Coronavirus map LIVE: China exploiting coronavirus for ‘brazen’ plot

Sign up for FREE now and never miss the top Royal stories again!

Invalid email

We will use your email address only for sending you newsletters. Please see our Privacy Notice for details of your data protection rights.

New data shows 116 peope have died in hospitals in England, 18 in Scotland, eight in Wales and none in Northern Ireland. It comes after China was accused of exploiting the coronavirus crisis, when the “world’s attention is elsewhere”, during to carry out a “brazen” and “aggressive power grab”, it has been warned. Thousands have already taken to the streets to protest against China’s proposed national security laws over fears it will trample on Hong Kong’s rights and freedoms. Former Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson warned the legislation, which aims to tackle secession, subversion and terrorist activities, “drives a cart and horses through international law”. She said Beijing would be “delighted” protests against the new extradition law have received “less prominence” due to a focus on the coronavirus outbreak.

Writing for the Daily Telegraph, she said: “What’s happening now is a far more brazen, more aggressive, more open flouting of international law.

“This week, the Communist Party of China submitted a draft resolution to its parliament. So far, so procedural. But the resolution seeks to impose a new national security law on the City of Hong Kong and the parliament – only ever a rubber stamping exercise – is sure to pass it.

“This week’s power play by China – while the world’s attention was elsewhere – drives a cart and horses through international law. It makes a mockery of the ‘One Country, Two Systems’ promises made to the people of Hong Kong as handover occurred.”

Thousands poured onto the streets of Hong Kong on Sunday in a mass protest against the laws.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd and arrested almost 200 people.

coronavirus latest

China has been accused of an ‘aggressive’ power grab during coronavirus (Image: GETTY )

It was the first major protest since pro-democracy demonstrations rocked Hong Kong last year over an unsuccessful plan to introduce an extradition law with China.

The unrest plunged the former British colony into its worst crisis since its return to Chinese rule in 1997.

More protests are expected in Hong Kong on Wednesday, against both national security laws and a bill due for a second reading in the city’s legislature that would criminalise abuse of China’s national anthem.

Ms Davidson added: “China will be delighted, however, that a world media buried deep in COVID coverage, has left such a move off the front pages and afforded it much less prominence than protests last year in response to new extradition law.

“But this is a far more egregious act and demands a swift and united response.”

FOLLOW EXPRESS.CO.UK BELOW FOR LIVE UPDATES

READ MORE: Durham Police issue new statement on Dominic Cummings incident

2.10pm update: UK death toll update

New data shows 116 peope have died in hospitals in England, 18 in Scotland, eight in Wales and none in Northern Ireland.

This marks a sharp drop in Tuesday figures. On May 19 there were 227 deaths, on May 12 there were 425, on May 5 there were 453, on April 28 there were 653 and on April 21 there were 873. 

The total figure including deaths outside hospitals will be updated later. 

1.04pm update: Downing Street backs Cummings

Downing Street has reiterated its support for Dominic Cummings over allegations he breached the lockdown.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “From the Prime Minister’s point of view, he has set out that he believes Dominic Cummings acted reasonably, legally and with integrity and with care for his family and for others.”

12.37am update: Scotland coronavirus deaths 

Nicola Sturgeon said a total of 2,291 patients have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, up by 18 from 2,273 on Monday.

The First Minister said 15,185 people have tested positive for the virus in Scotland, up by 29 from 15,156 the day before.

There are 1,200 people in hospital with confirmed or suspected Covid-19, a decrease of 69.

Of these, 36 were in intensive care, a fall of four.

11.18am update: Leo Varadkar attacked over picnic in the park

Leo Varadkar has been forced to defend himself after pictures surfaced of him enjoying a picnic in a Dublin park on Sunday – despite a senior civil servant days earlier advising people not to do so.

Ireland’s Taoiseach was subjected to a barrage of criticism after he, his partner Matthew Barrett and friends were photographed at the Wellington Monument in Phoenix Park.

In a statement issued last night, Mr Varadkar’s spokesman said: “Last Sunday afternoon, he and his partner met two friends in the Phoenix Park. 

“As is allowed in Phase One, this involved a group of four people meeting outdoors who were within 5km of home and stayed physically apart.

“Government guidelines allow people to spend time in the outdoors within 5km of their home while continuing to observe social distancing and good hygiene.

“There are no specific Government guidelines on eating outdoors or picnics.”

Coronavirus latest

Boris Johnson announced the next phase of the coronavirus lockdown (Image: GETTY )

10.47am update: Did Dominic Cummings predict killer virus outbreak a year ago?

Dominic Cummings may have predicted the outbreak of coronavirus which is threatening to turn into a full-blown global pandemic, warning a full year ago of the risk of a deadly pathogen escaping from a top-security lab and “killing human beings on a vast scale”. 

10.14am update: Express.co.uk poll – VOTE HERE

Dominic Cummuings has defended travelling to Durham from London during the coronavirus lockdown, claiming he believed he acted “reasonably”. Do you think he made a mistake? VOTE HERE

9.35am update: BREAKING: Government mininister resigns over Cummings’ row

Douglas Ross, the Under Secretary of State for Scotland, said on Tuesday that he was quitting after hearing Mr Cummings’ efforts to defend his trip from London to Durham.

Mr Ross said he could not “in good faith” tell his constituents who could not care for sick relatives or say goodbye to dying ones while obeying lockdown rules that Mr Cummings acted appropriately.

coronavirus latest

Boris Johnson announced shops would open from June (Image: PA)

9.07am update: Russia records record death toll 

Russia said on Tuesday 174 people with the coronavirus had died in the past 24 hours, a record one-day amount that pushed the nationwide death toll to 3,807.

Officials reported 8,915 new cases on Tuesday, pushing its overall case tally to 362,342.

8.53am update: Spain calls on EU for cross-border movement 

Spain on Tuesday urged its EUon partners to set up common rules to open borders and reestablish the freedom of travel Schengen Area as different national coronavirus lockdowns are phased out.

Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez told Cadena Ser radio station: “We have to work with our European partners to define the common rules that will allow us retake freedom of movement on European territory.”

Even though EU countries have set different dates for reopening borders, there must be common principles and rules throughout the Schengen Area to open internal borders and set up rules for external borders, she said.

8.36am update: EU shares hover near 11-week high 

European shares hovered near a 11-week high on Tuesday, with UK markets surging after a long weekend, as businesses worldwide gradually reopened following a months-long lockdown.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 1% by 0708 GMT after hitting its highest level since March 10.

Returning from a bank holiday, UK’s FTSE 100 surged 1.9 percent as Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday Britain will reopen thousands of high street shops, department stores and shopping centres next month.

8.12am update: Cummings is ‘man of integrity’ 

Michael Gove said Dominic Cummings acted reasonably by travelling to northern England during the coronavirus lockdown and is a man of integrity. 

Mr Gove, a long-term ally of Cummings, said he did not break the letter of the government’s coronavirus lockdown guidelines and was simply trying to look after his wife and 4-year-old son.

He told the BBC: “Dominic completely understands the sense of concern people have felt as this story broke.

“Most people will understand that he was under pressure and sought to put the health of his wife and son first. He is a man of honour and integrity.”

coronavirus latest

Coronavirus cases live (Image: EXPRESS)

7.45am update: Michael Gove defends Dominic Cummings

Michael Gove said Dominic Cummings’ account of his trip to Durham was “exhaustive, detailed and verifiable”.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office told BBC Breakfast this morning: “I think Dominic completely understands the sense of concern people felt as the story broke.

“I think the account he gave yesterday was exhaustive, it was detailed, it was verifiable. I think people will make their own mind up as they listened to Dominic’s account.

“I think most people will understand he was under pressure, and sought to put the health of his wife and son first, and took care to ensure they as a family unit were not in danger of infecting other people.”

7.38am update: Ex-police chief frustrations over Cummings

Former Greater Manchester Police chief constable Sir Peter Fahy said officers are “frustrated” by the Dominic Cummings case, adding it is difficult to see the police’s role in controlling lockdown.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There’s a lot of confusion and it feels like there’s quite a gap between the public narrative and narrative of ministers about the lockdown and what’s happening on the street.

“I think it’s quite hard to see the role the police have in the future – the rules about the reasons for travel are now very confused, when you see the crowds on Bournemouth and Southend beaches and other places yesterday it’s hard to see what role the police have in trying to control that.”

7.58am update: Germany plans to ease social disatancing 

Germany plans to ease social distancing steps from June 29, a week earlier than previously planned, and aims to lift a travel warning for 31 European countries from mid-June, German media have reported..

The 16 state premiers will try on Wednesday to agree with Mrs Merkel on the way forward, balancing the need to revive Europe’s biggest economy, facing its deepest recession since World War Two, with protecting public health.

Mrs Merkel has urged caution and warned of a new wave of infections.

However, citing a draft document still to be approved by the regions, the Bild daily said Mrs Merkel, under pressure from state premiers, had agreed to bring forward the date that social distancing should be relaxed to June 29 from July 5.

7.45am update: Michael Gove defends Dominic Cummings

Michael Gove said Dominic Cummings’ account of his trip to Durham was “exhaustive, detailed and verifiable”.

The Minister for the Cabinet Office told BBC Breakfast this morning: “I think Dominic completely understands the sense of concern people felt as the story broke.

“I think the account he gave yesterday was exhaustive, it was detailed, it was verifiable. I think people will make their own mind up as they listened to Dominic’s account.

“I think most people will understand he was under pressure, and sought to put the health of his wife and son first, and took care to ensure they as a family unit were not in danger of infecting other people.”

7.38am update: Ex-police chief frustrations over Cummings

Former Greater Manchester Police chief constable Sir Peter Fahy said officers are “frustrated” by the Dominic Cummings case, adding it is difficult to see the police’s role in controlling lockdown.

He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “There’s a lot of confusion and it feels like there’s quite a gap between the public narrative and narrative of ministers about the lockdown and what’s happening on the street.

“I think it’s quite hard to see the role the police have in the future – the rules about the reasons for travel are now very confused, when you see the crowds on Bournemouth and Southend beaches and other places yesterday it’s hard to see what role the police have in trying to control that.”

Read More

Related Posts

Leave a comment