A summary of the latest developments
- More than 100,000 new cases have been reported to WHO for each of the last five days
UK govt top scientific adviser disappointed with latest figures
Belgium to reopen restaurants and bars from 8 June, borders on 15 June
German government announces €130 stimulus package
More than 100,000 new cases reported daily for fifth day in a row: WHO
Spain extends state of emergency by two weeks
French death toll passes 29,000
WHO recommends resumption of hydroxychloroquine trials
After suspending the hydroxychloroquine arm of a clinical trial of experimental COVID-19 drugs, the director-general of the World Health Organization said experts had reviewed the safety data and were now recommending the trial continue as planned.
The recommendation means doctors will soon be able to resume giving the drug to patients enrolled in the U.N. health agency’s study.
Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday that the WHO’s safety monitoring committee for the global trial had now examined all available mortality data about hydroxychloroquine. Some studies had suggested that people who were taking the drug for COVID-19 had a higher chance of dying than those who were not.
President Trump has said he is taking hydroxychloroquine even though he has not tested positive for the coronavirus; there are no studies that have proven the drug is effective against COVID-19.
Spain extends emergency for two final weeks
Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez says Spain has “overcome the worst of the pandemic” and declared that he won’t seek further extensions beyond the end date of the special powers at midnight on June 21.
The extension was passed Wednesday with 177 votes in the 350-seat Congress of Deputies. There were 155 votes against it, while 18 lawmakers abstained.
Sánchez also said that a new government decree next week will set out procedures to handle any resurgence of the outbreak after most of the restrictions, first imposed on March 14, are lifted.
There were no deaths reported in the country from COVID-19 on Monday or Tuesday. Spain has recorded 27,128 COVID-19 deaths and just over 240,000 confirmed infections.
Sending children back to school is 'very complicated balancing act': UK expert
Hard-hit Sweden admits it could have battled COVID-19 better
The architect of Sweden's coronavirus strategy today admitted there was "potential for improvement" over the country's handling of the crisis.
Unlike most of its European neighbours and many other countries around the world, Sweden did not impose a strict lockdown. Social distancing was promoted and large gatherings banned. But the country kept its bars and restaurants open throughout.
Sweden has the fifth-highest per capita COVID-19 death rates in the world if you microstates like San Marino and Andorra.
“I think there is potential for improvement in what we have done in Sweden, quite clearly,” Anders Tegnell, Sweden's leading epidemiologist, said on Wednesday.