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Coronavirus update: Brits told to prepare to commute by foot and Kawasaki syndrome kills three children in New York


After a dramatic decrease in COVID-19 infections and deaths, Spain is preparing to reopen from tomorrow.

Just over 51 per cent of the population lives in areas deemed by the Government eligible to move to this ‘Phase 1’ of lockdown easing.

The British Government has conceded that its public transport system, as it operates now, is not suitable for a post-COVID future.

It announced it would invest 2 billion pounds in new cycle and walkway infrastructure to encourage workers to avoid public transport and driving.

Three children in New York have died after being diagnosed with Kawasaki syndrome and COVID-19.

The syndrome is common in children under six, commonly boys, and can lead to swelling of blood vessels and heart complications.

Sunday’s top stories:

Half of Spain to reopen from Monday

A crowd of people walk on a footpath
Spain remains one of the hardest-hit countries with a cumulative total of cases exceeding 222,000.(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

Some 51 per cent of Spain’s population will progress to Phase 1 of a four-step easing plan on Monday after the Government decided the regions in which they lived met the necessary criteria.

In regions that made the cut, such as the Canary and Balearic Islands, bars, restaurants and shops will open at reduced capacity, and museums, gyms and hotels will open their doors for the first time in nearly two months.

The country’s two biggest cities — Madrid and Barcelona — do not currently meet the criteria for easing and will remain on Phase 0.

Emergency Health Chief Fernando Simon on Saturday urged Spaniards not to think of it “as a race” and said it was possible Madrid would be ready to move onto the next stage within a week.

Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus fell to 179 on Saturday, down from 229 the previous day and a fraction of highs above 900 seen in early April.

A national period of mourning will be called once the whole country had passed to Phase 1.

Majority of commuters in Britain could be walking or cycling

Roadway cycle path; cycleway; cyclist, pedestrian generic
Trials of e-scooters will be fast-tracked throughout the UK.(ABC News: Dan Cox)

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has announced a 2 billion pound ($4 billion) investment in physically distant transport methods as the Government concedes its public transport system cannot go back to pre-COVID normality.

Mr Shapps acknowledged the transport network would play a “critical role” as the UK moves to the next stage of the pandemic.

With social distancing in place there would only be effective capacity for one in 10 passengers on many parts of the network, so many more people will need to walk and cycle to get the country back to work and prevent roads becoming gridlocked with cars, Mr Shapps said.

The package includes the rapid installation of pop-up bike lanes, wider pavements for pedestrians and cycle and bus-only streets.

Three New York children die from syndrome possibly linked to COVID-19

Three children have now died in New York state from a possible complication linked to the coronavirus involving swollen blood vessels and heart problems.

At least 73 children in New York have been diagnosed with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease — a rare inflammatory condition in children — and toxic shock syndrome. Most of them are toddlers and primary school age children.

There is no proof that the virus specifically causes the syndrome.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the children had tested positive for COVID-19 or the antibodies but did not show the common symptoms of the virus when they were hospitalised.

“This is the last thing that we need at this time, with all that is going on, with all the anxiety we have, now for parents to have to worry about whether or not their youngster was infected,” Mr Cuomo said at his daily briefing.

At least 3,000 US children are diagnosed with Kawasaki disease each year. It is most common in children younger than 6 and in boys.

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