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    Countries Ease Lockdown Measures While COVID-19 Cases Surpass 4 Mln Worldwide (138)
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    The death toll from the coronavirus throughout the world has reached 318,000 with over 4.8 million cases of the infection detected worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, media and other sources.

     

    The United States will completely stop funding the World Health Organization (WHO) unless it commits to major improvements within the next 30 days, US President Donald Trump said in a letter to WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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    • 02:49

      Brazil's Coronavirus Death Count Rises by Record 1,179 Over Past Day - Health Ministry

      RIO DE JANEIRO (Sputnik) - The death toll from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brazil has risen by a record 1,179 people over the past 24 hours to 17,971, the country's Health Ministry said.

      The ministry said 17,408 new COVID-19 cases had been recorded within the past day, bringing the total number of cases to 271,628.

      The previous record for the number of deaths from coronavirus was registered on 12 May, when 881 people died.

      The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic on 11 March.

      According to the WHO, the global coronavirus death toll has surpassed 316,000 people, with the number of cases worldwide exceeding 4.7 million.

    • 00:28

      Total Number of COVID-19 Cases in Mexico Reaches 54,346, Death Toll Stands at 5,666

    • 23:52

      US Extends Non-Essential Travel Restrictions to Mexico Until 22 June - Homeland Security

      EL PASO (Sputnik) - The United States has extended its non-essential travel restrictions to Mexico to 22 June, the Department of Homeland Security said in a document.

      "This document announces the decision of the Secretary of Homeland Security to continue to temporarily limit the travel of individuals from Mexico into the United States at land ports of entry along the United States-Mexico border... These restrictions go into effect at 12 am Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) [4:00 a.m. GMT] on May 21, 2020 and will remain in effect until 11:59 pm EDT on June 22, 2020," the document said on Tuesday.

    • 23:09

      Pompeo Says 93,000 Americans Repatriated From Abroad Amid Novel Coronavirus Pandemic

      WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States has repatriated some 93,000 Americans from overseas amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a cabinet meeting at the White House.

      "We've brought 93,000 Americans back home who were stuck because travel had ceased," Pompeo said on Tuesday evening.

      The Secretary of State noted that a number of Americans are still abroad and wish to return to the United States, and the US government is working hard to get them back.

      The United States has reported more than 1.5 million novel coronavirus cases and more than 91,000 deaths caused by the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) as of early Tuesday afternoon, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

    • 22:18

      Japan's COVID-19 Count Continues to Decline, 25 New Cases Registered Over Day - Reports

      TOKYO (Sputnik) - Japan has registered 25 new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours amid the overall decline in the infection rate across the country, the media reported on Tuesday.

      The data, compiled by Japan's NHK public broadcaster from official figures provided by local authorities, shows that the cumulative count of COVID-19 cases has risen to 17,104, while the death toll stands at 786. The numbers include 712 former passengers and crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Japan's Yokohama for more than a month and a half.

      According to the media outlet, 217 patients are in serious condition. At the same time, a total of 12,537 patients have recovered.

      Last week, Japan lifted the coronavirus-related restrictions in 39 out of the 47 prefectures, as the infection rate has slowed. The lockdown will remain in place until the end of May in Tokyo, in Hokkaido and several other prefectures.

    • 22:05

      Number of COVID-19 Deaths in Finland Surpasses 300 - Health Authorities

      HELSINKI (Sputnik) - Finland registered one coronavirus-related death over the past 24 hours that took the total death toll to 301, the Institute for Health and Welfare (THL) said on Tuesday, adding that the overall COVID-19 tally amounts to 6,399.

      "The total number of registered cases is 6399 (+19)," the THL said in a statement.

      The THL added that at least 5,000 people fully recovered from the disease. A total of 25 people remain in intensive care units. The median age of those who died from coronavirus-related complications is 84.

      Earlier in May, the Finnish government announced that it would start easing restrictions aimed at curbing the COVID-19 pandemic starting from 1 June.

    • 21:46

      COVID-19 Restrictions in Indonesian Capital Extended Until 4 June - Reports

      MOSCOW, May 20 (Sputnik) - The restrictions against COVID-19 imposed in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta have been extended until 4 June, Jakarta Globe newspaper reported on Tuesday, citing the city's governor, Anies Baswedan.

      The measures against the spread of the disease were introduced in Jakarta on 10 April and then extended until this Friday.

      The governor expressed the hope that in two weeks the number of coronavirus infections would go down so that the city could lift the restrictions.

      Indonesia has confirmed a total of 18,496 cases, with the death toll of 1,221.

      On the same day, Singapore unveiled a plan for a phased lifting of its restrictions, which will be implemented starting 2 June.

      "The Multi-Ministry Taskforce has assessed the situation and decided to exit the Circuit Breaker when it ends on 1 June 2020. The daily number of new community cases has declined significantly. The dormitory situation has stabilised and we have been able to prevent the large clusters in the dormitories from spreading to the wider community. Therefore we will embark on a controlled approach to resume activities safely over three phases," the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

      The plan consists of three stages. The first one will include resuming some business activities and gradually reopening education institutions.

      The number of confirmed cases in Singapore is at 28,794, with 22 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins University.

    • 20:06

      Spanish Gov't Calls on Lawmakers to Support Extension of COVID-19 Emergency Until 7 June

      MADRID (Sputnik) - Spanish Finance Minister Maria Jesus Montero on Tuesday called on lawmakers to support the prolongation of the emergency powers behind the country’s coronavirus lockdown until 7 June.

      "Without a decree on the high alert regime it is not possible to restrict the movement [within the country]. Citizens' efforts would be useless. The extension will be adapted to circumstances ... We call on the political forces [in the Congress of Deputies] to support the extension until June 7," Montero said during a press conference.

      Last week, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that the government intended to extend the high alert regime until the end of June. However, right-leaning People's Party and Vox party said they would vote against such prolongation in the Congress of Deputies. As a result, the socialist government had to make an agreement with the centrist Citizens party, which agreed to support the regime extension for only 15 days, in exchange for a number of concessions by the government, including extending tax payment deferrals for additional month.

      This will be the fifth extension of the high alert regime, which was introduced by the government for the first time on 14 March. Each extension requires the consent of the Congress of Deputies. The last time the regime was extended until 24 May.

      Spain has recorded less than 100 coronavirus-related fatalities per day over past three days. The total number of deaths in the country now amounts to 27,778, while the overall number of COVID-19 cases is at 232,037.

    • 20:01

      Morocco Records Lowest Daily Increase in COVID-19 Cases Since End of March

      CAIRO (Sputnik) - Morocco confirmed on Tuesday 20 new COVID-19 cases, which is the lowest daily rate increase of infections since 23 March, the Health Ministry said.

      The total number of confirmed cases in the North African country has reached 6,972, according to the ministry's update. As many as 132 patients have recovered and one person has died in the past 24 hours, bringing the total count of recoveries to 3,890 and the death toll to 193, respectively.

      Moroccan authorities announced on Monday that the nationwide state of sanitary emergency and quarantine regime was extended until 10 June.

    • 18:04

      No Region Must Receive Priority for COVID-19 Vaccine When Released – AU Special Envoy

      MOSCOW, May 19 (Sputnik) - All countries must have fair access to any vaccines against COVID-19 once they reach the market and pharmaceutical firms must not pursue profits on these vital supplies, the African Union's Special Envoy for COVID-19 Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said Tuesday.

      “There is a global effort underway, with the WHO [World Health Organization], the Global Vaccine Alliance (GAVI), where I’m a chair of the board, and CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations. Аll are working with one purpose: when vaccines become available they should be seen as a global public good, meaning that there should not be a question of profit for the companies that make it, but availability for everybody in the world, at an affordable price,” Okonjo-Iweala said at a New York Forum Institute virtual roundtable.

      The special envoy added that Africa must not be the last to receive any vaccine once it is produced.

      “We are there to make sure that Africa will not be last in line, that our continent will be prioritized as well. This means we need to make large quantities and large volume,” Okonjo-Iweala said.

      According to the WHO, more than 100 potential vaccines against COVID-19 are currently undergoing preclinical and clinical trials.

      Since the start of the outbreak, 86,721 cases of COVID-19 have reported on the African continent, according to the WHO, with South Africa, Algeria, and Egypt having the most cases. Over the preceding 24 hours, 2,538 new cases of the disease have been registered in Africa.

    • 17:51

      France Says Number of COVID-19 Cases Rises to 143,427 on Tuesday

    • 17:50

      Turkey's COVID-19 Tally Increased by 1,022 - Health Minister

      ANKARA, May 19 (Sputnik) - Turkey has recorded 1,022 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours amid the softening of the quarantine measures, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Tuesday, stating that the overall number of cases surpassed 151,615.

      On Monday, the number of new cases stood at 1,158.

      "Today, we've identified 1,022 new cases, the total number increased to 151,615. We lost 28 patients today, and the death toll stands at 4,199," Koca tweeted.

      These are the lowest daily increases in both new cases and fatalities since late March.

      Earlier in the month, the country eased the lockdown and allowed shopping malls, barbershops and beauty salons to reopen. Moreover, the elderly citizens were allowed to go outside without restrictions for the first time since March.

    • 17:50

      UAE Registers Highest One-Day COVID-19 Case Rise Taking Total Past 25,000 - Authorities

      MOSCOW, May 19 (Sputnik) - The United Arab Emirates registers its highest single-day rise of coronavirus cases, 873 infections, taking the total number past 25,000, the health ministry said Tuesday in its daily update.

      Since the beginning of the outbreak, 227 patients have died with three additional fatalities overnight, the ministry’s numbers show.

      Meanwhile, over 10,700 people have recovered from the current total of 25,063

      The day prior, which similarly set a new high with 832 new cases, authorities extended the nationwide curfew by two hours, from 8 pm to 6 am.

      Despite this, some emirates, including the city of Dubai, were allowed to open malls and restaurants with limited capacity. 

    • 17:37

      Ontario Schools to Remain Closed Through End of June - Premier Doug Ford

    • 17:24

      Lebanon Extends State of Emergency Until 7 June - Presidential Office

      BEIRUT (Sputnik) - Lebanon's Supreme Defense Council has decided to extend until June 7 the state of epidemiological emergency caused by COVID-19, the presidential office said on Tuesday.

      Earlier in the day, the council, chaired by President Michel Aoun, held a meeting in the presidential residence of the Baabda palace.

      "The Supreme Defense Council decided to recommend that the government extend the civic mobilization from May 25 to June 7," the office said in a statement.

      On the same day, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab promised to impose a complete curfew across the entire country unless the citizens begin to follow the current guidelines.

      "If the disregard of the safety measures carries on, we will once again impose a total lockdown and introduce unprecedented measures to keep the situation under control ... as lives of people are more important than the economy," Diab said, according to the government.

      He also demanded that the security services strengthen their control and hold violators responsible for jeopardizing their own lives, as well as the lives of others.

      The state of emergency in the country was declared on March 16, however, since April 27, the Lebanese authorities have been lifting the COVID-19 restrictions. Last week, however, the country introduced a four-day lockdown.

      Lebanon has confirmed a total of 954 cases, with a death toll of 26.

    • 17:22

      Small Children May Need Masks Amid Threat of COVID-19-Linked Disease– Italian Pediatricians

      GENOA, May 19 (Sputnik), Anastasia Levchenko - Parents of children under six years old should try to put masks on their children, especially during visits to hospitals, as there is the possibility of a link between COVID-19 and a rare but deadly inflammatory disease, dubbed Kawasaki disease, President of the Italian Federation of Pediatricians (FIMP) Paolo Biasci said, adding that the issue still requires further investigation.

      Last week, a team of Italian researchers published a study in the peer-reviewed journal, Lancet, claiming that it had detected a correlation between the coronavirus and a severe form of Kawasaki disease in children in the northern Italian province of Bergamo, the country's most affected region.

      Italy is now in the so-called Phase Two of the emergency, which is a gradual return to normal life. In this stage, children under six years old are exempt from wearing face masks.

      "The direct relation to COVID-19 needs further investigation because not all [Kawasaki] cases were [COVID-19] positive, and there are certainly more cases that have not been registered and that are not positive to COVID test," Biasci said.

      According to Biasci, the Italian federation of pediatricians is concerned about the issue and that the Kawasaki-like syndrome is not the same as the Kawasaki disease itself, but rather a complication that might have been caused by COVID-19, causing symptoms like vasculitis, which is a strong inflammation of all the blood vessels), together with a fever and skin rash.

      "The youngest children under 5 - 6 years old," Biasci said, asked children of what age are mostly at risk. It is clear that it is difficult to make a child between 3 and 6 years old to wear a mask. However it does not mean that there are no such young children who will not tolerate wearing a mask," Biasci said.

      The pediatrician called upon parents to be cautious, even though there have been media reports claiming that children do not get infected by COVID-19. He stressed that children fell ill less than adults during the acute phase in percentage, yet the number of child tests has also been much less in percentage than those of adults.

      "As for the advice for parents, apart from being cautious, it is to keep social distancing and to make children even under 6 years old to wear masks, perhaps when they access clinics. We also recommend having a mask in the waiting rooms," Biasci continued.

      Even more caution might be needed in September when schools and kindergartens are going to be open.

      "We will perhaps be able to monitor the situation better because with the reopening of schools many children will get ill and we know very well that pediatricians will have to ask for many more tests because we cannot determine the disease by symptoms only," Biasci said.

      If there is a correlation between Kawasaki and COVID-19, a differential diagnosis is quite difficult, the pediatrician explained, because it is still unknown what causes the Kawasaki disease itself.

      The study that was published in Italy last week reported a monthly incidence of Kawasaki-like disease cases in the Bergamo province at least 30 times greater than the monthly incidence of the previous 5 years and claimed there was a "clear starting point" after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in the area.

      Over the past weeks, several countries, including the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, have reported a new inflammatory disease spreading and resembling the Kawasaki disease that mostly affects young children and causes heart and kidney failure.

    • 17:03

      Canada Will Continue to Support WHO Amid Concerns About COVID-19 Response - Trudeau

      TORONTO, May 19 (Sputnik) - Canada will continue to support the World Health Organization (WHO) amid growing concerns about the international body’s response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

      "We will continue to support WHO even as we look for improvements to our multilateral systems," Trudeau told reporters during his daily press briefing on the pandemic.

      Trudeau’s comments came after US President Donald Trump warned that the WHO must "clean up their act" related to its handling of the novel coronavirus pandemic or risk funding cuts from the United States, which is its preeminent contributor.

      Late on Monday, Trump revealed a letter he sent to WHO Chief Tedros Ghebreyesus, which warned that the United States will permanently halt its contributions to the organization if it does not commit to major improvements within the next 30 days.

      The WHO has confirmed that it received Trump’s letter.

      Trump has accused the WHO of being biased in favor of China and of having failed to respond immediately to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

    • 17:00

      Russia Hopes WHA Resolutions Prompt Int’l Depoliticised Cooperation on COVID-19 – Lavrov

      MOSCOW, May 19 (Sputnik) - Russia hopes that a resolution adopted at the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World Health Assembly that calls for international solidarity to combat the COVID-19 outbreak will result in the global community cooperating in a depoliticised manner, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Tuesday.

      “Today, the World Health Assembly ends. I haven't seen the final results yet, but the resolution is approved. The resolution, in my opinion, is very pragmatic, aimed at solving specific issues, at avoiding any politicization of the problem,” Lavrov stated at a press conference after a meeting of the Council of the Baltic Sea States foreign ministers earlier in the day.

      The foreign minister also touched upon the criticism the WHO has received from the United States in recent weeks. In April, President Donald Trump announced that Washington would pull funding from the organization, and on Saturday, stated that the US was considering restoring just 10 percent of its contributions.

      “I am sure that the WHO, like any other structure, needs to be improved. It cannot be a one-off act that will solve all problems in 30 days or outline all the difficulties that arise in 30 days and all the ways to overcome them. A joint sober analysis of the situation and the facts, especially the facts, is required. I would not like to see the fight against coronavirus become a victim of these kinds of geopolitical games and ambitions,” Lavrov remarked.

      Earlier in the day, the member states of the World Health Assembly voted to adopt a resolution that calls for global solidarity amid the ongoing health crisis. The resolution also called for an investigation into the worldwide response to the pandemic and the need to improve access to test kits and all future vaccines and treatments.

    • 16:15

      UK Death Toll Rises by 545 to 35,341 - Environment Minister

    • 16:14

      New York Statewide COVID-19 Fatalities Increase by 105 - Governor Cuomo

    • 15:27

      UN Chief Suggests Options for Holding September General Assembly in New York - Spokesman

      UNITED NATIONS, May 19 (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has written a letter to the President of the General Assembly, Tijjani Muhammad-Bande, suggesting options for holding of the high-level General Debate gathering in September in New York City amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

      The General Debate of the 75th session of the UN General Assembly is scheduled to begin on September 22, 2020, at the organization’s headquarters complex on Manhattan.

      “The Secretary-General has indeed written a letter to the President of the General Assembly about the forthcoming General Assembly session,” Dujarric said. “In the letter, he presents options for member states to consider in order to ensure the holding of the General Debate in September.”

      According to the letter, Guterres noted that with the virus expected to still cycle at the time of the event, international travel restrictions are likely to remain enforced, affecting diplomats' traveling to and from New York City.

      Additionally, Guterres suggested that social distancing rules and restrictions on mass gatherings will as well continue to be in place in New York that every September attracts thousands of delegates participating in the UN’s largest annual gathering.

      “Therefore, you may wish to recommend that the General Assembly considers holding the General Debate of the seventy-fifth session in a different format, such as using pre-recorded messages provided by heads of state and government or ministers, with a physical presence in the General Assembly Hall limited to one delegate per delegation based in New York,” Guterres said.

      Earlier in the month, Guterres extended the telecommuting arrangements for all non-essential staff working at the headquarters building in New York City. The UN General Assembly is planned to be held on September 15-30.

    • 15:17

      US, Canada Agree to Extend Border Closure Until 21 June - Trudeau

      TORONTO, May 15 (Sputnik) - Canada and the United States have agreed to extend border restrictions that limit non-essential travel for another 30 days to June 21 amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

      “Let me begin this morning by confirming that Canada and the United States have once again agreed to extend by 30 days the current measures in place along the border,” Trudeau told reporters during his daily COVID-19 press briefing.

      Before the announcement, the restrictions on the Canada-US border were set to expire on Thursday. All non-essential travel between the United States and Canada has been halted since March 20.

    • 14:40

      The Lancet Comments on Trump's WHO Criticism

      A sign is pictured outside the headquarters of the World Health Organization (WHO) during the World Health Assembly (WHA) following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Geneva, Switzerland, May 18, 2020

      Gaslighting WHO? The Lancet Slams Trump's 'Factually Incorrect' Threats Amid Int'l COVID-19 Efforts

      US threats to end funding to the world's top health administration were based on "serious and damaging" misinformation, harming international efforts to tackle the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, a shocking statement from one of the UK's leading medical journals revealed.
      Read more
    • 14:11

      Austria Works to Open Borders With Neighboring Countries in Mid-June - Foreign Minister

      VIENNA, May 19 (Sputnik) - The Austrian authorities are working to fully reopen the country's borders with the Czech Republic, Hungary and Slovakia in the middle of June, Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg said on Tuesday, as European countries begin emerging from their lockdowns against COVID-19.

      "We are actively working on returning to the total freedom of movement, the way it was before the coronavirus, with the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Hungary, starting mid-June," Schallenberg told Vienna-based Kurier daily.

      The foreign minister said that it was important to restore the freedom of movement because it impacts the economic interests, tourism, as well as families, who are currently divided.

      Due to the coronavirus pandemic, countries across the globe have shut their borders down to prevent the virus from spreading.

      On Monday, the foreign ministers from several EU countries, including Austria, held a videoconference, during which they agreed on the necessity of opening up borders in a gradual and coordinated manner.

      Austria has been easing its COVID-19 restrictions since April 14.

    • 14:10

      Merkel Discusses Reopening Borders With Visegrad Group Counterparts - Spokesman

      BERLIN, May 19 (Sputnik) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the leaders of the so-called Visegrad Group, which includes the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, and Poland, have agreed to gradually lift the border movement restrictions as soon as the epidemiological situation improves, German government spokesman Steffen Seiber said on Tuesday.

      "The prime ministers and the chancellor have held an energetic exchange of opinions on the pertinent measures to suppress the COVID-19 pandemic. They have been unanimous in their interest to gradually lift the existing border-crossing restrictions and [border] control, as soon as the pandemic situation allows it," Seibert said.

      They also discussed various issues of European politics, with Merkel briefing the Visegrad Group on the $540 billion recovery plan hatched by Berlin and Paris.

      The talks come amid the gradual softening of COVID-19 measures in EU nations, most of which have been seeing the pandemic slowing down.

    • 14:08

      Optimism in German Economy Nearly Doubles After Lockdown Eased - Survey

      MOSCOW, May 19 (Sputnik) - Trust in the German economy among investors has increased in May to 51 points from the last month's 28.2, as Berlin continues to ease the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, the Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research (ZEW) said on Tuesday, citing the results of its survey of opinions of economists and analysts.

      "In May 2020, the ZEW Indicator of Economic Sentiment for Germany recorded an increase for the second time in a row, and now stands at 51.0 points, 22.8 points higher than in the previous month," the center said in a statement.

      The indicator has been growing the second month in a row, recovering from a nosedive it took in March.

      "Optimism is growing that there will be an economic turnaround from summer onwards. This is also reflected in the significant improvement in expectations for the individual sectors. According to the financial market experts surveyed, economic growth is expected to pick up pace again in the fourth quarter of 2020," ZEW Director Achim Wambach said, warning that the economy will not return to the 2019 output level until 2022.

      Germany, as well as the rest of the world, has seen its economy undermined by the ongoing COVID-19 epidemic, which has caused countries across the globe to adopt severe lockdown measures to halt the spread of the disease, at the cost of the economy.

      As a result, Germany's GDP shrunk by 2.2 in the first quarter of 2020, according to the country's Federal Statistical Office.

      Back in April, Germany reopened non-essential shops. Further restrictions, including those on playgrounds, museums and churches, were dropped by early May.

    • 14:07

      WHO Chief Thanks WHA Members for Resolution on Independent Review of COVID-19 Response

      MOSCOW, May 19 (Sputnik) - Director-General of the World Health Organization Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus thanked the World Health Assembly members for adopting a resolution on independent evaluation of the coronavirus response.

      "I thank Member States for adopting the resolution, which calls for an independent and comprehensive evaluation of the international response, including, but not limited to, WHO’s performance. I will initiate such an evaluation at the earliest appropriate moment. We welcome any initiative to strengthen global health security and to strengthen WHO," Tedros said.

      WHO is committed to transparency, accountability and steady improvement, Tedros continued.

      "We want accountability more than anyone. And I thank .. the members of the independent oversight advisory committee for their continuous work to review WHO's work in health emergencies and, in particular, for their report on the COVID-19 response published yesterday that covers from the start of the pandemic until April," the WHO chief said.

      Tedros expressed hope that the recommendations of the independent panel would be taken seriously by all member states.

    • 13:49

      Oxfam Official Says Spike in Deaths in Yemen's Aden Not Necessarily Caused by COVID-19

      Flawed diagnostic capacity makes it difficult to determinedly attribute the recent acute spike of mortality in the southern Yemeni city of Aden to the coronavirus infection, Samah Hadid, Oxfam's Director of Advocacy for Yemen, said.

      The past two weeks saw an approximate five-fold spike in the number of deaths in Aden from symptoms typical of the coronavirus infection, igniting fears that COVID-19 spreads unimpeded in the war-torn country, which has a poorly equipped health care sector.

      "Since the beginning of May, the numbers of people dying from the disease in Aden have been increasing but there is still uncertainty about how much it is due to COVID-19. Mosquitos in the city spread malaria, dengue and chikungunya, and not everyone gets a reliable diagnosis or cause of death," Hadid said.

      A total of 132 cases of the coronavirus infection have been confirmed in Yemen so far, and 21 people have died, according to the latest situation report by the World Health Organization.

    • 13:36

      'US Attacks are Untenable': Russia Criticises Trump's Threats Against WHO

    • 13:16

      First COVID-19 Cases in Cox's Bazar Camps Alarming, Make Situation More Critical - ICRC

      The situation in overcrowded refugee camps near the Bangladeshi town of Cox's Bazar is in risk of going from bad to worse following the confirmation of the first COVID-19 cases among the Rohingya and the local population, the public relations adviser for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Asia-Pacific said.

      Last week, two of the first cases of infection were confirmed in Cox's Bazar – one involves a Rohingya refugee, and the other a local resident. As of Monday, 197 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in the town, including seven Rohingya, local media reported. One person has died of coronavirus-related complications.

      "The first cases in the camps, as well as in prisons, is an alarming sign, adding another layer of vulnerability. We fear that the situation can go only from bad to worse," Pawel Krzysiek said.

      The ICRC official explained that the areas around Cox’s Bazar are "more densely populated than the most crowded cities on earth, with 60,000 to 90,000 people jammed into each square kilometer." It is common that a dozen people share one small shelter, the same water well and toilet. The closest hospital with an intensive care unit is located in the town itself.

      "The first COVID-19 positive case in the camps has made the situation more critical and worrying. People who have been displaced by Rakhine Crisis are particularly vulnerable, Their temporary accommodation or camps are crowded, often with inadequate sanitation and shelter or little access to medical care and good nutrition," he stated.

      The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement sees it as a priority to retain its operational capacity to respond to the people in need amid the outbreak, adapting its humanitarian response.

      "As the risk of transmission is increasing, we are committed to continuing to support the health structures in Cox’s Bazar, Teknaf, Ukhiya, Ramu, Nayapara and Tumbru for the displaced communities from Rakhine and host communities. We are reinforcing our support to the emergency department of the Sadar Hospital, district’s main health facility," Krzysiek said.

      The ICRC, in particular, is helping the facilities with COVID-19 screening and personal protective equipment for their staff. The Red Cross is also conducting information campaigns on hygiene amid the epidemic, both for the displaced people in Cox’s Bazar and the host communities, the official added.

    • 13:05

      Philippines Records 224 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Exceeds 12,900 Amid Easing of Lockdown

      The Philippines has registered 224 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours amid the start of gradual relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown in the country, the statistics provided by the country's Department of Health (DOH) showed on Tuesday.

      The DOH stated that, as of Tuesday, the total COVID-19 tally in the country stands at 12,942. Over the past day, six people died taking the overall number of fatalities to 837. The number of new recoveries is 114 with 2,843 patients recovered in total since the start of the outbreak.

      Last week, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte announced that the lockdown measures enforced to curb the spread of the disease would be eased in most parts of the country, but the movement restrictions in the capital region around the cities of Manila and Cebu, and the Laguna province would be extended until 31 May.

      As part of quarantine relaxation measures, many enterprises and businesses, including shopping malls, were allowed to reopen and stay-at-home orders in several regions of the country were withdrawn.

    • 12:28

      WHO Says Received Letter From Trump Threatening Permanent Halt of Funding

      The World Health Organization confirmed on Tuesday that it had received US President Donald Trump's letter on potential end of funding and was considering the contents.

      Trump said in a letter posted on Twitter that the United States would completely stop funding of WHO unless the organization committed to major improvements within the next 30 days.

      "WHO acknowledges receipt of the letter from the President of the United States. We are considering the contents of the letter," WHO said in a statement.

    • 12:19

      Iran's COVID-19 Cases Continue Upward Trend With Over 2,100 New Cases

      The number of coronavirus cases in Iran has increased by 2,111 over the past day continuing the upward trend in active cases in the country, Kianoush Jahanpour, spokesman for Iran’s Health Ministry, said Tuesday.

      The total number of cases has now reached a total of 124,603, while 62 more deaths have taken the toll to 7,119, the spokesman announced at a regular briefing in Tehran.

      According to the given numbers, active cases have exceeded 20,000 for the first time since 17 April.

      Jahanpour added that 2,698 patients remain in critical condition while the total number of patients who have recovered has exceeded 91,000.

      The number of daily infections appears on an upward trend after hovering around the 1,000 mark in late April and early May.

      The country continues to emerge from the lockdown imposed in late February, although the government reimposed a lockdown in southwestern Khuzestan province after a coronavirus cluster was detected there.

    • 12:03

      Daily COVID-19 Infection Rate in Belgium Down As Country Continues Lockdown Ease

      Belgium's COVID-19 toll continues to decline as the country proceeds with easing its lockdown measures, the Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

      The health authorities reported 232 news cases over the past day, representing a decrease compared to Monday's 279 cases.

      The number of confirmed coronavirus deaths in the country has grown by 29 over the past day to a cumulative total of 9,108, the ministry's COVID-19 response center said in a situation report. On Monday, the daily increment was 56.

      In early May, Belgium began a phase-by-phase abatement of its coronavirus-related restrictions. Businesses in which there is no direct contact with customers were allowed to resume operations.

      All stores and street stalls were allowed to reopen and Belgians were allowed to receive guests, but with certain limitations — up to four people belonging to the same family and preferably in outdoor venues, such as gardens.

      Food services, bars and night clubs are expected to reopen at the beginning of June.

    • 11:40

      62% of Care Homes Have Had No Reported Cases of COVID-19 - UK Health Minister Hancock

    • 11:13

      Oman Health Ministry Registers 292 New COVID-19 Positive Tests as Foreign Cases Surge

      A further 292 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Oman over the past 24 hours, with the bulk of the new positive tests reported among foreign nationals, the country’s Health Ministry said on Tuesday.

      According to the latest statistical bulletin, 173 foreign nationals tested positive for the disease over the past day, in contrast to the 119 new cases reported among Omani citizens.

      The latest daily increase is a significant rise from the 193 new cases, of them 121 among foreigners and 72 among Omani citizens, reported on Monday.

      The COVID-19 death toll in Oman has risen by one to 26, the ministry confirmed.

      A further 78 people who have tested positive for the disease have been discharged over the past 24 hours, raising the overall number of recoveries to 1,574, the ministry said.

      All passenger air travel to and from the Omani capital of Muscat, with the exception of repatriation flights, has been suspended since 29 March, and a lockdown is in force in the capital city until 29 May. The lockdown measures were extended on 6 May amid a surge in cases.

    • 10:25

      French Citizens Returning From Outside EU to Be Asked to Voluntary Quarantine - Minister

      All French citizens returning from countries outside the European Union starting on 20 May will be asked to follow voluntary stay-home procedures for 14 days, French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Tuesday.

      "From Wednesday,  we will ask the French people who are returning from other countries from outside Europe [EU] to voluntarily enter a two-week quarantine to protect themselves, their loved ones and the people around them," Le Drian announced while speaking on the LCI channel.

      He added that the European Union's external borders would remain closed and, unlike French citizens, foreigners would not be able to enter France until further notice.

      The French authorities introduced coronavirus-related restrictions on 17 March and then began to gradually lift them on 11 May. During the two-month lockdown, French citizens were required to follow strict social distancing and hygiene rules, and public places, such as restaurants, bars, parks, cinema theaters, non-alimentary shops, educational and other facilities were closed. As part of the lockdown ease, so-called green regions of the country, where the virus is less active, have been able to reopen, while the so-called red zone areas are being kept under strict surveillance. Travel limitations abroad also remain in effect, as well as a ban on mass gatherings.

      As of Tuesday, France has confirmed a little over 180,000 COVID-19 infections, the seventh-highest total in the world, with over 28,000 related fatalities.

    • 10:11

      Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque to Reopen After Eid Holiday

    • 09:42

      Germany's Coronavirus-Related Deaths Surpass 8,000 After Anti-Lockdown Protests - RKI

      The number of people who died from COVID-19 in Germany has increased by 72 over the past 24 hours, a significant growth from just over a dozen a day prior, to a total of 8,007, Robert Koch Institute (RKI), which compiles official data on the coronavirus for the German government, said on Tuesday.

      The past three days saw the daily increments in the number of fatalities decrease from 57 on Saturday to 33 on Sunday to 14 on Monday.

      The overall number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany has now reached 175,210, an increase of 513 over the past day, according to the RKI's latest situation report.

      People who have recovered from COVID-19 in Germany since the epidemic's start count more than 155,000, the institute said.

      The German government said it would begin lifting the coronavirus-related restrictions in late April, but kept most of social distancing rules in place. It has triggered thousands of people across Germany to take to the streets for two consecutive weekends to protest against what they believe is an unconstitutional infringement on their freedoms.

    • 07:52

      Over 7.3Mln COVID-19 Tests Conducted in Russia - Public Health Watchdog

      Over 7.3 million tests to detect COVID-19 have been conducted in Russia since the beginning of the outbreak, and 267,663 people across the country are under medical monitoring as suspected carriers, the national public health watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, said on Tuesday.

      "As of May 18, 2020, 7,352,316 laboratory tests for the novel coronavirus have been conducted," Rospotrebnadzor said in a statement.

      As many as 267,663 suspected coronavirus carriers are under medical monitoring, the watchdog added.

      Russia has confirmed 299,941 COVID-19 cases so far, with the death toll amounting to 2,837 and the number of cured patients reaching 76,130.

    • 07:38

      Russia Records 9,263 COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours - Response Centre

      Russia has registered 9,263 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (8,926 yesterday), with the total count now reaching 299,941, the national coronavirus response centre said on Tuesday.

      "Over the past 24 hours, 9,263 COVID-19 cases have been registered in 83 regions. Of these, 3,988 (or 43.1 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the centre said in a statement.

      This brings the total tally to 299,941 (+3.2 percent) in 85 regions across Russia.

      Of all the new cases, 3,545 have been registered in Moscow, 898 in Moscow region and 453 in St. Petersburg (compared to yesterday's 3,238, 921 and 425, respectively).

      The country's COVID-19 death toll has increased by 115 (91 yesterday) to 2,837.

      As many as 5,921 COVID-19 patients have recovered in Russia over the past 24 hours (2,836 yesterday), bringing the total number of cured people to 76,130.

    • 06:36

      UK Unemployment Increased by 50,000 to 1.35m in First Quarter of 2020 - Office for National Statistics

    • 06:01

      India's Confirmed Coronavirus Cases Surpass Milestone of 100,000 - Health Ministry

      The toll of people with the coronavirus infection in India continues growing in daily increments of around 5,000 and has passed the landmark number of 100,000, the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Tuesday.

      Over the weekend, the number of COVID-19 cases in India had increased from 85,940 to 90,927. On Monday, the toll reached 96,169 cases, including 3,019 fatalities.

      According to the ministry's update, the case count has now increased by 4,970 to a total of 101,139 cases. This includes 58,802 active cases under treatment, an increase of 2,486 over the past day.

      The death toll from COVID-19 in India has grown by 134 to a total of 3,163 fatalities. Recoveries count 39,173, an increase of 2,350 over the past day.

      The central Maharashtra state continues being the hotbed of infection in the country, with 35,058 confirmed cases. It is followed by the southeastern Tamil Nadu state with 11,760 cases and the westernmost Gujarat state with 11,745 cases.

      The Indian government has divided the country into red, orange and green zones depending on the epidemiological situation. In the green zones, where the infection rate is believed to be low, public transport and certain businesses were allowed to continue working.

      The nationwide lockdown will remain in effect until 31 May.

    • 06:01

      Mexico Reports Yet Another Spike of Over 2,400 COVID-19 Cases Per Day

      Health authorities in Mexico have confirmed 2,414 cases of the coronavirus infection and 155 related deaths over the past 24 hours, as authorities confirm the intensifying spread of the epidemic, Mexican Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said on Tuesday.

      Last Friday, Mexico saw the largest daily increase in the number of new COVID-19 cases per day, 2,437 people. Over the weekend, the daily increments were slightly above 2,000, and by Monday, the total number of cases in the country reached 49,219, including 5,177 fatalities.

      "A total of 51,633 have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Mexico since the start of the epidemic on February 28. Over the past 14 days, which is considered the epidemic's active phase, 11,300 have displayed symptoms. I note the continued growth of active cases, which indicates a high epidemic activity," Lopez-Gatell said, adding that the number of active cases has increased by 195 over the past day.

      According to the health official, the death toll from COVID-19 in Mexico has grown by 155 to total of 5,332 fatalities, excluding 656 deceased people with a suspected coronavirus infection. There is a total of 26,933 suspected cases, he said.

      Lopez-Gatell said that a total of 177,133 people have been tested in Mexico so far, an increase of 4,839 since Monday.

      The Mexican government began lifting the coronavirus-related restrictions on Monday. In around 200 Mexican regions, dubbed "municipalities of hope" because of no recorded infection cases, activities have resumed to the pre-quarantine level, while in several other regions the lockdown has been extended.

      The government believes that Mexico has already passed the peak and this coming week will bring an improvement of the epidemiological situation.

    • 05:42

      China Registers 6 New Coronavirus Cases, 17 Asymptomatic Carriers - Health Commission

      China has recorded six new coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, down from seven a day ago, and another 17 new asymptomatic COVID-19 carriers, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday.

      Three cases resulted from the internal transmission (two in the province of Jilin and one in Hubei), while the other three cases were imported (all in Inner Mongolia).

      There have also been three new recoveries and no deaths over the given period.

      Overall, 1,707 imported coronavirus cases have been registered in the country and only 46 people remain in hospitals, as 1,661 have already recovered.

      Since the start of the outbreak last year, China registered 82,960 COVID-19 patients, 78,241 of whom have recovered, 4,634 have died and 85 remain in hospitals.

      The ongoing pandemic began in China in late December, when the first coronavirus cases were registered in Hubei. Thanks to the strict quarantine regime, China managed to limit the spread by March and has started to ease its lockdown restrictions across the country. The lockdown in Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, was lifted in early April.

      Hong Kong (1,055 cases, 1025 recoveries and four fatalities), Macao (45 cases, 44 recoveries) and Taiwan (440 cases, 398 recoveries and seven deaths) did not confirm new COVID-19 cases over the given period.

    • 05:30

      Brazil's Coronavirus Case Count Surpasses 250,000 - Health Ministry

      The number of cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Brazil has increased by 13,140 over the past 24 hours to surpass 250,000, and the number of people who have recovered has topped 100,000, the country's Health Ministry said.

      The case tally stands at 254,220, the ministry said.

      The death toll has risen over the past day by 674 to 16,792 people. Another 2,277 deaths are being studied.

      A total of 100,459 patients have recovered.

       

    • 04:56

      Thailand Reports Two New Coronavirus Cases, No Additional Deaths

    • 04:44

      Egypt Registers Record Number of New Coronavirus Cases Over Past Day - 535

      The number of new cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Egypt over the past 24 hours totaled 535 people, a record figure since the outbreak start; the overall number of cases for more than 100 million inhabitants of the country is close to 13,000, Health Ministry spokesman Khaled Mugahed said.

      "A total of 535 positive tests for coronavirus were registered, they were detected through monitoring of patients who contacted sick people before, and 15 people died from the disease over the past day," Mugahed said in a statement obtained by Sputnik.

      The spokesman said all new patients were in hospitals for COVID-19 patients and were receiving medical care in accordance with WHO guidelines. He said 268 patients had been discharged from hospitals within the past day.

      "The total number of patients with coronavirus in Egypt is 12,764 people, 3,440 people have recovered, 645 people have died," Mugahed said.

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