Class action launched by teens against coal mine extension is an ‘absurd campaign’


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Coronavirus: UK government’s quarantine-free list ‘absurd’


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Portugal’s foreign affairs minister has said his country’s exclusion from a list of countries for which quarantine will not apply for people returning to England is “absurd”.

Augusto Santos Silva told the BBC not including Portugal was “senseless and unfair”.

The list of countries exempt from quarantine was published on Friday.

Boris Johnson said 14-day quarantines would remain for countries where the virus was not under control.

Other countries excluded from the list, which comes into effect on 10 July, include the US, China, the Maldives and Sweden.

Mr Santos Silva told BBC Radio 4’s PM programme: “We are very disappointed with the decision of the British authorities. We think it is senseless and unfair.

“It is quite absurd the UK has seven times more cases of Covid-19 than Portugal so we think this is not the way in which allies and friends are treated.”

The Portuguese Prime Minister, António Costa, tweeted comparing the UK’s number of coronavirus cases with that of the Algarve, saying: “You are welcome to spend a safe holiday in the Algarve.”

Labour shadow transport minister Jim McMahon said people up and down the country were keen for the quarantine measures to be lessened but said “this is a mess”.

“First we had the quarantine that they were slow to implement, then they said they’d do air bridges,” he said.

“Now we see a plan to let residents of 60 or more countries into England without any reciprocal arrangements.”

Scotland and Wales are yet to decide whether to ease travel restrictions and described the changes as “shambolic”.

The quarantine rules will also remain in place in Northern Ireland for visitors arriving from outside of the UK and Republic of Ireland.

Some of those on the list include popular short-haul destinations such as Turkey and Cyprus, as well as long-haul locations including Australia, Barbados, Hong Kong, Japan, New Zealand and Vietnam.

However, some countries will require visitors to isolate on arrival or will bar them from entering at all.

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Media captionCoronavirus: How to fly during a global pandemic

A list of countries which will be exempt from the Foreign Office’s advice against “all but essential travel” from Saturday has also been published.

The Foreign Office is expected to update its travel guidance on Saturday, including naming which countries will have a reciprocal arrangement with the UK and not require British visitors to quarantine on arrival.

The introduction of the quarantine on 8 June was met with criticism from the travel, tourism and hospitality industries and the easing of restrictions on arrivals from some countries has been welcomed.





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China calls virus lawsuit brought by US state ‘very absurd’


BEIJING (AP) — China on Wednesday slammed a lawsuit brought against it by the U.S. state of Missouri over the coronavirus pandemic as “very absurd.”

Foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said the legal action has “no factual and legal basis at all” and repeated China’s defense of its response to the outbreak, which has largely subsided in the country where it was first detected.

The ministry and other Chinese government departments have strenuously denied accusations that officials delayed reporting on the extent of the outbreak in the central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year, despite reports that worries over political stability were placed above public health concerns. Medical staff who reported the outbreak were silenced under threat of legal retaliation and Wuhan went several days without reporting cases during the holding of an annual provincial government conference.

“This so-called lawsuit is very absurd and has no factual and legal basis at all,” Geng said at a daily briefing. Since the outbreak began, China has proceeded in an “open, transparent, and responsible manner” and the U.S. government should “dismiss such vexatious litigation,” he said.

Missouri’s top state prosecutor on Tuesday announced the lawsuit, which alleges that Chinese officials are to blame for the pandemic that has sickened around 2.5 million worldwide, thrown tens of millions out of work and devastated local economies, including in China.

Attorney General Eric Schmitt said the Chinese government lied about the dangers of the virus and didn’t do enough to slow its spread.

Missouri’s action is likely to be largely symbolic, however, since lawsuits against other countries typically don’t go anywhere because U.S. law generally prohibits them.

According to Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering, the number of Missouri deaths from the virus rose by 16 Tuesday to 215.



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