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Around 2.4 million people in America sought unemployment benefits last week, despite hopes that easing lockdown restrictions would help restart the US economy.
The new filings bring the total since mid-March to roughly 38.6 million – almost a quarter of the workforce.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned this week that the US risked “permanent damage” if the lockdowns continued.
The unemployment figures have declined since peaking at almost 6.9 million but remain high.
New Zealand’s opposition Nationals party has just dumped its leader and elected a new one, in an attempt to contest popular PM Jacinda Ardern in the general election in September.
Following her virus response, Ardern has become the country’s most popular leader of the past century. Her personal approval rating in recent weeks has surged to 65%, while opposition leader Simon Bridges’ dwindled to 5%.
Bridges had been accused of being combative and tone-deaf when he could have been more bipartisan in the country’s lockdown response. He’s been turfed out for Todd Muller, a former businessman.
Ardern’s Labour party is set to win the upcoming election in landslide if the popularity is maintained. Over 90% of the public supported Ardern’s fast virus response – which included a severe lockdown that kept cases to around 1,500 and only 21 deaths.
In his opening speech at the National People’s Congress, China’s parliamen, Premier Li Keqiang has praised China for making “major strategic achievements” in its response to the outbreak.
However, he added that “at present,the epidemic has not yet come to an end, while the tasks we face in promoting development are immense”.
It’s likely that the meeting will further expand on what steps will be taken to prevent a possible second wave of the virus outbreak in China.
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President Donald Trump says he wore a mask in a “back area” during a factory tour in Michigan, but removed it before facing the cameras.
He told reporters he took off the facial covering at the Ford car plant because he “didn’t want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it”, and he was about to make a speech.
Despite Michigan’s attorney general urging the president to comply with health guidelines, the president insisted it was unnecessary because he is regularly tested for coronavirus.
Around 3,000 delegates are meeting in China this morning at its annual parliamentary meeting, the National People’s Congress.
Typically, the NPC is closely watched to see what budgets it approves, what economic target it unveils and what legislation passes through.
China has just announced that it will not set any specific targets for economic growth this year as a result of the crisis.
“This is because our country will face some factors that are difficult to predict in its development due to the great uncertainty regarding the Covid-19 pandemic and the world economic and trade environment,” said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang.
Instead, it widened its budget deficit target to more than 3.6% of GDP, implying a larger shortfall than 2019’s target of 2.8%.
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A little more first on Australia asking to be exempt from any impending UK policy to quarantine all
international travellers, as the nation has largely contained the virus. There are just over 600 active cases in the country, and only a dozen new cases presenting per day on average.
has led the world in the successful containment of Covid-19, which clearly
means that travellers coming from Australia would pose a low risk to the rest
of the world,” said Trade Minister Simon Birmingham.
Australia had been one of the first countries to shut borders in February, and its infection rate drastically tailed off after it imposed a mandatory 14-day quarantine on
returning travellers in March. To ensure compliance, the government took travellers directly from airports to paid accommodation in hotels.
The nation is now well into its phased re-opening, with schools, restaurants and retail
shops all back up and running.
But the request also reflects the Commonwealth nation’s close relationship with the
UK, one underpinned by a shared heritage and common values.
Nearly eight million
Australian residents have UK ancestry and the nations both have thousands of expats as residents. Around 700,000 Australians visit the
UK each year and vice versa.
Hello and welcome back to our rolling coverage of the
coronavirus outbreak. We’re writing to you out of Singapore, where we’ll
be joined by our colleagues across Asia, and later today in London and Washington DC. And as we
reach the end of another week, here’s a quick glance at what’s happened
- Australia is seeking an exemption from moves in the UK to bring in a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all new arrivals. It said it had successfully handled the crisis which meant “travellers from Australia would pose a low risk to the world”
- Brazil has recorded another record daily death toll, bringing the latest figure to more than 20,000 deaths. President Jair Bolsonaro continues to oppose social distancing measures and previously dismissed Covid-19 as a “little flu”
- More than 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, with the job market remaining grim even as restrictions are slowly lifted across certain parts of the country
- The number of people infected with the virus worldwide has now reached 5.1 million, with the death toll standing at 332,876, according to data from Johns Hopkins University