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Nick Kyrgios takes on Boris Becker over Zverev’s apparent coronavirus quarantine breach


Nick Kyrgios has dismissed Boris Becker as a “doughnut” after being branded a rat by the tennis legend for calling out the antics of German ace Alexander Zverev.

Videos emerged on Monday of Zverev partying in Monaco just days after being swept up in Novak Djokovic’s Adria Tour debacle.

Zverev had pledged to self-isolate after featuring in the ill-fated tour that led to Djokovic, his wife, three more players and other members of their various entourage testing positive to coronavirus following a stint at a Belgrade nightclub.

A stunned Kyrgios labelled Zverev selfish and called the world number seven out on social media.

But Becker was none too happy with the Canberran’s take-down.

“We all live in the pandemic called #Covid_19 ! It’s terrible and it killed to many lives…we should protect our families/loved ones and follow the guidelines but still don’t like #rats @NickKyrgios @farfetch.”

Kyrgios was quick to strike back.

“Rats? For holding someone accountable? Strange way to think of it champion, I’m just looking out for people. WHEN my family and families all over the world have respectfully done the right thing. And you have a goose waving his arms around, imma say something,” he replied before following up with a second serve.

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“Boris Becker is a bigger doughnut than I thought. Can hit a volley, obviously not the sharpest tool in the shed though.”

The slanging match continued with Becker, a six-times grand slam champion and former world number one, saying: ‘Your funny guy ….how is it down under? Respect all the guidelines?”

“Haha nah bro I’m good, don’t act like you’re my friend now because you got sat down,” Kyrgios tweeted.

Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Grigor Dimitrov and Dominic Thiem stand arm in arm for a photo
Alexander Zverev (L) promised to self-isolate after playing in the Adria Cup event, but the German was then seen partying in Monaco.(AP: Darko Vojinovic)

Zverev had been widely condemned after being filmed dancing in a crowded room in Monaco, prompting Kyrgios to take the 22-year-old to task on Instagram.

“So I wake up and I see more controversial things happening all over the world, but one that stuck out for me was seeing Zverev again man, again, again, how selfish can you be? How selfish can you be?” Kyrgios said.

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Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford campaign makes British Prime Minister Boris Johnson restore children’s food vouchers


Marcus Rashford is famous in Britain as one of the young stars of the Premier League, but the 22-year-old has scored a vital goal off the pitch, forcing the British Government to restore funding for free meals for children.

The young man who grew up as one of five children of a hard-working single mother in Manchester’s Wythenshawe area now earns an estimated 10 million pounds ($18 million) a year playing for one of the world’s biggest clubs.

But he has never forgotten his roots, and when Britain was forced into lockdown this year due to the coronavirus, Rashford began to use his platform to raise awareness and money for those in need.

He worked with poverty and food waste charity FareShare to help raise 20 million pounds ($36 million) to provide food for children who would have been eligible for free meals if still at school.

The campaign is helping to provide three million meals a week across the United Kingdom.

But there was still a large gap between the needs of hungry kids and the ability for charities to provide.

At the weekend, Rashford took his campaign one step further, writing an open letter to members of the British Parliament — his post on Twitter was retweeted more than 157,000 times.

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“My story to get here is all too familiar for families in England: my mum worked full-time, earning minimum wage to make sure we always had a good evening meal on the table,” he wrote.

“As a family, we relied on breakfast clubs, free school meals and the kind actions of neighbours and coaches.

“Food banks and soup kitchens were not alien to us; I recall very clearly our visits to Northern Moor to collect our Christmas dinners every year.”

Rashford spoke of getting “thousands of insights” from parents trying to cope amid COVID-19.

“[I have listened to] schoolteachers who are personally covering the cost of food packages for their vulnerable families after the school debit card had been maxed out; mothers who can’t cover the cost of increased electricity and food bills during the lockdown, and parents who are sacrificing their own meals for their children.”

He urged the Government to reconsider its decision to cancel the existing food voucher system over the summer holidays to 1.3 million children from lower-income families.

“As a black man from a low-income family in Wythenshawe, Manchester, I could have been just another statistic,” he wrote.

“Instead, due to the selfless actions of my mum, my family, my neighbours, and my coaches, the only stats I’m associated with are goals, appearances and caps.

A Premier League striker extends his leg after shooting the ball in mid-air, scoring a goal.
Marcus Rashford has scored 41 goals in 133 games for Manchester United.(AP: Jon Super, File photo)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson initially resisted, but the Government gave in on Tuesday and said it would continue to provide food vouchers over the six-week summer break.

When schools were shut down in March, the voucher program was set up to help ensure children did not go hungry. Vouchers worth 15 pounds ($27.40) were given to spend each week in supermarkets.

The Government said it would continue the program over the summer in England at a cost of 120 million pounds ($219 million). Authorities in Scotland and Wales have similar plans.

Until Tuesday, Mr Johnson’s Conservative Government had refused to budge, pointing out that it had earmarked an extra 63 million pounds ($115 million) for local authorities to support vulnerable families.

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But Rashford’s campaign quickly picked up steam, backed by celebrities, opposition politicians and even some Conservative MPs.

After the announcement, Rashford tweeted: “I don’t even know what to say. Just look at what we can do when we come together, THIS is England in 2020.”

Mr Johnson said he had spoken to Rashford to congratulate and thank him.

“We have to understand the pressures families are under right now and that’s why we’ve responded as we have,” Mr Johnson said.

Rashford is not the only young star working to help those in need during the pandemic.

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His teammate Jesse Lingard has taken part in charity FIFA tournaments to raise money for Britain’s National Health Service (NHS).

Lately, as Britain moves to require people to wear face masks to limit the spread of COVID-19, Lingard has created new 12-pound “JLingz” masks, with all proceeds going to provide funds for the NHS.

Rashford’s achievement in forcing the policy change drew praise from the worlds of sport and politics.

Anne Longfield, England’s Children’s Commissioner, thanked Rashford for highlighting “the blight of holiday hunger”.

Manchester United’s official Twitter account said: “A hero. An inspiration. One of our own. We are so proud of you, Marcus Rashford.”

Premier League chief executive Richard Masters praised Rashford’s perseverance.

“It’s a really important and heart-moving cause so I offer my congratulations to him,” Masters said.

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In a statement, Rashford thanked British MPs for listening.

“This was never about me or you, this was never about politics, this was a cry out for help from vulnerable parents all over the country and I simply provided a platform for their voices to be heard,” he wrote.

“I stand proud today knowing that we have listened, and we have done what is right.”

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Boris Johnson eases lockdown for most of Britain; US unemployment climbs by 41m; global cases top 5.9 million


President Donald Trump weighed in on the figure a day later via Twitter, calling it “a very sad milestone” and extending condolences to the victims’ loved ones.

The US unemployment rate was 14.7 per cent in April, a level not seen since the Depression, and many economists expect it will be near 20 per cent in May.

First-time applications for unemployment have fallen for eight straight weeks, as states gradually let shops, restaurants, salons, gyms and other businesses reopen and the auto industry starts up its factories again.

“The decline in continuing claims is encouraging, signalling at least some people are finding jobs or are being rehired as the economy is reopening,” said Rubeela Farooqi, chief US economist at High Frequency Economics, a consulting firm.

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Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s top adviser, refuses to resign over lockdown travel


Dominic Cummings, the mastermind of Brexit who openly scorned the British elite, is fighting for his job as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser after claims he flouted the Government’s coronavirus lockdown rules.

Mr Cummings has made a name for himself by deriding what he sees as the arrogant and inefficient British governing class.

But it was the alleged flouting of the Government’s lockdown rules — which he helped craft — for at least one 400-kilometre journey that may ultimately seal his fate.

Mr Cummings travelled to his parents’ home in north-east England during the nationwide lockdown with his wife and son when he may have had COVID-19.

Mr Johnson’s office said in a statement that Mr Cummings made the trip because his wife was showing coronavirus symptoms, he thought he was likely to also get sick, and relatives had offered to help look after the couple’s young son.

It said Mr Cummings stayed in a house “near to but separate from” his extended family.

The UK’s lockdown, which began March 23, stipulated that people should remain at their primary residence, leaving only for essential local errands and exercise.

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Mr Cummings, who has repeatedly refused to resign, entered Downing Street on Sunday (local time) after some Conservative Party politicians demanded he quit.

Conservative MPs Steve Baker, Simon Hoare and Damian Collins called for Mr Cummings’ resignation on Sunday.

“It is intolerable that Boris’s Government is losing so much political capital,” Mr Baker wrote on Twitter.

“Dominic Cummings must go.”

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Fellow Conservative MP Damian Collins said Mr Cummings, “has a track record of believing that the rules don’t apply to him and treating the scrutiny that should come to anyone in a position of authority with contempt”.

Other prominent British figures have resigned after breaking lockdown rules.

Epidemiologist Neil Ferguson quit as a member of the Government’s scientific advisory group after he was visited at home by his girlfriend.

Scotland’s chief medical officer, Catherine Calderwood, stepped down after she was caught making two trips to her second home.

two men walk out of a doorway
Dominic Cummings is UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser.(AP: Matt Dunham)

On Saturday (local time), when asked if he would resign, Mr Cummings said he acted responsibly and legally and scolded reporters outside his house for getting the 2016 Brexit referendum wrong.

“Obviously not,” he said of resignation.

“You guys are probably all about as right about that as you were about Brexit: do you remember how right you all were about that?” Mr Cummings said.

The United Kingdom has the worst official COVID-19 death toll in Europe.

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UK government defends controversial aide to Boris Johnson over lockdown breach; Australian death toll stands at 102


“If they can’t manage a program like JobKeeper … then there has got to be a great question mark over how they’ll manage the economic recovery,” Mr Albanese said.

Sadly, a man in his 60s has died in a Victorian hospital from COVID-19, bringing the national COVID-19 toll to 102.

Victoria recorded 10 new cases on Saturday, but they are not believed to be linked to outbreaks at the Cedar Meats abattoir, Fawkner McDonald’s, or aged care facilities. However, investigations are still under way.

“It may be that (Saturday’s new) cases are linked to some of these outbreaks – these results often come in quite late at night and so it does require quite a bit of investigating sometimes to link back into other outbreaks or known cases,” deputy chief health officer Annaliese van Diemen said yesterday.

Nine people are currently in hospital in Victoria, including three in intensive care.

NSW recorded just three new cases yesterday, but the state’s health minister Brad Hazzard wants more people to come forward to be tested.

“As we try to relax the restrictions that we have lived under for the past two months, it is crucial, absolutely crucial, that people come forward for testing if they have the slightest hint of any respiratory issues at all,” he told reporters in Sydney.

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Coronavirus update: South Korean nightclub outbreak grows, West Wing staff told to wear masks as Donald Trump chooses not to, Boris Johnson reveals more about plan


Health authorities in South Korea have started using credit card and phone records to track down people who have visited Seoul’s nightclub district and urge them to get tested for COVID-19, as the number of cases linked to an outbreak there surpassed 100.

In Australia, New South Wales has gone a full day without adding any cases for the first time, Victoria has announced all students will be back to school by June and Josh Frydenberg has given details of the “sobering” economic impact of the crisis.

This story is being updated throughout Tuesday. You can also listen to the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.

Tuesday’s top stories

Zero cases in a day for the first time in NSW

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, New South Wales has recorded zero new infections in a day.

More than 6,000 people were tested in the 24 hours to 8:00pm yesterday.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian joked there was “fortunately not a lot to report on today” at her daily briefing.

This morning, Victoria announced 17 additional cases of coronavirus. Eight of those were linked to the outbreak at the Cedar Meats Australia abattoir in Melbourne’s west.

Queensland announced six additional cases. However, Health Minister Steven Miles said all of those cases were diagnosed in other states.

Four of the cases were diagnosed in Victoria and involved passengers of the Coral Princess, while the other two were diagnosed in Western Australia.

Western Australia recorded one new case of coronavirus. The 47-year-old man had been working at the Pan Pacific Hotel, where international arrivals have been quarantining.

South Korean nightclub outbreak surpasses 100 cases

Signs posted on a closed door with messages such as 'NO POWER DANCE - YOU ARE STILL HOT'
South Korea advised nightclubs and similar entertainment venues to close for a month on Friday, after the outbreak was first reported.(AP: Ahn Young-joon)

The number of coronavirus cases linked to an outbreak involving several Seoul nightclubs has surpassed 100.

Seoul’s Mayor, Park Won-soon, said 64 of the 101 cases detected as of 10:00am on Tuesday (local time) came from Seoul.

The city is asking anyone who visited any clubs or bars in the Itaewon entertainment district between April 24 and May 6 to get tested for COVID-19.

More than 8,500 police officers have been deployed nationwide to track down thousands of people who were listed as customers of the Itaewon clubs and bars linked to infections but have been out of contact, according to Health Ministry official Yoon Tae-ho.

Health workers are also using credit card and phone records to track down Itaewon visitors. Mr Park said the city sent text messages to some 10,900 people urging them to get tested after receiving data from police and mobile phone operators that showed they used their devices in the area.

He said more than 7,200 people had been tested so far.

Frydenberg gives details of massive economic impact of crisis

Josh Frydenberg speaks at the despatch box.
The Federal Government has allocated $230 billion for stimulus measures.(ABC News: Nick Haggarty)

Treasurer Josh Frydenberg has delivered a “sobering” statement to Parliament on how the pandemic has reshaped Australia’s economic outlook.

On what should have been budget day, Mr Frydenberg said the underlying cash deficit at the end of March was $22.4 billion. That is almost $10 billion higher than the Government forecast in December’s mid-year budget update.

Tax receipts were $11.3 billion below December’s expectations.

The Government has allocated more than $230 billion in stimulus measures in response to the coronavirus crisis.

Last year, the Government pledged it would deliver a surplus this financial year. However, the largest deficit in Australian history is now expected when the Budget is released in October.

White House says everyone in West Wing must wear masks

A US Secret Service member wears a protective face while standing next to a door
A US Secret Service member wears a protective face mask on the West Wing colonnade.(Reuters: Kevin Lamarque)

The White House is requiring everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask or face covering after coronavirus scares near US President Donald Trump.

However, the memo apparently doesn’t apply to Mr Trump, who has refrained from wearing a mask in private and in public, most recently at a White House press conference today.

The memo sent to all staff outlined the new directive after two staffers last week tested positive for COVID-19.

Staff will be allowed to remove their face coverings if they sit at least six feet (1.8 metres) apart from their colleagues.

Speaking about the White House infections at his latest press briefing, Mr Trump said everyone entering his office gets tested and he felt “no vulnerability whatsoever“.

Mr Trump said there had been no breakdown in the White House system.

‘I’m personally terrified’: NT health officer worried about potential for outbreaks

NT Chief Health Officer Hugh Heggie stands behind NT Health Minister Natasha Fyles.
Hugh Heggie said authorities would monitor the situation as restrictions ease.(ABC News: Hamish Harty)

The Northern Territory’s chief health officer Hugh Heggie says he is “personally terrified” ahead of the reopening of cafes, restaurants and gyms from May 15.

Dr Heggie said the Territory needed to be prepared for the potential for an outbreak of coronavirus, saying that authorities would be “monitoring” the situation.

He said it was important that people continue to mitigate the risk — “not reduce it altogether” — through measures including physical distancing, hand hygiene, staying home when unwell, and staying within your social network.

Just one new case confirmed in China

A small girl, wearing a face mask, waves in front of Shanghai Disneyland, supported by her mother.
Shanghai Disneyland reopened this week as China’s restrictions continued to ease.(AP: Sam McNeil)

China has reported just one new coronavirus case, after double-digit increases over the previous two days.

The new cases had prompted the suspension of a train service to one affected county in the north-eastern province of Jilin, with officials renewing their warnings to citizens to avoid becoming overconfident.

China has not reported a new death from the virus in almost a month, with its toll remaining at 4,633.

There have been 82,919 confirmed cases in the country since the virus was first detected in the central city of Wuhan late last year.

This week, Shanghai Disneyland opened its gates again to a limited number of visitors.

Back to school for students in Victoria

Children in school uniforms sit at desks, pictured from behind while a teacher stands in front of a whiteboard, face obscured.
All students will be back at school by June 9.(ABC: Jonathan Beal, file photo)

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has announced the return of face-to-face classes for prep, grade 1, grade 2 and year 12 students from May 26.

The rest of the students will go back to school on June 9.

Until then, children of essential workers can still attend classes if they cannot work from home, as has previously been the case.

Mr Andrews thanked parents for keeping their children at home and helping to “flatten the curve”.

Fauci says reopening US economy too soon could lead to ‘needless deaths’, New York Times reports

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci listens as President Donald Trump speaks
Anthony Fauci is set to address the US Senate’s Health Education, Labor and Pensions committee on Tuesday (local time).(AP: Patrick Semansky)

The face of the US response to coronavirus, Anthony Fauci, is set to warn the Senate that reopening the economy too soon could lead to “needless suffering and death”, according to a New York Times report.

“If we skip over the checkpoints in the guidelines to ‘Open America Again’, then we risk the danger of multiple outbreaks throughout the country,” the paper quoted Dr Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying.

“This will not only result in needless suffering and death, but would actually set us back on our quest to return to normal.”

The danger of trying to open the country prematurely is the major message Dr Fauci wants to convey to the Senate Health Education, Labor and Pensions committee on Tuesday, the report said.

Other US health officials have raised similar concerns, with recent figures showing a surge of cases in meat-packing and poultry-processing plants that are back to work across the country.

There has also been a spike of new infections among construction workers in Austin, Texas, where that sector recently returned to work.

“The people who are getting sick right now are generally people who are working,” Mark Escott, a regional health official, told Austin’s city council.

According to data compiled by the Associated Press, all 15 US counties with the highest per-capita infection rates between April 28 and May 5 are homes to meatpacking and poultry-processing plants or state prisons.

Tesla factory reopens in defiance of government order

Elon Musk smiles as he attends a forum in Hong Kong
Elon Musk has previously called stay-at-home measures “fascist”.(Reuters: Bobby Yip)

Tesla CEO Elon Musk says his company has restarted its factory in California in violation of local government orders.

He tweeted that he would be on the assembly line and asked that he be arrested if authorities take anyone into custody.

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Mr Musk said all other US auto companies had been approved to resume and that Tesla had been “singled out”.

He said the state of California had approved operations, but claimed “an unelected county official” had “illegally” overridden that approval.

The Tesla factory in Fremont employs 10,000 workers and had been closed since March 23 due to orders to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Russia announces it’s easing lockdown measures after record rise in cases

Grave diggers wearing protective suits bury a COVID-19 victim.
Russia has overtaken Italy’s total number of coronavirus cases.(AP: Dmitri Lovetsky)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered the gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures.

He was speaking after the country reported a daily record of 11,656 new cases. The surge has seen Russia overtake Italy to record the fourth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world.

Mr Putin said he would start lifting restrictions that had forced people to work from home and businesses to temporarily close, but said the change would be gradual.

Individual regions in the world’s largest country will also be required to tailor their approach to varying local conditions.

Moscow, for example, has said it will keep its own lockdown measures in place until May 31. More than half of all of Russia’s cases and deaths have been in the city.

Mass public events will remain banned and Russians aged 65 or over have been asked to stay at home.

UK Government announces more details of lockdown easing

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Footage shows London Underground trains packed with commuters

The UK Government has published a 50-page guidance document detailing how England will begin easing its lockdown measures.

People in England are being advised to wear face coverings in enclosed spaces where they come into contact with other people, like on public transport and in shops.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson first announced lockdown measures would be eased on Sunday (local time). The following morning, footage from the London Underground showed crowding on platforms.

The United Kingdom has the world’s second-highest COVID-19 death toll, at 32,141. After criticism that he was slow to impose a lockdown, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is wary of triggering a second wave of infection.

However, the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have made clear they do not share Mr Johnson’s approach and have rejected his new “stay alert” message, instead sticking with “stay at home”.

Some New York regions ready to reopen this week: Governor

Andrew Cuomo holds a protective mask to his face.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he wants to avoid opening the city too quickly and having to backtrack.(Reuters: Mike Segar)

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he expected several regions in the state to be able to begin a phased reopening as soon as this weekend after the stay-at-home order expires on May 15.

Low-risk businesses and activities including landscaping, tennis and drive-in theatres are also able to continue from this weekend.

He showed slides indicating that the Finger Lakes and Mohawk Valley regions met the criteria to reopen, adding that he wants to avoid reopening the city too quickly and having to backtrack.

The announcement comes after three children died in recent days from a rare inflammatory syndrome believed to be linked to coronavirus.

Queensland won’t allow conscientious objectors to play NRL without the flu shot

A rugby league player shapes to pass the ball during a training drill.
Bryce Cartwright began training with the rest of the Gold Coast Titans after refusing to have a flu shot.(AAP: Dave Hunt)

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer says NRL players who want to play in the competition but don’t want to receive a flu shot will need a medical exemption.

A number of players, including three Gold Coast Titans, have raised objections to getting flu shots based on personal reasons.

The NRL had changed its waiver form to allow those with a religious, medical or conscientious reason to play on without the vaccination, but state health authorities have the final say.

“I sent a letter to the NRL yesterday in which I did exempt them for medical contraindications, [which are] no different to the exemptions that I provide for children who are attending childcare or for people going into aged care,” Chief Health Officer Jeannette Young said.

Dr Young said the exemption did not apply to philosophical objections.

“No, that’s not covered,” she said.

India reports highest daily increase in cases

A man disinfects a door of a train in India.
Trains are set to restart for public transport in India, just as the nation records its largest number of daily infections.(Reuters: Rupak De Chowdhuri)

India reported its biggest daily increase in cases Monday as it prepares to gradually resume train service while easing its virus lockdown.

India’s train network was halted in late March as a lockdown was imposed on the country of 1.3 billion people.

When service restarts on Tuesday, passengers must wear masks and pass health screenings before being allowed to board trains. The trains will make fewer stops than usual as service is gradually restarted.

The announcement comes after the government arranged for trains to transport thousands of migrant workers stranded in Indian cities back to their homes.

The railway system is often described as India’s lifeline, transporting 23 million people across the vast subcontinent each day, some 8.4 billion passengers each year.

On Monday, India’s Government reported 4,213 new cases of coronavirus infection over the past 24 hours. It has now more than 67,000 cases which include 2,206 deaths.

The rise in the number of infections come on a day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi is going to meet various state heads to discuss the country’s lockdown exit strategy.

India’s 54-day coronavirus lockdown is expected to end on May 17.

Wuhan records first cluster since lifting lockdown

Street market in Wuhan
The lockdown in the city of Wuhan was lifted a month ago.(Reuters: Aly Song)

Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, has reported its first cluster of infections since a lockdown on the city was lifted a month ago.

It comes as the country eases some of its coronavirus-related restrictions allowing businesses to restart and people to get back to work.

Wuhan reported five new confirmed cases, all from the same residential complex.

One was the wife of an 89-year-old patient reported a day earlier in the first confirmed case in the city in more than a month.

All of the latest cases were previously classified as asymptomatic, people who test positive for the virus and are capable of infecting others but do not show clinical signs such as a fever.

China does not include asymptomatic cases in its overall tally of confirmed cases, now at 82,918, until they exhibit signs of infection.

WHO calls for ‘extreme vigilance’

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director General of the World Health Organization (WHO), talks to the media.
WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said lifting restrictions was “complex and difficult”.(AP: Jean-Christophe Bott via Keystone)

The World Health Organization has urged “extreme vigilance” as countries begin to exit from lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus, amid global concerns about a second wave of infections.

Germany has reported an acceleration in new coronavirus infections after it took early steps to ease its lockdown. South Korea, another country that had succeeded in limiting virus infections, has seen a new outbreak in nightclubs.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told the same briefing that lifting restrictions was “complex and difficult” and that the “slow, steady lifting of lockdowns” was key.

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British PM Boris Johnson announces easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions but faces backlash


British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a loosening of the UK’s coronavirus lockdown rules but is facing a rebellion from Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland over supposed mixed messaging on the changes.

From Wednesday, people in England will be allowed to spend as much time as they want outside and travel to work if they cannot work from home, providing social-distancing measures are followed and the rate of infection stays below one.

“We want to encourage people to take more and even unlimited amounts of outdoor exercise,” Mr Johnson said in a pre-recorded address from Downing Street.

“You can sit in the sun in your local park, you can drive to other destinations, you can even play sports but only with members of your own household.

The UK has been in lockdown since March 23, which limited people to only one form of exercise a day and to venture outside only for essential goods and medicine.

Mr Johnson said those who cannot work from home will now be urged to return to work, preferably by car, bicycle or walking, not by public transport.

“Anyone who can’t work from home, for instance those in construction and manufacturing, should be actively encouraged to go to work,” he said.

All schools and non-essential shops would remain shut in England until at least June, Mr Johnson added, while he said some in the hospitality industry could be open in July at the earliest.

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“We have a route, and we have a plan, and everyone in government has the all-consuming pressure and challenge to save lives, restore livelihoods and gradually restore the freedoms that we need.”

Opposition leader Sir Keir Starmer said Mr Johnson’s announcement “lacked clarity” and raised more questions than it answered.

“This statement raises more questions than it answers, and we see the prospect of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland pulling in different directions,” Sir Keir said in a statement.

“What the country wanted tonight was clarity and consensus, but we haven’t got either of those.”

On Sunday the UK’s death toll from coronavirus rose by 269 to 31,855 people, which remains the highest in the world behind the United States.

Government at odds with devolved nations

Over the weekend the British Government unveiled a new slogan — “Stay Alert, Control The Virus, Save Lives” — a departure from the previous “Stay Home, Protect The NHS, Save Lives” slogan from the start of the crisis.

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But before Mr Johnson’s Sunday evening announcement the leaders of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland all said they would not be dropping the “Stay at Home” messaging.

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the only changes she would be making would allow people to exercise more than once a day from Monday, before she hit out at the UK Government’s slogan change.

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Ms Sturgeon’s Welsh counterpart Mark Drakeford said the message would not be changed in Wales while Northern Ireland’s First Minister Arlene Foster also said her nation would continue to use “Stay At Home” message.



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Harry Potter star says she ‘wanted Boris Johnson to die’ of virus


Harry Potter star Miriam Margolyes left British viewers shocked as she unleashed a vile rant saying she “wanted Boris Johnson to die” from the coronavirus.

Britain’s Prime Minister was admitted to an intensive care unit at a London hospital last month after falling dangerously ill with COVID-19.

Margolyes, 78, was asked on The Last Leg Locked Down Under, what she thought about how the government had handled the pandemic.

Presenters Adam Hills, Alex Brooker and Josh Widdecombe appeared shocked as she ranted away and Margolyes quickly backtracked on her remarks.

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RELATED: Miriam Margolyes shocks Richard Wilkins

“Appallingly, of course, appallingly. It’s a disgrace, it’s a scandal. It’s a public scandal,” she said.

“I had difficulty not wanting Boris Johnson to die. I wanted him to die. Then I thought that will reflect badly on me and I don’t want to be the sort of person that wants people to die.

“So then I wanted him to get better, which he did do, he did get better. But he didn’t get better as a human being. And I really would prefer that.

“So we’re in the s***, basically, here.”

While many Channel 4 viewers were left horrified by her remarks, others praised her for speaking her mind.

One pointed out on Twitter: “I love The Last Leg but I don’t like Miriam Margolyes saying she wishes Boris dead.”

Another wrote: “Miriam’s comment on Boris…..disgusting”.

Margolyes also explained on the show that she had been feeling lonely during the lockdown.

The government has advised all those over the age of 70 should self-isolate for three months.

Mr Johnson recently opened up to The Sun on Sunday about his battle with the coronavirus and how he had managed to recover in time to see the birth of his son Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson.

He admitted he had been reluctant to go into St Thomas’ hospital, but the doctors were “adamant,” fitting him with a tube and putting him on oxygen.

“It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it. They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario,” he said.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been republished with permission.



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News

Coronavirus update: Boris Johnson to announce next phase of UK’s lockdown plan, Brazil hits new record for COVID-19 deaths


The UK is set to announce its first step in easing coronavirus restrictions tomorrow, but the Government says there won’t be any dramatic changes yet.

Elsewhere, Brazil has registered 10,222 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in one day, while Donald Trump says he isn’t worried about a spread of the virus in the White House after a Mike Pence aide tests positive.

This story will be updated throughout Saturday. You can also listen to the latest episode of the Coronacast podcast.

Saturday’s top stories:

Another Newmarch House resident dies, no new cases in Qld, WA

A woman smiling with a birthday cake.
Fay Rendoth is the 17th resident to die at Newmarch House.(Supplied)

A 92-year-old resident of the Newmarch House aged care home in western Sydney has died after contracting coronavirus, her family has said.

Great-grandmother Fay Rendoth tested positive three weeks ago but her family said the physical isolation had impacts on her health and led to her passing.

There have been 69 COVID-19 cases linked to the home, including 32 staff and 37 residents.

In the past 24 hours, NSW recorded five new cases of coronavirus out of a record 13,692 tests.

Of the five new cases, one person was exposed to the virus while overseas, two were close contacts of known cases and two are still under investigation.

To date, 294,949 people have been tested in NSW, 3,052 have been positive for COVID-19 and 82 per cent of those are now fully recovered.

The number of coronavirus cases in Victoria has risen by 10 since yesterday to 1,477.

Four of the new cases are linked to an outbreak at an abattoir in Melbourne’s west — bringing the total number of cases there to 75.

About 140,000 tests have now been carried out in the state.

Queensland has recorded no new cases for the second day in a row. The state’s total number of confirmed cases remains at 1,045.

Twenty cases in Queensland are active, with nine of those in hospital.

For the ninth time in 10 days, WA has recorded no new cases of COVID-19.

The state has just seven active cases, one of which is in regional WA.

Not much change expected when Britain begins lockdown relaxation

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will not announce any dramatic changes to the UK’s coronavirus lockdown in the first stage of relaxing restrictions, with the PM adopting a cautious approach to try to ensure there is no second deadly peak of infections.

Mr Johnson is due to announce the next steps in the nation’s battle to tackle the coronavirus on Sunday, after a review of the current measures that have all but shut the economy and kept millions at home for over six weeks.

“You have to be realistic, there isn’t going to be dramatic overnight change, we will be very, very cautious as we loosen the restrictions,” Environment Minister George Eustice said.

The United Kingdom overtook Italy this week to report the highest official death toll from coronavirus in Europe.

The death toll has increased the political pressure on Mr Johnson, whom Opposition politicians and some scientists say waited longer than other European leaders to order a lockdown to curb the spread of the virus in March.

Ministers have dismissed that charge, saying they took the right decisions at the right time.

But with an increasing number of anecdotal reports that more people are flouting the lockdown in anticipation of Sunday’s announcement, the Government is under pressure to make any new rules as clear as possible after being criticised for mixed messaging.

China to reform disease prevention system

China will reform its disease prevention and control system to address weaknesses exposed by the coronavirus outbreak.

“This coronavirus epidemic is a big test of our country’s governance and governing ability, and it exposed the weak links in how we address major epidemic and public health systems,” said Li Bin, vice minister of the China National Health Commission.

The commission wants to modernise the system, using technology like artificial intelligence and cloud computing for medical research, tracing of infections and distribution of resources.

China has been criticised domestically and abroad as being initially slow to react to the epidemic, which first broke out on a large scale in Wuhan.

In Australia, a bipartisan push has begun for a global inquiry into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, including the handling of the initial outbreak.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly attacked China over the emergence of the virus and has suggested COVID-19 may have originated in a virology lab in Wuhan.

Madrid and Barcelona will not move to next stage of Spain’s lockdown exit

An elderly woman and man wearing face masks sit on a bench among a tiered rose garden in a park.
The Spanish Government is aiming to have most restrictions lifted by the end of June.(Reuters: Juan Medina)

Madrid and Barcelona will not progress to the next phase of Spain’s lockdown exit that will allow bars, restaurants and places of worship to reopen in some areas from Monday.

The country’s two biggest cities do not currently meet the Government’s criteria for easing measures, Health Emergency Chief Fernando Simon said.

Madrid and the region of Catalonia, where Barcelona is the capital, account for nearly half of Spain’s overall cases. Half of the country’s new cases in the past 24 hours were in Catalonia.

About half of Spain’s population will move onto the next phase of easing lockdown measures, including the Canary Islands and the Balearic Islands.

Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus rose by 229 on Friday (local time), up from 213 added the previous day, the health ministry said.

It brings the overall death toll to 26,299, out of 222,857 diagnosed cases.

Spain started to loosen its lockdown, one of the strictest in Europe, this week, with people allowed to go outside for exercise and small businesses like hairdressers reopening with social-distancing restrictions.

The Government is aiming for a return to normality by the end of June and wants to open beaches for sunbathing and ease more restrictions on shops and restaurants in the final phase of lockdown.

US tightens visa rules for Chinese journalists amid coronavirus tensions

A group of journalists taking photos in front of a mountainous Chinese painting.
The new visa rule is the latest move in an ongoing stoush between China and the US involving journalists’ credentials.(Reuters: Thomas Peter)

The US has tightened visa guidelines for Chinese journalists, in response to the treatment of US journalists in China.

The new rule comes amid tensions between the two nations over the global pandemic, including a series of retaliatory actions involving journalists in recent months.

In March, China expelled American journalists from three US newspapers, a month after the US said it would begin to treat five Chinese state-run media entities with US operations the same as foreign embassies.

One day after the US verdict on the state-run entities, Beijing expelled three Wall Street Journal correspondents, two Americans and an Australian, following the publication of an opinion column that China denounced as racist.

In issuing the new regulation on Friday, the Department of Homeland Security cited what it called China’s “suppression of independent journalism”.

The regulation, which will take effect on Monday, will limit visas for Chinese reporters to a 90-day period, with the option for extension.

Such visas are typically open-ended and do not need to be extended unless the employee moves to a different company or medium.

A senior DHS official said the new rules would allow the department to review Chinese journalist visa applications more frequently and would likely reduce the overall number of Chinese journalists in the US.

The new rules will not apply to journalists with passports from Hong Kong or Macau, China’s two semi-autonomous territories, according to DHS.

Brazil hits new record for daily coronavirus deaths

Two men in protective equipment carry a coffin along a street, with a favela in the background.
Brazil has become one of the global hotspots for COVID-19.(Reuters: Bruno Kelly)

Brazil has registered 10,222 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus and 751 deaths, the health ministry says.

Friday’s daily deaths exceeded the previous record of 615 on Wednesday. Overall, Brazil has registered 145,328 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus and 9,897 deaths.

Meanwhile, auto production in Brazil and Mexico, Latin America’s top producers, plunged by an unprecedented 99 per cent in April as a result of the coronavirus crisis, with the two countries building a total of just 5,569 vehicles.

In normal times, Mexico and Brazil produce over half a million cars a month combined. The industry accounts for hundreds of thousands of jobs and several percentage points of their respective countries’ gross domestic products.

“The situation is difficult and dramatic,” Luiz Carlos Moraes, president of Brazil’s automakers association, told reporters.

The statements on production, made on Friday by Mexico’s Inegi statistics association and Brazil’s Anfavea automakers association, are the first available window into the sheer extent of the crisis for automakers in Latin America.

Pence staffer tests positive

Donald Trump in the background and an out-of-focus Mike Pence in the foreground.
US President Donald Trump says he’s not worried about coronavirus spreading in the White House.(Reuters: Jonathan Ernst)

US Vice-President Mike Pence’s press secretary has the coronavirus, the White House says, making her the second person who works at the White House complex known to have tested positive for the virus this week.

President Donald Trump, who publicly identified the affected Pence aide, said he was “not worried” about the virus spreading in the White House.

Nonetheless, officials said they were stepping up safety protocols for the complex.

Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller, who tested positive Friday (local time), had been in recent contact with Mr Pence but not with the President. She is married to Stephen Miller, a top Trump adviser. The White House had no immediate comment on whether Mr Miller had been tested or if he was still working out of the White House.

Ms Miller had tested negative on Thursday, a day before her positive result.

“The tests are perfect but something can happen between a test where it’s good and then something happens.”

The positive test for the senior Pence aide came one day after White House officials confirmed that a member of the military serving as one of Mr Trump’s valets had tested positive for COVID-19.

Six people who had been in contact with Ms Miller were scheduled to fly with Mr Pence on Friday to Des Moines, Iowa, on Air Force Two. They were removed from the flight just before it took off, according to a senior administration official.

None of those people were exhibiting symptoms, but were asked to deplane so they could be tested “out of an abundance of caution”, a senior administration official told reporters traveling with Mr Pence.

All six later tested negative, the White House said.

Illusionist Roy Horn, of Siegfried & Roy, dies of COVID-19 complications

Two men onstage with a tiger
Siegfried (L) said Roy was “a fighter his whole life”.(Reuters: Ethan Miller)

Roy Horn, one half of the longtime Las Vegas illusionist duo Siegfried & Roy, has died at the age of 75 after he contracted coronavirus several weeks ago.

His partner Siegfried Fischbacher paid tribute to Roy, saying “he was a fighter his whole life including during those final days”.

“There could be no Siegfried without Roy, and no Roy without Siegfried.”

Kim sends letter to Putin

Kim Jong-un laughing while crossing his arms
Kim Jong-un has also written to Chinese President Xi Jinping.(KCNA via Reuters)

North Korea says leader Kim Jong-un sent a letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on the 75th anniversary of the allied victory in World War II and wishing Russia success in fighting its coronavirus outbreak.

The report by Pyongyang’s official Korean Central News Agency on Saturday came a day after it reported Mr Kim sent a personal message to Chinese President Xi Jinping to praise what he described as China’s success in getting its COVID-19 epidemic under control.

Some experts say the North could intensify its diplomatic outreach to neighbours, particularly China, as it seeks economic help after closing its border for months to fend off the virus.

KCNA says Mr Kim’s message, “sincerely wished the President and people of Russia sure victory in their struggle to build a powerful Russia by carrying forward the tradition of the great victory in the war and to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus infection”.

5yo in New York dies from rare COVID-linked illness

Cuomo sits in a uniform next to two large flags in front of large boxes of supplies.
Governor Cuomo said the death of a 5-year-old New York boy is challenging assumptions that children are less susceptible to COVID-19 complications.(AP: John Minchillo, file)

A five-year-old boy in New York state has died of an illness linked to COVID-19, and dozens of other children in the state have fallen severely ill with a similar malady that scientists have linked to the coronavirus, Governor Andrew Cuomo says.

Governor Cuomo added there had been 73 reported cases in the state of children becoming severely ill with symptoms similar to Kawasaki disease — a rare inflammatory condition in children — and toxic shock syndrome.

“There has been at least one fatality because of this and there may be others that are now under investigation,” he said.

“This is every parent’s nightmare, right, that your child may actually be affected by this virus.

Cases of rare illnesses in children associated with exposure to COVID-19 were first reported in Britain, Italy and Spain, but doctors in the United States are starting to report clusters of kids with the disorder, which can attack multiple organs, impair heart function and weaken heart arteries.

China objects to Taiwan’s observation of key WHO meeting

A woman wears a face mask with a Taiwanese flag design.
Taiwan’s exclusion from the WHO has been a source of recent controversy.(Reuters: Ann Wang)

Taiwan will fail in its bid to take part in a key WHO meeting, as its efforts are based on politics rather than health concerns, China says.

Taiwan, which has won praise for its handling of the outbreak, is excluded from the WHO, due to the objections of China.

Taipei says this has created a dangerous gap in the global fight against the coronavirus.

Taiwan has been lobbying to attend, as an observer, the May 18–19 gathering of the WHO’s decision-making body, the World Health Assembly (WHA), and has high-level support from the United States and several of its allies, including Japan.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Taiwan was trying to use the pandemic for its own political purposes.

China, under its “one China” policy, China considers Taiwan a breakaway province ineligible for state-to-state relations or membership of bodies such as the WHO.

All but a handful of countries in the world have diplomatic relations with China and not Taiwan.

Colombian company creates a bed that can double as coffin

A person in a mask lies in a carboard box, with other factory workers putting a lid on it.
Rodolfo Gomez, centre, and his employees demonstrate how their design of a cardboard box can serve as both a hospital bed and a coffin.(AP: Fernando Vergara)

A Colombian advertising company is pitching a novel if morbid solution to shortages of hospital beds and coffins during the coronavirus pandemic: combine them.

ABC Displays has created a cardboard bed with metal railings that designers say can double as a casket if a patient dies.

Company manager Rodolfo Gomez said he was inspired to find a way to help after watching events unfold recently in nearby Ecuador.

Families in the coastal city of Guayaquil waited with dead loved ones in their homes for days last month as COVID-19 cases surged. Many could not find or were unable to afford a wood coffin, using donated cardboard ones instead.

Gomez said he plans to donate 10 of his new beds to Colombia’s Amazonas department, where resources are in short supply. So far there is no indication whether the beds will be put to use and no orders have been placed.

The Bogota-based company is usually at work on advertisements but has been mostly paralysed over the past month as Colombia remains on lockdown. The South American nation has reported nearly 9,500 confirmed cases of the virus.

The beds can hold 150 kilograms and will cost about $130 each, Gomez said.

He said he worked with a private clinic on the design, which he hopes will be put to use in emergency clinics that might become short on beds.

WHO warns 190,000 could die in Africa in a year

An African woman helps her children wash their hands with a bottle of water.
In Africa, the total number of cases has risen by more than 42 per cent in the past week.(Plan International Australia)

The coronavirus could “smoulder” in Africa for years and take a high death toll across the continent, WHO warns.

WHO estimated that if no containment measures were taken, COVID-19 could cause deaths ranging from 83,000 to 190,000 people in Africa in the first year of the pandemic.

More than 52,000 confirmed infections and 2,074 virus-related deaths have been reported by African countries, according to figures released on Friday by the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

The total number of cases has risen by more than 42 per cent in the past week.

The disease appears to be spreading more slowly across Africa than in Europe, according to the WHO report.

Officials say that could be due to poor surveillance or less developed transport links.

VE Day a sombre occasion across Europe

a man in a suit bends down to lay a wreath, assisted by two people in uniform.
The public were absent from the ceremony in Paris as all gatherings are banned under France’s confinement measures.(Charles Platiau/Pool via AP)

The 75th anniversary of the surrender of Nazi Germany to Allied forces, marking the end of World War II, has been far more low-key that would ordinarily have been expected.

The big celebrations planned were either cancelled or scaled back dramatically and people across Europe were asked to mark the moment in private.

People dressed in 1940s era clothing sit on deck chairs on the footpath in front of their homes
Residents in Chester in the UK dressed up in 1945 clothing and held a social distancing tea party to mark VE Day.(Peter Byrne/PA via AP)

There were no mass gatherings, but that day of liberation was remembered nonetheless. For the few surviving World War II veterans, many living in nursing homes under virus lockdowns, it’s a particularly difficult time.

Wet markets shouldn’t close: WHO

Man in suit speaking to reporters.
Dr Tedros said there were lessons to be learned from eradicating smallpox.(AP: Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone)

WHO says that although a market in the Chinese city of Wuhan selling live animals likely played a significant role in the emergence of the new coronavirus, it does not recommend that such markets be shut down globally.

WHO food safety and animal diseases expert Peter Ben Embarek said live animal markets were critical to providing food and livelihoods for millions of people globally and that authorities should focus on improving them rather than outlawing them — even though they could sometimes spark epidemics in humans.

Meanwhile, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus used the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox as an example of what could be achieved in the battle against COVID-19.

But there were lessons to be learned, he said.

Though a vaccine for smallpox — which killed 300 million people in the 20th century — was developed in 1796, it would take another 184 years to eradicate it, he said.

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Local News - Victoria

Six more cases linked to Melbourne meatworks cluster; PM will not back down on schools; Boris Johnson says doctors were preparing his death notice


“Absolutely support hardline – look at UK and USA. We need to prevent a second wave.”

“This is difficult. I feel that if we head to zero transmission in the community that would mean we will all relax more when restrictions are lifted. If there still are community transmissions out there and we don’t know where they are we could have a spike in cases, especially in winter. We’ve got this far why ruin it?”

“Thank goodness for the Vic Government. It’s great at this time of uncertainty to have a strong leader.”

“Do support the restrictions. It will become obvious whether a second wave will come soon with other jurisdictions being the guinea pigs. Being guilty of being too cautious is something worth being guilty of in these times.”

“No I don’t, our economy needs to get back on track and the only way to do this is to lift restrictions My teenage kids need to get out and socialise, go to school and get their jobs back , I worry for their mental health if they are kept in lockdown any longer. Why does NSW get to lift restrictions when they have had nearly double the cases of Victoria?”



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