May 24 coronavirus news

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11:29 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson to hold news briefing as calls for him to sack his chief aide grow

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will lead the UK government’s news briefing in the next hour, amid growing criticism over his chief aide Dominic Cummings reportedly breaking lockdown measures on multiple occasions.

Johnson has stepped in to deliver the 5 p.m. (12 p.m. ET) briefing after a weekend where his government came under intense pressure to sack Cummings.

Some context: Cummings drove across England to stay at his parents’ property in late March while his partner was sick with Covid-19 symptoms. He also reportedly made subsequent trips to Durham in April.

Earlier on Sunday, a video screen showing Johnson instructing people to stay at home was set up outside Cummings’ London home by protesters.

10:30 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

Argentina extends coronavirus lockdown until June 7

From CNN's Jackie Castillo

The financial district in Buenos Aires, Argentina, stands empty on May 21.
The financial district in Buenos Aires, Argentina, stands empty on May 21. Natacha Pisarenko/AP

Argentina has extended its mandatory coronavirus lockdown until June 7, according to a televised announcement made by President Alberto Fernandez Saturday night.

The president said that although quarantine measures are working and 19 provinces have not reported coronavirus cases, much work still needs to be done.

Highly-populated areas such as Buenos Aires continue to see a spike in cases since the country relaxed restrictions more than two weeks ago, Fernandez said.

The president has asked those living in provinces with a high concentration of people to stay under lockdown. The remaining part of the country currently in stage four of the reopen phase will remain working towards gradually reopening the country.

Argentina reported 11,353 coronavirus cases and 445 deaths as of Sunday, according to Ministry of Health officials.

10:53 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

Myrtle Beach City Council declares Memorial Day an "Extraordinary Event"

From CNN's Artemis Moshtaghian

People enjoy the day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on May 23.
People enjoy the day in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on May 23. Sean Rayford/Getty Images

In a special meeting convened Thursday, the Myrtle Beach City Council declared this Memorial Day weekend an "Extraordinary Event" and authorized the city manager to take all necessary steps to protect the public health, safety and welfare, according to city council meeting minutes posted online.

The "Extraordinary Event" outlines the ways in which Myrtle Beach Police Department can protect the safety and well-being of the city’s residents in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

In the executive order, authorities have been permitted to request assistance from federal, state and other local governments and require the temporary cessation of businesses in the city from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., among other things.

If anyone violates any of the rules and regulations outlined in the executive order, they risk receiving a warning, citation or notice and at worst, misdemeanor charges punishable by a fine of $500 or 30-day imprisonment or both.

10:19 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

Spanish health minister: "The state of emergency has worked, but the virus is still among us"

From CNN's Laura Pérez Maestro and Helena de Moura

Eduardo Parra/Europa Press via Getty Images
Eduardo Parra/Europa Press via Getty Images

Spanish Finance Minister Maria Jesus Montero and Health Minister Salvador Illa held a news conference on Sunday in which Illa highlighted that while the situation has improved in Spain, “the virus is still among us."

Montero explained that on Monday the whole national territory will have overcome phase zero, and that around 50% of the population will be in phase two.

The government of Melilla announced Saturday that they are the first region to be free of coronavirus in Spain.

“The remaining four people with the disease have now recovered. Therefore, today there are no people admitted to the local hospital, there hasn’t been anyone in the ICU for weeks; but also, there are no people in their homes with Covid-19," said Melilla’s Public Health Counselor Mohamed Mohand.
11:38 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

White House economic adviser says unemployment will reach "north of 20%" in May

From CNN's Ali Main

CNN
CNN

White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett told CNN he thinks the unemployment rate will reach "north of 20%" for the month of May.

Hassett said he expects the rate will be even higher in June than in May, but after that "it should start to trend down."

Hassett thinks it is possible that the unemployment rate could still be in double digits in November, but he said he thinks "all the signs of economic recovery are going to be raging everywhere."

Pressed further by Bash, Hassett doubled down on his prediction for November, saying it would take a while for the unemployment rate to go down and adding that a vaccine breakthrough could change things.

"I think that, yes, unemployment will be something that moves back slower. I think it could be better than that. But you're going to be starting at a number in the 20s and working your way down. And so of course you could still not be back to full employment by September or October. Again if there were a vaccine in July, then I would be way more optimistic about it," Hassett said. 

Hassett said President Trump is "going through all the options" related to another phase of economic stimulus.

Watch:

9:26 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

Large crowds reported in Daytona Beach, Florida, police say

From CNN's Alta D. Spells

Crowds gathering in Florida's Daytona Beach were "larger than normal" on Saturday, according to a tweet from the Daytona Beach Police Department.

"You may have seen larger than normal crowds this evening, both on the beach side, and on Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune Blvd," the department said.

Police officers were dispatched to help control traffic, the department said in the tweet. The Daytona Police Department said the crowds were compliant and dispersed when asked. No arrest were made. 

CNN has reached out to the Daytona Beach Police Department for additional details on the crowds. 

9:07 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

G7 Summit likely to occur in person in late June

From CNN's Sarah Westwood

The G7 Summit will likely occur in person and in late June, not mid-June as was originally planned, National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said on CBS this morning.

“I think the G7 leaders would love to meet in person,” O’Brien said.

He said President Trump has extended invitations to the leaders and received a “great response.”

“I think we’d be looking at the end of June, at this point,” O’Brien said of the timing, citing the “logistics” of bringing so many heads of state to Washington.

 

9:04 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

Trump administration likely to announce temporary travel restrictions to Brazil because of spike

From CNN's Sarah Westwood and Austen Bundy

A man sits alone at the food court of the Manaus AM Eduardo Gomes International Airport in Manaus, Brazil, on May 18.
A man sits alone at the food court of the Manaus AM Eduardo Gomes International Airport in Manaus, Brazil, on May 18. Andre Coelho/Getty Images

National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said Sunday the administration is likely to announce new restrictions on travel to Brazil.

O’Brien, during an interview with CBS, said the administration is likely to make a decision about restricting travel to Brazil today, and said White House officials “hope that will be temporary.”

He said the White House would “take a look at the other countries on a country by country basis” in that region.

When asked about reporting that the European travel restrictions from mid-March came too late to stop the virus from spreading through the US, O’Brien highlighted President Trump’s decision to restrict some travel to China. O'Brien suggested that US officials were unaware that people traveling through Europe from China could bring Covid-19 to America in the weeks before the European travel restrictions were implemented.

“We didn’t know at the time but we later learned that the Chinese continued to allow people to travel from Wuhan to Europe,” he said.

Some context: Coronavirus has yet to peak in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and worst-infected big city, but the healthcare system is already beginning to break down.

As the crisis deepens and the number of deaths continues to rise, President Jair Bolsonaro is urging businesses to reopen. He opposes many governors who are stressing social distancing measures to slow the spread.

Far from hospitals, Brazil's indigenous people are dying at an alarming rate. The death toll is double that of the rest of Brazil's population, according to the advocacy group Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil.

 

8:35 a.m. ET, May 24, 2020

Is it safe to worship together? Here's what you need to know about coronavirus on Sunday, May 24

From CNN's Ivana Kottasová

Pastor Billy Jones speaks to his congregation at Dunseverick Baptist Church in Bushmills, Northern Ireland, on May 24.
Pastor Billy Jones speaks to his congregation at Dunseverick Baptist Church in Bushmills, Northern Ireland, on May 24. Charles McQuillan/Getty Images

Houses of worship have become the latest coronavirus battleground in the United States.

President Donald Trump declared them "essential" on Friday, calling for them to reopen "right now" and threatening to override governors who resist.

All 50 US states have taken steps to ease lockdown restrictions. But some states still ban large gatherings, including religious services, as the coronavirus death toll approaches 100,000.

Several Covid-19 clusters have been linked to places of worship. When a person who later learned they had the virus attended a California religious service two weeks ago, 180 other people were exposed to coronavirus.

Much like stay-at-home orders and mandatory face masks, the issue has deeply divided Americans. The Interfaith Alliance and the Council on American-Islamic Relations criticized Trump's calls and advised against holding services. The Southern Baptist Convention, however, said they were "pleased" with the President's announcement.

Europe has exercised more caution when reopening religious services. French and Italian authorities allowed them to resume this week for the first time in months. But strict rules are in place. Masks and hand sanitizers are mandatory and seats have to be placed at a safe distance from each other.

Meanwhile, Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-FItr. The religious holiday will be a somber affair this year, just like the month that preceded it.

What's important today

Brazil's deepening crisis: Coronavirus has yet to peak in Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest and worst-infected big city, but the healthcare system is already beginning to break down. As the crisis deepens and the number of deaths continues to rise, President Jair Bolsonaro is urging businesses to reopen. He opposes many governors who are stressing social distancing measures to slow the spread.

The lockdown trounces women's rights: The coronavirus seems to be more deadly for men. But in most other ways, women are bearing the brunt of the pandemic. From a spike in domestic violence and restricted access to family-planning services, to a disproportionate economic impact, lockdown measures are hurting women and their basic rights more than men.

What antibody tests can -- and can't -- reveal: Roughly 12% of Moscow residents are believed to have coronavirus antibodies, the Russian capital's health authorities said yesterday. But health experts have warned against putting too much hope on antibody testing, because it's unclear whether people become immune after catching the virus. 

Hong Kong protesters take to the streets despite virus restrictions: Thousands of people flooded Hong Kong streets today, opposing the Chinese government's move to impose a national security law that threatens the city's autonomy. Police fired tear gas at protesters as they began the march, which did not receive official authorization and went against coronavirus social distancing restrictions banning groups of more than eight people from gathering.

On our radar

  • Thrift stores across the US are seeing a deluge of donations from people who've had months to think about the things they don't need.
  • The New York Times has devoted its entire front page to publishing the names of 1,000 people who lost their lives to coronavirus.
  • A cluster of coronavirus cases in the US state of Arkansas has been linked to a swim party. Unlike other states, Arkansas has not been under a stay-at-home order to limit the spread of coronavirus.
  • North Dakota's governor has made an emotional plea to avoid division over face masks.
  • With many restaurants closed in the US, rat sightings are increasing as the rodents search for sources of food beyond restaurant dumpsters.

A version of this story appeared in the May 24 edition of CNN's Coronavirus: Fact vs. Fiction newsletter. Read the full version here, and sign up here to receive the need-to-know headlines every weekday.