Related video: Priti Patel announces 14-day coronavirus quarantine plan to begin 8 June

China, where the coronavirus outbreak began in the city of Wuhan last year, has reported no new Covid-19 cases for the first time.

The number of global cases now stands at 5.2 million, while deaths have reached 338,000.

A large study into anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine, which president Donald Trump says he has been taking and has urged others to use, has suggested it is linked to an increased risk of death in hospitalised Covid-19 patients.

And pressure is growing on prime minister Boris Johnson to sack Dominic Cummings after it emerged he breached the government’s own lockdown rules to travel more than 260 miles from his home in London to his parents’ property in County Durham.

Hospital bosses have accused Boris Johnson and Keir Starmer of making the NHS a scapegoat for the Covid-19 crisis in the country’s care homes, our Whitehall editor Kate Devlin reports.

NHS Providers has written to both the prime minister and the new Labour leader to urge them to end the “political blame game” over the issue.

Cummings’ 260-mile lockdown journey ‘most unwise’

Dominic Cummings’ lockdown journey from London to County Durham was “most unwise”, the county’s acting police and crime commissioner said.

In a statement, Steve White said: “Given the whole ethos of the guidance and regulations issued from the government was to reduce the spread, regardless of reason, by travelling to County Durham when known to be infected was most unwise.

“To beat this crisis we need to be selfless as millions have been. The response by the people of County Durham and Darlington have been exemplary, which makes this most frustrating and concerning.”

Mr White, a former head of the Police Federation in England and Wales, added: “Incidents such as this do not help, and I can appreciate that the longer this goes on the harder it gets, but I encourage the people of County Durham and Darlington to keep up the outstanding effort seen so far by using common sense when following the guidance to stay alert and continue to social distance.”


Though some lockdown restrictions have been eased, local councils on Britain’s coast are warning the public to stay away from beaches to help prevent the spread of coronavirus over the bank holiday weekend.

Police have said they are concerned high numbers of people visiting beaches could become a problem, while photographs of busy beaches in Brighton and Southend-on-Sea, have raised concerns over social distancing.

My colleague Harry Cockburn has more on this story:

Seven people reportedly infected at German restaurant

Authorities say seven people appear to have been infected with coronavirus at a restaurant in northwestern Germany, in what would be the first known such case since restaurants started reopening in the country two weeks ago.

The local government in Leer county said the cases, reported between Tuesday and Friday, led to at least 50 people being quarantined.

Previously, no new cases had been confirmed in the area for over a week.

Germany started loosening its coronavirus restrictions on 20 April and that process has gathered pace recently. Lower Saxony state, where Leer is located, allowed restaurants to reopen on 11 May with hygiene precautions.

Those currently include a two-metre distance between tables, masks for waiters and an obligation to take the name, address and phone number of guests so possible infections can be traced.

Vatican Museums to reopen with compulsory face masks and temperature checks

The Vatican Museums is to reopen on 1 June, with all visitors wearing face masks and having their temperature checked before entry.

The Vatican said medical staff will be present and that, since reservations will now be required, advance ticket fees of 4 euros (£3.60) are being waived.

Ticket sales and souvenir revenues are a major source of income for the Holy See. For now, the Museums are suspending the free-entry initiative on the last Sunday of each month.

There have been 12 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in tiny Vatican City State or among its employees.

Religious services allowed in France

France is allowing religious services to resume from today after a legal challenge to the government’s ban on such gatherings.

Religious leaders welcomed the decision but said it will take time to put the necessary safety measures in place.

To prevent further spread of the virus, visitors to French places of worship must wear masks, wash their hands upon entering, and keep a distance of at least one meter (three feet) from other people.

The French government had banned religious services until 2 June even though stores and other businesses started reopening last week. The Council of State, the country’s highest administrative body, struck down the ban, and the government published a decree Saturday allowing services to resume.

Merkel defends Germany’s restrictions

German chancellor Angela Merkel has defended her country’s coronavirus restrictions and called on people to keep respecting social distancing rules.

Germany started loosening its lockdown restrictions on 20 April and since then has at least partly reopened many sectors. At the same time, the country has seen frequent protests against lockdown measures.

Ms Merkel today said in her weekly video message that the measures were necessary, and that officials must continue to justify why some restrictions can’t be lifted while ensuring they are proportionate.

She added that Germany has “succeeded so far in achieving the aim of preventing our health system being overwhelmed”.

Tokyo has confirmed two new coronavirus cases – the lowest since a state of emergency was declared.

   center no-repeat #999999;cursor:pointer;top:-8px; border-radius: 2px;”>↵

Number 10 has said Dominic Cummings travelling 260 miles from London to County Durham to stay near family was “in line with coronavirus guidelines”.

It said the PM’s chief adviser travelled from London to County Durham because his wife had contracted Covid-19 and he was concerned he would be unable to look after his young child if he too became infected.

Downing Street has been accused of a “cover-up” after reports surfaced that figures in Number 10 knew Dominic Cummings broke lockdown rules.

Police have confirmed they attended a property in County Durham after it emerged Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s chief adviser, travelled more than 260 miles from his London home during the lockdown.

It is suggested he stayed with relatives while he and members of his immediate family were suffering from coronavirus-related symptoms.

The SNP’s Westminster leader, Ian Blackford, has said there are “serious questions” for Mr Johnson to answer over reports that members of his inner circle knew Mr Cummings left London only days after the PM had issued strict instructions for people to stay at home and not to drive long distances – or else face punishment.


Two-thirds of the 600,000 people who were accepted on to the NHS volunteer responders scheme have not yet done a task – more than a month after it was launched, Zoe Tidman has revealed.

My colleague Kate Ng has a roundup of the latest coronavirus news you may have missed overnight:

Employers ‘to pay 20 to 30 per cent of furlough wages’

Businesses will be required to cover 20 to 30 per cent of furloughed employees’ wages from August to reduce the burden on government finances, according to The Times.

The job retention scheme – which pays 80 per cent of a worker’s wages up to £2,500 a month – will be in place until at least October, but employers will have to start helping to share the cost from August.

The plans would also see firms paying national insurance contributions, which are approximately 5 per cent of people’s wages.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to announce the changes next week, The Times reports.

Malaysia has reported 48 new coronavirus cases, bringing the told to 7,185 with no new deaths.

Iran reopens businesses and religious sites

Iran is beginning to reopen businesses and religious and cultural sites as it eases restrictions.

Museums and historical sites are to reopen tomorrow to coincide with the Eid el-Fitr celebrations that end the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan, president Hassan Rouhani announced on state television.

Holy shrines, some of which became focal points of the coronavirus epidemic in Iran, will reopen on Monday.

Mr Rouhani last week said the shrines would open for three hours in the morning and three hours in the afternoon. Some areas of the shrines such as narrow corridors will stay shut.

All workers in the country will return to work next Saturday.

Russia reports 9,400 new cases

9,434 new cases of the novel coronavirus have been reported in Russia in the last 24 hours, pushing its nationwide tally to 335,882.

The country’s coronavirus crisis response centre reported 139 new deaths after a record of 150 deaths the day before, bringing the death toll to 3,388.

The antimalarial drug touted by Donald Trump as a treatment for the coronavirus has been linked to an increased risk of death in Covid-19 patients, according to the first major study into its use.

The president called hydroxychloroquine a “game changer” in the fight against the virus in March, and has promoted its use ever since, despite no evidence that it had any positive effect for patients infected with Covid-19.

But a new study of 96,000 hospitalised coronavirus patients around the world found there was a 34 per cent increase in the risk of mortality in those given the drug. It also led to a 137 per cent increased risk of serious heart arrhythmias.

My colleague Richard Hall reports from New York:

China reports no new cases for first time

China, where the outbreak began last year, has reported no new cases for the first time.

Cases have continued to drop in much of Asia, although there has been a surge in Latin America.

In South Korea, there are 23 fresh infections, mostly from the densely populated Seoul area where authorities shut down thousands of nightclubs, bars and karaoke rooms to stem transmissions.

South Korea had been reporting about 500 new cases a day in early March before using aggressive tracing and testing to stabilise its outbreak.

Japan’s new cases have dwindled lately to double-digit figures each day, while deaths related to the coronavirus are below 800.

Good morning and welcome to today’s rolling live coverage of the global coronavirus outbreak.