Coronavirus latest: UK launches test and trace system

A triage nurse waits for patients to arrive in the Emergency Department at Frimley Park Hospital Frimley Park Hospital, in Camberley, England, May 22, 2020
A triage nurse waits for patients to arrive in the Emergency Department at Frimley Park Hospital Frimley Park Hospital, in Camberley, England, May 22, 2020 Copyright Steve Parsons/Pool via AP
By Euronews with DPA, AP, AFP
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Summary of latest updates:


Catch up on yesterday's updates here.

We'll be back tomorrow morning at 6:00amCET for live coronavirus coverage.

UK launches test and trace system

UK government officials will launch a test and trace system for tracking coronavirus cases from Thursday.

Experts from NHS Test and Trace will work with those who test positive for coronavirus "to identify the possible movements of the virus, where it's been and who else it might have infected," said UK health minister Matt Hancock.

"Then we isolate those contacts who might have been infected. So the virus is unable to spread."

The project involves 50,000 workers, including 25,000 contact-tracers hired to track down the contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19. 

Anyone with coronavirus symptoms in the UK will be eligible for test and trace from tomorrow.

'This is Europe's moment': Ursula von der Leyen tells Euronews after announcng a pandemic recovery fund

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says that a new generation of Europeans will benefit from a €1.85 trillion stimulus package announced Wednesday.

Speaking to Euronews soon after announcing a €750 billion recovery fund, Von Der Leyen said that the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic "affects all member states."

"All of them see the economic damage in the single market, but also in the national economies, therefore this is Europe’s moment," she said.

Read more:

Watch the interview here:

Spain had 43,000 excess deaths between March and May, according to health ministry

Spain registered 43,000 "excess" deaths compared to the average of the last ten years, an investigative body reporting to the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

The data provided by the Carlos III Health Institute is based on death certificates issued during the pandemic.

The official death toll in Spain due to coronavirus is 27,118 deaths, but the figure only takes into account officially confirmed cases by PCR test. 

The Carlos III Institute predicted a mortality of around 78,000 people between March 13 and May 22 based on previous years, but the reported deaths amounted to 120,851, with a significant increase between the end of March and early April.

"Mortality was 55% higher than usual (...) It mainly affected people over the age of 74," said the health ministry's Dr Fernando Simon, during a press conference.

Coronavirus alert app approved by French national assembly

France's National Assembly approved StopCovid, a coronavirus tracing app that alerts the user if they've been in contact with someone who tested positive.

App users indicate if they have received a positive coronavirus test so that they can alert people who have been in proximity to them on the metro or in a supermarket for instance.

The National Assembly approved the rolling out of the application by a vote of 338 to 215.

The vote will now go to France's Senate.

People under 45 need to reduce social contact, UK officials say

"Although those under the age of 45 are at significantly lower risk, the evidence show that we are just as likely to get it and transmit it," said UK health minister Matt Hancock.

It is likely that those under 45 (some of whom are at risk for coronavirus), spread it more than others due to the number of social contacts they have, said deputy chief medical officer for England Jonathan Van-Tam.

"The whole game about beating COVID-19 until we get a vaccine [or treatment] is to reduce contact between people and particularly reduce contacts between households," he said.


Italy reports 117 new deaths and 584 new cases

Italy recorded 117 additional deaths due to coronavirus bringing the total to 33,072 deaths.

There were another 584 cases recorded in 24 hours bringing the total since the beginning of the pandemic to more than 231,000.

There are just 7,729 hospitalised for COVID-19 and 505 people currently in intensive care in Italy.


An additional 412 people died in the UK due to coronavirus

An additional 412 people died bringing the total to 37,480 deaths since the beginning of the epidemic.

"Testing and tracing must become a new way of life," the UK's health minister, Matt Hancock said at the daily briefing. The "test and trace" system will start from tomorrow.

If you are contacted to isolate, you must, it is your "civic duty". Even if you don't have symptoms, you should isolate since you could have the virus without symptoms.

Every single person with symptoms of coronavirus can be tested from tomorrow.

It's not just the "safety" of all but the "liberty" of all at stake, Hancock said.

Schools can be opened in a socially distanced way, UK PM says

Boris Johnson said one of the reasons to open school is that there's a social injustice in that some kids can learn at home and others cannot.

"We know we can do it in a safe socially distanced way," the prime minister said, as long as students and teachers follow guidelines on keeping apart.

Primary schools are set to begin reopening from June 1.


Johnson says it’s time to 'move on' from row over top aide’s travels during lockdown

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that he wants the country to move on from talk of Dominic Cummings' breach of lockdown in his latest effort to dismiss the reports that have caused chaos in the UK.

Cummings travelled more than 400 kilometres while likely infected with coronavirus to seek childcare for his four-year-old.

The UK prime minister also said that he did not think an inquiry into Cummings' actions was a necessary use of resources.

“Quite frankly, I’m not certain right now if an inquiry into that matter is a good use of official time we’re working flat out on coronavirus,” Johnson said.

Answering questions from Parliament’s Liaison committee, he was pressed repeatedly on the lockdown guidance which MPs said was unclear after the prime minister said Cummings' actions fell within the definition of lockdown. 

Johnson called the row over his adviser's actions a "distraction" even though both opposition and conservative MPs have called for Cummings to resign.

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