While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, May 19

Xi says China supports probe into coronavirus, pledges funds to help fight pandemic

China supports a comprehensive probe into the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, said President Xi Jinping on Monday, even as he defended his own country’s handling of the outbreak for the first time at an international gathering.

A resolution pushed by the European Union and Australia for a review of the origin and spread of the coronavirus had started to gather international support when Mr Xi addressed the issue at the World Health Assembly’s annual meeting in a video telecast on Monday.

China had previously opposed calls for such investigations from the United States and Australia, but Mr Xi indicated on Monday that he would support an independent probe.

Beijing has been open, transparent and responsible, and quick to share the virus’ genome sequence data with the world, said the Chinese leader.

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Trump says taking hydroxychloroquine as hedge against coronavirus; calls WHO ‘puppet of China’

US President Donald Trump said on Monday he is taking hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug that he has touted despite medical warnings about its use, as a preventive medicine against the coronavirus.

“I’ve been taking it for the last week and a half. A pill every day,” Trump told reporters.

Trump also attacked the United Nations health body as a Chinese “puppet” on Monday and confirmed he is considering slashing or cancelling US support.

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As flying returns, jetmakers seek to quell coronavirus fears over cabin air

Jet manufacturers and airlines are launching an urgent initiative to convince nervous travellers that the air they breathe on planes is safe, believing this is critical to rebuilding a travel industry floored by the novel coronavirus.

Boeing has appointed former engineering and development chief Mike Delaney to head wider efforts to build confidence, and Airbus leaders say the industry is moving from an initial crisis phase to securing public trust.

That has triggered, among other things, a concerted effort to explain how cabin air filtration works in a bid to scotch the myth that the pressurised fuselage contains only static or recycled air.

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Macron, Merkel agree $774 billion EU coronavirus recovery plan

France and Germany proposed Monday a 500 billion euro (S$774 billion) fund to finance the recovery of the European Union’s economy from the devastation wrought by the coronavirus crisis.

Putting aside past differences and seeking to prove that the Franco-German core of Europe remains intact, President Emmanuel Macron and Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the unprecedented package after talks by video conference.

With the European economy facing its biggest challenge since World War II, Macron also acknowledged that the EU had fallen short in its initial response to the virus and needed to coordinate more closely on health.

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EPL clubs to resume training from May 19 in small groups

Premier League clubs will return to training in small groups from Tuesday after the latest stage of “Project Restart” was approved on Monday.

Clubs unanimously voted to allow players to start socially distanced training in a bid to meet the Premier League’s mid-June date to resume the season.

Contact training is not permitted at this stage and corner flags, balls, cones, goalposts, playing surfaces and other equipment will be disinfected after each session.

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