May 3 coronavirus news

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3:38 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Indian laborers found in cement mixer trying to get home amid lockdown

Eighteen laborers crammed inside a concrete mixer in a desperate attempt to evade India's nationwide lockdown and travel home, police said.

They were found in the machine when the truck carrying the cement mixer was pulled over by police in the state of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday.

“The laborers were found in the vent where the cement is mixed for construction purposes when a cement mixing truck was stopped for checking in central India’s Indore town by the police," Umakant Choudhary, a senior police official in Indore said.

The workers were traveling from Mumbai, in western India, to their homes in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, said Choudhary -- a distance of more than 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles).

Police said they impounded the truck and the laborers were sent to a quarantine centre in Indore. A formal complaint was filed by police.

India's nationwide lockdown has been in effect since March 24 and on Friday was extended by two more weeks until May 17, although exemptions have been issued for certain areas and activities. 

Travel by air, rail, metro and inter-state movement by road is prohibited.

Over the past few days, the government has arranged transportation for stranded migrant workers, students and tourists who need to travel back to their homes.

3:35 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

It's 9:30 a.m. in Berlin and 4:30 p.m. in Tokyo. Here are the latest developments

People gather along the Huangpu River for May Day in Shanghai, China, on May 1.
People gather along the Huangpu River for May Day in Shanghai, China, on May 1. Hector Retamal/AFP via Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 3.4 million people and killed at least 243,000 worldwide. If you're just joining us now, here are the latest developments on the pandemic.

China's busy holiday weekend: Mainland China reported no new deaths for the fifth day in a row on Saturday, as people flocked to attractions around the country for the Labour Day weekend. One million people visited Shanghai in two days. Meanwhile, Harbin City, on the Russia-China border, closed all dine-in restaurants until further notice, according to state broadcaster CCTV. The measures were to prevent crowds gathering over the holiday weekend.

France's deaths decline: The daily number of deaths from coronavirus in France continues to decline. At least 24,760 people have died there after contracting Covid-19, an increase of 166 since Friday, the Health Ministry announced Saturday. Meanwhile, the French government will extend its state of emergency for another two months.

But deaths in Brazil climb: Brazil's Ministry of Health reported 421 deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, with the total death toll now at 6,750. Brazil has the most reported cases in Latin America.

Warren Buffett shares some optimism: The billionaire investor said he remains convinced that America will recover from the Covid-19 pandemic -- just as it did after other crises during the past century. He also announced his company Berkshire Hathaway recently sold its entire stakes in four airlines, calling it a mistake to invest in the industry.

Thailand lifts alcohol ban: Thailand began to ease some of its month-long coronavirus restrictions today, as Covid-19 cases in the country continue to fall. Certain businesses such as markets and hairdressers can reopen, train and bus stations can also reopen and bars can sell alcoholic drinks, but people must consume them at home.

But the Philippines suspends air travel: All passenger and commercial flights to and from the country were suspended today to prevent the spread of coronavirus. The Philippines has confirmed 8,928 coronavirus cases and 604 deaths.

Baby names: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has named his newborn son in honor of doctors who treated him for coronavirus. The baby's name is Wilfred Lawrie Nicholas Johnson -- Nicholas is in honor of two doctors who treated Johnson.

2:50 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Philippines suspends all passenger and commercial flights amid coronavirus outbreak

AirAsia passenger planes sit on the tarmac of Manila's international airport on April 19 in the Philippines.
AirAsia passenger planes sit on the tarmac of Manila's international airport on April 19 in the Philippines. STR/AFP/Getty Images

The Philippines has temporarily suspended all passenger and commercial flights to and from the country starting from 8 a.m. local time Sunday, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the country's airport authority said.

In a statement released late Saturday night, the Manila International Airport Authority added that “cargo flights, medical supplies, utility, and maintenance flights will remain unhampered."

The Philippines currently has 8,928 confirmed coronavirus cases and 604 deaths, according to the country's Department of Health.

2:34 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Thailand lifts alcohol ban and other coronavirus restrictions

People shop at an open-air market outside Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 3.
People shop at an open-air market outside Lumpini Park in Bangkok, Thailand, on May 3. Mladen Antonov/AFP/Getty Images

Thailand began to ease some of its month-long coronavirus restrictions today, as Covid-19 cases in the country continue to fall.

Bangkok and provinces can consider reopening certain businesses and loosening restrictions on daily life -- including the sale of alcohol, which had been prohibited under the Emergency Decree -- according to the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT),

Here's how the resumptions will work:

  • From May 3, hotels can sell food and drinks. Airports, train stations, bus stations, hospitals, restaurants and beverage shops, convenience stores, and street stalls can reopen.
  • Pubs and bars can be reopened for takeaway only. People can buy alcoholic drinks but they must consume them at home.
  • In shopping malls and department stores, the only businesses allowed to open are supermarkets, pharmacies, and other "necessary" services such as banks, and government and state enterprise services. Restaurants and food courts can reopen for takeaway only. Phone shops can reopen.
  • Retail shops, wholesalers, markets, floating markets and flea markets can reopen "with strict disease control."
  • Hairdressers and barbers can reopen for limited services and by appointment only.
  • Hospitals, clinics, dental clinics and all healthcare facilities can reopen.
  • Golf courses and driving ranges, tennis courts, horse riding tracks, and shooting ranges can reopen without gatherings or competitions.
  • Public parks can reopen for outdoor activities such as running, walking, biking or individual workouts, but no gatherings, competitions or shows.
  • Pet shops and hospitals can reopen under strict control and on appointment only.

The extended Emergency Decree will run until midnight on May 31.

A curfew from 10 p.m. local time until 4 a.m. is still in effect. A ban on "high-risk transmission areas" such as cinemas, zoos, water parks, public swimming pools, gyms and beauty clinics remains in effect.

2:16 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Queen and Adam Lambert reimagine classic song with "You Are The Champions," dedicated to health care workers

Adam Lambert performs with Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen on February 16 in Sydney, Australia.
Adam Lambert performs with Brian May and Roger Taylor of Queen on February 16 in Sydney, Australia. Cole Bennetts/Getty Images

Almost everyone knows the lyrics to Queen's "We Are the Champions." Now, the band has turned the song on its head, as a tribute to workers on the frontline fighting coronavirus.

Brian May, Roger Taylor and Adam Lambert teamed up to release "You Are The Champions" on Thursday, in a new version of the classic song.

All proceeds made from the song will go towards the Covid-19 Solidarity Response Fund for The World Health Organization.

Queen and Lambert were scheduled to be on the European leg of their Rhapsody tour, but the ongoing pandemic led the musicians to postpone the dates. This song, though, was recorded while May, Taylor and Lambert were all self-isolating in separate cities.

1:50 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

A few weeks ago, they were engineers, chefs and waitresses. Now they're farming

The British government wants you: To cut lettuce from the fields, pick berries from the bushes and load boxes of fresh produce into cold storage warehouses.

While many people hunker down at home, reloading the internet sites of grocery stores to secure a home delivery slot or dreading the socially distanced, masked visit to a supermarket, it's easy to lose sight of the supply chain and where that food is coming from.

As Covid-19 cases surpass 170,000 in the United Kingdom, British farmers are facing spring cut off from the Eastern European migrant workers that make the harvest possible. But with thousands of Brits laid off or furloughed, the UK government now says its official policy is to try to get locals onto the fields.

Sally Penfold, 45, was until recently a waitress at a restaurant in Hastings. After the UK government lockdown took effect, she lost her job.

Penfold is one of several people seeking work at a family-owned farm in Kent, southeast England.

"I was fed up with being indoors, not earning any money," said Sally Penfold, 45. "I just wanted to get out there and do some kind of work. I think providing food for the nation is quite an honorable thing to do."

Read the full story:

1:36 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

This Japanese aquarium wants you to FaceTime its shy eels

The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo, Japan
The Sumida Aquarium in Tokyo, Japan Shutterstock

With much of the world's human population stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic, one Japanese aquarium is exploring a new way to ensure its inhabitants don't get too used to the peace and quiet.

In an appeal this week, Tokyo's Sumida Aquarium asked for volunteers to FaceTime its 300 spotted garden eels, which have had limited interactions with humans since the aquarium was forced to close in March.

"As the (aquarium) has been closed for a long time, the animals aren't seeing any other people other than the staff ... they're beginning to forget about humans," the aquarium said in a statement.
"The garden eels in particular have started to burrow themselves into the sand and hide even when aquarium (staff) pass by their tank," they added.

This, the aquarium says, is a problem -- the eels' newfound shyness means staff are unable to check up on the fish and make sure they are healthy.

1:22 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

The countries hit hardest by Covid-19, by the numbers

A team of health workers tend to a coronavirus patient in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit on April 24 in Stamford, Connecticut.
A team of health workers tend to a coronavirus patient in a Stamford Hospital intensive care unit on April 24 in Stamford, Connecticut. John Moore/Getty Images

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 3.4 million people worldwide and killed at least 243,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Here are the five countries with the highest figures:

  1. United States: More than 1.1 million cases and 66,300 deaths
  2. Spain: More than 216,000 cases and 25,100 deaths
  3. Italy: More than 209,000 cases and 28,700 deaths
  4. The UK: More than 183,000 cases and 28,000 deaths
  5. France: More than 168,000 cases and 24,700 deaths
1:09 a.m. ET, May 3, 2020

Snapshot of a pandemic: The state of coronavirus in Asia Pacific

Migrant workers queue to board a special train going to Agra in Uttar Pradesh state during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown at Sabarmati Railway Station on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on May 2.
Migrant workers queue to board a special train going to Agra in Uttar Pradesh state during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown at Sabarmati Railway Station on the outskirts of Ahmedabad on May 2. Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images

Some countries are still responding to spikes in cases and deaths while in others, people are returning to normal life. Here's what the pandemic looks like in Asia Pacific:

India: The nationwide lockdown, affecting 1.3 billion people, was scheduled to lift on Sunday, May 3 -- but has since been extended to May 17. However, restrictions have eased in some low-risk areas that haven't had new cases in three weeks.

China: Mainland China was the first country in the world to go under lockdown. Now, with its daily cases in the low single digits, some cities are easing their restrictions and tourist favorites like Beijing's Forbidden City are reopening. However, some limitations remain, such as daily visitor caps and health checks. More than 1 million people flocked to Shanghai's attractions over the Labor Day weekend.

Singapore: The city-state plans to ease restrictions over the coming weeks, with business to resume more fully from June 1. Employers and companies will be under strict requirements to reduce the risk of infection. Some residents will be allowed to exercise in public areas from May 5 and from May 12 select services will be allowed to resume, including food manufacturing, food delivery and takeaway, laundry services, and hairdressers.

People ride an almost empty Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line train during the first weekend of the Golden Week national holiday on May 2, in Tokyo.
People ride an almost empty Tokyu Den-en-toshi Line train during the first weekend of the Golden Week national holiday on May 2, in Tokyo. Carl Court/Getty Images

Australia: Restrictions have loosened in some states and the federal government is considering ending the nationwide lockdown early. In Queensland state, residents are allowed to go out for recreational activities like picnics or boating. While people are still expected to observe social distancing, residents flocked outdoors today, eager for fresh air after weeks at home.

Malaysia: The country will allow the majority of businesses to reopen Monday. Those that involve close contact like movie theaters or nightclubs will remain closed. Malaysia has started rounding up undocumented immigrants to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Japan: The nationwide state of emergency was set to lift on May 6, but Prime Minster Shinzo Abe said on Friday that the government plans to extend it for about a month -- a decision is expected on Monday. Japan's cases have spiked in recent weeks and on Saturday it reported 289 new coronavirus cases and 34 deaths.

New Zealand: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country had "eliminated" the virus, but has urged people to be vigilant. Police say they have had more than 1,000 reports of people breaking the ban on mass gatherings as level 3 restrictions continue.