China says US has no evidence of virus lab leak: Live updates

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  • China hits back at the United States over claims by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo the new coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, saying he has no evidence, amid renewed US criticisms.

  • The United Kingdom now has the highest death toll in Europe even as cases rise rapidly in Russia, which reported more than 10,000 cases for the fourth successive day.

  • More than 3.6 million people around the world have been confirmed infected with the new coronavirus so far, and nearly 257,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 1.2 million people have recovered.

Wednesday, May 6

18:35 GMT – Dutch to begin easing lockdown measures next week

The Netherlands will begin easing coronavirus lockdown measures next week nearly two months after they were imposed, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said.

The phasing out of the restrictions will be rolled out over the next four months. They could be curbed if the new coronavirus starts spreading more quickly, Rutte warned.

“Steps to slowly open the economy and public life will give our country the space to look forward and make plans for the future. We will do that as quickly as possible, but it is better to be safe now than sorry later.”

Face masks will be compulsory on public transport from June 1, he said.

18:20 GMT – Trump says will announce new members of coronavirus task force by Monday

US President Donald Trump said that he would announce new members of his coronavirus task force by Monday, as its focus turns to medical treatments and easing restrictions on businesses and social life.

The Republican president said at a White House event honoring National Nurses Day that he thought he would be able to wind down the task force sooner, but had no idea how popular it was.

18:00 GMT – Spain extends coronavirus state of emergency for two weeks

Spain has extended the state of emergency imposed to combat the coronavirus pandemic for two more weeks from Sunday, allowing the government to control people’s movements as it gradually relaxes a national lockdown.

Parliament approved the measure after Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, who heads a fragile coalition government, mustered enough support from opposition parties to carry the vote.

Spain, where more than 25,000 people have died from the COVID-19 disease, has been under a lockdown since March 14 and the current state of emergency ends at midnight on Saturday.

Although the situation is improving, Sanchez says it is necessary to maintain some restrictions on movement to keep the infection at bay.

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