Coronavirus live news: G7 leaders to discuss reconstruction; Japan may downgrade emergency until Olympics

1 day ago

Those UK economy numbers might be up, but the recovery isn’t equal across all sectors, with PA reporting that London’s Heathrow airport lost more than six million passengers in May compared with the same month in 2019.

Just 675,000 people travelled through the London airport last month, a 90% reduction on the total for May 2019.

Chief executive John Holl-Kaye said: “With the G7 starting today, ministers have a chance to kickstart the green global recovery by agreeing how to resume international travel safely setting a mate for sustainable aviation fuels that will decarbonise aviation. This is the time for them to show global leadership.”

Richard Partington

The Office for Statistics said UK GDP rose for the third consecutive month as pemic restrictions were scaled back across all four nations of the UK, with the economy growing at the fastest pace since July last year.

The reopening of non-essential shops, pubs restaurants fuelled a sharp rise in consumer spending. The UK economy grew by 2.3% in April. However, the economy still remains 3.7% below its pre-pemic level.

Jonathan Athow, the deputy national statistician for economic statistics at the ONS, said: “Strong growth in retail spending, increased car caravan purchases, schools being open for the full month the beginning of the reopening of hospitality all boosted the economy in April.”

Taiwan factory forces migrant workers back into dormitories amid Covid outbreak

Helen Davidson

Here’s the latest from our Helen Davidson in Taipei:

A major manufacturer in Taiwan is forcing some migrant workers out of private homes back into shared accommodation at the height of the isl’s worst Covid-19 outbreak since the pemic began, drawing accusations of discrimination double stards.

ASE, a semiconductor manufacturer, told its workers in the Taoyuan district of Chungli, about 50km (30 miles) from the capital, Taipei, that those who live independently in private rentals, must “move back to their dormitories immediately”, or be given “a major demerit”. Three such demerits are punishable by dismissal, the notice says.

It stipulates residents will be banned from leaving the dorms except to go straight to from work. Those who are late face being locked out penalised. The workers cannot do their own shopping or have visitors. Such restrictions do not apply to the broader Taiwanese community.

Taiwan has recorded more than 12,000 local cases 360 deaths since mid-April. Hundreds of cases have been detected at four factories in Miaoli county, mostly among migrant workers linked to crowded dormitory conditions.

Central government orders require that the number of people per room in migrant worker accommodation be significantly reduced to cut the threat of infection among residents but offer no further detail, such as a maximum number per room.

Footage seen by the Guardian purported to be of one of the ASE workers’ dorm rooms show rows of bunk beds on each side of the narrow room, with sheets hung around the edges to give occupants some privacy. Residents said they share bathroom facilities, sometimes with workers on different shifts or workers from other companies. Many migrant workers opt to live in private homes in which one or two people share a room.

An ASE spokeswoman confirmed both the instruction to return, the demerits for their 3,000 migrant employees, but defended the policy.

Read more of Helen Davidson’s report from Taipei : Taiwan factory forces migrant workers back into dormitories amid Covid outbreak

Updated at 2.29am EDT

UK GDP rose by 2.3% in April after restrictions eased - fastest since July 2020

T will be a lot of reading of the runes over the next couple of months to try to see what shape western economies are bouncing back into after a year or more of pemic restrictions.

My colleague Graeme Wearden notes that figures have just been released that show that the UK economy grew by 2.3% in April – the fastest monthly growth since July 2020.

The easing of economic restrictions boosted output, due to the reopening of shops hospitality companies during the month. It’s also slightly faster than expected, Graeme says, follows strong growth of 2.1% in March.

He is live blogging reaction to that on our Business live blog

Updated at 2.30am EDT

Good morning, it’s Martin Belam in London. It’s short, but sweet – this week Steven Poole’s word of the week for us is “Delta”, thanks to the “Delta variant” that we’ve all suddenly had to get used to talking about.

I genuinely have a Google Doc bookmarked in my browser setting out which variant is which set of numbers which Greek letter so I don’t get them wrong for you …

Updated at 2.30am EDT

If you’ve not yet seen France’s vaccination ad campaign, I highly recommend it.

juan (@juanbuis)

the french vaccination ad campaign is just *so good* pic.twitter.com/ciObPlRwW8

June 10, 2021

And with that, I’m off. You’ll be in the capable hs of my colleague Martin Belam for the next while.

China invites Taiwanese to get vaccinated

China’s government said on Friday that it welcomed Taiwanese to come get vaccinated against Covid-19 called on Taiwan to remove obstacles allow its people to receive the “highly effective” Chinese shots.

China claims democratically ruled Taiwan as its own territory has repeatedly offered to send vaccines to the isl, which is battling a spike in domestic infections but has expressed concern about the safety of Chinese shots has not cleared them for use.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office said in a statement two Chinese-made vaccines had been granted emergency use authorisation by the World Health Organization its shots were in use or approved by more than 90 countries, showing their safety efficacy.

People in Taiwan can come to China to get vaccinated against Covid, provided they strictly comply with China’s pemic control measures, the office said.

It urged Taiwan’s government to “quickly remove artificial obstacles for mainl vaccines being sent to Taiwan allow the broad mass of Taiwan compatriots to receive the safe highly effective mainl vaccines”.

Only 3% of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people have received at least one shot, though millions of doses are on order. Japan donated 1.24 million AstraZeneca Plc shots last week the United States has pledged 750,000 doses, which have yet to arrive.

Still, China’s offer is not likely to be attractive to many Taiwanese. A poll by Taipei’s Chengchi University last month showed most people would not be willing to get a Chinese vaccine.

G7 leaders to discuss post-Covid reconstruction

G7 leaders meet this weekend for the first time in nearly two years, after the global coronavirus pemic forced last year’s event to be cancelled.

But the health crisis is still presenting hosts the UK with a major challenge, to prevent the virus spreading among participants, AFP reports.

The leaders of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK the US will notably discuss post-pemic reconstruction at the three-day talks in Carbis Bay, Cornwall.

Fair distribution of anti-Covid vaccines climate change will also be on the agenda at the picturesque seaside resort in south-west Engl.

All leaders have been at least partially vaccinated against Covid-19.

They will be joined by their counterparts from the European Union, invited guests from Australia, India, South Korea South Africa.

Most will attend in person, although India’s prime minister Narendra Modi will take part virtually because of the rapid spread of a new variant of the virus back home.

Normally, G7 summits are attended by thouss of journalists but the number of accreditations this year has been drastically reduced because of social distancing requirements.

And most of those who have managed to secure a pass will be kept at a distance, at a media centre in Falmouth, 36 kilometres (23 miles) by road from Carbis Bay.

Updated at 1.51am EDT

Japan may downgrade emergency until Olympics

The Japanese government is considering ending a state of emergency in Tokyo several other prefectures as scheduled on June 20, but keeping a downgraded “quasi-emergency” state until the Olympics start in July, the Mainichi daily reported.

New coronavirus infections in Olympics city Tokyo have inched down during the last month of emergency restrictions although authorities remain concerned about the spread of variants the continued strain on medical resources.

The Mainichi newspaper reported on Friday the government would ask restaurants to keep shorter hours impose other curbs under the targeted quasi-emergency measures. Bars restaurants are now asked to close by 8 p.m. are banned from serving alcohol.

A final decision is expected late next week, a few days before the end of the current emergency state, which also covers the northern isl of Hokkaido, host of the marathon event.

Polls have shown a majority of the Japanese public opposes holding the Games this year, worried about the flood of athletes officials from overseas. Japan has effectively been closed to foreign visitors since the pemic broke out last year.

The Japanese government Olympic organisers have said the Games would go ahead - barring “Armageddon”, as one Olympic Committee (IOC) member put it. The Olympics are scheduled to start on 23 July.

Summary

Hello welcome to today’s live coverage of the coronavirus pemic with me, Helen Sullivan.

Here are today’s top stories so far:

G7 leaders meet this weekend for the first time in nearly two years, after the global coronavirus pemic forced last year’s event to be cancelled.

The Japanese government is considering ending a state of emergency in Tokyo several other prefectures as scheduled on June 20, but keeping a downgraded “quasi-emergency” state until the Olympics start in July, the Mainichi daily reported.

Here are the other key developments from the last few hours:

South Africa has entered its third wave of Covid-19 infections as the continent’s worst-hit country registered 9,149 new cases, Reuters reports. Covid-19 case rates have increased across every region in Engl with a sharp rise in the North West, new figures show. The discovery of several thous unreported deaths in the state of Bihar, India, has raised suspicion that many more coronavirus victims have not been included in official figures. The health department in Bihar revised its total Covid-19 related death toll to more than 9,429 from about 5,424 on Wednesday. The newly-reported deaths had occurred last month state officials were investigating the lapse, a district health official said, blaming the oversight on private hospitals.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said it was necessary to know the origins of Covid-19 investigators needed to have full access to sites which could shed lights on the matter
The EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency says that the coronavirus pemic has had an unprecedented profound effect on human rights, fuelling racism child abuse. The annual report says: “The pemic the reactions it triggered exacerbated existing challenges inequalities in all areas of life, especially affecting vulnerable groups.”
Ukraine has reiterated that it will not allow foreigners inoculated with the Russian Covid-19 vaccine Sputnik into the country if they do not also provide a negative test for the coronavirus.
Bulgaria plans to lift the compulsory wearing of face masks in gyms, hairdressing salons, small shops offices w all workers are vaccinated as coronavirus infections decrease.
Denmark will ditch the use of masks in most public spaces allow 25,000 fans to attend European Championship matches in Copenhagen
Russia’s Covid numbers have been at a remarkably steady uniform level for months on end, but this week the official case tally is seeing a steady rise, today was the highest number for three months at 11,699
The EU decided not to take up an option to buy 100m doses of the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine in March, European officials have said.
A 52-year-old woman from New South Wales who died after receiving the AstraZeneca vaccine is “likely” Australia’s second death from a rare severe blood clotting syndrome linked to the Covid vaccine, Australia’s drugs regulator says.
Hong Kong’s government said this morning that it would review its plan for a travel bubble between Hong Kong Singapore in early July, after the proposal was derailed for a second time in May due to a surge of cases in Singapore.
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