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Coronavirus latest: UK overtakes Italy to become worst-hit European country

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By Alice Tidey  & Pauline Bock, Alasdair Sandford  with AP, AFP
An appointment-only coronavirus drive-thru COVID-19 swab test site at Impact Church, May 4, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz.
An appointment-only coronavirus drive-thru COVID-19 swab test site at Impact Church, May 4, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz.   -   Copyright  AP/Ross D. Franklin

Summary of key developments

All the latest updates


Virgin Atlantic cuts compound airline misery

Virgin Atlantic on Tuesday announced plans to cut operations at Gatwick Airport.

The airline, which employs about 10,000 people in total, will cut 3,150 jobs as it tries to secure government funding to help it to survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Virgin said its plans were designed to "reshape and resize (the) business to ensure that is it fit for the future, in response to the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the global economy, our nation and the travel and aviation industry".

Last week Ryanair announced plans to cut up to 3,000 jobs, while British Airways has said it intends to cut up to 12,000 posts.

Ryanair CEO Michael O'Leary has blamed "unfair" state aid given to large carriers such as Air France and Lufthansa.


'Too early to make international comparisons' - Raab on UK figures

More on the top story, that the UK has now surpassed Italy and has now the world's second highest death toll after the United States.

UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said at the daily coronavirus media briefing that 29,427 people have now died, an increase of 693 on the previous day.

Figures from the UK's Office of National Statistics have led to calculations that the number is over 32,000.

Raab told the media it was too early to make international comparisons as other countries may not be measuring fatalities in the same way.

He said the ONS was a "world leader" in gathering statistics and that the government wanted "full transparency" in relation to data collected in relation to the pandemic.

"We are confident and we believe that it's only if we get the full transparency that we'll be in the best place to tackle this virus," he said.


Another coronavirus case in German soccer before key meeting

Second-division German soccer club Erzgebirge Aue put its entire squad in home isolation on Tuesday after a member of staff tested positive for the coronavirus.
It was the first confirmed case in the German league's second round of testing, coming a day before a government meeting on loosening lockdown measures to pave the way for soccer to return in empty stadiums.
Aue didn't name the staff member involved or say how the person could have contracted the coronavirus.
The club didn't report any positive tests from the first round of testing last week.
All players, coaches and backroom staff will stay at home ahead of more coronavirus testing on Thursday, though German soccer's restart plan doesn't require automatic quarantine measures. 
A meeting between Merkel and the governors on Wednesday will discuss resuming soccer in Germany.
The league's plan has faced public criticism regarding the use of coronavirus testing kits on people who appear healthy, and concerns that fans could gather near stadiums. 

Dominic Raab reveals UK COVID-19 cybersecurity threat

The UK foreign secretary hosting the UK briefing begins by giving the latest figures: 84,806 tests were carried out yesterday. Another 4,406 people tested positive for coronavirus.

The total number of confirmed deaths from the disease rose by 693 in the past 24 hours. The minister said it now stands at 29,427. However, earlier figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) led to calculations that the number had topped 32,000.

British and American security agencies have exposed malicious attempts to hack organisations involved in the response to the pandemic, Raab says. The agencies have published a joint statement.

Motives appear to range from fraud to espionage and the perpetrators -- who could include hostile states -- seem to be interested in stealing data, he adds.


Watch live: UK gives COVID-19 update 

The British government will give an update on the COVID-19 situation in the country from 18:00 CET.
Watch live by clicking on the player above.

Lockdown lift: Italians document life outside after weeks of confinement

Experience a day in northern Italy, one of Europe's most affected areas, as restrictions are relaxed and people venture out after a strict lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Watch by clicking on the player above.

German court asks European Central Bank to justify key stimulus program

Germany's highest court cast doubt on Tuesday on key eurozone stimulus efforts by giving the European Central Bank three months to prove that its key bond-buying program is justified and appropriate.
If it doesn't make that showing, the court ruled, Germany's own national central bank can no longer participate in the program - and would even have to sell bonds that it had purchased.
Analysts said the ruling could end up putting new constraints on central bank efforts to support the economy of the 19 countries that use the euro as they struggle to rebound from the shutdowns caused by the coronavirus outbreak. 
The ECB said in a statement that it "is analyzing the ruling and will comment in due course.''

Lesotho to ease lockdown from Wednesday

Lesotho, the only African country that has so far been spared by the coronavirus pandemic, will end its lockdown from Wednesday, the Prime minister Thomas Thabane said on Tuesday.
The small African kingdom introduced its lockdown on 29 March. Its territory is located in an enclave within that of South Africa, the hardest-hit country on the continent.
Non-essential services and businesses will be allowed to reopen "temporarily" from Wednesday, Thabane said, adding that it will be mandatory to wear a face mask in public places.
Lesotho's borders will remain closed until further notice, he said, and criticised illegal border crossings to South Africa. On Monday, 18 Lesotho citizens were arrested as they crossed the border between the two countries.
South Africa has reported 7,000 cases of coronavirus and 138 deaths.

New York state reports an additional 1,700 virus deaths in nursing homes

The United States' New York state has reported more than 1,700 previously undisclosed deaths at nursing homes and adult care facilities as the state faces scrutiny over how it's protected vulnerable residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
At least 4,813 people have died from COVID-19 in New York state's nursing homes since 1 March, according to a tally released by the state Governor Andrew Cuomo's administration on Monday that, for the first time, includes people believed to have been killed by the coronavirus before their diagnoses could be confirmed by a lab test.
Exactly how many nursing home residents have died remains uncertain despite the state's latest disclosure, as the list doesn't nursing home residents who were transferred to hospitals before dying.

Coronavirus returns long-banned drive-in movies to Iran

The new coronavirus pandemic has brought back something unseen in Iran since its 1979 Islamic Revolution: a drive-in movie theater.
Once decried by revolutionaries for allowing too much privacy for unmarried young couples, a drive-in theater now operates from a parking lot right under Tehran's iconic Milad tower, showing a film in line with the views of hard-liners.
Workers spray disinfectants on cars that line up each night here after buying tickets online for what is called the "Cinema Machine'' in Farsi.
They tune into the film's audio via an FM station on their car radios.
With stadiums shut and movie theaters closed, this parking-lot screening is the only film being shown in a communal setting amid the virus outbreak in Iran, one of the world's worst.
Iran has reported more than 98,600 cases with over 6,200 deaths, though international and local experts acknowledge Iran's toll is likely far higher.