Live Coronavirus News: World Updates

Live Coronavirus News: World Updates


Protesters gathered in a central shopping district around midday, chanting slogans against the government and the Chinese Communist Party like “Heavens will destroy the C.C.P.” and “Hong Kong independence is the only way out.”

Dozens of police officers in riot gear swarmed the area, but many protesters pressed around them, ignoring their warnings to disperse. Just before 1:30 p.m., the police fired at least four rounds of tear gas, sending protesters scrambling. The Hong Kong police said in a statement that they arrested 120 people, most on charges of unlawful assembly.

The protest was the biggest the territory had seen in several months. The Hong Kong government has banned public gatherings of more than eight people until at least June 4, and attempts since January to revive the protests were sparsely attended and quickly stifled by the police.

As protesters gathered on Sunday morning, Tam Tak-chi, an activist from the pro-democracy group People’s Power, held what he described as an open-air “public health lecture” at a streetside stand, distributing masks and social distancing advice — along with criticism of the Chinese government.

“With the national security law, the people cannot be healthy,” Mr. Tam said. “Stand with Hong Kong; fight for freedom.” After bystanders erupted in antigovernment chants, several dozen riot police officers surrounded Mr. Tam, taking away his loudspeaker and leading him to a nearby police station.

Many residents see China’s move to impose the security laws as a major blow to the city’s relative autonomy, perhaps an irreparable one.

In Beijing on Sunday, the Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, asserted that the protests that had roiled Hong Kong posed a grave threat to national security, proving that such legislation was long overdue. “We must get it done without the slightest delay,” Mr. Wang said at a news briefing.

Each one is more than a name. Each one had a unique life story. Each one succumbed to the coronavirus pandemic that swept across the globe, devastating families and industries and dealing a crippling blow to the world’s economy.

As the number of fatalities from Covid-19 passed 1.5 million, The New York Times sought to memorialize the tens of thousands who died of the coronavirus in the United States with a print front page like no other, framing the incalculable loss with a presentation of obituaries and death notices from newspapers around the country.

The death toll is approaching a grim marker: “One. Hundred. Thousand,” as our correspondent Dan Barry writes:

“A number is an imperfect measure when applied to the human condition. A number provides an answer to how many, but it can never convey the individual arcs of life, the 100,000 ways of greeting the morning and saying good night.

The immensity of such a sudden toll taxes our ability to comprehend, to understand that each number adding up to 100,000 represents someone among us just yesterday. Who was the 1,233rd person to die? The 27,587th? The 98,431st?

Why has this happened in the United States of 2020? Why has the virus claimed a disproportionately large number of black and Latino victims? Why were nursing homes so devastated? These questions of why and how and whom will be asked for decades to come.”

President Trump, meanwhile, played golf at his members-only club in Virginia, his first game since shutdowns began. He has been pushing states to reopen businesses and houses of worship, deeming religious institutions essential. In Minnesota, Gov. Tim Walz said he would allow houses of worship to open this week. In New York, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said that gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed, provided that social-distancing protocols were followed.

Other governors — including Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas, Mike DeWine of Ohio and Philip D. Murphy of New Jersey — were to appear on the Sunday talk shows. So were several Trump administration officials, including Dr. Deborah L. Birx, the White House’s coronavirus response coordinator.

A new study from Northern California found that, compared with white or Hispanic patients, black patients seeking care have more advanced cases of Covid-19. The finding suggested that black patients may have had limited access to medical care or that they postponed seeking help until later in the course of their illness, when the disease was more advanced.

As Muslims around the world celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday this weekend, the communal prayers, feasts and parties that usually accompany it have been restricted or scrapped. Not everyone in the Muslim world is sticking to the rules, however.

In Afghanistan, the authorities have struggled to enforce their call for people to stay home during Eid, the holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Markets were crowded in recent days, and many shoppers went maskless.

Afghanistan has nearly 10,000 confirmed cases, and nearly half of a limited number of tests being carried out are turning out positive day after day. In late March, Ferozuddin Feroz, Afghanistan’s health minister, warned that unless stricter social-distancing measures were enforced, 16 million Afghans could be infected and 110,000 could die.

As world leaders grapple with when and how to safely reopen their countries, many are also facing a political problem: how to maintain support as they oversee tanking economies, stifling restrictions and staggering death tolls.

Unable to promise physical or economic safety, many are instead offering the reassuring image of a strong leader with a steady hand, our columnist Max Fisher writes.

President Xi Jinping of China is using public appearances and state media to project a message of national triumph over adversity, with himself at the vanguard. President Emmanuel Macron of France has rallied citizens to join a collective “war” against the virus.

President Trump, like many leaders, regularly appears flanked by health officials. Appeals to national unity are practically universal.

And in Britain and Germany, people have rewarded their leaders with steep and nearly identical boosts in support.

While polls suggest that people remain deeply worried about the virus and its toll, support for leaders is increasing almost universally.

Whether they realize it or not, such leaders have a powerful force on their side: human psychology.

As countries begin to open their economies, a monthslong deep freeze on tourism and cultural life is gradually thawing — with caveats.

In Australia, officials on Sunday laid out plans to allow tourism in parts of the state of Victoria starting in June. Skiing, for example, will be allowed starting June 22. But many ski resorts plan to operate at half capacity, The Canberra Times reported, and they’re bracing for a raft of distancing restrictions.

In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said on Saturday that the country would open to foreign tourists beginning in July, and that its globally popular soccer league La Liga would restart on June 8, part of the “de-escalation process” from its harshest pandemic restrictions. But the games will initially be played behind closed doors.

In Greece, officials said last week that international flights to Athens would resume on June 15, followed by the rest of the country’s airports on July 1. But tourists will be admitted only if their home countries meet certain “epidemiological criteria,” they said.

In the United States on Saturday, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, became the first major art museum to reopen since the country went into lockdown in March. Mask-wearing visitors encountered virus-specific restrictions even before they went inside, lining up on large blue stickers placed six feet apart.

“It’s good to be out of the house,” said Joan Laughlin, a nurse who was first in line. “I’ve been looking for something uplifting, something beautiful.”

Drones have been working as police officers, soaring over the banks of the Seine in Paris and the city squares of Mumbai to patrol for social distancing violators.

They’re delivering medical supplies in Rwanda and snacks in Virginia, and hovering over crowds in China to scan for fevers below.

The coronavirus has been devastating to humans but may prove a decisive step toward a time when aerial robots become a common feature of daily life, serving as helpers and even companions.

“Robots are designed to solve problems that are dull, dirty and dangerous,” said Daniel H. Wilson, a former roboticist and the author of the 2011 science fiction novel “Robopocalypse.” “And now we have a sudden global emergency in which the machines we’re used to fearing are uniquely well suited to swoop in and save the day.”

Only weeks ago, Massimiliano Cassina was running a fabric company that had international clients and specialized in sports T-shirts. But the coronavirus pandemic that has killed more than 30,000 Italians and wrecked the national economy also dealt a deathblow to his business. Desperate for a paycheck, he became one of an increasing number of Italians seeking a future in the country’s agrarian past.

“They gave me a chance,” said Mr. Cassina, 52, wearing a blue mask, blue rubber gloves and sweat-stained shirt. He now works on a small farm outside Rome, tending to corn stalks for the coming harvest.

The virus has drastically reordered society and economies, locking seasonal workers in their home countries while marooning Italians who worked in retail, entertainment, fashion and other once-mighty industries.

A return to the land once seemed reserved for natural wine hipsters or gentry sowing boutique gardens with ancient seeds, but more Italians are now considering the work of their grandparents as laborers on the large farms that are increasingly essential to feed a paralyzed country and continent.

Without them, hundreds of tons of broccoli, fava beans, fruit and vegetables are in danger of withering on the vine or rotting on the ground.

“The virus has forced us to rethink the models of development and the way the country works,” Teresa Bellanova, Italy’s agricultural minister, who is herself a former farmhand, said in an interview.

She said that the virus required Italy, which has remained at the vanguard of the epidemic and its consequences in Europe, to confront “a scarcity of food for many levels of the population,” including unemployed young professionals, and that agriculture needed to be “where the new generations can find a future.”

Sports leagues are devising plans to resume play to salvage economic lifelines and sate fans pleading to be entertained by live games on television. For athletes and team staff members with conditions that could exacerbate a coronavirus infection, balancing health needs against the zeal to play is an especially delicate matter.

“It’s scary for everyone,” said Jordan Morris, 25, a soccer player for the Seattle Sounders and the U.S. men’s national team, who learned he had Type 1 diabetes at age 9 and wears a blood sugar monitor even on the field.

He took part in the voluntary socially-distanced practices that began last week throughout Major League Soccer, which plans to resume its season as soon as next month. He said he felt safe at practice because the Sounders have done daily temperature and symptom checks, staggered workouts and encouraged frequent hand-washing.

As of Friday, unions representing athletes in major North American team sports were still negotiating specific plans for returning to play, including extra protection for the most vulnerable employees.

Reporting was contributed by Dan Barry, Jason Horowitz, Mujib Mashal, Tiffany May, Yonette Joseph, Peter Baker, Max Fisher, Michael Hardy, Mike Ives, Michael Levenson, Sharon Otterman, Elizabeth Paton, Roni Caryn Rabin, Luis Ferré Sadurní, Edgar Sandoval, Marc Stein, Matt Stevens, Derrick Bryson Taylor, James Wagner, Vivian Wang and Alex Williams.



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