Coronavirus Live Updates: Hong Kong Bans Tiananmen Vigil, Citing Covid-19 Threat | #coronavirus | #kids. | #children

Hong Kong police deny permission for Tiananmen Square vigil for the first time in 30 years.

The Hong Kong police halted plans for a vigil on Thursday in memory of the people who died during the 1989 crackdown on the Tiananmen Square protests, citing the need to enforce social-distancing rules to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

It is the first time the June 4 vigil, which has been held annually since 1990, has been blocked. Fears about limits on free speech and political expression have grown in Hong Kong after Beijing announced last month that it would impose new national security laws on the semiautonomous city, and some democracy advocates in the city had wondered whether this year’s event might be the last.

The vigil organizers said they still planned to go to Victoria Park, where the event is regularly held, even though they expected the police to break up any gathering. They have asked supporters in Hong Kong and around the world to light candles in their homes or other private places and post the images online.

The organizing body, the Hong Kong Alliance in Support of Patriotic Democratic Movements in China, also plans to set up booths around the city to observe the event, said Lee Cheuk-yan, the group’s chairman. A handful of churches are to hold special services, he said.

With the United States looking inward, preoccupied by the soaring number of coronavirus deaths, unemployment at more than 20 percent and nationwide protests ignited by deadly police brutality, its competitors are moving to fill the vacuum, and quickly.

China has pushed in recent weeks to move troops into disputed territory with India, continue aggressive actions in the South China Sea and rewrite the rules of how it will control Hong Kong.

Russian fighter jets have roared dangerously close to U.S. Navy planes over the Mediterranean Sea, while the country’s space forces conducted an antisatellite missile test clearly aimed at sending the message that Moscow could blind U.S. spy satellites and take down GPS and other communications systems. Russia’s military cyberunits were busy, too, the National Security Agency reported, with an attack that may portend accelerated planning for a strike on email systems this election year.

The North Koreans said they were accelerating their “nuclear deterrent,” moving beyond two years of vague promises of disarmament and Kim Jong-un’s warm exchanges of letters with President Trump. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Iran was re-establishing the infrastructure needed to make a bomb — all a reaction, the Iranians insist, to Mr. Trump’s decision to reimpose sanctions and dismantle the Obama-era nuclear deal.

The coronavirus may have changed almost everything, but it did not change this: Global challenges to the United States spin ahead, with American adversaries testing the limits and seeing what gains they can make with minimal pushback.

Schools have remained open throughout the lockdown for thousands of vulnerable students and the children of essential workers, but only a fraction of those eligible attended. Only half of those eligible to return on Monday were expected to attend, according to the National Foundation for Educational Research, an independent research group.

Jeanelle de Gruchy, the president of the Association of Directors of Public Health, said in a statement that Britain, which is experiencing one of the world’s highest death rates from the coronavirus, needed to balance the push to ease restrictions with the risk of causing a resurgence of infections.

“We are at a critical moment,” she said, adding that public health experts “are increasingly concerned that the government is misjudging this balancing act and lifting too many restrictions, too quickly.”

The success in reopening schools has varied, as each country has navigated the delicate balance. Germany began allowing students back last month with classroom sizes cut by half and some schools testing for the coronavirus.

France reopened preschools and primary schools last week, but 70 schools were forced to close after new infections were reported, the ministry of education said. In South Korea, schools reopened in late May with new restrictions like plexiglass barriers between desks and temperature checks. But hundreds were closed within days later after new cases emerged.

The British government’s gradual restart of public life, which on Monday also included the opening of retail stores and allowing groups of up to six people to meet outdoors, has faced criticism. John Edmunds, a senior scientific adviser, said on Saturday that relaxing lockdown measures was a “political decision” and that “many scientists would wait,” the BBC reported.

The United States has delivered two million doses of a malaria drug to Brazil for use in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, and the two countries are embarking on a joint research effort to study whether the drug is safe and effective for the prevention and early treatment of Covid-19, the White House announced on Sunday.

The announcement comes after months of controversy over the drug, hydroxychloroquine, which President Trump has aggressively promoted, despite a lack of scientific evidence of its effectiveness as a treatment for Covid-19. Mr. Trump stunned public health experts by saying he was taking a two-week course of the medicine.

The donated doses will be used as a prophylactic “to help defend” Brazil’s nurses, doctors and health care professionals against infection, and will also be used to treat Brazilians who become infected, the White House said.

Hydroxychloroquine is widely used for the prevention of malaria and for treatment of certain autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, and many doctors consider it safe. But the Food and Drug Administration has warned that it can cause heart arrhythmia in some patients, and the debate over its use in the coronavirus pandemic has been politically fraught.

Early research in Brazil and New York suggested that it could be linked to a higher number of deaths among hospitalized patients. More recently, a review of a hospital database published by an influential medical journal, The Lancet, concluded that treating people who have Covid-19 with chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine did not help and might have increased the risk of abnormal heart rhythms and death.

Patrick Kingsley, an international correspondent, and Laetitia Vancon, a photojournalist, are driving more than 3,700 miles to explore the reopening of the European continent after coronavirus lockdowns.

You can smell the gin distillery before you see it — the whiff of alcohol floats down the street outside. And if you head inside on the right morning, you’ll find a mustachioed chemist infusing that alcohol with juniper berries, coriander seeds and aniseed.

But the chemist, Michael Levantaci, was mixing something very different last Thursday. He had put the herbs and fruit to one side, and was instead pouring glycerin and ether into a silver vat. The first makes the alcohol kinder to the touch, the other makes it undrinkable.

The Rubbens Distillery has made gin since 1817, when Belgium was still part of the Netherlands. Since the coronavirus crisis started, prompting a Europe-wide shortage of disinfectant, it has also bottled approximately 37,000 gallons of hand sanitizer.

Markets did not totally dismiss the problems in the United States. Prices for U.S. Treasury bonds were mixed, and the American dollar slipped in value compared with other major currencies.

Reporting was contributed by Ceylan Yeginsu, David E. Sanger, Eric Schmitt, Edward Wong, Carlos Tejada, Christina Goldbaum, Patrick Kingsley, Roni Caryn Rabin, Raphael Minder, Jack Healy, Dionne Searcey, Stacy Cowley, Antonio de Luca, Rick Rojas, Stacy Cowley, Dave Taft and Umi Syam.


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