Covid-19 wrap: France daily toll rises, Boris Johnson under pressure and Twitter flags misinformation

2020-05-12 10:24

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

FOLLOW LIVE | Sharp rise in Covid-19 cases; more lockdown rules being broken; and back to school dates to be released

France sees daily virus toll rise as lockdown eased

Paris – France on Monday reported 263 more deaths from the coronavirus, a sharp increase on previous days as the country marked the first easing of an almost two-month lockdown.

The new deaths brought the total toll in hospitals and nursing homes from the pandemic in France to 26 643, the health ministry said.

The ministry had on Sunday reported 70 more deaths, the lowest daily toll announced since 17 March, the day the lockdown in France began. However, weekend tolls are frequently lower than during the week, possibly because of reporting lags, particularly in nursing homes.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner was not pleased, criticising the "irresponsible behaviour" and ordering the authorities in the capital to ban alcohol in those areas. "The success of the deconfinement depends on everyone's prudence and civic-mindedness," he wrote on Twitter.

 - AFP

Boris Johnson forced to clarify UK lockdown advice

In his first statement to Parliament on the coronavirus pandemic, months after the beginning of the outbreak in the United Kingdom, Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday issued a lengthy clarification to his government's advice over the lifting of lockdown measures.

He had addressed citizens on Sunday evening in a recorded televised address, but his statement was criticised for prompting more questions than it had answered.

Johnson made his statement in the House of Commons in the afternoon, and led a later-than-usual news briefing in the evening.

"Our challenge now is to find a way forward that preserves our hard-won gains while easing the burden of lockdown," he told Parliament. "This is a supremely difficult balance."

Opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer said the government had been issuing conflicting guidance that did not answer the public's practical questions about going back to work. "What the country needs at this time is clarity and reassurance, but at the moment both are in pretty short supply," he said.

Green Party MP Caroline Lucas tweeted: "Very worried that - even after this second statement from PM - people still don't have answers on what safety measures to expect at work, nor clarity on transport or childcare. There must be no pressure to return to work unless and until those questions are answered & safety assured."


Twitter to add warning labels to coronavirus misinformation

Twitter will soon begin adding labels and warning messages on some tweets with disputed or misleading information about Covid-19, the company said on Monday, as part of a new approach to misinformation that will eventually extend to other topics.

Twitter's new labels will provide links to more information in cases where the risk of harm from the tweet is not severe enough to be removed, but people could be confused or misled, Twitter said in a blog post.

The company said that depending on the propensity for harm and type of misleading information in the tweet, warnings may also be added to say the tweet conflicts with guidance from public health experts before a user views it.

Twitter said these labels, which will look similar to ones launched to flag synthetic and manipulated media, will also apply to tweets that have been sent before Twitter's announcement and will be used regardless of who sent the tweet.


South Korea uses mobile phone data on new cluster

South Korean authorities said they were using mobile phone data to trace Seoul nightclub visitors as they tackle a new coronavirus cluster, promising anonymity to those being tested due to the stigma surrounding homosexuality.

A spike of new cases, driven by the cluster in venues in Seoul's Itaewon district – including several gay clubs – forced authorities to delay this week's planned re-opening of schools.

Seoul, as well as neighbouring Gyeonggi province and the nearby city of Incheon and the southern city of Daegu, has ordered the closure of all clubs and bars.

 - AFP

Tentative restart for India's trains

India's enormous railway network, which normally carries over 20 million people daily on 20 000 trains, is grinding back to life with 30 trains laid on for passengers.

The number of cases continues to rise fast, however, with more than 3 600 new infections recorded on Monday, down slightly from Sunday's record of more than 4 000.

 - AFP

China cuts Australian beef imports amid virus probe spat

China suspended imports from four major Australian beef suppliers just weeks after Beijing's ambassador warned of a possible consumer boycott in retaliation for Canberra's push to probe the origins of the coronavirus.

Analysts said the move raised concerns of a possible standoff between Australia and its most important trading partner that could spill over into other crucial sectors as it struggles to navigate the disease-induced economic crisis.

 - AFP

Philippines eases coronavirus lockdown

The Philippines will begin easing two months of quarantine to rekindle its bruised economy, but the capital is to remain under tight restrictions.

Shopping malls, scaled-down public transport and more business open from Saturday, however strict stay-at-home orders will still be in effect until the end of May for Manila.

 - AFP


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Read more on:    philippines  |  south korea  |  uk  |  china  |  france  |  india  |  australia  |  lockdown  |  coronavirus  |  health

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