US ventilators destined for Russia to be ready for shipment on Wednesday
From CNN's Nathan Hodge and Jennifer Hansler
A batch of 50 ventilators destined for Russia as part of a package of US aid was expected to be ready for shipment Wednesday, aa US administration spokesperson confirmed to CNN Tuesday.
Here's what the official said in a statement:
"Through the generosity of the American people and private industry innovation, the United States is providing critical medical supplies and ventilators to people in need around the world. The United States is the largest contributor to global public health and has committed over 15,000 ventilators to more than 50 countries, including our European Allies and partners. Russia is experiencing a true public health crisis due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In response to President Putin’s request for assistance, President Trump offered to donate and deliver 200 ventilators to the Russian people. The first 50 ventilators are being produced by the manufacturer in the United States, and are expected to be ready for shipment May 20."
2:41 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020
Iraq will reimpose full curfew during Eid al-Fitr holiday
From CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Aqeel Najim
Iraq will reimpose a full curfew on vehicles and pedestrians during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, starting Sunday through May 28, according to statement released by Iraq’s Council of Ministers today.
Since the start of Ramadan, Iraq partially lifted its curfew, which is currently set between 5 p.m. and 5 a.m. local time.
The country witnessed a relative increase of confirmed coronavirus cases since the curfew was partially lifted.
More than one billion Muslims around the world will celebrate Eid al-Fitr this weekend as the month-long Ramadan fast ends and the festivities begin.
2:12 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020
Spain coronavirus deaths under 100 for third day as protests for reopening grow
CNN’s Al Goodman, Ingrid Formanek and Mia Alberti
The number of daily deaths in Spain due to Covid-19 rose slightly by 83 on Monday, but were still less than 100 for the third consecutive day, figures reported by the Spanish Health Ministry on Tuesday show.
The most recent three daily death tolls are the lowest reported in more than two months in the country, where the total number of deaths stands at more than 27,700.
Meanwhile, in a sudden pivot, the Spanish government said on Tuesday it will seek a two-week extension for its state of emergency order during the coronavirus crisis, but not the one-month extension that the Prime Minister had announced just last weekend.
Some background: The last-minute change comes as the Socialist minority government scrambles to garner enough votes in Parliament on Wednesday to approve any extension of the confinement order, which has been subjected to increasing attacks from opposition leaders.
For weeks, people opposed to the government have been loudly banging pots from their windows and balconies in the evenings. But starting in an upscale conservative Madrid neighborhood last week, the protests took to the streets, with the support of right-wing groups and parties. People draped in Spanish flags, and others, have demanded that their basic right to free movement which is restricted by the state of emergency, be restored.
But Finance Minister Maria Jesus Montero, also the chief government spokesperson, told a press conference today that the protesters “are asking for freedom of movement. That’s the freedom to get infected” with coronavirus, she said.
2:15 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020
Vaccine maker backs off priority access for US, France says
French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi Tuesday backed off its CEO’s apparent suggestion that the United States would have priority for a coronavirus vaccine if the company develops one, French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said.
Sanofi executives "confirm to the President that the group share France's approach to universal access to the vaccine with the aim of making it a global public good," the Elysee Palace said in a statement.
Macron summoned the company’s chairman of the board, CEO and president to a meeting Tuesday after CEO Paul Hudson said last week that the “US government has the right to the largest pre-order because it's invested in taking the risk.”
Hudson was speaking to Bloomberg News.
French officials responded angrily to the comments from Hudson, with deputy finance minister Agnès Pannier-Runacher saying: “It would be unacceptable for Sanofi to reserve its Covid-19 vaccine as a priority, if it were to find one, to one country or another for financial reason.”
Jean-Baptiste Froville,a spokesman for Sanofi, said in a statement on Friday that Hudson's comments had been misinterpreted.
Sanofi Chairman of the Board Serge Weinberg, President Olivier Bogillot, and CEO Hudson met with Macron for 45 mins Tuesday, Macron’s office said.
The Elysee statement added that Sanofi “is fully committed to its presence in France.”
There was no immediate statement from Sanofi following the meeting.
1:34 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020
France orders 1 billion masks from local producers
From CNN's Benjamin Berteaux and Pierre Buet in Paris
The French government Tuesday announced an order of one billion masks made by French producers.
The masks will be delivered over time until the end of 2020, according to a statement from the country's Economy and Health ministries.
French mask production reached 10 million a week in April and is to come up to 20 million by the end of May, President Emmanuel Macron announced earlier.
The government says that by the end of 2020, production in France should be up to 50 million masks per week.
Some background: In March, Macron said France needs to "produce more in France, on our own soil. Certain materials, such as masks, are of a strategic nature."
"The aim is that by the end of the year, we will have achieved full independence," Macron added.
Macron also promised to give 4 billion Euros to Sante Publique France, a public health agency, to purchase masks and ventilators.
1:11 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020
Italy's coronavirus death numbers rise slightly as the country starts to reopen
From CNN's Richard Greene in London
The number of daily coronavirus deaths in Italy rose slightly Tuesday to 162, after four days of declining numbers, authorities said.
Italy has now recorded 32,169 Covid-19 deaths, the Italian Civil Protection Agency reported.
This comes as bars, restaurants, retail stores, hairdressers and museums reopened Monday in most Italian regions after nearly 10 weeks of lockdown.
Italy has the third largest number of deaths from the virus in the world, behind the United States and United Kingdom, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University.
The total number of Covid-19 cases in Italy, including deaths and recoveries, is now over 226,000, according to the national agency.
12:47 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020
UK will need British workers to help pick summer harvest
From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio
The United Kingdom will need Britons to help pick the summer harvest because the novel coronavirus has prevented the arrival of many of the seasonal workers that usually travel from Eastern Europe, the country’s Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, George Eustice, said on Tuesday.
“Probably only about a third of the people that would come are already here,” Eustice said, conceding that small numbers would continue to travel. “This year we will need to rely on British workers to lend a hand to help bring that harvest home.”
The British government had been working with the industry to try to pair up people looking for a second job, particularly those who had been placed on furlough, with businesses looking for workers, and announced the launch of a new “Pick for Britain” website, Eustice said.
“We believe that those who are furloughed may be getting to the point where they’d want to lend a hand and play their part, they may be wanting to get out, they may be wanting to supplement their income with an additional job,” he said.
12:44 p.m. ET, May 19, 2020
Hong Kong's Tiananmen Square vigil in doubt after coronavirus restrictions extended
From Isaac Yee and Vanesse Chan in Hong Kong
The Hong Kong government announced it would extend a ban on public gatherings -- established as part of coronavirus distancing measures -- an extra two weeks through June 4, the day Hong Kong pro-democracy advocates mark the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
“For social gatherings, under Prevention and Control of Disease (Prohibition on Group Gathering) Regulation Cap 599g, there is a ban on gatherings with more than 8 persons, this remain enforced through the 4th of June," the city's Secretary for Food and Health, Sophia Chan, said at a press conference Tuesday.
In light of concerns of experts, it is not the time for Hong Kong to relax the measures, Chan added.
Hong Kong recently reported its first community transmission cases in weeks, calling into question the containment of the virus.
Organizers of the annual Tiananmen Square massacre vigil held in Hong Kong’s Victoria Park could still apply for permits to hold the event, but those are unlikely to be approved by the government on grounds of public health.
Hong Kong is the only place on Chinese soil where major mass commemorations are held for the event.