Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:
VIRUS RHETORIC ESCALATES
Donald Trump’s attacks on China’s handling of the early days of the pandemic have now escalated to threats of trade measures. The U.S. president said on Thursday his trade deal with China was now of secondary importance and warned of new tariffs.
That reflects his growing frustration with Beijing over the pandemic, which has cost tens of thousands of lives in the United States alone, sparked an economic contraction and threatened his chances of re-election in November.
China has repeatedly pushed back at what it considers are politically motivated attacks on it.
THE LONG PATH TO EASING
Various countries are now assessing how they wind down stringent social distancing measures without risking a new wave of infections.
Ireland’s health chiefs hold meetings on Friday ahead of the current May 5 expiry of stay-home coronavirus restrictions.
In Spain, adults will finally be able to exercise and go for walks on Saturday after seven weeks shut indoors, and on the same day Austria will reopen thousands of bigger shops as well as small businesses like hairdressers.
THE “R” RATE
Those countries will all keep a close watch on the so-called “R”, for reproduction, rate of the virus. It shows the average number of infections one person with the virus causes, and governments around the world will want to maintain it below 1.0.
That remains the case in Denmark, the first country outside Asia to ease its coronavirus lockdown, which said on Thursday the spread of Covid-19 has not accelerated since the gradual loosening of restrictions began in mid-April.
Man-to-man marking in the era of social distancing? It was a relatively quick step to suspend Premier League football matches but it will prove harder to agree on how exactly to relaunch them.
Premier League clubs will discuss plans for resuming the season in a conference call on Friday, but the practicalities of how to even begin training will be the first obstacle they have to overcome with “Project Restart”.
A protocol with proposed arrangements – including equipping players with masks – has been circulated to some early controversy.