Spaniards over the age of six now have to wear masks in any indoor or outdoor public area where social distancing is impossible. Madrid is hoping the order will keep a lid on new infections. Follow DW for the latest
- The US has extended its border restrictions with Mexico and Canada, while weighing a travel ban on Brazil
- Brazil has registered more than 1,000 COVID-19 deaths in 24 hours
- Russia has 300,000 registered cases, and India more than 100,000, as the global total nears 5 million
- In Spain it is compulsory for anyone over 6 years old to wear a mask in public spaces where they cannot keep two meters away from others
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
11:46 A worker on a mink farm in the Netherlands has caught the coronavirus from animals bred at the site, according to the Dutch agriculture minister.
In a letter to parliament on Wednesday, Minister Carola Schrouten said it was the country’s first reported instance of animal-to-human transmission.
Researchers began studying the case after reports the virus had spread among the mammals at two fur farms near the southern city of Eindhoven. Their study concluded “that it is plausible that one employee of an infected mink farm was infected by mink,” Schrouten said.
The government has since introduced mandatory virus screening tests at mink farms and halted visits to the infected properties. Schrouten said it was unlikely the virus would jump from the animals to a person again because air and dust samples outside the mink pens showed no sign of COVID-19. In 2013, the Dutch government banned new mink farms, and gave existing ones until 2024 to shut down.
11:25 Public swimming pools around Germany began opening today, under assurances from doctors and experts that the levels of chlorine used will kill off the virus.
“There is no higher risk of infection in swimming pools than in other establishments,” said the German Bathing Society.
However, strict new hygiene rules will be enforced. In Berlin, bathers have been told to arrive in their swimming gear as changing rooms and showers remain closed in order to enforce physical distancing. In Germany’s most populous state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where hundreds of pools were reopening on Wednesday, swimmers are required to book a timeslot in advance so that facility managers could adhere to a maximum number of visitors allowed in at once.
09:14 Germany’s government has given itself powers to block hostile foreign takeover bids for healthcare companies. The measure, adopted during a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, aims to ensure a continuous supply of vital products during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The current corona crisis shows how important medical know-how and production capacities in Germany and Europe can be in crisis situations,” Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said.
The regulation would allow the government to veto an attempt by US or Chinese investors, for example, to take over firms that manufacture vaccines, protective equipment, ventilators, medicines or other supplies.
In future, Berlin will be able to scrutinize a bid from outside the EU if the buyer holds over 10% of the healthcare company’s shares. The threshold until now has been 25%. Trade associations have criticised such measures, saying they could close off the market and generally make foreign investment less attractive.
“During a crisis it is more important than ever to stand for open markets,” the Federation of German Industry’s board member Stefan Mair said in a statement.
08:40 Russia’s health authorities have reported 135 deaths from the coronavirus in the past 24 hours — the highest daily toll so far. At the same time, the country registered 8,764 new cases, the lowest daily increase since May 1.
Russia has 2,972 fatalities and more than 300,000 COVID-19 cases, the second-highest number of infections in the world behind the US.