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Iran coronavirus cases hit two-month high: Live updates | News



  • Coronavirus cases in Iran have jumped by nearly 3,000, its highest daily count in two months, while China also saw its biggest daily rise in infections in three weeks.

  • Residents of Moscow are now allowed to go out for a walk – for the first time in more than two months, while the UK has also relaxed some of its lockdown measures, despite concerns among the government’s scientific advisory body.

  • Latin America’s death toll has exceeded 50,000 with some one million cases reported across the region.

  • More than 6.18 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 372,000 people have died, including more than 104,000 in the US. At least 2.64 million have recovered globally.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, June 1

12:30 GMT – 

I will be handing over the blog to another colleague in Doha shortly. Here is a quick summary of the day’s developments:

  • Several countries, including the Philippines, India, South Africa, United Kingdom and Russia, have eased lockdown restrictions and reopened schools.

  • Turkey has resumed air and road travel between big cities.

  • According to a new survey, WHO says the global pandemic is severely disrupting treatment for non-communicable diseases.

12:15 GMT – Visitors tour Rome’s newly reopened landmarks

A long line of masked visitors were seen outside the Vatican Museums as one of Italy’s biggest tourist draws reopened after a three-month coronavirus shutdown.

Across town, Rome’s other big attraction – the Colosseum – also opened its ancient doors, but it appeared there were more television crews than tourists on hand.

“This is a symbolic moment for Rome and for Italy,” the director of the Archaeological Park at the Colosseum, Alfonsina Russo, said.

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Rome

Visitors enter Rome’s ancient Colosseum as it reopens with physical distancing and hygiene measures in place [Yara Nardi/Reuters]

12:00 GMT – Coronavirus case confirmed in UAE jail

A detainee at a jail in the United Arab Emirates has tested positive for coronavirus and is being denied treatment, a rights group has said.

Abduallah al-Shamsi, an Omani citizen, was diagnosed with the virus at Abu Dhabi’s al-Wathba prison after showing symptoms, the International Campaign for Freedom in the United Arab Emirates (ICFUAE) said in a statement.

The group called on Emirati authorities to “release all prisoners of conscience and conditionally release those who were in contact with al-Shamsi or suffer serious or terminal illnesses so they can self-isolate in a safe environment with access to healthcare”. 

11:30 GMT – WHO: Pandemic disrupting health services for cancer, diabetes

The World Health Organization has said about half of the countries surveyed in a new analysis have had partial or complete disruption of services for people with high blood pressure and diabetes treatment during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

In a survey of 155 countries last month, the UN health agency found worrying problems in the provision of health care for people with non-communicable diseases, many of whom are at higher risk of severe complications from COVID-19.

“Many people who need treatment for diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes have not been receiving the health services and medicines they need since the COVID-19 pandemic began,” said WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus in a statement. 

Drive-in theatres see revival amid lockdowns

11:20 GMT – Thailand reopens some beaches

People returned to some of Thailand’s famed sandy beaches, keeping well apart but enjoying the outdoors, as authorities eased some coronavirus restrictions for the first time in more than two months.

In Pattaya, visitors marvelled at the clarity of the turquoise-blue waters of the Gulf of Thailand, as pensioners eager for exercise promenaded along the beach. But, beaches in Phuket, in the south, are still off-limits. 

 Local authorities have ordered beachgoers to stay at least a metre (three feet) apart.

10:30 GMT – Iran’s coronavirus cases hit two-month high

Iran has reported almost 3,000 new coronavirus infections, its highest daily count in two months, as it warned of “another dangerous peak” in the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak.

“People seem to think the coronavirus is over… some officials also believe everything” is back to normal, said Health Minister Saeed Namaki.

“The coronavirus is not only far from over, but we could at any moment see (another) dangerous peak,” he said in a televised interview.

Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour raised Iran’s caseload to 154,445 with 2,979 new infections recorded in the past 24 hours.

Dogs in Iran trained to sniff out Covid-19

Dogs get ready for training to detect the new coronavirus in people in Tehran [Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu]

10:15 GMT – Spain’s tourism revenue nearly halves amid lockdown

No tourists travelled to Spain in April because of the coronavirus lockdown, dragging income from the key sector down by just about half in the first four months of the year, the National Statistics Office (INE) said. 

Tourists only spent 11.7 billion euros ($13.02bn) between January and April, 48 percent lower than a year ago, the INE said.

Spain, which entered into lockdown mid-March to contain the pandemic, welcomed only 10.58 million tourists in these four months, half of the visitors that travelled there during the same period last year.


10:00 GMT – From the plague to MERS: A brief history of pandemics

On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the new coronavirus a pandemic.

Check out our interactive to find out more about the past pandemics that shook the world.

INTERACTIVE: A brief history of pandemics

An illustration of the Black Death (1346-1353) [Alia Chughtai and Joanne Pereira/Al Jazeera] 

09:30 GMT – India orders airlines to keep middle seat vacant if passenger load permits

Airlines have been ordered to keep the middle seat empty if passenger load factors and seat capacity allow for it, India’s aviation regulator said in a notice to domestic and international carriers.

However, members of the same family would be allowed to sit together, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) said in its notice, Reuters news agency reported. 

If a seat between two passengers is occupied, the DGCA said, the person in that seat must be provided with additional safety gear such as a ‘wrap-around gown’ apart from the face mask and face shield that airlines already have to provide to everyone on board. 

08:50 GMT – Philippines sees traffic jams as lockdown eased

Traffic jams and crowds of commuters returned to the Philippine capital, as the metropolis relaxed anti-virus measures in a high-stakes gamble to slowly reopen the economy while fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Commuter trains, taxis, ride-sharing cars, special shuttle buses and motorcycles rumbled back on the road in metropolitan Manila but were only allowed to carry a fraction of their capacity as a safeguard.

Public transport was still limited by the relaxed rules and many commuters waited for hours to get a ride despite the government’s deployment of buses.


People have their temperatures checked before boarding a bus during the first day of a more relaxed lockdown that was placed to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus in Manila [Aaron Favila/AP]

08:45 GMT – Turkey resumes domestic flights, opens Grand Bazaar

Flights and car travel resumed between Turkey’s big cities while cafes, restaurants and Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar reopened in the country’s biggest step to ease restrictions taken to contain the coronavirus pandemic.

The first passenger plane took off from Istanbul for the capital, Ankara. There were a total of 156 passengers on the Turkish Airlines plane, state news agency Anadolu reported.

First flight of the normalization process

Stewardess and travelers wearing face masks onboard the first flight from Istanbul to Ankara as intercity travel resumes [Arif Hudaverdi Yaman/Anadolu]

Only a limited number of flights are restarting for now, from Istanbul to the Aegean city of Izmir, the Mediterranean resort city of Antalya and the Black Sea city of Trabzon.

08:30 GMT – Greece lifts lockdown on hotels, primary schools

Greece has lifted lockdown restrictions for hotels, open-air cinemas, golf courses and public swimming pools as the country ramped up preparations for the crucial summer tourism season to start in two weeks. Primary school children also returned to class.

Strict public safety measures have kept Greece’s COVID-19 infection rate low with 2,917 cases. The country has seen only 175 virus-related deaths, according to the health ministry.

International flights with screening procedures will return to Athens and Greece’s second-largest city of Thessaloniki starting on June 15, and will be expanded to the rest of the country on July 1.

Greece schools

Classes will have no more than 15 children while the academic year will end on Friday, June 26 [Thanassis Stavrakis/AP]

08:15 GMT – China accuses US of selfishness over cutting ties with WHO

China has accused the United States of “selfishness” after President Donald Trump said he would terminate the US relationship with the World Health Organization (WHO).

“The international community generally disagrees with such US acts of selfishness, evasion of responsibility, and undermining of international cooperation against the epidemic,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a regular news briefing.

Washington and Beijing have repeatedly clashed over the pandemic and on Friday Trump said he would sever ties with the UN health body, which he had previously accused of being too lenient with China.

08:00 GMT – Japanese MotoGP round cancelled due to pandemic

Japan will not have a MotoGP round for the first time since 1986 after organisers cancelled the October 18 race at Motegi due to the COVID-19 pandemic that will keep the series in Europe until mid-November.

The race is a home one for champions Honda as well as manufacturers Yamaha and Suzuki. It is the sixth on the 2020 calendar to be cancelled this year. 

Read here to find out which other sporting events have been cancelled because of the pandemic. 

Yamaha MotoGP rider Lorenzo of Spain jumps into the air as he celebrates winning the Japanese Grand Prix next to Honda MotoGP rider Marquez of Spain and Pedrosa of Spain on the podium in Motegi

MotoGP is hoping to begin racing in Spain, which usually hosts four rounds of the championship, at the southern Jerez circuit in July [File: Toru Hanai/Reuters] 

07:45 GMT – Latest coronavirus figures

Russia: 414,878 cases (9,035), 4,855 deaths (162)

Singapore: 35,292 cases (408), 23 deaths (0)

Germany: 181,815 (333), 8,511 deaths (11)

07:30 GMT – UK reopens markets and some schools 

English schools are reopening for the first time since they were shut 10 weeks ago because of the coronavirus pandemic, but many parents planned to keep children at home amid fears ministers were moving too fast.

The easing of strict measures will mean classes will restart for some younger children, up to six people can meet outside in England, outdoor markets can reopen, elite competitive sport can resume without spectators and more than two million of the most vulnerable will now be allowed to spend time outdoors.

Read more here.

Some schools reopen in UK but parents wary on safety

07:00 GMT – Armenian PM tests positive for COVID-19

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has revealed that he and his family have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. 

“I didn’t have any symptoms, I decided to take a test as I was planning to visit the frontline,” he said during a Facebook live video, adding that his whole family was infected.

Armenia, with a population of 3 million, has so far registered 9,402 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 139 deaths.

Read more here. 


Pashinyan attends a meeting of heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Saint Petersburg, Russia in December 2019 [File: Sputnik/Mikhail Klimentyev/Kremlin via Reuters]

06:40 GMT – South Africa partly lifts lockdown, schools’ reopening postponed

South Africa has partly lifted a two month-old coronavirus lockdown, letting people outside for work, worship, exercise or shopping, and allowing mines and factories to run at full capacity to try to revive the economy.

The government hopes Monday’s move to “level 3” lockdown will sputter businesses to a start.

However, the reopening of schools for the last years of primary and secondary school has been postponed by a week after concerns raised by the teachers’ union about insufficient protective equipment. 

Read more here. 

Zimbabwe lockdown: Grandmothers offer free therapy

06:30 GMT – Primark to open all stores in England on June 15

Fashion retailer Primark is working to reopen all its 153 stores in England on June 15, in line with the country’s easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, its owner Associated British Foods said. 

Primark is currently trading from 112 stores across Europe and the United States, representing 34 percent of its total selling space. By June it is planning to have 281 stores open or 79 percent of selling space.

06:20 GMT – India climbs to 7th biggest outbreak in world

India has registered 230 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing its total to 5,394 as the country begins its three-stage reopening on Monday.

The lockdown is being eased in most places except for the containment zones now isolated due to coronavirus outbreaks.


People wearing protective face shields walk inside a park after few restrictions were lifted, during an extended nationwide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease in New Delhi [Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

The Health Ministry said India had 190,535 cases, which is the seventh most worldwide, exceeding Germany and France.

More than 60 percent of India’s COVID-19 deaths have occurred in just two states – Maharashtra, the financial hub and entertainment hub of India, and Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Read the full story. 

Hello, this is Saba Aziz in Doha, taking over the blog from my colleague Kate Mayberry.

05:30 GMT – 

I’m handing over the blog to my colleagues in Doha. A quick recap of developments over the past few hours, as a number of places – from Australia to Russia and the UK – loosen their lockdowns further.

China has seen the biggest spike in cases in three weeks – linked to people returning home on a flight from Egypt – while Hong Kong has reported its first locally-acquired cases in two weeks. Japan, meanwhile, is considering allowing nationals of some countries to visit, provided they follow strict conditions.

05:10 GMT – Pakistan’s top leadership to meet as coronavirus cases spike

Pakistan’s National Coordination Committee on the Coronavirus, chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan, is due to meet on Monday to thrash out a plan to deal with a sharp rise in cases and fatalities from the virus, according to Al Jazeera correspondent Asad Hashim.

Cases rose by more than 2,900 on Sunday with an additional 62 fatalities taking the death toll to 1,579.

There has been a sharp increase in coronavirus deaths in the last week, with cases rising at an increasing daily rate after most restrictions were lifted ahead of Eid al-Fitr, the country’s most important holiday.

05:00 GMT – Eating out back on the menu in Turkey as lockdown eased further

Restaurants, cafes, museums, beaches and swimming pools are due to reopen in Turkey as the government further relaxes its lockdown.

More than 4,500 people have died from the virus in Turkey, but authorities say the outbreak is now under control. Restrictions on movement for people over 65 and under 18 will remain in force.

04:05 GMT – Japan considers allowing visitors from handful of countries

Japan may reopen its borders to visitors from countries with low levels of coronavirus infection, including Australia, Thailand, Vietnam and New Zealand, local media reported on Monday.

The Asahi Shimbun said business travellers from the four nations would be allowed entry providing they tested negative for COVID-19 before departure and on arrival. Their movements once in Japan would also be tightly restricted.

Japan Tokyo

An near-deserted Narita Airport in Tokyo as the coronavirus spread in early March [Hannibal Hanschke/Reuters]

03:50 GMT – Hong Kong announces first locally transmitted cases in two weeks

Hong Kong’s Centre for Health Protection (CHP) is investigating two new locally transmitted cases of coronavirus – a 34-year-old woman and a 56-year-old man.

Public broadcaster RTHK says the woman works at a logistics warehouse labelling food imported from the UK. Two people there tested positive for the virus a month ago.

The new cases bring the total number of cases in the territory to 1,085, with four deaths.

03:15 GMT – Muscovites get to go out for walks again as lockdown eased slightly

People in the Russian capital will be allowed to go out for a walk or run, and some shops will reopen, as Moscow moves to loosen a lockdown that has been in force since late March.

Residents will be allowed out for walks three times a week on a schedule linked to where they live. People will also be able to go for a run between 5am and 9am as parks open their gates again.

Shopping centres, as well as car showrooms, dry cleaners, bookshops and laundrettes are also scheduled to reopen.

Russia Moscow

A shop assistant prepares a children’s clothing store for opening in Moscow after Mayor Sergei Sobyanin decided to relax coronavirus restrictions from June 1 [Yuri Kochetkov/EPA]

Thousands of cases are still being reported across Russia’s 11 time zones, but at a far lower level than previously. Russia has the third-highest number of confirmed cases in the world.

03:00 GMT – N Korea to start reopening schools after coronavirus delayed term

North Korea will start reopening schools in phases from this month, providing strict anti-coronavirus measures are in place.

State media says thermometers and hand sanitiser need to be provided at the school gate as well as in classrooms and administrative offices, according to South Korea’s Yonhap news agency.

Top priority will be given to testing children at nurseries and kindergarten, as well as disinfecting buildings.

North Korea has said it has no cases of coronavirus.


02:30 GMT – Encouraging drop in viral load in experimental S Korean drug

South Korea’s Celltrion Inc says its experimental treatment for COVID-19 has shown a 100-fold reduction in the viral load of the disease during animal testing.

The pre-clinical study of the drug showed improved recovery in runny nose, cough and body aches after the first day of treatment, and clearing of lung inflammation within six days, the company said in a statement.

Celltrion has research experience with other types of coronavirus conditions such as the Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). It hopes to start the first human clinical trials for the COVID-19 treatment in July, said Kwon Ki-Sung, head of the firm’s research and development unit.

“(Celltrion) has the capability to roll out mass production of the therapeutic antibody treatment once it is ready,” Kwon said.

Want to know more about viral load, read our Doctor’s Note from Dr Sara Kayat.

02:00 GMT – China coronavirus cases highest in three weeks

China has reported its highest number of new coronavirus cases in three weeks after a number of cases were found among people who had returned from Egypt.

The National Health Commission reported 16 new cases, all of them in people coming from overseas.

Chinese state television said 11 people who arrived in Sichuan on a flight from Egypt had tested positive, while a further six asymptomatic cases were also found.

00:50 GMT – Australia zoos, museums reopen as restrictions eased further

Zoos, museums and other public attractions have begun to reopen in parts of Australia for the first time in more than two months.

In New South Wales, the state where most Australians live, cafes, restaurants have also been allowed to welcome as many as 50 people at a time.

23:30 GMT (May 31) – Brazil records 480 new deaths on Sunday

Brazil reported 480 deaths from coronavirus on Sunday, bringing its death toll to 29,314, the health ministry said.

More than half a million people in the country have now been confirmed to have a virus that Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro has dismissed as a “little flu”.

Bolsonaro was out on horseback on Sunday, greeting supporters at a rally against the country’s top court, which is investigating the right-wing leader.

Brazil has the second-highest number of cases in the world after the US and the fourth-highest death toll after the US, UK and Italy.

23:00 GMT (May 31) – US sends 2 million doses of hydroxychloroquine to Brazil

The US has delivered two million doses of the antimalarial medicine hydroxychloroquine to Brazil to fight COVID-19, the White House said, even though the drug has not been proven effective against the coronavirus.

“HCQ will be used as a prophylactic to help defend Brazil’s nurses, doctors, and healthcare professionals against the virus. It will also be used as a therapeutic to treat Brazilians who become infected,” a statement said in reference to the drug.

It said the US would also send 1,000 ventilators to Brazil, the epicentre of South America’s outbreak.

“We are also announcing a joint United States-Brazilian research effort that will include randomized controlled clinical trials,” it added.

Hydroxychloroquine is used to treat malaria as well as the autoimmune disorders lupus and rheumatoid arthritis. The WHO recently suspended trials into the drug because of concerns about side effects.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (May 31) here.


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US House delivers Trump impeachment article to Senate | Politics News



The US House of Representatives has presented its article of impeachment against Donald Trump to the Senate, a step that formally sets in motion the Senate trial against the former United States president.

Walking from one side of the US Capitol to the other, nine House managers appointed by Speaker Nancy Pelosi hand-delivered the impeachment document to the Senate on Monday evening.

The article charged Trump with “incitement of insurrection” in relation to the deadly storming on January 6 of the US Capitol building in Washington, DC by a mob of his supporters.

The House impeached Trump on January 13 on the same charge – making him the first president in US history to be impeached twice.

Monday’s formal step kickstarts the trial phase of the impeachment process, in which all 100 senators will sit as jurors to hear evidence and legal arguments from House managers, who act as prosecutors in the case, and the former president’s defence team.

To be convicted, the Senate must secure a two-thirds majority on the impeachment charge.

If that happens, a subsequent vote could bar Trump from running for public office again in the future.

Trial to start in February

Senate Democratic and Republican leaders have agreed on a timeline for the trial, which is expected to begin during the week of February 8.

“Both the House managers and the former president’s counsel will have a period of time to draft their legal briefs, just as they did in previous trials,” Senate leader Chuck Schumer said in remarks to the chamber on Monday.

“Once the briefs are drafted, presentations by the parties will commence the week of February 8th,” he said.

Senators will be sworn in as jurors on Wednesday and a summons will be sent by the Senate to the former president, requiring him to answer the article of impeachment.

Trump has been initially defiant amid accusations he incited the Capitol mob in a speech he gave before the breach and in repeated false claims that the presidential election had been stolen from him.

Before the House vote to impeach him, Trump had said his speech to the January 6 rally of his supporters was “totally appropriate”.

Senator Patrick Leahy, the president pro tempore of the Senate, will preside over former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial [Joshua Roberts/Reuters]

Senator Patrick Leahy, a senior Democrat who holds the title of president pro tempore of the Senate, will preside over the trial instead of Supreme Court Justice John Roberts.

“When presiding over an impeachment trial, the president pro tem takes an additional oath to do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the laws,” Leahy said in a statement.

“It is an oath I take extraordinarily seriously,” he said.

Republicans divided

Republicans are divided over the impeachment, with some senators saying Trump should be held accountable for the Capitol riot and others fearing a conviction of the former Republican president could be damaging for the party.

Some Republican legislators have argued that holding an impeachment trial after Trump has left office is unconstitutional – a claim that has been rejected by Democrats and some US experts.

Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro, reporting from Washington, DC, said on Monday that some Republicans have also said the trial could further divide the country.

“Democrats, to counter that, have said that in order to get to unity, as everyone is calling for, first there must be accountability,” Zhou-Castro said.

“And they’re saying that if Trump were to indeed be guilty of inciting insurrection and simply leave office and not be held accountable, then that would set a dangerous precedent.”

Democrats will need to get more than a dozen Republicans to vote in favour of impeachment to get a conviction, as Democrats only have a slim majority in the chamber.

Trial timeline, procedure

House managers and Trump’s defence team will exchange legal briefs in the days leading up to the start of the trial.

The nine House managers will be led in the trial by Representative Jamie Raskin, a constitutional scholar and leading advocate in the House for charging Trump with insurrection after the January 6 attacks.

The House managers have retained lawyers Barry Berke and Joshua Matz to help support their prosecution of the case.

Both Berke and Matz participated in the first Senate impeachment trial against Trump in 2020, which involved charges of abuse of power and obstruction of justice for his attempts to pressure the government of Ukraine.

Pro-Trump protesters stormed the US Capitol on January 6 [File: Shannon Stapleton/Reuters]

For his part, Trump has retained Butch Bowers of South Carolina, an experienced trial lawyer who has previously represented politicians.

House managers will have until February 2 to file their pre-trial brief laying out the case for conviction. Trump’s defence counsel will have the same deadline to respond to the charge, the Reuters news agency reported.

February 8 is the next deadline for Trump’s legal team to file a response to the House brief, and for the House managers to file a response to the president’s answer to the article of impeachment.

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