World leaders will not gather for UN General Assembly; New Zealand lifts all restrictions


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In top stories today:

  • World leaders will not gather in September for the United Nations General Assembly because of coronavirus, a first in the UN’s seventy-five-year history. Officials worldwide continued to lift coronavirus restrictions, with New Zealand among the first countries to return to pre-pandemic normality.
  • World leaders will not gather in New York in late September because of the coronavirus pandemic, a first in the United Nations’ (UN) 75-year history, The New York Times reported, citing the president of the UN General Assembly. Tijjani Muhammad-Bande told reporters that he hopes to give details in the next two weeks of how the 193 leaders will deliver speeches on world issues during the assembly’s so-called General Debate, the newspaper added.
  • New Zealand removed all coronavirus restrictions for the first time in three months, becoming one of the first countries in the world to return to pre-pandemic normality, Reuters said in an article headlined “Shopping, parties and big hugs mark start of ‘COVID-free’ life.”
  • New Zealand’s research institute in Antarctica is dropping twenty-three of thirty-six planned projects in the October-to-March research season in an attempt to keep the continent free of coronavirus, the BBC reported.   
  • Coronavirus fuels black America’s sense of injustice, the Financial Times reported in a long-form article. Black people died from coronavirus in disproportionately high numbers and early signs show that they will bear most of the economic consequences too, the newspaper said.  
  • QUOTE: “People of color right now are more likely to be infected, and we’re more likely to die. What we’re seeing here is the direct result of racism,” said Camara Phyllis Jones, an epidemiologist who recently served as president of the American Public Health Association, news service Stat reported. “That’s the thing that is slapping us in the face. Actually, it’s lashing us like whips.”
  • Authorities worldwide continued to lift coronavirus restrictions, from sports in an Australian state to a phased approach in Qatar, restaurants and hair salons reopening beyond Canadian hot spots, and larger public gatherings allowed in Denmark from August, Reuters reported in separate articles. The newswire also reported on a return of visitors to a nursing home in Spain. “Magic in Greek moonlight as outdoor cinemas open” runs the headline to an Associated Press photo story.  
  • Coronavirus may have affected Wuhan, where the virus first emerged, earlier than reported, according to an apparent spike in traffic outside the Chinese city’s hospitals between August and December last year, the BBC said, citing a study by Harvard University researchers. China was scathing in its response to the study, which has not been peer reviewed, the BBC added.
  • “When 511 Epidemiologists Expect to Fly, Hug and Do 18 Other Everyday Activities Again” reads a headline in The New York Times. Many say that it will be more than a year until they attend a concert, sporting event, or religious service again unless there’s an effective vaccine, the Times reported. 
  • Secondary schools in England may not reopen fully until September “at the earliest,” Health Secretary Matt Hancock said, the BBC reported. The government also dropped a plan for all primary school children to spend four weeks back at school before the summer vacation. School principals have said there’s not enough space for students to meet social distancing requirements, the BBC added.  
  • About 60 percent of sailors on the Theodore Roosevelt aircraft carrier had antibodies for coronavirus, according to a US Navy investigation into the spread of the virus, suggesting a higher rate of infection than was first known, Reuters said in an exclusive report. More than 1,100 aboard tested positive for coronavirus as of April, or less than 25 percent of the ship’s crew, the newswire said.
  • READ MORE: At a time when the coronavirus pandemic has accentuated security threats to member states, including “unabated” Russian military activity, the spread of disinformation and propaganda, and the disruptive ascendance of China, NATO “must stay strong militarily, be more united politically, and take a broader approach globally,” Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a Front Page event on June 8, writes the Atlantic Council’s David A. Wemer


  • It was never the Swedish government’s plan to adopt a relaxed stance on coronavirus lockdowns so as to protect the economy, Bloomberg reported, citing an interview with Sweden’s Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson. The country has among the world’s highest death tolls from the disease relative to the size of its population, the newswire said.  
  • France will provide fifteen billion euros in aid to the country’s aerospace industry, hoping to help keep plane maker Airbus and flag carrier Air France competitive and save hundreds of thousands of jobs in an industry battered by the coronavirus crisis, The Associated Press reported. In exchange for the aid, announced on June 8, companies need to pick up the scale and pace of investment in electric, hydrogen, or other lower-emission airplanes, the news service added.  
  • READ MORE: “Understanding the differences in the EU and US responses is critical to grasping the likely long-term impact of this crisis on the transatlantic economy,” writes the Atlantic Council’s Hung Tran. “Both face a serious challenge of deciding what to do if the employment situation takes longer to improve than the expiration dates of the current support programs.”
  • Hong Kong approved a five-billion-dollar bailout for airline Cathay Pacific, under which the government would take a 6 percent stake in the carrier, as it struggles with the near-collapse of air travel in the region, The Associated Press reported. Aviation 2020, a new government-controlled entity, would invest $2.6 billion in a share offering of as much as $4.3 billion, and give the airline a one billion dollar loan, the news service said. 


  • Transmission of coronavirus by people who do not develop symptoms is rare. That comment on June 8 by a World Health Organization (WHO) official—Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit—has led to a new debate among infectious-disease experts about the role of so-called silent spreaders, Bloomberg reported.  
  • Symptoms of coronavirus can linger for weeks in mild cases. That’s among the recent scientific studies that Reuters refers to in a roundup article, which also covers how lockdowns may have avoided millions of deaths and that negative tests using the nasal swab method are rarely incorrect. Inflammatory bowel disease does not increase the risk of infection from coronavirus, another study concludes, Reuters said.  
  • The Financial Times sums up what we know, and still don’t, about coronavirus—from infection to fatality rates and spread, including so-called superspreaders, and the damage the disease does to the body. An unprecedented worldwide research effort has produced tens of thousands of research papers, the newspaper said.  
  • AstraZeneca expects to move two antibody therapies into clinical studies in the next two months as the UK drugmaker steps up efforts to combat the pandemic, Reuters reported. AstraZeneca agreed terms with the United States’ Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA), the newswire added.  
  • QUOTE: “Although there are many different ethically justifiable approaches to allocating scarce resources like new treatments or vaccines, states should give priority—meaning first dibs on the resource—to the communities that bear a disproportionate burden of suffering,” Parker Crutchfield, Tyler S. Gibb and Michael Redinger wrote on news service Stat.  
  • The city government of New Delhi reversed rules that limited coronavirus testing and reserved hospital beds for residents of India’s capital city, where the number of coronavirus cases continues to increase, The Associated Press reported. Separately, holy places in India are reopening their doors, The Washington Post reported.  
  • Pakistan recorded more than one hundred deaths from coronavirus in a single day, a first since the country started keeping a tally in mid-March, The Associated Press reported. Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that Pakistan is not likely to reach a peak in infections before August, the news service added.  
  • “It Took Decades to Get Asia’s Poor Into Schools. The Pandemic Is Driving Many to Drop Out” runs a Wall Street Journal headline. More than 1.5 billion children aren’t attending school because of coronavirus lockdowns, according to the UN, the Journal reported. Many families face financial hardship in Asia and may not enroll their children back at school, the newspaper added.  
  • The statistics say… Coronavirus infections jumped to 29,943 in New Delhi on June 9, out of India’s 266,598 cases, The Associated Press said. Pakistan has recorded 108,316 coronavirus infections and 2,172 deaths, the news service also reported.