May 25 coronavirus news

By Ben Westcott, Brett McKeehan, Zamira Rahim, Mike Hayes, Melissa Macaya and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 0210 GMT (1010 HKT) May 26, 2020
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4:16 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

California workers union calls for immediate closure of Los Angeles meat plant

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

The workers union representing 1,300 employees of Smithfield’s Farmer John plant just south of Los Angeles, California, are calling for its immediate closure in the wake of a coronavirus outbreak.

The company, which makes the Dodger Dog, a delicacy at baseball games, reported 153 cases among its 1,837 employees, according to the L.A. County Department of Public Health.

Of the 153, only 14 have returned to work. Smithfield has offered testing to all employees.

The union said the company needs to increase safety measures before reopening.

“Working conditions inside the plant are similar to what we are seeing nationwide in Smithfield plants,” John Grant, the president of UFCW Local 770, said in a statement. “Workers are still too close together on the line, in the breakroom, the bathrooms and other such hubs."

Rina Chavarria, who works at the plant, said in the statement that workers do not feel safe.

“We work hard every day. Smithfield has not taken steps to make sure workers are protected and now so many of us are getting sick. We can’t go to the plant under these conditions. We are paid too little not to work so we call on Smithfield to do the right thing and close the plant while we keep our pay and benefits," Chavarria said.

Some context: President Trump signed an executive order at the end of April aimed at keeping meat-processing facilities open during the pandemic.

This left plants across the country scrambling to balance worker safety with pressure from the federal government to remain operational.

4:02 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Kuwait to end full Covid-19 curfew on May 30

From CNN’s Sharif Paget

Residents walk in a neighborhood of Kuwait City, on May 12, as authorities allowed people to exercise for two hours under a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Residents walk in a neighborhood of Kuwait City, on May 12, as authorities allowed people to exercise for two hours under a nationwide lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Yasser Al-Zayyat/AFP/Getty Images

Kuwait will not extend its full coronavirus curfew beyond May 30, Kuwait’s state news agency KUNA said on Monday, citing Interior Minister Anas Al-Saleh.

Al-Saleh announced that Kuwait will instead turn to a partial curfew to pave the way “for restoration of normal life,” KUNA reported.

No further details were immediately provided about the partial curfew.

The country has so far recorded 21,967 coronavirus cases with 165 deaths, according to its health ministry.

4:03 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Canada wants national sick leave plan in place for possible second wave of the pandemic

From CNN’s Paula Newton in Ottawa

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill to attend the Special Committee meeting on the COVID-19 global pandemic in Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday, May 20.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives on Parliament Hill to attend the Special Committee meeting on the COVID-19 global pandemic in Ottawa, Canada, on Wednesday, May 20. Dave Chan/AFP/Getty Images

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his government is trying to give all workers a minimum of 10 days paid sick leave per year as Canada starts to prepare for a possible second wave of the pandemic. 

"Nobody should have to choose between taking a day off work due to illness or being able to pay their bills. Just like nobody should have to choose between staying home with COVID-19 symptoms or being able to afford rent or groceries," Trudeau said during a press conference from Ottawa Monday. 

The effort is complicated by the fact that sick leave is usually a provincial jurisdiction. Trudeau said putting the necessary mechanisms in place for a national paid sick leave program would be challenging but his government and the provinces are determined to try. 

“When the fall comes and flu season starts up we don’t want people who develop a sniffle to suddenly worry that while they really shouldn’t go into work but they can’t afford to not go into work and therefore the risk of contributing to a wave significantly, could be a real problem,” said Trudeau. 

Canada's top doctor repeated her assertion Monday that a second wave of the virus could be worse than the first and encouraged public health officials to build up capacity for testing, hospital beds and PPE in order to prepare. 

“I think you can never be overly prepared and we have to just keep going with some of these capacity developments and that goes for lab testing as well,“ said Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

By the numbers: As of Monday, Canada had reported more than 86,000 cases of Covid-19 and more than 6,500 deaths. 

3:42 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Charlotte councilman says Trump's desire for RNC capacity crowds is "unrealistic"

From CNN's Jason Kurtz

Aerial view of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.
Aerial view of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina. Shutterstock

A Charlotte city councilman said President Trump's threats to pull the Republican National Convention from North Carolina aren't realistic.

Earlier today, Trump contended that Gov. Roy Cooper is "unable to guarantee" that the arena will be allowed "full attendance."

"I think that it’s unrealistic for the President, or anybody, to expect Governor Cooper… to be able to guarantee anything about what three months from now looks like," said Larken Egleston, a Democrat who helped vote to bring the RNC to the Queen City.

He told CNN's Brianna Keilar that he thinks the Covid-19 pandemic has been politicized.

"I think at first, at least in our state, we were seeing a lot of bipartisan cooperation for doing what's best for the citizens of North Carolina. That seems to be fraying," Egleston said.

Vice President Mike Pence on Monday suggested a trio of other states — all with Republican governors — as possible RNC replacements for North Carolina.

"It's an issue we've been talking about because these national conventions literally take many months to organize and prepare and there are states around the country -- we think of Texas, we think of Florida, Georgia, the last two states I visited last week that have made tremendous progress on reopening their communities and reopening their economies," Pence said.

Egleston reacted to the mention of moving the convention to Texas, Georgia, and Florida.

"If the reason that they’re moving is because they don't want to adhere to some of the precautions… I think it’d be pretty reckless of those states," he said.

Watch full interview here:

3:26 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Day camps in Colorado will be allowed to open next week, governor says

From CNN's Konstantin Toropin

Colorado Governor holds a press conference outside of STRIDE Community Health Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado on Monday, May 18.
Colorado Governor holds a press conference outside of STRIDE Community Health Center in Wheat Ridge, Colorado on Monday, May 18. Helen H. Richardson/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post/Getty Images

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced the state would loosen restrictions on restaurants and open summer day camps, ski resorts and campsites, a statement from his office announced today. The move is as part of an update and extension of his "Safer at Home" executive order.

Restaurants in the state will be able to open for in-person dining at 50% capacity or 50 people, whichever is less, starting Wednesday, the statement said. Restaurants are also encouraged to provide outdoor seating.

Meanwhile, bars will remain closed, the order said.

The new order also allows children’s day camps and youth sports camps to open on June 1 "with restrictions and strong precautionary measures," the statement said.

Ski resorts and private campsites will also be allowed to reopen, though ski resorts will still need approval from local authorities. 

“We are still a long way from returning to normal, but these updates are a step in the right direction because Coloradans are doing a good job so far limiting our social interactions," Polis said in the statement. 

The governor said they will be evaluating rules for establishments that do not serve food and overnight youth camps in June.

3:01 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Thousands of UK stores to reopen mid-June as government relaxes lockdown restrictions

From CNN's Nada Bashir

The UK retail sector is set to begin reopening in mid-June as part of the government’s planned second phase in the gradual relaxation of lockdown restrictions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday, giving the go ahead for thousands of stores across the country to prepare to open their doors for business. 

“Today, I want to give the retail sector notice of our intentions to reopen shops,” Johnson said during a news conference today. “From June 15, we intend to allow all nonessential retail – ranging from department stores to small independent shops – to reopen,” he continued, adding that outdoor markets will be permitted to reopen from June 1. 

According to a government statement, retail businesses will only be able to open from these dates once they have completed a risk assessment and taken the necessary steps to become Covid-19 secure, in line with current Health and Safety legislation.

Those businesses failing to implement the safety measures set out by the government could face fines and even jail sentences of up to two years, the statement added. 

“This change will be contingent upon progress against the five tests, and will only be permitted for those premises that are Covid-secure,” the prime minister cautioned.

 

3:42 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

New York City reports more than 16,000 confirmed Covid-19 deaths

From CNN's Rob Frehse

Refrigerated trucks functioning as temporary morgues are seen at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 6, in New York City.
Refrigerated trucks functioning as temporary morgues are seen at the South Brooklyn Marine Terminal on May 6, in New York City. Justin Heiman/Getty Images

New York City has 16,482 confirmed coronavirus deaths and 4,777 probable coronavirus deaths as of May 25, according to the most recent data on the city's website.

The New York City Health Department defines probable deaths as people who did not have a positive Covid-19 laboratory test, but their death certificate lists as the cause of death “COVID-19” or an equivalent.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus deaths and probable coronavirus deaths in New York City is 21,259.

There have been 196,098 cases of coronavirus in New York City and 51,197 people have been hospitalized, according to the city.

2:48 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

California issues guidelines for reopening churches

From CNN's Cheri Mossburg

A church cross is seen in downtown Los Angeles on April 18.
A church cross is seen in downtown Los Angeles on April 18. David McNew/Getty Images

California issued guidelines on Monday that would allow places of worship to open, while still "strongly recommending" institutions hold remote services for vulnerable populations including older adults.

Here are some of the suggestions included in the guidance:

  • Religious leaders are asked to "strongly consider" discontinuing singing and group recitation where transmission of the virus through exhaled droplets is increased.
  • Sharing items like prayer books, prayer rugs, and hymn books are discouraged and single use or digital copies are suggested as alternatives.
  • Potlucks should be discontinued and communion is suggested to be modified by offering in the hand rather than on the tongue.
  • Attendance should be held to 25% of building capacity or a maximum of 100 attendees, whichever is lower.
  • Holding services outside is encouraged.
  • Pews and other seating should be reconfigured to keep six feet of physical distance between households.
  • Shorter services and implementation of a reservation system to limit the number of attendees at one time are suggested.

Despite the guidelines, the state cautions that “even with adherence to physical distancing, convening in a congregational setting of multiple different households to practice a personal faith carries a relatively higher risk for widespread transmission of COVID-19.”

2:42 p.m. ET, May 25, 2020

Dubai to ease restrictions on movement starting Wednesday

From CNN’s Mostafa Salem

Residents hang their laundry off the railing on their balconies at their apartment building, to disinfect them under sunlight, in the city of Dubai on May 17.
Residents hang their laundry off the railing on their balconies at their apartment building, to disinfect them under sunlight, in the city of Dubai on May 17. Karim Sahib/AFP/Getty Images

Dubai will allow movement and business activity between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. local time (10 p.m. ET - 3 p.m ET) starting on Wednesday, as the Emirate begins to ease restrictions imposed during Eid holidays to stop the spread of coronavirus, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed tweeted.

“The decision was made based on a careful assessment of the current situation, with its various health, economic and social dimensions," he said, according to the Dubai Media Office.

"We followed how the pandemic impacted most countries of the world, but what distinguishes us is our ability to deal positively with the changes," he added.

Some context: The United Arab Emirates had imposed a strict nationwide curfew during Eid holidays, a time where families gather and people go out.

Reported cases and deaths during the month of May continued to rise in the UAE, which now has over 30,000 cases in total and 248 deaths, according to the Health Ministry.

Other Emirates have not yet announced the easing of curfew.