Thais return to temples in traditional garb – and masks

AYUTTHAYA, Thailand (Reuters) – Thais are starting to visit temples again as the mostly Buddhist country emerges from a coronavirus lockdown, although visitors are taking precautions such as wearing masks and getting temperature checks before entering the grounds.

The Southeast Asian country has seen just over 3,000 COVID-19 infections and 58 deaths, but has reported no local transmission in the past week, helping accelerate moves to ease restrictions.

On Monday, visitors flocked to the Chaiwatthanaram temple in the ancient capital Ayutthaya with some making it more of an occasion by wearing traditional outfits.

“I’ve been longing to get out (of the house), I wanted to come and take pictures, wanted to pay homage to the temple and make merit,” said Arisara Khaosa-ard, who had come from the nearby capital Bangkok.

“But I understand that during this time we have to stay vigilant for others and ourselves as well,” said Arisara, 23, who was wearing a mask.

In recent years, Thais have been taking selfies at the temple wearing traditional pants and silk sarongs, inspired by a historical television soap opera “Love Destiny”.

Among the popular costumes are those worn during the reign of former King Chulalongkorn, known as Rama V, who ruled from 1868 to 1910 and is credited with saving Thailand from Western colonialism.

Thai authorities had not directly ordered the closure of the country’s roughly 40,000 temples due to the pandemic, but many chose to shut or bring in tight restrictions.

The Chaiwatthanaram temple reopened on May 22, but is only now starting to see an increase in visitors as people feel more comfortable leaving home.

Partially shielded by an umbrella, Namthip Chicha, 16, admitted the protective mask she wore at the temple didn’t match her stylish red silk sarong.

“Well, the mask doesn’t really go with the costume, but if it’s for the common interest and can help health workers, we will do our best,” said Namthip.

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Crowded Protests Spark Fears of an Increase in Coronavirus Cases

As thousands of Americans protested this weekend following the death of George Floyd while in police custody, health officials and political leaders have expressed concern that a spike in COVID-19 cases could follow in the coming weeks.

Most protesters have been wearing masks, but with close conditions as they marched through streets in Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and New York City, among other cities, social distancing was nearly impossible at a time when COVID-19 is still circulating in the U.S., with around 20,000 new cases a day.

In Atlanta, which has seen three straight days of protests, Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said that she is worried about new infections, particularly among the black community which has been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.

“If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week,” she said during a news briefing on Sunday. “There is still a pandemic in America that’s killing black and brown people at higher numbers.”

Several protesters have spoken to media outlets about why protesting for racial justice is worth the risk of developing COVID-19.

“I cannot in good conscience let this moment pass me by,” said Hasani Sinclair, a 38-year-old high school history teacher, told the Los Angeles Times. He had been staying home, only going out in public with a mask and has been tested multiple times for COVID-19, but said that as a black man, he needed to speak out against police brutality that “has been a silent cause of death for years and years and years.”

Sućdi, a 24-year-old student in Minneapolis told The Cut that it was worth the risk.

“I’m terrified of the coronavirus. I’m diabetic, and my mom is very worried. But I tell her there’s no choice,” she said. “I went out because I do not want my future children to experience that rush of fear and panic when being pulled over by a traffic cop. I had to choose which virus poses the biggest threat to my family, friends, and me. And that’s the police.”

On Saturday, the New York City Health Department shared tips for protesting as safely as possible during COVID-19. They suggested wearing face masks, eye protection, using noisemakers instead of yelling and staying six feet away from other people.

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Coronavirus news live – UK death toll at 38,489 and some primary schools reopen

A further 113 have died with coronavirus in the UK, bringing the overall death toll – as of Sunday – to 38,489.

The official death count includes the number of deaths recorded in hospitals, as well as in care homes.

Meanwhile, some lockdown measures have been eased from today, meaning people in England can gather in groups of up to six outdoors, while more than two million ‘shielders’ will be allowed outside for the first time in months.

Those deemed ‘clinically vulnerable’ must remain at home.

The Prime Minister also gave the green light for nurseries and other early years settings to reopen and pupils in reception, year one and year six to go back today.

  • Another 113 dead from coronavirus across the UK
  • UK reaches target capacity for 200,000 coronavirus tests a day, Health Secretary claims
  • Public can tell if track and trace phone call is real because it will sound ‘professional’
  • What are the new lockdown rules and what are the 5 levels of lockdown in the UK?

Here, we bring you the live updates on the latest news, developments and guidance on the Covid-19 pandemic.

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Coronavirus Might Change Street Style Forever, According To One Expert

After years of capturing street style, fashion photographer Seleen Saleh decided to produce an anthology of her work, something that would act as both a tribute and time capsule of sorts. The end result is Street Culture, a vibrant collection of photographs showcasing Black people with unique, head-turning personal style.

“The inspiration behind the book was to highlight the past decade, which was a very exciting and empowering time in history when Black people were really celebrating themselves, individuality, style, culture, and natural hair,” Saleh tells Bustle. “I wanted to create something funky and inspiring that can somewhat represent us.”

She began developing the concept for the book back in November 2014, after her boss encouraged her to go for it. The process began with sifting through the thousands of images Saleh had shot throughout her career.

“Initially I edited photos to [include] my top 500 images,” she recalls. “I made contact sheets and printed them. Then I cut them up and put them together like puzzle pieces — this was a long process. It took me probably months to finalize that list.”

After completing that enormous task, Saleh started fundraising for the book, which didn’t go quite as planned. In 2016, she launched a Kickstarter that wasn’t as successful as she’d hoped.

“I spent [2017] licking my wounds from that,” she shares. “[In] 2018, I was determined to get the book published and spoke to everyone about it. It wasn’t until I met [brand consultant] Umindi Franicis, who connected me with her publisher friend. In 2019, it went into production — the rest as you say is history.”

And while you’d think launching a book during a global pandemic might prove challenging, Saleh doesn’t see it that way. “Interesting enough, it is allowing me to focus solely on my book launch,” she explains. “I am more productive now than ever. Normally I would be working my side job, doing shoots alongside my launch. Now I get to focus on my wellness and my book launch.”

The pandemic has also pushed her to explore other creative outlets. “Music has to be the most healing thing for us during this time,” Saleh says. “I’ve been doing Instagram Stories of my street style shots with music. I’ve been doing IG Lives with people from the book. It’s really fun and a great way for me to get used to transitioning from behind-the-scenes to in front of the camera.”

As a longtime street style photographer, Saleh has one-of-a-kind insight into what makes for a memorable street style look. Thinking ahead to the post-pandemic world, she predicts the street style industry will change dramatically, and she aimed to capture what it might look like in the accompanying images, featuring stylist and travel expert Nneya Richards. Like Richards, who shopped her closet for these looks, Saleh believes people will begin to embrace two key elements when crafting their everyday ensembles: simplicity and sustainability.

“I really think street style will be going back to the basics,” she says. “People will be thrifting more, and it will be more about style than clothes again. Up-cycling will be a thing, and everyone will be way more conscious about what they wear.”

As a fan of all things vintage — “Lately I have been obsessed with vintage patterned blouses,” she reveals — Saleh has a hunch that one decade in particular will have a significant resurgence in the months ahead.

“I am looking forward to the ’70s coming back with pattern and color clashes,” she shares. “The patterns are so fun and funky.”

The economic effects of the pandemic — which have caused many retailers to pivot to e-commerce and others to file for bankruptcy — will, of course, also influence which garments and pieces make it to street style galleries.

“People are taking a hit financially from all this, [including] fashion houses,” Saleh says. “We will see less designers giving away tons of products to influencers and editors. More people will be conscious of the Earth, waste, and hopefully each other.”

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Bebe Rexha’s Parents Both Had Coronavirus, But Have Since Recovered

Bebe Rexha is opening up about how she’s been personally affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 30-year-old “Meant to Be” singer says that both of her parents were diagnosed with COVID-19, though they thankfully have recovered from the virus.

“They got sick with the coronavirus and were very ill for three weeks, and I got very nervous,” Bebe told Extra.

Bebe lives in Los Angeles and she was ready to get in a car and drive across the country to take care of them, but they said not to come.

“I was thinking of doing the whole drive… to take care of them… They were so adamant about not having my brother and I there, but finally they got better. Finally they can taste food again. I’m really grateful,” she said. “I am happy that New York is getting into a much better spot and the East Coast is starting to see the light.”

Right at the beginning of the quarantine period, Bebe opened up about how she knew someone that died from the virus at 45.

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MLB Owners Want To Use The Coronavirus Pandemic To Bust Baseball’s Players Union

The 2020 Major League Baseball season, already on hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic, is now at risk of not happening at all, thanks to team owners’ demands that players accept draconian salary cuts in order for the season to begin, whenever that might happen.

The league and its owners insist that the proposal they unveiled Tuesday, which would require some players to forgo more than half of their salary, is a serious pitch meant to stave off further hardships. But the plan’s details make it clear what owners are really after: They want to use the pandemic to finally break the MLB Players’ Association, long regarded as the most powerful union in American professional sports.

That has been the owners’ goal since the day the union was recognized in 1966, and they have continued to wage covert war against players throughout the period of relative labor peace that followed the fall-less 1994 season, when players staged a 232-day strike ― and even canceled the World Series ― over owners’ demands that they agree to a hard cap on salaries. 

Now, the owners are essentially making a big bet against a union that has withered over the past quarter-century into a body that rarely exerts itself beyond a tersely worded press release. The owners are gambling the 2020 season, and the game’s future, on the idea that the MLBPA won’t fight back the way it did 26 years ago ― and that fans will take the billionaires’ side if players do. 

The MLBPA ought to call their bluff, even if it means there’s no baseball this summer, and even if it means 2020 becomes as ugly a memory in baseball history as the strike-shortened season of 1994 is often portrayed.

The owners’ demands are patently ridiculous, and have been for weeks. They initially asked players to agree to a temporary (so they said) revenue model that would act as a de facto salary cap. After players rejected that idea, the league came back Tuesday with a proposal to cut salaries on a sliding scale, with the top-paid athletes taking a bigger hit than their lesser-paid teammates.

The proposal would require Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout, the game’s best current player, to take a roughly 70% pay cut while still assuming the health risk of playing baseball in a pandemic, according to ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Other players would face smaller cuts under a plan that’s obviously meant to split the union’s rank-and-file from its superstars.

But the details don’t matter as much as the overarching truth: Players overall would transfer significant amounts of the money they are contractually owed to the billionaires who own baseball teams.

There is no reason to believe the owners’ cries of poverty. The MLB has refused to open its books to support its assertions of imminent financial devastation, and the league’s owners have a deep history of hiding the books and producing blue ribbon reports to support their specious money claims. (Baseball still exists all these years later, despite owners‘ alarmism throughout the 1990s about what would happen if they had to actually pay players what they’re worth.) 

There is no reason to take the owners’ side. Despite common misconceptions, lower salaries for players will not mean cheaper tickets, beers, hot dogs or souvenirs for fans. They’ll just mean fatter pockets for owners.

The players have already agreed to prorate salaries for whatever portion of the season they are able to play, a more generous concession than they had to make. Owners never go back to under-contract players after revenues exceed expectations to offer them more money. Why should players who signed contractual agreements not demand that owners uphold their end of those deals now? The players have every right to tell the owners that they’ll only play if owners honor the prorated salary agreement the two sides reached in March.

Players seem increasingly fed up. Two weeks ago, Tampa Bay Rays pitcher Blake Snell said that restarting the season wasn’t “worth it” if players had to take big pay cuts, and New York Mets pitcher Marcus Stroman tweeted, then quickly deleted, that the Tuesday plan made a 2020 season unlikely. The union, for its part, said it’s “extremely disappointed” in the offer. 

Owners, though, are confident that half-baked pitches like this one will ultimately work because the antagonistic version of the MLBPA is mostly a relic of the past.

Over the last decade, MLB owners have succeeded in steadily eroding the option of free agency and the bigger salaries that come with it. They have weaponized baseball’s statistical revolution to prioritize ruthless efficiency ― which has proven how undervalued many players are while also contributing to management’s obsession with younger, cheaper talent. They’ve manipulated rules governing younger players and league-wide revenue sharing to further control costs, and they’ve diversified revenue streams by pouring cash into digital media ventures and ballpark villages, giving themselves even less incentive to spend money trying to win. 

The union and its collective bargaining agreement have done little to prevent owners from squeezing players at the top, bottom and each side. As a result, the share of league revenues that goes toward player salaries has fallen to modern lows, even without the dreaded salary cap that players once walked off the field to prevent. In 2018, the average MLB salary dropped for only the fourth time in 50 years.

Baseball, in other words, has become something of a microcosm of the American economy, with an ownership class rewriting some rules and bending others in order to hoard as much money as possible at the top. The MLB’s obsession with efficiency came straight from Wall Street and elite business schools whose big data fixation helped create an economy that has benefited the wealthy but “hollowed out” the middle class ― a dynamic that probably sounds familiar to the free agents who’ve had to stomach endless excuses for why they can’t find jobs.

Faced with the sudden financial crunch caused by the pandemic, massive companies that wasted excess cash on stock buybacks and senseless acquisitions, instead of preparing for an inevitable downturn, have forced their workers back on the job with little regard for their health or well-being, sometimes twisting the definition of “essential” beyond all logic to do so. 

MLB owners, whose relentless short-termism created their own sustainability problems, now sense an opportunity to do the same, especially as President Donald Trump pushes the idea that professional sports are “essential.” 

The MLBPA’s reluctance to fight stems largely from the 1994-95 strike, the blame for which wrongly fell on the athletes, who were up against the perception that they were spoiled rich guys playing a kid’s game, not workers in a labor system that left unchecked would have treated them the same way it does workers everywhere else. And the union is right that it will never win a public relations battle with the league office, especially at a time when 40 million Americans are newly unemployed. 

But it also doesn’t have to. Instead of trying to win over the public, the MLBPA ought to take lessons from other workers who are as fed up with their bosses as baseball players should be. 

The last two years have seen a surge in union drives and strikes, a wave of activism that has now intensified during a crisis that further exposes how little big business cares for its most vital employees. 

From McDonald’s to the media, workers have decided they have to fight, and many of them have won. At some point, whether it realizes it yet or not, baseball’s union is going to have to do the same. And if there’s no 2020 season, it won’t be the players’ fault. 


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UK coronavirus death toll hits 37,460 after 412 more die of bug – The Sun

THE UK coronavirus death toll has risen to 37,460 after 412 more fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours.

A total of 267,240 are now infected with the bug across Britain – up 2,013 from yesterday.

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Today's spike in deaths is more than three times greater than yesterday's, when 134 fatalities were logged.

This is likely to be due to a lag in reporting over the long weekend – figures are generally expected to be low after the bank holiday Monday before catching up again on Wednesday.

Today's jump is bigger than the rise recorded last Wednesday (363) – however it remains smaller than every jump recorded on a Wednesday since lockdown began.

It comes as

  • Britain could be "'back to normal by August"
  • Local lockdowns could be thrown in place from Thursday
  • Dentists could treat patients in next three weeks
  • Ebola drug given green light to treat coronavirus
  • Bojo to announce new track and trace programme
  • The government has revealed the full list of retailers that can reopen on June 15
  • Barbecues and garden parties could be allowed by the end of June
  • Small numbers of children will head back to class when schools reopen from next week

In England, 26,049 hospital patients have died from the virus – up 183 from yesterday’s tally.

The rise, recorded by NHS England, is larger than any daily jump recorded in England since last Thursday, when 187 deaths were logged.

Again, this is likely to be due to a lag in reporting over the long weekend.

Patients were aged between 43 and 101 years old – and all but two of them had underlying health conditions.

It compares to figures recorded at the peak of the virus (April 10) when 56 out of 866 patients who died in England were healthy.

Although today's rise in England is greater than the rise recorded last Wednesday (166), it is significantly smaller than every daily rise recorded on a Wednesday throughout April and the rest of May, suggesting the coronavirus death rate is continuing to make a steady decline.


In Scotland, a further 13 deaths were recorded today, bringing the coronavirus death toll in Scotland to 2,304.

In Wales, 11 deaths were confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the total there to 1,293.

Northern Ireland announced two deaths from the bug today – having reported no new coronavirus fatalities for the first time since March 18, yesterday.

The numbers come after the Office for National Statistics yesterday revealed 47,000 people could have been killed by the deadly bug in Britain already.

The ONS figures show that 42,173 died from the virus in England and Wales up to May 15.

Combined with the latest ONS stats for Scotland and Northern Ireland, it means a total of 46,383 have died across the UK.

A further 964 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 16 and May 24 meaning that the overall UK death toll is just above 47,300.

The figure is 10,000 more than the official Department of Health stats.


Last night the Health Secretary suggested Britain has met four out of five tests for lifting the lockdown after sealing a huge PPE deal.

Speaking during the Government's daily coronavirus briefing, Matt Hancock revealed "significant progress" had been made on securing enough vital equipment to help protect those working on the front line in hospitals and care homes.

The Government did not outline specify, however, whether the new PPE supplies would cover dentists.

MPs have been pushing for dental surgeries to reopen, telling dentists to prepare to treat patients in the next three weeks.

Plans announced in Scotland stated that urgent care centres will be opened first followed by dental practices – England is set to follow these plans.


Meanwhile the antiviral drug remdesivir – originally developed to tackle Ebola – was given the green light for the NHS today.

Mr Hancock hailed the drug the "biggest step forward" in treating coronavirus since the crisis began, after trials found it helped hospitalised patients recover almost a third faster.

The good news comes as extreme lockdown measures are expected to be lifted soon, with barbecues and garden parties for ten person 'bubbles' expected to be allowed from the end of June.

An ex World Health Organisation expert has even said Britain could be "back to normal" by August.

The new plans would allow different households to meet for the first time in months, although they would be capped at two households at a time.

Tough local lockdowns could, however, be thrown in place from Thursday to rapidly isolate new coronavirus sufferers.

Boris Johnson is set to announce the Government’s crucial new ‘track and trace’ programme, which will go live either on Thursday or Friday, when an army of 25,000 contact tracers will begin work hunting down new cases.

It will mean whole towns could face their own lockdowns – with schools, businesses or workplaces closed – if there are regional flare-ups.


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NC coronavirus cases surge as Trump demands full-capacity GOP convention

North Carolina is grappling with a steady surge in new coronavirus cases as President Trump demands the state to accommodate a full-capacity Republican convention.

The number of infected residents continues to rise in North Carolina, where Republicans have for two years planned to hold their national convention this August.

There are 24,418 confirmed cases in the state, with 1,600 new infections reported on Friday — the largest single-day rise North Carolina has seen, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Trump still has insisted Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper allow for the Republican National Convention to pack the Spectrum Center in Charlotte for the event. The president on Monday tweeted threats to move the convention if Cooper wouldn’t cooperate.

Cooper on Tuesday said that he is still in talks with Republicans over the logistics for the convention. His administration has demanded a written safety plan from the convention’s organizers and brushed off Trump’s tweets, saying he’s “not surprised at anything that happens on Twitter.”

“We have asked them to present a plan on paper to us laying out the various options that we’ve already discussed,” Cooper said. “They know we’re talking about a time that’s three months from now, so we have to have options regarding how this convention is going to be run depending on where we are with the virus in August.”

North Carolina’s Mecklenburg County, which includes Charlotte, has recorded nearly 3,400 coronavirus cases — more than double the next highest county.

Cooper has eased up on the state’s lockdown, though, allowing for restaurants to allow customers to dine inside. But the governor, like other states easing out of lockdowns, has still barred gatherings at venues, bars and gyms.

Trump on Tuesday insinuated that Cooper was intentionally slow-walking a reopening and said he would have the Republican National Committee explore alternatives if they can’t get confirmation “within a week.”

“We have a governor who doesn’t want to open up the state,” Trump said. “He’s been acting very, very slowly and very suspiciously.”

With Post Wires

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‘I nearly died of coronavirus but now I’ve got highest levels of antibodies in UK – and my blood could save lives’ – The Sun

A DOCTOR who had to be rushed to intensive care with coronavirus has the highest levels of antibodies in the UK and his blood could now save lives. 

Alessandro Giardini had a terrifying experience with the deadly virus – but is now part of a major trial to donate blood plasma with antibodies to help critically ill patients.

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Dr Giardini, a 46-year-old consultant in cardiology at the Great Ormond Street Children's Hospit told the BBC: "I have had coronavirus, I had to get admitted to the intensive care unit.

"I've been tested and I have the highest levels of antibodies in the UK and I've been donating my plasma to help other people that are sick in the ICU.

"Antibodies are little molecules our bodies produce to fight infection – I have donated plasma which gives the chance to transfer these immunity and antibodies to other people who are struggling in the ICU."

He spent seven days on a ventilator in intensive after after being infected – but he now has around 40 times the antibody level typical of COVID-19 survivors who are donating their plasma.

NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), which is collecting the plasma for the trial said it is looking for people who recovered from COVID-19 – particularly those who are male, over 35 or have been admitted to hospital.

The antibodies are transfused into people who are seriously ill with the deadly virus and struggling to develop their own antibodies.

If the trial is successful the treatment could be game-changing for doctors fighting to save their patients.

Despite Dr Giardini's terrifying experience in the ICU – the severity of his illness could save lives.

According to NHSBT, 70 per cent of people sick enough to be admitted to hospital had higher levels of antibodies, compared to 31 per cent of donors who had a positive test but didn't need hospital treatment.

Dr Giardini said: "It was a very hard experience, not knowing if you will see your family again – I have two young children.

"I was aware of the convalescent plasma donation programme so I was expecting the call to come in and donate. I felt I had to give back.

"Even though it was scary to go back into a medical environment and have a needle again, I really felt that if there was any chance I could help someone else who was still ill with Covid-19, that I needed to do it.

"I felt great after donating plasma. It feels like we are in one interconnected community, helping each other. I was very much pleased and proud to have donated."

Research by the health body of 435 recovered patients found that men were twice as likely to have high enough antibody levels compared to women – or 34 per cent of men compared to 17 per cent of women.

Only 10 per cent of people aged under 35 had high enough antibody levels compared to 31 per cent of 31 to 45-year-olds  and 40 per cent of those aged over 45. .

NHSBT's associate medical director for blood donation Professor David Roberts, said: "These testing results mean we want hear from those who want to give convalescent plasma and especially want to hear people from men, the over-35s, and all people who needed hospital treatment.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has already donated plasma for the trial – and urged others who could to do the same. 


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Mink with coronavirus ‘infect two people in Europe’s first animal transmission’ – The Sun

CORONAVIRUS-infected mink have spread the bug to two people in Europe's first possible cases of animal-to-human transmission, warn officials in the Netherlands.

“Of course the original source of infection in China was also very likely animals," said health chief, Jaap van Dissel.

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The cross-species infections were announced today by government and health authorities, a month after two mink farms were put into quarantine as animals were found to have contracted the virus.

The mink, which were tested after showing signs of having trouble breathing, were believed to have been infected by employees who had the virus, the agriculture ministry said.

In April, the ministry played down fears of animal-to-human transmission as "minimal", citing advice from national health authorities.

But movement of the ferret-like mammals and their poo was banned.

People were advised not to travel within 400 meters of the mink breeders.

Dutch police sealed off the two mink farms in the south of the country.

Mink farmers, vets and people in research institutions were told by the government to notify officials immediately if they noticed breathing problems and or an increase in mortality in minks.

Then, on May 20 the Dutch Agriculture Minister told parliament that a worker on a farm where mink are bred to export their fur contracted the coronavirus from the animals.

Carola Schouten admitted that earlier advisories from her office that people could infect animals, but not the other way around, was wrong.

And today government and health authorities said a second person had contracted the bug after being in contact with an infected mink.

Schouten repeated that the country’s health department believes the risk of animal-to-human transmission of the virus outside the farms on which they are kept is “negligible".

Mink carrying the virus have now been diagnosed on four of the 155 farms in the country, she said.

On three of the four infected properties, the source of infection has been shown to be a sick human, while the fourth is still under investigation, the minister said.

Health chief Jaap van Dissel said that, while a few cats and other animals had been infected with Covid-19 by humans, the Dutch mink-to-human transmissions were practically unique.

“This is the first time we’ve found, at least we’ve shown that it’s likely, that in two cases the infection has gone from animal to human,” he said in testimony to parliament on Monday.

“Of course the original source of infection in China was also very likely animals.”


Mink fur is sold in China, Korea, Greece and Turkey.

After pressure from animal rights activists, the Dutch government banned new mink farms in 2013 and said existing ones would have to close by 2024.

Animal rights campaigners from PETA Netherlands dressed in protective suits to urge Carola Schouten to bring forward the ban. 

The group claimed: "Dirty fur farms full of sick, stressed and injured minks are breeding grounds for diseases."

Mink are not the only animals to have contracted the killer bug.

Big cats at the Bronx Zoo in New York City came down with coronavirus in April.

The animals were tested after a four-year-old Malayan tiger called Nadia started coughing last month and was later confirmed to have been struck down.

But there has been a lot of confusion over whether pets can catch or carry coronavirus.

During the early stages of the outbreak, scientists and government officials initially confirmed that it wasn't possible.

However, several dogs and a cat tested positive for Covid-19 following close contact with infected humans, according to the World Organisation for Animal Health.

On April 2, the World Organisation for Animal Health said: "Now that Covid-19 virus infections are widely distributed in the human population there is a possibility for some animals to become infected through close contact with infected humans."


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