Trump news: Trump visits golf course for second day in a row as coronavirus deaths near 100,000
Trump news: Trump visits golf course for second day in a row as coronavirus deaths near 100,000
As the nation’s death toll approaches 100,000 lives lost during the coronavirus pandemic, Donald Trump was spotted playing golf on Saturday and Sunday, as crowds of people flocked to beaches and parties over Memorial Day weekend despite growing infection rates across the US.
The president also shared sexist insults about his political rivals, including one message that called Hillary Clinton a “skank”, while also spending the weekend on Twitter floating conspiracy theories about MSNBC host Joe Scarborough.
After encouraging Americans to spend the weekend outdoors and at the golf course, White House health official Dr Deborah Birx defended her remarks following reports of massive crowds over the holiday weekend and suggested that Americans need to change their behaviour and follow physical distancing guidelines, which are beginning to ease in most states after weeks of quarantine.
Offline, Mr Trump spent the holiday weekend at his Virginia golf club, where he was captured putting, driving his golf cart and waving to supporters.
In another apparent attempt to undermine the results of an election, the president also continued to push his false claim that mail-in or absentee voting would lead to voter fraud, a falsehood that even a commission that he appointed to investigate had failed to find any evidence.
“The United States cannot have all Mail In Ballots. It will be the greatest Rigged Election in history,” Mr Trump said on Twitter. “People grab them from mailboxes, print thousands of forgeries and ‘force’ people to sign. Also, forge names.”
There is no evidence to suggest this happens.
The president’s top economic adviser meanwhile has predicted that the unemployment rate will remain in double digits by the 2020 presidential election in November and hit 20 per cent by the end of May, as the number of unemployed Americans continues to creep upward.
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On Saturday evening new claims emerged Dominic Cummings had taken more than one trip to County Durham, after eyewitnesses reported seeing him on 12 April, 30 miles from Durham in Barnard Castle.
Another eyewitness said they saw the prime minister’s most trusted aide in Durham on 19 April, days after he had been photographed returning to Downing Street.
Read the full story here.
Conservative MP Steve Baker, a prominent member of the 1922 Committee of backbench Tories, said Dominic Cummings “must go”.
He tweeted: “It is intolerable that Boris’ government is losing so much political capital. Three changes are immediately required: 1 – Govt needs competitive expert advice 2 – Govt must insist on high software engineering standards 3 – Dominic Cummings must go.”
The academic leading the Oxford University trial for a coronavirus vaccine has said it only has a 50 per cent chance of success.
Speaking to The Telegraph, project leader Professor Adrian Hill said the success of the vaccine was far from guaranteed and cautioned against “over promising”.
But that hasn’t stopped pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca which announced a $1.2 billion deal with the US government to produce 400 million doses of the unproven vaccine first produced in Professor Hill’s Oxford lab.
Claims promoted by the Trump administration that the global coronavirus pandemic originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the central Chinese city are a “pure fabrication”, the institute’s director said.
Wang Yanyi was quoted by state media on Sunday as saying the institute did not have “any knowledge before that nor had we ever met, researched or kept the virus… We didn’t even know about the existence of the virus, so how could it be leaked from our lab when we didn’t have it?”
US president Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly said they suspect the virus that was first detected in Wuhan was somehow released from the laboratory.
Most scientists say the pathogen that has infected 5.3 million and killed more than 342,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University, was passed from bats to humans via an intermediary species likely sold at a wet market in Wuhan late last year.
The virus’ toll continued to ebb in Asia and other parts of the world, with China on Sunday reporting three new confirmed cases and just 79 people remaining in treatment for Covid-19.
President Donald Trump played golf at one of his courses on Saturday during the US’s Memorial Day weekend as he urged states to reopen after coronavirus-related lockdowns.
Many Americans have remained cautious as the number of confirmed cases nationwide passed 1.6 million.
In California, where many businesses and recreational activities are reopening, officials in Los Angeles County said they would maintain tight restrictions until July 4.
New York reported its lowest number of daily coronavirus deaths – 84 – in many weeks in what Governor Andrew Cuomo described as a critical benchmark. The daily death tally peaked at 799 on April 8.
France is relaxing its border restrictions as the virus gradually recedes, allowing migrant workers and family visitors from other European countries – but is requiring quarantine for people arriving from Britain and Spain.
Starting on Monday, France is abandoning border checks installed in March and switching to spot checks in various places, according to a government statement.
It is also broadening the categories of people allowed from other countries in Europe’s border-free travel zone to include migrant workers and people coming for family reasons.
However, since Britain and Spain are requiring quarantine for those arriving from elsewhere in Europe, France is doing the same. It will be a voluntary 14-day quarantine, based on reciprocity for measures taken by Britain and Spain in an “uncoordinated” manner, the French government said.
Travellers from outside Europe are still banned until at least June 15, except for French citizens.
Any traveller arriving in France must fill out a permission form justifying the trip and a signed paper declaring that they do not have symptoms.
The government said France is working with other European countries on standard Europe-wide travel rules.
Conservative MPs have ramped up pressure on Boris Johnson to dispense with his top aide amid fresh allegations that Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules more than once.
The Prime Minister has been urged to sack Mr Cummings after reports surfaced that the 48-year-old made a second trip to County Durham, where his family lives, despite stringent social restrictions.
At least six Tories, including prominent 1922 Committee member Steve Baker, said Mr Cummings “must go”, but Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said reports of a second trip were “not true”.
The PM pledged his “full support” on Saturday to his under-fire chief adviser, who it emerged had travelled 260 miles to the North East in March to self-isolate with his family while official guidelines warned against long-distance journeys.
Other Conservative MPs calling for Mr Cummings’ to be sacked include Sir Roger Gale, who said: “While as a father and as a grandfather I fully appreciate Mr Cummings’ desire to protect his child. There cannot be one law for the Prime Minister’s staff and another for everyone else. He has sent out completely the wrong message and his position is no longer tenable.”
Caroline Noakes, Conservative MP for Romsey and Southampton said: “There cannot be one rule for most of us and wriggle room for others. My inbox is rammed with very angry constituents and I do not blame them. They have made difficult sacrifices over the course of the last 9 weeks.”
Others who have also called for Mr Cummings to go include: Simon Hoare, Damian Collins and Sir Peter Bone.
She said: “Please stick to lockdown rules for now & not just because they are the rules – they remain the best way to protect yourself and your loved ones.
“Please stay at home except for essential purposes, stay 2 metres apart from others when you are out and don’t meet other households.
“If you have Covid-19 symptoms – a new, persistent cough, fever, loss/change of taste/smell – please isolate at home for 7 days. If someone in your household has symptoms please isolate for 14 days.
“We will review the current rules on Thursday and hopefully, evidence permitting, move to Phase 1 of scotgov routemap out of lockdown, with the gradual easing of some restrictions.
“But for now, please continue to do the right thing – it really is helping to save lives.”
After one journalist asked if he had returned to Durham in April, Mr Cummings said: “No, I did not.”
Mr Cummings, who was wearing a lanyard with an ID card, was carrying a note pad and what appeared to be a black bin bag.
The family then got in the car and drove away.
“Defending Dominic Cummings is the icing on the cake of the government’s spectacular display of incompetence,” writes The Independent‘s Sean O’Grady.
Seems so. The impression given is that the prime minister is so dependent on this man as a sort of intellectual valet that he simply cannot live without him. He is Boris’s “brain” by the looks of things, and I’m not sure that’s a reassuring thought, given where we are now.
Read Sean’s piece in full here.
South Africa is struggling to balance its fight against the coronavirus with its dire need to resume economic activity, AP reports.
The country is still in the early stages of the pandemic, leading health experts to predict the peak could come as late as August or September. A surge of cases in Cape Town suggests that the city might reach its maximum near the end of June. The forecasts portend a lengthy wait to resume normal activity.
Other African countries appear to be on a similar trajectory. Forty-three of the continent’s 54 nations have imposed containment measures, including lockdowns, bans on public gatherings, school closures and curfews.
French environment minister Élisabeth Borne says parks in Paris will remain closed for now despite city hall demanding they reopen.
Paris is still a “red zone” for coronavirus circulation.
The New York Times has identified the names of 1,000 people who have died from coronavirus during the global crisis as America’s death toll continues to soar to almost 100,000.
America, where Covid-19 has claimed more lives than any other country in the world, is easing lockdown restrictions despite the fact experts have predicted such reopenings will lead to thousands of further deaths.
Read the full story here.
It is not a question of whether it is “safe” to open schools but of whether it is “safe enough”, a leading public health academic has said.
Professor Devi Sridhar, personal chair in global public health at the University of Edinburgh, said the Government needed to decide what “threshold of risk” is acceptable to the public.
Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, she said in order to earn their trusts, politicians must be “completely honest with teachers and parents about scientific uncertainty”.
“We know children carry the virus, we don’t know the degree they transmit it to adults,” she said.
Prof Sridhar said: “We need to have monitoring in place – testing, tracing and the ability to break chains of transmission and identify quickly clusters in schools.”
She said it was also not clear what the link is between Covid-19 and the rise in the number of cases of a condition resembling Kawasaki disease during the pandemic.
The mysterious inflammatory syndrome mainly affects children under five and some doctors think it could be triggered by Covid-19.
At least one Tory MP is calling for an address from prime minister Boris Johnson over the country’s coronavirus response and his senior adviser Dominic Cummings’ alleged trips to County Durham during lockdown.
Tobias Ellwood said: “GOVERNMENT is entering the most complex phase of biggest emergency since WW2.
“But the ship is being blown off course.
“Time for a FORMAL ADDRESS from the Captain offering firm leadership, command & control to resolve setbacks, re-unite collective resolve & rebuild mission focus.”
Air France will have to “drastically” reduce its domestic air traffic in exchange for state loan guarantees, French Environment Minister Elisabeth Borne said on Sunday.
Domestic routes were served by alternatives in the form of high-speed trains, she noted in an interview with France Inter radio.
The government last month offered the airline a €7bn (£6.2bn) package made up of state-guaranteed bank loans and loans directly from the state.
In exchange for the loan guarantees, the airline had promised to reduce domestic CO2 emissions by 50 per cent by 2024, Ms Borne added.
Labour’s Ian Murray has condemned a lack of transparency from both the UK and Scottish governments as the further impact of coronavirus cases linked to a Nike conference in Edinburgh came to light.
More than 70 employees from around the world attended the event at the Hilton Carlton Hotel on February 26 and 27.
Investigations found that at least 25 people linked to the event contracted Covid-19, including eight in Scotland, but the incident was not made public until it was revealed in a television documentary earlier this month.
The first coronavirus case in Scotland was announced on March 1 and was a Tayside resident unrelated to the conference.
But the Sunday Times says it has been reported locally that the North East of England’s “patient zero” attended the conference in February and the infection was passed to a second person in Newcastle at a child’s birthday party.
The Chronicle newspaper also states that a church in Newcastle closed after a member tested positive for coronavirus, with it being “understood the patient works for Nike in Sunderland and contracted the virus after attending a conference in Edinburgh” – although this was unconfirmed at the time.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the COVIDSafe app is playing a strong role in Australia’s response to the pandemic and that several countries have expressed interest in learning from its positive impacts.
If a user is diagnosed, the app works to identify other users who have been in close proximity for 15 minutes or more in the previous three weeks.
The government has said at least 40% of Australia’s 26 million people need to use the app for it to be effective. There are approximately 17 million cellphones in Australia.
The government and states have been easing restrictions on travel and allowed for increased use of restaurants and bars in the past few weeks. Australia has recorded more than 7,100 cases of the coronavirus, including 102 deaths.