Here is a very thought-provoking piece from Simon Tisdall, arguing that an age of revolution in the post-coronavirus world is inevitable – and the biggest question is what form it takes.

JP Morgan’s chief executive, Jamie Dimon, called the pandemic “a wake-up call … for business and government to think, act and invest for the common good”. This sounds almost socialistic.

A revolutionary agenda for the post-pandemic world also includes meaningful steps to address poverty and the north-south wealth gap, more urgent approaches to linked climate, energy, water and mass extinction crises and, for example, the adoption of so-called doughnut economics that measures prosperity by counting shared social, health and environmental benefits, not GDP growth.

It may seem like pie in the sky. But so too did the idea of millions working from home, and halting road and air travel, until it happened almost overnight. Whether recognised as such or not, this is a revolutionary manifesto that, if it is pursued – as a growing body of opinion believes it must be – will demand the utter transformation of current political behaviour and organisation.

The whole article is here, and well worth a few minutes of your time:

Russia reports its highest daily Covid-19 death toll

Russia this morning reported 153 coronavirus deaths over the previous 24 hours, its highest daily toll during the pandemic, raising total fatalities to 3,541.

The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre also said 8,599 new cases had been documented, a reduction of 835 on the previous day – pushing the nationwide tally of infections to 344,481.

Sweden has run the least-restrictive lockdown of any developed country but, with its overall Covid-19 death toll expected to pass 4,000 this weekend, that strategy is coming under fire. Anneka Linde, the predecessor of the country’s state epidemiologist, has told the Observer that tougher restrictions should have been put in place earlier in the pandemic.

Linde, who oversaw Sweden’s response to swine flu and Sars as state epidemiologist from 2005 to 2013, had until now expressed support for her country’s approach under her successor, Anders Tegnell.

But she has now become the first member of the public health establishment to break ranks, saying she has changed her mind as a result of Sweden’s relatively high death toll compared with that of its neighbours, Denmark, Norway, and Finland.

“I think that we needed more time for preparedness. If we had shut down very early … we would have been able, during that time, to make sure that we had what was necessary to protect the vulnerable,” Linde told the Observer.

Here is the full story, from Richard Orange:


Socially distanced Eid al-Fitr prayers are taking place across the world – as seen here at a mosque in Zagreb, Croatia.


Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images


A 107-year-old Iranian woman who was infected with coronavirus has recovered, according to Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency. The woman, Saltanat Akbari, was admitted to the Khansari hospital in the central city of Arak. She was released from the hospital after spending “some time” in isolation.

“She defeated the virus with the help of doctors and nurses at the hospital,” Fars said. Iran is one of the most affected countries in the Middle East with a total of 133,521 infected cases and 7,359 deaths.

Our UK coronavirus live blog is now up, running and in the hands of Jedidajah Otte. It will be well worth keeping an eye on, as trailed two posts ago.

Singapore has confirmed 548 more coronavirus cases, taking its tally to 31,616. The vast majority of the newly infected people are migrant workers living in dormitories, the health ministry said. Three are permanent residents. To date there have been 23 deaths from Covid-19 in the country.

Just in case you missed it, the big story in the UK involves Dominic Cummings, the most senior adviser to prime minister Boris Johnson. Last night, we reported claims that, further to Friday evening’s exclusive that he breached lockdown rules, he has done so on other occasions. It is a story that will dominate the British news agenda today.

Matthew Weaver’s piece is here:


The festival of Eid al-Fitr, which ends the fasting month of Ramadan, began at dawn today. It is a time of joy and celebration, but there are concerns in the Middle East that those festivities could bring about a surge in coronavirus cases – so they have been constrained in many places. Michael Safi, in Amman, and Harriet Sherwood have reported this story for us.

“It’s sad, it hurts,” said Mohammad, who runs a sugarcane juice stall. “Normally we’d wake up, take our kids to pray, and visit family and friends. It was cheerful, we felt joy.” This year? “We’ll eat, drink and sleep,” he said. “And we’ll hang around annoying our wives,” said his father, grinning behind him.

Contact with family and friends is part of the festival. “We’ll visit them,” said Abdul Kareem, queuing outside a bakery. “But it’ll be on WhatsApp, Skype, Facebook.”

The owner of a nearby shoe shop, Wissam, watched the bustle from his door. “This isn’t right,” he says of the busy scene. “There’s a virus out there.”

Full story:

Nick Ames

Good morning, afternoon or evening, wherever you are. I’ll be taking you through the next eight hours, more or less, of live Covid-19 news and updates from around the world. As always, it would be good to hear from you. Send any news tips, observations, comments or feedback to, or by all means drop me a direct message on Twitter @NickAmes82.


That’s it from me, Helen Sullivan for today. Thanks as always for following along.

Here are the most important developments from the last few hours:

  • Wuhan lab had bat coronaviruses – but not Covid-19. The Chinese virology institute in Wuhan, the city in China at the heart of the coronavirus pandemic, has three live strains of bat coronavirus on-site, but none match the Covid-19 strain, its director has said. The director of the Wuhan Institute of Virology told state broadcaster CGTN that claims by US president Donald Trump that the virus could have leaked from the facility were “pure fabrication”. In an interview filmed on 13 May but broadcast on Saturday night, Wang Yanyi said the centre had “isolated and obtained some coronaviruses from bats. Now we have three strains of live viruses … But their highest similarity to Sars-CoV-2 only reaches 79.8%.”
  • US opens up for summer. There are fears the US will suffer a second wave of coronavirus infections as it opens up for summer, just days away from the grim milestone of 100,000 Covid-19 deaths. Every state has relaxed restrictions to some extent, with many flocking to beaches and outdoor areas. The New York Times filled the entire front page of Sunday’s paper with the death notices of victims from across the country as the country recorded more than 97,000 deaths.
  • Argentina extends lockdown. Argentina has extended the mandatory lockdown in Buenos Aires until 7 June and tightened some movement restrictions, after a steady increase in the city’s confirmed coronavirus cases in recent days. Officials will tighten traffic controls between the capital and Buenos Aires province, the area with the second highest concentration of cases. The country recorded 704 new infections on Saturday, one of the highest single-day increases since the pandemic began.
  • Brazil cases near 350,000. Brazil registered 965 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday, taking the total number of fatalities to 22,013, the health ministry said. The country now has 347,398 confirmed cases, according to the ministry, up 16,508 from Friday, when it surpassed Russia to become the world’s virus hot spot behind the US. The actual number of cases and deaths is believed to be higher than the official figures disclosed by the government, as the testing capacity of Latin America’s largest country still lags.
  • New Zealand reports no new cases. New Zealand’s health ministry has announced there were zero new coronavirus cases confirmed in the last 24 hours. According to NewsHub, there are now only 27 active cases left in New Zealand, with one more patient recovered, bringing the country’s total to 1,154, with 21 deaths.
  • Australian states ease restrictions. In Australia, Victorian state premier, Daniel Andrews, has said Victorians will be allowed to have 20 people in their homes as well as overnight stays in hotels from 1 June. In New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, health minister Brad Hazzard announced that beauty, tanning, nail and waxing salons would all be open from 1 June.
  • Pompeo threatens Australia over Belt and Road projects. The US secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, has implied information sharing with Australia may be at risk if the Victoria proceeds with any Belt and Road projects that jeopardise communications networks. Issuing the highly qualified warning during an interview with Sky News Australia, the News Corp-owned channel, Pompeo urged Victoria to scrutinise any proposals “incredibly closely” because Belt and Road projects could “build up the capacity of the Chinese Communist party to do harm”. Victoria has attracted domestic political criticism for signing an agreement that would allow for it be part of the Belt and Road Initiative.
  • French churches to hold first masses since lockdown started. French churches were preparing to hold their first Sunday masses in more than two months after the government bowed to a ruling that they should be reopened. Nearly two weeks into the relaxation of its shutdown, the government finally allowed churches, mosques and synagogues to reopen. Worshippers will have to wear masks, there will have to be disinfectant gel on hand and the seating will need to be organised to ensure people keep a safe distance from each other.
  • Boris Johnson’s chief adviser under pressure as second trip emerges. In the UK, prime minister Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, faces renewed pressure to resign after new witnesses reported seeing him making a fresh trip hundreds of miles to Durham.


In Australia, a Darwin pub has been fined more than AU$5,000 (US$3,270) for repeatedly failing to adhere to strict coronavirus laws.

Police and environmental health officers issued a caution to Lola’s Pergola on 15 May for failing to serve separate meals to people consuming liquor, patrons not being seated while drinking and social distancing not being implemented.

One week later, further observations confirmed reports from concerned patrons that alcohol was being served without meals.

Advice about the chief health officer’s directions was provided to the owner at the time.

But the next day, the venue had to be cautioned again and the following day the infringement notice was issued.

More than 11,000 compliance checks have been completed and 57 fines issued.


Michael Savage

UK low-income households denied coronavirus support by benefit cap

Tens of thousands of poor households are being denied extra support designed to ease the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, after being hit by the government’s benefit cap.

The number of low-income households affected by the cap in London has doubled since the crisis started, according to analysis seen by the Observer. Households already at the cap when the crisis hit have been missing out on £320 a month in additional support. For private renters with children, this is £532 a month. A further 22,000 households are now at the cap and are missing out on an average of £185 a month.

It has led to an outcry that there is now a two-tier system, in which workers on the government’s furlough scheme have access to far more support than some of those reliant on welfare. Sadiq Khan, the London mayor, is calling for the cap to be increased during the pandemic.

The government introduced new help for those claiming universal credit, however, the cap was not increased or suspended.

UK front pages:

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