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The trains are running again even as some states worry about the effect of passengers travelling cross-country. Around the world, there’s a sense of fear, acceptance and hope as countries ease strict lockdowns and people return to the streets. France loosened business restrictions on Monday as did Turkey and Switzerland. Russia has seen its biggest single-day spike, and infections crossed those recorded in Italy and UK, making it the country with the third highest cases. South Korea and Germany too, which began reopening last week, are working to contain a spike in numbers. Spain recorded its lowest daily death toll in almost two months. For the rest of the news you need to know before you start your day, here’s Mint Lite.

International Nurses Day
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International Nurses Day

‘Shine A Light’ On International Nurses Day

WHO designated 2020 as International Year of Nurse to mark the 200th anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth, little knowing that nurses would be battling a deadly virus strain. Today, 12 May is International Nurses Day, and nursing leaders have asked people to “shine a light" for them. In Lebanon, nurses hold up notes for their families from a covid-19 ward (left), while an intensive care nurse (right) offers a mask to a patient in Germany.

Four States Oppose Resumption Of Train Services

Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a video conference with chief ministers on Monday, his fifth since the lockdown to prevent the spread of coronavirus began on 25 March, and discussed opening up the country as well as the challenge of helping migrant workers return home. The third phase of the lockdown is set to end on 17 May. At least four states, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Tamil Nadu and Chhattisgarh, opposed the resumption of train services from today, saying it would become harder to identify, isolate and test suspected cases. Thirty special passenger trains, apart from the shramik trains for migrant workers, will run from today.

Shanghai Disneyland
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Shanghai Disneyland

Shanghai Disney land reopens

Shanghai Disneyland opened on Monday for the first time since late January—with visitors required to stay 2 metres apart in lines, wear masks and climb aboard rides half-empty to provide the space needed to prevent possible spread of the coronavirus. The reopening is one of the largest test cases yet of whether mass gatherings can take place safely amid the virus pandemic. Worldwide, Disney is struggling to recoup earnings at its theme park and film businesses pummeled by the virus crisis, which took out $1.4 billion of its profits last quarter. Disney said it is limiting access to the Shanghai park to a fifth of normal capacity, below the government-mandated 30%, during the initial reopening phase.

Mumbai may limit lockdowns to some hubs to restart economy

Maharashtra’s main cities, its financial hubs that are grappling with a rising caseload, may implement a hyperlocal lockdown plan to allow economic activity to restart. This means a red or an orange zone need not be locked down completely. Instead, a particular street or locality with cases is sealed. Mumbai Metropolitan Region and Pune’s extended city limits Pimpri-Chinchwad are considering such a plan to save lives as well as livelihoods, a government official said. At 22,171, Maharahstra has the highest number of active cases in the country. Of these, Mumbai reported 13,739 cases and 508 deaths.

Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.
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Atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration.

Record CO2 concentrations despite covid-19 crisis

Over the past few weeks there have been many reports of localized air quality improvements as the world has locked down to combat the coronavirus pandemic, but the climate crisis is far from over. The most recent data from UN Environment Programme and US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association shows global carbon dioxide (CO2) levels rising sharply. In April 2020 the average concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere was 416.21 parts per million (ppm), the highest since measurements began in Hawaii in 1958 (see chart). Furthermore, ice core records indicate that such levels have not been seen in the last 800,000 years.

China burns more, UK goes coal-free for a month

China’s coal demand has surged almost one-third higher than last year even as the weather becomes warmer and factories reopen. Coal use by coastal power plants at five major utilities rose for an eighth straight day on Monday, 30% higher than the same period last year and the most since January 12, official data showed. And, UK’s record-breaking run without coal power passed another milestone as the National Grid confirmed that it had completed a full month without any input from the country’s coal-fired power stations. In a tweet, it announced that as of 12am Sunday the country had completed 30 days, seven hours, and 36 minutes without coal power.

Wuhan reports first coronavirus cluster since lifting of lockdown

Wuhan, the epicentre of the novel coronavirus outbreak in China, on Monday reported its first cluster of infections since a lockdown on the city was lifted a month ago, stoking concerns of a wider resurgence of the disease. Wuhan reported five new confirmed cases, all of whom live in the same residential compound. One of them was the wife of an 89-year-old male patient reported a day earlier as the first confirmed case in the city in more than a month. All of the latest confirmed cases were previously classified as asymptomatic.

Switzerland re-opened all schools, shops, restaurants, markets, museums, libraries, and sports training centres on Monday.
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Switzerland re-opened all schools, shops, restaurants, markets, museums, libraries, and sports training centres on Monday.

Switzerland reopens schools, food lines lengthen

Switzerland re-opened all schools, shops, restaurants, markets, museums, libraries, and sports training centres on Monday with precautionary measures in place, even as parents said they were worried that the country has eased up restrictions too soon. A survey published on 7 May suggests only 36% of Swiss support the government’s calendar for reopening. The country has had about 30,000 cases and 1,500 deaths. Meanwhile, thousands have been queuing to get free food parcels in Geneva, underlining the impact of the lockdown on the working poor even in wealthy Switzerland.

Sun-shy Indonesians are soaking up rays to ‘kill’ virus

OVER THE past months, Indonesians, believing that the sun can kill the SARS-Cov-2 virus though there is no scientific evidence to back this, have been prostrating before the sun every morning. The Economist reports that so many people have suddenly started taking in the sun that the government has begun warning about the risks of skin cancer. Like India, Indonesia tends to regard pale skin as beautiful, and many women use skin-whitening products. But many Indonesians now believe that exposure to the sun kills the virus, though all it can do is boost immunity by helping one get vitamin D.

Harry Potter entertains Muggles at home

A HOST of stars are reading JK Rowling’s Harry Potter books over the next few weeks on the Wizarding World website. Daniel Radcliffe, the actor who portrayed the boy wizard in all eight films, read the first chapter of Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone, and will be followed by David Beckham, Dakota Fanning, Claudia Kim and Eddie Redmayne, among others.

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