May 26 coronavirus news

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7:24 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Dutch leader did not visit dying mother for weeks to comply with coronavirus restrictions

From CNN's Lauren Kent in London

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte talks during a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday, May 20.
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte talks during a press conference in The Hague, Netherlands, on Wednesday, May 20. Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket/Getty Images

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was unable to visit his mother in the weeks leading to her death due to coronavirus restrictions, but he did stay with her on her final night, the prime minister's spokesman told CNN on Tuesday.

On Monday, Rutte announced that his mother, 96-year-old Mieke Rutte-Dilling, had passed away on May 13. She did not die of Covid-19.

In a statement released Monday, Rutte said, "In addition to the great sadness and all fond memories, my family and I also have a feeling of gratitude that we were allowed to have her with us for so long. We have now said goodbye to her in a family circle and hope to be able to deal with this great loss in peace in the near future."

He complied with all the coronavirus restriction measures and didn't visit his mother for more than 8 weeks," the prime minister's spokesman said on Tuesday.
"However, the restriction measures leave room to say goodbye to a dying family member during the very last phase. The Prime Minister stayed with his mother during her last night."
9:35 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Selected UK patients to access "cutting edge" coronavirus drug remdesivir

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Gilead Sciences headquarters sign is seen in Foster City, California, on April 30.
Gilead Sciences headquarters sign is seen in Foster City, California, on April 30. Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images

Selected coronavirus patients within the UK National Health Service (NHS) will soon be able to gain access to a "cutting edge" drug to speed up their recovery, the UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said Tuesday. 

The government is working with manufacturer Gilead Sciences to supply remdesivir to the NHS, according to the DHSC statement.

"The anti-viral drug remdesivir will be made available to patients meeting certain clinical criteria to support their recovery in hospital," the DHSC said.

The drug is currently being tested in clinical trials in the UK, with early data suggesting it can shorten patients' recovery time by approximately four days, the DHSC added. 

"This shows fantastic progress. As we navigate this unprecedented period, we must be on the front foot of the latest medical advancements, while always ensuring patient safety remains a top priority," UK Minister for Innovation Lord Bethell said Tuesday. 
"The latest, expert scientific advice is at the heart of every decision we make, and we will continue to monitor remdesivir's success in clinical trials across the country to ensure the best results for UK patients," he added. 
6:22 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

The world sacrificed its elderly in the race to protect hospitals. The result was a catastrophe in care homes

From CNN's Emma Reynolds

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at a daily briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 9.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus speaks at a daily briefing in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 9. Li Ye/Xinhua/Getty Images

Three months ago, as the novel coronavirus began to gain a foothold in countries across Europe, officials in the UK said they were still confident that the risk to the British public remained low.

By February 25, the World Health Organization said the virus had already killed thousands in China and was spreading through northern Italy, but at the time there were just 13 confirmed cases -- and no deaths -- in the UK.

While the government ordered hospitals to prepare for an influx of patients, its advice to some of the country's most vulnerable people -- elderly residents of care or nursing homes -- was that they were "very unlikely" to be infected.

That guidance would remain in place over the next two-and-a-half weeks, as the number of coronavirus cases in the UK exploded. By the time the advice was withdrawn on March 13 and replaced with new guidance, there were 594 confirmed cases, and it was too late.

By May 1, of the 33,365 total confirmed deaths in England and Wales, at least 12,526 -- or 38% -- were care home residents, according to the latest estimates from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).

While the UK government has defended its handling of the issue, care home staff and experts placed at least some of the blame for Europe's highest death toll on the prioritization of hospitals over these facilities. Others have blamed the slow rollout of testing, the government's alleged pursuit of "herd immunity" (which it denies seeking) and its failure to order a lockdown early enough.

The UK is not alone. Many other nations were slow to respond to the threat at care home facilities, and the consequences have been devastating.

Read more here.

5:53 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

France's President Macron pledges "massive" support for country's hard-hit auto industry

From CNN's Pierre Bairin in Paris

An employee wearing a protective face mask disinfects the exterior of a new automobile for a customer at a Renault SA showroom in Lille, France, on Tuesday, May 12.
An employee wearing a protective face mask disinfects the exterior of a new automobile for a customer at a Renault SA showroom in Lille, France, on Tuesday, May 12. Laurel Chor/Bloomberg/Getty Images

French President Emmanuel Macron has said on Twitter that his government will "massively" increase its support for the industry, in an attempt to mitigate the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

"The health crisis brought a massive and brutal halt to the French auto industry. It is part of our economy, thousands of jobs concerned. Our support will be massively increased," Macron tweeted Tuesday.

The French auto industry has been hard-hit by the pandemic. The country's lawmakers are particularly concerned about carmaker Renault, which was already struggling before the coronavirus outbreak.

France's Finance Minister Bruno le Maire warned Friday that the company could now "disappear" altogether.

"Renault is in serious financial difficulty," Le Maire told Europe 1.

Macron will meet with auto industry representatives on Tuesday morning at the Valéo plant in the Pas-de-Calais region of northern France.

He is expected to give a statement outlining the government's proposed financial aid plan after the meeting.

5:32 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Wuhan performed 6.5 million coronavirus tests in 9 days, Chinese state media reports

From CNN's Nectar Gan in Hong Kong

A medical worker takes a coronavirus test swab from a resident in Wuhan, China, on May 15.
A medical worker takes a coronavirus test swab from a resident in Wuhan, China, on May 15. STR/AFP/Getty Images

The central Chinese city of Wuhan conducted more than 6.5 million novel coronavirus tests in 9 days, according to state media, a drastic move by authorities to prevent a second wave of infections in the original epicenter of the global pandemic.

Wuhan's ambitious citywide nucleic acid testing drive came after six new cases emerged in a residential community earlier this month -- the first time local infections were reported following the city's emergence from its months-long lockdown in April.

From May 15 to May 23, swab test samples were collected from more than nine million residents, China's state-broadcaster CCTV reported, accounting for more than 80% of the city's total population of 11 million.

Read more:

5:24 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

US death toll rises to 98,223

From CNN's Joe Sutton

This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses. 
This illustration, created at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), reveals ultrastructural morphology exhibited by coronaviruses.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

At least 98,223 people have died in the US from coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The US has at least 1,662,768 recorded cases of the disease - the highest number globally.

The totals include cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases.

CNN is tracking Covid-19's spread across the US here.

5:22 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

UK government minister resigns over lockdown controversy surrounding Boris Johnson's aide

From CNN's Nada Bashir

Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street in London, England, on Tuesday, May 26.
Number 10 special advisor Dominic Cummings arrives at Downing Street in London, England, on Tuesday, May 26. Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Junior UK minister Douglas Ross has resigned from the British government over the controversy surrounding Boris Johnson's senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, who travelled more than 250 miles from his London home during the nationwide coronavirus lockdown in March.

"I have just tendered my resignation from the UK government and my position as Under Secretary of State for Scotland," Ross wrote in a letter posted to his official Twitter account on Tuesday.
"There was much I still hoped to do in this role but events over the last few days mean I can no longer serve as a member of this government," he added. 

Ross' resignation follows a press statement made by Cummings on Monday, in which the aide admitted to travelling to Durham in northern England during the lockdown, despite the fact that his wife was ill.

Cummings said he made the trip to ensure the welfare of his child, asserting that while his wife had fallen ill in London, she did not have symptoms of coronavirus.

"I was worried that if both my wife and I were seriously ill, possibly hospitalized, there is nobody in London that we could reasonably ask to look after our child and expose themselves to Covid," Cummings said.

Ross said that while Cummings' intentions "may have been well meaning," the subsequent reaction to the news "shows that Mr Cummings interpretation of the government advice was not shared by the vast majority of people who have done as the government asked."

"I have constituents who didn't get to say goodbye to loved ones; families who could not mourn together; people who didn't visit sick relatives because they followed the guidelines of the government," Ross added.
"I cannot in good faith tell them they were all wrong and one senior advisor to the government was right."
4:31 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Almost 200 schools in South Korea were supposed to reopen tomorrow, but now they're postponing

From CNN's Jake Kwon in Seoul, South Korea

A worker disinfects a high school classroom in Seoul on May 19.
A worker disinfects a high school classroom in Seoul on May 19. Jung Yeon-Je/AFP/Getty Images

Almost 200 schools in the South Korean capital of Seoul and the country's North Gyeongsang province will postpone school reopenings that were originally scheduled for Wednesday, education authorities said.

The Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said seven elementary schools and five kindergartens pushed back their start dates because a 6-year-old tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Most affected schools will now open on June 1. 

North Gyeongsang Province’s Office of Education announced that 182 schools -- including kindergartens, elementary and middle schools -- in the province will also open on June 1 because a kindergarten instructor tested positive for the virus on Monday.

4:10 a.m. ET, May 26, 2020

Boosted by "reopening optimism," Asian stocks rose Tuesday

From CNN Business' Sherisse Pham in Hong Kong

A man looks at a display of stock prices from the Tokyo Stock Exchange on May 26 in Tokyo.
A man looks at a display of stock prices from the Tokyo Stock Exchange on May 26 in Tokyo. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Asian stocks and US futures rose Tuesday, as a growing number of cities and countries around the world took steps towards reopening.

Japan's Nikkei 225 (N225) climbed 2.6%, leading the way in the region.

On Monday, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency for the entire nation. Abe said he was also working to increase the government's stimulus packages to more than 200 trillion yen ($1.9 trillion), or about 40% of the annual output of the world's third-biggest economy.

Japan's cabinet is expected to approve the new package on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSI) advanced about 2%, adding to Monday's gains.

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