Nationwide protests raise infection fears

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Protesters rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in San Francisco
A child wearing a face mask watches a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in San Francisco, May 31, 2020. Picture taken May 31, 2020.Stephen Lam / Reuters

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Health experts and political leaders have warned that the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd could cause a catastrophic setback for controlling COVID-19 in the U.S., as cities and states continue efforts to reopen.

So far, more than 1.7 million Americans have been sickened by the disease and more than 105,000 have died.

"If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week," said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at a news briefing Sunday.

Elsewhere, lockdown restrictions continue to be eased across Europe and east Asia, where the virus originated, but cases continue to grow in Latin America, with Brazil passing 500,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

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

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Fauci: 'My meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased'

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says he is no longer meeting with President Donald Trump nearly as frequently he was before, even as the pandemic drags on.

"We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75 percent of the time after the task force meeting, we’d meet with the president," Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told STAT News in a wide-ranging interview.

"But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased," Fauci said.

Fauci's comments come nearly a month after the White House indicated it was winding down Trump's coronavirus task force, prompting backlash. A day later, Trump reversed course and announced the task force would continue "indefinitely."

But the group has not held press briefings for several weeks. The task force had been holding press briefings almost every day until late April, when Trump made a widely condemned suggestion that injecting disinfectants into people could help them recover from the coronavirus. 

Gilead says remdesivir helped moderate COVID-19 patients improve

Gilead Sciences Inc. said on Monday its antiviral drug remdesivir showed improvement in patients with moderate COVID-19 in a late-stage study.

Remdesivir is being closely watched after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization last month, citing results from another study run by the National Institutes of Health that showed the drug reduced hospitalization stays by 31 percent, or about four days, compared to a placebo.

Read more. 

Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules

ROME — The first day of June saw coronavirus restrictions ease from Asia to Europe on Monday, even as U.S. protests against police brutality sparked fears of new outbreaks. The Colosseum opened its ancient doors in Rome, ferries restarted in Bangladesh, golfers played in Greece, students returned in Britain and Dutch bars and restaurants were free to welcome hungry, thirsty patrons.

Countries around the Mediterranean Sea tentatively kicked off a summer season where tourists could bask in their famously sunny beaches while still being protected by social distancing measures from a virus that is marching relentlessly around the world.

India's coronavirus infections overtake France amid criticism of lockdown

NEW DELHI — India's cases of coronavirus crossed 190,000, the health ministry said on Monday, overtaking France to become seventh highest in the world, as the government eases back on most curbs after a two-month-long lockdown that left millions without work.

With a record 8,392 new cases over the previous day, India is now behind the United States, Brazil, Russia, Britain, Spain and Italy, according to a Reuters tally.

Criticism has grown in recent days that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sudden lockdown of 1.3 billion Indians in March has failed to halt the spread of the disease while destroying the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on daily wages.

Socially distanced cinema in Thailand

People wearing protective face masks are seen inside a movie theater during its reopening after the Thai government eased isolation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Bangkok, Thailand, Mondauy.Jorge Silva / Reuters

Restrictions ease in South Africa but schools remain closed

South Africa began to lift some coronavirus lockdown restrictions Monday as people were allowed to leave home for work, worship or shopping. A temporary ban on alcohol consumption — introduced to try and take the pressure off the emergency services — was also lifted resulting in queues outside liquor stores. 

However schools, which were also due to open Monday, remain closed following a reversal from the Education Ministry. Trade unions had voiced concerns over staff safety. Pupils will now return in two weeks with teachers reporting to school this week for training and to receive protective gear. 

South Africa has the highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus on the African continent with over 32,000 to date. There are over 144,000 cases across Africa with approximately 4,000 deaths to date, according to the World Health Organization. 

American Seafoods confirms 86 crew on fishing trawler contracted COVID-19

American Seafoods has confirmed that at least 86 crew members on board a fishing boat have tested positive for COVID-19, while docked in Bellingham, Washington State.

All crew members on board the American Dynasty, which has capacity for 142 crew, were tested after the company said a single crew member tested positive last week. Test results are still pending for nine people and the entire crew is now in quarantine.

The company stressed in a statement that all crew were tested before the boat set sail and "100% of those who sailed had tested negative."

China says U.S. 'addicted to quitting' over plan to withdraw from WHO

China said on Monday the United States was "addicted to quitting" following a U.S. decision to leave the World Health Organization (WHO) and said the withdrawal reveals a pursuit of power politics and unilateralism.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing that the international community disagreed with what he described as the selfish behavior of the United States.

"The U.S. has become addicted to quitting groups and scrapping treaties," said Zhao.