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Coronavirus Live: Updates From Around the Globe

2020-05-25 09:54:10
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Countries struggle to resume air travel, as the U.S. bans passengers from Brazil, and India restores flights.

Around the world, countries are wrestling with the challenge of how to best restart air travel, a cornerstone of modern commerce but also a dangerous vector of coronavirus infection.

As some nations have brought their outbreaks under control, they are both reopening their skies and identifying other relatively safe countries to which travel will be allowed.

But nations still in the throes of the pandemic were finding themselves newly closed off, with their people barred from once-accepting airports.

As the United States was restricting travel, India, emerging from a nationwide lockdown, was resuming it.

Hardeep Singh Puri, India’s aviation minister, said domestic flights would run with about a third of operations from Monday. Food would not be served on flights, he said, and passengers would have to wear masks and undergo temperature checks.

In Europe, the countries that have been most successful at containing the virus looked to broker travel agreements.

Officials in Greece have suggested an “air bridge” with other nations that have minor outbreaks. International flights to Athens are to resume on June 15, and to the country’s other airports on July 1.

This was a death toll that Mr. Trump once predicted would never be reached. In late February, he said there were only 15 coronavirus cases in the United States, understating even then the actual number, and declared that “the 15 within a couple of days is going to be down to close to zero.” In the annals of the American presidency, it would be hard to recall a more catastrophically wrong prediction.

It was 1952, and the young men had returned to the industrial towns of western Massachusetts after serving in World War II. They were children from poor families. And they were damaged: shellshocked, learning to live without limbs, unable to communicate what they had seen.

It was to these men that Gov. Paul Dever, who had fought in the war himself, dedicated the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, promising to protect wounded veterans.

But nearly 70 years later, as the coronavirus began spreading across the country, that promise was broken. Of the 210 veterans who were living in the facility in late March, 89 are now dead, 74 having tested positive for the coronavirus. Almost three-quarters of the veterans inside were infected. It is one of the highest death tolls of any end-of-life facility in the country.

These veterans had survived some of the bloodiest battles of World War II.

There was James Leach Miller, who at 21 was on Omaha Beach on D-Day, crowded into a landing ship with other young men. He died of the coronavirus on March 30.

There was Emilio DiPalma, who at 19 was an Army staff sergeant. He guarded Hermann Goering, the driving force behind the Nazi concentration camps, during the Nuremberg trials. He died of the coronavirus on April 8.

The question of what went wrong at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home will be with Massachusetts for a long time.

Investigations have been opened, several of which seek to determine whether state officials should be charged with negligence under civil or criminal law. But many in the state are revisiting decisions made since 2015, when a moderate, technocratic Republican governor, Charlie Baker, was elected on a promise to rein in spending.

“He died with no care whatsoever,” said Linda McKee, the daughter of Mr. Miller. “There was no one there giving orders.”

Damien Cave, the Times’ bureau chief in Sydney, writes about the resumption of classes in Australia.

I made my daughter her favorite breakfast this morning and packed extra snacks in my son’s lunchbox. Not even a soaking rain could dampen my mood — if my wife and I could have popped champagne at 8 a.m. we would have.

Finally, after seven weeks at home filled with Zoom lessons, fractions, overdue assignments, TikTok and a few tears, our two children were returning to their real-life classrooms full time.

“I’m not excited for school,” my daughter, Amelia, 9, told me, as we made our way to morning drop-off in downtown Sydney. “I’m excited for normal life!”

The announcement of a full return came suddenly last week. In our house, cheers rattled the windows. We’d seen Australia’s infection rates decline, and wondered when the moment would come. Schools, we felt, brought only minimal risk and great benefits.

But as I watched other parents this morning, some in masks, others with hand sanitizer, I couldn’t shake the sense that “normal life” had already narrowed.

Amelia tells me that hugging at school now brings a scolding. Dance is still canceled. Balthazar, her brother, who is 11, will also probably not be going to bush camp with his class next month — a sixth-grade milestone he’d been looking forward to since last year.

What have we learned? Honestly, less about school than ourselves.

Our children said they were surprised to discover how hard their parents worked. I come away with a deeper understanding of my children as students — now I know my usually quiet son learns best not alone but in groups, even if that means sitting across from me; and my daughter, it turns out, is far more diligent than her chattiness suggests.

There’s a part of me that will miss them now that they’re gone. But I don’t want them back, not just because that would mean a second wave of the virus; also because school, we now know more than ever, is a beautiful luxury.

Wang Yanyi, who leads the Wuhan Institute of Virology, said that the institute first received a sample of the virus at the end of December. By that point, the virus had been circulating in Wuhan, a major travel hub, for weeks.

“We didn’t have any knowledge about the virus before that, nor have we ever met, researched or kept the virus,” Dr. Wang said.

Scientists are still studying how the outbreak first happened. Most of them believe that the virus was passed from bats to humans via an intermediary species, one that was probably sold at a wet market in Wuhan late last year.

On Sunday, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Robert O’Brien, appeared on “Face the Nation” and “Meet the Press,” accusing Chinese officials of carrying out a cover-up of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Congregations across the United States were still using Facebook or YouTube to hold services on Sunday, or were taking part from their cars in church parking lots.

“Some governors have deemed the liquor stores and abortion clinics as essential but have left out churches and other houses of worship,” Mr. Trump said. “It’s not right. So I am correcting this injustice and calling houses of worship essential.”

Leaders of the Church of God in Christ, a historically black denomination with about six million members worldwide, were urging pastors not to begin reopening until at least July.

“The moral safe choice is to wait,” Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr., the church’s presiding bishop, said. “We don’t think now is the time, and neither do the scientists and doctors we consult with.”

In Germany, which for weeks now has allowed religious services, 40 churchgoers became infected with the coronavirus during a service at a Baptist church in Frankfurt, the health authorities said.

Six parishioners were hospitalized, according to Wladimir Pritzkau, a leader of the parish.

France took tentative steps on Sunday to reopen churches, mosques and synagogues. Officials were nudged by a legal challenge to a blanket ban on public worship that was not set to be lifted until the end of May.

In Jerusalem, the Church of the Holy Sepulcher reopened after a two-month lockdown. On the West Bank, thousands of Palestinians crowded into streets early Sunday in defiance of coronavirus restrictions, including many who demanded that the Palestinian authorities reopen mosques for Eid al-Fitr, the festival for the conclusion of the fasting month of Ramadan.

“I wear a face shield every time I enter a store or other building,” said Dr. Eli Perencevich. “Sometimes I also wear a cloth mask, if required by the store’s policy.”

Dr. Perencevich is an infectious-disease physician at the University of Iowa and the Iowa City Veterans Affairs Health Care System. In an opinion article published last month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, he and two colleagues argued that simple clear-plastic face shields could help reduce the transmission of infections.

There has also been no research on how well one person’s face shield protects other people from viral transmission — the concept called source control that is a primary benefit of surgical and cloth masks.

A multibillion-dollar institution in the Seattle area invests in hedge funds, runs a pair of venture capital funds and works with elite private equity firms like the Carlyle Group.

And this spring, Providence received at least $509 million in government funds, one of many wealthy beneficiaries of a federal program that is supposed to prevent health care providers from capsizing during the coronavirus pandemic.

So far, the riches are flowing in large part to hospitals that had already built up deep financial reserves to help them withstand an economic storm. Smaller, poorer hospitals are receiving tiny amounts of federal aid by comparison.

Despite calls for him to oust a top adviser who disobeyed Britain’s stay-at-home order, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is standing by the official, Dominic Cummings, who had fallen ill with the coronavirus.

Mr. Cummings has said there was no other way to get care for his young child after he and his wife began showing symptoms of the virus.

“He followed the instincts of every father and every parent, and I do not mark him down for that,” Mr. Johnson said on Sunday. “I believe that in every respect, he has acted responsibly, and legally, and with integrity.”

The opposition Labour Party called for an inquiry into Mr. Cummings’s conduct and accused Mr. Johnson of double standards.

“It is an insult to sacrifices made by the British people that Boris Johnson has chosen to take no action against Dominic Cummings,” the Labour leader, Keir Starmer, said in a statement. “The public will be forgiven for thinking there is one rule for the prime minister’s closest adviser and another for the British people.”

Reporting was contributed by Raphael Minder, Melissa Eddy, Megan Specia, Ben Dooley, Joshua Barone, Jesse Drucker, Sarah Kliff, Mark Landler Stephen Castle, Damien Cave, Joshua Barone, Mariel Padilla, Michael Paulson, Jessica Silver-Greenberg, Knvul Sheikh, Ben Sisario, Michael Wilson, Zachary Woolfe Kai Schultz and Ellen Barry.


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