Sunday, April 11, 2021

Coronavirus updates: EU trade commissioner under pressure to quit after going to golf dinner during event ban

Coronavirus updates: EU trade commissioner under pressure to quit after going to golf dinner during event ban

The European Union’s trade chief has apologised after attending a golf event during a ban on public gatherings in Ireland, but has resisted calls to resign.

Pakistan has recorded its lowest daily death rate since March, while in the UK, health officials say children are at greater risk from missing school than they are from the coronavirus.

This story will be updated throughout Monday.

Monday’s key moments:

EU trade chief under pressure for golf event

The EU’s trade commissioner has come under intense pressure to step down after attending a golf event despite a ban on public gatherings during the pandemic.

The job of Phil Hogan, an Irishman who is expected to play a key role in trade talks with the UK, is under threat amid a growing crisis stemming from a parliamentary golf society dinner in the west of Ireland.

It was attended by more than 80 people, the night after COVID-19 restrictions were significantly tightened due to a surge in coronavirus cases.

Ireland had eased restrictions on public gatherings in early summer.

The golf dinner has infuriated Irish people who have been unable to attend funerals or had to cancel holidays or weddings because of the rules.

The agriculture minister and deputy speaker of the Senate resigned last week after confirming they were at the event.

Mr Hogan has offered a “fulsome and profound apology” over the incident.

Ireland’s Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have asked Mr Hogan to consider his position.

Pakistan reports fewest virus deaths since March

Pakistani authorities have reported only four new COVID-19 fatalities in the past 24 hours, the fewest deaths since March.

The announcement raises hopes Pakistan is on the right path to fully containing the coronavirus despite having a fragile health system.

The National Command and Control Centre also reported 591 new cases, increasing the country’s caseload to 275,836, including 6,275 deaths.

Pakistan witnessed a sudden spike in infections and deaths in June but confirmed cases and fatalities have gradually declined since then.

The latest development comes days after Pakistan’s drug regulatory agency approved final-phase testing of a Chinese-made coronavirus vaccine.

Pakistan hopes it will get the vaccine on priority from China if its clinical trials show success.

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