As it happened: White House defends virus response Possible review of lockdown fines for childcare-related travel

As it happened: White House defends virus response
Possible review of lockdown fines for childcare-related travel BBC 0:54
26 May 2020 01:00
Summary
Related Stories Deaths in the US - the country with by far the world's highest toll - near 100,000
President Trump has come under fire for playing down the pandemic in its early stages and giving dangerous and misleading advice
But the White House says he saved many lives by making the "very hard choice" to shut down the economy
In the UK, the official death toll of confirmed coronavirus cases rises by 134 to a total of 37,048
Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the UK may review fines given to families who breached lockdown to get childcare
It comes after a UK junior minister quit over the actions of top aide Dominic Cummings, who is accused of breaking the rules
Denmark is easing controls with other Nordic countries, allowing cross-border couples to meet again
Germany plans to end its travel warning for trips to 31 European countries from 15 June
Globally, the number of infections has passed 5.5 million and more than 346,000 people have died - Johns Hopkins University
Live Reporting
Edited by Matthew Davis and Martha Buckley
All times stated are UK
21:33 26 May
We're pausing our live coverage
Thank you for following our updates. We're going to pause the page now - but before we go, here are some of the day's main headlines.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock says the government may review fines given to parents who broke lockdown for childcare reasons, after controversy involving the Prime Minister's top aide Dominic Cummings
The UK is also starting a trial looking into whether the Ebola drug Remdesivir can be used to treat coronavirus
In France , President Emmanuel Macron announced an €8bn rescue plan for the country's car industry
Spain announced a 10-day period of national mourning from tomorrow, which will end with a ceremony in memory of the almost 30,000 people in the country who've died of coronavirus
In the US , the New York Stock Exchange was opened by Governor Andrew Cuomo, who was cheered on by socially-distanced brokers wearing protective face masks
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have been defending the US response to the crisis, as the number of deaths there nears 100,000
The G7 summit of world leaders will go ahead in
the US , taking place in Washington DC "towards the end of June", White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany says
Russia's President Vladimir Putin says its postponed Victory Day parade, which was supposed to be held on 9 May, will now take place on 24 June
The total number of cases worldwide has now passed 5.5m, while more than 348,000 people have died
You've been kept up to date today by Matthew Davis, Martha Buckley, Sean Fanning, Thomas Poole, Joshua Nevett, Alexandra Fouche, Ashitha Nagesh, Max Matza, Robin Levinson King, Emlyn Begley, Ben Collins, Lucy Webster, Toby Luckhurst, George Bowden, Emma Harrison, Owen Amos, Frances Mao, Andreas Illmer and Krutika Pathi.
21:28 26 May
Trump tells holidaymakers to 'be safe'
Trump is asked what is message is to the people who were photographed over the Memorial Day holiday weekend flocking to beaches and swimming pools and breaking social distancing guidelines.
"Always be safe," says Trump. "We’re opening up but we want people to be safe."
21:18 26 May
Trump: 'We saved lives'
”Health experts say if we didn’t act the way we did and as swiftly we would have 10 to 25 times the amount of deaths we did,” President Trump says in the White House Rose Garden as the US virus death toll nears 100,000 - the world's highest.
US health officials predicted in March that nearly 2.5m people could have died if no social distancing measures were implemented by states.
Trump has been urging state governors to roll back lockdown measures, despite the still rising toll. Without specifying which powers he would invoke, Mr Trump repeated an assertion that he could overrule governors if he needed to.
21:01 26 May
Pence: 'We will reopen America'
US Vice President Mike Pence has been defending the US response to the coronavirus pandemic, speaking alongside Donald Trump at the White House.
"Because of the co-operation and compassion of the American people - we are getting there," Mr Pence said.
There were just over 500 deaths yesterday in America, a number not seen since March, the vice president said.
Thanking the "tremendous efforts of healthcare workers", Mr Pence added: "We will reopen America."
20:58 26 May
Disney to reveal plan to reopen theme parks
Walt Disney Co is going to present a proposal for a phased reopening of its theme parks in Orlando, Florida.
In a statement, the company said it would present its plans to a local task force tomorrow.
Disney closed its theme parks around the world - including Disneyland and Disney World - in January, in order to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
In April, Disney faced criticism for stopping pay for
about 100,000 of its workers , as the US faced record levels of unemployment.
The company made $1.4bn for its parks, experiences and products in the last three months of 2019.
20:54 26 May
'Deeply disturbing' report into Canadian care homes
A Canadian province has launched an investigation into five Ontario elder care homes following the release of a damning report.
The Canadian armed forces report included allegations that facilities smelt of rotten food, were infested with cockroaches and flies, and that elderly people were left for hours "crying for help with staff not responding".
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called it "deeply disturbing".
Ontario Premier Doug Ford said the document was "gut-wrenching" and said a full investigation would be launched, and that results of the inquiry would be shared with police should charges need to be laid.
Canada's military has been assisting in a number of elder care homes that have been overwhelmed by outbreaks of the virus.
Government statistics suggest that as many as 80% of all the coronavirus-related deaths in Canada are linked to long-term care homes and residences for the elderly.
Read more about what the military said they found when they went to work in Canadian long-term care homes.
20:37 26 May
Trump speaking at White House
President Trump is delivering remarks at the White House -- talking about moves to lower the price of insulin. We'll be staying across his remarks to see if he has anything to say about the coronavirus crisis. You can too here, and on the White House streaming page.
20:24 26 May
South Africa prepares to lift lockdown
South Africa is getting ready to lift some of its lockdown restrictions on 1 June.
President Cyril Ramaphosa says churches and other recognised places of worship will be allowed to reopen, and that the overnight curfew currently in place will be lifted. Schools and some businesses are also going to open.
"The current restrictions on congressional worship will be eased in a carefully measured way," he says.
"Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other recognised places of worship may resume services, but these will be limited in size to 50 people or less, depending on the space available."
Ramaphosa previously warned that the coronavirus outbreak in South Africa would get worse, but said severe lockdown conditions were economically unsustainable.
20:05 26 May
Life and death on coronavirus ward
The BBC has been given unprecedented access to a hospital in the heart of London, for one week.
19:45 26 May
UK authorises anti-viral drug remdesivir
A drug treatment called remdesivir that appears to shorten recovery time for people with coronavirus is being made available on the NHS in the UK.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said it was probably the biggest step forward in the treatment of coronavirus since the crisis began.
However, experts warn remdesivir shouldn't be seen as a "magic bullet".
Read more here .
19:33 26 May
Coronavirus: Where are cases still rising?
Key maps and charts explaining how the respiratory virus has spread around the world and how it is being dealt with.
Coronavirus: Where are cases still rising?
Key maps and charts explaining how the respiratory virus has spread around the world and how it is being dealt with.
Read more
19:20 26 May
NY Stock Exchange 'not pressured by Trump' to reopen
New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) President Stacey Cunningham has told BBC News that there was "no pressure" from the Trump administration to reopen the trading floor today after a two-month closure.
Cunningham said the decision to reopen was made to help the smaller independent traders who operate there and "who've not been able to earn an income for their families".
She told the BBC that only 25% of the trading floor has been allowed back, and that NYSE is working with health officials "so that we can start a slow and cautious reopening with new precautionary measures in place so that we can limit the likelihood of an outbreak on the trading floor".
Cunningham also appeared to give tacit backing to a bill passed by the US Senate last week that could block some Chinese companies from selling shares on American stock exchanges.
Asked if it would be a blow to the NYSE, she said "One of the things that makes the US capital markets so strong is the way they balance investor protections with investor choice. We do it better than anyone else in the world.
"Any legislation that we consider should balance those two things as well, certainly transparency is critical so we have a culture over here, very strongly of investors have transparent information. Any measures to enforce that are highly supported by us."
18:57 26 May
'Boris Johnson has lost credibility'
The BBC's Mark Easton speaks to members of the public to get their reaction to the row over government adviser Dominic Cummings driving long distances during lockdown.
18:46 26 May
G7 meeting 'to go ahead at White House'
The G7 summit of world leaders will still happen “towards the end of June” and will take place at the White House in Washington DC despite coronavirus precautions, White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany has said.
She told a briefing that US President Donald Trump sees the summit as a great "example of reopening in his transition to greatness" - a phrase the Trump administration has used to characterise the reopening of states' economies.
"We will protect world leaders who come here just like we protect people at the White House," McEnany adds.
Two White House staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus. One of them returned to work earlier today.
18:37 26 May
Pompeii reopens to visitors
The ancient city of Pompeii has started welcoming visitors again, after being closed for more than two months.
If people want to visit the Italian tourist attraction, they need to book a place in advance. Then, when they arrive, they'll need to have their temperatures checked by a thermal scanner. They also have to follow a specific route through the site.
However foreign tourists are still banned from travelling to Italy, and will be until next month. Pompeii is also due to fully reopen in June.
The city was smothered in volcanic ash when Mount Vesuvius erupted nearly 2,000 years ago. Many of its residents and their belongings have been preserved among the ruins.
18:28 26 May
What will staying in a hotel be like in future?
Many countries in Europe are considering ending border controls as the coronavirus pandemic begins to ease.
BBC OS has been hearing reaction from hotel owners.
Giancarlo Carniani manages three small hotels in Florence, Italy - and hopes to reopen one of them in June.
"Covid-19 has finally shown our country how important tourism is," he says. "In the last few years everyone has been complaining about over-tourism in the city. It will be a different era once this is all over."
Ines Miro-Sans (pictured) owns a boutique hotel in Barcelona, Spain, which could open up again in September.
"We are trying to humanise the situation. We are going to use masks but maybe using a special textile."
Nikos Voulgardis, who plans to reopen his hotel on the Greek island of Rhodes in July, said: "When people come to us they come to a home. We don't need plastic dividers."
18:15 26 May
If you're just joining us...
Quite a lot has happened today. If you've just clicked onto our live coverage, here are the main headlines.
UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government would "look at" the question of reviewing fines given to families who breached lockdown rules for childcare reasons
This comes after a junior minister resigned over the actions of top aide Dominic Cummings, who is accused of breaking lockdown rules by travelling from London to Durham
In the US , New York Governor Andrew Cuomo rang the opening bell of the New York Stock Exchange to reopen the trading floor. Brokers cheered, while wearing masks and socially distancing from each other
Amnesty International warned of serious security vulnerabilities in a contract-tracing app in Qatar, which is compulsory for people to download
Spain announced a 10-day official mourning period, beginning tomorrow, which will be concluded with a memorial ceremony to honour the almost 30,000 people in the country who've died of coronavirus
The Netherlands may have recorded the first known cases of animal-to-human transmission of the virus at a mink farm, the World Health Organization (WHO) said, after two farm workers became ill
Russia's President Vladimir Putin says its postponed Victory Day parade, which was supposed to be held on 9 May, will now take place on 24 June
The number of infections worldwide has now passed 5.5 million, and more than 347,000 people have died, according to US-based Johns Hopkins University
18:06 26 May
UK prison staff infections jump after reporting errors corrected
Danny Shaw
BBC Home Affairs Correspondent
The number of prison staff infected by Covid-19 in the UK has increased by almost 300 after the Ministry of Justice spotted errors in how the data had been compiled.
By lunchtime on Tuesday, 873 staff were reported to have tested positive across 104 jails in England and Wales - out of 117 prisons overall.
On Friday, the number was 575 prison staff testing positive in 77 jails.
The Ministry of Justice said: “Prisons have moved towards a more robust way of reporting Covid-19 staff cases, and further evaluation of the data has produced the higher figure included in today’s summary.”
The department added that the figures “reflect the total number of recorded positive cases - not the number of live cases - of Covid-19, and includes individuals that have recovered.”
17:59 26 May
Asterix drawings help raise money for Paris hospitals
Four drawings by the co-creator of Asterix the Gaul have been sold for €390,000 (£347,000, $426,000) to help Paris hospitals.
Albert Uderzo, who helped invent the hero who took on the Romans, died in March from heart failure at the age of 92.
His widow, Ada, said the auction was a way of thanking "our new heroes who have resisted the invader" (referring to the virus).
The drawings - included images from Asterix and the Secret Weapon and Asterix and Obelix All At Sea - were donated to the Paris hospitals trust by the artist's widow and daughter.
17:51 26 May
What did Hancock say on childcare-related lockdown fines?
Following the UK briefing, there has been some confusion about whether the health secretary announced a review of fines issued to families for leaving their homes for childcare reasons during lockdown.
A government source has told the BBC's political editor, Laura Kuenssberg, that Matt Hancock merely committed to passing on the question raised by Martin Poole, a vicar from Brighton.
Mr Hancock said the government would "look at" the issue and "make an announcement from this podium - I think we can make that commitment".
Watch to see what Mr Hancock said in full.
Source:bbc

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