Coronavirus latest: President Donald Trump cuts U.S. ties with WHO

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By Luke Hurst  & Euronews
President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, May 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)   -  Copyright  Alex Brandon/Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Summary of latest updates

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Turkey eases lockdown on mosques 

Worshipers in Turkey have held their first communal Friday prayers in 74 days after the government reopened some mosques under an easing of pandemic restrictions.

Friday prayers were held in the courtyards of selected mosques across the country, to minimize the risk of infection. Authorities distributed masks at the entrance, sprayed hand sanitizers, and checked temperatures. Worshipers were asked to bring their own prayer rugs, but some mosques offered disposable paper rugs placed 1.5 meters (5 feet) apart.

The move follows a slowdown in confirmed COVID-19 infections and deaths.


Champions League final may be moved from Istanbul due to COVID-19

UEFA is planning to move the Champions League final away from Istanbul and is considering other locations as planning and scheduling is shaken up by the coronavirus pandemic.

The UEFA executive committee will meet on June 17 to examine the findings of a working group that has been assessing how to complete competitions that were suspended in March and are likely to finish without any fans in stadiums.

UEFA is aiming to complete its elite club competition in August after the delayed domestic leagues of the remaining sides have managed to conclude. The Champions League round of 16 has yet to be fully completed.

The Champions League final was due to be staged this Saturday — May 30 — at Ataturk Olympic Stadium in Istanbul.


French football league could re-start in August

French clubs can play friendlies in July with a view to starting the new soccer season in August, the league said on Friday.

The remaining men’s and women’s matches this season were canceled in April due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But Germany restarted the Bundesliga two weeks ago and the leagues in England, Spain and Italy are set to resume in June.

The French league said in a statement it expects the new season “will be able to start as anticipated in August with friendly games to prepare in July.”

The league added it was working on how to allow fans back into stadiums when the season starts.


Trump: China 'ignored' reporting obligations over COVID-19

More on President's Trump decision to withdraw U.S. funding from the World Health Organization...
Speaking during a press conference at the White House, Trump said that the WHO was under the "total control" of China, and that Beijing failed to report the virus when it was first discovered. 
The decision isn't a surprise. Trump had already threatened to cut funding for the organisation. Critics suggest that, facing an election in November, Trump is attempting to divert the blame for the spiralling death toll in the U.S. away from his administration. 
But it will have an affect on the WHO's work, towards which the U.S. contributes some $450 million, the largest of any other nation. 

German workers fly back to China

The German Chamber of Commerce in China together with the German Diplomatic Missions in China and Lufthansa Group have teamed up to operate two repatriation flights from Germany to China.

Both flights will fly from Frankfurt and go to Tianjin and Shanghai.

These flights plan to return some 400 managers, employees of German companies and their families to China, where they operate subsidiaries of multinational companies as well as Germany's prestigious SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises).

Both flights, each with about 200 passengers on board, will be the first repatriation flights from Europe to China.


Russia updates COVID-19 deaths after criticism

The Russian government has presented updated coronavirus statistics to include deaths of those who tested positive for the virus but died of other causes.

Friday’s announcement by Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova followed criticism from some Russian and Western experts who alleged that Russian authorities were under-reporting COVID-19 deaths for political reasons.

Golikova said 1,675 people died of COVID-19 in April. Of that number, 1,136 deaths were directly caused by COVID-19, while the remaining 539 people tested negative but had symptoms indicating they most likely died of the virus. In addition, Golikova said 1,038 others tested positive for the virus but died of other causes.

If all those deaths are attributed to COVID-19, the nation’s total toll for April would be 2,713 or nearly 60% more than the previously announced number.

Golikova said Russia was closely following the World Health Organization’s guidance on registering coronavirus deaths.


Portugal re-opens cinemas, malls and gyms 

Portugal is reopening movie theatres, shopping malls, gymnasiums and kindergartens after a gradual lifting of lockdown restrictions over the past four weeks produced no spike in new coronavirus infections.

Also reopening in coming days are places of worship, courtrooms and large stores.

The limit of 50% of seating capacity at restaurants will also be scrapped as long as eateries place impermeable barriers between tables.

Prime Minister Antonio Costa said in the Lisbon metropolitan area, where in some places officials have detected an increase in cases, some of those changes will come into force only after a review at the end of next week.

From Thursday to Friday, Portugal officially recorded 350 new cases of COVID-19 — 323 of them in the greater Lisbon area.

Portugal has officially recorded almost 32,000 cases of COVID-19 and almost 1,400 deaths.


Bosnia arrests three senior figures over useless COVID-19 ventilators

Bosnia's authorities have detained two ranking state officials and the owner of a company which imported a hundred ventilators from China that have been found to be useless for COVID-19 patients.

Bosnia's media quoted state prosecutors as saying on Friday that the arrested men include the prime minister of Bosnia's Muslim-Croat federation, a top state civil protection official and the private company owner that was granted about 5 million euros (5.5 million US dollars) by the government to get the equipment amid the pandemic.

The three are being investigated for money laundering, fraud, embezzlement of state funds and other crimes, the prosecutors were quoted as saying.

Fadil Novalic, federal prime minister, Fahrudin Solak head of civil protection and businessman Fikret Hodzic have been brought to detention center of the prosecutors office in Sarajevo.


UK: Flexible furlough will be introduced from July 1 

British Chancellor Rishi Sunak has said that businesses will be expected to pay towards the UK furlough scheme from August, and that self-employed people will be able to apply for a second round of grants in order to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus. 
Sunak also said that Britain's economic response to COVID-19 has been amongst "the most generous in the world".