Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
A worker sprays an antiviral liquid inside a train amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, a day after the government announced the lifting of the state of emergency by the disease in some prefectures including Osaka, in Osaka, western Japan May 22, 2020, in this photo taken by Kyodo. Mandatory credit Kyodo/via REUTERS
China is showing a more assertive face as it seeks to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic, gearing up to impose new security laws on Hong Kong and using less conciliatory language in its desire to “reunify” with Taiwan. Such are the two big takeaways so far from the week-long National People’s Congress, itself delayed due to the outbreak.
Delegates travelling from across the country had multiple coronavirus tests, and media events and speeches have been moved online. While the 5,000 attendees wore masks, China’s top leaders – from President Xi Jinping down – did not. Nor was there any sign of social distancing with the delegates sitting side by side in rows as usual.
UK schools told: You decide
Faced with an almighty row about how and when to reopen its schools, the UK government has told establishments: You decide.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government wanted schools in England to reopen for some pupils from June 1 but the plans have been criticised by teaching unions and many local authorities, who say they will not be reopening institutions in their areas.
“I am confident that some schools may already feel they are ready to open, others may not,” Yvonne Doyle, medical director and director for health protection at Public Health England, told parliament’s science committee.
South Korea’s turbocharged tracing
Merging its advanced methods of collecting information and tracking the virus with a new data-sharing system that patches together cellphone location data and credit card records allows South Korea to be able to track the wide-ranging movements of people testing positive for the coronavirus within minutes.
The new digitised system remains reliant on people operating it to approve and upload data, which can lead to delays. And in some cases, concerns over privacy and security have led to access being so restricted that some local officials said they had to rely on old-fashioned methods.
One day, when the coronavirus crisis is behind us, we may look back to this era with awe at how it changed the world.
The Czech National Museum is already heralding that time, opening an exhibition of face masks worn to protect against the infection. The Czech government was one of the first to make it compulsory to wear a mask outside the home.
Chosen from hundreds sent in by the public, the exhibit includes masks featuring folk motifs, fun designs and the national flag.
The exhibition opens on Monday, just as the government relaxes its mask policy. People will no longer have to wear them outdoors but must still do so on public transport and in public buildings – including the museum.