Coronavirus live news: global cases pass 5m as EU health chief warns of second wave

By Helen Sullivan


William Haseltine, the groundbreaking cancer, HIV/AIDS and human genome projects researcher, has said the best approach to the pandemic is to manage the disease through careful tracing of infections and strict isolation measures whenever it starts spreading.

He said that while a vaccine could be developed, “I wouldn’t count on it”, and urged people to wear masks, wash hands, clean surfaces and keep a distance.

The United States and other countries has not done enough to “forcibly isolate” people exposed to the virus, Haseltine said, but praised China, South Korea and Taiwan’s efforts to curb infections. Haseltine said the US, Russia and Brazil – which rank first, second and third for infections – have done the worst.


Confirmed cases worldwide pass 5 million



A 10-minute home saliva test for coronavirus is under development in a deal struck between the billionaire co-founder of online fashion brand BooHoo and a Cambridge-based firm.

The antigen test, which would be available to buy, will look similar to a pregnancy test but will use a saliva sample rather than urine, and is designed to give a result within 10 minutes:


UK front pages, Thursday 21 May

Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews)

Thursday’s GUARDIAN: “NHS and care staff to be offered virus antibody test within days” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

May 20, 2020
Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews)

Thursday’s INDEPENDENT Digital: “NHS app won’t be ready for start of next month” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

May 20, 2020
Allie Hodgkins-Brown (@AllieHBNews)

Thursday’s TIMES: “Hospital admissions fall to lowest level of crisis” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

May 20, 2020
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Thursday’s Daily TELEGRAPH: “PM promises tracing by June to help open schools” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

May 20, 2020
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Thursday’s i - “Summer holiday plan for Britain” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

May 20, 2020
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Thursday’s FINANCIAL TIMES: “BoE ponders using negative rates for the first time to spur recovery” #BBCPapers #TomorrowsPapersToday

May 20, 2020


Wuhan city bans eating wild animals

The city at the centre of the coronavirus outbreak has officially banned eating wild animals. A notice on the Wuhan municipal government’s website on Wednesday said that it is now prohibited to eat, hunt or breed wild animals, including terrestrial animals deemed as protected, as well as those that exist in the wild or are bred.

The new rules, to be in effect for five years, also bar the consumption of rare and endangered aquatic animals.

The shuttered Huanan Seafood Market is disinfected 5 March 2020 in Wuhan.

The shuttered Huanan Seafood Market is disinfected 5 March 2020 in Wuhan. Photograph: Gerry Yin/The Guardian

The new rules in Wuhan come days before the opening of China’s legislature this week as local governments signal they are on board with nationally announced policies.

China’s wildlife industry - where animals are used for food and traditional Chinese medicine - has come under scrutiny after researchers said the virus may have come from the Huanan Seafood market in Wuhan, where a small number of vendors sold wild animals.

In January, a temporary ban on the wildlife trade was put in place and in February, China’s top legislature promised to fast-track a permanent ban on the trade.



Organisers of Hong Kong’s Tiananmen Square vigil have urged people to “be water” and find their own ways to hold commemorations after coronavirus bans on gatherings were extended.

The annual event marking the 1989 brutal crackdown by the Chinese army on protesters is traditionally the largest and only authorised commemoration of the massacre anywhere in China.

However on Tuesday Hong Kong authorities extended until 4 June physical distancing laws limiting public gatherings to eight people, while relaxing other restrictions.

Hong Kong police have cited the extension in refusing permission for a march on 4 June, and organisers expect refusal for the evening vigil.

Lee Cheuk-Yan, chairman of the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements of China, said the decision to extend the limits was “clearly a political one”, telling the Guardian: “When you allow schools to reopen on May 27, when you allow religious gatherings to resume, when you allow even swimming pools to open and business activity will soon all reopen, but then you just ban gatherings?



  • Global cases near 5 million. After the biggest single-day increase in cases worldwide so far in the pandemic, the number of confirmed infections is close to 5 million, with the Johns Hopkins University data currently listing 4,996,634. The true number is likely to be significantly higher, due to differing testing rates, delays and underreporting. This is true for deaths, too. At least 328,120 people have lost their lives in the pandemic so far.
  • Japan to lift state of emergency in Osaka and two other prefectures. Japan’s economy minister says experts have approved a government plan to remove a coronavirus state of emergency in Osaka and two neighbouring prefectures in the west where the infection is deemed slowing, while keeping the measure in place in the Tokyo region and Hokkaido.
  • Migrant boat crossings to UK surge during virus lockdown. The number of unaccompanied young migrants crossing the Channel from France to Britain has spiked during the coronavirus outbreak, as travel restrictions force them onto boats rather than trucks. Kent County Council in southeast England, which includes the major port of Dover, was dealing with “230 to 250” young migrants a year ago, its chief executive, Roger Gough, said.
  • Mexico suffers record one-day death toll. Mexico’s health ministry on Wednesday registered 2,248 new coronavirus infections and an additional 424 fatalities, a record one-day death toll since the start of the pandemic. The new infections brought confirmed coronavirus cases to 56,594 and 6,090 deaths in total, according to the official tally. Mexico registered its biggest daily increase yet in infections on Tuesday, when it reported 2,713 new cases. Mexico’s highest daily death toll was on 12 May, when health authorities reported 353 fatalities.
  • World sees largest daily rise in cases. The World Health Organization gave a stark warning on Wednesday that the coronavirus pandemic is far from over, after 106,000 new cases were recorded worldwide over the past 24 hours – the most in a single day so far. Speaking in Geneva, the WHO’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said the virus was spreading in poorer countries, just as wealthier nations were emerging from lockdown.
  • Europe should brace itself for a second wave of coronavirus infections, according to the director of the EU agency responsible for advising governments on disease control. “The question is when and how big. That is the question in my view,” said Dr Andrea Ammon, director of the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.
  • Trump considers an in-person G7 meeting despite coronavirus pandemic. Donald Trump has said he may seek to revive a face-to-face meeting of Group of Seven leaders near Washington, after earlier canceling the gathering due to the coronavirus pandemic. “I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, DC, at the legendary Camp David,” the US president tweeted on Wednesday. “The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all – normalization!”
  • International imports and exports have fallen to their lowest level for at least four years, according to World Trade Organization figures. Warning that there was little prospect of the downturn ending soon, the global authority on trade said it believed import and export activity would fall precipitously in the first half of 2020.
  • Tourists will be welcomed back to Greece from 15 June, the prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, has announced. “The tourism period begins June 15, when seasonal hotels can reopen, and direct international flights to our tourist destinations will gradually begin 1 July,” Mitsotakis said in a televised address.
  • South Africa records its first neonatal coronavirus death. South Africa has recorded its first neonatal coronavirus death, the country’s health ministry has said.The two-day old baby was born prematurely and had lung difficulties that required ventilation support immediately after birth, the health minister Zweli Mkhize said.
  • More than 100 virus infections in French slaughterhouse. More than 100 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus at a slaughterhouse in western France, the regional health authorities said Wednesday. The cases follow coronavirus outbreaks at meat plants not only in France but also in Germany, Spain, Australia, the United States and Brazil - where people tend to work in close proximity.


Migrant boat crossings to UK surge during virus lockdown


South Korea’s professional football league has imposed a record fine on one of its clubs for placing sex dolls in empty seats during a recent match played without spectators due to the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, the K-League fined FC Seoul 100m won ($81,000), saying the club had “deeply humiliated” female football fans and damaged the 38-year-old league’s reputation.

League officials accepted FC Seoul’s claim that it did not know the mannequins were sex toys, but said it “could have easily recognised their use using common sense and experience”.


Japan to lift state of emergency in Osaka and two other prefectures