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18/05/20 COVID-19 Global News Update

18 May 2020

Overview of the latest developments on Coronavirus (COVID-19)


Japan's economy slips into recession amid coronavirus woes

May 18th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

Japan has fallen into recession as the financial toll of the coronavirus continues to escalate. The world's third biggest economy shrank 3.4% in the first three months of 2020 compared to a year ago, its biggest slump since 2015.

Coronavirus: Ireland begins first phase of easing lockdown rules

May 18th, 2020viaBBC World - Northern Ireland

Some construction firms will return to work and garden centres and hardware stores can reopen.


Mexico prepares to resume economic activity as coronavirus cases continue to rise

May 18th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Mexico on Sunday reported 49,219 cases of the coronavirus, 2,075 more than the previous day, as the country prepares to resume economic activities deemed essential.


Coronavirus: European countries set to further ease lockdowns

May 17th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

Italy and Spain are among a number of European countries that are set to further ease their coronavirus lockdown restrictions from Monday. Most businesses in Italy, including bars and hairdressers, will be free to reopen after more than two months of nationwide lockdown measures.

Lebanon to resume economic re-opening from Monday after coronavirus shutdown

May 17th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Lebanon will gradually reopen its economy beginning on Monday, Prime Minister Hassan Diab said, following a four-day shutdown imposed after a rise in coronavirus cases threatened a second wave of the outbreak.

Egypt tightens coronavirus restrictions for Eid holiday

May 17th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Egypt will bring forward the start of its curfew by four hours to 5pm and halt public transport during the six-day Eid holiday from May 24 as it seeks to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the prime minister said on Sunday.

US and UK 'lead push against global patent pool for Covid-19 drugs'

May 17th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Latest Financial and Economic News

Ministers and officials from every nation will meet via video link on Monday for the annual world health assembly, which is expected to be dominated by efforts to stop rich countries monopolising drugs and future vaccines against Covid-19.

China urges food companies to boost supplies on fears of further COVID-19 disruption

May 17th, 2020viaReuters UK - Business News

China has asked trading firms and food processors to boost inventories of grains and oilseeds as a possible second wave of coronavirus cases and worsening infection rates elsewhere raise concerns about global supply lines.

India to privatise state-run companies and halt fresh insolvencies amid COVID-19 pandemic

May 17th, 2020viaReuters UK - Financial Services News

India said on Sunday it would privatise state-run companies in non-strategic sectors and stop fresh insolvency cases for a year, as the country battles with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Coal industry will never recover after coronavirus pandemic, say experts

May 17th, 2020viaGuardian - Energy

Crisis has proved renewable energy is now a safer investment, and accelerated the shift. The global coal industry will “never recover” from the Covid-19 pandemic, industry observers predict, because the crisis has proved renewable energy is cheaper for consumers and a safer bet for investors.

Coronavirus could cost top-flight European clubs £3.5bn

May 17th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

Top-flight European clubs stand to lose more than £3.5bn because of Covid-19 even if the major domestic leagues and competitions reach their conclusion. The figure, across this season and next, was outlined in a meeting of stakeholders within the game last week. It is estimated if the competitions failed to ...

Feeling the pinch from coronavirus, Spain's new poor queue for basics

May 16th, 2020viaReuters UK - Top News

Some of Spain’s new coronavirus poor stood in long queues in the working-class district of Aluche on Saturday waiting to pick up bags of basic necessities, abruptly tipped into dependence on handouts by the pandemic.

Zimbabwe to ease coronavirus curbs, but lockdown to remain for now

May 16th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Zimbabwe will keep its coronavirus lockdown for the time being, though businesses will be allowed to open for longer and the restrictions will be reviewed every two weeks, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said on Saturday.

Kenya closes borders to Tanzania and Somalia over coronavirus

May 16th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta on Saturday banned movement across the country’s borders with Tanzania and Somalia to help curb the spread of the coronavirus. He exempted cargo trucks but said drivers would have to be tested for COVID-19.

Coronavirus: Italy to reopen borders to EU tourists 'without 14-day quarantine' from 3 June

May 16th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

More than 31,600 Italians have died from Covid-19 since February, giving Italy one of the worst death tolls from the pandemic in the world - behind only the US and the UK.

As Australia slowly relaxes lockdown, Victoria battles COVID-19 clusters

May 16th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Struggling to curb the spread of the coronavirus while the rest of Australia has begun relaxing a two-month lockdown, Victoria state on Saturday reported 11 new cases, including some linked to known clusters at a meat factory and a McDonald’s restaurant.

U.S. House clears way for passage of $3 trillion coronavirus-relief bill

May 15th, 2020viaReuters UK - Business News

The Democratic-controlled U.S. House of Representatives approved a measure on Friday that would allow debate and a vote on a new $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill and a proposal to allow voting by proxy in the House.


Train services ramped up as coronavirus travel restrictions eased in England

May 18th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

Train companies will increase the number of services on Monday to reflect the easing of coronavirus travel restrictions in England.

Coronavirus: 'No financial support' for some supply teachers

May 18th, 2020viaBBC - Wales

A union has called for parity for all supply teachers as some have been left with "no financial support" due to school closures caused by the lockdown.

Firms slash entry-level jobs by almost quarter owing to coronavirus

May 17th, 2020viaGuardian UK - Business

School leavers and graduates hoping to enter the labour market in Britain this year will struggle to find employment as firms slash entry-level jobs by nearly a quarter owing to the coronavirus crisis, a report warns.

Coronavirus: £5bn needed to stop local cuts say county councils

May 17th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

English councils have called on the government to provide a £5bn "income guarantee" to prevent local authorities from having to cut services as the coronavirus hits finances. The County Councils Network has warned councils could lose £2.4bn as income from tax and business rates fall.

Government hands over another £84m to UK coronavirus vaccine trials

May 17th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

The government has given another £84m toward the UK’s two coronavirus vaccine trials as the Oxford University team has struck a licensing deal with pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca.

Public trust in government's coronavirus response continues to fall

May 17th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

The public’s trust in the UK government’s coronavirus strategy is in freefall, according to the latest polling. An Opinium/Obsever poll out today shows the government now has a net -3 rating for how it has handled the coronavirus, after having a +60 rating in mid-March.

Serving the people: how the UK food industry has responded to the coronavirus crisis

May 17th, 2020viaGuardian UK - Business

Covid-19 has left the UK’s food and drink industry teetering on the brink. But whether transforming their businesses in a bid to stay afloat or volunteering in the community, many chefs, restaurants and producers have rapidly carved out new roles for themselves.

Coronavirus: The government guarantee that may save businesses

May 17th, 2020viaBBC World - Northern Ireland

Among the billions of pounds of support the government has given to help prop up businesses, one measure announced this week passed with little notice. It's perhaps not surprising, as the words 'trade credit insurance' do not exactly quicken the the pulse.

Coronavirus: Labour's Sir Keir Starmer calls for 'four-nation' approach

May 16th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has said different approaches across the four UK nations to tackling coronavirus are not going to "help us out of this crisis". He blamed Prime Minister Boris Johnson for the way Wales and England had diverged in the easing of the lockdown.

How coronavirus is driving a revolution in travel

May 16th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

Barriers closed a stretch of Deansgate, Manchester's main thoroughfare, to motor vehicles on Saturday. Elsewhere in the city, new pedestrian walkways and pop-up bike lanes have appeared.

Coronavirus: Jersey to borrow up to £500m for economic recovery

May 16th, 2020viaBBC News - Jersey

Up to £500m in borrowing will be made available to help Jersey's economy through the coronavirus crisis, the Government of Jersey has announced. The island's Treasury said the funds would be used for "bold fiscal stimulus measures" to support economic recovery.

Additional £58 million to help Scotland tackle coronavirus

May 16th, 2020viaGov.UK - Government - Announcements

The UK Government has announced an additional £58 million to help the devolved administration in Scotland respond to the challenge of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus: Household waste recycling centres 'to reopen next month'

May 16th, 2020viaBBC News - UK

Household waste recycling centres are expected to reopen across Scotland on 1 June, according to the local government body Cosla. Councils have been reporting an increase in fly-tipping after the sites were closed in March due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

Pregnant women and new mothers face redundancy during coronavirus crisis, warns Equality and Human Rights Commission

May 16th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

Pregnant women and new mothers face being made redundant during the coronavirus crisis due to being unfairly discriminated against, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has warned.

Day-to-Day Impact

Coronavirus: Half a million access suicide prevention course

May 18th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

More than half a million people have accessed online training that aims to prevent suicide in the last three weeks alone, a charity has said. The Zero Suicide Alliance said 503,000 users completed its online course during lockdown.

Over three-quarters of BAME doctors fear they will contract Covid-19

May 18th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Doctors

More than three-quarters of black, Asian and minority ethnic doctors are worried about contracting coronavirus in the course of their work, according to a survey that highlights the continuing lack of protection for frontline NHS staff.

Coronavirus: Police 'busy' with visitors to Wales

May 17th, 2020viaBBC - Wales

Police across Wales say they have been "busy" dealing with visitors flouting lockdown laws. North Wales Police said they had turned around tourists from Manchester, Norwich and London as they tried to visit parts of Snowdonia.

Up to 20% of hospital patients in England got coronavirus while in for another illness

May 17th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

Up to a fifth of patients with Covid-19 in several hospitals contracted the disease over the course of the pandemic while already being treated there for another illness, NHS bosses have told senior doctors and nurses.

Woman left worse off by coronavirus cash boost challenges benefits rules

May 17th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

A single mother has launched a legal challenge to overturn “perverse” benefit rules that have cancelled out the chancellor’s £90-a-month coronavirus living costs boost for thousands of low-income families on universal credit and left her £123 a month worse off than she was before the crisis.

Coronavirus: Wales scraps tests booking portal for key workers

May 17th, 2020viaBBC News - UK

An online platform for key workers to book coronavirus tests has been scrapped by the Welsh Government, which has opted to use a UK-wide system.

UK coronavirus live: teachers and children will be safe at school, says Michael Gove

May 17th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr show, Labour’s deputy leader Angela Rayner has said that if the test, track and trace strategy were in place before reopening schools, that would reassure parents and teachers – a point also made by Rachel Reeves earlier this morning.

Coronavirus: Boris Johnson accepts 'frustration' over lockdown rules

May 17th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

Boris Johnson has acknowledged frustration over the "complex" easing of England's coronavirus lockdown. The PM wrote in the Mail on Sunday that more complicated messages were needed during the next phase of the response and as restrictions changed.

Coronavirus: Hopes raised as IVF clinics get set to re-open

May 16th, 2020viaBBC News - UK

A woman whose fertility treatment was suspended due to coronavirus has said she now has some hope after NHS clinics announced plans to re-open. Amanda Faulkiner-Farrow, 38, from Gwynedd, had said it was "soul destroying" to find out her scheduled treatment would not go ahead in June.

Education secretary announces coronavirus tests for schoolchildren

May 16th, 2020viaThe Guardian - Education

Education secretary Gavin Williamson announced schoolchildren and their families would be tested for coronavirus if they develop symptoms, as he struck a conciliatory tone on Saturday in a bid to reassure parents and appease unions.

Piers Corbyn among those held in coronavirus lockdown protests

May 16th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

The brother of the former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was one of 19 protesters arrested on Saturday, as small demonstrations against the coronavirus lockdown took place across the country.

Everyone in Welsh care homes to be offered coronavirus tests

May 16th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

Everyone in care homes in Wales will be able to get a coronavirus test, the Welsh government has said. The health minister, Vaughan Gething, said the change follows the latest scientific advice and brings Wales in line with England.

GPs press ministers for clear testing strategy to avoid second wave of coronavirus

May 16th, 2020viaThe Guardian News

The government needs a clear strategy on testing to prevent a second wave of coronavirus infections, doctors have said. The Royal College of GPs said it was not confident in the government’s current testing strategy and accusing ministers of an “arbitrary focus on numbers” and targets.

Citizens Advice reports surge in demand for coronavirus help

May 16th, 2020viaBBC News - Lancashire

Citizens Advice opened for business the day after the outbreak of World War Two to provide guidance to the masses in the "toughest of times".

Global Situation

New Zealand braces for spike in child abuse reports as Covid-19 lockdown eases

May 18th, 2020viaThe Guardian World News

As hundreds of thousands of children return to classrooms around New Zealand, welfare services are bracing themselves for a spike in reports of abuse and neglect after weeks of “invisible” lockdown. The country entered lockdown on 25 March and emerged late last week.

Plan to study nicotine patches as potential coronavirus treatment

May 17th, 2020viaThe Guardian UK - France

Plans are being made to investigate the potential of nicotine patches to combat Covid-19 after the idea was raised by doctors at a hospital in Wales where the improvised treatment is being practised.

No spike in coronavirus in places reopening, U.S. health secretary says

May 17th, 2020viaReuters UK - World News

Authorities are not seeing spikes in coronavirus cases in places that are reopening but are seeking increases in some areas that remain closed, U.S. health secretary Alex Azar said on Sunday.

Llama antibodies could help fight coronavirus, study finds

May 17th, 2020viaThe Guardian World News

The solution to the coronavirus may have been staring us in the face this whole time, lazily chewing on a carrot. All we need, it seems, is llamas.

FDA suspends Gates-backed at-home COVID-19 testing program

May 16th, 2020viaReuters UK - Health News

An at-home coronavirus testing project in Seattle backed in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation said on Saturday it was working with U.S. regulators to resume the program after being suspended by the Food and Drug Administration.

Coronavirus: Trump's 'inconsistent and incoherent' response' slammed by The Lancet

May 16th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

One of the world's oldest and best-known medical journals slammed Donald Trump's “inconsistent and incoherent national response” to the novel coronavirus pandemic and accused the administration of relegating the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to a “nominal” role.

German Bundesliga: Season resumes after coronavirus shutdown

May 16th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

The German Bundesliga resumes behind closed doors this weekend, becoming the first major European league to restart after the coronavirus shutdown.

Coronavirus: Trial begins to see if dogs can 'sniff out' virus

May 16th, 2020viaBBC - Front Page

A UK trial to see whether specialist medical sniffer dogs can detect coronavirus in humans is set to begin. The dogs are already trained to detect odours of certain cancers, malaria and Parkinson's disease by the charity Medical Detection Dogs.

Gilead to end coronavirus drug trials, adding to access worry: researchers

May 15th, 2020viaReuters UK - Health News

Gilead Sciences Inc’s two clinical studies of its potential coronavirus treatment remdesivir will wind down by the end of May, closing off a path of patient access to the antiviral medication, according to U.S. researchers involved in the studies.

Legal Developments

Sadiq Khan calls for coronavirus inquiry into BAME deaths

May 17th, 2020viaCity AM - Business

Sadiq Khan has called for a government inquiry into BAME deaths from coronavirus. Khan called the higher rate of deaths among BAME ethnicities “shocking” and called for Boris Johnson to set up a public inquiry.

Coronavirus: Labour compiles dossier on handling of care homes amid calls for investigation

May 17th, 2020viaThe Independent - News

Labour has compiled a detailed dossier on the government’s handling of coronavirus in care homes, as the party piles pressure on Boris Johnson for an investigation into the way the sector has been treated.

Official Guidance/Reports

Education Secretary's statement on coronavirus (COVID-19): 16 May

May 16th, 2020viaGov.UK - Government - Announcements

Education Secretary on the Government’s response to the outbreak of coronavirus and plans to begin returning to school safely.

To read more from DWF on COVID-19 visit our insights hub >

Further Reading