Coronavirus latest: US infections top 1 million

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The United States has recorded over 1 million cases of COVID-19. Meanwhile, France said it would only relax lockdown measures if infection rates stay below 3,000 per day.

The US has over 1 million coronavirus cases and its more than 58,000 fatalities exceeds the death toll from the Vietnam War

– Brazil has now registered more than 5,000 deaths due to COVID-19

– France said it would only relax lockdown measures if infection rates stay below 3,000 per day

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

05:56 The German government wants to extend its strict worldwide travel warning until mid-June, according to news magazine Spiegel.

The publication cited a draft resolution from the Foreign Office stating that the measure should remain in place “until further notice,” and at least until June 14. It did not specify whether travel will be allowed during the summer holidays, saying only that the situation should be carefully reviewed with other EU states closer to the time.

The document said the travel warning aimed to limit the spread of the coronavirus and prevent German holidaymakers once again getting stranded overseas.

Germany issued the warning for all nonessential travel on March 17. Borders with its neighbours may only be crossed by freight traffic, commuters or others who may have a valid reason.

03:15 Almost half of Germans don’t think it’s a good idea to reopen borders with other European countries for the upcoming summer holidays, according to a new survey.

The YouGov poll found that 48% of people supported a ban on traveling abroad, while 20% backed the idea of only opening up borders to individual countries. Around 13% of respondents said travel within the EU should be fully restored by summer.

Travel restrictions are in place across much of Europe to curb the spread of the coronavirus, and Germany has warned its citizens against all nonessential travel.

Around a third of Germans surveyed said they had been forced to abandon their original holiday plans because of the pandemic. Around 22% said they had canceled trips abroad, but 18% said they were sticking to their travel plans.

02:50 Here’s the latest coronavirus news from the Americas:

In the United States, President Donald Trump says his administration is considering carrying out virus checks on certain international flights to stop the spread of the coronavirus. The announcement came as the US recorded its millionth infection, and the death toll surpassed the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War.

Also on Tuesday, presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden won a presidential primary in the state of Ohio. It was the first statewide election to be held via mail due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Trump and Biden trade blows over who is closer to China

Mexico’s Health Ministry has reported 1,223 new coronavirus cases, bringing the country’s total tally to 16,752. The death toll stands at 1,569, including 135 new deaths. The government said it expects the real number of infected people to be significantly higher.

El Salvador has extended its lockdown measures until May 16. The central American country’s quarantine, in place since March 21, is one of the strictest in the region. People can only leave their homes for essential activities, or to buy food or medicine. Those who go out without a good enough reason can be detained and sent to “containment centers” where they will be monitored for up to 30 days.

Human Rights Watch has accused the government of violating the rule of law with its lockdown. El Salvador has reported 345 cases of COVID-19 and nine deaths.

Brazil has now registered more than 5,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, making it the only South American country to have more fatalities than China.

According the Health Ministry, a record 474 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours. The latest figures show 71,886 cases in the country.

Peru has more than 30,000 infections and 854 coronavirus deaths — the second-highest death toll in the region behind Brazil. More than 500 cases have been reported in the country’s overcrowded prisons, where a riot this week resulted in nine inmate deaths.

02:20 China reported 22 new cases of coronavirus on Wednesday. All but one were imported cases.

No new deaths were reported. The figures show a spike in imported cases as only 3 such cases were reported on Tuesday.

There was a decrease in asymptomatic cases from 40 the previous day to 26.

China has seen a total of 82,858 COVID-19 cases to date. The death toll stands at 4,633.

While social distancing restrictions have been relaxed, authorities are setting strict quarantine protocols for those coming from abroad and other parts of the nation.

Meanwhile, China’s parliament will hold its annual meeting on May 22, more than two months later than originally planned, according to Xinhua news agency.

The Legal Case Against China in the Pandemic

01:26 US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order requiring meat processing plants to stay open during the pandemic to protect the country’s food supply.

The order uses the Defense Production Act to classify meat processing as critical infrastructure.

More than 20 meatpacking plants have already halted operations because of coronavirus concerns and workers falling ill, while many others have slowed production.

“Such closures threaten the continued functioning of the national meat and poultry supply chain, undermining critical infrastructure during the national emergency,” the order states.

Trump’s action angered unions, who accused the White House of putting meat supplies above workers’ health. An estimated 6,500 food-processing and meatpacking workers have been infected with or exposed to the virus at work, while 20 have died, according to the United Food and Commercial Workers International Union.

A senior White House official said failure to take action could result in the “vast majority” of US meat processing plants temporarily closing, reducing the availability of meat in shops by as much as 80%.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, the official said the administration would provide guidance to meat plants to minimize the health risks, for example by encouraging older workers and those with underlying health issues to stay home.

00:58 More than 200 Romanians working at a slaughterhouse in Germany have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from Romania’s Foreign Ministry cited by Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The ministry said those infected had been isolated, with most of them showing only minor symptoms or none at all. They had all been working at an abattoir in the southwestern German town of Birkenfeld, where most of the employees are Romanian.

“German authorities say 300 employees are confirmed with COVID-19 and are now in quarantine. So far there is no precise data regarding the citizenship of those infected, but the majority (over 200) are Romanian citizens,” AFP quoted the ministry as saying.

Thousands of Romanians travel to Germany each year for seasonal work. However, the ministry added that the 200 were “not seasonal workers” but rather were employed by subcontractors at the slaughterhouse.

Germany flies in seasonal workers to harvest asparagus

00:06 Austrian Airlines says it has applied for €767 million ($830 million) in state aid to deal with the economic fallout of the coronavirus.

A spokesman for the Lufthansa subsidiary said a large part of the funds would be repayable loans and the remainder grants, which are still under negotiation.

Airlines around the world have been forced to ground flights amid worldwide travel restrictions. Some have sought government help, while others have said they plan to cope without it.

The Austrian government has made clear that it would only offer financial support in return for job guarantees, as well as assurances that Vienna keep its place as a transfer hub.

Lufthansa, Germany’s flagship carrier, is currently negotiating a potential rescue package with the German government. The company, which also has subsidiaries in Belgium and Switzerland, is seeking state aid in those countries as well, a spokeswoman told Agency France-Presse.

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