China’s Jilin in lockdown after coronavirus cluster

A northeastern Chinese city has partially shut its borders and cut off transport links after the emergence of a local coronavirus cluster that has fueled growing fears of a second wave of infections in China.

Jilin, with a population of more than four million, suspended bus services and said it will only allow residents to leave the city if they have tested negative for COVID-19 in the past 48 hours and complete an unspecified period of “strict self-isolation”.

All cinemas, indoor gyms, internet cafes and other enclosed entertainment venues must shut immediately, and pharmacies must report all sales of fever and antiviral medicines, the local government said in a statement.

A cluster of infections was reported in the suburb of Shulan over the weekend, with Jilin’s vice mayor warning Wednesday that the situation was “extremely severe and complicated” and “there is major risk of further spread”.

The city reported six new cases, all linked to the Shulan cluster, bringing the total number of cases linked to a local laundry worker to 21.

Premier League: Restrictions in place for team training under ‘Project Restart’

Tackling will be banned, pitches disinfected and players restricted to groups of five when the Premier League starts a first phase of team training.

Official protocols sent to players and managers on Tuesday and obtained by the BBC reveal that social distancing must be “strictly observed”.

Corner-flags, balls, cones, goalposts and even playing surfaces will be disinfected after each session.

League bosses hope training can begin on Monday, restricted to 75 minutes.

Ongoing surveillance measures included in further guidance include twice-weekly testing, and a daily pre-training questionnaire and temperature check.

Under a section titled ‘health screening’, players are also told a central register of Covid-19 test results (subject to their consent and Professional Footballers’ Association agreement) will need to be maintained.

Recommended “control measures” include “meticulous personal hygiene and use of PPE [personal protective equipment], no congregation in communal areas, including but not limited to medical rooms and gym areas”.

Under further stringent rules, players are told they cannot share transport with anyone to and from the training ground, and vehicle interiors should be cleaned regularly. Team vehicles and public transport should not be used.

Players are being consulted on proposed medical protocols for a return to training by the PFA. They have been given a condensed version of a 40-page document for them to digest.

Trump support ebbs as coronavirus death toll climbs

Americans have become more critical of President Donald Trump over the past month as the coronavirus outbreak in the country has deepened, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

A Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll shows 56 percent of those surveyed now disapprove of Trump, up five points from a similar poll in mid-April. Trump’s approval rating slipped four points to 41 percent.

It also found that 46 percent of registered voters would back Democratic challenger Joe Biden in the November 3 election, while 38 percent would vote for Trump.  

Iceland to ease restrictions on international arrivals from June

The government of Iceland says it plans to ease restrictions on international arrivals no later than 15 June and expects to be able to give travellers a choice between a COVID-19 test on arrival, or two weeks quarantine. A final decision will be made at the end of the month.

“When travellers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic,” Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation said in a statement. “Iceland’s strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far. We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us.”

Iceland has already revised the quarantine regime that was first imposed in January, with essential workers and those involved in vital infrastructure eligible for a modified quarantine that does not require then to stay at home.  The scheme will be extended to film makers, scientists and some others from May 15.