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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This live coverage has now ended. Continuing reading June 5 coverage here.

Around 1.8 million people filed for first-time jobless benefits last week, continuing downward trend

Around 1.8 million Americans filed for first-time jobless benefits last week, hinting that the worst could be over for the labor market.

While still a staggering figure, it continues a downward trend for the unemployment claims that have illustrated week by week the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The jobless claims data, released Thursday by the Department of Labor, was in line with economist expectations of 1.8 million for the week ended May 30.

Attention now turns to Friday's closely watched monthly employment report, which is expected to show that a total of 8 million Americans were out of work in May. That number is markedly lower than April's record tally of 20.5 million.

The current unemployment rate of 14.7 percent, the highest since the Great Depression, is expected to soar to around 20 percent.

In Brazil, a 1-year-old boy tests positive

A health worker tests 1-year-old Nicolas for COVID-19 at his home after a family member fell ill in Manacapuru, Amazonas state, Brazil, on Wednesday 2020. Nicolas didn't show any symptoms of the new coronavirus but tested positive on the quick test.Felipe Dana / AP

Citing coronavirus restrictions, rallies in Norway are a no-go

Authorities in Norway have turned down applications to hold rallies in the country’s three largest cities in support of protesters in the U.S. over the death of George Floyd, citing the coronavirus restrictions on gatherings.

Rallies were planned in Oslo, Bergen and Trondheim but local authorities said that without a dispensation from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, not more than 50 people can gather in one place, Mohamed Awil, president of the African Student Association at the University of Oslo, said.

The association is co-organizing the rally in Oslo where more than 15,000 people had said they planned to take part in Thursday’s demonstration outside the U.S. Embassy. Awil said they were considering an alternative demonstration but details were not immediately available.

Similar events took place in the in the capitals of Sweden and Finland Wednesday. They attracted thousands of people even though the limit in Sweden is currently 50 and in Finland is 500.

U.K.'s Prince Charles warns of link between biodiversity loss and pandemics

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, has warned that humanity needs to protect the planet and biodiversity to protect ourselves against future pandemics. We are now "paying the price" for inaction, he argued. 

"The more we erode the natural world, the more we destroy what's called biodiversity, which is the immense diversity of life, plant life, tree life, everything else," he told Sky News in an interview over video-link from his home in Scotland. "We've had these other disasters with SARS and Ebola and goodness knows what else, all of these things are related to the loss of biodiversity," he added.

The 71-year-old Royal also spoke about how his own recovery after catching coronavirus made him "more determined to push and shout and prod" for action on climate change and biodiversity. 

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.

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