June 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 9:03 PM ET, Wed June 3, 2020
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10:07 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

More than 600 nurses worldwide have died from coronavirus, group says

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite in London

The National Nurses United set out 88 empty pairs of shoes on May 7 in Washington representing nurses that they say have died from COVID-19.
The National Nurses United set out 88 empty pairs of shoes on May 7 in Washington representing nurses that they say have died from COVID-19. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

More than 600 nurses worldwide have died from Covid-19, and more than 230,000 health care workers have contracted the virus, the International Council of Nurses (ICN) said Wednesday in a statement.

The ICN represents more than 130 national nursing associations with 20 million members globally, and “has been highlighting the lack of systematic data on COVID-19 infection rates of healthcare workers (HCWs) and related deaths of nurses," an ICN spokesman told CNN.  It “implores" governments to act to protect their health and save lives.

“Without this data we do not know the true cost of COVID-19, and that will make us less able to tackle other pandemics in the future,” ICN CEO Howard Catton added in the statement.

The ICN report is based on data from national nursing associations, official figures and media reports from a limited number of countries.

9:23 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

2.8 million private sector jobs disappeared in the US in May, according to report

From CNN’s Anneken Tappe

People walk past a shuttered business in Brooklyn on May 12.
People walk past a shuttered business in Brooklyn on May 12. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Another 2.8 million jobs in the private sector disappeared in May, according to the ADP national employment report.

The private sector lost far fewer jobs than expected, however. Economists surveyed by Refinitiv had forecast 9 million lost jobs last month.

In April, ADP reported a revised 19.6 million jobs vanished, the worst month since the company began reporting national employment numbers in 2002.

All segments of the economy were decimated again in May, but large businesses with 500 employees or more accounted for more than half the jobs lost — 1.6 million.

Nearly 2 million of the losses occurred in the battered services industry, with the trade, transportation and utilities sector leading the declines. In the goods-producing industry, manufacturing shed the most jobs.

“The impact of the COVID-19 crisis continues to weigh on businesses of all sizes,” said Ahu Yildirmaz, co-head of the ADP Research Institute. “While the labor market is still reeling from the effects of the pandemic, job loss likely peaked in April, as many states have begun a phased reopening of businesses.”

The ADP report comes two days ahead of the US Bureau of Labor Statistics' jobs report, which is due Friday morning.

Economists polled by Refinitiv expect another 8 million jobs lost in May, following a 20.5 million drop in April. That would push the unemployment rate to nearly 20%, a new record high.

9:06 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Portugal wants to welcome British tourists this summer

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy in Dublin

Beachgoers in Praia da Rainha in Cascais, Portugal, on May 29.
Beachgoers in Praia da Rainha in Cascais, Portugal, on May 29. Horacio Villalobos/Corbis via Getty Images

Portugal hopes to welcome British holidaymakers this summer according to Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 on Wednesday, Santos Silva said the UK and Portugal were considering a potential “air bridge” between the two countries. 

Calling quarantine “an enemy of tourism,” Santos Silva said that UK and Portuguese diplomats “will work together in order to guarantee that British tourists coming to Portugal would not be subjected in their return to England to any kind of quarantine”.

The UK is set to introduce a mandatory 14-day quarantine for overseas travelers from Monday with the UK Home Secretary Priti Patel expected to set out the details in Parliament Wednesday. 

UK Health Minister Edward Argar also confirmed on the BBC Radio 4 that the UK government was looking into the possibility of airbridges.

“One of the mitigating aspects for the industry that is being looked into a lot is this concept of airbridges where you do come to agreements with other countries were they are happy with your levels of infection and your control of it and you are happy with theirs” he said.

Argar refused to “pre-empt” any further details about the potential air bridges.

9:04 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

European rail operator will gradually resume international train services

From CNN's James Frater in London

A Thalys high speed train in Belgium in 2018
A Thalys high speed train in Belgium in 2018 Sergi Reboredo/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

European rail operator Thalys is to gradually resume its international train services between the Netherlands, Belgium, France and Germany starting next week.

Thalys, which normally carries 7.5 million passengers a year to 26 destinations has been running four trains a day between Brussels, Amsterdam and Paris since March 10.

Beginning on June 9, the operator will restart a daily service between Dortmond and Paris and increase other services to 20% of its normal offering by the middle of July, with the hope of running 50% of its trains by August.

In an email to customers, Thayls CEO Bertrand Gosselin said: “We do not know when the Covid-19 pandemic will end, nor when our lives will regain some normality.”

Gosselin also assured passengers, “that the safety, well-being and health of our clients and employees is at all times at the core of our decisions.”

Passengers will be required to wear a face covering at all times while onboard and the number of seats available on Thalys trains has been halved to maintain social distancing.

Since April 8, anyone traveling to and from France is required to complete an International Travel Certificate to Mainland France form, confirming their journey is necessary and they are free of Covid-19 symptoms.

Other international European rail operators Deutsche Bahn, SNCF and NS — who have also been running a limited service or no service at all — have begun to slowly resume services from 1 June.

Eurostar, which runs trains between mainland Europe and the United Kingdom will continue to run a reduced service.

A spokesperson for Eurostar told CNN, “We continue to closely monitor the situation as it develops, and we hope to gradually increase our number of services and destinations over the coming weeks in line with the easing of lockdown restrictions.”

8:13 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 6 p.m. in Dhaka. Catch up on the latest headlines

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic:

  • European travel: Austria and Germany are preparing to ease travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Austria will reopen its borders with seven neighboring countries from Thursday -- but not with Italy.
  • First Rohingya death: A Rohingya refugee has died in Bangladesh in the first Covid-19-related fatality at the world's largest refugee camp, the UN agency charged with protecting refugees said.
  • Ibuprofen trial: A new London-based coronavirus treatment trial launched this week will test if a formulation of ibuprofen can treat one of the complications of coronavirus: severe acute respiratory distress syndrome.
  • Australia in recession: The country's economy shrank 0.3% in the first quarter, as Australia entered recession for the first time in nearly three decades. Covid-19 was largely to blame, said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, adding he expected second quarter figures to be worse.
  • Storm over India's virus epicenter: Cyclone Nisarga is moving across the state of Maharashtra, a region home to the megacity of Mumbai, which is already reeling from the impact of the virus. Covid-19 patients were among more than 100,000 people evacuated from low-lying coastal areas before the storm hit.
  • Meanwhile, India cases surge: The country reported nearly 9,000 new Covid-19 infections today -- a highest single-day spike that pushes its total over 200,000 cases.
  • US protest fears: Members of the White House coronavirus task force discussed the "increasing" risk that the virus could spread among protesters at demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, a source familiar with the discussion said. The US surgeon general said he expects new outbreaks due to the protests.
8:03 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

UK trials "unique formulation" of ibuprofen to treat coronavirus

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite and Lindsay Isaac in London

A new London-based coronavirus treatment trial launched this week will test if a formulation of ibuprofen can treat one of the complications of coronavirus: severe acute respiratory distress syndrome.

The trial is jointly headed by King's College London, a London research hospital and the pharmaceutical organization, the SEEK Group.

It aims to reduce Covid-19 related respiratory failure, which in turn may decrease the need for more aggressive intervention such as ventilation, Kings College London said in a statement.

The drug would be given at a “very specific stage” of the virus to hospitalized patients with confirmed or suspected Covid-19 in a randomized study. 

Researchers say the drug differs from standard ibuprofen and is already licensed for use in the UK to treat other conditions. If proven successful, the treatment could be “invaluable” because of the low cost and high availability of the drug, the statement adds.

7:58 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Austria, Germany prepare to ease coronavirus travel restrictions

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A German police officer stops a car at a checkpoint at the border to Austria near Fussen, Germany, on April 5.
A German police officer stops a car at a checkpoint at the border to Austria near Fussen, Germany, on April 5. Andreas Gebert/Getty Images

Austria will lift its coronavirus-related border restrictions with seven neighboring countries from Thursday, the country's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said Wednesday.

Those countries are Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. 

“We are returning to the pre-corona situation regarding these countries,” Schallenberg declared, adding that there will therefore be no more border controls with these countries.

However, Austria’s border with Italy -- one of Europe's worst-affected countries -- will remain closed. Schallenberg said the current infection rate in Italy would “not yet” allow an opening, adding that it would happen “as soon as the figures allow.”

Schallenberg said that although most borders are reopening, it is still best to refrain from unnecessary travel and to holiday instead within Austria.

Meanwhile, Germany is to lift its blanket travel warning for 29 European countries from June 15, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday. 

Berlin will then issue individual travel guidelines on a country-by-country basis, “unless there are no-entry bans or large scale lockdowns in place in the respective countries,” he said.

Germany does not advise travel to Britain due to its plan to impose a 14-day quarantine on new arrivals, Maas added.

EU countries are starting to lift Covid-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions in place since March. 

But Maas warned Germans to travel at their own risk. There will not be another repatriation initiative for any citizens stranded abroad this summer, he said.

7:12 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Two medical journals raise concern over data used in coronavirus studies, one related to hydroxychloroquine

From CNN Health’s Wes Bruer and Elizabeth Cohen

A pharmacy worker holds a hydroxychloroquine pill at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020.
A pharmacy worker holds a hydroxychloroquine pill at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

Two influential medical journals have issued expressions of concern about the data used in different coronavirus studies -- data that came from the same international registry.

One study, in the Lancet, found that giving hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to hospitalized coronavirus patients was linked to increased rates of mortality and serious heart rhythm complications. 

“We are issuing an Expression of Concern to alert readers to the fact that serious scientific questions have been brought to our attention,” the Lancet editors wrote, noting that “important scientific questions have been raised about data” in the paper.

The Lancet said results of an independent audit to determine the validity of the data in the study, published May 22, were expected “very shortly.” Its study had provided a counterpoint to US President Donald Trump, who has called hydroxychloroquine a "game-changer."

Another study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 1, found that certain heart disease drugs, including ACE inhibitors, didn’t worsen the risk of death for coronavirus patients. 

“This retrospective study used data drawn from an international database that included electronic health records from 169 hospitals on three continents. Recently, substantive concerns have been raised about the quality of the information in that database. We have asked the authors to provide evidence that the data are reliable,” the New England Journal of Medicine editors wrote Tuesday.

Both studies used data from Surgisphere, which describes itself as a “public service organization dedicated to making the world a better place.”

“Our multi-national observational registry study published in The Lancet Medical Journal has been met with both high praise and some skepticism from the scientific community and global institutions,” Surgisphere said in a statement posted on its website.

“The Surgisphere registry is an aggregation of the deidentified electronic health records of customers of QuartzClinical, Surgisphere’s machine learning program and data analytics platform,” it added. Surgisphere said it had detected a problem with one hospital in its database. “This hospital was properly reclassified in our database. The findings of the paper are unaffected by this update,” it said.

Scientists independent of either study said even if the data mix-up did not affect the conclusions, the discrepancies needed to be cleared up.

6:51 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

A least 106,181 deaths in US, with more than 1.8 million cases

There are at least 1,831,821 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 106,181 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.