June 1 coronavirus news

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3:08 a.m. ET, June 1, 2020

At least 23 coronavirus cases are linked to several small churches in South Korea

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul, South Korea

South Korean public health officials said at least 23 newly identified coronavirus cases are tied to 13 small churches -- 11 small parishes in the city of Incheon, west of Seoul, and two churches in Gyeonggi province, which surrounds the South Korean capital.

One of the 23 patients, a man in his 70s, was confirmed to have contracted the virus on May 20 and died four days later. Another septuagenarian in the church cluster is in critical condition, the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

Updates on two other clusters: Most of the 4,360 people tied to a a logistics center in Bucheon, a satellite city near Seoul, have been tested for the virus, according to Jung Eun-kyeong, the director of the KCDC. Authorities say 112 cases of Covid-19 have been identified in that cluster.

Scores of cases have also been linked to Itaewon, a popular nightlife district in Seoul. Jung said Monday that authorities have now identified 270 coronavirus patients tied to that outbreak -- 96 of whom visited the clubs and 174 who contracted the virus after being in close contact with confirmed cases.

8:37 a.m. ET, June 1, 2020

Hitachi plans to make working-from-home standard practice

From CNN's Kaorji Enjoji in Tokyo

Hitachi aims to make working-from-home standard practice from April 2021.
Hitachi aims to make working-from-home standard practice from April 2021. Shutterstock

Japanese electronics giant Hitachi announced last week that it will aim to make working-from-home the new normal from April 2021, surprising many in Japan -- a country famous for its demanding work culture, where "salarymen" clock in up to 80 hours a week.

Hitachi said it will give employees 3,000 yen ($28) a month to buy masks and sanitizers, while it will also look to help employees pay for furniture, WiFi and monitors so they can improve their work-from-home environments.

The tech conglomerate's eventual goal is to have 70% of its workforce -- about 23,000 people -- work remotely for two or three days a week.

2:08 a.m. ET, June 1, 2020

Thailand relaxes some coronavirus restrictions

From CNN's Kocha Olarn in Bangkok

A worker cleans the food counter at a cinema in Bangkok on June 1.
A worker cleans the food counter at a cinema in Bangkok on June 1. Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP/Getty Images

Thailand will ease some of its coronavirus-related restrictions from today, Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha's office has announced.  

The new rules include:

  • A shorter nationwide curfew, which now extends from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m.
  • Schools and educational facilities can reopen, but only to prepare for when students return and to host exams, meetings and certain sporting events.
  • Shopping malls, markets and exhibitions can now stay open until 9 p.m., provided people practice social distancing.
  • Gyms are allowed to reopen, provided they only let in a limited number of users at a time.
  • Beauty clinics and tattoo shops can also reopen.
  • Spas and massage parlors can reopen but cannot let people use steam rooms or provide facial treatments.
  • Sporting arenas can open for practice, but not competition.
  • Cinemas and theaters can reopen, with an audience limit of 200 people. Concerts remain banned.
  • Zoos and marine parks may reopen, but not to full capacity.
1:58 a.m. ET, June 1, 2020

Thermal imaging will play a major part in Japan's reopening

From CNN's Kaori Enjoji in Tokyo

An infrared thermography device used to check body temperature at the Tocho-mae station in Tokyo on March 5.
An infrared thermography device used to check body temperature at the Tocho-mae station in Tokyo on March 5. Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images

Thermal imaging cameras are expected to play a big part as Japan begins to reopen following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Retailers in Tokyo are embracing the technology as a way to quickly scan multiple customers for fevers.

The iconic 109 department store in Tokyo’s trendy Shibuya district reopened today equipped with thermal imaging cameras at its entrance, while Isetan Mitsukoshi’s flagship department store opened over the weekend with thermal cameras at its entrances.

The Tokyo metropolitan government has announced that it will set aside 4.2 billion yen ($39 million) to help schools adopt the technology.

1:57 a.m. ET, June 1, 2020

India confirms more than 8,000 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Passengers wearing face masks wait outside a railway station before boarding a train in Secunderabad on June 1.
Passengers wearing face masks wait outside a railway station before boarding a train in Secunderabad on June 1. Noah Seelam/AFP/Getty Images

Indian health authorities say 8,392 new coronavirus patients were registered in the past 24 hours -- the highest number of cases identified in a single day since the pandemic began.

The previous high, 8,380 cases, was recorded yesterday.

The country has now confirmed at least 190,535 cases of Covid-19, killing at least 5,394 people.

Maharashtra, which is home to the cities of Mumbai, Pune and Nagpur, has recorded 67,655 confirmed cases -- more than any other state in India.

1:00 a.m. ET, June 1, 2020

India's rural health care workers push for more coronavirus pay

From journalists Hema Ramaprasad and Reshmi Chakraborty in Walhe, India

Jyoti Pawar, 40, starts her day early when the sun is still low in Walhe, a village in the western Indian state of Maharashtra.

She's racing to beat the midday heat and a government-issued deadline to visit 30 to 40 households before noon.

Wearing a standard-issue pink jacket and a homemade cloth mask, she goes door to door, checking for cases of Covid-19.

Pawar is one of more than a million Accredited Social Health Activists -- or ASHA workers -- Indian women who act as a liaison between people and the public health care system in rural areas. It's considered the largest community health worker program in the world. In Hindi, ASHA means "hope."

The government considers ASHAs voluntary community health providers and pays them a monthly amount of Rs. 2,000 ($26.40), though in some states they can earn as much as Rs. 6,000 ($79.25) with additional task-based incentives, though the work is sporadic and unpredictable.

For years, ASHA workers and the unions that represent them have been pushing for more recognition -- and pay.

They say the coronavirus pandemic shows how important they are to India's health system, yet as voluntary workers they're not entitled to benefits like health care, insurance, paid leave, nor pensions.

Read more:

12:25 a.m. ET, June 1, 2020

Japan records 33 new coronavirus cases

From CNN's Junko Ogura in Tokyo

A clinical laboratory technician wearing protective gear carries out PCR testing for the novel coronavirus at Hokkaido University Hospital in Hokkaido on May 15.
A clinical laboratory technician wearing protective gear carries out PCR testing for the novel coronavirus at Hokkaido University Hospital in Hokkaido on May 15. Kyodo News/Getty Images

Japan recorded 33 new coronavirus infections and one virus-related death on Sunday, according to the country's health ministry.

The new cases bring Japan's nationwide total to 17,597 confirmed cases and 905 fatalities. Of those, 712 cases and 13 deaths were tied to the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Tokyo recorded five new patients on Sunday -- the first time in six days that the number of new cases there was below double digits. The Japanese capital is currently in step two of its coronavirus recovery plan, which means that schools and some commercial facilities are allowed to reopen.

12:01 a.m. ET, June 1, 2020

US records nearly 20,000 new Covid-19 cases

At least 19,788 new coronavirus cases and 600 virus-related deaths were identified in the United States on Sunday, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

The national total now stands at 1,790,191 reported infections, including at least 104,381 deaths.

These numbers includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

CNN is tracking US coronavirus cases here:

11:36 p.m. ET, May 31, 2020

South Korea records 35 new Covid-19 cases

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo in Seoul, South Korea

A health worker administers a swab at a temporary coronavirus testing centre in Bucheon, South Korea, on May 27.
A health worker administers a swab at a temporary coronavirus testing centre in Bucheon, South Korea, on May 27. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

South Korean health authorities identified 35 new coronavirus cases on Sunday -- all but five of which were locally transmitted.

Of those, 24 are linked to religious group gatherings, the South Korean health ministry said at a briefing on Monday. The ministry did not specify whether those cases are tied to a single group or multiple groups.

South Korea has been widely praised by public health experts as a model for how governments should respond to the novel coronavirus. Seoul's emphasis on widespread testing and contact tracing has helped the country keep the number of total confirmed cases to fewer than 12,000, including 271 deaths.

Though the worst of the epidemic in the country appears to be over, several new clusters have been identified in recent weeks. One of the most recent emerged at a logistics center in Bucheon, a satellite city near Seoul. Authorities say 112 cases of Covid-19 have been identified in connection with that cluster, while thousands are currently under quarantine.

There is concern that the cases tied to the religious group gatherings this weekend could be the first signs of a new cluster.