BREAKING NEWS
This content is not available in your region

Coronavirus latest: Brazil's President Bolsonaro threatens to leave WHO

Comments
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro puts on a mask during a press conference on the new coronavirus at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, March 18, 2020
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro puts on a mask during a press conference on the new coronavirus at the Planalto Presidential Palace in Brasilia, Brazil, March 18, 2020   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Andre Borges
Text size Aa Aa

Over 6.7 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 395,000 deaths have been recorded globally so far, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.

The US has the world's highest number of deaths, over 109,000, while the UK is Europe's worst-hit country, accounting for over 40,000 fatalities.

Follow this article for all the latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic.

Saturday's key updates

OPEC, allied nations extend nearly 10M barrel cut by a month

OPEC and allied nations agreed Saturday to extend a production cut of nearly 10 million barrels of oil a day through the end of July, hoping to encourage stability in energy markets hard hit by the coronavirus-induced global economic crisis.

Ministers of the cartel and outside nations led by Russia met via video conference to adopt the measure, aimed at cutting the excess production depressing prices as global aviation remains largely grounded due to the pandemic. The curbed output represents some 10% of the world's overall supply.

Sri Lanka to reopen to tourists in August

Sri Lanka says it will be reopen for international tourists starting August 1 after a “successful containment” of the novel coronavirus. Its main tourism organisation said on Saturday that all precautionary measures recommended by global health and travel authorities have been put in place to keep visitors and residents safe.

Only online visa applications will be accepted and all tourists must show proof they tested negative for the virus 72 hours before arriving in Sri Lanka. Visitors also must have a confirmed travel itinerary, a return plane ticket and a travel insurance with health and hospitalization coverage.

There will be mandatory health screening and testing at the airport. Tourists will be lodged at a nearby hotel pending COVID-19 test results which would be expected within 24 hours.

Sri Lanka has reported 1,810 confirmed cases, including 11 deaths.

Europeans take to the streets in George Floyd protests despite pandemic restrictions

Thousands of people are protesting against racism in London despite government warnings to avoid gatherings of more than six people, while more rallies are taking place in other cities in the UK.

Similar demonstrations are happening in Paris, despite a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people, as well as in Lyon. Large numbers of people have also turned out across Germany, with protests also reported in Italy.

Read the full story here, with updates on protests in the rest of the world.

UK's Prince William reveals he's been secretly working for a coronavirus helpline

Britain's Prince William has revealed that he has been anonymously helping out on a crisis helpline during the coronavirus lockdown.

The Duke of Cambridge's work with Shout 85258 - an around-the-clock text messaging helpline developed by the Royal Foundation - was made public to mark Volunteers Week.

Last month, he told fellow volunteers in a video call that was shared on social media late on Friday: “I’m going to share a little secret with you guys, but I’m actually on the platform volunteering."

Bolsonaro threatens to leave the WHO

The Brazilian President threatened to withdraw his country from the World Health Organization (WHO), just as his American counterpart Donald Trump did, to protest against "ideological bias".

"I tell you here, the United States left WHO, we are considering it in the future (...). Either WHO works without ideological bias, or we are leaving it too."

"We don't need outsiders to give their feelings about health here," he told reporters in Brasilia.

Merkel: 'Courage and determination' to come out of the crisis

In her weekly video address, the German chancellor acknowledged the country will have to borrow money to pay for the additional spending, but insisted that “now, in the most serious economic crisis in the Federal Republic of Germany (since WWII), it is necessary to act with courage and determination."

Germany’s three governing parties announced a €130 billion package on Wednesday to revive the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Cyprus reopening to tourism on Tuesday

After closing its borders for almost three months, Cyprus will again welcome tourists from Tuesday, offering to cover their health costs in the event of contamination on the Mediterranean island.

With 3.4 million visitors per year, the EU member is highly dependent on tourism, which accounts for about 15% of its GDP.

But due to coronavirus, the island expects about 70% fewer tourists this year.

"Nobody here expects to earn money this year," Deputy Minister of Tourism Savvas Perdios said on Thursday.

Belgium: Let's not start a 'tourist-competition'

The EU is unable to coordinate for the reopening of its borders because the countries have begun a form of tourist competition, Belgian foreign minister Philippe Goffin said today.

"We are asking for such coordination, but it does not work. Some countries have entered a form of tourist competition", he told La Libre Belgique newspaper.

Interior ministers tried to find an agreement on Friday to reopen in a coordinated manner the internal and external borders of the EU, which have been closed since March.

The majority of states have accepted the date of June 15 to lift the traffic controls and restrictions introduced within the Schengen area, but some countries are adopting a more customised approach.

"When Italy first announced the reopening of its borders on June 3, it was also to appeal to tourists," the minister claimed.

Friday's key updates