FILE PHOTO: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivers a commencement speech during a ceremony with post-secondary graduates in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada June 10, 2020. REUTERS/Blair Gable
OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada will take airline passengers’ temperatures before they fly and anyone with a fever will not be allowed to travel, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Friday.
“Temperature checks will not be detecting people with COVID-19,” Trudeau said in a news conference. “It’s an extra layer of safety to encourage people who might feel sick to stay home and not put others at risk.”
The screening will be phased in, with those arriving in Canada being screened by the end of June, and then for those leaving the country as well as for domestic travelers at the country’s four biggest airports by the end of July.
If a traveler is found to have a fever after two separate measurements 10 minutes apart, they will be asked to rebook after 14 days have passed, the transport minister said.
Canada and the United States are set to extend a ban on non-essential travel to late July as both countries seek to control the spread of the coronavirus, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier this week.
Canada last week said it would require most airport workers and flight crews to wear non-medical masks.
The spread of the coronavirus has slowed in Canada in recent weeks, and all the provinces have begun to ease restrictions and open up for business again. As of Thursday, Canada had recorded 97,530 total cases and 7,994 deaths, up from 7,960 deaths a day earlier, official data show.
More than 80% of the deaths have been in long-term care facilities and nursing homes, prompting Ottawa to send the military to help out.
Also on Friday, Trudeau extended the military presence in long-term care homes in both Ontario and Quebec until June 26. When the military pulls out, the Canadian Red Cross will be moving in to help, Trudeau said.
Reporting by Steve Scherer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Jonathan Oatis
BRAUNSCHWEIG, Germany (Reuters) – German and British investigators looking into the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann 13 years ago are relying on hundreds of tips from the public to firm up evidence against Christian B., a suspected rapist they believe murdered her.
FILE PHOTO: Kate and Gerry McCann pose with a computer generated image of how their missing daughter Madeleine might look now, during a news conference in London May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning
The 43-year-old German with a string of prior convictions was living in the Algarve region of Portugal when 3-year-old Madeleine vanished from her bedroom, sparking one of Europe’s largest-ever missing person investigations.
His emergence as a suspect in recent weeks has brought a the case back to the front pages of British newspapers.
Cellular phone data places the suspect near the holiday home where Madeleine was sleeping when she disappeared while her parents were at a restaurant in the holiday resort.
But more evidence is needed to be certain of keeping him in the prison in Kiel where he is currently serving a sentence for drug dealing, Hans Christian Wolters, a prosecutor in the central German city of Braunschweig, told Reuters on Friday.
Police broadcast a televised appeal for information last week in the hope that members of the public might turn up evidence needed to bring charges. Since then police in Britain and Germany have received “hundreds” of tips, Wolters said.
“Our investigation has turned up some evidence that was reason enough for us to go to the public, but it is an open secret that our suspicions are not firm enough to issue an arrest warrant,” he said.
Under German law, police have not released the suspect’s surname and media in Germany are not permitted to report it, although it has appeared in some British media. Calls to lawyers representing the suspect were not answered.
Braunschweig prosecutors are leading the investigation because the city was the last place the suspect had a fixed abode in Germany.
Wolters said the investigation would be more difficult if the suspect is released. He has already served two-thirds of his sentence, meaning a court could free him any day now.
Prosecutors have prepared another warrant for his arrest in a separate case over the 2005 rape of a 72-year-old American woman in Algarve, but the suspect is challenging the validity of that warrant at an EU court.
Wolters declined to comment on a report in Der Spiegel magazine on Friday that police had inadvertently warned the suspect they were investigating him over the McCann case as far back as 2013.
“I can’t say if those investigations were optimal or if there were any shortcomings,” he said.
Reporting by Thomas Escritt; Editing by Peter Graff
HANOI (Reuters) – Stuck at home with school suspended, Nguyen Doi Chung Anh made the most of a lockdown in Vietnam by using art to demonstrate tragedy, resilience and chaos in the world’s battle against the coronavirus.
The work of 10-year-old Chung Anh shows how events unfolded globally, depicting the devastation with drawings of the coronavirus attacking landmarks like the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty, Big Ben and the Leaning Tower of Pisa as it spread through Europe, the United States and beyond.
Her pictures also aim to highlight Vietnam’s success in containing the virus after a wave of imported infections, one with a virus-hit passenger plane in the arms of two soldiers and another showing the same flight intercepted by medical workers who spray disinfectant from fighter jets.
They refer to the fated flight VN54 which brought in a fresh batch of infected people after Vietnam had declared itself virus-free for three weeks. The country has reported 332 cases and no deaths.
Chung Anh drew herself in one picture about her safety to show appreciation for frontliners, who appear in most of her 11 drawings fighting the virus with shields or blasting it with disinfectant.
“I drew this with hope that they can keep their spirits high to prevent an outbreak,” she said. “This girl is me, here I am drawing and these things are my imagination.”
Several pictures feature the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship aboard which hundreds of passengers were infected, and Li Wenliang, the late Chinese doctor and one of the most visible figures of the pandemic, who was reprimanded when he issued early warning about the virus.
Chung Anh’s mother, Doi Xuan Hieu, chose that as her favorite.
“I was touched seeing that she can sympathize and acknowledge the sacrifice of the doctors who risked and lost their lives,” she said.
Reporting by Thinh Nguyen and Minh Nguyen; Writing by Martin Petty; Editing by Kim Coghill
CARACAS (Reuters) – Venezuelan authorities said eight people involved in a “mercenary incursion” were detained on Monday along the country’s coast, adding the suspects were part of a U.S.-backed plot that the government said it foiled a day earlier.
Venezuelan soldiers in balaclavas move a suspect from a helicopter after what Venezuelan authorities described was a “mercenary incursion”, at an unknown location in this still frame obtained from Venezuelan government TV video, May 4, 2020. VENEZUELAN GOVERNMENT TV/Handout via REUTERS TV
The government of President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday said mercenaries had attempted to enter the country on speed boats from neighboring Colombia, an announcement that opposition leaders quickly dismissed as a staged incident.
An American man named Jordan Goudreau who leads a Florida-based security company called Silvercorp USA on Sunday released a video identifying himself as an organizer of the invasion, alongside dissident Venezuelan military officer Javier Nieto.
Silvercorp’s website describes Goudreau as a “highly decorated Special Forces Iraq and Afghanistan veteran.”
A Venezuelan state television anchor on Monday showed photos including a shot of a group of men laid out on the ground with their hands behind their backs, adding that the group was traveling near the town of Chuao area in central Aragua state.
The group was “caught by popular force, by fishermen,” the anchor said.
Socialist Party No. 2 Diosdado Cabello posted a video of men in black with balaclavas pulling a shirt-less man from a helicopter, who they identified as part of the group captured.
“Without a doubt, the imperialists directed this attack against our fatherland,” Cabello said on Twitter, in reference to the U.S. government.
Washington has imposed tough economic sanctions against Venezuela in an effort to oust Maduro and accuses him of rigging elections in 2018.
Maduro’s government says the United States wants to control Venezuela’s massive oil reserves.
A U.S. official, who asked not to be named, said the U.S. government had no involvement with the incident. Another source familiar with U.S. intelligence analysis and reporting also said that U.S. agencies have nothing to do with any military incursions in Venezuela.
Aragua Governor Rodolfo Marco posted four photos of the detained men on Twitter and said “the capture of these mercenaries was achieved through social intelligence and the civic-military police unit.”
The images show men lying on their stomachs, some without a shirt and others in shorts. A police vehicle is also seen in an area near a fish market and in another image is a fishing boat.
Neither the official television station nor the governor offered more details.
Chief Prosecutor Tarek Saab said on Monday that five people have been detained for the raid in Macuto.
In the video released on Sunday, Goudreau said fighters on the ground continued to carry on operations in different parts of the country, one of whom he identified as “Commander Sequea.”
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That appeared to be in reference to Antonio Sequea, who was identified on Monday by state television as one of the eight people arrested.
Opposition leader Juan Guaido cast doubt on the government’s version of Sunday’s events, insisting Maduro is seeking to distract from other problems in recent days including a deadly prison riot and a violent gang battle in Caracas.
His communications team on Monday issued a statement denying press reports Guaido had hired Silvercorp to remove Maduro by force, adding that Guaido and his allies “have no relationship with or responsibility for the actions of the company Silvercorp.”
Reporting by Vivian Sequera and Brian Ellsworth in Caracas, additional reporting by Matt Spetalnick and Mark Hosenball in Washington, Editing by Marguerita Choy and Lisa Shumaker
A woman wearing a protective face mask stands in a disinfection chamber before receiving rice from an automated rice ATM distributor amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Jakarta, Indonesia May 4, 2020. REUTERS/Ajeng Dinar Ulfiana
JAKARTA (Reuters) – Indonesia reported on Monday 395 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 11,587, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.
Yurianto reported 19 new coronavirus-related deaths, taking the total to 864, while 1,954 have recovered.
More than 86,000 people have been tested, he said.
Reporting by Stanley Widianto and Nilufar Rizki; Editing by Louise Heavens
Medical staff is seen in an ambulance as they transfer a patient from a nursing home to a hospital, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, in Rome, Italy, May 2, 2020. REUTERS/Remo Casilli
ROME (Reuters) – Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy jumped by 474 on Saturday, against 269 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, posting the largest daily toll of fatalities since April 21.
The steep increase in deaths followed a long, gradual declining trend and was due largely to Lombardy, the country’s worst affected region, where there were 329 deaths in the last 24 hours compared with just 88 the day before.
The daily tally of new infections was broadly stable for a third day running at 1,900 against 1,965 on Friday.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 28,710, the agency said, the second highest in the world after that of the United States.
The number of confirmed cases amounts to 209,328, the third highest global tally behind those of the United States and Spain.
People registered as currently carrying the illness fell to 100,704 from 100,943 on Friday.
There were 1,539 people in intensive care on Saturday, slightly down from 1,578 on Friday and maintaining a long-running decline. Of those originally infected, 79,914 were declared recovered against 78,249 a day earlier.
The agency said 1.430 million people had been tested for the virus against 1.399 million the day before, out of a population of around 60 million.
French Minister for Solidarity and Health Olivier Veran, and French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner attend a news conference after the cabinet meeting, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, at the Elysee Palace, in Paris, France May 2, 2020. Francois Mori/Pool via REUTERS
PARIS (Reuters) – Travellers to France, including French citizens returning home, will face a compulsory two-week quarantine and possible isolation when they arrive in the country to help slow the spread of coronavirus, the health minister said on Saturday.
France, which has been the fifth-hardest hit country with 24,594 deaths from COVID-19, is preparing to gradually lift lockdown measures from May 11.
The new quarantine rules, however, will be included in a decree specifying measures laid out in a bill extending a state of emergency until July 24, a move that allows the government to restrict freedom of movement.
“This quarantine will be imposed on any person returning on French soil,” Health Minister Olivier Veran told a press briefing after the weekly cabinet meeting.
He said the duration and conditions of both quarantine for asymptomatic people and isolation for those showing symptoms of COVID-19, the flu-like disease caused by the new coronavirus, would be defined in a decree to be published.
Decisions to isolate people would be scrutinised by judges to ensure they are justified and fair, he added.
It was not immediately clear whether the quarantine would only apply to people arriving from outside Europe’s open-border Schengen area, whether they would need to self-isolate at home or in hotels, and for how long the measures would be in place.
FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks walk at the Pont des Arts bridge during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Paris, France, May 2, 2020. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier/File Photo
PARIS (Reuters) – The number of people who have died from coronavirus infections in France rose by 166 to 24,760 on Saturday while hospitalisations for the disease and people in ICU units continued to decline, the French health ministry said.
Saturday’s daily tally was markedly lower than the 218 recorded on Friday.
The number of people in hospital with COVID-19 fell to 25,827 from 25,887 on Friday, and the number of people in intensive care with COVID-19 fell to 3,827 from 3,878. Both numbers have been on a downward trend for more than two weeks.
ANKARA (Reuters) – The political fallout from Turkey’s rushed coronavirus lockdown at the weekend has exposed tensions at the top of President Tayyip Erdogan’s AK Party after he rejected the resignation of his interior minister.
FILE PHOTO: Turkish Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu speaks during a news conference for foreign media correspondents in Istanbul, Turkey, August 21, 2019. Ahmet Bolat/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
Suleyman Soylu submitted his resignation on Sunday after authorities gave just two hours’ notice for a 48-hour curfew in Turkey’s main cities, causing chaotic scenes as crowds of people rushed to the shops to stock up on supplies.
His resignation statement prompted a wave of support on social media for Soylu, who is known for his hawkish stance on security and is popular with party supporters, and Erdogan swiftly announced that the minister would stay in place.
As a prominent member of Erdogan’s cabinet, Soylu is seen by some party members as a potential rival to the president’s influential son-in-law, Finance Minister Berat Albayrak, and view the weekend events through that prism.
“It is no secret now that there has been a struggle and some issues between Albayrak and Soylu for some time,” one AK Party official told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“Soylu’s … resignation was an explosion from all this build-up.”
By offering to take individual blame – even though the lockdown was approved by Erdogan – and then winning a public endorsement from the president, Soylu has strengthened his own position, the official said.
The government has played down suggestions of division.
“Our president has rejected our interior minister’s resignation … Nobody can axe our unity and solidarity,” presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin said on Monday.
Since being appointed interior minister four years ago, Soylu, 50, has led a crackdown in which tens of thousands of people have been detained on suspicion of links to a network accused of being behind a failed 2016 military coup.
The purge alarmed Turkey’s Western allies and rights groups who say it was indiscriminate and disproportionate. Ankara says it was a necessary response to security challenges it faced domestically and from across its borders with Syria and Iraq.
“Soylu’s relentless work and success in the battle against terrorism has been recognised by the people, the support base and the party,” the AK Party official said.
“No matter what anyone says, he has power and that power was really consolidated with the resignation issue.”
Losing Soylu would have dealt a blow to the AK Party, said a second party official.
“Soylu is one of the important centres of power within the party… The battle for power within the party has changed as of Sunday. But these have started becoming damaging images for the AK Party,” the official said.
The Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has ruled Turkey since 2002, has seen two of its founder members break away in the past year to establish rival parties, and any internal party dissent would pose an additional challenge to Erdogan.
Erdogan was re-elected president in 2018, under a new executive presidency which granted him sweeping powers, but his party suffered defeat last year in municipal elections in the country’s two largest cities, Istanbul and Ankara.
New presidential and parliamentary elections are not scheduled until 2023.
MADRID/LONDON (Reuters) – Spain and Austria allowed partial returns to work on Tuesday but Britain, France and India extended lockdowns to try to rein in a coronavirus pandemic that the World Health Organization warned had not yet peaked.
Nearly 2 million people globally have been infected and more than 119,200 have died in the most serious pandemic in a century, according to a Reuters tally. The epicentre has shifted from China, where the virus first emerged in December, to the United States, which now has the highest death toll at more than 24,400.
World leaders, in considering easing curbs, have to balance risks to health and to the economy as the lockdowns have strangled supply lines, especially in China, and brought economic activity to a virtual halt.
The shutdown is costing the U.S. economy perhaps $25 billion a day in lost output, St. Louis Federal Reserve President James Bullard said, calling for widespread testing and risk management strategies so the economy can restart.
President Donald Trump, who has declared he will decide when to lift lockdowns, suggested some Democratic state governors were “mutineers” after New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said he would refuse any order that risked reigniting the outbreak.
The global economy is expected to shrink by 3% this year, the International Monetary Fund said, marking the steepest downturn since the Great Depression.
The World Health Organization said the number of new cases was tailing off in some parts of Europe, including Italy and Spain, but outbreaks were growing in Britain and Turkey.
“The overall world outbreak – 90 percent of cases are coming from Europe and the United States of America. So we are certainly not seeing the peak yet,” WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told a briefing in Geneva.
But world stocks gained after Chinese trade data came in better than expected and as some countries partly lifted restrictions.
Some Spanish businesses, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to resume. Shops, bars and public spaces are to stay closed until at least April 26.
Spain was flattening the curve on the graph representing the rate of growth of the outbreak, Health Minister Salvador Illa said on Tuesday. The overnight death toll from the coronavirus rose to 567 on Tuesday from 517 a day earlier, but the country reported its lowest increase in new cases since March 18. Total deaths climbed to 18,056.
Some Spanish workers expressed concern that the relaxation of restrictions could trigger a new surge of infections. But for Roberto Aguayo, a 50-year-old Barcelona construction worker, the restart came just in time.
“We really needed it, just when we were going to run out of food we returned to work,” he told Reuters.
Workers with protective masks work at construction site, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Barcelona, Spain April 14, 2020. REUTERS/Nacho Doce
Italy, which has the world’s second highest death toll at 21,067, maintained some tight restrictions on movement, while Denmark, one of the first European countries to shut down, will reopen day care centres and schools for children in first to fifth grade on April 15.
The Czech government will gradually reopen stores and restaurants from April 20, although people will continue to be required to wear masks.
Thousands of shops across Austria reopened on Tuesday, but the government cautioned that the country was “not out of the woods”.
Austria acted early to shut schools, bars, theatres, restaurants, non-essential shops and other gathering places about four weeks ago. It has told the public to stay home.
The Alpine republic has reported 384 deaths in total, fewer than some larger European countries have been suffering each day. Hospitalisations have stabilised.
Britain, where the government has come under criticism for its slow approach to testing and for not getting protective equipment to the frontlines of health care, has the fifth-highest death toll globally.
The toll in British hospitals rose to 12,107 on Monday and Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab has said there would be no easing of lockdown measures when they come up for review this week.
The Times newspaper said on Tuesday that Raab, deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson who is recuperating from a COVID-19 infection, would extend the curbs until at least May 7.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron on Monday extended a virtual lockdown to May 11.
India, the world’s second-most populous country after China, extended its nationwide lockdown until May 3 as the number of coronavirus cases crossed 10,000. Neighbours Pakistan and Nepal also extended their curbs.
Russia might need to call in the army to help tackle the crisis, President Vladimir Putin said on Monday. Moscow warned that the capital might run out of hospital beds in coming weeks.
China’s northeastern border province of Heilongjiang saw 79 new cases of imported coronavirus cases on Monday – all Chinese citizens travelling back from Russia, state media said.
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As of Tuesday, China had reported 82,249 coronavirus cases and 3,341 deaths. There were no deaths in the past 24 hours.
Health ministers from the Group of 20 major economies will speak by video conference on Sunday to address the outbreak’s impact.
(Open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in a separate browser for an interactive graphic to track the global spread.)
Reporting from Reuters bureaux across the world; Writing by Nick Macfie and Philippa Fletcher; Editing by William Maclean and Mark Heinrich