Coronavirus live news: global confirmed cases pass 2.5m but Italy sees first significant fall in infections | World news

Downing Street has weighed in behind the UK’s health secretary, Matt Hancock, following a report that he is being lined up to take the rap for government failures over protective equipment testing.

Boris Johnson’s official spokesman said the prime minister has full confidence in Hancock and stands behind his pledge to get the UK to 100,000 coronavirus tests a day by the end of the month, despite only 19,000 being carried out on Monday.

However, a blame game has started in Whitehall about some of the problems that have dogged the government’s reaction to the crisis, with Hancock’s handling of the logistics around testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) in the spotlight.

At the same time, some government sources have been pointing the finger at Public Health England for slowness to increase testing, and the NHS for failing to refer enough staff, which means completed tests are well below capacity of more than 39,000.



Tuesday 3 November is the date set by federal government for the 2020 US presidential elections. But, amid the pandemic, this has been called into question.

America has the world’s highest number of coronavirus-related deaths, with many states struggling to contain the outbreak; primary contests have been disrupted, conventions delayed and the two candidates, Donald Trump and Joe Biden, have both been prevented from holding rallies.

Could Trump delay the vote, and if so what would that mean for 2021?

Could Trump delay the 2020 US election due to coronavirus? – video explainer


Italy considers regularising illegal migrant workers

The Italian government is considering regularising illegal migrants working in the agricultural sector, as fruit and vegetable crops in the country risk rotting in the fields due to the lockdown, reports Lorenzo Tondo in Palermo.

On Tuesday, the interior minister, Luciana Lamorgese, said the government is thinking of a plan for the regularisation of migrants in response to the request for work in the fields.

“We are thinking about how to regularise immigrants working in agriculture to solve the problem of harvesting the fields,’’ said Lamorgese, who also mentioned the need to regularise foreign workers working as caregivers.

Some 90% of Italy’s agricultural workers are seasonal, the majority being from Romania.

According to the unions, if no action is taken more than 35% of crops risk rotting in the fields.


Donald Trump has been accused of “xenophobic scapegoating” after announcing he will order a temporary ban on immigration into the US to combat the coronavirus pandemic, writes David Smith, the Guardian’s Washington DC bureau chief.

There were no other details on the timing, scope or legal basis of the president’s proposed executive order and no official policy statement from the White House.

Instead there was a lone tweet issued by Trump at 10.06pm on Monday. Without warning, he wrote:

Donald J. Trump

In light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy, as well as the need to protect the jobs of our GREAT American Citizens, I will be signing an Executive Order to temporarily suspend immigration into the United States!

April 21, 2020

The post generated instant uncertainty. Similar moves by Trump in the past have triggered mayhem at airports in America and beyond, as well as legal challenges. Such an order would be a far-reaching use of executive power from a president who last week claimed he had “total” authority over states’ efforts to reopen their economies.

Democrats suggested the president was seeking to distract from his own mishandling of the pandemic. Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia tweeted:

Rep. Don Beyer

From the beginning Trump has flailed about seeking someone to blame for his own failure.

Obama. Governors. China. Speaker Pelosi. People of Asian descent.

Immigration has nearly stopped and the US has far more cases than any other country.

This is just xenophobic scapegoating.

April 21, 2020

Congressman Joaquín Castro of Texas, the chairman of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, added:

This action is not only an attempt to divert attention away from Trump’s failure to stop the spread of the coronavirus and save lives, but an authoritarian-like move to take advantage of a crisis and advance his anti-immigrant agenda. We must come together to reject his division.

Moe Vela, a former senior adviser on Latino affairs to the then vice-president Joe Biden, said:

He wants to distract again. He castigates and casts blame as he tries to take it away from himself. He shirked his most fundamental responsibility as the president of this nation and that’s to keep us safe. He doesn’t know how to cover up for the fact he was playing golf and holding rallies in February when people were getting sick and dying.


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