Nations expand reopenings, as global cases pass 6 million.
This week begins a pivotal period in the coronavirus pandemic, as countries give students, shoppers and travelers more freedom to return to some sense of normalcy after months under lockdown.
In Britain, more stores will be allowed to open from Monday, and small groups from different households can meet outdoors. Primary schools will open their doors in England, though with new social-distancing rules and spaced seating. More than two million people who have been “shielding” will be allowed to spend time outdoors, according to news reports. The government also gave the green light for professional sports to resume under strict protocols, according to government guidelines published on Saturday.
But fans of the Premier League should not expect to stream back into stadiums any time soon. All events will all be behind closed doors; no fans are allowed, everyone will be screened for coronavirus symptoms, and players will observe social distancing where possible.
Other countries are creating “travel bubbles” to rev up their economies, allowing visitors from nations with low infection rates. The moves come as the number of global cases of the virus grew to more than six million, with over 1.7 million in the United States. Rwanda’s health ministry on Sunday reported the East African nation’s first death caused by the new coronavirus, a 65-year-old driver who had recently returned from a neighboring country.
Greece will open its airports to visitors from 29 countries from June 15, the tourism ministry said, but Britain is not among them. Norway and Denmark will allow leisure travel between the two countries, creating a travel bubble that excludes Sweden, where coronavirus infections are higher. Norway will also allow entry to business travelers from the other Nordic countries from Monday, the government said.
They are parallel plagues ravaging America: The coronavirus, and police killings of black men and women.
Jimmy Mills’s life has been upended by both. His barbershop in Midtown Minneapolis was one of many small, black-owned businesses that have struggled to survive the pandemic. But Mr. Mills was hopeful because, having been shut down for two months, he was set to reopen next week.
Then early Friday, the working-class neighborhood where Mr. Mills has cut hair for 12 years went up in flames as chaotic protests over the death of George Floyd and police killings of African-Americans engulfed Minneapolis and cities across the country.
“To have corona, and then this — it’s like a gut shot,” Mr. Mills, 56, said.
The upheaval sparked by a video capturing Mr. Floyd’s last minutes as a white police officer knelt on his neck is pulsing through a country already ragged with anger and anxiety. Emotions are raw over the toll of a pandemic that has killed more than 100,000 Americans and cost tens of millions of jobs.
The outbreak has inflicted disproportionate economic and health tolls on racial minorities and immigrants. Black and Latino workers have been more likely to have lost their jobs. Many others are among the low-paid hourly workers with jobs that cannot be done remotely. And African-Americans are being infected and dying at higher rates.
President Trump told reporters on Saturday that he was postponing a Group of 7 meeting scheduled to be held in the United States next month. Earlier Saturday, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said she would not attend in person, citing concerns about the coronavirus.
Mr. Trump also said that he wanted to invite Russia to rejoin the group.
Making the announcement while returning from the SpaceX launch in Florida, the president said he also planned to invite Australia, India and South Korea to the summit, with an adviser adding that the idea was to bring together traditional allies to discuss China. He said he now wanted to hold the meeting in September.
“I don’t feel that as a G7 it properly represents what’s going on in the world. It’s a very outdated group of countries,” Mr. Trump said. But his intention to unilaterally invite Russia — which was indefinitely suspended in March 2014 after the annexing of Crimea — is certain to inflame other member nations.
In March, Mr. Trump announced that the June summit would take place virtually as the coronavirus outbreak was spreading around the world and international travel was curtailed. But he changed plans this month, saying he might invite the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan to Washington, as a demonstration of a return to normalcy.
Earlier Saturday, Ms. Merkel’s spokesman said in an emailed statement, “As of today, considering the overall pandemic situation, she cannot agree to her personal participation, a trip to Washington.”
On Sunday, however, Australia said it would welcome an official invitation, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the United States had made contact to discuss the matter, a government spokesman told reporters.
Our correspondent Patrick Kingsley profiled a couple who were separated by the coronavirus lockdown in March. This month, he returned for an update.
In a bungalow near the Danish-German border on Saturday afternoon, an 89-year-old German man and an 85-year-old Danish woman sat side by side in front of the television. Then they held hands, turned to each other and smiled.
“I feel 100 times better!” said Karsten Tüchsen Hansen, the German.
After weeks of separation, Mr. Tüchsen Hansen and Inga Rasmussen are finally returning to a normal romantic rhythm.
When I last saw them in March, the couple were separated when the police shut the border that runs between Mr. Tüchsen Hansen’s home in northern Germany and hers in southern Denmark. To maintain their relationship, the pair met daily at the border itself — a show of devotion that caught the attention of the international media and turned them into a symbol of hope in a troubled time.
In early May, his doctor decided that his mental health was suffering in Ms. Rasmussen’s absence, leading the German authorities to give her special dispensation to stay at Mr. Tüchsen Hansen’s home every night.
The Danish government subsequently decreed that any couple in a cross-border relationship could meet on Danish soil. But Ms. Rasmussen still prefers to spend each night in her partner’s bungalow — watched over by his collection of stuffed ferrets and garden gnomes.
When I stopped by, driving from Amsterdam to Copenhagen, I found them chatting happily on the patio outside. They were getting ready to eat mince meat with white cabbage, one of Ms. Rasmussen’s specialties.
Mr. Tüchsen Hansen was the more garrulous of the two. But as the afternoon wore on, Ms. Rasmussen also began to open up.
Their separation had been tough, but helped to affirm their commitment to each other, she said.
“I realized I can’t sleep without him at my side,” Ms. Rasmussen said. “We need each other.”
Thousands of maskless vacationers flocked to the Maryland town of Ocean City this weekend as the Greater Washington region began to emerge from coronavirus lockdown.
And yet, as Gov. Larry Hogan of Maryland has emphasized, the state is only at Phase 1 of his “Roadmap to Recovery,” which still requires the public to abide by restrictions to keep the virus from spreading.
By the governor’s order, face coverings are required inside businesses, but at the Quiet Storm Surf Shop, a clerk folding T-shirts said, “we make them optional.” On the boardwalk outside, a police officer who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the news media said, “the problem is merchants have to enforce” the mask order, but many are reluctant to alienate their first customers of the summer.
Not all the tourists were nonchalant about following restrictions. Sitting on the wall dividing the boardwalk from the beach, Kelly and Dan Goddard, who live in a Baltimore suburb, were wearing masks. Their children were sporting tie-dyed cloth ones sewn by relatives.
“There are a lot of unknowns and not a lot of real clear guidance,” Mr. Goddard said. “But I don’t think people realize how serious things are, or they don’t care.”
Pope Francis appeared in person on Sunday to bless a gathering of the faithful in Saint Peter’s Square for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic exploded in Italy and the government imposed a strict national lockdown in March.
“Today since the square is open we can return,” the pontiff said to a scattered audience that applauded as he approached an open window of his private study. “It is a pleasure.”
Francis recited the Regina Coeli prayer and gave his blessing the crowd.
“You know that from a crisis such as this we will not be the same as before,” he said. “Let’s have the courage to change in order to be better than before.”
“We have such need of the light and the strength of the Holy Spirit,” Francis said. “The entire human family needs it, so as to move out of this crisis more united and not than divided.”
The pope began reciting the Angelus prayer from the Library of the Apostolic Palace on March 8 because of the pandemic. “It is a bit strange this Angelus prayer today,” he said then, “with the pope ‘caged’ in the library. But I can see you. I am close to you.”
Earlier Sunday, the pope celebrated a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, in front of a limited number of worshipers following the protocols that are still in effect in Italy and the Vatican. During the homily, he urged Christians to fight three enemies: narcissism, victimhood and pessimism, saying they “prevent us from giving ourselves” in this time of pandemic.
But the sheer breadth of the pain is almost overwhelming, and the appeals are everywhere. And the impulse is to help — now — when confronted with a personal plea.
So what is the very best way for people with more money than they need to quickly hand it over to those in need, so they can use it for food, shelter and other necessities?
It isn’t easy to find a satisfying answer. Sites and services like GoFundMe can connect donors with real people, but they may lack vetting of recipients, their back stories or their plans. They also may not make it possible to be identified or anonymous, depending on your preference as a giver or a beneficiary. Donors with large amounts to give may want to use tax deductions to increase what they can afford to donate, but may not be able to get them through one-off cash transfers.
Here are a few ways you can help.
Throngs of Muslim worshipers returned to formal services in Israel and Saudi Arabia on Sunday as two of Islam’s holiest sites reopened for the first time since they were closed more than two months ago over coronavirus fears.
At the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, Islam’s third-holiest site, worshipers entering the compound for dawn prayers were greeted by officials who took their temperatures, distributed masks and implored them to follow social-distancing guidelines.
“We are depending on your heedfulness,” Omar Kiswani, the director of the mosque, could be heard saying through a loudspeaker system.
Ibrahim Zaghed, 25, an unemployed resident of Jerusalem, was weeping as he laid down his blue and silver prayer mat.
“Today is no different than a holiday,” said Mr. Zaghed, who was not wearing a mask. “I feel like a complete person again.”
The compound, which Jews revere as their holiest site and refer to as the Temple Mount, is often at the center of tensions between Israelis and Palestinians.
In Saudi Arabia, the government said that 90,000 mosques across the kingdom had reopened on Sunday, including parts of the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina, considered Islam’s second-holiest site. The most revered site in Islam, the Kaaba in Mecca, remains closed.
Imam Kiswani of the Aqsa Mosque, who estimated that about 3,000 people participated in the prayers on Sunday, said that while most of them followed social-distancing guidelines, some needed to exercise “greater attentiveness.”
Manal Balala, 50, a housekeeper from Jerusalem who was wearing a mask and gloves, was overjoyed as she socialized with her friends after prayers.
“I feel like my soul has been restored,” she said.
Asked whether she was concerned about the virus spreading at the mosque, Ms. Balala replied: “We all need to follow the rules, but I believe we will survive because God is protecting us from above.”
The Romanian prime minister, Ludovic Orban, paid a fine on Saturday for breaking his own coronavirus restrictions, after a photo widely shared on social media showed him with other cabinet members smoking in his office and not wearing a mask.
In a statement, Mr. Orban admitted to breaking the lockdown rules on May 25, his 57th birthday, when some cabinet members gathered at his office after work.
And in Belgium, a nephew of King Philippe tested positive for the coronavirus last week after attending a party in Spain, according to the Belgian royal palace.
The nephew, Prince Joachim, 28, tested positive on Thursday after he went to an event in the southern city of Cordoba, the palace said. Spanish news outlets reported that 27 people had attended the party, which would be in violation of regional lockdown rules that limit gatherings in private households to 15 people.
Prince Joachim traveled from Belgium to Madrid and then to Cordoba, where he contracted the virus and has been isolating since then. Under Phase 2 of Spain’s reopening plan, those who violate lockdown rules face a fine of 600 to 10,000 euros, or about $650 to $11,100.
When Boris Johnson became the editor of The Spectator in 1999, he declared that he planned to make the weekly magazine, Britain’s oldest, a “refuge for logic, fun, and good writing.” It would, he promised somewhat paradoxically, “continue to set the political agenda, and to debunk it.”
Now that Mr. Johnson is the prime minister, the magazine he once ran has never been closer to fulfilling his ambition of being both in bed with Britain’s conservative establishment and willing to yank the covers off it.
Yet The Spectator’s incestuous ties with the governing elite have thrust it into the murky heart of an uproar over a 260-mile drive that Mr. Johnson’s most influential adviser, Dominic Cummings, and his wife made, violating Britain’s lockdown rules.
Mary Wakefield, one of the magazine’s senior editors, is married to Mr. Cummings and wrote a vivid account of how she and her husband both fell ill with the coronavirus. Mr. Cummings, she said, lay “doggo” in bed for 10 days before emerging into “the almost comical uncertainty of London lockdown.”
The trouble is, she did not mention that they had actually gone to northern England — a journey that has brought charges of hypocrisy and calls for Mr. Johnson to dismiss Mr. Cummings.
Ms. Wakefield’s omissions have also cast an unflattering light on The Spectator. Critics have accused it of misleading readers. Britain’s Independent Press Standards Organization, a watchdog group, has received more than 100 complaints about the column. Pending an investigation, it could force the magazine to publish a correction.
“The English tradition of editing has always been more laissez faire than the American one,” said Timothy Garton Ash, a historian at Oxford University and longtime contributor to The Spectator. “But there was too much latitude in this case.”
Reporting was contributed by Mark Landler, Stephen Castle, Ron Lieber, Emma Bubola, Jack Healy, Dionne Searcey, Patrick Kingsley, Elizabeth Williamson, Elian Peltier, Yonette Joseph, Hannah Beech, Maggie Haberman, Mike Ives, Aimee Ortiz, Suhasini Raj, Adam Rasgon, Kai Schultz and Derrick Bryson Taylor.