Thailand reported 53 new coronavirus cases and the death of a 48-year-old Thai man who was infected with the virus along with four other family members.
Of the new cases, three were linked to previous cases, one had no known links, and 42 are migrant workers who have been under quarantine at an immigration detention centre in the southern province of Songkhla.
Seven other new cases were reported from the southern province of Yala, where authorities are aggressively testing the population because of high infection rates there, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government’s Centre for COVID-19 Situation Administration.
Since the outbreak escalated in January, Thailand has reported a total of 2,907 cases and 51 deaths, while 2,547 patients have recovered and gone home.
Catch up on our global report here.
Nearly 60 new cases found on cruise ship in Japan, as Thailand reports more infections, and report says China pressured EU to tone down assessment of disinformation campaign by Beijing.
With the US coronavirus death toll topping 51,000 and nearly one in six workers out of a job, Georgia, Oklahoma and several other states took tentative steps at reopening businesses on Friday, despite disapproval from President Donald Trump and medical experts.
Sri Lanka has reimposed a countrywide 24-hour curfew after a surge in the number of confirmed coronavirus cases, most of them navy sailors who were hunting those evading quarantine.
The 46 new infections on Friday were the highest in a day, bringing the total to 420, including seven deaths.
Sri Lanka partially lifted a monthlong curfew on Monday during daytime hours in more than two thirds of the country.
The new curfew remains in effect until Monday. Police have arrested more than 30,000 violators.
Among the newly infected were 30 navy sailors from a camp on the outskirts of the capital, Colombo. A total 60 sailors so far have been infected and the camp isolated.
Boris Johnson return expected soon
Boris Johnson is expected to return to work soon after his recovery from Covid-19, as pressure mounts on his government to explain how to get Britain out of lockdown.
Johnson, 55, has been recuperating at the British prime ministerial retreat, Chequers, outside London since his release from hospital on 12 April.
But there have been increasing signs his return to Downing Street could be imminent, after officials said he had spoken to Queen Elizabeth II and also US President Donald Trump.
The Daily Telegraph, Johnson’s former employer, suggested he could be back at his desk on Monday, and hold briefing meetings with individual cabinet ministers.
But health secretary Matt Hancock was more cautious, despite the prime minister’s progress.
“I spoke to him yesterday, he’s cheerful, and he’s ebullient and he’s definitely on the mend in a big way,” he said on Friday.
“When exactly he comes back is a matter for him and his doctors.”
Australia’s national sporting codes – like most in the world – have been shut down by the pandemic, but its national rugby league competition is determined to come back as soon as possible.
There’s been talk of staging a televised competition on an island, or another dedicated site cut off from the outside world. The organisation also went rogue and declared it would restart in May, despite government advice or a plan on how to do it.
Today, the chairman of the Australian Rugby League Commission has floated the possibility of having rugby fans download an app and “self-isolate” for 14 days if they want to go to the State of Origin – one of the year’s most significant and competitive series of games.
Peter V’landys made the comments to Triple M radio this morning, saying he was looking at ways to hold the event with a safer or smaller crowd.
The ARLC has already announced that a three-game Origin series will be held at the end of the year, but the exact details are yet to be determined.
Today V’landys floated a number of possibilities, including holding the games in a way that “rewards health workers”.
“We may not have the crowds of a normal State of Origin, but a limited crowd with social distancing, and there’s a few ideas we have in rewarding the emergency workers,” he said.
“There’s another one where we put people on an app and if you’re a really hardcore supporter and you can stay at home for 14 days and isolate yourself and we track you on the app, you can go to the game.
“There’s a few things we can do in that period of time.”
Why do female leaders seem to be more successful at managing the coronavirus crisis? Plenty of countries with male leaders have also done well. But few with female leaders have done badly, write my colleagues John Henley and Eleanor Ainge Roy.
Jacinda Ardern, 39, New Zealand’s prime minister, has held Kiwis’ hands through the lockdown, delivering empathetic “stay home, save lives” video messages from her couch and communicating daily through non-combative press conferences or intimate Facebook Live videos, her favourite medium.
In Germany, Angela Merkel has been hailed for direct but uncharacteristically personal public interventions, warning that up to 70% of people would contract the virus – the country’s “greatest challenge” since 1945 – and lamenting every death as that of “a father or grandfather, a mother or grandmother, a partner …”
Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen responded equally fast, activating the country’s central epidemic command centre in early January and introducing travel restrictions and quarantine measures. Mass public hygiene measures were rolled out, including disinfecting public areas and buildings.
About 150 Australians and New Zealanders are scheduled to leave Buenos Aires on Saturday afternoon local time in what will be the final government-supported repatriation flight from Argentina.
The Qantas flight is due to land in Melbourne at 7.30pm on Sunday. It was announced last weekend, after an earlier attempt to organise a commercial flight was delayed.
Argentina has closed its borders, meaning the flight was only open to those already in the country. Another flight is due to leave Uruguay on Sunday.
US Navy wants to reinstate Captain Crozier
The US navy has recommended reinstating the fired captain of the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, whose crew hailed him as their hero for risking his job to safeguard their lives from coronavirus, officials have said.
The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the navy’s leadership made the recommendation to reinstate Brett Crozier to the defence secretary, Mark Esper, on Friday, three weeks after Crozier was relieved of command after the leak of a letter he wrote calling on the navy for stronger measures to protect the crew.
Crozier was fired by the navy’s top civilian, then-acting navy secretary Thomas Modly, against the recommendations of uniformed leaders, who suggested he wait for an investigation into the letter’s leak.
Modly’s decision backfired badly, as members of the crew hailed their captain as a hero in an emotional sendoff captured on video that went viral on social media.
Almost 60 new cases on Italian cruise ship
Around one quarter of the crew on board an Italian cruise ship docked in Japan have been diagnosed with Covid-19, after 57 new cases were reported on Saturday.
All 623 crew members on board the Costa Atlantica have been tested, with almost 150 returning a positive reading, TV Asahi and NHK reported. One person is in hospital.
The ship has been docked at Nagasaki since February for repairs and maintenance after the pandemic prevented scheduled repairs in China.
Nagasaki authorities had quarantined the vessel on arrival, and ordered its crew not to venture beyond the quay except for hospital visits.
But prefecture officials said earlier this week that some of the crew had departed without their knowledge, and sought detailed information on their movements.
Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has downgraded its outlook for Greece on forecasts the economy will plunge into recession on the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, while maintaining the country’s credit rating.
S&P forecast the Greek economy would contract by around 9% in 2020 on “uncertainty about the duration of the pandemic and resulting economic crisis”, revising its outlook from “positive” to “stable”.
After a nearly decade-long debt crisis and the loss of almost a quarter of GDP, the Mediterranean country had expected growth of at least 2.4% for 2020.
The Greek prime minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, recently warned of a “deep” recession due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, before a recovery in 2021.
Meanwhile Italy’s economically punishing coronavirus lockdown, combined with big-spend stimulus packages to support families and firms, will push public debt and deficit to dizzying heights, the government said on Friday.
The cabinet approved the spring budget document (DEF), which forecast that the eurozone’s third-largest economy would plunge into a deep recession this year, with gross domestic product retracting by 8%.
The government is widening the budget deficit by €55bn, the “shock cure necessary to enable the country to face this difficult phase”, Riccardo Fraccaro, cabinet undersecretary, was quoted as saying by Italian media.