COVID-19 testing sites forced to suspend operations as U.S. protests continue

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: A protester wears a surgical mask with "Black Lives Matter" written on the front while protesters gather outside the Seattle Office of Emergency Management to protest against police brutality and the death in police custody of George Floyd
A protester wears a surgical mask with "Black Lives Matter" written on it at a rally in Seattle on Tuesday over the death of George Floyd./Lindsey Wasson / Reuters

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As the U.S. remains in the grip of protests over the death of George Floyd, some COVID-19 testing sites have been forced to suspend operations because of violence and unrest in recent days.

The temporary closures — from California to Florida — are sure to hamper efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus, particularly as social distancing has given way to mass gatherings of potentially contagious people who don't know they're infected.

As protests sweep nation, research finds social distancing most effective at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

There are now more than 1.8 million coronavirus infections in the U.S. and more than 106,000 deaths, according to NBC News' tally. Worldwide, nearly 6.4 million people have been sickened by the virus, with more than 380,000 deaths.

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

Download the NBC News app for latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak.

This live coverage has now ended. Continuing reading June 4 coverage here.

WHO: Fewest number of new cases in Europe since March

The spread of COVID-19 is still escalating globally, with more than 100,000 cases reported for each of the past five days, the Director-General of the World Health Organization said at a news briefing Wednesday. However, new cases in Europe, which in mid-March was the epicenter of the pandemic, continue to decline.

"Yesterday saw the fewest cases reported in Europe since the 22nd of March," said Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

In the Americas, particularly Central and South America, the spread of the disease to accelerate. "For several weeks, the number of cases reported each day in the Americas has been more than the rest of the world put together," Tedros said.

In the United States, there are more than 1.8 million confirmed cases of coronavirus, with some major cities such as Chicago and Los Angeles experiencing a high number of new infections. 

Trump administration bans Chinese carriers from flying into the U.S.

The Department of Transportation plans to ban Chinese carriers from flying passengers to the U.S, after Beijing declined to increase the number of flights it allows to the United States. The news was first reported by Reuters

“This action responds to the failure of the Government of the People’s Republic of China to permit U.S. carriers to exercise their bilateral rights to conduct passenger air service to China," the DOT said in a statement on Wednesday.

While Delta and United are operating cargo flights to China, both airlines are still waiting for approval for daily passenger flights. Four Chinese carriers currently operate scheduled passenger flights between the U.S. and China. 

“We support and appreciate the U.S. government’s actions to enforce our rights and ensure fairness,” a Delta spokeswoman told NBC News.

The action comes just days after Trump warned China that businesses with close connections to Beijing would come under greater scrutiny in the United States. The two countries are in the midst of a trade war and a disagreement over China’s decision to exert greater control over Hong Kong.

NYC curfew to stay in place until Monday

New York City's curfew will continue through this week and upcoming weekend, until some coronavirus-shuttered businesses reopen on Monday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

The 8 p.m.-to-5 a.m. shutdown is still necessary, according to City Hall, as thousands of protesters take to the streets to decry the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis

A host of New York businesses, such as non-essential retail and wholesale, partially come back Monday after months of coronavirus-forced shutdown.

Mayor de Blasio told reporters on Wednesday that businesses should have enough time to prepare their facilities during daytime hours, leading up to 5 a.m. Monday.

"I’m sorry that it’ll be an additional challenge for those who might be having to do some repairs right now because of those bad couple of nights, but I know they can get it done," he said.

University of Southern California to resume in-person classes in August

In a letter posted on the University of Southern California's website Tuesday, USC president Carol L. Folt said administrators are "planning for an in-person fall semester for students beginning on August 17, 2020, a week earlier than originally scheduled."

"All classes, including final exams, will end by Thanksgiving. By ending the semester before Thanksgiving, we are aiming to minimize the spread of the virus, particularly as the flu season commences. To support this schedule, we will not have a fall break in 2020," Folt said in the letter.

Folt added that the plans "remain contingent on several factors, including the continued spread of COVID-19, and the health orders from state and local authorities."

Iowa's health department logs three additional deaths

The Iowa Health Department announced three additional coronavirus deaths on Wednesday, bringing the statewide total to 564 fatalities. The department did not record any additional cases, though, so the statewide count stands at 20,015.

D-Day commemorations reimagined due to coronavirus crisis

People walk among vintage World War II vehicles parked on the beach during events to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day in Arromanches, Normandy, France, last year. Thibault Camus / AP file

Commemorations to mark the 76th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France are to take a different form this year due to the coronavirus pandemic

For the first time since the Second World War, veterans and members of the public will not be able to attend June 6 ceremonies at the Normandy American Cemetery in Colleville-Sur-Mer, France. Instead, a private wreath laying ceremony will take place with about 20 U.S. and French representatives present. 

However, the U.S. military has launched "Operation Pictures and Patches" in an attempt to continue the tradition — which began on D-Day — of soldiers handing out patches from their units to local children as souvenirs.

Although servicemen and women can not be present this year, 300 soldiers will send pictures of themselves along with patches from their units to four cities in Normandy to be distributed to local school children. 

Germany to lift travel ban for E.U., Schengen countries, U.K. starting June 15

Germany will lift a travel ban for European Union member states, other Schengen countries and the U.K. starting June 15. 

Foreign Minister Heiko Maas announced Wednesday that bans will be replaced by travel advice for individual countries.

Travel warnings could be put in place if infections in certain countries rise, or if there are entry restrictions or quarantine measures for arriving travellers.

Maas warned that the coronavirus pandemic is not over and travelers should continue to be cautious, so that the reintroduction of cross-border travel would not turn into a second pandemic wave.

More than 182,000 cases have been reported in Germany so far, with 8,551 deaths.

 

Spain seeks to open up to some foreign tourism from late June

Hospital patient Isidre Correa is taken to the seaside by intensive heath care staff outside the Hospital del Mar on Wednesday in Barcelona, Spain.David Ramos / Getty Images

Spain is working on plans to gradually open its borders to tourists from countries deemed more secure in the fight against the coronavirus, possibly starting from June 22, the tourism ministry said on Wednesday.

After losing more than 27,000 people and months of economic activity to the epidemic, Spain had previously designated July 1 as the date to reopen to foreign tourism, which accounts for 12 percent of its output.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez's government is due to lift a state of emergency on June 21, meaning that Spaniards will be able to start to move more freely again as the epidemic recedes.

A tourism ministry spokesman said it was likely the same would start to apply to some foreigners on Monday, June 22 or possibly as early as Sunday, June 21.

Opera returns to Vienna with hotel 'window concert'

Guests of Zeitgeist Hotel in Vienna, Austria listen from their rooms to singers Monika Medek and Dagmar Dekanovsky and the Camerata Carnutum orchestra, during a "window concert."Joe Klamar / AFP - Getty Images