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Coronavirus: WHO calls for vaccine to be shared

June 12, 2020

The WHO has said any coronavirus vaccine should be shared between countries as a public good, and that new mothers with COVID-19 can still breast-feed their babies. All the latest from DW here.

A WHO worker in Congo with a needle
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/S. Mednick
  • The World Health Organization has renewed a call for any coronavirus vaccine to be shared 'as a public good'
  • Brazil's death toll is now the world's second-highest
  • The Mexican president has encouraged people to go out as normal as the virus surges to new highs
  • The European Union is preparing to re-open most borders by Monday
  • The number of cases in India has surpassed those in the UK, making it the fourth-hardest-hit country in the world
  • Across the world, there are more than 7.5 million coronavirus cases and 423,000 deaths

All times in GMT/UTC

23:35 Venezuela on Friday announced that it is extending its coronavirus lockdown through mid-July. Residents will continue to remain at home except for essential chores such as food shopping.

Shopping complexes and gyms will be allowed to reopen next week. Some sectors in the country, including banks and construction, have already reopened.

23:15 France will lift border restrictions for European Union travelers on June 15, the interior and foreign ministers of the country said on Friday. For countries outside the Schengen zone, there will be a gradual reopening from July 1.

Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the reopening would be in harmony with the rest of the EU.

22:37 Slovenia announced Friday that it will open its borders for Italy and Montenegro on June 15.

From Saturday, Slovenia will also impose a mandatory 14-day quarantine for people coming into the country from 31 states with high infection rates, including Sweden, the UK, Russia, US and Brazil.

22:02 Brazil's death toll has surpassed the UK to become the second-highest in the world, according to figures released by the Health Ministry. Brazil recorded 25,982 new infections and 909 fatalities in the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 41,828. The South American country has a total of 828,810 confirmed cases of COVID-19. 

The US has the most coronavirus-related deaths, totaling 114,446.

21:38 Botswana reimposed a strict coronavirus lockdown in the capital city of Gaborone and neighboring areas after the country registered 12 new cases of infections on Friday.

Botswana had ended a 48-day nationwide lockdown late last month. Businesses and schools were allowed to reopen amid controls but the borders remain sealed.

21:25 Islamist militant group al-Shabab in Somalia said Friday that it has set up a coronavirus treatment center in the country. The group made the announcement in a broadcast on their radio Andalus.

The COVID-19 center has been set up in Jilib, about 380 kilometers south of the capital city of Mogadishu.

Al-Shabab said coronavirus poses a grave threat to Africa, citing international health organizations. For over a decade, the group has been fighting to overthrow the Horn of Africa's Western-backed central government and establish its own government based on its interpretation of Islamic sharia law.

It has targeted both the military and civilians in bombings and gun assaults.

20:45 Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has encouraged his supporters to film inside their local hospitals to prove that they are not overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic.

The leader urged people to "find a way to get inside and film" and was met by criticism. Bolsonaro previously was dismissive of the virus, which has claimed over 40,000 lives in Brazil, calling it a "little flu."

The World Health Organization (WHO) said earlier that they did not see any evidence that Brazil's hospitals were overwhelmed, despite the high number of cases.

"The system as such from the data we see is not overwhelmed," the WHO's top emergencies expert Dr. Mike Ryan said, with few areas of Brazil using more than 80% of their hospitals' intensive care bed capacity.

Brazil has the second-highest number of confirmed cases in the world after the United States, at over 800,000.

19:40 The president of Mexico has encouraged people to start going out in public despite a growing number of coronvirus cases and health authorities advising people to stay home.

"We now need to prepare ourselves mentally for going out and for recovering our freedom," said President Andres Maniel Lopez Obrador, contradicting comments by his health under-secretary. The number of confirmed cases in Mexico rose by 4,790 in the last 24 hours, with 587 deaths.

World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said earlier of Mexico that the coronavirus "is very much in the upswing" there.

19:15 New York City will install 74,000 free air-conditioning units as part of a plan to keep low-income seniors during the summer months, as part of an effort to encourage people to stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The program, announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio, is entitled "Get Cool NYC" and will see public pools remain closed but air conditioning subsidies increased.

"The idea of 'Get Cool NYC' is to focus on those who are most vulnerable, make sure they are safe, make sure they are keep cool even with some of the challenges of coronavirus," de Blasio said in a press conference. New York, the epicenter of the United States' outbreak, experiences very hot temperatures in July and August.

18:50 A new Swiss-German study shows that people who are generally more anxious were more likely to stockpile toilet paper in a pandemic.

"People who felt more threatened tended to hoard more toilet paper," wrote the team under Lisa Garbe at the Swiss University of St Gallen in the paper, published in journal PLOS One.

Manufacturers have reported that toilet paper sales had skyrocketed since the pandemic began.

"These results emphasize the importance of clear communication by public authorities acknowledging anxiety and, at the same time, transmitting a sense of control," the authors of the paper wrote.

Read more: Coronavirus scare: When will 'hamsterkauf' become an English word?

A man carries toilet paper
At the start of the pandemic supermarkets in Germany regularly sold out of toilet paperImage: picture-alliance/dpa/R. Traut

18:35 The state of emergency in North Macedonia will be lifted on Sunday, the president has confirmed. The lifting of emergency measures should make it easier for the Balkan country to hold parliamentary elections, President Stevo Pendarovski said.

The elections were scheduled for April 12 but were postponed after the lockdown was introduced in March.

18:30 Turkey has seen more than 1,000 new cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, as the country's top medical association criticized the country's handling of the crisis.

The new number of daily cases sees an increase from the amount in the last week. Despite the slow increase in cases, Turkey lifted stay-at-home orders on June 1 and re-opened many public spaces.

"The early re-opening decision was not based on scientific fact," said Cavit Isik Yavuz of the Turkish Medics' Association. "There is talk of when the second wave will hit — but we have not yet overcome the first wave."

18:00 France's coronavirus death count has remained under 30 within 24 hours for the third day in a row. This marks the lowest three-day toll since lockdown began in mid-March. The number of people in hospital and intensive care units also fell.

French President Emmanuel Macron will make his first state visit since lockdown began, going to London to meet British royal Prince Charles. The meeting will mark 80 years since French General Charles de Gaulle appealed to the French population to resist Nazi German occupation in 1940.

The event will also mark the first public meeting involving a senior British royal since lockdown was imposed in the UK. Prince Charles has recovered from coronavirus.

17:50 Prosecutors have completed questioning of the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte about the delayed coronavirus lockdown in two Lombardy towns. The towns in question were at the epicenter of the country's pandemic.

Lead prosecutor Maria Cristina Rota questioned Conte along with the health and interior ministers. No details of the discussion were immediately released but she characterized the interview as cooperative.

"The hearing went on in a cordial manner and there was maximum institutional cooperation," she told reporters. "We leave grateful for the declarations received, and we'll go finish our job."

Doctors estimate that the two-week delay in quarantining the towns led to a 571% increase in excess deaths in March compared to the previous five years.

16:50 Any coronavirus vaccine should be shared as a public good, the World Health Organization's Director General Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said.

"Many leaders have promoted the idea of making any vaccine a global public good, but that should continue to be promoted," Tedros said in a Geneva press conference.

Tedros also expressed concern at the number of cases in the global south, saying of Mexico that the coronavirus "is very much in the upswing" there.

"While the cases here in Geneva are in the single digits, we are seeing an estimating pandemic globally," he added.

Aiming to clear up a point of uncertainty, Tedros said that new mothers with coronavirus can still breast-feed their babies.

"The benefits outweigh the risks," he said.

16:20 At least 95 people have been infected with coronavirus at an asparagus farm in Bavaria, officials of the city of Aichach have announced. Some 525 were tested on the farm.

"All people who were in contact with the ill people have been informed," the city said in a statement.

Some of the infected workers were local people who had signed up to help collect the asparagus harvest after German agriculture authorities made a plea for help. The asparagus harvest is often carried out by guest workers from eastern Europe, most of whom were unable to come owing to EU border closures.

Asparagus growing in Germany
Asparagus growing in Germany Image: Imago Images

16:10 Pakistan will double healthcare spending as other expenditure is dramatically slashed to help fight the coronavirus. The overall budget will be cut by 11%, minister Hammad Azhar announced, amid the economic crisis caused by the pandemic.

"We have prepared this budget keeping the coronavirus pandemic in mind," Azhar told parliament.

Lockdown restrictions have pushed Pakistan's economy into dangerous territory, while numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Hospitals across the country are reporting that they are at full capacity.

15:45 The German state of Brandenburg will ease limits on contact between members of the public from Monday, officials have announced. Following the example of another eastern state, Thuringia, Brandenburg will allow members of more than two households to meet and will remove regulations that currently limit gatherings at 10 people.

"It is a big step, which of course gives a great deal of new responsibility to the populace," state premier Dietmar Woidke said in the state capital of Potsdam. Brandenburg entirely encircles the city-state of Berlin, where bans on large gatherings remain in place.

The requirement to wear a face-mask remains in place, and has been extended to include hospital are care home visitors. Events of up to 1,000 participants will be allowed in the state from Monday as well. Social distancing regulations remain place.

The coronavirus crisis has raised questions about federalism and the autonomy of Germany's 16 states, with states often going in radically different directions with restrictions on public life.

15:25 Japan will launch a smartphone app based on technology from Apple and Google next week, the health ministry has announced. Smartphones with the app installed can detect each other via Bluetooth wireless and log those who have come into close contact.

"By knowing the possibility of having come into contact with someone tested positive for the new coronavirus, users can get early support from a public health center such as an access to a diagnostic test," a health ministry statement said.

"We expect an increase in the number of users will help prevent the spread of infection," it added.

Japan becomes the latest of dozens of countries to announce similar apps or plans which aim to quickly notify people who may be infected, and therefore allow for economies to reopen. Concerns have been raised over privacy issues.

13:35 Norway will allow tourists travel to and from Finland, Iceland, and Gotland, a Swedish island, starting from June 15. However, existing travel restrictions for mainland Sweden will remain in place due to the severity of the coronavirus outbreak there. 

"If we were to lift restrictions at the same time, we risk losing control and, in the worst case, having to reimpose invasive measures again," Prime Minister Erna Solberg told reporters. 

Finland, Denmark, and Norway have lifted several travel restrictions put in place to stem the spread of COVID-19, but most of the measures imposed on Sweden, the richest and most populous of the Nordic countries, have remained in place. Sweden opted for one of the world's least draconian "lockdowns," imposing very few limits on public activity.

13:15 The EU’s top health official said the European Commission has received a political mandate from EU governments to negotiate on their behalf in order to make advance purchases of promising coronavirus vaccines

EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said in a news conference that there was "overwhelming" support from EU governments for a Commission plan to buy coronavirus vaccines upfront in a deal valuing €2.4 billion ($2.7 billion). 

Germany, France, Italy and the Netherlands have already begun their own talks with pharmaceutical companies to purchase vaccines, an approach that could hurt a joint EU effort. 

However, Kyriakides said both projects had the same goal. "Both tracks should converge for the benefits of all 27," she said. "This is about working together and not in competition."

From our correspondents 1

11:39 The Chinese capital, Beijing, is postponing plans to restart primary school classes after three new coronavirus cases were reported in the city.

Beijing's municipal government said it was necessary to delay next week's scheduled return of first, second and third-graders in order to protect students and teachers. The decision affects some 520,000 pupils, according to the Xinhua state news agency.

China has largely brought the outbreak under control, with most of its recent coronavirus cases involving people returning from overseas. But on Thursday, Beijing authorities announced that a 52-year-old man had become the capital's first confirmed case of local transmission in weeks. Two further cases were registered on Friday. Local media reported that the patients had all visited a meat wholesale market and a seafood market in the city. 

Schools in China were closed for three months during the pandemic, but students have gradually been returning to class since late April. Authorities said pupils who had already gone back to class would carry on lessons as usual.

According to official figures, Beijing has recorded a total of 597 infections and nine local deaths.

11:17 Russian President Vladimir Putin has made his first public appearance in more than a month. 

The 67-year-old leader had been working remotely as a precaution due to the coronavirus. But on Friday, he attended a televised flag-raising ceremony in Moscow to mark the Russian Day holiday, which commemorates the country's independence from the Soviet Union three decades ago.

In a speech at the event, Putin thanked medical personnel for their work during the pandemic: "We bow to them for their service, courage and boundless sacrifice."

Russia has the third-highest number of cases behind the US and Brazil. On Friday, health authorities reported 8,987 new infections, bringing the nationwide tally to 511,423. The death toll stands at 6,715, a far lower number than fatalities reported in other countries with large outbreaks.

10:24 German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz says the chances of Germany managing to avoid a second wave of coronavirus infections are "very, very big." But he stressed that it was important for social distancing measures to remain in place until a vaccine could be made available to the public.

"We are living with the virus, which I describe as a new normal. And it will only change when we have new medical therapies and when we have a vaccine," he said.

"As long as this is not the case, we have to organize our lives so as to avoid a second wave."

10:02 Prosecutors in Italy have begun questioning Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte over a delay in quarantining two towns in Lombardy at the start of the country's coronavirus outbreak.

Italy registered its first domestic case of COVID-19 on February 21 in the Lombardy province of Lodi. Ten towns there were immediately put under lockdown by the national government to curb the spread of the virus. Two days later, the towns of Alzano and Nembro in the Lombardy province of Bergamo reported their first cases. But it wasn't until two weeks later, on March 7, that the government ordered a lockdown there.

Medical experts have said that this delay allowed the virus to spread in Bergamo, which then became Italy's epicenter. The rate of excess deaths there in March rose by 571% compared to the average over the last five years. 

Prosecutors have been investigating, among other things, whether it fell to local authorities or the federal government to create a so-called "red zone" around the two towns. Besides Conte, they are also expected to question the health and interior ministers. 

Italy reopens borders to tourism

09:43 The EU's health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, has urged the bloc's governments to remain cautious and continue testing and tracing efforts. 

"This is not behind us yet. We need to be vigilant," Kyriakides told EU health ministers during a videoconference.

EU states are gradually lifting coronavirus restrictions and opening their borders, raising concerns about a possible surge in new infections.

09:29 The coronavirus crisis caused industrial production in the eurozone to drop by more than 17% in April compared to March, according to the EU's Eurostat data agency.

The plunge is "significantly higher than the 3% to 4% drops seen in late 2008 and early 2009 during the financial crisis," Eurostat said in a statement.

Lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 resulted in factory closures, supply chain disruptions and dramatic declines in demand.

Compared to April 2019, eurozone industrial production in April this year fell by 28%. The hardest-hit countries, according to the statistics, were Luxembourg, Italy and Slovakia, where industry shrank by 43.9%, 42.5% and 42% respectively. In Germany, the decline was 21%. The only country to buck the trend was Ireland, which recorded 5.5% growth in April compared to the same month in 2019.

09:15 German Health Minister Jens Spahn says Germany is in a good position when it comes to fighting the coronavirus, but he's warning people not to get complacent.

"We still have it developing at a low level, with new infections every day, but on a scale that we can deal with," he told broadcaster RBB. "But we can also see, whether at family celebrations or church services, that the virus is still here. And if we make it too easy (for the virus), if we are too careless, it will spread again very quickly."

He also called for European Union countries to join forces to reduce dependence on the international market for key medical supplies such as masks or certain drugs: "It's a question of stimulating production in Europe again and creating a reserve," he said.

09:01 The government in Denmark says it is planning to create a fund worth 10 billion Danish crown (€1.34 billion; $1.52 billion) to support companies hit by the coronavirus crisis.

The Finance Ministry said businesses with annual revenues of over 500 million crowns — around 200 companies — would be eligible, Reuters reports. Among those who wouldn't qualify are financial institutions and publicly owned companies. According to the ministry, the fund would be jointly financed by the government and institutional investors.

In order for the proposal to become law, the minority Social Democratic government will need backing from other parties in parliament.

08:46 Pakistan has reported its highest single-day increase in coronavirus cases since the pandemic began.

On Friday, the government said there had been 6,397 new cases confirmed in the past 24 hours, as well as 107 more deaths, bringing the total number of infections to 125,933 and the death toll to 2,463.

Experts have said the country could see another wave of cases, pointing to the continued spread of the virus since the government eased its lockdown last month. Pakistan, like many other countries, has been battered by the impact of business shutdowns, with its economy set to contract this year for the first time in six decades.

08:37 The German government has approved plans to cut value-added tax from July until the end of the year as part of a package of measures designed to boost spending and kickstart the economy.

It also backed a one-off €300 ($340) child bonus for families, as well as bridging loans for small- and medium-sized businesses that were hard hit by the coronavirus lockdown. The measures will be put to a vote in parliament on June 29.

They are part of a €130-billion recovery package announced by Chancellor Angela Merkel's ruling coalition last week.

Under the plan, the VAT rate will be lowered from 19% to 16%, while the reduced rate used for food products and other daily necessities will drop from 7 to 5%.

08:09 Russia has reported 8,987 new coronavirus cases, bringing its nationwide tally to 511,423. The death toll stands at 6,715 after 183 fatalities over the last 24 hours. 

The country is celebrating Russia Day today, marking three years since then-Soviet Russia declared sovereignty. Celebrations are expected to be low-key compared to previous years, and authorities are urging people to avoid large crowds.

Russia partially reopened its border this week, while a number of restrictions were lifted in a bid to help the struggling economy. It has the third-highest number of infections in the world behind the US and Brazil.

07:33 British Airways, easyJet and Ryanair have launched legal action against the UK government over its 14-day quarantine rule for incoming travelers.

A statement from British Airways' parent company IAG said the airlines were seeking for their judicial review to be heard as soon as possible.

The three airlines described the 14-day quarantine policy as "flawed," adding that it would "have a devastating effect on British tourism and the wider economy and destroy thousands of jobs."

The companies are urging the government to instead revert to its previous policy introduced on March 10, which applied only to passengers from "high risk" countries.

06:59 Britain's GDP fell by a record 20.4% in April as a result of the coronavirus lockdown, according to official data.

"Virtually all areas of the economy were hit, with pubs, education, health and car sales all giving the biggest contributions to this historic fall," Jonathan Athow of the Office for National Statistics said.

April was the country's first full month of lockdown, and followed a 5.8% contraction in March. The statistics office said social distancing restrictions and business shutdowns had led to a steep drop in consumer demand, as well as major disruptions to supply chains.

The GDP plunge is "almost 10 times larger than the steepest pre-COVID-19 fall," Athow said.

The UK is gradually easing its lockdown, which was imposed on March 23. Nonessential shops, including department stores and electronic retailers, are due to open their doors from Monday.

06:43 Spain's national football league, La Liga, has resumed, three months after the coronavirus pandemic halted the soccer season.

The first game between southern rivals Sevilla and Real Betis (2-0) took place behind closed doors on Thursday with a number of special measures in place to reduce the risk of infection. Ball boys were tasked with disinfecting the ball each time it left the field, while players were told to keep a "safe distance" when talking to the referee and to "minimize physical contact" during goal celebrations.

Although the Seville's Sanchez-Pizjuan stadium was empty, virtual crowds and pre-recorded chants from fans were added to the television broadcast to create the feel of a normal match. The stadium's screens also played videos of Sevilla fans singing the club's anthem, a longstanding pre-game tradition. Before kickoff, players and officials observed a moment of silence for the victims of the pandemic.

Play has already restarted in football leagues in Germany and Portugal, with the English Premier League and the Italian Serie A expected to follow next week.

06:20 Ankara has criticized Germany's decision to keep its travel warning for Turkey in place until the end of August.

Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told news magazine Der Spiegel that the restriction should be lifted "at the earliest possible date," adding that special measures were in place to protect tourists.

"The scientific reasons behind the decision are difficult for us to understand," he said.

Germany's government this week announced plans to extend its travel warning for tourists to 160 countries outside the European Union, including Turkey, until August 31. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the government was in discussions with Turkey and other individual countries on that list about the possibility of lifting the warning sooner — something he said would depend on the state of local health systems, the number of infections, and security measures in place.

Turkey is a popular travel destination for Germans. Some 5 million visited the country last year, many of them during the summer holidays.

05:53 Thailand is planning to lift its nationwide curfew on June 15, according to an official cited by Reuters.

The Southeast Asian country reported four new coronavirus infections on Friday, all of them Thai nationals who were placed in quarantine after returning from abroad. The total number of cases stands at 3,129, including 59 deaths.

05:11 European markets will be closely watched this morning after stocks slid by more than 4% in Frankfurt, Paris and London on Thursday.

The drop in shares was followed by all three major US stock indexes posting their worst day since mid-March.

On Thursday, Germany's DAX was down 4.5%, Britain's FTSE 100 dropped 4.0%, France's CAC 40 slid 4.7%.  

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dived 6.9%, the S&P 500 fell 5.9% and the Nasdaq tanked 5.3% from a record high. Asian shares also plunged sharply amid concerns that a surge in new coronavirus infections could cripple economies emerging from lockdowns.

In morning trade on Friday, Hong Kong was down more than 1.3%, Tokyo fell by 1.5%, and Sydney slipped 1.7%. Seoul, Singapore and Jakarta all dropped more than 2%.

04:56 Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says up to 10,000 people will be allowed at small stadiums to watch sport as part of plans to relax social distancing measures in July.

"It would have to be a large, open area. There would need to be seats at the appropriate distance," he told reporters, adding that the changes could also apply to festivals or concerts.

Morrison also said the government was working on plans to allow international students into the country from July. The largest share of Australia's foreign students come from China, and the sector is the country's most lucrative industry behind mining.

The number of cases has dropped significantly in Australia since the start of the pandemic, with only 38 new infections recorded there over the past week. Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy told reporters in Canberra that more than half of those people were travelers returning from overseas who had already been quarantined in hotels. Overall, Australia has recorded more than 7,000 cases and 102 deaths.

04:27 India now has the fourth-highest number of coronavirus cases in the world. It overtook the UK on Friday after recording 10,956 new infections — the country's biggest single-day spike.

India's Health Ministry said the total number of cases stood at 297,535, including 8,498 deaths.

Although the two-month lockdown has eased, with shops and religious places being allowed to reopen, measures are still being enforced in high-risk areas. Mumbai, New Delhi and Chennai are the worst-hit cities.

India's packed prisons may be courting disaster

03:05 South Korea, which has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 cases, says it will indefinitely extend intensive prevention and sanitation guidelines.

New cases have been rising by double digits daily, as new clusters have been found in the capital, Seoul. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo said that the new guidelines will be put in place until the daily numbers came down to single digits.

The country reported 56 new cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of infections to 12,003, with 277 deaths.

02:50 Germany has reported 258 new cases of coronavirus, bringing its total number of infections to 185,647, according to the latest figures released Friday by the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases. It also reported eight new fatalities. The death toll stands at 8,763.

02:40 Global poverty could rise to above 1 billion people due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study by King’s College London and the Australian National University. It found the COVID-19 crisis is reducing the income of the world's poorest by $500 million a day.

Poverty could increase dramatically in middle-income developing countries, where people live just above the poverty line, said the study. Countries like Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines are most vulnerable.

''Without action, this crisis could set back progress on reducing global poverty by 20 or even 30 years,'' said Andy Suner from King’s College, who is one of the co-authors of the study. The researchers called for urgent global leadership to address the issue.

Read moreRising hunger threatens famines as coronavirus crashes economies, leaves crops to rot in fields

02:31 The Robert Koch Institute (RKI), Germany's health authority, warned of possible legionella risks due to hotels, sports facilities and swimming pools being closed for months during the coronavirus pandemic.

Legionella infections can lead to various diseases, including influenza and lung inflammation, the institute said in its "Epidemiological Bulletin." The pathogens are often transmitted through atomized water in showers, whirlpools, swimming pools and other appliances that use tap water.

Legionella is especially dangerous with people with pre-existing conditions, such as diabetes and heart or lung trouble, the RKI said.

Germany / France: Coronavirus raises tensions along the border

01:55 Cuba plans on welcoming tourists in the coming weeks as it tries to kickstart its vital tourism industry.

President Miguel Diaz-Canel said the Caribbean nation is reopening its economy, focusing on recovering tourism revenue it lost during the pandemic. Foreign tourists will be limited to a string of well-known coastal resorts to limit contact with the coastal population.

The first cases of the coronavirus Cuba reported in March were three Italian tourists visiting the island. The country has since reported 2,219 cases and 84 deaths.

Read moreCoronavirus quarantine plans raise serious questions for tourism in Ireland and Britain

01:20 Wall Street stocks fell sharply as cases in the US increased again, the aftershocks of which were seen in the far east as markets opened.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average experienced its worst day since mid-March, dropping 6.9%. The S&P 500 also experienced sank 5.9% when US markets closed Thursday.

Shortly thereafter, Australia's ASX index sank 2.89% when markets opened, while Japan's Nikkei index dropped 2.84% in early trading.

The dip in the markets came as the US recorded more than 21,000 new cases and 941 new coronavirus-related deaths. The US has recorded more than 2 million cases and nearly 114,000 deaths since the pandemic began.

00:45 Millions of children are at risk of being pushed into underage labor as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new study from the United Nations. 

"As the pandemic wreaks havoc on family incomes without support, many could resort to child labor," said Guy Ryder, director-general of the International Labour Organization, or ILO, a UN agency.

Child labor figures around the world have dropped significantly — from 246 million in 2000 to 152 million currently, according to the ILO. However, the COVID-19 crisis could force those numbers to rise for the first time in two decades.

00:00 Catch up on yesterday's coronavirus news 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.

ed,nm,dv,tg/mm (AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa)

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