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Coronavirus latest: Moscow eases lockdown restrictions

June 9, 2020

Russia has ended lockdown restrictions in Moscow after two months of stay-at-home orders and has eased travel curbs. Meanwhile, Brazil now has the second-highest number of cases after the US. Follow DW for the latest.

A commuter in a face mask walks in front of a mural at the Kiyevskaya Station of the Moscow Underground (
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/S. Bobylev
  • Moscow ends lockdown restrictions and travel curbs
  • More than half the residents of the hard-hit Italian city of Bergamo may have antibodies
  • Across the world there are more than 7 million confirmed cases and more than 405,000 deaths
  • A study by Harvard Medical School has shown that SARS-CoV-2 may have been spreading in China in August

23:59 We have now closed this live updates article. For the latest developments see here: Coronavirus latest: UK deaths exceed 50,000

22:07 Morocco said it will start lifting restrictive measures. However, the state of emergency will only be fully lifted by July 10. 

The government said that regional disparities will be taken into account while easing the lockdown, which has been imposed since March 20. Morocco has seen 8,437 cases of the virus, with 210 deaths.

22:06 The WHO has recommended that Pakistan reimpose intermittent lockdowns in targeted areas. 

The south Asian nation had lifted its lockdown on May 9, in order to revive the economy. Since then, cases have surged, with a record high of 105 deaths on Monday. Pakistan has seen a total of 108,317 cases, with 2,172 deaths. 

"WHO strongly recommends the government adapt the two weeks off and two weeks on strategy," said a letter by WHO’s Head of Mission in Pakistan, Dr Palitha Mahipala. The WHO also sent letters to Punjab and Sindh, Pakistan’s two most populous provinces, stressing on the need to allay the risk of collapse of the healthcare system.

20:10 An Etihad Airways cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid from the United Arab Emirates to help Palestinians fight the pandemic has arrived in Israel.

Last month, an unmarked Etihad carrier with medical gear on board for the Palestinians landed in Israel, becoming the first-ever direct flight run by a commercial carrier between the UAE and Israel.

Israel's Foreign Ministry said in a statement that today's "aid will be transferred to Gaza and the (Palestinian Authority) by the UN and COGAT."

The two ventures have brought roughly 16 tons of medical apparatus, such as personal protective equipment and 15 ventilators.

19:40 Here's the latest out of Europe:

European Union: In a policy paper, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron called on the European Union to better prepare for the next pandemic, saying Brussels' response to the novel coronavirus has "raised questions" about its ability to tackle such deadly events. "We hope that the paper can serve as an inspiration for fruitful, further discussions at Europe level on how to ensure the EU's preparedness for future pandemics," said Merkel and Macron, along with the leaders of four other member states.

Greece: Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said Athens would ease all restrictions for Italian tourists by the end of June. Dendias cited improving conditions in Italy, once considered the epicenter of Europe's outbreak. Greece's prized tourism industry has taken a major hit as a result of the pandemic. "Greece expects that our Italian friends will spend their holidays in our country this year, too, as in all previous years," said Dendias.

France: Paris chief prosecutor said he has opened an initial probe into allegations of criminal negligence committed by French government agencies. The investigation was launched in response to dozens of complaints. The offenses included "endangering the life of others, failing to help someone in danger, voluntary abstention to fight a dangerous disaster, manslaughter and unintentional injuries." At least 70 complaints were filed before the Court of Justice of the Republic, which handles criminal offenses committed by sitting officials.

18:55 Brazil's Supreme Court has ruled the Health Ministry was wrong to start withholding detailed coronavirus data and must revert to publishing all available data, not just daily figures. 

The Health Ministry implemented the change on Sunday, with Brazil's numbers having risen sharply in the preceding weeks. 

You can read the full story here:  Supreme Court rules Brazil must share virus data

18:30 UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on countries to take action to avoid a "global food emergency" fueled by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Guterres warned that although there was sufficient food to feed the global population of more than 7 billion people, "our food systems are failing."

"The number of people who are acutely food or nutrition insecure will rapidly expand," said Guterres. "Without immediate action, we could soon face a massive global food emergency with disastrous long term impacts on hundreds of millions of children and adults."

17:15 A demonstrator has died during a protest against coronavirus restrictions in the DR Congo.

The protest took place as locals demanded the reopening of the Kinshasa market, officials and witnesses said.

Police fired warning shots at dozens of civilians who gathered at the site. News agency AFP cited "several onlookers" as saying the man had been hit by a stray bullet. The capital city's governorate, however, said he was "electrocuted" while running away. It promised to conduct a "meticulous inquiry."

16:00 Paris's famous Eiffel Tower will reopen to the public on June 25, after closing down for over three months during France's coronavirus lockdown.

Only a limited number of visitors will be allowed in at first. A statement on the tower's website said that everyone over the age of 11 would be required to wear a face mask.

"At first, only visits by the stairs will be available," it said. The elevators will remain closed as an attempt to ensure a safe distance between people in order to limit infection risk. The top level will also remain closed, as the elevators that take visitors to the top floor are small, the website said. It may reopen later this summer.

Ground markings will be put in place to help people keep their distance. Public spaces at the tower will will be clean and disinfected daily.

In more typical times, over 7 million people visit the Eiffel Tower every year. The recent closing due to the coronavirus was the tower's longest closure since World War II.

One of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, France's tourist industry has suffered under lockdown measures implemented to halt the spread of COVID-19.

12:37 The eastern German state of Thuringia announced that it will get rid of its social distancing restrictions on June 13, putting it on a collision course with the federal government.

According to a directive passed by Thuringia's state cabinet, the small state will get rid of current rules recommending that its residents only meet up either with members of one other household or with a maximum of 10 people.

The move goes against an agreement reached with Chancellor Angela Merkel's government and the other leaders of Germany's 16 states to keep the restrictions in place at least until the end of June.

11:52 A UN human rights expert has voiced alarm that the COVID-19 pandemic — in particular a border closure with China and strict quarantine measures — has caused "widespread food shortages and malnutrition" in North Korea.

Tomas Ojea Quintana, UN special rapporteur on human rights for the country, urged the UN security Council to "reconsider sanctions" imposed on the isolated country.

North Korea, which suffered a famine in the mid-1990s the is believed to have killed as many as 3 million people, is among the only countries in the world not to report cases of COVID-19 disease to the World Health Organization.

The pandemic has brought "drastic economic hardship" to North Korea, Ojea Quintana said. He noted a 90% fall in trade with China in March and April that led to lost incomes.

11:35 Spain has said it would prefer a Europe-wide approach to the 2020 summer tourist season, and is not in talks with the UK to allow unrestricted travel via "air bridges," a Spanish foreign ministry official told Reuters news agency.

"Spain has called for a common (EU-wide) approach to opening the borders. If this is not done, it will establish its own criteria," the source said.

On Monday, the UK introduced a 14-day quarantine for international arrivals, however, government officials have said they are looking at travel corridors that could allow British vacationers to access a selection of destinations with a low infection rate. Britain has recorded more COVID-19 infections than any other country in Europe.

Meanwhile, Madrid has approved a request by the Balearic Islands to allow entry for up to 6,000 German tourists starting next week, the Spanish newspaper El Pais reported Monday. The regional government in Palma de Majorca said the move is a test run ahead of the tourist rush expected before Spain opens its borders on July 1.

The island of Majorca is a traditional favorite among German sun-seekers. The regional government said Germany was chosen because its COVID-19 caseload seems to be under control and is currently at a similar level to that on the Balearics.

11:15 The antiviral drug remdesivir prevented lung disease in macaques infected with the new coronavirus, a study published in the medical journal Nature says.

Remdesivir has been cleared for emergency use in severely-ill patients in the US, India and South Korea.

Trials of the drug in humans are ongoing, and early data has shown it can help patients recover more quickly from COVID-19.

In the study, 12 monkeys were deliberately infected with the coronavirus, and half given early treatment with remdesivir.

Macaques that received the drug showed no signs of respiratory disease and had reduced damage to the lungs, according to the study authors.

10:15 Employees in Japan have adapted to working at home and companies appear to be happy with the financial benefits. But, there are concerns that something might be lost if this becomes the "new normal" for companies.

Read more: Coronavirus: Is home office becoming a new normal in Japan?

09:35 Officials in the Indian capital, New Delhi, have reversed orders that limited the scope of coronavirus testing and reserved hospital beds for city residents.

The measure was announced as Delhi’s caseload continues to surge. The number of infected people jumped to 29,943 on Tuesday. India has some 266,598 cases in all, the fifth-most in the world.

Since he came to power in 2013, the city’s chief minister Arvind Kejriwal has prioritized investing in health care, raising standards far above those in other parts of India. As a result, the capital draws patients from across the country.

With an easing of the lockdown in the city, the number of infections has risen dramatically. On Sunday, Kejriwal announced that hospital beds for COVID-19 patients would be reserved for city residents with testing limited to those with symptoms.

Medical workers wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) take care of a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital in New Delhi,
With facilities like the Max Smart Super Speciality Hospital, Delhi's health care is far better than in most of India Image: Reuters/D. Siddiqui

However, the central government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi strongly objected to the rules, which Kejriwal agreed to set aside.

The chief minister tweet that: "making arrangements for treatment for people from across the country during the COVID-19 pandemic is a major challenge. But maybe it's God's will that we have to serve everyone in the country."

09:15 German exports have plunged by more than 30% year-on-year in April, marking the steepest fall yet since current records began in 1950.

Read more: German exports take unprecedented dive

The coronavirus crisis and its accompanying lockdowns have made it extremely hard to sell any goods to foreign customers as well as domestic ones.

08:50 A study by Harvard Medical School has shown that SARS-CoV-2 may have been spreading in China in August 2019, months earlier than when the COVID-19 outbreak is thought to have started in the central city of Wuhan in December.

Read more: Novel coronavirus may have been spreading since August — study

Researchers used satellite imagery of hospital parking lots in Wuhan and analyzed queries on search engines for terms related to COVID-19 symptoms, like "cough" or "diarrhea."

"Increased hospital traffic and symptom search data in Wuhan preceded the documented start of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in December 2019," according to the research.

07:45 Russia has reported 8,595 new cases of the novel coronavirus as the capital, Moscow, emerges from lockdown.

The number of infections nationwide is now 485,253, and the number of new infections is still increasing steadily.

Authorities said that 171 people had died from the virus in the last 24 hours, pushing the total death toll to 6,142.

07:00 The Catholic Church in the Philippines warned against buying "holy alcohol" and other products claiming to protect against the coronavirus.

"There is no sacramental holy alcohol that we should make the sign of the cross with when we rub it to ourselves," the Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) said in a statement. "Moreover, it should not be sprinkled on the faithful."

Read more: Philippines: Church warns against 'holy alcohol' for COVID-19

They likewise warned that holy face masks, holy face shields, holy hand sanitizer and holy personal protective equipment do not exist.

"This is an irreverent marketing strategy or gimmick," the statement added.

Churches across the predominantly Catholic country were closed for months due to the COVID-19 lockdown, although some restrictions have eased starting in June. Some Catholic churches reopened to worshippers over the weekend, although the number of people allowed to attend mass is limited.

06:10 Pakistan has recorded more than 100 COVID-19 deaths in a single day for the first time since record-keeping began in mid-March.

The government of Prime Minister Imran Khan has been criticized for not enforcing strict lockdown measures, especially during the busy holy month of Ramadan.  

Pakistani health authorities warn that the South Asian country is not likely to experience a peak in infections before August. Despite this, Khan has continued to ease lockdown restrictions, saying the country's economy will collapse if business and commerce remains closed.

04:30 Cinemas in California will be able to reopen after being closed for nearly three months due to the coronavirus pandemic, the US state's health department says.

Movie theaters can resume business again on Friday provided they follow strict health guidelines, officials announced.

03:15 Germany has reported 252 new cases, and 16 more deaths, according to data released by the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases.

Overall, 184,193 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19, while 8,674 people have died.

02:33 Russia has ended lockdown restrictions in Moscow after two months of stay-at-home orders and has also eased foreign travel restrictions. 

Russians can now leave the country to care for sick relatives, for work, education or medical treatment. Foreigners can also enter the country to care for relatives or for medical treatment. The new travel rules came into effect after a decree by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. 

In Moscow, residents of Russia's hardest-hit city will no require a special pass to travel around, and restaurants will be able to open outdoor verandas from June 16 and return to regular operations a week after that. 

02:27 President of the UN General Assembly Tijjani Muhammad-Bande says world leaders will not be attending their annual meeting in New York this September due to the pandemic. It will be the first time the massive diplomatic gathering is not being held in person since the UN's founding in 1945.

"World leaders cannot come to New York because they cannot come simply as individuals. A president doesn't travel alone, leaders don't travel alone," said Muhammad-Bande. He added that it would be impractical to have a large delegation in New York.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres had earlier suggested scaling back the event, which would have marked the UN's 75-year anniversary celebration. Muhammad-Bande said he would be announcing in the next two weeks how the 193 heads of state and government would be giving their speeches on global issues during the assembly's event.

02:24 Mexico has reported another 2,999 confirmed cases of the virus, bringing the total number to 120,102. Some 254 people have died from COVID-19, bringing the total death toll to 14,053.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has said he has no plans to get tested for the virus, despite a high-ranking member of his administration falling ill. 

"I'm not going to do the test because I don't have symptoms,'' Lopez Obrador said. "Fortunately, I'm well and take care of myself, keep a safe distance.''

00:18 The UK has launched a study to investigate the prevalence and spread of the coronavirus in the country's schools. The study will see how many children have the virus, and how they spread the virus.

"This study will help us better understand how common asymptomatic and mild cases of COVID-19 are so that we can support parents, pupils and teachers and support-staff, and inform our ongoing response to this new virus," Health minister Matt Hancock said in a statement.

In the UK, selected age groups have been allowed to return to school, but some schools have decided not to re-open. Older students will partially return from June 15.

Children and lockdown

00:05 An update from North and South America

New York City — which has so far endured the worst of the pandemic in the US — has begun to partially reopen. About 400,000 residents are allowed to return to work, with shops offering limited services, while construction and manufacturing resumes.  

Mayor Bill de Blasio hailed the first easing of restrictions, but warned people to continue to social distance and to keep washing their hands. 

"This is a triumphant moment for New Yorkers who fought back against this disease," he told CNN. "Come back to work, but remember to stick to those smart rules that got us this far."

US President Donald Trump will resume his signature mass rallies within the next two weeks, according to his campaign. The team is reportedly working on measures to stop the mass gatherings becoming coronavirus hotspots. Polls show Trump trailing behind Democratic rival Joe Biden, with the election five months away.

US stocks have surged, with the tech-dominated NASDAQ hitting a record high. The broader S&P 500 is now up for the year and within 4.5% of its all time high. Investor confidence has been buoyed by economic reopenings.

In Argentina, more than 20,000 clothes and shoes shops were allowed to reopen, after restrictions that forced all but essential services to close. The new phase of lockdown means activities can be restored in 18 of the country's 24 provinces, but social distancing measures will remain in place until June 28.

Schools will remain closed and mass gatherings — including shows, concerts and sporting events — are still prohibited.

Exercise is permitted between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.

Honduras has begun to reopen after almost three months of lockdown, despite warnings from doctors. President Juan Orlando Hernandez said in a television address: "The economy could not stay closed any longer." A 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. curfew will be maintained. Across the country, about 500,000 jobs have reportedly been lost.

Brazil has reported 679 new COVID-19 deaths and 15,654 additional confirmed cases. But it remains accused of covering up its actual numbers. 

The national Health Ministry removed data from its website over the weekend and stopped releasing cumulative totals for coronavirus deaths and infections. 

According to the National Council of Health Secretaries (Conass) — a separate entity that consists of the heads of Brazil's state health departments — Brazil's death toll now stands at 37,134. This puts it behind the United States and Britain. It also has 707,412 confirmed cases, the second-highest number after the US.

00:01 More than half the population of the northern city of Bergamo have COVID-19 antibodies, according to a new study. Health authorities tested a sample of 9,965 residents for a blood test between April 23 and June 3. Some 57% of them had antibodies, which indicates they came into contact with the disease.

Read more: Coronavirus: Tests show half of people in Italy's Bergamo have antibodies

Authorities said the test was based on a random sample and sufficiently broad to draw these conclusions, however, they later said that most of those tested were residents of the worst-hit areas and many had already been placed under quarantine.

A test of 10,404 health workers — generally considered to be higher risk — found 30% of them had tested positive. 

Bergamo was the worst-hit city in Italy, with deaths increasing 568% over the average for March. The province reported 13,609 cases. 

Italy: Hope in a coronavirus epicenter

00:00 Catch up on Monday's updates here.

In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments, and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information.

Germany's national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

aw/nm (AFP, AP, Reuters, DPA)

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