Pandemic adds to global mistrust in governments

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Gamblers celebrate a win while playing roulette during the reopening of The D hotel-casino, closed by the state since March 18, 2020 as part of steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in downtown Las Vegas
Gamblers play roulette at the reopened D Casino and Hotel in Las Vegas on Thursday.Steve Marcus / Reuters

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People across the world's leading economies are becoming increasingly frustrated with how their governments are handling the coronavirus pandemic, a new survey shows.

The British polling firm Kantar found that 48 percent of the more than 7,000 people it surveyed across the G7 nations approved of how their government had responded, down from 50 percent in April and 54 percent in March.

There have been confirmed 1.83 million coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 106,000 deaths.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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Israeli Parliament suspended after lawmaker tests positive

Israel's Parliament, the Knesset, was suspended Thursday after a lawmaker confirmed he had tested positive for Coronavirus. All 120 lawmakers and Knesset staff have been told to stay at home.

Sami Abou Shahadeh, a member of the Joint List, an alliance of Arab-majority parties, said on Twitter on Wednesday night that had just received his test result and appealed "to anyone who was in my immediate area to go in isolation and do a test."

A statement on the Knesset's website said: "In order to limit the harm caused to the Knesset’s core parliamentary activity due to the spread of the coronavirus, the Knesset’s Director General has decided that there will be no visits to the parliament building until further notice. This includes all scheduled tours of the Knesset, gatherings and meetings. Thank you for your cooperation."

Spain to open land borders with France and Portugal on June 22

Spanish tourism minister Reyes Maroto announced Thursday that the country's land borders with neighbors France and Portugal will be reopened June 22.

The authorities closed the borders to everybody but Spaniards, cross-border workers and truck drivers from mid-March when the country went into lockdown to curb the coronavirus contagion.

Reopening borders is a key issue in Europe's usually border-free Schengen area. Countries are keen to kickstart their economies and facilitate travel for tourism and other purposes. 

U.K. minister tested for coronavirus days after Parliament returns

Britain's Business Secretary Alok Sharma wiping his brow as he makes a statement in the House of Commons in London on Wednesday as lockdown measures ease during the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.Parliamentary Recording Unit / AFP - Getty Images

A U.K. government minister has been tested for coronavirus after appearing unwell during a speech in Parliament Wednesday. Alok Sharma, the business secretary, was seen mopping his brow several times. 

The virus scare comes just days after many lawmakers returned to parliament following the end of arrangements — in place since April — that had allowed them to debate and vote online.

MPs were highly critical of plans, with the opposition Labour Party condemning plans to force MPs with "shielding responsibilities" to vote in person. Opposition lawmaker Tulip Siddiq claimed the situation in parliament was "chaos."

Under the U.K.'s new track and trace system, should Sharma test positive, individuals who had come into close contact with him will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks. 

U.K. leads fall in global trust in government COVID-19 responses

LONDON — People across almost all the world's leading rich economies have turned more skeptical about their governments' handling of the coronavirus pandemic with confidence slumping the most in Britain, a survey showed on Thursday.

In May, in the Group of Seven nations as a whole, 48 percent of respondents approved of how authorities had handled the pandemic, down from 50 percent in April and 54 percent in March, the survey published by polling firm Kantar showed.

Britain saw the biggest drop — a sharp fall of 18 points from April to 51 percent — while in the United States, Canada, Germany, France and Italy, the declines ranged between two and six points. Japan was the only country to show an increase.

Britain's COVID-19 death toll has surpassed 50,000, according to a Reuters tally, making the country one of the worst hit in the world by the pandemic.

Senate passes bill to fix PPP loan program, sends to Trump for signature

The GOP-controlled Senate unanimously passed a bill Wednesday that seeks to fix the Paycheck Protection Program, which provides direct relief to small businesses amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., asked for a unanimous consent vote Wednesday evening and received no objection hours after Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wisc., objected to its passage because he wanted assurances of changes to be made at a later time to the program. 

It now awaits President Donald Trump's signature.

The bill, called the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act, eases restrictions on the popular program and comes after the program was scrutinized for providing aid to unintended recipients, such as large publicly-traded companies and many businesses around the country complained they either could not tap into loans or did not receive adequate funds to keep their business afloat and employees on the payroll.

Click here for the full story. 

George Floyd had coronavirus, autopsy says

George Floyd, who died during an arrest in Minneapolis on May 25, had coronavirus.

The Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s full autopsy report released Wednesday said Floyd first tested positive for the virus April 3, nearly two months prior to his death. A prior release of the county autopsy attributed Floyd's cause of death as a "cardiopulmonary arrest complicating law enforcement subdual, restraint, and neck compression."

It also listed other "significant" conditions, including hypertensive heart disease, fentanyl intoxication and recent methamphetamine use. 

Hydroxychloroquine fails to prevent COVID-19, large study finds

Researchers at the Microbiology Research Facility at the University of Minnesota work with coronavirus samples as a trial begins to see whether malaria treatment hydroxychloroquine can prevent or reduce the severity of COVID-19 on March 19, 2020.Craig Lassig / Reuters file

Hydroxychloroquine was no better than a placebo at preventing symptoms of COVID-19 among people exposed to the virus, according to research from the University of Minnesota Medical School.

The findings, published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine, are the first from a major clinical trial looking at whether the medication might be useful as a prophylactic.

The study included 821 people who had been in close contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient, putting them at an elevated risk of developing the illness themselves.

Read the full story here. 

CES annual technology trade show will go ahead in January

The country’s largest annual technology trade show, CES, is still on track to be held in Las Vegas in January, organizers said in a post on the event's website. 

“We all face new considerations around attending conferences, conducting business and traveling to meetings,” said the Consumer Technology Association, the group behind the event. “Just as your companies are innovating to overcome the challenges this pandemic presents, we are adapting to the evolving situation.”

The hands-on event typically draws around 175,000 people and features innovative products and devices for attendees to try out.

The group said it will expand its selection of livestreamed CES content and roll out new cleaning and social distancing practices. It will expand aisles in many exhibit areas and add more space between seats in conference programs.

For 2021, attendees will be encouraged to wear masks and avoid shaking hands. 

The event will have cashless purchase systems to limit touch points and provide enhanced on-site access to health services and medical aid.

Georgia sets up test sites for demonstrators to get screened for coronavirus

After more than a week of widespread protests in Georgia, the state's public health department announced plans to set up test sites for demonstrators to screen for cases of the COVID-19, officials said Tuesday. 

Dr. Kathleen Toomey, commissioner of the public health department, said her agency is also working with Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ office and other state agencies to test first-responders and National Guard members who may have been exposed.

“We want to ensure that the pandemic doesn’t spread because of this,” Toomey said.

Gov. Brian Kemp encouraged all enforcement present at the demonstrations to also get tested immediately. Toomey, who was the only speaker who wore a mask at the press conference, said pop-up COVID-19 testing sites could be deployed as soon as next week.