Latest world virus headlines — Robot staff greet Tokyo governor at virus hotel
Here are summaries of the latest stories worldwide on the coronavirus pandemic, including:
• Workers rally on May Day in Portugal with social-distancing measures;
• Decline in critical patients in Italy continues;
• Britain reaches goal of 100,000 tests per day;
• British doctors define possible COVID-19-linked syndrome in children;
• Virus worries for workers demanding rights on May Day;
• India extends lockdown another 2 weeks;
• French president thanks workers on Labor Day holiday;
• Japan extends state of emergency another month;
• Spain field hospital releases its last patients.
TOKYO — Robot staff debuted at a Tokyo hotel for mild coronavirus patients under a plan to free up beds at overburdened hospitals.
Pepper, a popular semi-humanoid talking robot, greeted Tokyo Gov. Yuriko Koike as she walked into a downtown hotel during today’s demonstration. Pepper, wearing a white surgical mask, also reminds patients to check their daily temperature and encourages them to rest.
Doctors and nurses are staffed at the hotels. Guest patients can also access health management applications on computers and tablets to record their body temperatures and symptoms. “Whiz” a cleaner robot, operates in hotel lobbies where patients come to pick up meals to reduce infection risks.
The robots, made by SoftBank Robotics, will be deployed at other hotels rented by Tokyo’s government for patients with no or mild symptoms. So far, Tokyo has secured five hotels with 1,500 to 2,800 rooms.
Japan has 14,281 confirmed cases and 432 deaths, according to the health ministry tally.
NEW DELHI, India — India will extend its lockdown for another two weeks, with relaxations in some areas.
The government will continue stricter measures in places classified ‘red zones,’ such as New Delhi and Mumbai, and ‘orange zones,’ which have some cases. In ‘green zones’ or low risk areas, some movement of people and economic activities will be allowed, India’s home ministry says.
Officials say the nation has bolstered its domestic production for key medical supplies like ventilators, oxygen and personal protective equipment.
The government says it currently had almost 20,000 ventilators and 43.8 million oxygen cylinders. But with an expected surge in cases following the relaxation of some lockdown measures, officials estimated a demand of 75,000 ventilators and in the coming weeks. Of this, 60,000 will be manufactured in India.
India’s low testing rates is partly due to the unavailability of testing kits. The government estimates needing 3.5 million standard kits for its 1.3 billion people, who have been under a five-week lockdown.
India has recorded more than 35,000 coronavirus cases and 1,147 deaths.
LISBON, Portugal — Several hundred people rallied for workers’ rights on May Day in Lisbon while respecting social distancing limits applied to stem contagion from the coronavirus pandemic.
Portugal’s main union organized the event with special measures in place. Protesters respected indications to remain separated by several meters as they gathered on a large grass-covered promenade where the traditional May Day marches finish. Wearing face masks, around 500 protesters carried signs with messages against layoffs and precarious labor contracts.
“It’s important to be here on May Day in the name of all the workers that cannot be here and that are allowing for the country to keep going in such a critical time,” railway worker Catarina Cardoso said.
Portugal attributes 1,007 deaths to the outbreak from more than 25,000 confirmed cases.
In neighboring Spain, the two main labor unions canceled all marches and instead held online events.
CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Wyoming allowed barbershops, nail salons, gyms and daycare centers to reopen today in its first loosening of statewide restrictions intended to slow the coronavirus’ spread.
The openings come with social distancing and mask-wearing guidelines as well as limits on the number of customers allowed inside any establishment. Business owners are required to collect contact information for their customers in case contact tracing is needed.
Schools remain closed, restaurants restricted to take-out, and gatherings restricted to 10 people or less.
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Rights groups have criticized Malaysia over a May Day crackdown that saw hundreds of immigrants without valid documents being detained in viral hotspot areas in Kuala Lumpur.
Today’s raids in several buildings under strict lockdown came two days after a minister said immigrants without valid documents found in these areas would be sent to detention camps.
Tenaganita, a local migrants rights group, slammed the government for breaking its promise not to take action against migrants who come out for virus screening. It said Rohingya refugees and minors as young as a year old were among those rounded up.
Human Rights Watch said more than 700 people were arrested and called for their immediate release. Amnesty International Malaysia said the mass detention in a middle of a pandemic was an appalling violation of human rights, with detainees reportedly being cramped into small vans and not given masks.
The raids came just after the government announced that most businesses will be allowed to reopen from Monday, ahead of the end of a partial lockdown on May 12.
ISTANBUL — Turkey’s health ministry has announced 84 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the death toll to 3,258.
Minister Fahrettin Koca also announced the recovery of 4,922 people from the disease, with total recoveries nearing 54,000 people.
Koca tweeted that’s nearly 45 percent of the total number of confirmed infections, which are now at 122,392 with 2,188 identified in the past 24 hours.
The minister also said the number of patients needing intensive care was decreasing and urged continued precautions.
Thirty-one provinces are on the first day of a three-day lockdown. The weekend curfews are expected to continue through the month of Ramadan.
DENVER — Getting a haircut and shopping in person at retail stores were allowed again in much of Colorado starting today as the state continues to ease restrictions set up to stop the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Stay-at-home orders remained in place in Denver and some surrounding counties, with only essential businesses like grocery, liquor and hardware stores open there.
Goodwill reopened 16 stores around Colorado with changes to protect people’s safety. Dressing rooms are closed and one-way aisles were set up to make it easier for customers to stay 6 feet apart.
Elective surgeries and curbside pickup at retail shops were allowed to begin outside the Denver area on Monday in the first wave of the relaxation of restrictions under Democratic Gov. Jared Polis’ “safer at home” order.
Offices can reopen starting Monday but only with half the usual staff to allow for social distancing.
SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina — A Russian military team of anti-coronavirus experts has been prevented from entering Bosnia from Serbia.
The 24-member team traveling in five vehicles was stopped at Bosnia’s border with Serbia today after failing to get a permit from the authorities in Sarajevo. The soldiers had planned to disinfect a hospital in the south of the Balkan country.
Radio Sarajevo says the Russian soldiers were stopped at the border because “foreign troops cannot enter Bosnia without a permit.”
The Russian team has been deployed in Serbia for over a month, receiving praise from its pro-Moscow officials.
After a US-mediated peace agreement in 1995 that stopped a bloody civil war, Bosnia was declared a single state consisting of two entities, the Croat-Muslim federation and the Serb-run semi-autonomous entity.
A separate Russian disinfection team was directly flown from Moscow to the Serb-run parts of Bosnia last month.
ROME — The number of patients in Italy’s intensive care beds is continuing to decline.
That’s allowing hospitals to better deal with the COVID-19 outbreak, which when it began weeks ago had overwhelmed the national health care system, especially in heavily stricken northern regions.
According to health ministry ministry figures released today, 116 intensive care unit beds were freed up in the previous 24 hours.
For back-to-back days, the daily nationwide tally of new cases was lower than 2,000 – 1,965 coronavirus infections were registered in a 24-hour period, raising to 207,428 cases the nation’s known total in the pandemic. Doctors have cautioned that many cases have likely gone undetected as some people with the virus show no or nearly no symptoms.
Italy registered 269 more deaths of persons infected with COVID-19. Its death toll now stands at 28,236. Italy’s worst-hit region, Lombardy, still is registering several hundred new cases daily, while many regions, including that of Lazio, which includes Rome, are registering cases far fewer than 100 each day.
LONDON — The British government says it has met its target of conducting 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of April, after more than doubling the number carried out in just two days.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says 122,347 tests were carried out Thursday, the last day of the month. That’s up from 81,611 announced the day before and just over 52,000 the day before that.
The figure represents a tenfold increase since the start of April, when Hancock set the target.
The U.K. has promised to vastly expand testing as part of a “test, track and trace” strategy to control the spread of the virus and allow the country to emerge from lockdown. Public health officials have set up almost 100 mobile testing units and dozens of drive-through sites, and tests are being offered to millions of health care workers, essential staff and older people.
It’s unclear whether all the tests counted in today’s total have been completed, however. The Health Service Journal reported that the total includes home-testing kits that people have ordered through a government website, but which have not yet been returned and processed.
As of today, Britain has recorded 27,510 deaths among people with COVID-19 in hospitals, nursing homes and other settings, the third-highest total of any country in the world.
ALBANY, N.Y. — New York schools and colleges will remain shut through the end of the academic year.
The order announced today by Gov. Andrew Cuomo applies to 4.2 million students statewide and continues an order that had been set to expire May 15.
The Democratic governor said it is too risky to reopen when the virus is still sending nearly 1,000 people to the hospital every day in the state hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
The largest school district, New York City, had already determined it could not reopen before the end of the school year in June. Mayor Bill De Blasio announced April 11 that the city would rely on remote learning through the end of the school year.
At the time, Cuomo dismissed De Blasio’s announcement as an “opinion,” saying the governor had the power to make decisions on a statewide basis.
LONDON — British doctors have published a working definition of a rare inflammatory syndrome affecting children that may be linked to COVID-19, which they hope will help other physicians identify cases.
In a statement today, the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health said it was releasing a detailed definition of the syndrome, including the symptoms seen in children, diagnostic tests that should be used and potential treatments.
The group stressed that “it remains unclear whether COVID-pediatric multi-system inflammatory syndrome is caused by COVID-19” and emphasized that to date, only about 20 children in Britain and a small number across Europe have been identified.
Children remain among the least affected group by COVID-19 and typically suffer only mild symptoms when infected.
Earlier this week, Britain’s Pediatric Intensive Care Society said there was “growing concern” that either a COVID-19 related syndrome was emerging in children or that a different, unidentified disease might be responsible.
Similar warnings were issued by pediatric groups in Spain and Italy and cases have been noted in Belgium, France and the U.S.
PORTLAND, Maine — The first phase of the reopening of Maine’s economy began today on an acrimonious note after a restaurant owner aired his grievances during an appearance on Fox News Channel.
Restaurant owner Rick Savage vowed to defy Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, by reopening, his business, Sunday River Brewing Co. He claimed she wasn’t listening to business owners.
Savage also shared what he said was Mills’ private cellphone number. A call to the number said it was “unavailable at this time.”
“She’s doing this all rogue on her own. We’ve had enough of it. We’re encouraging all businesses in Maine to open up. We never should’ve been closed in the first place,” Savage said on primetime host Tucker Carlson’s show Thursday.
Mills had no immediate comment. The state remains under a stay-at-home order until May 31, but residents today became entitled to restricted use of golf courses; visits to dentists, barbers and hairdressers; and drive-in religious services. Restaurants won’t be allowed to open for dining in until June 1.
WASHINGTON — Washington, D.C. health officials announced this morning that 335 positive new COVID-19 infections had been identified. That brings the city’s total up to 4,658 with seven new deaths for a total of 231.
Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency on March 11 and issued a stay-home order on March 30 for Washington’s approximately 700,000 residents. Bowser, a Democrat, has also announced plans to turn Washington’s convention center into a 1,500-bed field hospital.
ATHENS, Greece — Greece’s health ministry announced there were no coronavirus-related deaths recorded in the last 24 hours and 21 new confirmed infections.
The total infections in Greece stand at 2,612, although authorities say the true number is likely much higher. The country’s death toll stands at 140.
Greece imposed lockdown measures early in the outbreak, a move that has been credited with keeping the number of deaths and seriously ill low. The restrictions on movement and businesses will be eased gradually, starting Monday.
NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana restaurants were adding outdoor tables 10 feet apart in a tiny step toward normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restaurants statewide have been allowed to offer only takeout and delivery food since March 21 under an order by Gov. John Bel Edwards. But starting today, restaurants are allowed to seat people outside, though without waiter service at the tables.
New Orleans is not participating in the governor’s tweaks to business restrictions, which also include letting mall retailers offer curbside service.
ZAGREB, Croatia — A prominent workers’ union in Croatia held an online Labor Day protest as the lockdown against the coronavirus prevented traditional gatherings and demonstrations.
The Association of Independent Unions of Croatia gathered 100 participants via video conference for an hour and thousands more followed on social networks. The participants in the “Rights before Thank You for the Workers” event discussed worker problems and what will come after the outbreak.
The unions have sent requests to the government, including lower taxes for workers, a more just pension system, accessible education and better work conditions.
Head of the association, Mladen Novosel, expressed hope that “investment in local production and industry will become a rule” and the pandemic “become an opportunity to build a better society.”
Croatia has one of the weakest economies in the European Union.
LONDON – Officials say the mortality rate among poorer people with the coronavirus is twice that of the richest in Britain.
The Office for National Statistics studied 20,283 deaths between March 1 and April 17. It says the mortality rate in the poorer areas was 55.1 deaths per 100,000 people compared to 25.3 deaths per 100,000 in the richer areas.
Carl Heneghan, professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, said “these areas also suffer from poor housing, nutrition and higher incidence of health conditions that might act to lower immunity.”
Helen Barnard, acting director of anti-poverty charity the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, says poorer people are less likely to have jobs where they can work from home. She says, “this means they may have to face a very significant drop in income or keep going to work, facing greater risks of catching the virus.”
ROME — Many Italian businesses are reeling under losses dealt by the stay-at-home lockdown this May Day.
Some entrepreneurs put mannequins in poses as if they were sipping coffee at counters.
In towns from north to south, many small business owners stood at a safe distance from each other on the sidewalk or in town squares, wearing black masks and holding placards in front of their restaurants to highlight their economic troubles.
In southern Sicily, some owners packed food to bring to those in even tougher straits.
Italy’s eight-week lockdown leaves many families struggling to pay for necessities. On Monday, restaurants and cafes can start offering takeout but no meals on the premises. Nonessential shops will be allowed to open on May 18, if Italy’s rate of contagion doesn’t rise.
BANGKOK — Domestic airlines in Thailand are resuming some regular flights, with half the country’s provincial airports reopened.
Department of Airports Director-General Tawee Kaysisam-ang says 14 of the 28 airports his agency oversees reopened today. Domestic flights also resumed at airports that serve as international gateways, including Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports and Chiang Mai Airport in the north.
International passenger flight arrivals remain banned.
All airports must implement social distancing measures. Passengers should wear masks and stand in designated spots to check in. The airlines are supposed to sell only one in three of each flight’s seats to keep passengers apart.
A spokesman for Don Mueang Airport says it would service 150 arrivals and departures carrying 3,000-4,000 passengers today, compared to the four or five flights a day in recent weeks.
VALLETTA, Malta — Malta’s government has announced the relaxation of some coronavirus restrictions.
Prime Minister Robert Abela says starting Monday, nonessential shops will be allowed to reopen. Health services, not related to coronavirus infections, will be resumed.
Bars and restaurants will remain shuttered. The government says it will review its position in three weeks.
Malta’s airport and ports will remain closed indefinitely. People in groups of more than four persons in public places will be fined.
Malta has 467 confirmed coronavirus cases and four deaths.
TOKYO — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says the coronavirus state of emergency to end next week will be extended about a month.
Abe, citing a report by experts on a government task force, says Japanese medical systems are still under severe pressure with the number of confirmed cases far exceeding 10,000. Japan has averted the explosive of infections in many other countries and the spread of the infections has somewhat slowed under the ongoing state of emergency.
Abe says, “We still need you to continue cooperating, and that’s the experts’ view.” He says he instructed Economy Minister Yasutoshi Nishimura, who is tasked with the coronavirus measures, to extend the measures “for about a month.” Abe says he will announce details Monday.
Shigeru Omi, deputy chair of the panel and a public health expert formerly with the World Health Organization, says the infections have not slowed as much as experts had hoped. He says, “If the resurgence occurs, medical systems will be quickly overburdened.”
Japan has more than 14,000 cases and over 400 deaths, according to the health ministry. However, experts say there could be several times more patients.
MADRID — Spain is shuttering the massive field hospital that that its army helped set up in a Madrid convention center at the height of the coronavirus outbreak.
The field hospital established inside Madrid’s IFEMA convention center released its last patients today, as local politicians held a ceremony to close its doors.
Nearly 4,000 patients have been treated at the IFEMA field hospital. Its installations will be kept intact for weeks in case the virus makes a rebound.
Spain has nearly 25,000 confirmed deaths from COVID-19 after almost 300 new fatalities were reported today.
Spain has over 215,000 confirmed coronavirus infections following a daily increase of more than 1,100 cases.
The country is preparing for its largest rollback of lockdown measures on Saturday when people of all ages will be allowed to leave their homes for short walks or exercise for the first time since March 14.
The lockdown has succeeded in reducing daily case increases of over 20 percent to under 1 percent. More than 114,00 Spaniards have been treated for the virus and released from care.
PARIS — French President Emmanuel Macron has led the country’s Labor Day holiday with a message of thanks to workers saving people’s lives during the coronavirus crisis.
Forgoing his usual televised address, Macron tweeted out a prerecorded speech today recognizing that “the nation is holding on” thanks to the life-saving “dedication of our caregivers, civil defense personnel, law enforcement (and) armies.”
Macron also thanked the commitment of French farmers and public servants who have enabled many to continue to work from home.
Labor Day has, since after World War II in France, been an occasion to campaign for and celebrate workers’ rights.
He said “the spirit of solidarity between workers, has perhaps never been so powerful” as now.
However, a midday musical protest against Macron’s handling of the epidemic is taking place from the balconies and widows of confined citizens to the tune of the rebel’s anthem Bella Ciao, in the French spirit of keeping their leaders in check.
CGT Union chief Philippe Martinez raised specific concerns on France Inter radio today, critiquing plans for some schools to open on May 11 and that teachers could refuse to return to work “if the health of school employees is not ensured, and that of the children.”
ROME — Italy’s May Day traditions, which pay tribute to the role of workers in society, have been upended by lockdown rules forbidding gatherings during the coronavirus pandemic.
Italy’s May Day commemoration have been rallies led by union leaders, followed by an evening rock and pop music concert in Rome, drawing crowds sometimes topping 100,000 in the square outside St. John in Lateran Basilica.
This year, musical artists will take turns performing solo in venues without anyone in the audience. Their music will be broadcast on TV and by state radio, with the evening’s theme being, “Working in safety to build a future.”
Unions have been demanding scrupulous attention to safety measures, including social distancing at work stations and assembly lines, hygiene and sanitizing before factories can reopen in Italy, where Europe’s devastating outbreak of COVID-19 began.
Right-wing political opposition leader Matteo Salvini has accused the center-left government of pandering to union demands in slowly getting the country’s economy moving again.
On Monday, some lockdown restrictions will be eased, with some 3 million Italians expected to return to workplaces, many in factories.
MADRID — Spain’s government expects that the Eurozone’s fourth largest economy will shrink by 9.2 percent this year and unemployment will reach 19 percent of the working-age population.
Deputy Prime Minister Nadia Calviño announced the grim forecast today when she explained Spain’s economic stability plan that it has presented to the European Union.
This comes a day after Spain’s government said that the nation’s economy had shrunk by 5.2 percent in the first quarter of 2020, ending 25 consecutive quarters of positive economic activity dating back to 2013.
Calviño said the government expects the economy to rebound strong, with a growth of 6.8 percent in 2021.
Hundreds of thousands of workers have been furloughed since Spain applied strict stay-at-home rules on March 14 when it declared a state of emergency that is still in effect.
The government unveiled this week a complex series of guidelines it will follow to reactivate the economy and social life of the country over the coming weeks and months as long as there is not another jump in COVID-19 infections.
Spain has over 24,000 confirmed deaths from the new virus.
ATHENS, Greece — Hundreds of protesters gathered in central Athens and the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki to mark May Day, despite appeals from the government for May Day marches and commemorations to be postponed until next Saturday, when some lockdown measures will have been lifted.
Hundreds of members of the Communist Party-backed PAME union gathered in both cities today morning, wearing masks and gloves and standing two meters apart. The union released photos showing organizers using measuring tape and square colored stickers to lay out the exact positions where protesters could stand for the rally in central Athens, outside Parliament.
This year, May Day is being celebrated “under the special, difficult circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic, but with our sight turned to the day after,” Communist Party head Dimitris Koutsoumbas said during the rally. The main issue for after the pandemic, he said, was the dilemma of “socialism or barbarity. We answer socialism. A new, fair society is needed, with the working classes, the people, truly in power.”
Dozens of other unions also planned marches or commemorations, with demonstrators generally using masks and maintaining distance from each other.
Separately, police were out in force today to ensure Greeks don’t head out to the countryside, a tradition for May Day. Lockdown measures are to be eased on Monday, but remain in force for the holiday weekend. Violators face 150 euro fines.
JOHANNESBURG — A holiday atmosphere enlivened South Africa’s streets as the May Day public holiday is also when the country has begun easing its strict lockdown.
For the first time in five weeks, people were permitted to walk outside for exercise between 6 a.m. and 9 a.m., and thousands, with mandated facemasks and keeping distance, were out walking through the streets.
Some South Africans will be able to return to work in small batches and many businesses will resume limited operations. Many factories can resume operations in phases, starting with only a third of employees allowed to return and must abide by distancing and other guidelines.
Public transport, including trains and buses, will begin operating with a restricted number of passengers. Even with the easing, South Africa’s lockdown remains strict, with no sales of liquor and cigarettes permitted.
Ordinarily, South Africa marks May Day with rallies by trade unions and political parties, but these are not possible because of the lockdown regulations.
“We want to take this opportunity to pay special dedication to our frontline health workers who are confronting this virus on daily basis in this difficult time,” said Jacob Khawe, secretary in Johannesburg of the ruling African National Congress party.
MOSCOW — Russia registered almost 8,000 new coronavirus cases today in yet another record daily spike, bringing the total to 114,431. The number of cases is likely to be much higher as not everyone gets tested, and tests in Russia were reported to be only 70-80 percent accurate.
In at least five Russian regions, health officials registered a surge of pneumonia cases. In Moscow, which accounts for half of all virus cases, all respiratory infections are likely to be caused by the coronavirus, according to the public health agency Rospotrebnadzor.
On Thursday, Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin announced testing positive for the new virus and temporarily stepping back from running the Cabinet.
COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said today that “where we stand now means not everyone can return to work as they did before the corona crisis.”
The Scandinavian country has slowly reopened by allowing some classes to return to school and hairdressers, physiotherapists and tattoo parlors, among others, as well as courts of law to reopen. Frederiksen, a Social Democrat, said details of phase two of the reopening of Denmark would be announced “just before May 10.”
In neighboring Norway, Jonas Gahr Stoere, head of Norway’s Labour Party which is the opposition, said in a May Day speech that “instead of gathering in the squares around the country and proudly parade with flags and band music, many of us will sit in front of a screen and follow the May 1 events online.”
Gahr Stoere said “we are in the midst of a crisis that is hitting hard and wide.”
ATHENS, Greece — Protesters have begun gathering in central Athens for traditional May Day marches, despite authorities’ pleas to unions to move their demonstrations to next week, after lockdown measures begin easing.
More than 100 people from the communist party-affiliated PAME union gathered in Athens’s main Syntagma Square, outside Parliament. Holding banners and red flags, and most wearing masks and gloves, the protesters stood roughly two meters (6.5 feet) apart from each other as they waited for the march to begin.
“The symbolic events for May Day being organized as always by the labor unions, with all necessary protection measures, with them wearing masks and maintaining the necessary distance between them, do not constitute a danger for everything the people have won until today by adhering to the restrictive measures” of the lockdown, the Communist Party said in an announcement.
Greek authorities have repeatedly warned people that this year, May Day will have to be different, saying the lockdown measures due to be partially lifted starting Monday are still very much in effect. Civil Protection Deputy Minister Nikos Hardalias has stressed Greeks will not be able to go on countryside trips as they frequently do, and he appealed to trade unions to transfer their usual May Day marches to the first Saturday after lockdown restrictions have been eased.
“We welcome May Day with truly spring weather. Like during Easter, we will spend (the day) differently,” Hardalias said during his daily briefing Thursday. “Either at home, or with a walk near it …. I repeat that trips far from our permanent residence is not allowed. We are not allowed to go to our country home, certainly not to our village.”
But unions were to go ahead anyway with more than a dozen marches or commemorations planned, especially in central Athens.
CANBERRA, Australia — China’s warning of trade repercussions from Australia’s campaign for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic has rattled Australian business leaders as U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration urges other governments to back such a probe.
China has accused Australia of parroting the United States in its call for an inquiry independent of the World Health Organization to determine the origins of COVID-19 and how the world responded.
Chinese Ambassador Cheng Jingye used an Australian newspaper interview this week to warn that pursuing an inquiry could spark a Chinese consumer boycott.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has defended Australia and urges other countries to demand transparency.
LONDON — Ryanair has announced plans to slash as many as 3,000 jobs and close bases in Europe amid the collapse of travel due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The group announced a restructuring program today that included plans for unpaid leave and pay cuts of as much as 20 percent.
The budget airline says will operate less than 1 percent of its flights from April to June and that passenger numbers will not return to 2019 levels “until summer 2022 at the earliest.”
The airline group also says it is “active negotiations” with Boeing to cut the number of planned aircraft deliveries over the next 24 months.
NEW DELHI — India has registered another daily high in coronavirus cases, with nearly 2,000 recorded in the past 24 hours.
India’s Health Ministry said today the 1,993 new cases and 73 more deaths bring the country’s totals to 35,043 with 1,147 deaths.
The government is due to decide the future of its 40-day lockdown on Sunday. It allowed migrant workers and other stranded people to resume their journeys on Wednesday, as well as some shops to reopen and manufacturing and farming to resume.