Trump says 'we have prevailed,' as memo tells White House staffers to wear masks

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden on May 11, 2020.
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden on May 11, 2020.Brendan Smialowski / AFP - Getty Images

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President Donald Trump said Monday that the number of coronavirus cases were going down “almost everywhere” — even though an unreleased White House report showed infection rates spiking across the United States.

“We have met the moment, and we have prevailed," Trump told reporters during a White House briefing. The president later added that he was referring to testing, not the virus itself.

Inside the White House, a memo instructed staffers to wear facial coverings and to avoid coming to the West Wing unless it was “absolutely” necessary. The move came after a top aide to Vice President Mike Pence and one of Trump’s personal valets tested positive for the virus.

On Capitol Hill, U.S. Senators will question top health officials on Tuesday about the federal government’s response to the pandemic, though the officials and the subcommittee chairman, Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., will all appear via videoconference because of potential exposure to the virus.

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

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This live coverage has now ended. Continue reading May 12 coronavirus news.

Morning roundup of coronavirus coverage

In Chicago and Los Angeles, virus spread is slower, but persistent [The New York Times]

Inside the NIH’s controversial decision to stop its big remdesivir study [Stat]

U.S. falling short on needed contact tracers, experts say [The Wall Street Journal]

Danish fourth and fifth graders go back to school in Copenhagen soccer stadium

Today was not just another Monday back at school after COVID-19 restrictions for seven classes of Øster Farimagsgade School in Copenhagen, Denmark. While their school is still closed, around 200 kids took their classes in Parken Stadium, home of local soccer team FC Copenhagen. Pupils could be seen in a Twitter video singing the national anthem of Denmark, ”Der Er Et Yndigt Land” from the stands on Monday morning.

Denmark ordered the reopening of schools at the end of April, but finding enough space for children to learn while socially distancing posted a challenge. As a result, the local team offered “selected parts of the stadium to the municipality” to seven classes of fourth and fifth graders, FC Copenhagen said in a statement.

Denmark continues to ease lockdown measures, cutting in half the distance its citizens must maintain, the Danish Health Ministry said on Sunday. COVID-19 has caused 529 deaths in the country with 10711 cases according to John Hopkins University.

Colombia's national airline Avianca latest carrier to file for bankruptcy

Colombia's national airline Avianca filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Sunday.

The 100-year-old airline, which had played a big role in Colombia’s efforts to grow its tourism business, is the latest to suffer the calamitous effects of the near halt in global air traffic.

It follows other airlines including Virgin Australia and Flybe into bankruptcy court, but it will remain operational during the process, according to a statement. Most of the company's 20,000 employees have been on unpaid furlough since the coronavirus pandemic hit.

“Avianca is facing the most challenging crisis in our 100-year history as we navigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Avianca CEO Anko van der Werff in a statement.

There are discussions with the Colombian government about financial support, the statement said, adding that customers could continue to purchase tickets during the reorganization.

Twitter's Jack Dorsey to donate $10 million to help prisoners

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey's philanthropic initiative will donate $10 million to the REFORM Alliance, a criminal justice reform group — a contribution that will secure masks and other personal protective gear for prisons and jails in every state, its founders announced Monday.

REFORM, whose founding partners include rappers Meek Mill and Jay-Z, as well as Philadelphia 76ers partner Michael Rubin and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft, said it would purchase and deliver more than 10 million masks for prisoners, correctional officers and health care workers at facilities that are in need.

Prisons and jails have been at the center of major coronavirus outbreaks in various states over the past two months. Dorsey is supporting coronavirus relief efforts through his #startsmall fund, while REFORM launched its own PSA to highlight how the virus is "ravaging prisons and threatening to turn prison sentences into death sentences."

King of Saudi Arabia to distribute $493 million as Ramadan aid

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz ordered on Monday the distribution of “Ramadan Aid” worth 1.85 billion riyal ($493 million) for social security beneficiaries, the state news agency reported.

State news agency SPA said providers of families will get 1,000 riyals ($266) each while dependents will get 500 riyals ($133) each, adding that the "generous gesture" reflects the keenness of King Salman to provide "decent life" for citizens. 

The holy month of Ramadan kicked off last month, with millions of Muslims cooped up in lockdowns around the world.

Saudi Arabia, which has been hit hard by lower oil prices and the coronavirus crisis, has reported 39,048 coronavirus cases and 246 deaths so far.

More than 80,000 middle school students return to schools in Beijing

More than 80,000 third-year middle school students in Beijing resumed their classes Monday as China continues to lift lockdown measures.  

The city's municipal government said teachers in all middle schools had to prepare epidemic prevention materials and equipment, and arranged campus classrooms to welcome back students.

They said each classroom will now have two stewards who will be responsible for the students' daily life at the school, including temperature detection, disinfection and ventilation, and students’ security during lunch time, self-study and recess.

Post-lockdown challenge far greater than 2012 Olympics, London's transport authority says

Meeting the post-lockdown demands on London's public transit far outstrips the challenges experienced during the Olympic Games the city hosted in 2012, the capital's transport authority said Monday.

Transport for London said it is faced with the need reduce pre-COVID demand on buses and the city’s subway system by over 85 percent as lockdown measures are lifted and people return to work.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined his plan for exiting the coronavirus lockdown on Sunday and encouraged people who can’t work from home to go back to work, but asked them to avoid public transport "if at all possible."

Michigan manufacturing set to restart

Factories in Michigan are set to resume production on Monday after more than six weeks of lockdown.

The state was an early target of protests demanding to end the lockdown. More than 4,550 people have died in Michigan from COVID-19, and it ranks fourth among the states in deaths.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's reluctance to reopen factories in Michigan had hampered efforts to restart vehicle assembly elsewhere in the country because key parts suppliers are based in and around Detroit. The clamor for Whitmer to give the go-ahead increased when Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced he was permitting manufacturing to resume there as of last Monday. California followed suit on Friday.

U.K.'s Boris Johnson faces mounting criticism for revised lockdown plans

Many residents of the United Kingdom woke up in a state of mild confusion Monday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a tentative road map for loosening coronavirus restrictions.

In a special televised address Sunday, Johnson outlined a series of conditional and staggered steps beginning this week for exiting the lockdown and encouraged those in England who are unable to work from home, including factory and construction workers, to return to work.

Johnson said that starting Wednesday, the government will allow unlimited outdoor exercise and in June some shops may reopen and some age groups may be able to start to return to school. But the statement drew criticism from opposition parties and trade unionists for its apparent lack of clarity.

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