Covid-19 | China says Pompeo has no evidence about virus lab leak, Trump admits US reopening will cost more lives and Pakistan concerned at workers returning from UAE

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

FOLLOW THE LIVE UPDATE | All the latest coronavirus and lockdown updates

Pompeo has no evidence about virus lab leak: China       

China on Wednesday hit back at US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over his claims that the coronavirus originated in a lab in Wuhan, saying he “doesn’t have any” evidence.

“I think this matter should be handed to scientists and medical professionals, and not politicians, who lie for their own domestic political ends,” said foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying at a regular press briefing.


China UN envoy says no international virus source probe before pandemic over  

China will not prioritise inviting international experts in to investigate the source of Covid-19 until after the pandemic is beaten, Beijing’s ambassador to the UN in Geneva said on Wednesday.

“The top priority, for the time being, is to focus on the fight against the pandemic until we win the final victory,” Chen Xu told reporters in an online briefing.

“For whether or how the invitation will take place, we need to have the right priority setting at this moment, and on the other hand, we need the right atmosphere.”


London moves to boost walking, cycling after coronavirus         

London’s mayor announced plans on Wednesday to widen pavements for pedestrians and increase the number of cycle routes, to ease pressure on buses and trains forced to limit numbers because of coronavirus.

“The capacity of our public transport will be dramatically reduced post-coronavirus as a result of the huge challenges we face around social distancing,” Sadiq Khan said.

The number of people using buses and trains in the British capital has plummeted since a nationwide stay-at-home order was introduced six weeks ago to slow the spread of Covid-19.


Trump admits US reopening will cost more lives

President Donald Trump conceded on Tuesday that more Americans will die in reopening the US economy but underlined his insistence on a dwindling coronavirus threat by refusing to wear a mask, even as he toured a mask-making factory.

Asked by ABC News whether a lifting of social distancing measures and reopening of the shuttered economy will lead to higher death tolls, Trump said “it’s possible there will be some”.

“Because you won’t be locked into an apartment or a house or whatever it is,” Trump said at the Honeywell factory in Phoenix, Arizona, which he visited on his first major trip since the coronavirus lockdown began.


Pakistan concerned at workers returning from UAE with coronavirus      

Pakistan has raised concerns with the United Arab Emirates that many citizens have been returning home from the Gulf Arab state infected with Covid-19 and that crowded living conditions for workers in the UAE may be helping to spread the virus, officials said on Tuesday.

“Both (governments) are working together to find (an) optimal solution to this shared concern,” foreign ministry spokesperson Aisha Farooqi told Reuters in a WhatsApp message.

A UAE foreign ministry official later said the government “completely rejects this version of events”.

“Everyone on UAE repatriation flights has been tested before departure and those found to be infected were not allowed to travel,” Assistant Undersecretary for Consular Affairs Khalid al-Mazrouei told Reuters.

– Al Jazeera

Ending lockdown abruptly would be ‘unforgivable’: Spain PM

“Ignoring the risk posed by the epidemic and lifting the state of emergency very quickly would be absolutely wrong, a total, unforgivable error,” he told parliament as he sought support for a fresh extension of the measure, which has been rejected by his rightwing opponents.