Coronavirus latest: UK second country to record more than 40,000 deaths

Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks during a media briefing on coronavirus, in Downing Street, London, Tuesday June 2, 2020
Britain's Health Secretary Matt Hancock speaks during a media briefing on coronavirus, in Downing Street, London, Tuesday June 2, 2020 Copyright Pippa Fowles/10 Downing Street via AP
By Luke Hurst
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Keep up to date with the latest coronavirus developments here.

Here's a summary of the latest developments


White House forces reporters to ditch social distancing rules

Seats for reporters attending recent press conferences at the White House were placed six feet apart but on Friday, the rule was abandoned because "it looks better", according to White House spokesman Judd Deere said. 

"I would remind you that those in the (press) pool are tested, everyone is temperature-checked and asked if they have had symptoms," he added.
But Jonathan Karl of ABC News said the decision to abandon the six-feet distancing between members of the press "needlessly put reporters' health at risk". 
"The health of the press corps should not be put in jeopardy because the White House wants reporters to be a prop for a 'news conference' where the president refused to answer any questions," he also said. 

Analysis: Will COVID-19 usher in a new wave of populism in Europe?

In the decade that followed the global financial crash of 2008, a wave of protest and populism battered and challenged many of the perceived norms of Europe’s political discourse.

Coupled with the subsequent Eurozone and migrations crises, politicians were branded as an elite, out of touch with mass public opinion. The fire took hold. From anti-austerity measures in Greece, to the rise of the far-right in Germany, to increasing authoritarianism in Central Europe. Nationalism in Spain, populism in Italy, the Yellow Vest protesters in France and, of course, Brexit in Britain. European politics was upended.

But Europe in many ways now faces a much bigger crisis. The economic shock from the lockdown of almost the entire continent will lead to a recession far deeper than the one we saw 10 years ago. Millions more could lose their jobs, more businesses could go bust. Could we also see more political turmoil?



Italian death toll rises by 85

Italy's health ministry has announced that the country's death toll now stands at 33,774 after a one-day increase of 85.

Evictions in UK suspended for another 2 months

Britain's Housing Minister Robert J Jenrick announced on Friday that the ban on evictions has been extended by another two months to August 23.
"Where tenants do experience financial difficulties as a result of the pandemic, the government is clear that landlords and tenants should work together and exhaust all possible options – such as flexible payment plans which take into account a tenant’s individual circumstances – to ensure cases only end up in court as an absolute last resort," a statement from the government said. 

Bentley and Bombardier announce thousands of job cuts

Two major companies in the automotive and aviation sector announced major job cuts on Friday.

Bombardier Aviation, based in Canada, and British carmaker Bentley are set to cut 2,500 and 1,000 jobs respectively.

Both cited the coronavirus crisis as a factor and it comes hot on the heels of other grim news regarding the economy.

Late last month Nissan announced the closure of its Barcelona branch, which it says will see 3,000 jobs go.



"He hit me with an axe handle": Europe's lockdowns lead to a surge in domestic violence

Even in normal times one in three women are reported to suffer violent abuse from a partner, ex-partner or family member. On average, one hundred women in the world die every day - killed by someone they know. Eveline (not her real name) is one of the many victims.

"I was attacked by my ex-partner who came to my company's offices and said he wanted to kill me. He hit me with an axe handle violently on the head. There was blood everywhere. 

The lockdown is believed to have led to a huge explosion in violence with some countries reporting that abuse has risen by a third. Despite those estimates, it remains difficult to get a clear picture on how the pandemic has affected domestic violence in Europe as the data are not collected in a systematic manner.



Blood of COVID-19 patients could help predict how ill they will get

While older patients and those with underlying conditions are typically more susceptible to the most severe forms of COVID-19, the pandemic has shown that young, previously healthy people can also develop serious symptoms.

joint German-British study has discovered 27 biomarkers in the blood of infected patients that could help us understand why symptoms vary so dramatically – and predict how ill a person might become.

The findings could help doctors decide what treatment to prescribe, and could provide scientists with new targets in their hunt for effective drugs.


A paramedic holds a blood sample during a coronavirus antibody testing program at the Hollymore Ambulance Hub, in Birmingham, England, Friday, June 5, 2020. - Copyright Simon Dawson/Pool via AP

Kenyan police involved in 15 deaths since COVID-19 lockdown imposed

Kenya's Independent Policing Oversight Authority (IPOA) told the AFP news agency that police forces have been involved in the killing of 15 people since a curfew was introduced in late March as part of the lockdown.

The IPOA said it had received 87 complaints against police and that preliminary investigations had found that "15 deaths and 31 incidents where victims sustained injuries have directly been linked to actions of police officers during the curfew enforcement."

In April, Human Rights Watch had accused the Kenyan police of imposing the curfew in a "chaotic and violent manner from the start".


France records 46 new hospital deaths

The country's health ministry has said that a further 46 people have died in hospitals from COVID-19 over the previous 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 29,111.
Like yesterday, the latest figures do not include fatalities reported by care homes. These will be communicated on June 9.

UK Health Secretary encourages donating blood to help coronavirus patients

"If you have had the virus you can help make a difference", he said, "because by donating your blood plasma, which has antibodies in it, you can help somebody who is currently suffering in hospital with coronavirus".
Hancock added that he himself, who previously contracted coronavirus, donated earlier today.

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