From crowded informal settlements to conservation areas teeming with wildlife, cottage industries have popped up around the globe producing and distributing face masks for frontline workers, taxi drivers, market sellers and more, Kate Hodal reports.
Usually comprised of two fabric layers with a disposable filter, mask-making enterprises are stoking local economies and helping communities. Read the full story here –
Singapore’s health ministry has confirmed 344 more coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 31,960, Reuters reports.
The lower number of cases on Monday is partly due to fewer tests being conducted, the ministry said in a statement.
It said the vast majority of the newly infected people were migrant workers living in dormitories, adding that four were Singaporeans or permanent residents.
The often unsanitary dormitories that house migrant workers in Singapore have become a hotbed of infections in recent weeks. For background, read this report from the end of last month from the Guardian’s south-east Asia correspondent, Rebecca Ratcliffe.
Spain’s tourism minister has said this morning that foreigners can book vacations in Spain from July as the two-week self-quarantine for overseas travellers is likely to be suspended by then.
Spain – one of the worst-hit nations in the world from the coronavirus – has an economy that is heavily dependent on tourism. While it is gradually easing its strict lockdown measures, it has kept a quarantine for foreign visitors to try to prevent a second wave of infections.
“It is perfectly coherent to plan summer vacations to come to Spain in July,” Reyes Maroto said in an interview with the local radio station Onda Cero.
The country’s prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, said on Saturday the government would guarantee the safety of visitors and locals when they started to return from July. “Spain needs tourism, and tourism needs safety in both origin and destination,” he said.
Hello, I’m Frances Perraudin in London. I’ll be taking over the live blog for the morning. You can contact me with hints and tips on email@example.com and on twitter @fperraudin. Thanks for reading.
India has resumed domestic flights despite the country recording its biggest daily number of infections yet.
Here’s the full story from Amrit Dhillon.
Cummings ‘fatally’ undermines virus response, says government adviser
The pressure on Boris Johnson to sanction Dominic Cummings is already being ratcheted up after a member of the government’s advisory group on behavioural science told morning TV that the “debacle” has “fatally undermined” efforts to fight coronavirus.
Prof Stephen Reicher told Good Morning Britain:
If you look at the research it shows the reason why people observed lockdown was not for themselves, it wasn’t because they were personally at risk, they did it for the community, they did it because of a sense of ‘we’re all in this together’.
If you give the impression there’s one rule for them and one rule for us you fatally undermine that sense of ‘we’re all in this together’ and you undermine adherence to the forms of behaviour which have got us through this crisis.”
Reicher was reiterating criticism he voiced yesterday when he said Johnson’s defence of his favourite aide had “trashed” advice on how to build public consensus on following the rules of lockdown.
Germany enters recession in first quarter
Falling consumer spending, capital investments and exports pushed the German economy into a recession in the first three months of the year, the national statistics office said this morning, as the virus continued to hurt the major economies.
Capital investments slumped by 6.9%, private consumption by 3.2% and exports by 3.1% between January and March compared with the last three months of 2019.
100 writers call for an end to anti-Asian hostility
More than 100 prominent writers, including several top Asian American authors, have called for an end to a surge in anti-Asian hostility in the US which they say has been “egged on” during the pandemic by the Trump administration’s pandering to racist tropes.
The joint statement, co-ordinated by Pen America and the Asian American Writers’ Workshop (AAWW), comes at a time when hate crimes, violence and other attacks against Asians and Asian Americans are on the rise in the US. There have been numerous reports since early in the pandemic of Asian Americans being blamed for “bringing the virus” into the country and being told “go back to China”.
Asian stock markets have given back earlier gains amid concerns about growing US-Sino antagonism over the coronavirus crisis and trade.
Hong Kong has slumped 1.4% to a two-month low after sinking 5.5% on Friday.
The London stock market is closed today for the spring bank holiday but other European bourses are in business. Here are the opening calls.
Lockdown gives asylum seekers reprieve and hope for change in policy
Clare Considine reports for the Guardian:
As Britain takes its first small steps out of lockdown, there is one group of people quietly wishing that it wouldn’t.
For many asylum seekers, the two-month hiatus has meant reprieve. Freed from detention centres, liberated from the threat of imminent deportation and no longer obliged to report to the Home Office, many have welcomed the relief. And all this at a time when the general population have learned something of what it is like to live with severe curbs on civil liberties:
That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan, on a chilly and wet Sydney evening. I’m off to gently encourage some rather large insects seeking shelter in my house to rediscover their love of the great outdoors – and not so gently encourage others.
Thank you for for following along, and, as always, to those who got in touch.
The parts of Spain already in or entering Phase 1 today, according to El Pais, include:
“The regions of Madrid, Castilla y León and Valencia, as well as most of Catalonia and the provinces of Ciudad Real, Toledo, Albacete, Granada and Málaga.”
Those entering Phase 2 are:
“The Canary and Balearic Islands, Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, the Basque Country, La Rioja, Navarre, Aragón, Extremadura, Guadalajara, Cuenca, Murcia, all of Andalusia apart from Málaga y Granada, Terres de l’Ebre (Tarragona), Camp de Tarragona (Tarragona), Alt Pirineu-Aran (Lleida), and the Spanish exclave cities of Ceuta and Melilla in North Africa.”
Spain enters Phase 1 of eased restrictions today
Spain is easing lockdown restrictions today, with the country entering Phase 1 of the relaxed restrictions, while some parts will enter Phase 2, which is more relaxed.
The El Pais newspaper has detailed the differences between the two phases:
Under this stage of the deescalation plan, building work in properties that are being lived in will no longer be prohibited, while the opening of shopping malls will be made more flexible. Stores in malls will be able to open provided that they measure under 400 square meters, or they demarcate an area of that size for customers. They will also require an independent, direct access point from outside of the shopping mall in which they are located.
Museums will be able to decide how many people to let in, within a range of 30% to 50% of normal capacity.
Local councils will be able to establish access limits and control the number of people on beaches in order to guarantee a two-meter distance can be observed, as well as establishing time limits both on the sand and in car parks. The order specifies that access to beaches must always be free of charge. To calculate the maximum capacity of a beach, each bather is considered to occupy approximately four square meters.
Thailand confirmed two new coronavirus cases and one additional death on Monday, a health ministry spokesman said.
The new numbers brought the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,042 and deaths to 57 since the outbreak began in January, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the Covid-19 Administration Centre.
More than 96% of the patients, or 2,928 people, have recovered, he said.
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UK front pages
Boris Johnson’s defence of Dominic Cummings has dominated the front pages of the UK’s media landscape, with newspapers taking varied lines on the prime minister’s decision to excuse his senior aide’s lockdown breaches.
The Daily Mail – whose coverage usually backs the prime minister and his government – has taken a particularly strong line against Johnson, simply asking: “What planet are they on?” The Telegraph has stuck closer to its usual pro-Conservative position, quoting Johnson’s defence of his senior aide.
Nightclubs in China have mostly come back to life as owners and customers feel increasingly comfortable the novel coronavirus epidemic is under control, but disinfectant, disposable cups and masks have become part of the experience, Reuters reports.
At 44KW, a club for electronic music lovers in the financial hub of Shanghai, customers sat, danced and mingled with little sign of social distancing on the weekend. The club re-opened in mid-March after closing for about six weeks, but it took a while for business to get back to normal.
“There really weren’t many clients as most people were quite worried about their safety,” said Charles Guo, founder of 44KW.
“Our client flow began to recover quickly towards the end of April”, Guo said, adding that business was back to last year’s average levels by mid-May.
But not everything is like the old days: the club checks the temperature of every customer and gets them to register their details. Staff, including bouncers, bartenders and waiters wear masks and gloves all the time. Customers don’t have to wear masks but many do. Some glasses have been replaced with plastic cups and the club has installed hand sanitizer dispensers throughout. Door handles and toilets are disinfected every hour while the entire club is disinfected every day before and after opening, Guo said.
Global report: US suspends travel from Brazil as school reopen in parts of Australia
President Donald Trump has further limited travel to the US from the world’s coronavirus hotspots by denying entry to foreigners coming from Brazil, which is second to the US in the number of confirmed cases.
Trump had already banned certain travellers from China, Europe, the United Kingdom and Ireland and, to a lesser extent, Iran. He has not moved to ban travel from Russia, which has the world’s third-highest caseload, approximately 20,000 fewer than Brazil’s.
The worsening situation in Latin America came as other nations started to emerge from coronavirus lockdown. Japan was expected to lift a state of emergency on Monday and India restarted domestic flights. Australia’s most populous state sent children back to school for the first time since the pandemic began.
The authorities in New South Wales deployed hundreds of crowd-control staff on Monday to enforce social distancing on public transport amid an expected commuter surge as schools and offices reopened and coronavirus cases fell.