Coronavirus update: Andrea Bocelli reveals he wilfully flouted lockdown, CDC boss injected with experimental vaccine
Famed Italian opera singer Andrea Bocelli has revealed he was offended by lockdown restrictions imposed by the Italian Government during the height of the country’s COVID-19 outbreak, and did not comply with the rules after testing positive to the virus.
Meanwhile in China, the head of the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention says he has been given a shot of a trial vaccine in a bid to inspire the general public to get vaccinated against COVID-19 when one becomes available.
This was last updated 1:00am on Wednesday.
Wednesday’s key moments:
Andrea Bocelli reveals he broke Italy’s coronavirus restrictions
Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli said the pandemic lockdown made him feel “humiliated and offended” by depriving him of his freedom to come and go as he wanted.
Bocelli made his comments while speaking at a Senate conference and said he resented not being able to leave his home even though he “committed no crime” and revealed, without providing details, that he violated Italian lockdown restrictions during the height of the pandemic there.
The singer was introduced to the conference by right-wing opposition leader Matteo Salvini, who has railed against the Government’s stringent measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak.
Bocelli told the conference that at first his children told him to be careful about the virus when he first started having doubts about its severity.
“As time passed, I know lots of people, but I didn’t know anyone who went into intensive care,” he said.
In May, Bocelli announced that he had recovered from the virus, just weeks after his Easter Sunday performance in Milan’s empty cathedral.
Bocelli said that when he learned on March 10 that he had tested positive, just as the nation was going into lockdown.
“I jumped into the pool, I felt well,” he said, adding that he only a slight fever. He apparently was referring to a private pool at his residence, as public gym pools were closed by then.
At the height of lockdown, Italians could only leave home to go to essential jobs, walk dogs or buy food or medicine.
Health Ministry Undersecretary Pierpaolo Sileri said perhaps Mr Bocelli “wanted to express the inconvenience of every Italian who, because of lockdown, stayed home.”
“I wouldn’t have said those words, but I imagine he’ll be able to explain it somehow,” Mr Sileri said.
The conference was held on the eve of Premier Giuseppe Conte’s appearance in the Senate, where he was expected to lay out his Government’s case for extending a state of emergency for the pandemic, which expires on July 31.
Head of Chinese CDC injected with experimental vaccine
The head of the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention said he has been injected with an experimental coronavirus vaccine in an attempt to persuade the public to follow suit when one is approved.
“I’m going to reveal something undercover: I am injected with one of the vaccines,” Gao Fu said.
Mr Gao did not say when or how he took the vaccine candidate, leaving it unclear whether he was injected as part of a government-approved human trial.
Mr Gao said he took the injection to instil public confidence in vaccines, especially amid a tide of rising mistrust that has fuelled conspiracy theories and attacks on scientists.
“Everybody has suspicions about the new coronavirus vaccine,” Mr Gao said.
“As a scientist, you’ve got to be brave. … If even we didn’t do it, how can we persuade the whole world — all the people, the public — to be vaccinated?”
China is currently competing with US and British companies to be the first with a vaccine to help end the pandemic — a feat that would be both a scientific and political triumph.
Cases in Xinjiang on the rise once again
New coronavirus cases are continuing to rise in China’s north-western region of Xinjiang, with 57 reported on Tuesday (local time).
Beijing also reported its first case of domestic transmission in more than two weeks, while the north-eastern province of Liaoning added another six cases in its local outbreak
Another four cases were found among Chinese travellers arriving from outside the country, bringing the daily total over the past 24 hours to 68.
Despite the new clusters, China appears to have largely contained the virus and the death toll remains at 4,634 among 83,959 cases.
Xinjiang’s outbreak has centred on the region’s capital and largest city, Urumqi, where authorities have restricted public transport, isolated some communities and ordered testing among those considered at risk of infection.
Across the country, the wearing of masks and temperature checks remain the norm, while most foreigners are barred from entering and Chinese citizens must undergo two-week quarantines upon returning home.
WHO says COVID-19 pandemic is “one big wave”, not seasonal
The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that COVID-19 does not behave like influenza and therefore should not be dismissed in warmer temperatures.
“People are still thinking about seasons. What we all need to get our heads around is this is a new virus and … this one is behaving differently,” Dr Margaret Harris from the WHO said.
She also warned against thinking in terms of virus waves.
“It’s going to be one big wave. It’s going to go up and down a bit. The best thing is to flatten it and turn it into just something lapping at your feet,” she said.
Real Madrid striker tests positive for COVID-19
Real Madrid forward Mariano Diaz has tested positive for COVID-19, casting doubt on his participation in the Champions League tie at Manchester City next week.
Real Madrid said tests were conducted on the squad on Monday (local time) and that though Diaz was in “perfect health”, he would be self-isolating at home.
Real Madrid, who trail Manchester City 2-1 from the first leg of their last-16 tie before the pandemic suspended the competition in March, are set to play the Premier League side in the second leg on August 8 at Etihad Stadium.
UK considering setting quarantine rules by region, not by country
Britain is looking at setting quarantine rules for different regions within countries overseas, but will continue to make decisions on a country-wide basis for now, junior transport minister Charlotte Vere said.
“For the time being we are taking the approach by country for border measures, but it is the case that it could be that we could put them in place for regions in the future,” she told the House of Lords.
“We are not there yet but we are certainly looking at it.”
One nation that is unhappy with those new border measures is Spain, which reacted angrily to recommendations from the UK and Germany that their citizens avoid its islands and beaches because of an increase in coronavirus cases.
Spain, which depends on summer visits by sun-seeking northern Europeans, is facing a major blow to any hopes of reviving its economy.
The country lost one million jobs between April and June, its biggest ever quarterly decline, and fears steeper losses as the summer season crashes.
“It’s very unfair because it’s not based on any sanitary criteria,” Francina Armengol, the head of the key tourist Balearic region, told local media.