June 3 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger, Adam Renton and Laura Smith-Spark, CNN

Updated 0103 GMT (0903 HKT) June 4, 2020
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7:58 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Austria, Germany prepare to ease coronavirus travel restrictions

From CNN's Nadine Schmidt in Berlin

A German police officer stops a car at a checkpoint at the border to Austria near Fussen, Germany, on April 5.
A German police officer stops a car at a checkpoint at the border to Austria near Fussen, Germany, on April 5. Andreas Gebert/Getty Images

Austria will lift its coronavirus-related border restrictions with seven neighboring countries from Thursday, the country's Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said Wednesday.

Those countries are Germany, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Hungary, Slovenia, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. 

“We are returning to the pre-corona situation regarding these countries,” Schallenberg declared, adding that there will therefore be no more border controls with these countries.

However, Austria’s border with Italy -- one of Europe's worst-affected countries -- will remain closed. Schallenberg said the current infection rate in Italy would “not yet” allow an opening, adding that it would happen “as soon as the figures allow.”

Schallenberg said that although most borders are reopening, it is still best to refrain from unnecessary travel and to holiday instead within Austria.

Meanwhile, Germany is to lift its blanket travel warning for 29 European countries from June 15, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday. 

Berlin will then issue individual travel guidelines on a country-by-country basis, “unless there are no-entry bans or large scale lockdowns in place in the respective countries,” he said.

Germany does not advise travel to Britain due to its plan to impose a 14-day quarantine on new arrivals, Maas added.

EU countries are starting to lift Covid-19 pandemic-related travel restrictions in place since March. 

But Maas warned Germans to travel at their own risk. There will not be another repatriation initiative for any citizens stranded abroad this summer, he said.

7:12 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Two medical journals raise concern over data used in coronavirus studies, one related to hydroxychloroquine

From CNN Health’s Wes Bruer and Elizabeth Cohen

A pharmacy worker holds a hydroxychloroquine pill at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020.
A pharmacy worker holds a hydroxychloroquine pill at a pharmacy in Provo, Utah, on May 20, 2020. George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

Two influential medical journals have issued expressions of concern about the data used in different coronavirus studies -- data that came from the same international registry.

One study, in the Lancet, found that giving hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine to hospitalized coronavirus patients was linked to increased rates of mortality and serious heart rhythm complications. 

“We are issuing an Expression of Concern to alert readers to the fact that serious scientific questions have been brought to our attention,” the Lancet editors wrote, noting that “important scientific questions have been raised about data” in the paper.

The Lancet said results of an independent audit to determine the validity of the data in the study, published May 22, were expected “very shortly.” Its study had provided a counterpoint to US President Donald Trump, who has called hydroxychloroquine a "game-changer."

Another study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine on May 1, found that certain heart disease drugs, including ACE inhibitors, didn’t worsen the risk of death for coronavirus patients. 

“This retrospective study used data drawn from an international database that included electronic health records from 169 hospitals on three continents. Recently, substantive concerns have been raised about the quality of the information in that database. We have asked the authors to provide evidence that the data are reliable,” the New England Journal of Medicine editors wrote Tuesday.

Both studies used data from Surgisphere, which describes itself as a “public service organization dedicated to making the world a better place.”

“Our multi-national observational registry study published in The Lancet Medical Journal has been met with both high praise and some skepticism from the scientific community and global institutions,” Surgisphere said in a statement posted on its website.

“The Surgisphere registry is an aggregation of the deidentified electronic health records of customers of QuartzClinical, Surgisphere’s machine learning program and data analytics platform,” it added. Surgisphere said it had detected a problem with one hospital in its database. “This hospital was properly reclassified in our database. The findings of the paper are unaffected by this update,” it said.

Scientists independent of either study said even if the data mix-up did not affect the conclusions, the discrepancies needed to be cleared up.

6:51 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

A least 106,181 deaths in US, with more than 1.8 million cases

There are at least 1,831,821 cases of coronavirus in the United States and at least 106,181 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University's tally of cases.

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

6:22 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

First death of Rohingya Muslim in sprawling Cox's Bazar refugee camp

From CNN's Bex Wright

People are seen at a market in the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on Tuesday, June 2.
People are seen at a market in the Kutupalong Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on Tuesday, June 2. Shafiqur Rahman/AP

The first death of a Rohingya refugee from Covid-19 has been confirmed in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The victim was a 71-year-old man.

A UNHCR statement said the agency was "deeply saddened to learn of this development and sends our condolences to the family and the wider Rohingya community."

As of June 2, according to the World Health Organization, there were 29 confirmed Covid-19 cases among the refugee population in the camps. In the wider Cox’s Bazar district, there were 729 cases with 16 deaths. Numbers continue to rise.

"We are all working round the clock to ensure that testing is available to refugees, those who are identified as Covid-19 positive have adequate facilities in place to care for them, and to ensure contact tracing and isolation of those who may have been exposed," the statement said.

The sprawling refugee camps in Cox's Bazar are home to nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees.

5:09 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

London arrests for breaking lockdown disproportionately affect black people

From CNN's Max Ramsay and Nic Robertson in London

Arrests and fines for breaking the UK’s coronavirus lockdown laws in London have disproportionately affected black people, according to an analysis released Wednesday by the city's Metropolitan Police Service (MPS).

While 12% of London’s population is black, according to 2018 Office for National Statistics data referenced in the report, 26% of Covid-19 Fixed Penalty Notices were given to black people and 31% of those whose arrests included breaching coronavirus legislation were black.

The Met Police report acknowledges there are “some differences in the use of Covid-19 related enforcement in relation to gender, age and race, when compared to the resident population.”

“Crime is also not proportionate, with different crimes affecting different groups, the root causes of which are complex,” the report adds.

“Tragically, knife crime and street violence in the capital disproportionately affects boys and young men, particularly of African-Caribbean heritage, both in terms of victims and perpetrators. Throughout the Covid-19 lock down the MPS has continued to prioritise its policing activity against violent crime and protecting the communities most impacted by it. This dynamic is reflected in the arrest figures where Covid-19 is an additional feature.”

The report also notes the "street population" is different to official residential population data “which is only updated once every 10 years,” referencing population information gathered by census.

More than 70% of fines have been given to young people between the ages of 18 and 34, and almost all fines and arrests have been of men.

The report also noted there was a “strong correlation to hot weather and holiday periods contributing to people being out and breaching the legislation in the earlier part of lock down.”

In a statement alongside the report, the Met Police noted the policing approach had been “to help explain the new laws and encourage Londoners to play their part in adhering to them” and said this had caused a “low number” of arrests and fines “in comparison to the approximate nine million population of London.” 

There was a total of 973 fixed penalty notices between March 27 and May 14 in London. There were also 711 arrests in that period where an individual was arrested primarily for a separate criminal offence and then also arrested for a breach of Covid-19 legislation, and 36 arrests were solely for breaching coronavirus legislation.

4:56 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Opinion: The fight against Covid-19 should also be the fight against tobacco

From Kelly Henning

Smoking kills more than 8 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization.
Smoking kills more than 8 million people a year, according to the World Health Organization. Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images

Editor's Note: Kelly Henning is the director of public health at Bloomberg Philanthropies. The views expressed in this commentary are her own. 

Protecting people from the dangers of tobacco products -- and holding tobacco companies accountable for their global actions -- is a critical component in the fight against Covid-19.

Smokers are more likely than non-smokers to develop severe complications with Covid-19, according to a review of studies by public health experts convened by the World Health Organization. And, a new study of 169 hospitals in Asia, Europe and North America found that smokers have nearly double the likelihood of in-hospital death than non-smokers.

But just as important, tobacco use -- a pandemic in its own right -- is costly to individual smokers and to society. Smoking kills more than 8 million people a year, mainly in low- and middle-income countries. These deaths are preventable and come mostly from cancer, heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease and diabetes -- conditions that also contribute to high rates of Covid-19 mortality. The human price is exacerbated by the economic toll in health care costs and lost productivity costs that reaches $1.4 trillion annually worldwide.

We'll be better able to fight this pandemic, and future ones, if we commit ourselves to improving the world's health. Helping smokers quit will reduce the amount of people with underlying conditions that could make them more susceptible to Covid-19 and other infections. At the same time, to adequately fund efforts to fight coronavirus and prepare for unknown health emergencies to come, we must lower health care costs for households and health care systems and shift our economy away from production and purchase of harmful products, such as tobacco.

Read the full opinion:

4:30 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

It's just past 10:30 a.m. in Cologne, Germany and 2 p.m. in Mumbai. Catch up on the latest headlines

Commuters drive along Marine Drive in Mumbai as Cyclone Nisarga barreled toward India's western coast on Wednesday.
Commuters drive along Marine Drive in Mumbai as Cyclone Nisarga barreled toward India's western coast on Wednesday. Punit Paranjpe/AFP/Getty Images

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the coronavirus pandemic:

  • Australia in recession: The country's economy shrank 0.3% in the first quarter, as Australia entered recession for the first time in nearly three decades. Covid-19 was largely to blame, said Treasurer Josh Frydenberg, adding he expected second quarter figures to be worse.
  • Storm over India's virus epicenter: Cyclone Nisarga is now moving across the state of Maharashtra, a region home to the megacity of Mumbai, which is already reeling from the impact of the virus. Covid-19 patients were among more than 100,000 people evacuated from low-lying coastal areas before the storm hit.
  • Meanwhile, India cases surge: The country reported nearly 9,000 new Covid-19 infections today -- a highest single-day spike that pushes its total over 200,000 cases.
  • Lufthansa losses: The German airline blamed the global pandemic for most of the damage after it reported 2.1 billion euros ($2.35 billion) worth of losses in the first quarter. The airline recently secured a German government bailout of nearly $10 billion.
  • First Rohingya death: A Rohingya refugee has died in Bangladesh in the first Covid-19-related fatality at the world's largest refugee camp, the UN agency charged with protecting refugees said.
  • US protest fears: Members of the White House coronavirus task force discussed the "increasing" risk that the virus could spread among protesters at demonstrations over the death of George Floyd, a source familiar with the discussion said. The US surgeon general said he expects new outbreaks due to the protests.
  • Vaccine hopes: The US should have 100 million doses of one candidate Covid-19 vaccine by the end of the year, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious diseases doctor, said on Tuesday. The plan is to manufacture doses of the vaccine even before it is clear whether it works, he said.
4:20 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

"Thousands" being traced under UK's new system, junior minister says

From CNN's Simon Cullen in London

Samples are taken at a coronavirus testing facility as NHS Test and Trace is rolled out across England.
Samples are taken at a coronavirus testing facility as NHS Test and Trace is rolled out across England. Danny Lawson/PA Images/Getty Images

“Thousands” of people are being successfully traced as part of the UK government’s coronavirus response, junior health minister Edward Argar told Sky News on Wednesday, although he was unable to provide specific numbers.

The test and trace system launched on May 28.

“We are into the thousands being successfully traced at the moment,” Argar told Sky News.
“I don’t have the precise figures, because as you’d expect we’re working with the UK statistics authority to agree the process to make sure they accept it’s reliable.
“There’s a bit more work to do on that.” 
4:00 a.m. ET, June 3, 2020

Covid-19 patients evacuated as Mumbai braces for worst storm to hit city in 70 years

From CNN's Helen Regan, Esha Mitra and Rishabh Madhavendra Pratap

Tropical Cyclone Nisarga would be the strongest cyclone to hit Mumbai since 1948.
Tropical Cyclone Nisarga would be the strongest cyclone to hit Mumbai since 1948. CNN Weather

Coronavirus patients were among more than 100,000 people evacuated from low-lying coastal areas in India's western states as a cyclone advanced toward Mumbai in Maharashtra today.

Cyclone Nisarga made landfall at around 1 p.m. local time (3:30 a.m. ET) with wind speeds of up to 110 kph (68 mph), according to the Indian Meteorological Department (IMD).

The cyclone, which formed in the Arabian sea on Tuesday morning, hit Alibag town, south of Mumbai.

Cyclones in that part of the country are relatively rare -- Mumbai, India's financial center and home to 18 million people, was last hit by a major storm in 1948. 

The arrival of Cyclone Nisarga today comes as Maharashtra grapples with India's worst coronavirus outbreak. Hospitals are struggling to treat an influx of patients as the confirmed number of cases in that state passes 72,300, with more than 2,400 deaths.

Ahead of landfall, the cyclone strengthened to the equivalent of just below a Category 1 Atlantic hurricane, or a Severe Cyclonic Storm in the West Pacific.

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