UK starts traveler quarantine, Hong Kong eases restrictions; China defends virus response


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In top stories today:

  • Incoming travelers to the United Kingdom face fourteen days of coronavirus quarantine, prompting criticism from airlines, while Hong Kong relaxed restrictions for senior executives as it tries to revive economic activity. China issued a robust defense of how it handled the pandemic, glossing over missteps and bureaucratic errors.  
  • China made a robust defense of how it handled the coronavirus outbreak in a detailed report published on June 5, glossing over missteps it took at the beginning of the outbreak, The New York Times reported. The World Health Organization was kept informed in detail from January 3, the report said, The New York Times added. The report gives a sanitized version of events and omits bureaucratic and political mistakes after the outbreak first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the newspaper said.
  • QUOTE: “Confronted by this virus, the Chinese people have joined together as one and united their efforts,’’ the report said, The New York Times reported. “They have succeeded in containing the spread of the virus. In this battle, China will always stand together with other countries.”
  • British Airways, Ryanair, and easyJet criticized the UK government’s decision to go ahead with a fourteen-day quarantine for incoming travelers starting from June 8, calling the measures “disproportionate” and “unfair,” CNBC reported.
  • QUOTE: “Even those people who would have thought about going away on holiday in July or August are now holding off from making bookings since nobody really knows how long the rules will last,” said John Strickland, director of JLS Consulting in London, Bloomberg reported.
  • Hong Kong has relaxed quarantine measures for senior executives at the largest companies listed on its stock exchange, including Tencent and Alibaba, as part of efforts to revive economic activity while halting further outbreaks of coronavirus, the Financial Times reported.
  • China urged its citizens against travel to Australia, citing an increase in racial discrimination and violence against Chinese and Asian people during the coronavirus pandemic, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a Ministry of Culture and Tourism warning late on June 5. Australia, whose borders remain closed to visitors because of the pandemic, rejected China’s claims, the Journal added.
  • Russians who need to study, work, or care for relatives are allowed to resume international travel, a first since the end of March, Reuters reported, citing Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin. The city of Moscow will cancel a digital pass system for citizens and self-isolation restrictions, and Muscovites will be able to go out for walks at any time from June 9, the Russian News Agency TASS reported separately, Reuters added.
  • “Sweden’s PM Rebuked as Covid Deaths Ignite Political Anger” reads a Bloomberg headline. With more than 4,500 Swedes dead from coronavirus and the country’s chief epidemiologist, who advised leaving most of the country open during the pandemic, conceding mistakes, opposition parties made a scathing attack on Prime Minister Stefan Lofven’s government, the newswire reported. A growing number of UK and European tourists are visiting Sweden in search of a beer or even a haircut, flouting guidelines to avoid non-essential travel, the BBC reported.
  • Stringent lockdowns including the closure of shops and schools in Europe may have averted 3.1 million deaths, Imperial College London said in a modeling study of eleven nations, Reuters reported. A second study, by scientists in the United States and also published in the journal Nature, estimated that lockdowns in China, Iran, Italy, France, South Korea, and the United States prevented or delayed about 530 million cases of coronavirus, the newswire said.


  • While China’s official jobless rate has barely moved during the pandemic, from 5.3 percent in January to 6 percent most recently, anecdotal evidence and economists’ estimates suggest the country’s labor market is in much worse shape than government data show, The Wall Street Journal reported. China has scarcely expanded its meager unemployment-insurance program during the coronavirus outbreak, the Journal added. “China’s Looming Budget Hole Poses Risk to Stimulus Efforts,” Bloomberg reported.
  • Germany’s economy had its “worst month ever” during the height of lockdown, according to one economist, CNBC reported. Industrial production declined 17.9 percent in April from the previous month after an 8.9 percent drop in March, CNBC said, citing German statistics office Destatis. The auto industry led declines, with production plummeting by 74.6 percent month on month, CNBC added.
  • Japan’s economy contracted by 2.2 percent in January to March at an annual rate, less than previously reported, as demand in the private sector held up better than forecast, The Associated Press reported. That compares with the 3.4 percent decline reported previously, the news service said.
  • France plans to present a plan worth billions of euros on June 9 to rescue its aerospace industry and protect key suppliers from Chinese influence, Bloomberg reported, citing French Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari on LCI television. The package is aimed at jet maker Airbus, engine maker Safran, and defense group Thales, the newswire said. The plan will be worth as much as ten billion euros, newspaper Les Echos reported on June 8, Bloomberg added.


  • As many as 400,000 crew are stranded aboard ships or at home because of the coronavirus pandemic, prompting the international shipping industry to warn of a threat to global trade, the Financial Times reported. Shipowners, labor unions, and captains have also voiced safety concerns as many crew members have worked months beyond their contracts, the newspaper added.
  • Iron ore futures surpassed one hundred dollars a ton following a Brazilian court order that Vale stop mining at its Itabira complex after 188 workers tested positive for coronavirus, adding to concerns that a surge in cases of the virus will disrupt other mines too, Bloomberg reported.  
  • “How slaughterhouses became breeding grounds for coronavirus.” That’s a headline in the Financial Times, which points to outbreaks in Brazil, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Meat-processing staff are deemed essential workers in many countries, exacerbating the problem in an industry that has faced criticism on health, animal welfare, and environmental grounds for years, the newspaper added.
  • New Zealand, which has had no new coronavirus cases for more than two weeks, will lift almost all restrictions including social distancing at midnight local time on June 8, although borders will stay closed, the BBC reported.
  • QUOTE: “While we’re in a safer, stronger position there’s still no easy path back to pre-Covid life, but the determination and focus we have had on our health response will now be vested in our economic rebuild,” said New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, the BBC reported.
  • Investors, looking beyond the risks of coronavirus spreading in Africa, are piling into the region as they look for a return on investments and as stocks, bonds, and currencies rally, Bloomberg reported. Among the twelve top-developing bond markets in developing economies, seven are in Africa including Angola, even though the country is in talks to reorganize some of its loans, the newswire added.
  • READ MORE: “We confront the triple storm of the worst pandemic in a century, the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, and now the worst US racial upheaval in fifty years,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Frederick Kempe. “If the Atlantic Council and its larger community are to thrive, we must together think through these times and how they should influence our actions and sense of common cause.”


  • “As coronavirus deaths in Brazil surge, Bolsonaro limits the release of data,” reads the headline to an article in The Washington Post. The country’s health ministry has published detailed data on coronavirus since the start of the outbreak but that cumulative information disappeared from a government website on June 6, replaced by a daily tally that just shows cases from the previous twenty-four hours, the Post said.
  • The statistics say… Coronavirus has infected more than 672,000 people and killed almost 36,000 in Brazil, The Washington Post reported.
  • Some of the last traces of India’s ten-week lockdown disappeared as shopping malls, restaurants, places of worship, and state borders reopened on June 8, The Associated Press reported. But the country reported its highest daily death toll from the virus and a committee of experts said India’s capital, New Delhi, would need almost to double its hospital bed capacity by the end of June to cope with an expected surge in coronavirus cases, the news service reported.  
  • “Mexico’s Leftist Leader Rejects Big Spending to Ease Virus’s Sting” reads a New York Times headline. While as many as ten million Mexicans could fall into poverty this year, according to a recent report by a government agency, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has rejected large-scale economic stimulus packages, the newspaper said.
  • Vietnam ratified a landmark trade agreement with the European Union on June 8, helping to lift the country’s manufacturing and exports as it recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, The Associated Press reported. The EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, which was ratified by the European Parliament in February, takes effect next month, the news service added.