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Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has announced that local governments in the US state will now have the ability to order people to wear masks. He had previously resisted loud calls from city mayors asking for such powers.
Ducey has come under mounting pressure to enact tougher restrictions in Arizona, following a rapid rise in cases.
But the move, which comes a week before President Donald Trump is due to hold a campaign rally in the state, still falls short of a statewide mandate by the Republican governor, which medical experts had called for.
Nearly 2,400 new virus cases were announced in Arizona on Tuesday and another 1,800 on Wednesday, bringing the state’s tally to nearly 41,000. Intensive care units in hospitals across Arizona are also at 85% capacity.
A passenger has been removed from an American Airlines flight after refusing to wear a mask, in what’s believed to be a US first.
Brandon Straka was asked to disembark before the plane began its journey from New York to Dallas.
The conservative activist – who has a large following on Twitter – detailed his experience in a video, calling the incident “insane.”
In response, Astead Herndon – a New York Times reporter who was on the same flight – challenged what Straka was tweeting about the incident and shared a video where audio of the exchange can be heard.
There is currently no US law requiring travellers to wear face masks on planes, but airlines are allowed to enforce their own policies. Earlier this week American Airlines and five other carriers announced that they would bar anyone from travelling on their flights without a mask.
There are certain exemptions, however, including for those who should not wear a mask due to a medical condition.
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Social distancing rules are to be relaxed in French pre-schools and nurseries to allow all children to return from 22 June, education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Wednesday.
“We know that it’s not easy to enforce this physical distance and the scientific advice says that at this age we can [lift restrictions] according to the data that we have,” Blanquer told a French TV programme.
Though some pre-schools and primary schools have been open since 11 May, strict controls have been imposed on class sizes and parents had the choice to keep children at home.
French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Sunday that a return to school would now become compulsory for all pupils.
Primary schools in the country will retain a 1m social distancing rule but Blanquer said that certain classes “will have to have a little less than 1m”.
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Dame Vera Lynn, the Forces’ Sweetheart who was quoted by the Queen in the early stages of the UK’s lockdown, has died at the end of 103.
The singer’s family confirmed she died on Thursday morning surrounded by her close relatives.
She was best known for performing for the troops during World War Two, but more recently her words became a source of comfort to many during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Queen referenced one of Dame Vera’s most beloved songs earlier this year when she told the country, separated from families and friends during the coronavirus lockdown: “We will meet again.”
After watching the Queen’s speech, Dame Vera said that she hadn’t been aware the monarch would use the lyrics at the end of her address, but said it was “a great encouragement during these difficult times”.
She said: “I support her message of keeping strong together when we’re faced with such a terrible challenge. Our nation has faced some dark times over the years, but we always overcome.”
Self-isolation, job loss and fear of getting Covid-19 are just some of the factors affecting our mental health during this global pandemic. This is how our brains are responding.
There have been nearly 300,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK and more than 42,000 people have died, government figures show.
However, these numbers only include people who have been tested, and the total number of deaths relating to coronavirus is likely to be significantly higher.
Latest figures from the Office For National Statistics (ONS) show that the weekly number of recorded deaths has returned to close to normal levels for the time of year.
The number of newly confirmed cases each day has been falling since a peak in April but the seven-day rolling average has begun to level off.
You can see more charts and graphs here, and find the figures for your local area.
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has urged the European Union to quickly agree a multi-year budget and get a recovery fund for weaker EU economies under way.
In a speech to Germany’s parliament, Merkel said it was crucial that EU states act in solidarity to survive the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The pandemic has revealed how fragile the European project still is,” said the chancellor. “Cohesion and solidarity have never been as important as they are today.”
She continued: “To make it very clear: the pandemic, and the economic downturn it brings, are the biggest challenges in Europe’s history.”
Germany begins a six-month stint as EU president on 1 July.
BBC Urdu, Lahore
A “smart lockdown” was imposed on Wednesday in several cities of Pakistan’s Punjab province, an area home to more than 100 million people. The city of Lahore is among those under fresh restrictions.
The decision follows a spike of new infections. So far Punjab has recorded almost 60,000 cases.
Pakistan is now focusing on a strategy of local “smart” lockdowns in hundreds of places around the country in a bid to control the virus while minimising the economic impact.
Officials said lockdowns lasting at least two weeks would come into force wherever at least 300 cases of Covid-19 had been confirmed.
Police are guarding the entry and exit points of locked-down areas. In an emergency, only one person in a household will be allowed to leave.
Markets, shopping malls and restaurants, including government and private offices, will remain closed in the sealed areas but grocery shops and pharmacies are allowed to open. Public and private transport is banned.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to discuss the UK’s coronavirus quarantine measures with French President Emmanuel Macron during his visit to London today.
There are hopes that travel corridors or “air bridges” can be set up with countries with low infection rates, including France, so some travellers can avoid having to quarantine.
But what are the current rules?
Passengers arriving in the UK from abroad by plane, ferry or train are asked to provide an address where they will self-isolate for 14 days. They can be fined £100 for failing to fill in a form with these details.
Anyone arriving from the Common Travel Area (CTA) – the Republic of Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man – is exempt from quarantine (provided they have been in the CTA for the last 14 days), as are certain workers.
The rules are controversial. The government has come under fierce criticism from the travel industry and other businesses for only now imposing a quarantine on arrivals at a time when other parts of Europe are opening up to international travel.
Kazakhstan’s influential former president Nursultan Nazarbayev has begun self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus.
His spokesman Aidos Ukibay, who made the announcement on Twitter, said there was “no reason for concern” about the news.
Nazarbayev, 79, resigned from the presidency last year after three decades in power. But he still holds sweeping powers as Yelbasy, or national leader, and as chair of Kazakhstan’s security council.
He is one of several government figures to self-isolate in Kazakhstan, where an outbreak is worsening. The government ended a nationwide lockdown last month, but restrictions are being reintroduced due to a sharp rise in infections.
Nearly 16,000 cases have now been reported – the figure has more than tripled since the lockdown was eased last month.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said the government will discuss the idea of travel corridors with France to enable the easing of the 14-day coronavirus quarantine measures currently in place for all arrivals to the UK.
Discussing French president Emmanuel Macron’s visit to London today, Raab told the BBC: “We’ll look at conversations with the French and others about the so-called travel corridors and the exemptions to quarantine that can allow that to be done.”
He said the UK wanted to open up internationally, but it had to be done “safely” and “responsibly” with public health “front and centre” of decision making.
He also warned there was a risk of legal challenges if the UK tries to form travel bridges with particular countries to the exclusion of others.
He told the BBC: “If you open up the airports and don’t open up the Eurotunnel or if you open up to one country but not in relation to others there is always a risk of legal challenge.”
On Friday evening, Delhi-based lawyer Ishika Goon and her flatmates hunkered down at their apartment in the Indian capital, Delhi, to watch a new Bollywood film.
In normal times, Ishika and her friends would have flocked to the neighbourhood theatre for their Friday night cinema fix.
But restrictions that remain in place to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus means that cinemas are closed and most movie-lovers are watching their favourite films at home.
So when the news arrived that the star-studded Bollywood summer release Gulabo Sitabo would bypass cinemas and its release would instead be streamed online, there was a ripple of excitement among film fans.
“This doesn’t give you the same rush as watching a movie’s Friday release in the cinema. But we are now reconciled to the fact that we may not catch a movie in the cinemas in the near future,” says Ishika.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has accused Russia, China and Iran of attempting to exploit the coronavirus pandemic to further their global interests.
Speaking to Sky News, he said the virus had “created an opportunity or a perceived opportunity for various different state and non-state actors through cyber, through other means.
“I think we’ve seen it in relation to Hong Kong, I think some people are arguing… the national security legislation that is being put forward, is being done at a time when the world’s attention has been on coronavirus.”
Raab also accused Russia of engaging “systematically in misinformation and propaganda, through cyber and other ways”.
But he said what foreign actors were doing had not had a significant impact in the UK, adding: “I don’t think they’ve made a material difference to our response in health terms.”
Social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube may present a health risk to the UK because they are spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus, according to a new study by researchers from Kings College London.
The paper, published in the journal Psychological Medicine, found people who get their news from social media sources are more likely to break lockdown rules.
“One wonders how long this state of affairs can be allowed to persist while social media platforms continue to provide a worldwide distribution mechanism for medical misinformation,” the report says.
The study analysed surveys conducted across Britain in April and May this year.
People were asked if they believed Covid-19-related conspiracy theories, such as the virus being made in a laboratory or that symptoms were linked to 5G radiation.
None of these theories has any basis in verifiable fact but those who believed such conspiracies were significantly more likely to get their news from unregulated social media.
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The World Health Organization (WHO) says it has stopped its research looking at the potential of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment for coronavirus.
The UN health agency said that recent findings “showed that hydroxychloroquine does not result in the reduction of mortality of hospitalized COVID-19 patients”.
There’s been widespread interest in hydroxychloroquine as both a preventative measure and for treating patients with coronavirus. It has long been used to treat malaria, lupus and arthritis, but there is no evidence of its efficacy against Covid-19.
Trials around the world were temporarily derailed when a study published in medical journal The Lancet claimed the drug increased fatalities and heart problems in some patients.
The results prompted the WHO and others to halt trials over safety concerns. However, The Lancet subsequently retracted the study when it was found to have serious shortcomings and the WHO resumed its research – until this week.
The coronavirus pandemic means sporting events having to take place behind closed doors and in empty stadiums.
BBC Click’s Paul Carter looks at how the sports organisers and the broadcasters are using technology to add atmosphere to events without any crowds.
BBC Chief football writer
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As the Premier League returned after its enforced 100-day hiatus, some things stayed the same but others were symbolic of the new world those who play the game and those who watch it must now occupy.
At the blast of referee Michael Oliver’s whistle, the players took the knee with perfect choreography for 10 seconds in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
It was the enduring image of a few hours that offered us a glimpse into how it will be for the foreseeable future. It was preceded by a minute’s silence for those who have lost their lives to coronavirus.
This was a very different experience and environment – but we are living in a very different world.
China has reported 28 new virus cases for the past day with 21 of them again in the capital. Beijing has seen a sudden spike over the past days.
The new cluster in the capital has lead to new restrictions being put in place and whole neighbourhoods getting sealed up again. The new outbreak is thought to have started in a large food market.
Before the new spike, Beijing had gone 57 days without a local case.
If you’re just tuning into our live coverage now, here’s a quick rundown of the latest headlines in the UK.
- Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon is expected to announce a further easing of the lockdown today. The decision is likely to include a date for when shops selling non-essential goods can reopen and people are set to be allowed to meet in larger groups than the current limit of eight. People could also be allowed to meet another household indoors for the first time since the lockdown was imposed across the UK on 23 Marc
- HM Revenue and Customs has told the BBC that it has received more than 3,000 reports of furlough fraud since April, with some workers complaining that they have been made to work while furloughed. Under the scheme, the government pays 80% of a worker’s salary up to £2,500 a month, and they cannot do any work that would help their employer make money
- Leaders of social services in England have warned that increased spending due to coronavirus – on items such as personal protective equipment (PPE) – could see some care providers go out of business and local councils run out of cash. A report by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) warns there will be “catastrophic consequences” without immediate investment in the sector
- Thousands of homeless people put up in places like hotels and B&Bs due to coronavirus are still in emergency accommodation – as charities warn there are just weeks to stop them returning to the streets as premises prepare to reopen. BBC research found three quarters of homeless people in 17 areas are still in temporary accommodation with some already sleeping rough again
- Unregulated social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube may present a health risk to the UK because they are spreading conspiracy theories about coronavirus, according to a new study by researchers at Kings College London. They suggest social media news sites may need to do more to regulate misleading content.
We know Australia has been highly successful in suppressing the virus, having essentially eliminated
it in many areas.
But community transmission is
still present in Victoria, the second-most populous state – the numbers have grown in recent days but remain “tiny”, health officials stress.
Officials recorded 12 such cases today, and six yesterday. This has raised some concern, given in
neighbouring New South Wales, no community transmissions have been found for
“I know it can seem like large numbers compared to what
we’ve had… but we’ve been tracking quite well in Victoria in
recent weeks,” said state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos. “We look for the trends
rather just the numbers on a particular day.”
Australia’s daily infection
rate has stayed below 0.5% since April. It has only about 500
active cases – mostly quarantined people who have returned from overseas.