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May 8 coronavirus news
Brazil reported a record daily increase of 751 Covid-19 deaths on Friday, according to the Brazilian Health Ministry.
The newly reported fatalities bring the countrywide death toll to 9,897, according to the ministry.
Brazil also reported 10,222 new Covid-19 cases, bringing the countrywide total of confirmed cases to 145,328.
More than 50% of Spain’s population will advance to phase one on Monday as part of the country’s de-escalation process, during the coronavirus crisis, Spain's health minister announced on Friday.
But Madrid and Barcelona, the two largest cities in the country and the hardest hit by the pandemic are staying behind.
At a nationally-televised news conference on Friday evening, Health Minister Salvador Illa and the Director for Health Emergencies, Dr. Fernando Simón, said the government decided which parts of the country could advance to phase one, after consulting with Spain's 17 regional governments regarding infection rates in each region, the capacity to quickly detect any new cases and how each region's hospitals could respond to any second wave.
Simón listed a total of 11 regions that will transition fully to the next phase: Galicia, Asturias, Cantabria, Pais Vasco, La Rioja, Navarra, Aragon, Extremadura, Murcia, Balearic Islands, Canaries, and Spain’s two enclaves on Morocco’s north coast, Ceuta and Melilla.
Other regions such as Castilla Leon, Catalonia, Castilla La Mancha, Valencia and Andalusia will have some of their provinces or health districts advancing to phase one, but not the entire region.
The Madrid region, which includes the Spanish capital and surrounding cities, had requested to move to phase one but the health minister said the region has not met all the technical criteria yet and would not predict when it could advance to the next level.
Barcelona, Spain's second largest city that is also a province of the same name, with numerous adjacent cities, also did not advance to phase one.
The Madrid region and Barcelona province have special challenges, with density of population, movement of that population, their exchange nationally with other parts of Spain and their international interaction, Simón added.
Queen Elizabeth II has likened the British public's response to the coronavirus pandemic with the efforts of its soldiers during World War II, in a televised speech delivered exactly 75 years after her father marked the end of fighting in Europe.
Speaking on the 75th anniversary of VE Day, the Queen remembered her own experiences of the end of fighting on the continent and praised the "strength and courage" of British and Allied troops who brought about Germany's surrender on May 8, 1945.
"Never give up, never despair — that was the message of VE Day," the monarch said. "I vividly remember the jubilant scenes my sister and I witnessed with our parents and Winston Churchill from the balcony of Buckingham Palace."
Acknowledging the impact on modern British life of the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced this year's public commemorations to be canceled, she also drew parallels between the UK's wartime generation and their modern compatriots.
"Today it may seem hard that we cannot mark this special anniversary as we would wish. Instead we remember from our homes and our doorsteps," she said at the conclusion of her speech. "But our streets are not empty; they are filled with the love and the care that we have for each other.
"When I look at our country today, and see what we are willing to do to protect and support one another, I say with pride that we are still a nation those brave soldiers, sailors and airmen would recognize and admire," the Queen added.
The speech marked the second time the 94-year-old monarch has addressed the country since the coronavirus outbreak began — usually a rare occurrence saved only for her annual Christmas Day message.
It's 8 p.m. in London. Here is a wrap-up of the latest global coronavirus news:
- Unemployment in Canada skyrockets: At least 2 million Canadians lost their jobs in April, adding to the 1 million who were already unemployed through March. Canada’s unemployment rate stands at 13%, the second highest ever recorded.
- Restrictions in the UK unlikely to change: The UK should not expect a “dramatic overnight change” in coronavirus restrictions when the prime minister addresses the nation on Sunday, an official said.
- EU borders to remain closed through mid-June: The European Commission is encouraging countries in the European Union to extend restrictions on nonessential travel and to keep external borders closed until June 15.
- Kuwait imposes lockdown: Kuwait imposed a nationwide lockdown starting Sunday until the end of May, the government said on Friday.
The UK should not expect a “dramatic overnight change” in coronavirus restrictions when the Prime Minister addresses the nation on Sunday, an official said.
Boris Johnson is expected to start lifting restrictions in an announcement on Sunday outlining the next phase of the government’s response to coronavirus.
Johnson will act cautiously, the nation's Environment Secretary George Eustice said at a daily government press briefing.
“There isn’t going to be any dramatic overnight change. We will be very, very cautious as we loosen the restrictions we have. As the data that we’re outlining on a daily basis shows, we are not out of the woods, there are still major challenges with this virus for some time to come,” Eustice said.
He warned a second peak of the virus could still overwhelm the national health service.
At least 2 million Canadians lost their jobs in April, adding to the 1 million who were already unemployed through March. Canada’s unemployment rate stands at 13%, the second highest ever recorded.
Statistics Canada said the unemployment rate would be even higher, nearly 18%, if those who were not actively looking for work were included in the unemployment rate. Nearly one in three Canadian workers either didn’t work in April or had reduced hours.
“Right now, Canadians are hurting because of this pandemic. Everyone has their own story, but it all boils down to a very difficult time for a lot of people,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during a news conference in Ottawa today.
Trudeau announced that the emergency wage subsidy program is being extended beyond June, in an effort to encourage more employers to keep staff on payroll or to help more businesses re-hire employees already laid off.
Canada said nearly 100,000 businesses have already been approved for the up to 75% wage subsidy program and that 1.7 million workers are already keeping their jobs while on the program.
The Canadian Chamber of Commerce called the job losses "staggering" and added that the key to reopening the economy will be "re-skilling" businesses and employees.
“The key question is how quickly businesses can or will re-hire once the economy reopens,” said the Chamber in a statement noting that many businesses will have to reopen even as social distancing requirements remain in place.
The European Commission is encouraging countries in the European Union to extend restrictions on nonessential travel and to keep external borders closed until June 15.
"While some EU and Schengen Associated States are taking preliminary steps towards easing the measures for fighting the spread of the pandemic, the situation remains fragile both in Europe and worldwide. This calls for continued measures at the external borders to reduce the risk of the disease spreading through travel to the EU. The lifting of travel restrictions should be phased," the European Commission said in a statement Friday.
The “invite” is not binding and the opening of the countries' external borders is a decision at national level.
The EU decided to close its external borders on March 17, except for essential travel. The restrictions apply to the "EU+area," a total of 30 countries including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, and Switzerland.
"Despite progress in many European countries, the situation worldwide is very fragile. It is imperative that any action taken is gradual, with different measures being lifted in different phases," Margaritis Schinas, vice president of the European Commission, said in a statement.
Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of the World Health Organization health emergencies program, said the lives of people across the world could face “significant alteration” until a coronavirus vaccine is developed.
Speaking on Friday during a briefing, Ryan said, “There is a path out, but we must remain ever vigilant. And we may have to have a significant alteration to our lifestyles, until we get to a point where we have an effective vaccine, or an effective treatments.”
Ryan said the team at WHO feels the effects of physical distancing, just like the rest of the world.
"We haven't shaken hands or hugged our friends in 18 weeks either," he said.
To reopen, “many countries are taking a very careful stepwise approach, relying on the patience and perseverance of their citizens to continue to suffer what is a difficult process both socially psychologically and economically for many people,” he said. “I think everyone is doing that because we want to protect those we love.”
Ryan sees the path out involving partial school openings, partial returns to workplaces and careful measures in-place to those who work in high-density areas.
But for things like concerts and sports, he said, “it's going to be much more difficult to make those perfectly safe."
“Life is life,” he said, “there's no zero risk.”