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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Spanish cafes reopen as daily death toll falls to seven-week low

A man walks past a sign on a tree reading "They are not just a number, they have a name. Agustina Leon Sanchez, 79, May 1, 2020" in memory of a victim of the COVID-19 disease in Madrid on Sunday. Rafa Rivas / AFP - Getty Images

Parts of Spain eased lockdown restrictions on Monday amid a slowing coronavirus epidemic that saw the number of new fatalities drop to a near two-month low.

About half of Spain’s 47 million people progressed to the so-called Phase 1 of a four-step plan to relax one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns. 

In regions that qualify, including most of Andalusia - Spain’s most populous - as well as the Canary and Balearic Islands, bars, restaurants, shops, museums, gyms and hotels were allowed to open, most at reduced capacity.

Still, cities such as Madrid and Barcelona, which have been particularly hard hit by the epidemic, have been left behind for now.

Health ministry data showed the daily death toll dropping to 123 on Monday from Sunday’s 143, bringing the total number of fatalities from the pandemic to 26,744 in one of the world’s worst-affected countries. The daily number, a seven week-low, has come down from a record of 950 in early April.

England's Premier League could return behind closed doors in June

England’s Premier League could return to the world’s television screens as early as June, according to new coronavirus guidance published by the U.K. government on Monday. 

The guidance said it aimed for cultural and sporting events to take place behind closed doors for broadcast starting June 1 at the earliest, meaning it’s possible soccer could be played this summer without spectators.

However, the government warned that the June 1 timeline was conditional on a range of factors and would depend on the coronavirus alert level in the country, as well as the government’s five tests for easing measures, among other conditions.

Meanwhile, a number of soccer players have also expressed concern that a rush back to the field could put their health and that of their families at risk.

France cautiously begins to lift lockdown

Commuters, wearing protective face masks, walk on a platform at the Saint-Lazare train station in Paris, on the first day mask usage is mandatory in public transport, after France began to gradually ease out of nationwide lockdown on Monday. Charles Platiau / Reuters

France started to emerge from one of Europe’s strictest coronavirus lockdowns on Monday, allowing stores, factories and other businesses to reopen for the first time in eight weeks.

All small shops and hair salons are allowed to reopen. Manufacturing plants can reopen as long as they put safety measures in place.

Face masks are now mandatory on public transit. On Monday, metro station staffers were handing out free face masks and sanitizer to commuters.

People can go back to work, but remote work is still encouraged. Workers can also leave home without carrying a permit and travel up to 62 miles.

Meanwhile, bars, cafes, restaurants, museums and cinemas are staying closed. 

Famous areas of Paris, such as the iconic Champ-de Mars, are once again accessible, but parks and gardens remain closed. 

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."