Key developments in the global coronavirus outbreak today include:
Russia records biggest rise in deaths
Russia suffers its greatest daily increase in deaths, with 232 more in 24 hours. That pushes the nationwide total to 4,374. Officials say 8,572 new infections have been confirmed, bringing the national tally to 387,623. Russia has the third highest reported total of cases in the world after the United States and Brazil.
Iran sees highest tally of new infections since early April
Iran identifies more new cases in a day than at any time since early April, with 2,819 more people testing positive on Friday.
Kianoush Jahanpour, the Iranian health ministry spokesman, adds that 50 more people have died in the same period, pushing the total death toll from the outbreak to 7,677. Out of 146,668 cases detected so far, 114,931 people have recovered.
South Africa has backlog of nearly 100,000 tests
Health authorities in South Africa say the country has a backlog of nearly 100,000 unprocessed tests as it and other countries on the continent face difficulties in obtaining essential supplies.
“This challenge is caused by the limited availability of test kits globally,” the health ministry says. Priority is given to processing tests from hospital patients and health workers.
South Korea reimposes some lockdown measures
Plans to reopen more than 800 schools in South Korea are shelved as the country battles a renewed outbreak. The country’s easing of lockdown measures goes into reverse, with museums, parks and art galleries closed again on Friday for two weeks amid a resurgence in infections. It was originally reported only 200 of the schools due to reopen would remain closed.
Sweden left out of Nordic border reopenings
A Nordic rift opens up over proposals to ease restrictions, with Sweden excluded from Norwegian and Danish plans to reopen their borders to tourists from some countries next month. The Danish prime minister, Mette Frederiksen, and the Norwegian prime minister, Erna Solberg, say most restrictions will end on 15 June.
UK, France, Spain and Italy excluded from Greece border reopening
Greece is to reopen its airports in Athens and Thessaloniki to arrivals from 29 countries from 15 June, the start of the tourist season. Visitors from 16 EU countries – including Germany, Austria and Denmark – will be allowed in, the tourism ministry says.
Countries not on the list include those hardest hit by the pandemic including France, Spain and Italy, as well as the UK.
Many people with symptoms in UK not self-isolating
Only half of the people in the UK who develop symptoms self-isolate for at least a week, according to the government’s scientific advisers. The revelation raises questions about the success of the country’s test, trace and isolate strategy, which is needed to contain future outbreaks.
UK businesses must pay towards furlough scheme
The UK’s furlough scheme cannot continue indefinitely and employers will be asked to contribute to pay the wages of staff sent home under the programme, the country’s chancellor, Rishi Sunak, says.
In June and July, the scheme will continue as before, with the government paying 80% of wages up to £2,500. Employers will be asked to pay national insurance and employer pension contributions from August but will start paying towards people’s wages in September.