Coronavirus live news: send children to school, UK PM urges; France sees highest cases since May

The amount paid out by big companies to their investors plummeted between April and June as firms cancelled or cut their dividends to conserve cash during the coronavirus pandemic crisis.

Total shareholder payouts made globally slumped by $108.1bn (£82.6bn) to $382.2bn, a fall of 22%.

A quarter (27%) of companies expected to pay a dividend in the second quarter slashed their payments, while half of that group cancelled the payout altogether:

France sees highest cases since May

Boris Johnson moves to seize control of schools agenda after exams chaos

Boris Johnson attempted to reassert his grip over education after days of chaos by making a personal plea to parents to send their children back to the classroom in England in September.

The prime minister, who was criticised for going on holiday to Scotland during the A-level debacle, has spoken out to say the risk of contracting coronavirus in school is low and that it is damaging for children to be out of education for any longer.

His decision to personally front the return-to-school drive rather than Gavin Williamson, the beleaguered education secretary who has faced calls to quit over the fiasco, is part of a deliberate attempt to switch the “messenger” and win back the public, a senior Tory suggested.

Johnson’s intervention comes after the chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said children could be at greater harm by staying at home than attending school.

Regarding the expected return on 1 September, Johnson said: “I have previously spoken about the moral duty to reopen schools to all pupils safely, and I would like to thank the school staff who have spent the summer months making classrooms Covid-secure in preparation for a full return in September.

“We have always been guided by our scientific and medical experts, and we now know far more about coronavirus than we did earlier this year. As the chief medical officer has said, the risk of contracting Covid-19 in school is very small and it is far more damaging for a child’s development and their health and wellbeing to be away from school any longer.

“This is why it’s vitally important that we get our children back into the classroom to learn and to be with their friends. Nothing will have a greater effect on the life chances of our children than returning to school.”

Trump authorizes plasma treatment for coronavirus amid attacks on FDA

After expressing frustration at the slow pace of approval for coronavirus treatments, and causing controversy by publicly linking the Food and Drug Administration to the “deep state” conspiracy theory, Donald Trump on Sunday announced the emergency authorization of convalescent plasma, a method which has been used to treat flu and measles, for Covid-19 patients.

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Covid-19 has killed more than 175,000, cratered the economy and upended the president’s hopes of re-election. The White House has sunk vast resources into an expedited process to develop a vaccine, known as Operation Warp Speed, which aides hope will produce an “October surprise” before the presidential election on 3 November.

Making the announcement at a press conference, and with FDA commissioner Stephen Hahn standing with him, Trump added to days of White House officials suggesting politically motivated delays in approving a vaccine and therapeutics.

“This is what I’ve been looking to do for a long time,” Trump told reporters on Sunday at the White House. “I’m pleased to make a truly historic announcement in our battle against the China virus that will save countless lives.”



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