Canada wants national sick leave plan in place for the possible second wave of the pandemic
From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is trying to give all workers a minimum of 10 days paid sick leave per year as Canada starts to prepare for a possible second wave of the pandemic. "Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries," Trudeau said during a press conference from Ottawa Monday. The effort is complicated by the fact that sick leave is usually a provincial jurisdiction. Trudeau said putting the necessary mechanisms in place for a national paid sick leave program would be challenging but his government and the provinces are determined to try. “When the fall comes and flu season starts up we don’t want people who develop a sniffle to suddenly worry that while they really shouldn’t go into work but they can’t afford to not go into work and therefore the risk of contributing to a wave significantly, could be a real problem,” said Trudeau. Canada's top doctor repeated her assertion Monday that a second wave of the virus could be worse than the first and encouraged public health officials to build up capacity for testing, hospital beds, and PPE in order to prepare. “I think you can never be overly prepared and we have to just keep going with some of these capacity developments and that goes for lab testing as well,“ said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.
By the numbers: As of Monday, Canada had reported more than 86,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 6,500 deaths.
Kuwait to end full Covid-19 curfew on May 30
From CNN’s Sharif Paget
Kuwait will not extend its full coronavirus curfew beyond May 30, Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA said on Monday, citing Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh. Al-Saleh announced that Kuwait will instead turn to a partial curfew to pave the way “for the restoration of normal life,” KUNA reported. No further details were immediately provided about the partial curfew. The country has so far recorded 21,967 coronavirus cases with 165 deaths, according to its health ministry.
Charlotte councilman says Trump's desire for RNC capacity crowds is "unrealistic"
From CNN's Jason Kurtz
A Charlotte city councilman said President Trump's threats to pull the Republican National Convention from North Carolina aren't realistic. Earlier today, Trump contended that Gov. Roy Cooper is "unable to guarantee" that the arena will be allowed "full attendance." "I think that it’s unrealistic for the President, or anybody, to expect Governor Cooper… to be able to guarantee anything about what three months from now looks like," said Larken Egleston, a Democrat who helped vote to bring the RNC to the Queen City. He told CNN's Brianna Keilar that he thinks the Covid-19 pandemic has been politicized. "I think at first, at least in our state, we were seeing a lot of bipartisan cooperation for doing what's best for the citizens of North Carolina. That seems to be fraying," Egleston said. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday suggested a trio of other states — all with Republican governors — as possible RNC replacements for North Carolina. "It's an issue we've been talking about because these national conventions literally take many months to organize and prepare and there are states around the country -- we think of Texas, we think of Florida, Georgia, the last two states I visited last week that have made tremendous progress on reopening their communities and reopening their economies," Pence said. Egleston reacted to the mention of moving the convention to Texas, Georgia, and Florida. "If the reason that they’re moving is because they don't want to adhere to some of the precautions… I think it’d be pretty reckless of those states," he said.
Day camps in Colorado will be allowed to open next week, governor says
From CNN's Konstantin Toropin
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced the state would loosen restrictions on restaurants and open summer day camps, ski resorts and campsites, a statement from his office announced today. The move is as part of an update and extension of his "Safer at Home" executive order. Restaurants in the state will be able to open for in-person dining at 50% capacity or 50 people, whichever is less, starting Wednesday, the statement said. Restaurants are also encouraged to provide outdoor seating. Meanwhile, bars will remain closed, the order said. The new order also allows children’s day camps and youth sports camps to open on June 1 "with restrictions and strong precautionary measures," the statement said. Ski resorts and private campsites will also be allowed to reopen, though ski resorts will still need approval from local authorities. “We are still a long way from returning to normal, but these updates are a step in the right direction because Coloradans are doing a good job so far limiting our social interactions," Polis said in the statement. The governor said they will be evaluating rules for establishments that do not serve food and overnight youth camps in June.
Thousands of UK stores to reopen mid-June as government relaxes lockdown restrictions
From CNN's Nada Bashir
The UK retail sector is set to begin reopening in mid-June as part of the government’s planned second phase in the gradual relaxation of lockdown restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday, giving the go-ahead for thousands of stores across the country to prepare to open their doors for business. “Today, I want to give the retail sector notice of our intentions to reopen shops,” Johnson said during a news conference today. “From June 15, we intend to allow all nonessential retail – ranging from department stores to small independent shops – to reopen,” he continued, adding that outdoor markets will be permitted to reopen from June 1. According to a government statement, retail businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment and taken the necessary steps to become Covid-19 secure, in line with current Health and Safety legislation. Those businesses failing to implement the safety measures set out by the government could face fines and even jail sentences of up to two years, the statement added. “This change will be contingent upon progress against the five tests, and will only be permitted for those premises that are Covid-secure,” the prime minister cautioned.
New York City reports more than 16,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths
From CNN's Rob Frehse
New York City has 16,482 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 4,777 probable coronavirus deaths as of May 25, according to the most recent data on the city's website. The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “COVID-19” or an equivalent. The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 21,259. There have been 196,098 cases of coronavirus in New York City and 51,197 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.
California issues guidelines for reopening churches
From CNN's Cheri Mossburg
California issued guidelines on Monday that would allow places of worship to open, while still "strongly recommending" institutions hold remote services for vulnerable populations including older adults.
Here are some of the suggestions included in the guidance:
Religious leaders are asked to "strongly consider" discontinuing singing and group recitation where transmission of the virus through exhaled droplets is increased.
Sharing items like prayer books, prayer rugs, and hymn books are discouraged and single-use or digital copies are suggested as alternatives.
Potlucks should be discontinued and communion is suggested to be modified by offering in the hand rather than on the tongue.
Attendance should be held to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.
Holding services outside is encouraged.
Pews and other seating should be reconfigured to keep six feet of physical distance between households.
Shorter services and implementation of a reservation system to limit the number of attendees at one time are suggested.
Despite the guidelines, the state cautions that “even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of COVID-19.”
Dubai to ease restrictions on movement starting Wednesday
From CNN’s Mostafa Salem
Dubai will allow movement and business activity between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET - 3 p.m ET) starting on Wednesday, as the Emirate begins to ease restrictions imposed during Eid holidays to stop the spread of coronavirus, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed tweeted.
“The decision was made based on a careful assessment of the current situation, with its various health, economic and social dimensions," he said, according to the Dubai Media Office.
"We followed how the pandemic impacted most countries of the world, but what distinguishes us is our ability to deal positively with the changes," he added.
Some context: The United Arab Emirates had imposed a strict nationwide curfew during Eid holidays, a time where families gather and people go out. Reported cases and deaths during the month of May continued to rise in the UAE, which now has over 30,000 cases in total and 248 deaths, according to the Health Ministry. Other Emirates have not yet announced the easing of curfew.
"We have to pump the brakes," Houston mayor says after large weekend crowds gathered
From CNN's Elise Hammond
The mayor of Houston, Texas, Sylvester Turner, said: "we have to pump the brakes" on relaxing coronavirus restrictions after seeing images of crowds not complying with social distancing over the weekend. "There are some pretending as though this virus no longer exists, and quite frankly, it's not only endangering themselves and those who are at these gatherings, but they're engaging everybody else when they leave these gatherings, they go back home, they go to their jobs and respected places, other people are being jeopardized," Turner told CNN on Monday. In response to the crowds, Turner announced yesterday that he will enforce the 25% capacity rule in bars and clubs –– two days after saying the rule would not be enforced. The city also will enforce the 50% rule for restaurants, he said. Turner said if businesses do not voluntarily comply with the capacity rules, the city can close the establishment for that particular night. He said they received 180 complaints yesterday. "The fire marshals went out, talked to the establishments, the managers or the owners and in all cases where they went out, the people agreed to voluntarily comply," Turner said. "That's a good sign and we're hoping that others will follow suit."
The latest predictions: Texas is one of a handful of southern states at risk of seeing a rapid surge of new coronavirus cases in some areas, according to a new projection model. That model predicts that Harris County, which includes Houston, could see more than 2,000 new cases each day by June.
City of Charlotte anticipates providing "guidance" next month on the Republican convention
From CNN's Dianne Gallagher
The city of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County in North Carolina released a joint statement Monday addressing preparations for the Republican National Convention set to be held in August.
“We are working with stakeholders to develop guidelines for several large events planned for Charlotte in the coming months including the RNC and anticipate providing that guidance in June,” the statement said.
According to the statement, the city, county, and “other local entities will continue to plan for the RNC while respecting national and state guidance regarding the pandemic.” In a series of tweets Monday morning, President Trump threatened to pull the convention out of North Carolina if the state's governor did not "immediately" give on answer on whether the site of the convention would be allowed to be fully occupied.
Italy reports the lowest number of new cases since February
From CNN's Hada Messia, Nicola Ruotolo and Mia Albert
Italy has recorded 300 new confirmed cases of coronavirus over the last 24 hours, the national Civil Protection Agency confirmed Monday –– the lowest daily increase in new infections since February 29. According to the latest data, the number of active cases has also dropped by 2.29% to at least 55,300 on Monday. The total number of patients in intensive care is now at 541 –– a decrease of 12 patents over the last 24 hours. Italy is also reporting 92 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total number of fatalities to 32,877, the agency said. There have been at least 230,158 coronavirus cases in the country so far, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Basketball Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing is recovering at home from coronavirus
From CNN's Jabari Jackson
Patrick Ewing Jr. revealed today that his father Patrick Ewing has returned home after a brief stay in a local hospital due to a positive coronavirus test. Ewing Jr. tweeted: "I want to thank all of the doctors and hospital staff for taking care of my father during his stay, as well as everyone who has reached out with thoughts and prayers to us and since his diagnosis. My father is now home and getting better. We'll continue to watch his symptoms and follow the CDC guidelines. I hope everyone continues to stay safe and protect yourself and your loved ones." The Hall of Famer and current head coach of the Georgetown University men's basketball team announced on Friday via Twitter that he had tested positive for Covid-19, and encouraged everyone to remain safe during this time.
UK reports 121 additional coronavirus deaths since Sunday
From CNN's Nada Bashir
An additional 121 coronavirus patients in the United Kingdom have died as of 4 a.m. ET Monday, the Department of Health and Social Care confirmed, bringing the total number of fatalities in all settings to 36,914. According to the latest data from the government, a total of 261,184 people in the UK have so far tested positive for the virus, with an additional 1,625 confirmed cases registered over the last 24 hours. While the total number of people tested for coronavirus so far was not immediately available in Monday’s data due to technical difficulties, the government has confirmed that 3,532,634 tests have been carried out, with the daily increase totaling at 73,726 on Monday.
Important note: Due to a lag in the data provided by health care institutions over the weekend, the government has cautioned that the latest data is “likely to represent an undercount” in confirmed figures.
New Jersey reports 965 new coronavirus cases
From CNN's Sheena Jones
At least 965 new Covid-19 cases and 16 additional deaths were reported in New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy tweeted today. The state has approximately 155,092 coronavirus cases and 11,144 deaths, he said. At least 2,755 patients are in the hospital and 719 people are in critical or intensive care, Murphy tweeted.
WHO officials warn countries not to become complacent with Covid-19
From CNN’s Amanda Watts
The World Health Organization said the downward trend of coronavirus cases didn’t occur naturally, and is warning countries not to become complacent. “Many countries have paid a heavy price in doing the measures that have needed to be done to suppress the transmission of this disease, and they deserve credit,” Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s health emergency program, said during a Monday briefing. “My concern right now is that people may be assuming that the current drop of infections represents a natural seasonality, and I think that's a dangerous assumption,” he said. Ryan said it’s “worrisome” when people assume the downward trend occurred naturally. In reality, Ryan said, “that has occurred because of very, very, very tough public health measures that have been tough on the population.” Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “there's a certain predictability of this virus,” adding, “anytime you become complacent and you think you know, it will surprise you.” “I understand very well and I am in the same boat as you – we all want this to be over, but we have a long way to go," Van Kerkhove said. Ryan said removing pressure on the virus at this point and assuming “the real next danger point is sometime in October or November” is a “dangerous assumption.” Van Kerkhove said it could get worse if we have “co-infection or co-circulation of influenza and Covid-19.” “That could complicate our understanding because if we don’t have testing in place, we don't know what people are infected with. And so it could potentially flood the system, it could potentially overwhelm the system,” she said.
WHO warns there could be a second peak, not a second wave
From CNN’s Amanda Watts
The World Health Organization is warning of a second peak – not necessarily a second wave – of coronavirus cases. During a media briefing on Monday, Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Programme, said right now, we are “right in the middle of the first wave, globally." “We're still very much in a phase where the disease is actually on the way up," he added. “We need to be also cognizant of the fact that the disease can jump up at any time. We cannot make assumptions that just because the disease is on the way down now that it's going to keep going down, and the way to get a number of months to get ready for a second wave – we may get a second peak in this way,” Ryan said. Ryan warned that a second peak or wave could come during the normal influenza season, “which will greatly complicate things for disease control.” Maria Van Kerkhove, a WHO infectious disease epidemiologist, said “all countries need to remain on high alert here. All countries need to be ready to rapidly detect cases, even countries that have had success in suppression. … Even countries that have seen a decline in cases must remain ready.” Van Kerkhove said if, given the opportunity, the virus will start an outbreak. “A hallmark of coronaviruses is its ability to amplify in certain settings, its ability to cause transmission – or super spreading events. And we are seeing in a number of situations in these closed settings. When the virus has an opportunity, it can transmit readily," she said.
National Hockey League aims to reopen facilities in early June
From CNN's David Close
In an effort to restart the 2019-2020 season, the National Hockey League (NHL) says it is aiming to reopen team facilities in early June. In a league-wide memorandum sent on Sunday, the NHL outlines a ‘Phase 2’ return to sport protocol that allows small groups of players to utilize home team facilities and ice.
Here are some of the reopening requirements:
A maximum of six players will be able to train and skate together at a time.
Players must wear face coverings except while on the ice or exercising.
Coaches are not allowed to participate in on-ice sessions.
The league does not give a specific date in June for teams to open. The 22-page memorandum also outlines cleaning and disinfecting requirements and includes a checklist form for team staff to utilize.
Trump honors the US military's fight against coronavirus on Memorial Day
From CNN's Betsy Klein
President Trump attended a second event commemorating Memorial Day on Monday, speaking at a patriotic ceremony in Baltimore, Maryland, where he acknowledged the US military’s fight against coronavirus as the US death toll approaches the grim milestone of 100,000 Americans. “In recent months, our nation and the world have been engaged in a new form of battle against an invisible enemy. Once more, the men and women of the United States military have answered the call to duty and raced into danger. Tens of thousands of service members and national guardsmen are on the frontlines of our war against this terrible virus, caring for patients, delivering critical supplies and working night and day to safeguard our citizens,” Trump said. “As one nation, we mourn alongside every single family that has lost loved ones, including the families of our great veterans. Together, we will vanquish the virus, and America will rise from this crisis to new and greater heights," he added.
Some background: The remarks, which also cast a patriotic and historic tone with Francis Scott Key references, came after a morning of tweets threatening to pull the Republican National Convention from North Carolina and railing against media criticism of his weekend golf outings. Trump and the vice president also made a trip to Arlington National Ceremony, where they observed a moment of silence at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
UK top aide defends lockdown trip: "I don't regret what I did"
From CNN's Nada Bashir
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top adviser, Dominic Cummings, has defended his actions after receiving widespread criticism for traveling more than 250 miles from his London home during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown, telling reporters on Monday that he traveled to Durham to ensure the welfare of his child. “I thought, and I think today, that the rules, including those regarding small children and extreme circumstances, allowed me to exercise my judgment about the situation I found myself in,” Cummings told reporters during the televised briefing. “I can understand that some people will argue that I should have stayed at my home in London throughout. I understand these views, I know the intense hardship and sacrifice the entire country has had to go through, however, I respectfully disagree,” he added. Cummings also told reporters that he believes his actions were “reasonable in these circumstances,” detailing the series of events that preceded his decision to leave London. “I was worried that if both my wife and I were seriously ill, possibly hospitalized, there is nobody in London that we could reasonably ask to look after our child and expose themselves to Covid,” the prime minister’s adviser said. “I don’t regret what I did…I think what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances,” Cummings told reporters after explaining why he made the decision to travel to Durham during the nationwide lockdown.
Some context: Following an investigation by the Mirror and Guardian newspapers, Cummings was revealed to have traveled to Durham – more than 250 miles from his home in London – during the lockdown, despite his wife having developed symptoms of coronavirus. While Johnson has offered his support for Cummings, saying on Sunday that he believes his adviser acted “responsibly, legally and with integrity,” Cummings confirmed on Monday that he did not inform the prime minister of his decision prior to leaving for Durham. “I did not ask the prime minister about this decision. He was ill himself, and he had huge problems to deal with…I thought that I would speak to him when the situation clarified over the coming days,” Cummings said. “Arguably this was a mistake and I understand that some will say that I should have spoken to the prime minister before deciding what to do,” he added.
WHO temporarily pauses studying hydroxychloroquine due to safety concerns
From CNN's Jacqueline Howard
The World Health Organization has temporarily halted studying hydroxychloroquine as a potential Covid-19 treatment in its Solidarity Trial due to safety concerns, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing in Geneva on Monday. The decision was made after an observational study was published in the medical journal The Lancet on Friday, which described how seriously ill Covid-19 patients who were treated with hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine were more likely to die. Tedros said that an independent executive group is now reviewing the use of hydroxychloroquine in WHO's Solidarity Trial. The trial, which involves actively recruiting patients from more than 400 hospitals in 35 countries, is a global research effort to find safe and effective therapeutics for Covid-19. "The Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial, representing 10 of the participating countries, met on Saturday and has agreed to review a comprehensive analysis and critical appraisal of all evidence available globally," Tedros said on Monday. "The review will consider data collected so far in the Solidarity Trial and, in particular robust randomized available data, to adequately evaluate the potential benefits and harms from this drug," Tedros said. "The Executive Group has implemented a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm within the Solidarity Trial while the data is reviewed by the Data Safety Monitoring Board." Tedros added that the other arms of the trial are continuing. "This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in Covid-19," Tedros said. "I wish to reiterate that these drugs are accepted as generally safe for use in patients with autoimmune diseases or malaria."
Japan will expand travel ban after lifting national emergency
From CNN’s Yoko Wakatsuki in Tokyo and Philip Wang
Japan is set to expand its travel ban list to 111 countries effective Wednesday, now including the United States, India, and South Africa, the government ministries said. The ban list, which will add 11 more countries this week, forbids foreign nationals who stayed in those countries from entering Japan, to protect against the spread of coronavirus. Japanese citizens are still allowed to enter the country, although they will need to go through medical tests and self-quarantine for 14 days. The travel ban expansion comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the country’s nationwide state of emergency earlier today. It lasted almost a month.
New York will provide death benefits for frontline workers, governor says
From CNN's Sheena Jones
The state of New York and local governments will provide death benefits to frontline workers, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Monday at the state’s daily Covid-19 news conference.
“Today we are announcing that the state and local governments will provide death benefits for public heroes who died from Covid-19 during this emergency,” Cuomo said.
The governor said public employees who work in the state, whether in a city or county, can qualify and the local or state pension fund will pay for those death benefits. "Frontline workers we have a full list, but they're the people we've been discussing. It's the frontline public health care workers, police workers, EMS workers, fire department workers. The people who showed up. Look, they showed up because I asked them to show up, they showed up because I required them to show up," Cuomo said. At the start of the presser, the governor took a brief moment of silence to honor those who have fallen and to give thanks to them on Memorial Day. The governor then went on to thank all frontline workers for the work they are doing today to fight the pandemic. We needed the frontline workers to show up so others could stay home and be safe and healthy, Cuomo said.
New York governor says daily death toll is down to 96
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at least 96 people died from coronavirus across the state yesterday — down from 109 on Saturday.
"It's still painfully high but only in the relative absurdity of our situation, is that relatively good news," Cuomo said. He noted that the overall hospitalization rate, the number of invitations, and day-to-day hospitalizations are all down. "We are making progress here in New York," he said.
More than 97,000 people have died from coronavirus in the US
There have been 1,646,495 cases of coronavirus reported in the US, and at least 97,794 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases. The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.
Sweden's coronavirus death toll surpasses 4,000
From CNN's Niamh Kennedy
Sweden has recorded a total of 4,029 deaths from coronavirus, a spokesperson for the National Public Health Agency confirmed to CNN on Monday. This latest increase in deaths comes after a study carried out by Sweden’s chief epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell, revealed last week that 7.3% of Stockholm residents have developed the antibodies needed to fight coronavirus. The results produced by the study, which was carried out to determine the potential herd immunity in the Swedish population, were a “little lower” than expected, according to Tegnell. The Public Health Agency says it plans to release results from other regions, which will help to provide a clearer picture of the level of herd immunity in the Swedish population.
Remember: In a divergent approach from its Nordic neighbors, Sweden decided not to impose a mandatory lockdown, allowing businesses and schools to remain open despite the outbreak of Covid-19 within the country.
Democratic leaders say President Trump's coronavirus testing plan is "disappointing"
From CNN's Suzanne Malveaux
Four top congressional Democrats have issued a written statement Monday responding to the Trump Administration's Covid-19 Strategic Testing Plan, calling it "disappointing" and accusing the administration of not taking responsibility for testing on a national scale. The leaders are House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee ranking member Patty Murray and House Energy and Commerce committee chair Frank Pallone. "This disappointing report confirms that President Trump’s national testing strategy is to deny the truth that there aren’t enough tests and supplies, reject responsibility and dump the burden onto the states," said Speaker Pelosi, Sen. Schumer, Chairman Pallone and Sen.Murray.
They continued: "We still need clear explanations for how targets were set, how they will be met, and what will be done if they are not. The Trump administration still does not take any responsibility for ramping up our nation’s testing capacity, instead of pushing the burden onto the states," they said.
More on the report: The 81-page report was submitted to Congress late Sunday. It commits the Administration to obtain 100 million testing swabs by years-end and distribute them to states.
What Memorial Day at Arlington National Cemetery is like during a pandemic
President Trump will soon attend a wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery to mark Memorial Day. The coronavirus pandemic has changed some of the traditions at the cemetery, CNN's Barbara Starr reported. She noted that the officials attending the ceremony today are standing far apart to maintain social distance. "This year is different — visually different, of course," Starr said. Starr explained that burials at the cemetery also look different during the pandemic. Families attending those burials are wearing masks. The "iconic visual" of a folded flag being handed to a relative is also gone: Now, folded flags are left on a table next to the gravesite for contact-less retrieval.
Spain will lift quarantine rules for international travelers starting on July 1
From CNN's Al Goodman and Ingrid Formanek in Spain
Spain will lift quarantine measures for arriving international tourists starting July 1, the Spanish government announced Monday. “The worst is behind us” tweeted Arancha Gonzales Laya, Spain’s Foreign Minister, referring the country’s fight to contain the Covid-19 pandemic. “In July we will gradually open to international tourists, lift the quarantine, ensure the highest standards of health safety. We look forward 2 welcoming you!” she tweeted, in French and English.
What this is about: Spain currently enforces a two-week quarantine for all international travelers to the country, a measure in effect since May 15. The quarantine measure applies to Spanish, as well as foreign arrivals.
Some more context: Spain’s tourism and hospitality sector have been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic, and the government has come under pressure to revive this part of the economy, which accounts for 12% of GDP and 2.6 million jobs. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez signaled the country will reactivate foreign tourism in July, during a press conference Saturday. The country, under strict confinement measures since March 14 to limit the spread of the coronavirus, is now on a gradual reopening. Just over half of the population is on Phase 1, including Madrid and Barcelona, and the rest is on the more advanced Phase 2, which allows even more businesses to re-open and more social activities, including weddings with up to 100 guests.
Man unable to see his dying wife criticizes Boris Johnson, who defended aide's lockdown breach
From CNN's Rob Picheta and Samantha Tapfumaneyi in London
Anger is mounting among Britons who have sacrificed family gatherings during the country’s lockdown, after Boris Johnson defended his chief aide for breaching restrictions by driving across the country while his wife had Covid-19 symptoms. John Wilson shared a letter to his MP on Twitter on Monday in which he described being unable to visit his wife while she died in hospital with the coronavirus. “I have delayed writing to you for 15 hours to try and let my rage subside so that I can be coherent and civil,” he wrote in the letter, which has gone viral. "On the day she died I could not be with her to hold her hand, I just sat by the telephone, I was not able to see her body," Wilson wrote. "In other words under severe mental and emotional distress I, like the vast majority of the population, have complied with your government's instructions in order to protect my fellow citizens.” Wilson asked his Conservative MP Greg Smith what his view is on Dominic Cummings’ trip to the north of England, and Boris Johnson’s decision to stand by the aide despite outrage in the UK that he was allowed to travel while the public was being told to stay at home. “This is a letter about the actions and judgment of Mr. Johnson -- not, as many people seem to think, about Mr. Cummings,” Wilson explained to CNN. His message exemplifies the sentiment of many Brits, who are asking why Cummings has avoided discipline while funerals of more than 10 mourners have been banned and Britons have been asked to stay away from family events. The Prime Minister said on Sunday that Cummings had "no alternative" but to drive 260 miles across England to stay with his parents while his wife was sick with Covid-19 symptoms, insisting he acted "responsibly, legally and with integrity." "I think he followed the instincts of every father and every parent, and I do not mark him down for that," Johnson added at the government's daily coronavirus briefing on Sunday. But the scandal has rumbled into a fourth day and has derailed the government’s coronavirus response. "There cannot be one rule for Dominic Cummings and another for the British people," the opposition Labour Party said in a statement.
Pence says Republicans will move convention "if need be"
From CNN's Betsy Klein
Vice President Mike Pence reiterated President Trump’s threat to move the Republican National Convention from North Carolina. “It’s an issue we’ve been talking about because these national conventions literally take many months to organize and prepare and there are, there are states around the country — we think of Texas, we think of Florida, Georgia — the last two states I visited last week that have made tremendous progress on reopening their communities and reopening their economies," Pence said during a Monday appearance on Fox News. He continued: "And I think the President is absolutely intent on ensuring that as we see our nation continue to make steady progress on putting the coronavirus epidemic in the past, that come this August, we’ll be able to come together in a safe and responsible venue and re-nominate President Donald Trump for four more years." Pence said Trump’s request of Gov. Roy Cooper was “very reasonable.”
Some background: Trump began a solemn Memorial Day railing against North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, ahead of the 2020 Republican National Convention, threatening to pull it out of Charlotte, where the convention is expected to be held August 24 to 27. Trump contended that Cooper is "unable to guarantee" that the arena can be filled to capacity. After the tweets, Pence insisted "we all want to be in Charlotte, we love North Carolina, but having a sense now is absolutely essential because of the rules and regulations that are involved." "We look forward to working with Gov. Cooper, getting a swift response, and, if need be, moving the national convention to a state that is farther along on reopening and can say with confidence that we can gather there,” Pence said.
Montgomery, Alabama, now has 6 ICU beds — up from just 1 last week, mayor says
From CNN’s Gregory Lemos
While Montgomery, Alabama, has seen an increase in available ICU beds, the city is "still at a crisis level," Mayor Steven Reed told CNN today. The number of beds grew from just one on Thursday to six as of this morning. "It is not the type of improvement we like to see," Reed told CNN's Alisyn Camerota. "We still have issues right now with more positive cases coming in and patients coming in much worse condition." Reed sounded the alarm last week when he revealed the city had just one ICU bed. When asked about his state's upward trend in positive cases, the mayor told Camerota that "people have decided the pandemic is over," and aren't doing things like social distancing or wearing masks. He said he was not comfortable with Gov. Kay Ivey's decision to reopen the state and depend on residents to be personally responsible. "I think that we have to ask people to be personally responsible but I also think the government has to set the tone," Reed told Camerota. Reed told Camerota's the governor's decision to allow high-school sports to resume training June 1 was "another example of us moving too fast, moving too soon." "I'm concerned that we may put not only the students at risk but we may also put their loved ones, their families at risk as well," Reed told Camerota.
Austrian hospital completes first coronavirus lung transplant in Europe
From CNN's Fred Pleitgen in Berlin
Vienna’s medical university successfully conducted the first coronavirus lung transplant in Europe last week, the medical center said in a press release Monday. The hospital said the 45-year-old COVID-19 patient would not have survived otherwise but is now recovering well.
“In our view, she is doing exceptionally well and there are not major problems,” said Walter Klepetko, the head of surgery at the clinic.
The hospital said the patient was in good health without prior illnesses before coming down with coronavirus eight weeks ago. Shortly after falling ill, her condition deteriorated dramatically. “The situation was hopeless," Klepetko said. "The lung was like a block, there was nothing left,” The hospital describes the operation as being “highly complicated” but successful. Klepetko added, “All organs are working and we are very satisfied. But it will still be a long way ahead until we can hopefully discharge her from the hospital."