Coronavirus update: Donald Trump unloads on China after it attacks US support of Taiwan
China and the United States have again began a war of words with United States President Donald Trump accusing China of being solely responsible for a “mass worldwide killing”.
This story will be regularly updated throughout Thursday.
Thursday’s key moments:
China and US exchange words again
The war of words between the United States and China has escalated again with US President Donald Trump again lashing out via Twitter.
Mr Trump hit out at China for what he described as a “mass worldwide killing” as he went on a tweeting spree during which he also took aim at the US Democratic party.
However he saved most of his criticism for China.
“Some wacko in China just released a statement blaming everybody other than China for the virus which has now killed hundreds of thousands of people,” Mr Trump tweeted.
“Please explain to this dope that it was the ‘incompetence of China’, and nothing else, that did this mass worldwide killing!”
The comments came after China itself hit out at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his congratulatory comments towards Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-Wen as “an inspiration to the region and the world”.
China denounced the United States for sending congratulations to Taiwan’s newly-inaugurated leader, saying Taiwan’s independence was a “road that leads to death”.
“Any connivance or support for Taiwanese independence is doomed to failure,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijiang said at a media briefing in Beijing.
“Any damage to China’s core interest and any interference in China’s internal affairs will be vigorously counter-attacked.”
At the briefing, Mr Zhao also urged the US to lift sanctions against a Chinese company that the US said was doing business with Iran.
The US treasury department accused Shanghai Saint Logistics Limited of acting as general agent for Iranian airline Mahan Air, which provided support for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
Zhao called the sanctions “illegal” and accused the US of “upholding unilateralism”.
Largest daily rise in global cases: WHO
There were 106,000 new cases of new coronavirus infection recorded worldwide in the last 24 hours — the most in a single day yet, the World Health Organization said.
The global health body said 106,000 new cases of infections of the novel coronavirus had been recorded in the past 24 hours, the most in a single day since the outbreak began, as the total number of cases world-wide approached five million.
Speaking at a news conference, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that two thirds of those cases had come from just four countries.
“We still have a long way to go in this pandemic,” Dr Tedros said.
“We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle income countries.”
Russia hits 300,000 positive COVID-19 cases
Russia now has the second-most cases of the novel coronavirus in the world, behind only the United States, with Wednesday’s tally of 8,764 new cases bringing the official count above 300,000.
With 135 new deaths recorded, the nationwide toll is still below 3,000, much lower than in many European countries hit earlier in the pandemic but the surge in infections and blow to the economy are among the biggest challenges to President Vladimir Putin’s two decades in power.
Russia recorded its lowest total of new coronavirus cases since May 1, with more patients discharged from hospital than new cases for the first time, which officials said showed that the outbreak was stabilising at last.
Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, who returned to work this week after himself recovering from the virus, said the news that more patients had left hospital than tested positive showed “the situation is gradually stabilising, especially in Moscow”.
“This is good news, and perhaps we have begun to pass the highest point of the burden on the healthcare system.”
Now in its eighth week of a lockdown, the capital of Moscow has been by far Russia’s worst hit region.
Regional outbreaks have also flared in the mainly poor Dagestan region, where Mr Putin ordered the army to set up a hospital and send disinfection teams.
Sex dolls cost FC Seoul one million won
South Korea’s K League said its disciplinary committee will to impose a 100 million won ($124,000) fine on FC Seoul for using sex dolls instead of mannequins to fill empty seats in their stadium.
The club placed dolls in seats during a K League match on Sunday to make up for the absence of fans due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“The disciplinary committee decided to take heavy disciplinary action considering the graveness of the incident, caused by the [sex dolls], that has greatly insulted and hurt female and family fans and to prevent similar incidents going forward,” K League said in a statement.
The club apologised on Monday saying they had failed to check the consignment sent by the supplier, though adding it was not aware the dolls were “adult products”.
The K League said, although the incident was not intended, it was possible to distinguish the dolls from ordinary mannequins and the club has made a serious mistake by not removing them when it had enough time before the game started.
Some of the dolls had been dressed in the club’s kit while others were holding supportive placards. Fans watching the match on television took to social media to raise doubts about the inflatable spectators.
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Players treated like ‘lab rats’, says EPL star
Newcastle United defender Danny Rose says Premier League players are being treated like “lab rats” after teams were permitted to return to training in small groups this week.
The England international, who is on loan from Tottenham Hotspur, has been a vocal critic of the league’s plans to restart the season, which has been suspended since mid-March due to the pandemic.
The league said that six people from three different clubs had tested positive for COVID-19 out of a sample of 748 individuals.
“People are suggesting we should go back to football, like we’re guinea pigs or lab rats. We’re going to experiment this phase and see if it works or not,” Rose said on the Lockdown Tactics podcast.
“I can just imagine people at home saying, ‘Well they earn that amount of money so they should be going back’.
“For stuff like that I think is it worth the hassle? I could be potentially risking my health for people’s entertainment and that’s not something I want to be involved in if I’m honest.”
Watford has confirmed that three people from the club, including one player, have tested positive for COVID-19, while Burnley said their assistant coach Ian Woan was among those to return a positive result after being tested on Sunday (local time).
Watford skipper Troy Deeney has said he will not resume training out of concern for his son’s health.
Cambridge suspends face-to-face classes for the first time in 800 years
Cambridge has become the first university in Britain to cancel all face-to-face lectures for the 2020-21 academic year because of the pandemic, after 800 years of welcoming students to its classrooms.
It likely won’t be the last university to do so, as the virus threatens the foundations of the traditional student experience, and the finances of universities around the world.
Cambridge said that all lectures will be held virtually and streamed online until the UK summer in 2021.
It said it may be possible to hold tutorials and teachings in small groups when the new academic year starts in October, as long as social distancing can be followed.
The university, which has about 12,000 undergraduate students, said in a statement that the decision “will be reviewed should there be changes to official advice on coronavirus”.
Cambridge sent students home and moved all its teaching online in March as the UK went into lockdown, and exams are being held remotely.
British universities are warning they will face a financial crisis if students decide they don’t want to pay tuition fees — currently 9,250 pounds ($17,160) a year in England — for a college experience shorn of in-person teaching, extra-curricular clubs and socialising.
Some students who were due to start in the autumn are likely to defer for a year in hopes things get back to normal by then.
Oprah Winfrey giving out millions to US communities
Oprah Winfrey is giving grants to the cities she’s called home through her $US12 million ($18.2 million) coronavirus relief fund.
She announced that her Oprah Winfrey Charitable Foundation will donate money to organisations dedicated to helping underserved communities in the US cities, states and towns of Chicago, Baltimore, Nashville, Tennessee, Milwaukee and Kosciusko in Mississippi, where she was born.
Winfrey said she’s been homebound since March 11, four days after she wrapped her US wellness tour.
She said that she will also give grants to advocacy organisation Global Citizen, New Mount Pilgrim Missionary Baptist Church in Chicago and Minnie’s Food Pantry in Plano, Texas, among other organisations.
Before giving out millions to others, Winfrey said she first helped the people closest to her.
“The first thing I did was start in my own family, people I knew who were going to be touched and were not going to have jobs. Then I moved out to people who I’ve worked with and known who maybe would be out of work,” she said.
“So people who I hadn’t spoken to in years ended up getting checks from me like, ‘What is this?'”
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