Fauci joins CDC chief on growing White House quarantine list

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Recovered Coronavirus Patient Reunites With Family After 5 Weeks In The Hospital
Isaias Perez Yanez, 59, is cheered on by hospital staff as he is released from Sharp Coronado Hospital after battling COVID-19 for five weeks, on May 8, 2020, in Coronado, California.Mario Tama / Getty Images

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Three members of the White House coronavirus task force will quarantine for two weeks after coming in contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is expected to self-quarantine for 14 days following exposure to an unidentified White House aide who tested positive for coronavirus. Food and Drug Administration Director Stephen Hahn is already self-quarantining, he told staff Friday.

And Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he will follow a "modified" quarantine for the next two weeks after a "low-risk" exposure at the White House.

The news comes after two other people with access to the White House tested positive for COVID-19, including Vice President Mike Pence's press secretary, Katie Miller.

Meanwhile, Tesla CEO Elon Musk filed a federal lawsuit Saturday against Alameda County in California challenging its precautionary shutdown of the company's main factory. The suit seeks to overturn the county's health orders, which continue to keep businesses like Tesla's plant closed despite the governor's gradual reopening of the state.

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

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India's fuel demand nearly halves in April amid lockdown

India’s fuel demand dipped 45.8 percent in April from a year earlier, as a nationwide lockdown and travel curbs to combat the spread of coronavirus eroded economic activity in the country.

Consumption of fuel, a proxy for oil demand, totaled 9.93 million tonnes — its lowest since 2007, government data showed on Saturday. State fuel retailers in India sold 50 percent less refined fuel in the first two weeks of April than the same time a year earlier, as the country came to a standstill due to the lockdown that was put in place on March 24.

The government last week extended the lockdown until May 17, with some relaxations in lower-risk areas, although travel by air, rail and metro and inter-state movement of people by road was still banned. India has reported nearly 60,000 cases as of Saturday, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

IMF warns of further drop in global growth due to virus

Economic data for many countries is coming in below the International Monetary Fund's "already pessimistic assessment" for 2020, its managing director Kristalina Georgieva, told an online event hosted by the European University Institute on Friday.

"With no immediate medical solutions, more adverse scenarios might unfortunately materialize for some economies," Georgieva said. "It is the unknown about the behavior of this virus that is clouding the horizon for projections."

The IMF's April projection for a 3 percent contraction the global economy would mark the steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, according to Reuters. The IMF forecast a partial rebound would follow in 2021 assuming vaccines and treatments are available, but warned that outcomes could be far worse, depending on the course of the pandemic.

Spain's biggest cities will not move to next stage of lockdown exit

Madrid and Barcelona will not progress to the next phase of Spain's exit from one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns, allowing bars, restaurants and places of worship to reopen in some areas starting Monday, government officials have said. 

Spain's two biggest cities do not currently meet the government's criteria for easing measures, Health Emergency Chief Fernando Simon told a news conference on Friday. However, Simon said 51 percent of the population would move onto the next phase of easing lockdown restrictions.

Speaking at the same news conference, Health Minister Salvador Illa said: "I want to insist that this is not a race, decisions must be based on cooperation and caution." 

Madrid and Catalonia — whose capital is Barcelona — account for nearly half of Spain's overall cases of infection. The number of diagnosed cases rose to 222,857 from 221,447 the day before, the ministry said on Friday. Half of the new cases in Spain in the past 24 hours were in Catalonia.

U.S. tightens visa rules for Chinese journalists amid virus tensions

The United States issued a new rule tightening visa guidelines for Chinese journalists on Friday, saying it was in response to the treatment of U.S. journalists in China, a shift that comes amid tensions between the two nations over the coronavirus pandemic.

The United States and China have been engaged in a series of retaliatory actions involving journalists in recent months.

In March, China expelled American journalists from three U.S. newspapers following the publication of an opinion column that China denounced as racist. This came a month after the United States said it would begin to treat five Chinese state-run media entities with U.S. operations the same as foreign embassies.

In issuing the new regulation which will take effect on Monday, the Department of Homeland Security cited what it called China's "suppression of independent journalism." The regulation will limit visas for Chinese reporters to a 90-day period, with the option for extension.

A drive-by quinceañera? Latino families get creative, maintain a tradition

Kristie Rodriguez and her daughter Xochitl spent a lot of time planning the teen's quinceañera celebration to mark her 15th birthday.

“Every little Hispanic girl dreams about her quinceañera and her wedding. Those are your two big days in your life,” Rodriguez, 45, from San Antonio, Texas, told NBC News.

Then coronavirus hit—and stay-at-home orders left Rodriguez having to reimagine the venerated Latino tradition in a very different way.

It took some creativity and work, but Rodriguez and her husband Jimmy surprised Xochitl with a low-key but unforgettable version of her big day, surprising her with a a ‘drive-by’ quinceañera on April 21st. Xochitl was able to share with her closest family and friends—at a safe social distance.

Across the country, families have found ways to celebrate.

Read the full story here

Photo: Healthcare workers place a nasal swab from a patient into a tube for testing

Healthcare workers place a nasal swab from a patient into a tube for testing at the Brightpoint Health and UJA of NY Federation free pop-up coronavirus (COVID-19) testing site in Brooklyn, New York on May 8, 2020.Angela Weiss / AFP - Getty Images

Court halts ban on mass gatherings at Kentucky churches

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A federal court halted the Kentucky governor’s temporary ban on mass gatherings from applying to in-person religious services, clearing the way for Sunday church services.

U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove on Friday issued a temporary restraining order enjoining Gov. Andy Beshear’s administration from enforcing the ban on mass gatherings at “any in-person religious service which adheres to applicable social distancing and hygiene guidelines.”

The ruling from the Eastern District of Kentucky sided with the Tabernacle Baptist Church in Nicholasville, but applies to all places of worship around the commonwealth. Two other federal judges, including U.S. District Judge David Hale, had previously ruled the ban was constitutional. But also on Friday, Hale, of Kentucky’s western district, granted Maryville Baptist Church an injunction allowing in-person services at that specific church to proceed, provided the church abide by public health requirements.

Exceptions to the Democratic governor’s shutdown order include trips to the grocery store, bank, pharmacy and hardware store. Beshear had previously announced that places of worship in Kentucky will be able to once again hold in-person services starting May 20, as part of a broader plan to gradually reopen the state’s economy. 

Sen. Ted Cruz gets hair cut at Dallas salon whose owner was jailed

Sen. Ted Cruz, the conservative Republican of Texas, got his hair cut Friday at the Dallas salon owned by a woman jailed for violating orders aimed at limiting the spread of the coronavirus.

Barbershops and hair salons were allowed to reopen Friday in Texas, although with six feet between work stations.

Cruz flew from Houston to get a cut at Salon à la Mode. Owner Shelley Luther was sentenced Tuesday to seven days in jail for staying open despite public health orders but was freed Thursday after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott eliminated jail for violating an order related to the coronavirus.

Luther's situation has been championed by some on the political right. Cruz, leaving the salon wearing a mask, said of his haircut "I think it's terrific," video from NBC Dallas-Fort Worth showed.

"I'm proud to stand with Shelley Luther and I'll tell you, what happened to her was wrong," Cruz said. "It was ridiculous to see somebody sentenced to seven days in jail for cutting hair. That's not right, that's not justice, that's not Texas."

Luther, also wearing a mask, said a visit by Cruz was "something that I would have never dreamed of" and "overwhelming in a great way."