’s health ministry said the past 24 hours had seen 956 new deaths.

This puts it past France’s total of 28,774. Even if new figures raised the French total back above Brazil, the trends in the two countries show deaths in the Latin American nation are on a far steeper upward trend.

According to a count by Johns Hopkins University, Brazil now has 498,440 confirmed cases.

Only the US has more, with 1.77 million.

The number of deaths in Brazil has been doubling roughly every two weeks, compared to about every two months in the UK, four months in France, and five months in Italy.

Experts have warned that the real figure may be far higher due to a lack of testing.

Will this change Brazil’s policies?

Mr Bolsonaro is unlikely to alter his stance, arguing that the economic fallout of lockdowns is worse than the outbreak.

He has fought what he calls “the tyranny of total quarantine” by state governors – despite the upward tick in cases – and has even called for Brazil’s football season to resume.

He has also been seen mingling with hundreds of supporters in Brasilia while not wearing a face mask.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionAerial footage of Latin America’s biggest graveyard

On Sunday, Pope Francis added to the pressure on the president by highlighting the plight of the people of the Amazon.

“We call on the Holy Spirit to grant light and strength to the Church and to society in Amazonia, which has been harshly tested by the pandemic,” he said.

Amazonas state has one of Brazil’s highest infection rates and also one of the most underfunded health systems.

Many experts believe Central and South America are now the major hotspots for increased infections.

A combination of under-pressure healthcare systems and a mixed response by governments to the severity of Covid-19 has meant the region cannot apply the same easing of lockdowns taking place in Europe and elsewhere.

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Coronavirus Live Updates: Nations Proceed With Reopenings, as Global Cases Pass 6 Million – The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageShoppers on Brixton High Street in South London.
Credit…Andrew Testa for The New York Times

This week begins a pivotal period in the coronavirus pandemic, as countries give students, shoppers and travelers more freedom to return to some sense of normalcy after months under lockdown.

In Britain, more stores will be allowed to open from Monday, and small groups from different households can meet outdoors. Primary schools will open their doors in England, though with new social-distancing rules and spaced seating. More than two million people who have been “shielding” will be allowed to spend time outdoors, according to news reports. The government also gave the green light for professional sports to resume under strict protocols, according to government guidelines published on Saturday.

But fans of the Premier League should not expect to stream back into stadiums any time soon. All events will all be behind closed doors; no fans are allowed, everyone will be screened for coronavirus symptoms, and players will observe social distancing where possible.

Other countries are creating “travel bubbles” to rev up their economies, allowing visitors from nations with low infection rates. The moves come as the number of global cases of the virus grew to more than six million, with over 1.7 million in the United States. Rwanda’s health ministry on Sunday reported the East African nation’s first death caused by the new coronavirus, a 65-year-old driver who had recently returned from a neighboring country.

Greece will open its airports to visitors from 29 countries from June 15, the tourism ministry said, but Britain is not among them. Norway and Denmark will allow leisure travel between the two countries, creating a travel bubble that excludes Sweden, where coronavirus infections are higher. Norway will also allow entry to business travelers from the other Nordic countries from Monday, the government said.

Credit…Victor J. Blue for The New York Times

They are parallel plagues ravaging America: The coronavirus, and police killings of black men and women.

Jimmy Mills’s life has been upended by both. His barbershop in Midtown Minneapolis was one of many small, black-owned businesses that have struggled to survive the pandemic. But Mr. Mills was hopeful because, having been shut down for two months, he was set to reopen next week.

Then early Friday, the working-class neighborhood where Mr. Mills has cut hair for 12 years went up in flames as chaotic protests over the death of George Floyd and police killings of African-Americans engulfed Minneapolis and cities across the country.

“To have corona, and then this — it’s like a gut shot,” Mr. Mills, 56, said.

The upheaval sparked by a video capturing Mr. Floyd’s last minutes as a white police officer knelt on his neck is pulsing through a country already ragged with anger and anxiety. Emotions are raw over the toll of a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans and cost tens of millions of jobs.

The outbreak has inflicted disproportionate economic and health tolls on racial minorities and immigrants. Black and Latino workers have been more likely to have lost their jobs. Many others are among the low-paid hourly workers with jobs that cannot be done remotely. And African-Americans are being infected and dying at higher rates.

Credit…Pool photo by Henning Schacht

President Trump told reporters on Saturday that he was postponing a Group of 7 meeting scheduled to be held in the United States next month. Earlier Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she would not attend in person, citing concerns about the coronavirus.

Mr. Trump also said that he wanted to invite Russia to rejoin the group.

Making the announcement while returning from the SpaceX launch in Florida, the president said he also planned to invite Australia, India and South Korea to the summit, with an adviser adding that the idea was to bring together traditional allies to discuss China. He said he now wanted to hold the meeting in September.

“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Mr. Trump said. But his intention to unilaterally invite Russia — which was indefinitely suspended in March 2014 after the annexing of Crimea — is certain to inflame other member nations.

In March, Mr. Trump announced that the June summit would take place virtually as the coronavirus outbreak was spreading around the world and international travel was curtailed. But he changed plans this month, saying he might invite the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to Washington, as a demonstration of a return to normalcy.

Earlier Saturday, Ms. Merkel’s spokesman said in an emailed statement, “As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, a trip to Washington.”

On Sunday, however, Australia said it would welcome an official invitation, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the United States had made contact to discuss the matter, a government spokesman told reporters.

Credit…Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Our correspondent Patrick Kingsley profiled a couple who were separated by the coronavirus lockdown in March. This month, he returned for an update.

In a bungalow near the Danish-German border on Saturday afternoon, an 89-year-old German man and an 85-year-old Danish woman sat side by side in front of the television. Then they held hands, turned to each other and smiled.

“I feel 100 times better!” said Karsten Tüchsen Hansen, the German.

After weeks of separation, Mr. Tüchsen Hansen and Inga Rasmussen are finally returning to a normal romantic rhythm.

When I last saw them in March, the couple were separated when the police shut the border that runs between Mr. Tüchsen Hansen’s home in northern Germany and hers in southern Denmark. To maintain their relationship, the pair met daily at the border itself — a show of devotion that caught the attention of the international media and turned them into a symbol of hope in a troubled time.

In early May, his doctor decided that his mental health was suffering in Ms. Rasmussen’s absence, leading the German authorities to give her special dispensation to stay at Mr. Tüchsen Hansen’s home every night.

The Danish government subsequently decreed that any couple in a cross-border relationship could meet on Danish soil. But Ms. Rasmussen still prefers to spend each night in her partner’s bungalow — watched over by his collection of stuffed ferrets and garden gnomes.

When I stopped by, driving from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, I found them chatting happily on the patio outside. They were getting ready to eat mince meat with white cabbage, one of Ms. Rasmussen’s specialties.

Mr. Tüchsen Hansen was the more garrulous of the two. But as the afternoon wore on, Ms. Rasmussen also began to open up.

Their separation had been tough, but helped to affirm their commitment to each other, she said.

“I realized I can’t sleep without him at my side,” Ms. Rasmussen said. “We need each other.”

Credit…Alex Edelman/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Thousands of maskless vacationers flocked to the Maryland town of Ocean City this weekend as the Greater Washington region began to emerge from coronavirus lockdown.

And yet, as Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland has emphasized, the state is only at Phase 1 of his “Roadmap to Recovery,” which still requires the public to abide by restrictions to keep the virus from spreading.

By the governor’s order, face coverings are required inside businesses, but at the Quiet Storm Surf Shop, a clerk folding T-shirts said, “we make them optional.” On the boardwalk outside, a police officer who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the news media said, “the problem is merchants have to enforce” the mask order, but many are reluctant to alienate their first customers of the summer.

Not all the tourists were nonchalant about following restrictions. Sitting on the wall dividing the boardwalk from the beach, Kelly and Dan Goddard, who live in a Baltimore suburb, were wearing masks. Their children were sporting tie-dyed cloth ones sewn by relatives.

“There are a lot of unknowns and not a lot of real clear guidance,” Mr. Goddard said. “But I don’t think people realize how serious things are, or they don’t care.”

Credit…Divisione Produzione Fotografica/Vatican News, via Associated Press

Pope Francis appeared in person on Sunday to bless a gathering of the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic exploded in Italy and the government imposed a strict national lockdown in March.

“Today since the square is open we can return,” the pontiff said to a scattered audience that applauded as he approached an open window of his private study. “It is a pleasure.”

Francis recited the Regina Coeli prayer and gave his blessing the crowd.

“You know that from a crisis such as this we will not be the same as before,” he said. “Let’s have the courage to change in order to be better than before.”

“We have such need of the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit,” Francis said. “The entire human family needs it, so as to move out of this crisis more united and not than divided.”

The pope began reciting the Angelus prayer from the Library of the Apostolic Palace on March 8 because of the pandemic. “It is a bit strange this Angelus prayer today,” he said then, “with the pope ‘caged’ in the library. But I can see you. I am close to you.”

Earlier Sunday, the pope celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, in front of a limited number of worshipers following the protocols that are still in effect in Italy and the Vatican. During the homily, he urged Christians to fight three enemies: narcissism, victimhood and pessimism, saying they “prevent us from giving ourselves” in this time of pandemic.

As unemployment claims pass 40 million and the anxious people who file them grow more desperate, an altruistic instinct has emerged among those who are more financially secure.

But the sheer breadth of the pain is almost overwhelming, and the appeals are everywhere. And the impulse is to help — now — when confronted with a personal plea.

So what is the very best way for people with more money than they need to quickly hand it over to those in need, so they can use it for food, shelter and other necessities?

It isn’t easy to find a satisfying answer. Sites and services like GoFundMe can connect donors with real people, but they may lack vetting of recipients, their back stories or their plans. They also may not make it possible to be identified or anonymous, depending on your preference as a giver or a beneficiary. Donors with large amounts to give may want to use tax deductions to increase what they can afford to donate, but may not be able to get them through one-off cash transfers.

Here are a few ways you can help.

Credit…Mahmoud Illean/Associated Press

Throngs of Muslim worshipers returned to formal services in Israel and Saudi Arabia on Sunday as two of Islam’s holiest sites reopened for the first time since they were closed more than two months ago over coronavirus fears.

At the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site, worshipers entering the compound for dawn prayers were greeted by officials who took their temperatures, distributed masks and implored them to follow social-distancing guidelines.

“We are depending on your heedfulness,” Omar Kiswani, the director of the mosque, could be heard saying through a loudspeaker system.

Ibrahim Zaghed, 25, an unemployed resident of Jerusalem, was weeping as he laid down his blue and silver prayer mat.

“Today is no different than a holiday,” said Mr. Zaghed, who was not wearing a mask. “I feel like a complete person again.”

The compound, which Jews revere as their holiest site and refer to as the Temple Mount, is often at the center of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.

In Saudi Arabia, the government said that 90,000 mosques across the kingdom had reopened on Sunday, including parts of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, considered Islam’s second-holiest site. The most revered site in Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca, remains closed.

Imam Kiswani of the Aqsa Mosque, who estimated that about 3,000 people participated in the prayers on Sunday, said that while most of them followed social-distancing guidelines, some needed to exercise “greater attentiveness.”

Manal Balala, 50, a housekeeper from Jerusalem who was wearing a mask and gloves, was overjoyed as she socialized with her friends after prayers.

“I feel like my soul has been restored,” she said.

Asked whether she was concerned about the virus spreading at the mosque, Ms. Balala replied: “We all need to follow the rules, but I believe we will survive because God is protecting us from above.”

Credit…Andreea Alexandru/Associated Press

The Romanian prime minister, Ludovic Orban, paid a fine on Saturday for breaking his own coronavirus restrictions, after a photo widely shared on social media showed him with other cabinet members smoking in his office and not wearing a mask.

In a statement, Mr. Orban admitted to breaking the lockdown rules on May 25, his 57th birthday, when some cabinet members gathered at his office after work.

And in Belgium, a nephew of King Philippe tested positive for the coronavirus last week after attending a party in Spain, according to the Belgian royal palace.

The nephew, Prince Joachim, 28, tested positive on Thursday after he went to an event in the southern city of Cordoba, the palace said. Spanish news outlets reported that 27 people had attended the party, which would be in violation of regional lockdown rules that limit gatherings in private households to 15 people.

Prince Joachim traveled from Belgium to Madrid and then to Cordoba, where he contracted the virus and has been isolating since then. Under Phase 2 of Spain’s reopening plan, those who violate lockdown rules face a fine of 600 to 10,000 euros, or about $650 to $11,100.

Credit…Jim Watson/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

When Boris Johnson became the editor of The Spectator in 1999, he declared that he planned to make the weekly magazine, Britain’s oldest, a “refuge for logic, fun, and good writing.” It would, he promised somewhat paradoxically, “continue to set the political agenda, and to debunk it.”

Now that Mr. Johnson is the prime minister, the magazine he once ran has never been closer to fulfilling his ambition of being both in bed with Britain’s conservative establishment and willing to yank the covers off it.

Yet The Spectator’s incestuous ties with the governing elite have thrust it into the murky heart of an uproar over a 260-mile drive that Mr. Johnson’s most influential adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his wife made, violating Britain’s lockdown rules.

Mary Wakefield, one of the magazine’s senior editors, is married to Mr. Cummings and wrote a vivid account of how she and her husband both fell ill with the coronavirus. Mr. Cummings, she said, lay “doggo” in bed for 10 days before emerging into “the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown.”

The trouble is, she did not mention that they had actually gone to northern England — a journey that has brought charges of hypocrisy and calls for Mr. Johnson to dismiss Mr. Cummings.

Ms. Wakefield’s omissions have also cast an unflattering light on The Spectator. Critics have accused it of misleading readers. Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organization, a watchdog group, has received more than 100 complaints about the column. Pending an investigation, it could force the magazine to publish a correction.

“The English tradition of editing has always been more laissez faire than the American one,” said Timothy Garton Ash, a historian at Oxford University and longtime contributor to The Spectator. “But there was too much latitude in this case.”

Reporting was contributed by Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Ron Lieber, Emma Bubola, Jack Healy, Dionne Searcey, Patrick Kingsley, Elizabeth Williamson, Elian Peltier, Yonette Joseph, Hannah Beech, Maggie Haberman, Mike Ives, Aimee Ortiz, Suhasini Raj, Adam Rasgon, Kai Schultz and Derrick Bryson Taylor.

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May 30 coronavirus news – CNN

Extremely vulnerable people who have been “shielding” in Great Britain — staying at home at all times and avoiding any face-to-face contact — will be allowed outdoors from Monday, the UK government said in a statement ahead of the official announcement on Sunday. 

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick will announce that 2.2 million clinically extremely vulnerable people will be able to go outside with members of their household, while continuing to follow social distancing guidelines, according to the government statement. The updated guidance says those who live alone can meet outside with one other person from another household.

This is seen as a boon for the most clinically vulnerable, including many who have not had any face-to-face contact since they were first advised to shield 10 weeks ago. However, it comes at a time when members of the scientific advisory board to the UK government – SAGE – are warning that a premature easing of the coronavirus lockdown could lead to a “significant” number of new cases and deaths across the country.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan also on Saturday urged citizens to “act with caution” as the government prepares to relax lockdown measures on Monday, expressing his concerns that the country is “rushing” to ease restrictions.

However, the government advised those shielding: “The average chance of catching the virus is now down from 1/40 to 1/1000, delivering greater reassurance that it is safe to cautiously reflect this in the guidance for those who have been advised to shield.” It added that people who are shielding should remain at a two-meter distance from others when outside, should only leave the house once a day and should not go to work or the shops. They should also avoid crowded places where they can’t social distance. 

“I want to thank everyone who has followed the shielding guidance – it is because of your patience and sacrifice that thousands of lives have been saved,” Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. “I do not underestimate just how difficult it has been for you, staying at home for the last 10 weeks, and I want to pay tribute to your resilience.”

Johnson thanked those who have helped deliver medicine and shopping or checked in on people who are isolating. “We have been looking at how we can make life easier for our most vulnerable, so … I am happy to confirm that those who are shielding will be able to spend time outside with someone else, observing social distance guidelines,” Johnson said. “I will do what I can, in line with the scientific advice, to continue making life easier for you over the coming weeks and months.”

“Thanks to the sacrifices made across the country, which have protected the NHS and saved lives, it’s now time to begin lifting restrictions, step by step, and while we must all stay alert, we can now start to resume a sense of normality,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.

During his speech at the government’s daily press conference on Sunday, Jenrick is expected to set out a plan to review shielding guidance at the same time as the government reviews its social distancing measures. The next review will take place later this month.  

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Coronavirus in South Africa: Eight lessons for the rest of the continent – BBC News

Left: Doctor in a mask in South Africa. Top right: Someone drinking a cup of tea in South Africa. Bottom right: Two women walking in South Africa Image copyright Getty Images

South Africa leads this continent in many ways. Right now, it is poised to lead Africa into the next, most dangerous phase of the pandemic, as the country braces itself for a dramatic rise in infections that will almost certainly overwhelm its relatively well-resourced healthcare system.

Here are eight things it can teach the rest of Africa:

1) Keep the tea rooms clean

No, it is not a joke. Governments, and medical teams, still need to focus a lot more on hygiene.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The most dangerous place in a clinic is considered the tea room

Instead of wasting time and money – as many experts now see it – on acquiring expensive but relatively ineffective ventilators, the evidence from South African hospitals already grappling with the virus points to the need for vastly improved hygiene protocols.

Several major hospitals have already been forced to shut after becoming hot spots for the virus.

Doctors are warning that medical staff continue to congregate in tea rooms, removing their masks, passing mobile phones to each other, and undermining all the work they do on the wards.

“The most dangerous place in a clinic is undoubtedly the tea room. We’re trying to get that message out,” said Doctor Tom Boyles, an infectious disease specialist in Johannesburg.

2) Fast tests – or no tests

After a promising start, South Africa is now struggling, woefully, with its testing.

It has built up a huge backlog – “tens of thousands” according to several sources – at its laboratories, which is now undermining the validity of the entire testing process.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption It is taking 14 days to get the results of Covid-19 tests

“How do we prioritise limited resources?” asked Prof Shabir Madhi, a prominent vaccine expert, who said South Africa’s likely testing limit – because of financial and logistical constraints – would stay at about 20,000 per day.

An impressive number, perhaps, but of no real use, doctors insist, unless the results of those tests can reliably be produced within, ideally, 24 hours.

Much longer than that and an infected person will either have spread the virus to too many others to trace properly, or they will already be in hospital, or they will have passed the point of serious risk for infecting others.

“Currently the turnaround time for Covid tests is around 14 days in most places, so that basically means it’s a complete waste of time,” said Dr Boyles.

The same concerns apply to South Africa’s much-hailed community screening and testing programme which, experts say, has outlived its usefulness, since the virus has now spread far beyond the capacity of the country’s large team of community health workers to track with any effectiveness.

“The timeline renders it meaningless and compromises the care that should be occurring in hospitals,” according to Prof Madhi, who said it was vital that the testing system be aimed, as efficiently as possible, at hospitals, medical staff and those at most risk.

But there are signs of a political battle delaying these changes, with officials reportedly resisting calls for older tests to be simply thrown away.

3) It is not old age, it is obesity

Much has been made of the fact that Africa has an unusually young population, and, indeed, that may yet help to mitigate the impact of the virus here.

But the evidence from several South African hospitals already suggests that alarmingly high levels of obesity – along with hypertension and diabetes – in younger Covid-19 patients are linked to many fatalities.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption More than half of all South Africans are now considered medically overweight

It is believed that as many South Africans suffer from hypertension and diabetes as from HIV – some seven million people. That is one in eight of the population. Some of them are undiagnosed.

Two-thirds of coronavirus deaths in South Africa so far are among people aged under 65, according to Prof Madhi.

“Obesity is a big issue, along with hypertension and diabetes,” he said.

Although demographic differences make it hard to make direct comparisons between countries, over half of younger South Africans who are dying from Covid-19 have some other illness – roughly twice the rate seen in Europe.

4) Exposure isn’t always exposure

A busy antenatal clinic in Johannesburg recently closed down following reports that one member of staff had been exposed to a coronavirus patient. Twelve nurses were sent home and told to self-isolate.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Experts say the fear factor about coronavirus needs to be addressed

The move has been quietly condemned by many doctors who see it as evidence of a wider climate of unnecessary fear and over-caution among medical staff which is in danger of crippling the country’s health system and undermining its fight against the virus.

“There needs to be clear guidance on what sort exposure is significant. We have not adequately demystified this virus,” said Prof Madhi, who stressed that a person needed to spend 15 minutes or more in close proximity to a confirmed case to be considered at serious risk of infection.

Unions have been understandably robust in seeking to protect their members and to raise concerns where personal protection equipment (PPE) has been lacking.

Shabir Madhi

Shabir Madhi

The investment in ventilators was a huge waste”

But several medical workers told me that tougher discipline was needed to enforce hygiene protocols among staff – along with better education and training about managing risk.

“Fear is the predominant factor. Morale is definitely low,” said one hospital doctor, on condition of anonymity.

“But you also find people who are looking to get quarantined, who are very happy to take a two-week paid holiday” in self-isolation.

5) The devil is in the detail

This week South Africa announced that religious groups could resume worship in gatherings of no more than 50 people.

The move was clearly a political concession by a government under pressure to ease lockdown restrictions and that understands that to retain public trust over the longer-term it must show signs of give and take.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption During the lockdown churches have been empty and services have gone online

But the decision carries significant risks. Religious gatherings – often attracting older people – are known globally to be hot spots for spreading the virus. By choosing to ignore that fact, the government may be undercutting its own messaging.

“It undermines any pretence that the regulations are rules are science-based,” said political scientist and commentator Richard Calland.

One option for the government might have been to bar anyone over 65 from attending a religious service. Instead it has told religious leaders to implement strict social-distancing and hygiene policies in their churches and mosques.

Will they comply?

All non-authoritarian governments eventually have to rely on the public’s willingness to obey, not just the broad spirit of any regulations, but – as the tea room troubles indicate – the granular detail of clean prayer mats, no-contact services and no more than one person for every 2.5 sq m (about 26 sq ft) of church hall.

6) Winning the peace

South Africa’s official opposition, the Democratic Alliance (DA), has been struggling to make itself heard during the lockdown.

A crisis of this magnitude inevitably pushes opposition parties to the sidelines and, one could argue, they would do well to stay there.

Coronavirus in Africa:

When the DA has sought to attract attention to itself, it has shown signs of flip-flopping on policy.

“They should be playing a much longer game, looking to win the peace, not the war,” said Mr Calland, citing the example of Clement Atlee, who swept to power in the UK, defeating Winston Churchill in the immediate aftermath of World War Two.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption President Ramaphosa’s political rivals will seek to blame him for the inevitable rise in infections

The much smaller, populist Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) has already indicated how it plans to win political capital from the crisis, by opposing any easing of the lockdown (its racialised antipathy to foreign investment and to big business freeing it from serious concern about the economic impact).

It will presumably seek to blame President Cyril Ramaphosa for the inevitable rise in infections and deaths.

Mr Ramaphosa’s own enemies within the governing African National Congress (ANC) – currently silenced – may well make common cause with the EFF on that issue.

The blame game will be a brutal one across the continent. Will the power of incumbency – such an important factor in African politics and beyond – prove to be a strength or a weakness with Covid-19?

7) Bring the public with you

When South Africa banned the sale of alcohol during the lockdown, many people accepted it as a harsh, but perhaps necessary step to limit domestic abuse, prevent violence, and thus keep hospital beds free for coronavirus patients.

Someone breaking a cigarette in half

Getty Images

The ban is playing into the hands of powerful criminal syndicates controlling contraband cigarettes, and is costing the government a fortune in lost tax revenues”

But over time, frustration – with the ban, and with the brutal and haphazard enforcement of it – has grown and the clampdown is now set to be partly lifted. So far so good.

But in tandem with the alcohol ban, South Africa put a stop to all cigarettes sales too. And that will remain in force indefinitely.

The government insists its decision is based on scientific evidence, but few people seem to believe that is what is really guiding ministers. Instead many suspect that officials are using the lockdown as cover to introduce their own pet projects.

Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionThe impact of South Africa’s alcohol and cigarette ban in lockdown

The ban is playing into the hands of powerful criminal syndicates controlling contraband cigarettes, and is costing the government a fortune in lost tax revenues.

But perhaps more importantly, it is undermining the credibility of the lockdown regulations themselves – making compliance, as the country moves to ease some restrictions on movement, less likely.

8) Keeping it simple

For weeks, it seemed, everyone was talking about finding and building ventilators. But the experience of frontline doctors in Cape Town has already shown that simpler, cheaper and less-intrusive devices can play a far more important role.

Countries need to plan according to their limited resources.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption With Covid-19 breathing can become difficult and the lungs get inflamed

“The investment in ventilators was a huge waste,” said Prof Madhi, who, like colleagues in Cape Town, stressed the importance of high-flow nasal oxygen machines that work more efficiently than more traditional oxygen masks.

He said he had been “raising the alarm” about the need to improve South Africa’s supply of oxygen “for about six weeks”.

Hospitals in Cape Town are also following the international example of “proning” – lying patients face down in order to improve oxygen supply to their lungs.

The principal of looking for simpler solutions applies to staffing too, with many doctors urging the health authorities to focus on bringing final-year medical students, and perhaps retired staff, into an overstretched system, rather than importing expensive foreign doctors from places like Cuba.

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Live Coronavirus Pandemic Updates: Lake of the Ozarks, W.H.O., India, California – The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageVolunteers disinfecting a church in March in Mendota, Calif.
Credit…Max Whittaker for The New York Times

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four-member liberal wing to form a majority. It was the court’s first attempt to balance the public health crisis against the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom. It also it expanded the court’s engagement with the consequences of the pandemic, after rulings on voting in Wisconsin and prisons in Texas and Ohio.

“Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the free exercise clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in an opinion concurring in the unsigned ruling.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh dissented.

The case was brought by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, which said Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, had lost sight of the special status of religion in the constitutional structure.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is a national tragedy,” lawyers for the church wrote in their Supreme Court brief, “but it would be equally tragic if the federal judiciary allowed the ‘fog of war’ to act as an excuse for violating fundamental constitutional rights.”

In defiance of the court’s ruling, a contingent of California evangelical churches said they would hold services in person on Sunday morning without regard to potential violations of state limits on attendance. In Fresno, the Cornerstone Church website showed registration to be full for its Pentecost service.

And the Water of Life Community Church in Fontana, Calif., plans to hold a church service Sunday morning followed by a news conference with three pastors, the group’s attorney, and the city’s mayor, Acquanetta Warren (a Republican who is also a member of the church). Although the church’s occupancy is 3,200, it intends to limit attendance to 320 people, which exceeds the state’s guidelines allowing no more than 100 congregants.

Credit…Pool photo by Henning Schacht

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany does not plan to travel to the United States to attend a Group of 7 meeting in person, her office said Saturday, citing concerns about the coronavirus.

“The chancellor thanks President Trump for his invitation to the G-7 summit in Washington at the end of June,” a spokesman for the chancellor said in an emailed statement. “As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, a trip to Washington.”

In March, Mr. Trump had announced that the summit, scheduled for next month, would take place virtually as the coronavirus outbreak was spreading around the world and international travel was curtailed. But he recently said he planned to invite the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to Washington for the annual meeting, as a demonstration of a return to normalcy.

Ms. Merkel’s spokesman said the chancellor would “continue to monitor the development of the pandemic” in the days and weeks ahead.

Germany has recorded 181,196 coronavirus cases and 8,489 deaths, while the United States has had 1.7 million cases and 103,391 deaths.

Credit…Kholood Eid for The New York Times

Many of the most populous cities in the United States have begun moving cautiously toward reopening key businesses.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Friday that he expected New York City, where more than 20,000 people have died from the virus, would soon meet several benchmarks that would allow retail, nonessential construction and manufacturing to resume in some capacity. As many as 400,000 people could go back to work in that initial phase, which could begin June 8.

Washington and Los Angeles also announced plans to continue their reopenings by allowing restaurants, hair salons and barbershops to open, with new safety guidelines.

The reopenings come as the trajectory of the virus has evolved, both in the United States and across the world. New hot spots are emerging in rural areas, and in smaller cities where regulations have been lifted in recent weeks.

Globally, as the virus caseload approaches six million, a number of countries have moved to ease restrictions, even as new outbreaks continue to flare up, including in regions where it had been contained:

  • In Brazil, even with new cases still trending upward and over 465,166 people infected, officials announced that São Paulo, the largest city in South America, would begin to reopen this week.

  • In Iraq, all travel between provinces has been stopped for a second time. Baghdad was almost completely still on Friday, and stay-at-home orders were enforced by neighborhood blockades.

  • In Israel, where schools reopened weeks ago, more than 100 new cases were reported on Friday, the level that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned would prompt the reinstatement of a strict lockdown.

  • In Britain, where more outdoor social gatherings will be permitted starting Monday and some schools are scheduled to reopen, at least three members of the government’s top scientific advisory panel have warned publicly against relaxing restrictions.

Video

transcript

Trump Announces That the U.S. Will Withdraw From the W.H.O.

President Trump said he would terminate the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization, and repeated past charges that China had mishandled the coronavirus outbreak.

China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year. Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities. Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe. We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization, and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs. The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency.

Video player loading

President Trump said he would terminate the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization, and repeated past charges that China had mishandled the coronavirus outbreak.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The European Union said on Saturday that it would continue to back the World Health Organization after President Trump announced on Friday that he was pulling the United States’ support, and the bloc urged him to reconsider his decision.

“The W.H.O. needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future,” the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said in a joint statement. “Actions that weaken international results must be avoided,” they added. “We urge the U.S. to reconsider its announced decision.”

Mr. Trump has said the health organization helped China cover up the emergence of the coronavirus and was deliberately slow to react in the early stages of its spread out of deference to or fear of Beijing. He has repeatedly said that the spread of the virus around the world, and the ensuing death toll, is ultimately the fault of China and the W.H.O., taking no responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths it has inflicted in the United States.

The E.U., which is a major funder of the organization, said it wanted “at the earliest appropriate moment, an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation to review lessons learned from the international health response to the coronavirus.”

American public health officials have also reacted with alarm to Mr. Trump’s decision.

“We helped create the W.H.O.,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has worked with the organization since its creation in 1948. “Turning our back on the W.H.O. makes us and the world less safe,” he added.

Republican Senator Lamar Alexander, chairman of the Senate health committee, said in a statement on Friday that he disagreed with the president’s decision to withdraw from the W.H.O.

“Withdrawing U.S. membership could, among other things, interfere with clinical trials that are essential to the development of vaccines, which citizens of the United States as well as others in the world need,” he said.

He added that withdrawing could also “make it harder to work with other countries to stop viruses before they get to the United States.”

The organization itself had no immediate response on Saturday.

Credit…Jonah Markowitz for The New York Times

As states have moved to cautiously lift restrictions on workplaces, critical questions are emerging about the role of public transit in helping employees return.

Federal and state leaders have laid out guidelines under which businesses can safely begin operating again, but in many places the transportation systems that get workers and customers to the businesses are still viewed as risky.

Advice the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued this week urged employees against using mass transit, instead recommending options like individual car-based commuting, which previously was widely discouraged as environmentally unsustainable.

The economic viability of many transit systems is also uncertain, as riders have avoided already-strained systems in recent months, and states and cities are facing daunting budget shortfalls.

In New York City, ridership is down more than 90 percent, and the subway system was already on the brink of a financial crisis in April, poised to lose $8.5 billion even after service cuts and a $3.8 billion federal bailout. This week, Amtrak announced it would need close to $1.5 billion in federal funds to maintain “minimum service levels.”

Many city officials have framed the Covid-19 pandemic as an opportunity to rethink urban design and move away from transit models built around car traffic. Cities like Boston, Minneapolis, and Oakland, Calif., have closed off some streets to drivers, encouraging pedestrian and bike traffic.

Credit…Twitter/Lawler50, via Reuters

The health department in Camden County, where the parties took place, said in a news release on Friday that the unidentified person, a resident of Boone County, tested positive last Sunday after arriving at the lake area the day before. Videos and photos posted on social media showed throngs of people mingling in close quarters.

When images of the event surfaced, Lyda Krewson, the mayor of St. Louis, said, “It’s irresponsible and dangerous to engage in such high risk behavior just to have some fun over the extended holiday weekend.”

The Camden County Health Department said in its release that the person was “likely incubating illness and possibly infectious at the time of the visit.” It released a timeline of the person’s movements and asked those who may have been in the area to seek tests and self-isolate if they had symptoms including “fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of taste or smell.”

The owner of one of the places listed on the timeline, a bar and restaurant called Backwater Jacks, previously said that no laws were broken, though the images appeared to show people violating Gov. Mike Parson’s state order requiring social distancing, according to The Associated Press.

The Camden County statement said an investigation was underway by the Boone County Health Department, with Lake area health departments assisting.

Credit…Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Though the number of infections in India is still skyrocketing, officials said easing the lockdown was necessary to rescue an ailing economy. The restrictions, which were imposed more than two months ago, have been brutally hard on migrant workers and poor people.

The country’s Home Ministry said the new rules, which would take effect on June 8, were part of a broader plan to reopen. Movie theaters and schools will remain shut, but people are now free to move around outside “containment zones,” areas with a high number of infections.

Officials began lifting some restrictions last month, hoping to ease suffering in India, a nation of 1.3 billion. But in recent weeks, as industry has resumed and more people have poured onto the streets, the country has emerged as a worrisome outbreak zone.

India’s number of daily new infections is among the highest in the world, surpassed only by Brazil, the United States and Russia. The country has reported more than 170,000 total infections and 4,971 deaths.

India’s struggles with the virus stand out, as other countries in southern Asia have recently held infections low enough to reopen more aggressively. Thailand has begun reopening restaurants, with other businesses like some salons and gyms cleared to resume operations on June 1. Buddhist amulet markets, where people trade in the tiny talismans, have also been authorized to open with social-distancing measures.

Unlike India, though, Thailand disproportionately relies on the tourist economy as a source of revenue, and the country has suffered as tourists have been banned since incoming commercial flights were suspended in early April. The ban on tourists will extend at least through the end of June, jeopardizing as many as 8.4 million jobs.

Credit…Daniele Volpe for The New York Times

After a dengue epidemic sickened over 100,000 people and left 180 dead in Honduras last year, officials braced for another surge in the mosquito-borne disease this year and wondered how they would manage.

Then the coronavirus arrived, pitching the nation into a grueling, two-front public health battle — a crisis mirrored in numerous nations, particularly in the developing world.

In the Caribbean and Latin America, where the number of coronavirus cases has been rising sharply, at least nine countries have paused some immunization activities, threatening efforts to control diseases like polio, tuberculosis and measles.

Dengue is also bedeviling nations in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, another country hard hit by the coronavirus. And in Africa, health officials are concerned about recent outbreaks of yellow fever, cholera, measles and Ebola, among other diseases.

Vaccination programs in at least 68 countries have been “substantially hindered,” according to a statement released last week by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, a public-private partnership that helps provide vaccines to developing countries. And the suspensions could affect about 80 million children under the age of 1.

The pandemic “has showed the vulnerabilities of many countries in different manners,” said Dr. Richard Mihigo, the coordinator in Africa for the World Health Organization’s immunization and vaccines development program.

Many countries, he said, “have been almost on their knees, paralyzed.”

Credit…Stephen Speranza for The New York Times

With early-phase reopening plans in many states allowing crowds back into public parks and open spaces for the summer, visitors have increasingly been forced to reckon with opposing views on how to stay safe while exercising.

Not helping matters is the byzantine patchwork of advisories that different cities and states have put in place. In most places, no concrete rules require those exercising outdoors to wear face coverings, though carrying a mask as a precaution and keeping a healthy distance is recommended more or less everywhere.

Many runners and cyclists find it challenging to inhale through masks as their heart rate rises, prompting some to do without. This has raised questions about how to work out safely, particularly if you’re planning on venturing into a crowded area.

There is no scientific consensus around the importance of wearing a mask while exercising, primarily because so little relevant research has been completed. And to date, many of the most basic questions — such as whether heavier breathing increases the risk of spreading the virus (or the social-distancing radius that should be observed) — remain unanswered.

Even so, runners can balance safety and personal comfort with a few widely agreed-upon measures, like wearing face gaiters or avoiding running directly behind someone for prolonged periods.

Other tips? Refrain from spitting, take a wide berth around others when passing, and think twice before yelling at anyone who may be flouting the rules.

Credit…Todd Korol/Reuters

In Canada, a growing number of shop workers are back on the job, after the easing of government orders that had closed most stores across the country except in British Columbia.

In the meatpacking industry, staying on the job has brought not only widespread illness but also death. In High River, Alberta, a town in the foothills of the Rockies, a meatpacking plant owned by Cargill, which is based in Minnesota, has Canada’s largest single outbreak. More than 1,500 coronavirus infections and three deaths have been linked to the outbreak in the plant, most of them employees.

Another meatpacking plant, in Brooks, Alberta, owned by JBS of Brazil, is linked to hundreds of cases. And about 40 federal meat inspectors who work in those plants have become infected as well, the union that represents them said.

The structure of the meatpacking industry in the 21st century creates significant economic pressure to keep plants running. Sven Anders, an agricultural economist at the University of Alberta, said the two plants in Alberta plus a Cargill facility in Guelph, Ontario, processed upward of 95 percent of Canada’s beef production, much of which is exported to the United States.

Credit…Souleymane Ag Anara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Cambodian major general has died of the coronavirus while on a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, Cambodian officials said Saturday, the second such death among peacekeepers stationed around the world.

The major general, Sor Savy, 63, who died on Friday, was deployed to the troubled African nation in April last year. Before the pandemic hit, forcing the United Nations to delay troop rotations, he and his team had been scheduled to return home last month.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that Covid-19 had claimed its first two victims among the peacekeepers but did not identify them by name. A peacekeeper from El Salvador died of the illness on Thursday.

More than 95,000 men and women serve in 13 U.N. missions around the world. U.N. officials say there are 137 confirmed cases of the virus among peacekeepers, most of them in Mali. Cambodia contributes about 800 troops to the U.N. missions, including 300 in Mali. Two other Cambodian peacekeepers stationed there tested positive, Cambodian officials said.

“Sor Savy’s death is a huge sacrifice of a Cambodian soldier in a humanitarian mission under the U.N. umbrella and the loss of a bright Cambodian soldier,” a spokesman for Cambodia’s Defense Ministry, Chhum Socheat, said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

Several outposts of the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission in Mali have been sealed off to stop the spread of coronavirus. These include two bases in the ancient northern city of Gao and the riverside town of Mopti, both of which used to be tourist hubs but whose more recent visitors often wear military uniforms or the well-known blue peacekeepers’ helmets.

The U.N. said even stricter measures could be imposed, and Gao and Mopti had their lockdowns extended to June 4 and June 11.

Credit…Sui-Lee Wee/The New York Times

Sui-Lee Wee is a New York Times correspondent who until recently was based in Beijing, where she covered gender, health care and other issues in China. This is her story of moving back to Singapore.

“Hey, who are those men?” my 4-year-old son, Luke, said on a video call with his nanny in Beijing, as he peered at masked movers carting boxes.

Our nanny was coordinating the packing of our furniture into storage because my family was stuck in Singapore, about 3,000 miles away.

Back story: In March, China banned all foreign residents from returning, leaving us stranded in Singapore. My husband, Tom, and I did not want to pay rent on two apartments, so we decided we would pack up the only home my two kids had ever known.

The only problem was that desperately homesick Luke did not know this yet.

“They’re helping us fix some stuff,” Tom explained to him.

“What? All the doors are broken?”

“Yep.”

A week earlier, our nanny had done a walk-through of our apartment and sent several video clips of our possessions: the pink hand-me-down balance bike that Luke never rode, Liam’s crib, Luke’s fire-engine bunk bed. All of it felt frozen in time. Our Pompeii.

I couldn’t decide how to broach the topic with Luke. I had always told him about what was happening in the world (within reason), but Beijing was his world. and he still asked repeatedly: “Why are we staying in Singapore for SO LONG?”

So while I was giving him his bath, I dove in. “Hey, you know the men you saw on the video today? They were moving our stuff into a big storeroom.” Pause. “And maybe one day, we can go back and get them again.”

“Oh, OK,” Luke responded.

That’s it? I thought. It was a reminder not to foist my anxieties onto my children. The kids, hopefully, will be all right.

Are you finding it difficult to sit down and read? You’re not alone. Here are a few strategies that can help you get more out of your next book.

Reporting was contributed by Ian Austen, Hannah Beech, Emily Cochrane, Ben Dooley, Melissa Eddy, Jenny Gross, Rebecca Halleck, Anemona Hartocollis, Shawn Hubler, Makiko Inoue, Andrew Jacobs, Yonette Joseph, Annie Karni, Adam Liptak, Ruth Maclean, Apoorva Mandavilli, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Raphael Minder, Zach Montague, Sun Narin, Richard C. Paddock, Robin Pogrebin, Suhasini Raj, Peter Robins, Alissa J. Rubin, Choe Sang-Hun, Marc Santora, Kai Schultz, Kirk Semple, Somini Sengupta, Daniel Slotnik, Rory Smith, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Anton Troianovski, Vivian Wang, Sui-Lee Wee, Sameer Yasir and Vivian Yee.

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Top 10 world news today: US terminates its ties with WHO, Brazil surpasses Spain and more – WION

US is terminating its relationship with the WHO: Trump

The United States terminated its relationship with the World Health Organization over the body’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic. Read more

Brazil COVID-19 death toll jumps to 27,878, surpasses hard-hit Spain

Brazil’s death toll due to novel coronavirus jumped to 27,878, surpassing the toll of hard-hit Spain and making it the country with the fifth-highest number of fatalities. Read more

First two UN peacekeepers die after contracting coronavirus

Two peacekeepers of the United Nations in Mali have died from the coronavirus, officials said Friday. Read more

Arrest of Minneapolis police officer fails to restore peace; people demand justice

Authorities had hoped Chauvin’s arrest would allay public anger and avert continued unrest. But defying an 8 p.m. curfew imposed by the mayor, about 500 demonstrators clashed anew Friday evening with riot police outside the battered Third Precinct building. Read more

France, Britain and Germany regret US end to Iran nuclear waivers

France, Germany and Britain on Saturday criticised US’ decision to end sanctions waivers allowing work on Iranian nuclear sites designed to prevent weapons development. Read more

SpaceX’s Starship rocket prototype explodes during test

A prototype of SpaceX’s upcoming heavy-lift rocket, Starship, exploded on Friday during ground tests in south Texas as Elon Musk’s space company pursued an aggressive development schedule to fly the launch vehicle for the first time. Read more

Hong Kong slams Trump’s move to end city’s special status

Hong Kong officials have lashed out at US President Donald Trump for his move to strip the city of its special status in a bid to punish China for imposing national security law on the global financial hub. Read more

US, UK rake up Hong Kong issue at UNSC, months after China raised Kashmir

Months after China raised Kashmir issue at the behest of Pakistan at the United Nations Security Council informally, Hong Kong issue was raked up by US and UK at the council informally much to the chagrin of Bejing. Read more

Novel coronavirus emerged from gene shuffling across bats, pangolin: Study

Understanding the origins of the novel coronavirus — SARS-CoV-2 — is critical for deterring future zoonosis, discovering new drugs, and developing a vaccine. Read more

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Coronavirus: India to loosen lockdown despite record cases – BBC News

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Media captionCoronavirus: Death and despair for migrants on Indian roads

India has announced plans to further ease a strict national lockdown even as the country reported a record daily rise in new coronavirus cases.

From 8 June, restaurants, hotels, shopping centres and places of worship will be allowed to re-open in many areas in the first stage of a three-phase plan.

Weeks later, probably in July, schools and colleges will resume teaching.

But areas with high numbers of Covid-19 cases will remain under tight lockdown.

The plan comes after India registered a new record single-day rise in confirmed infections, with nearly 8,000 cases reported on Saturday.

In total India has recorded some 174,500 cases and nearly 5,000 deaths. The nation of 1.3 billion has been hit less hard by the coronavirus than many other countries.

It went into a strict lockdown more than two months ago when the confirmed caseload was in the hundreds. Official data suggests the decision prevented the loss of between 37,000 and 78,000 lives.

However the cost to the economy has been high and pictures of millions of informal workers leaving cities for their rural villages after losing their jobs – some of them on foot – shocked the country.

Health officials say that they are able to further lift the lockdown in many places because most cases have been restricted to urban areas in a handful of states.

More than 80% of the active cases are in five states – Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Delhi, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh – and more than 60% of the cases are in five cities, including Mumbai, Delhi and Ahmedabad, according to official data.

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Media captionIndia coronavirus: Pro tips on parenting in pandemic

As part of the three-phase plan:

  • Shopping centres, places of worship, hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services will open from 8 June (guidelines will be released to ensure social distancing)
  • School and colleges may open later – possibly in July – after consultations with states
  • International travel, metro services, cinemas, sporting events and gyms will be allowed to restart in an undated third phase but this will depend on “the situation”
  • A night curfew will remain in place but shorten by two hours – from 21:00-05:00 instead of 19:00-07:00

These measures will not apply to designated “containment zones” where the virus is believed to be transmitting at a higher rate. Such zones are at the district or neighbourhood level.

The city of Mumbai, India’s financial capital. in Maharashtra state, has one of the highest numbers of containment zones, reports suggest. Hospitals there are struggling to cope with an influx of virus patients.

The reported infection rate – the number of infections for every 100 tests – in Maharashtra is three times the national average.

People will be restricted from moving between containment zones and non-containment zones but there will be no restriction on general inter-state travel, the government says.

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Live Coronavirus Pandemic Updates: Lake of the Ozarks, W.H.O., India – The New York Times

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageHudson River Park in Manhattan on Sunday.
Credit…Kholood Eid for The New York Times

Many of the most populous cities in the United States have begun moving cautiously toward reopening key businesses.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York said on Friday that he expected New York City, where more than 20,000 people have died from the virus, to meet several benchmarks that would allow retail stores to open for curbside or in-store pickup, as well as restarting nonessential construction and manufacturing. As many as 400,000 people could go back to work in that initial phase.

Other major cities that have faced death and economic calamity, like Washington and Los Angeles, also announced plans to continue their reopenings by allowing restaurants, hair salons and barbershops to open their doors, with new safety guidelines.

Mr. Cuomo joins many officials around the world in deciding that the benefits of reviving economies outweigh the risks of new infections. But as the global coronavirus caseload approaches six million, other countries are learning that the risks don’t vanish overnight:

  • In India, a nation of 1.3 billion people, a severe lockdown has been eased and may end entirely as soon as Sunday. But migrant workers are becoming infected at an alarmingly high rate, leading to fresh outbreaks in villages across the north, and hospitals in Mumbai are overwhelmed.

  • In Iraq, all travel between provinces has been stopped for a second time. Baghdad was almost completely still on Friday, and stay-at-home orders were enforced by neighborhood blockades.

  • In Israel, where schools reopened weeks ago, more than 100 new cases were reported on Friday, the level that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had warned would prompt the reinstatement of a strict lockdown.

  • In Britain, where from Monday more outdoor social gatherings will be permitted and some schools are scheduled to reopen, at least three members of the government’s top scientific advisory panel have warned publicly against relaxing restrictions.

Video

transcript

Trump Announces That the U.S. Will Withdraw From the W.H.O.

President Trump said he would terminate the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization, and repeated past charges that China had mishandled the coronavirus outbreak.

China has total control over the World Health Organization despite only paying $40 million per year compared to what the United States has been paying, which is approximately $450 million a year. Chinese officials ignored their reporting obligations to the World Health Organization and pressured the World Health Organization to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered by Chinese authorities. Countless lives have been taken and profound economic hardship has been inflicted all around the globe. We will be today terminating our relationship with the World Health Organization, and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving urgent global public health needs. The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency.

Video player loading

President Trump said he would terminate the United States’ relationship with the World Health Organization, and repeated past charges that China had mishandled the coronavirus outbreak.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

The European Union said on Saturday that it would continue to back the World Health Organization after President Trump announced on Friday that he was pulling the United States’ support, and the bloc urged him to reconsider his decision.

“The W.H.O. needs to continue being able to lead the international response to pandemics, current and future,” the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the bloc’s top diplomat, Josep Borrell, said in a joint statement. “Actions that weaken international results must be avoided,” they added. “We urge the U.S. to reconsider its announced decision.”

Mr. Trump has said the health organization helped China cover up the emergence of the coronavirus and was deliberately slow to react in the early stages of its spread out of deference to or fear of Beijing. He has repeatedly said that the spread of the virus around the world, and the ensuing death toll, is ultimately the fault of China and the W.H.O., taking no responsibility for the more than 100,000 deaths it has inflicted in the United States.

The E.U., which is a major funder of the organization, said it wanted “at the earliest appropriate moment, an impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation to review lessons learned from the international health response to the coronavirus.”

U.S. public health officials have also reacted with alarm to Mr. Trump’s decision.

“We helped create the W.H.O.,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, the former director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which has worked with the organization since its creation in 1948. “Turning our back on the W.H.O. makes us and the world less safe,” he added.

The organization itself had no immediate response on Saturday.

Credit…John G Mabanglo/EPA, via Shutterstock

The vote was 5 to 4, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. joining the court’s four-member liberal wing to form a majority. It was the court’s first attempt to balance the public health crisis against the Constitution’s protection of religious freedom. It also it expanded the court’s engagement with the consequences of the pandemic, after rulings on voting in Wisconsin and prisons in Texas and Ohio.

“Although California’s guidelines place restrictions on places of worship, those restrictions appear consistent with the free exercise clause of the First Amendment,” Chief Justice Roberts wrote in an opinion concurring in the unsigned ruling.

Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel A. Alito Jr., Neil M. Gorsuch and Brett M. Kavanaugh dissented.

The case was brought by the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, which said Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, had lost sight of the special status of religion in the constitutional structure.

“The Covid-19 pandemic is a national tragedy,” lawyers for the church wrote in their Supreme Court brief, “but it would be equally tragic if the federal judiciary allowed the ‘fog of war’ to act as an excuse for violating fundamental constitutional rights.”

Credit…Twitter/Lawler50, via Reuters

The health department in Camden County, where the parties took place, said in a news release on Friday that the unidentified person, a resident of Boone County, tested positive last Sunday after arriving at the lake area the day before. Videos and photos posted on social media showed throngs of people mingling in close quarters.

When images of the event surfaced, Lyda Krewson, the mayor of St. Louis, said, “It’s irresponsible and dangerous to engage in such high risk behavior just to have some fun over the extended holiday weekend.”

The Camden County Health Department said in its release that the person was “likely incubating illness and possibly infectious at the time of the visit.” It released a timeline of the person’s movements and asked those who may have been in the area to seek tests and self-isolate if they had symptoms including “fever, cough, shortness of breath, body aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and loss of taste or smell.”

The owner of one of the places listed on the timeline, a bar and restaurant called Backwater Jacks, previously said that no laws were broken, though the images appeared to show people violating Gov. Mike Parson’s state order requiring social distancing, according to The Associated Press.

The Camden County statement said an investigation was underway by the Boone County Health Department, with Lake area health departments assisting.

Credit…Khaled Abdullah/Reuters

The coronavirus appears to have slammed into Yemen, a country staggering from five years of war, competing power centers, a health care system in ruins, widespread hunger and outbreaks of cholera and other infectious diseases.

But a denial of the outbreak in the Houthi-controlled north, the absence of clear authority in the divided south and the drying-up of aid everywhere have hobbled any hope of limiting the virus’s spread.

With little testing available and the government and hospitals in disarray, it is difficult to measure the virus’s true spread in a country where war has taken 100,000 lives, airstrikes have killed thousands of civilians and destroyed hospitals and schools, and U.N. officials have accused the Houthi rebels of diverting humanitarian aid.

And while some Health Ministry employees have pleaded with senior officials to release the true numbers so that emergency medical workers and the public can understand the gravity of the threat, the ministry said this week that other countries’ decisions to publicize their coronavirus counts had “created a state of fear and anxiety that was more deadly than the disease itself.”

“The people who are in power haven’t recognized or revealed the right information to the public,” said Osamah al-Rawhani, the deputy director of the Sana’a Center for Strategic Studies, a Beirut-based think tank focused on Yemen. “And secrecy makes people do the wrong things because they’ve gotten the wrong message.”

Credit…Daniele Volpe for The New York Times

After a dengue epidemic sickened over 100,000 people and left 180 dead in Honduras last year, officials braced for another surge in the mosquito-borne disease this year and wondered how they would manage.

Then the coronavirus arrived, pitching the nation into a grueling, two-front public health battle — a crisis mirrored in numerous nations, particularly in the developing world.

In the Caribbean and Latin America, where the number of coronavirus cases has been rising sharply, at least nine countries have paused some immunization activities, threatening efforts to control diseases like polio, tuberculosis and measles.

Dengue is also bedeviling nations in Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, another country hard hit by the coronavirus. And in Africa, health officials are concerned about recent outbreaks of yellow fever, cholera, measles and Ebola, among other diseases.

Vaccination programs in at least 68 countries have been “substantially hindered,” according to a statement released last week by the World Health Organization, UNICEF and Gavi, a public-private partnership that helps provide vaccines to developing countries. And the suspensions could affect about 80 million children under the age of 1.

The pandemic “has showed the vulnerabilities of many countries in different manners,” said Dr. Richard Mihigo, the coordinator in Africa for the World Health Organization’s immunization and vaccines development program.

Many countries, he said, “have been almost on their knees, paralyzed.”

Credit…Misha Friedman for The New York Times

When experts recommend wearing masks, staying at least six feet away from others, washing your hands frequently and avoiding crowded spaces, what they’re really saying is: Try to minimize the amount of virus you encounter.

For SARS, also a coronavirus, the estimated infective dose is just a few hundred particles. For MERS, it is much higher, on the order of thousands.

The new coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, is more similar to SARS and, therefore, the infectious dose may be hundreds of particles, Dr. Rasmussen said.

But the virus has a history of defying predictions.

Generally, people who harbor high levels of pathogens — whether from influenza, H.I.V. or SARS — tend to have more severe symptoms and are more likely to pass on the infection.

Credit…Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

Our Berlin-based reporter Patrick Kingsley and Laetitia Vancon, a Times photojournalist, are driving more than 3,700 miles around Europe to document changes on a continent emerging from coronavirus lockdowns. Here is the latest dispatch, from Geneva. Read them all.

The first people arrived before 2 a.m.

By 4 a.m., more than 100 people stood waiting in the darkness outside the ice-hockey stadium.

By 7 a.m., the line stretched for more than a mile, and by early afternoon last Saturday nearly 3,000 residents of Geneva, one of the world’s richest cities, had filtered through the stadium to receive a food parcel worth about $25.

In medical terms, Geneva has not been as gripped by the coronavirus crisis as other areas of Western Europe. But the crisis has been ruinous for the undocumented and underpaid workers often forgotten about in a city better known for its bankers, watchmakers and U.N. officials — and most of those on lower incomes have had to rely on charity to survive.

Ultimately, that demand led volunteers and city officials to set up a weekly food bank at the ice-hockey stadium near the river.

Among those lining up last weekend was Sukhee Shinendorj, a 38-year-old from Mongolia, who was living on the cusp of poverty even before the pandemic. He had woken up at 1 a.m. and walked two miles to the stadium to try to beat the line. But several people were already there waiting.

“Catastrophe,” he said of his situation. “It’s a catastrophe.”

Behind him in the darkness, a giant Rolex logo shone from the watchmaker’s headquarters across the street — a stark juxtaposition in a city that is being forced to recognize its profound social inequalities.

Credit…Laetitia Vancon for The New York Times

If the reopening of offices, restaurants and other public places has seemed dizzying, the rules on travel between nations are shaping up to be bewildering.

Travel bubbles and airline corridors to allow free movement between certain cities or countries, quarantines and an assortment of other measures add up to a puzzle for even the most intrepid traveler.

Nowhere are the logistical challenges more daunting than in Europe, where the pandemic brought a sudden return of borders between the 26 countries that are part of the so-called Schengen zone. Optimistic pronouncements about easing restrictions for summer travelers have run into the reality of a patchwork of policies.

“It would be great if all this could be compressed into something easy to understand, but it is a very complex picture,” said Adalbert Jahnz, a spokesman for home affairs, migration and citizenship at the European Commission, the executive branch of the European Union.

For instance, Bulgaria, Serbia and Greece are expected to open borders to each other on June 1. Greece, desperate to save its tourism industry, also released an expanded list on Friday of 29 countries from which it will allow travel starting June 15.

The Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia have started carrying out a similar arrangement.

France, Germany and other West European nations have talked about easing border controls to other E.U. member states on June 15, the day the European Commission’s guidance calling for the suspension of nonessential travel into the E.U. will expire.

Travel from outside the bloc may prove an even more difficult question.

If the European border-free zone is restored, then when one country lets in travelers from outside, it means that every country has effectively done so.

The European Commission, which can only offer guidance, is still discussing what posture to take. But officials said that a middle position — more targeted restrictions on countries based on criteria like virus caseloads — was unlikely to be attractive, because it would create a whole set of scientific, diplomatic and political challenges.

Countries elsewhere are also reviewing travel restrictions. Hong Kong says it will allow airline passengers to transit through its airport from Monday, after suspending the service on March 25. But all passengers connecting to other flights through Hong Kong International Airport will be subject to coronavirus screening, including temperature checks, and they risk being placed into a 14-day government quarantine if they show a high temperature and test positive for Covid-19.

Credit…Philip Fong/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Medical experts worried that would blind the country to the spread of infection, allowing cases to explode and swamping hospitals. But Japan’s medical system has not been overwhelmed, and its government never forced businesses to close, although many chose to. This week, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared Japan’s battle against the outbreak a resounding success and took the country off a sort of “lockdown lite” that had lasted only a month and a half.

“By doing things in a uniquely Japanese way, we were able to almost completely end this wave of infection,” Mr. Abe said, adding that what he called the “Japan model” offered a path out of the global pandemic.

It’s still unclear, though, exactly what accounts for Japan’s achievement and what other countries can learn from it. Critics say Japan undercounted coronavirus deaths. And some warn that further waves of infection could undermine the government’s self-congratulatory pronouncements.

Credit…Isabel Infantes/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The police in Britain are to take no further action in the death of a ticket kiosk worker at one of London’s busiest railroad stations who tested positive for the coronavirus after being spat on and coughed at while at work by a man who claimed to have the virus.

Detective Chief Inspector Sam Blackburn of the British Transport Police said in a statement on Friday that they were “confident” that the episode at Victoria Station had not led to the death last month of the employee, Belly Mujinga, 47.

The Transport Police said they had reviewed CCTV footage of what happened to Ms. Mujinga and interviewed those involved — including a potential suspect, a 57-year-old man from London. They concluded that “there is no evidence to substantiate any criminal offenses having taken place, and that the tragic death of Belly Mujinga was not a consequence of this incident.”

Worker safety is likely to be a top priority for Andy Byford, the former New York transit leader who is about to take charge of London’s main transportation agency. The agency, Transport for London, recently accepted a government bailout of 1.6 billion pounds, about $2 billion, on conditions including the restoration of full services within four weeks.

Credit…Souleymane Ag Anara/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

A Cambodian major general has died of the coronavirus while on a U.N. peacekeeping mission in Mali, Cambodian officials said Saturday, the second such death among peacekeepers stationed around the world.

The major general, Sor Savy, 63, who died on Friday, was deployed to the troubled African nation in April last year. Before the pandemic hit, forcing the United Nations to delay troop rotations, he and his team had been scheduled to return home last month.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said on Friday that Covid-19 had claimed its first two victims among the peacekeepers but did not identify them by name. A peacekeeper from El Salvador died of the illness on Thursday.

More than 95,000 men and women serve in 13 U.N. missions around the world. U.N. officials say there are 137 confirmed cases of the virus among peacekeepers, most of them in Mali. Cambodia contributes about 800 troops to the U.N. missions, including 300 in Mali. Two other Cambodian peacekeepers stationed there tested positive, Cambodian officials said.

“Sor Savy’s death is a huge sacrifice of a Cambodian soldier in a humanitarian mission under the U.N. umbrella and the loss of a bright Cambodian soldier,” a spokesman for Cambodia’s Defense Ministry, Chhum Socheat, said in a Facebook post on Saturday.

Several outposts of the U.N.’s peacekeeping mission in Mali have been sealed off to stop the spread of coronavirus. These include two bases in the ancient northern city of Gao and the riverside town of Mopti, both of which used to be tourist hubs but whose more recent visitors often wear military uniforms or the well-known blue peacekeepers’ helmets.

The U.N. said even stricter measures could be imposed, and Gao and Mopti had their lockdowns extended to June 4 and June 11.

A troop of monkeys has attacked a lab technician in a town near India’s capital, snatching blood samples of three coronavirus patients who were being treated at a university hospital.

The technician in Meerut, outside New Delhi, was carrying the samples for routine tests at Lala Lajpat Rai Memorial Medical College on Tuesday when the monkeys struck.

It got widespread media coverage in India, most of it alarmed: Aggressive monkeys are a problem all over, and many viewers were upset that potentially dangerous medical samples were vulnerable.

“Monkeys have been a big menace here,” said Dr. S.K. Garg, the college’s principal. “Earlier, patients themselves would feed them, and now it seems they are short of food and getting desperate.”

Video footage appeared to show a monkey chewing at the samples while perched atop a tree, then dropping part of the booty to the ground below.

Dr. Dheeraj Raj, a senior administrator at the college, said that the hospital planned to suspend the technician because he had shot videos of the monkeys instead of returning to work.

“These are sensitive times,” he said.

Credit…Sui-Lee Wee/The New York Times

Sui-Lee Wee is a New York Times correspondent who until recently was based in Beijing, where she covered gender, health care and other issues in China. This is her story of moving back to Singapore.

“Hey, who are those men?” my 4-year-old son, Luke, said on a video call with his nanny in Beijing, as he peered at masked movers carting boxes.

Our nanny was coordinating the packing of our furniture into storage because my family was stuck in Singapore, about 3,000 miles away.

Back story: In March, China banned all foreign residents from returning, leaving us stranded in Singapore. My husband, Tom, and I did not want to pay rent on two apartments, so we decided we would pack up the only home my two kids had ever known.

The only problem was that desperately homesick Luke did not know this yet.

“They’re helping us fix some stuff,” Tom explained to him.

“What? All the doors are broken?”

“Yep.”

A week earlier, our nanny had done a walk-through of our apartment and sent several video clips of our possessions: the pink hand-me-down balance bike that Luke never rode, Liam’s crib, Luke’s fire-engine bunk bed. All of it felt frozen in time. Our Pompeii.

I couldn’t decide how to broach the topic with Luke. I had always told him about what was happening in the world (within reason), but Beijing was his world. and he still asked repeatedly: “Why are we staying in Singapore for SO LONG?”

So while I was giving him his bath, I dove in. “Hey, you know the men you saw on the video today? They were moving our stuff into a big storeroom.” Pause. “And maybe one day, we can go back and get them again.”

“Oh, OK,” Luke responded.

That’s it? I thought. It was a reminder not to foist my anxieties onto my children. The kids, hopefully, will be all right.

Are you finding it difficult to sit down and read? You’re not alone. Here are a few strategies that can help you get more out of your next book.

Reporting was contributed by Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Ruth Maclean, Ian Austen, Choe Sang-Hun, Yonette Joseph, Emily Cochrane, Vivian Yee, Kirk Semple, Ben Dooley, Jenny Gross, Makiko Inoue, Andrew Jacobs, Annie Karni, Adam Liptak, Richard C. Paddock, Peter Robins, Robin Pogrebin, Apoorva Mandavilli, Donald G. McNeil Jr., Alissa J. Rubin, Marc Santora, Kai Schultz, Somini Sengupta, Daniel Slotnik, Rory Smith, Sun Narin, Suhasini Raj, Anton Troianovski, Sameer Yasir, Vivian Wang and Sui-Lee Wee.