Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Support for UK aviation industry a last resort
During the daily UK government briefing, Robert Jenrick said struggling airlines and aviation firms would only be bailed out if other avenues have been exhausted.
Spain extends state of emergency
The Mediterranean country’s socialist government has secured another extension to its state of emergency, taking it to 24 May. Congress’ approval on Wednesday afternoon came after days of bitter wrangling between opposing parties.
Trump suggests more deaths a necessary price
The US president, Donald Trump, has again suggested the country may need to accept the reality of more deaths in order to start reopening the economy.
“We have to be warriors,” Trump told Fox News’ John Roberts when asked if Americans should expect additional deaths as the country looks to reopen. “We can’t keep our country closed down for years.”
The president added, “Hopefully that won’t be the case … but it could very well be the case.”
The president also appeared to have back tracked on a suggestion on Tuesday that the group would be disbanded, which sparked a backlash. The country is reporting about 30,000 a day, and its death toll is now more than 70,000 – the highest in the world
Professor asks UK government to refrain from using his article
Prof David Spiegelhalter has told the government to stop referring to his article in the Guardian as an example of why international comparison between deaths tolls should not be made. It came after Boris Johnson quoted his piece during his face-off with Keir Starmer, the Labour party leader, at prime minister’s questions.
Study says virus spread rapidly around the globe
Scientists at University College London said they found almost 200 recurrent genetic mutations of SARS-CoV-2, which they said showed how it was adapting to its human hosts as it spread, after a study of 7,500 people. They believe it suggests that the virus spread quickly around the world in the early stages of the pandemic.
Chile reports latest day of more than 1,000 new cases
For the fourth time in five days, Chile has reported a daily increase of more than 1,000 cases, representing an alarming uptick in the country’s contagion rate. This is less than a week after its government had called for a “gradual return to normality”. The country now has 23,048 cases.
US demands WHO invite Taiwan to meeting
The United States has urged the World Health Organization to invite Taiwan to its annual meeting, in spite of pressure from China. The US has yet to confirm its participation in the World Health Assembly on 18 and 19 May, after Donald Trump threatened to slash its funding for the body.
Mexico’s president denies lockdown has led to increase in domestic violence
Andrés Manuel López Obrador has claimed that the restrictions have not seen an uptick in violence against women, despite official figures showing an increase in physical abuse. According to the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, he said: “Yes there’s machismo but there’s also a lot of family fraternity.”
UK scientific advisers warn they are bring drawn into politics
Colleagues of Prof Neil Ferguson have said his resignation on Tuesday for breaking lockdown restrictions has created “an awful lot of concern” amongst those advising the government. The events revealed how university academics who lent their advice to government were having to cope with an increasingly difficult situation, the adviser added.