June 20 coronavirus news

By Julia Hollingsworth, Brett McKeehan and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 0447 GMT (1247 HKT) June 21, 2020
21 Posts
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12:36 p.m. ET, June 20, 2020

NIH halts hydroxychloroquine trial, says drug didn't provide additional benefits to Covid-19 patients

From CNN's Gisela Crespo

Narinder Nanu/AFP via Getty Images
Narinder Nanu/AFP via Getty Images

The National Institutes of Health announced Saturday that it has halted its trial of the drug hydroxychloroquine for the treatment of adults hospitalized with Covid-19.

"A data and safety monitoring board met late Friday and determined that while there was no harm, the study drug was very unlikely to be beneficial to hospitalized patients with Covid-19," the NIH said in a statement.

The trial enrolled more than 470 adults patients hospitalized with coronavirus, or in an emergency department with anticipated hospitalization. The study found that those patients who were randomly assigned to receive the hydroxychloroquine treatment didn't benefit from the drug, compared to those in the placebo group.

Hydroxychloroquine is typically used to treat malaria and rheumatoid conditions, such as arthritis.

"In various studies, the drug had demonstrated antiviral activity, an ability to modify the activity of the immune system, and it has an established safety profile at appropriate doses, leading to the hypothesis that it may have also been useful in the treatment of Covid-19," the NIH said in its statement.

On Monday: The US Food and Drug Administration revoked its emergency use authorization for hydroxychloroquine to treat hospitalized patients with coronavirus, saying it was unlikely to provide any benefit based on the latest scientific research.

9:49 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

Pope Francis warns against reverting to individualism after Covid-19 pandemic

From CNN's Livia Borghese

Pope Francis speaks at the Vatican on June 20.
Pope Francis speaks at the Vatican on June 20. Vatican News via AP

Pope Francis has warned people against falling back into the “illusion of individualism” after the coronavirus pandemic passes.

In statement from the Vatican, Francis praised healthcare workers in Italy’s Lombardy region who stood by their patients during the “troubled months."

Francis warned people to “be careful” to not fall back into making “individualism the guiding principle of society."

The Pope used healthcare workers as an example, saying their professionalism has been “one of the pillars of the country."

“Patients often felt they had ‘angels beside them,' who helped them to recover their health and, at the same time, comforted, supported and sometimes accompanied them to the threshold of the final encounter with the Lord,” Francis said. “It is easy to quickly forget that we need others, someone to take care of us to give us courage."

Lombardy was Italy’s worst affected region by the virus. 

9:30 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

Trump rally attendees will get their temperature checked before they're allowed in, campaign says

Supporters of President Donald Trump gather to attend his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20.
Supporters of President Donald Trump gather to attend his campaign rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on June 20. Win McNamee/Getty Images

Tim Murtaugh, the director of communications for the Trump campaign, said everyone attending the President's rally tonight in Tulsa, Oklahoma, will have to have their temperature checked before entering the building due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The campaign will also have masks that people can wear if they want, and will be supplying hand sanitizer.

"People are certainly aware of the situation," Murtaugh told CNN on Saturday, adding that people have the freedom fo choice.

"People come in with their eyes wide open and they know that we have taken the precautions to protect them," Murtaugh said.

When asked about the waiver attendees had to sign prior to the rally that says the Trump campaign is not liable if they get sick at the event, Murtaugh said it is just "standard language."

"If you buy a ticket to a baseball game, on the back of that, it's a waiver that says watch out you may get hit by a flying ball if it leaves the field of play. That's just standard," he said.

Tulsa's Bank of Oklahoma Center arena holds 19,000 people. More people are also expected to be outside in the overflow area.

10:06 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

More than 1,000 people test positive for Covid-19 at German meat plant

From CNN’s Fred Pleitgen in Berlin

A member of the security walks in front of the Toennies meatpacking plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, Germany, on June 18.
A member of the security walks in front of the Toennies meatpacking plant in Rheda-Wiedenbrueck, Germany, on June 18. Martin Meissner/AP

More than 1,000 people have now tested positive for coronavirus at a German meat plant, the local district administrator Sven-Georg Adenauer said on Saturday. 

Adenuer said the district has received more then 3,127 test results back after the Tönnies meat processing plant in North Rhine-Westphalia was closed. So far, 1,029 tests have come back positive. 

So far, the outbreak does not seem to have spread from plant workers to the general population, Adenuer said.

8:05 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

It's 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP
Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 8.6 million people worldwide and killed more than 460,000. Here's what you need to know.

Greta Thunberg speaks out over pandemic: The teen activist compared the worldwide reaction to the action taken over the climate crisis.

Protesters spray French Health Ministry with paint: The demonstrators are from associations which have been critical of the French government's treatment of health workers.

Stonehenge asks solstice revelers to stay away: Organizers have urged people to enjoy the midsummer celebration virtually due to the pandemic.

More than 2.2 million cases in the US: Coronavirus cases continue to rise despite US President Donald Trump claiming that Covid-19 is dying out in the country.

8:21 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

CNN team experiences chaotic airport enforcement of UK quarantine rules

From CNN's Mick Krever

A CNN team arriving to the UK on Saturday experienced the lax and chaotic enforcement of a mandatory quarantine rule put into effect by the British government earlier this month.

Anyone arriving in the UK is required to quarantine for 14 days, a rule that came into effect on June 8.

Passengers are required to provide their contact details, so authorities can ensure quarantine measures are enforced.

On the day the program began, a spokesperson for Public Health England told CNN that a private company would be conducting spot checks with phone calls, rather than in-person visits. There is a long list of exemptions from quarantine, including truckers and those who cross the Irish border.

A CNN team traveling from Reykjavik, Iceland, at Luton Airport, north of London, was asked to fill in an electronic form on their phones before take-off, and submit a long list of personal and contact information.

Passengers filling out the form were given the option of being contacted only by text message, rather than a phone call, if they could provide a reason for the preference. The form was accessed by scanning a QR code, or by manually typing in a URL that featured a series of more than 50 random digits.

On arrival, Luton Airport featured prominent signage advertising the requirements, but there was no verification by authorities of any information submitted in the form. Two agents from Border Force asked that passengers from two planes flash the electronic forms on the phones in order to proceed.

A group of elderly passengers who had not filled out the form in advance was directed to a series of iPads, where they were left to fill out the forms with no assistance.

The UK government has said that quarantine measures were introduced in June precisely because other countries were opening up. Politicians said that reopenings presented a higher risk of new cases of coronavirus arriving from abroad.

"Travelers from overseas could become a high proportion of the overall number of infections in the UK, and therefore increase the spread of the disease," the UK's Home Secretary, Priti Patel, told Parliament on June 3.

Several airlines, including British Airways, Easyjet and Ryanair, have launched a legal action against the quarantine rules, saying the restrictions “will have a devastating effect on British tourism and the wider economy and destroy thousands of jobs.”

CNN's Robert North, Vasco Cotovio and Joe Minihane contributed reporting.

7:46 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

French Health Ministry sprayed with red paint by coronavirus protesters

From CNN's Fanny Bobille 

Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP
Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP

Protesters in Paris have sprayed red paint over the front of the Health Ministry building to “symbolize those who lost their lives” to Covid-19 and to highlight the poor conditions for healthcare workers.

Many of the demonstrators were part of the Association for the Taxation of Financial Transactions and Citizen Action (Attac), a left wing activist group.

Around 30 demonstrators from Attac and Inter-Urgences, an association of paramedical staff, took part in the protest.

The two associations have criticized the French government’s treatment of health workers, including the country's offer of a medal to medical staff. The French state's offer of a bonus for medical workers, awarded using strict criteria, has also been criticized.

“We are here to show our support to the health care staff who have been in first line during the sanitary crisis, but especially to demand they have finally the necessary means to work and to decently take care of us,” Aurélie Trouvé, spokesperson for Attac France, said in a statement.
“Health care staff deserve more than medals and tear gas,” Trouvé added, referring to clashes on 16 June when police officers fired tear gas at healthcare workers protesting in Paris.

The demonstration was the first by health workers since the easing of lockdown in France.

“In the face of this indecency, healthcare staff have decided to show the real face of the government and its ministers by offering them the medal of contempt,” Attac's statement added.

Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP
Rafael Yaghobzadeh/AP
8:00 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

Greta Thunberg compares reaction to Covid-19 with climate response

From CNN's Zahid Mahmood

Greta Thunberg on March 6
Greta Thunberg on March 6 John Thys/AFP via Getty Images

Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has said the pandemic shows the world can act with “necessary force” when it wants to, while comparing the reaction to Covid-19 with efforts to fight climate change.

Speaking on Sweden’s Sveriges Radio, Thunberg said that from a climate perspective there was nothing positive about the pandemic as the changes made to daily lives had “extremely little similarity” with the action required to deal with climate change.
“The corona tragedy of course has no long-term positive effect on the climate apart from one thing only, namely the insights into how you should perceive and treat an emergency. Because during the corona crisis we suddenly act with necessary force,” Thunberg said.
“International emergency meetings take place on a daily basis, astronomical financial bailouts magically appear out of nowhere.
"Cancelled events and tough restrictions make people change their behavior and the approach overnight," she added. "Media completely transitions, puts other things on hold and almost exclusively reports on Covid-19, with daily press conferences and live updates 24/7.
“All parts of society come together and politicians put their different views aside and cooperate for the greater good of everyone.”

Thunberg said people in positions of power in politics, business and finance had said “they will do whatever it takes,” during the pandemic as “you can’t put a price on a human life."

The activist said that when millions had died because of air pollution, those were lives “[society] can put a price on.”

“Those words and this treatment of a crisis opens up a whole new dimension because you see every year at least 7 million people die from illnesses related to air pollution according to the WHO,” she said.

 “Those are apparently peoples whose lives we can put a price on. Since they died from the wrong causes and in the wrong parts of the world.”

Thunberg inspired worldwide climate protests last year after staging weekly sit-ins outside the Swedish Parliament on Fridays from August 2018.

8:03 a.m. ET, June 20, 2020

Stay home this summer solstice, Stonehenge urges revelers

From CNN's Amy Woodyatt

A general view from the A303 of Stonehenge on May 24.
A general view from the A303 of Stonehenge on May 24. Alex Davidson/Getty Images

As the evening of 20 June approaches, so too does summer solstice.

But this year, the coronavirus pandemic has cast a shadow over the event, which marks the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and the official start of summer.

One of the world's largest solstice celebrations in the world usually takes place at the sarsen rocks of Stonehenge in England, but this year, the organization which manages the site in Wiltshire, southwestern England, has asked revelers to stay home and tune in online.

Usually tens of thousands would gather at the site, but English Heritage has renewed its pleas for people to enjoy the occasion from the comfort of their own homes after declaring the site closed for the celebration back in May.

"Stonehenge is currently closed due to the coronavirus pandemic so please do not travel to site for summer solstice," English Heritage said on Twitter on Saturday.

Read more here.