Spain is continuing to ease its lockdown but customers must disinfect their hands with gel before entering a shopping centre in Madrid Photograph: David Benito/Getty Images
British households are expected to rack up debts worth a combined £6bn because of the coronavirus crisis, as millions of people fall behind on credit card payments, council tax and utility bills.
Sounding the alarm as the economic fallout from the health emergency mounts, the StepChange debt advice charity said 4.6m households risked building up dangerous levels of debt because of the pandemic.
The charity warned that debts racked up during the crisis would stifle the country’s economic recovery and that debt advisory services would be deluged once the reality of people’s situations began to hit home in the coming months.
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- Infections globally have passed 7 million and deaths have passed 400,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. Covid-19 infections now stand at 7,085,894, while the official death toll is at 405,168.
- Over half of pregnant women hospitalised for coronavirus in UK were BAME, a study has found. The research looked at data for 427 pregnant women admitted to 194 obstetric units in the UK with a positive Covid-19 infection between 1 March and 14 April.
- A Brazilian senator has called for an inquiry into Covid-19 data, after Brazil shared contradictory figures on deaths and infections. The discrepancy prompted criticism from across the political spectrum, and a leading newspaper has reported the health ministry slashed the number of deaths it reported by 857 because president Jair Bolsonaro wanted less than a thousand deaths a day.
- South Africa has passed 1,000 deaths and 50,000 cases. The grim milestones were passed just a week after the country further eased lockdown restrictions. At 50,879 the number of detected infections is the worst in Africa, and two-thirds are in the Western Cape province. South Africa ranks second in terms of deaths at 1,080 after Egypt.
- Antiracist protesters should wear masks, says Tedros. The director general of the WHO has called on people attending antiracism protests to wear masks, as he warned that the biggest threat in the ongoing coronavirus outbreak “was now complacency.”
- The UK has recorded its lowest daily death toll since 22 March. A further 55 people have died after contracting Covid-19 in UK, taking the country’s death toll to 40,597. This is the lowest daily total of newly reported deaths since 22 March, but there is often a reporting lag over a weekend. The figures do not include all deaths across the UK, which is thought to have passed 50,000.
Updated at 12.00am BST
Over half of pregnant women hospitalised for coronavirus in UK were BAME
A study has found that more than half of pregnant women recently admitted to UK hospitals with coronavirus were from a black, Asian or minority ethnic (BAME) background.
The peer-reviewed research, published in the British Medical Journal, looked at data for pregnant women admitted to 194 obstetric units in the UK with a positive Covid-19 infection between 1 March and 14 April.
It found that of the 427 pregnant women in hospital during that period, 233 (56%) were from BAME backgrounds, of which 103 were Asian and 90 were black.
The high proportion of pregnant women from BAME groups remained after excluding major urban centres from the analysis.
Researchers, led by Professor Marian Knight from the Nuffield Department of Population Health, University of Oxford, said the findings now require “urgent investigation and explanation”.
The study also found:
- 70% were overweight or obese
- 40% were aged 35 or over
- 34% had underlying health conditions
Five of the women died – including three as a direct result of complications linked to coronavirus – while 41 (10%) needed respiratory support in a critical care unit, the study found.
Updated at 11.55pm BST
The coronavirus has been reported in at least 188 countries. Here are a few countries that have not reported any cases so far, courtesy of Al Jazeera:
- Marshall Islands
- North Korea
- Solomon Islands
In what could pose a serious issue for the UK’s contact tracing plans, a study has found people who think they have had coronavirus are less likely to download a contact-tracing app, even if they have no proof that they ever contracted the virus.
The finding highlights the potential long-term damage of the UK government’s early policy of not testing to confirm self-reported Covid-19 infection, the authors, from Imperial College’s faculty of medicine, say.
If you have a tip, comment or burning question, you can drop me a line on Twitter @cleaskopeliti or by email. I read everything but won’t always have time to reply. Thanks to everyone who has already been in touch.
Here’s Dom Phillips in Rio de Janeiro with more on Brazil’s deepening crisis.
Brazil’s health ministry slashed the number of new Covid-19 deaths it reported on Sunday by 857 because far-right president Jair Bolsonaro wanted less than a thousand deaths a day, a leading newspaper has reported.
Bolsonaro has sought to control information Brazilians receive about the pandemic which has killed 36,455 people and infected 691,758 here, according to John Hopkins University figures.
On Sunday the health ministry said 1,382 deaths had been recorded in the previous 24 hours, but later corrected it down to 525. On Monday the Estado de S.Paulo newspaper reported that the correction was ordered because Bolsonaro wanted the number of deaths at less than a thousand a day. He has vociferously attacked social isolation and notoriously quipped “so what?” to the rising death toll in April.
To accommodate him, the health ministry separated out all the deaths reported over 24 hours – as it had been doing for months – and began including only deaths that had actually occurred during the last day. The correction came two days after the Ministry stopped releasing accumulated cases and deaths in a daily bulletin and wiped a government site clean of data – a move also reportedly ordered by Bolsonaro that provoked widespread condemnation.
Leading Brazilian media organisations are teaming up to provide a daily count at 8pm each day, and the National Council of State Health Secretaries is also updating numbers each day. On Monday WHO executive director Michael Ryan said Brazilians needed to understand where the virus was, how to manage risk and that the WHO hoped communication would be “consistent and transparent”, Reuters said.
The health ministry said this week it will launch an interactive site with Covid-19 data. On Monday it had “corrected duplications and updated data released about cases and obits from Covid-19 last Sunday.” It cited discrepancies that were corrected in two states but did not explain what happened or why.
Brazilian senator calls for inquiry into Covid-19 data
Brazil has drawn further criticism for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic after sharing contradictory figures on deaths and infections, intensifying a scandal over the country’s Covid-19 data.
A senator called for a congressional inquiry and the discrepancy prompted criticism from across the political spectrum after initial health ministry data on Brazil’s number of cases and death toll was contradicted by numbers uploaded to the ministry’s online data portal.
On Monday, the ministry said in a statement the discrepancy was predominantly due to mistakes in the numbers from two states that were later corrected. It explained that the later, lower daily death toll of 525 was the correct one.
Senator Eliziane Gama, leader of centrist party Citizenship, asked the Senate to open an inquiry into the numbers, while the WHO stressed the importance of “consistent and transparent” communication from Brazil. It ranks second in confirmed cases, behind the United States, and its death toll last week surpassed Italy’s.
The discrepancy followed recent decisions to remove from a national website a trove of data about the country’s outbreak, and to push back the daily release of new numbers late into the evening and after the country’s main television news program.
Brazil could see Covid-19 deaths rise to 165,960 by August, above the forecast for the United States which has 100 million more people, according to a new projection by the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.
The updated forecast suggests Brazil’s epidemic could become the most lethal globally.
For Carlos Machado, head of research at the National School of Public Health, part of the respected public institute Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the lack of dependable data in Brazil is dangerous. “Not having updated and reliable data during a pandemic of this proportion is like driving in the dark,” he said. “While we do not have a vaccine, information is the best weapon we have.”
“By changing the numbers, the ministry of health covers the sun with a sieve,” Rodrigo Maia, speaker of the lower house, said on Twitter. “The credibility of the statistics needs to be urgently recovered. A ministry that manipulates numbers creates a parallel world in order not to face the reality of the facts.”
According to the council, Brazil had recorded 680,456 cases of Covid-19 and 36,151 deaths from the disease by the end of Sunday afternoon.
Senior Greek officials have expressed concern at an increase of coronavirus cases a week before the country is set to launch its holiday season.
Of 97 new cases recorded since Thursday, nearly a third had been foreigners arriving from abroad, said a health ministry statement. Two deaths were recorded over the same period to Monday, AFP reports.
“Whoever thinks that we’re rid of the virus is wrong,” said Nikos Hardalias, the deputy minister for civil protection. “We have to be vigilant and respect the measures to prevent the propagation of the virus.”
From 15 June, the two main airports of Athens and Thessaloniki in the north will be able to receive visitors from around 30 countries, mostly in the European Union. Regional airports are due to open on 1 July.
Greece has so far recorded 3,049 cases of coronavirus and 182 deaths since the end of February, according to ministry figures. Of the 97 most recently recorded cases, 29 of them were in the northeast region of Xanthi, which was hit by the virus in April.
The ministry has announced that it will resume the publication of daily figures on the coronavirus situation in the country. It had stopped last week as the numbers of new cases each day fell below five.
Greece has been gradually opening up again since 4 May after a strict, six-week shutdown to try to contain the outbreak there. Cafes and bars have been open again for two weeks, but social distancing measures are not often respected.
Last weekend, officials closed a bar on the island of Mykonos where social distancing was being ignored and fined the owner 20,000 euros.
Updated at 10.30pm BST
A reader has written in to highlight the situation in Bolivia’s hospitals.
A state of national emergency in the country’s ICU wards was declared by doctors in the Bolivian Society of Critical Medicine and Intensive Care late on Sunday night. The Society has warned of a probable dire scenario in coming weeks, local sources report.
Updated at 9.57pm BST
Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan and his family have recovered from the coronavirus, AFP reports.
“We have just received the results of our repeat tests,” Pashinyan, 45, said on Facebook. All of his tests and those of his family were negative, he added.
The Armenian leader announced on 1 June that he and his family had tested positive for the virus and he would be working from home.
The announcement came nearly a month after Armenia lifted a state of emergency imposed in March to slow the spread of the virus. The Caucasus nation of some three million people has struggled to contain the pandemic. As of Monday, health officials have registered 13,325 cases and 211 deaths.
Pashinyan acknowledged last week that the country’s health care system was overwhelmed and he has previously admitted his government failed to enforce anti-virus measures. Conspiracy theories and disinformation on social media undermined government efforts to fight the outbreak, analysts have said.
Updated at 10.27pm BST