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Coronavirus Live Updates: Hong Kong Bans Tiananmen Vigil, Citing Virus Fears

2020-06-01 09:34:24
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Hong Kong police deny permission for Tiananmen Square vigil for the first time in 30 years.

The Hong Kong police halted plans for a vigil on Thursday in memory of the people who died during the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests, citing the need to enforce social-distancing rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It is the first time the June 4 vigil, which has been held annually since 1990, has been blocked. Fears about limits on free speech and political expression have grown in Hong Kong after Beijing announced last month that it would impose new national security laws on the semiautonomous city, and some democracy advocates in the city had wondered whether this year’s event might be the last.

The vigil organizers said they still planned to go to Victoria Park, where the event is regularly held, even though they expected the police to break up any gathering. They have asked supporters in Hong Kong and around the world to light candles in their homes or other private places and post the images online.

The organizing body, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, also plans to set up booths around the city to observe the event, said Lee Cheuk-yan, the group’s chairman. A handful of churches are to hold special services, he said.

The United States has delivered two million doses of a malaria drug to Brazil for use in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and the two countries are embarking on a joint research effort to study whether the drug is safe and effective for the prevention and early treatment of Covid-19, the White House announced on Sunday.

The announcement comes after months of controversy over the drug, hydroxychloroquine, which President Trump has aggressively promoted, despite a lack of scientific evidence of its effectiveness as a treatment for Covid-19. Mr. Trump stunned public health experts by saying he was taking a two-week course of the medicine.

The donated doses will be used as a prophylactic “to help defend” Brazil’s nurses, doctors and health care professionals against infection, and will also be used to treat Brazilians who become infected, the White House said.

Hydroxychloroquine is widely used for the prevention of malaria and for treatment of certain autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and many doctors consider it safe. But the Food and Drug Administration has warned that it can cause heart arrhythmia in some patients, and the debate over its use in the coronavirus pandemic has been politically fraught.

Early research in Brazil and New York suggested that it could be linked to a higher number of deaths among hospitalized patients. More recently, a review of a hospital database published by an influential medical journal, The Lancet, concluded that treating people who have Covid-19 with chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine did not help and might have increased the risk of abnormal heart rhythms and death.

Patrick Kingsley, an international correspondent, and Laetitia Vancon, a photojournalist, are driving more than 3,700 miles to explore the reopening of the European continent after coronavirus lockdowns.

You can smell the gin distillery before you see it — the whiff of alcohol floats down the street outside. And if you head inside on the right morning, you’ll find a mustachioed chemist infusing that alcohol with juniper berries, coriander seeds and aniseed.

But the chemist, Michael Levantaci, was mixing something very different last Thursday. He had put the herbs and fruit to one side, and was instead pouring glycerin and ether into a silver vat. The first makes the alcohol kinder to the touch, the other makes it undrinkable.

The Rubbens Distillery has made gin since 1817, when Belgium was still part of the Netherlands. Since the coronavirus crisis started, prompting a Europe-wide shortage of disinfectant, it has also bottled approximately 37,000 gallons of hand sanitizer.

“I prefer the gin part,” said Mr. Levantaci, who invented most of the distillery’s 19 gin and liqueur recipes.

“The question is whether people will return in large numbers to the restaurants before the oil prices rise again,” said Josep Garriga, 71, who has officially retired but who still enjoys prawn fishing alongside his son, Jaume, who has taken over the captaincy of their family boat. “Everything has become like the day-to-day uncertainty of fishing, where you always hope for a good catch but never start with anything guaranteed.”

Facing withering criticism, the government released a report last Monday stating that critics were trying to sow chaos, and that the vast majority of people in the country, the second-poorest in the hemisphere, could not afford to lose work under a strict lockdown.

Elena Cano said her 46-year-old son, Camilo Meléndez, the facilities manager at the National Assembly building, died on May 19 from “unusual severe pneumonia,” after trying to get medical care several times.

“The whole world has to understand the truth of the crime that our government is committing,” she said.

“Sure, we take orders and process returns, but we’re also great listeners,” Zappos said in a statement on its website. “Searching for flour to try that homemade bread recipe? We’re happy to call around and find grocery stores stocked with what you need.”

People have called to have conversations about their life stories. Single parents at home with small children have called, grateful to speak with another adult. Teenagers have called asking for homework help.

But the new line is good for more than helping to stock toilet paper.

In mid-April, around the time when coronavirus patients were filling New York City hospitals and equipment was in short supply, David F. Putrino, the director of rehabilitation innovation for the Mount Sinai Health System, reached out to Zappos looking for pulse oximeters, devices that indicate blood oxygen level and heart rate.

The devices were sold out or on back-order everywhere he looked. To his amazement, Zappos was able to locate the devices. Within days, the company had shipped 500 oximeters to Mount Sinai — and later donated an additional 50.

“It was, like, unbelievable from our perspective,” he said.

Reporting was contributed by Carlos Tejada, Christina Goldbaum, Patrick Kingsley, Roni Caryn Rabin, Raphael Minder, Jack Healy, Dionne Searcey, Stacy Cowley, Antonio de Luca, Rick Rojas, Stacy Cowley, Dave Taft and Umi Syam.

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