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Homeland Security

India Reports Largest Daily Spike in Coronavirus Infections

By VOA News May 22, 2020

India's health ministry said Friday the country has recorded its largest increase in COVID-19 infections in a 24-hour period - 6,088. There were 148 deaths in the same time frame - from Thursday morning to Friday, the ministry said. Currently, the massive country has 119,574 reported coronavirus infections, according to the Johns Hopkins University coronavirus dashboard, and 3,707 deaths.

In Britain's fight to stop the spread of the disease caused by the coronavirus, everyone flying into the country, including citizens, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. International travelers will have to provide an address and be subjected to spot checks and fines if they breach quarantine. Northern Ireland Secretary Brandon Lewis told Sky News on Friday. The new protocol is expected to begin next month.

Johns Hopkins puts the current number of COVID-19 infections globally at more than 5.1 million, with around 335,000 deaths.

The United States continues to lead in the number of cases and deaths. Close to 1.6 million people have been infected and more than 95,000 have died.

Russia ranks second with more than 326,440 cases. Brazil is third with more than 310,000 infections.

In the U.S., President Donald Trump has ordered flags on all federal buildings and monuments lowed to half-staff for three days in memory of all Americans who have lost their lives to the respiratory ailment.

Trump made the announcement late Thursday on Twitter at the same time he said the lowered flags Monday will also honor servicemen and women "who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation" as the country marks Memorial Day.

Meanwhile, Michigan's attorney general, Dana Nessel, says Trump may not be invited back to the state if he refuses to wear a face mask in public.

Trump Thursday visited a Ford auto factory near Detroit that has been converted into a plant to build ventilators.

The Ford executives who were showing Trump around the plant wore masks. But Trump, as he has always done, refused to wear one where he could be seen by the media.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said it isn't just Ford Motors' policy that all visitors to its plants wear a mask – it is also state law.

"He's going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facilities inside our state...we're going to have to take action" against any company that allows it in the future," Nessel said.

When asked if Trump was told it was unacceptable to not wear a mask in the plant, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford said, "It's up to him."

Trump claimed he did wear a mask out of view of reporters because he said he did not want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it.

The president has reportedly told White House aides that he does not want to wear a mask in public because he thinks it makes him look weak. Trump later took aim at Attorney General Nessel, saying on Twitter that she should not be taking her anger out on Ford. Trump also said he brought business back to Michigan.

Complaints from many Democrats and some governors that the White House's handling of the coronavirus outbreak has been incoherent has apparently had little effect on Trump's approval rating.

A new poll by the Associated Press and University of Chicago indicates Trump has a 41% job approval rating -- a number that has been consistent throughout his presidency.

Also Thursday, the president said the U.S. government has made an agreement with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to produce 300 million doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine.

AstraZeneca said it has received more than $1 billion from federal researchers.

"We have a lot of things happening on the vaccine front," Trump told reporters. "We're so far ahead of where people thought we'd be."

The U.S. government has other deals with Johnson & Johnson, Moderna, and the French company Sanofi for vaccine development.

Some critics have said they are concerned that rich countries such as the United States will corner the market on vaccines because of the huge amounts of money they are investing.

Experts have said a vaccine may not be ready for as long as 18 months, but recent progress in testing indicates one may be ready sooner than later.

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