07:22 GMT04 July 2020
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    Countries Ease Lockdown Measures While COVID-19 Cases Surpass 4 Mln Worldwide (197)
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    The global death toll from the coronavirus has reached 364,000, while over 5.92 million cases of the infection have been detected, according to Baltimore, Maryland's Johns Hopkins University, which tracks and compiles data from national and local authorities, the media and other sources.

    The United States still has the highest coronavirus case count in the world: over 1.74 million there have been infected, including more than 102,800 fatalities.

    UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said earlier that 60 million people worldwide had been pushed into extreme poverty due to the novel coronavirus pandemic and urged the mobilisation of immediate financial support to address the problem.

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    • 03:27

      Germany's COVID-19 Tally Rises by 738 to 181,196, Deaths Reach 8,489 - Robert Koch Institute

    • 02:42

      South Korea Registers 39 New Cases of COVID-19, Zero New Deaths - KCDC

      SEOUL (Sputnik) – The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea has risen by 39 to 11,441 over the past day, the Health Ministry's Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Saturday.

      Out of 39 new cases, 27 resulted from the internal transmission.

      The death toll has not changed over the past day and stands at 269 people. The number of recovered people has reached 10,398.

      A day earlier, South Korea registered 58 new cases of COVID-19 and no fatalities.

      In early April, the daily increase in coronavirus cases in South Korea dropped below 40, later stabilizing at about 10-20 cases. On 6 May, it dipped to two cases. However, later, the authorities discovered a new cluster linked to a young man who visited several clubs in Itaewon and tested positive for COVID-19 on May 6. The tally of cases linked to this cluster has surpassed 260. Separately, concerns are rising over a hotspot connected to a retail logistics center in the city of Bucheon, which is 15.5 miles west of Seoul. At least 102 cases have been confirmed to be tied to it.

    • 02:18

      Mainland China Registers Four New Cases of Coronavirus - Health Authorities

      BEIJING (Sputnik) – China has registered four new cases of COVID-19 within the past 24 hours, with no people having died of the disease, the National Health Commission said on Saturday.

      All the new cases are imported ones. One of them has been recorded in Shanghai, another one in the province of Guangdong, and two more in the province of Shandong. The authorities also reported about four new asymptomatic cases.

      "The National Health Commission received information about 82,999 confirmed cases of pneumonia caused by a new type of coronavirus from 31 provinces [regions and municipalities], including 63 currently ill people. 4,634 people have died, 78,302 have been discharged from hospitals", the commission said in a statement.

      The number of confirmed cases in Hong Kong stands at 1,079 people, with four patients having died and 1,035 more having been discharged from hospitals. Forty-five people have been infected with the disease in Macao, and all of them have already been released from medical facilities. The number of infected people in Taiwan amounts to 442, with seven of them having died and 420 others recovered.

    • 02:17

      Argentina Registers 717 New COVID-19 Cases Within Past 24 Hours – Health Ministry

      BUENOS AIRES (Sputnik) – Argentina has confirmed record 717 new cases of the coronavirus across the country within the past 24 hours, with the total number of people infected with COVID-19 having reached 15,419, the national Ministry of Health said.

      "Today, 717 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed, bringing the total number of [COVID-19] positive tests in the country to 15,419", the ministry said in a daily bulletin on late Friday.

      The death toll has increased to 520 people within the same period of time.

      A day earlier, the Latin American nation recorded 769 new COVID-19 cases.

    • 00:10

      Mexico Registers Total of 84,627 COVID-19 Cases, Including 9,415 Deaths - Health Ministry

      MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of COVID-19 in Mexico, has risen by 371 to 9,415 within the past 24 hours, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said.

      He also said on late Friday that the number of confirmed coronavirus cases had increased by 3,227 to 84,627 within the same period of time.

      A day earlier, the Latin American nation has recorded 3,377 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with 447 fatalities.

    • 22:23

      Brazil Registers 465,166 Cases of Coronavirus, Deaths Reach 27,878 - Health Ministry

      RIO DE JANEIRO (Sputnik) – The number of people, who have died of COVID-19 in Brazil, has increased by record 1,124 to 27,878 within the past 24 hours, the national Health Ministry said on late Friday.

      Within the same period of time, the number of confirmed cases has risen by 26,928 to 465,166.

      A day earlier, Brazil reported about 26,417 new cases of the coronavirus disease and 1,156 new fatalities.

    • 20:30

      Moscow's COVID-19 Death Toll Rises by 78 to 2,408 - Response Centre

      "Another 78 patients, who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection, died in Moscow", it said.

      In the previous day, 76 people infected with the coronavirus died in the city.

    • 20:10

      Tokyo Reports 2-Week High of 22 New Coronavirus Cases - Reports

      TOKYO (Sputnik) - Health authorities in Japan have detected 74 new coronavirus infection cases, including a two-week high of 22 in the capital of Tokyo, the NHK broadcaster, which compiles data provided by the country's state agencies and local governments, reported on Friday.

      According to the report, the cumulative toll of confirmed cases in Japan has now grown to 17,545. This includes 902 fatalities, 14,908 recoveries, and 132 people who are currently in critical condition, the broadcaster said.

      Of 74 cases detected by the authorities over the past day, the biggest share, 26 cases, was in the southwestern Kitakyushu city on the Kyushu island. Kitakyushu's mayor has reportedly claimed that a second wave has begun in the city as several clusters of the infection have been detected.

      In Tokyo, which is due to begin the first phase of easing off the coronavirus-related restrictions on 1 June, 22 new cases have been confirmed. For the first time in two weeks, the daily increment in the number of cases in the Japanese capital has exceeded 20.

    • 19:48

      France Reports 52 New Coronavirus Deaths

      PARIS (Sputnik) - Further 52 coronavirus patients died in France in the past day, bringing the death toll to 28,714, the Health Ministry said on Friday.

      "Since the start of the epidemic, 101,390 people have been hospitalised, including 17,904 brought to intensive care units. 67,803 people have been discharged. 28,714 people have died", the press release said.

      Another 14,695 patients are being treated for COVID-19 in hospitals, including 255 who have been admitted in the past 24 hours. Twenty-nine people have been moved to intensive care during the same period, bringing the total number of patients currently in ICU to 1,361.

    • 19:48

      Number of Confirmed COVID-19 Cases in Egypt Surpasses 22,000 - Health Ministry

      CAIRO (Sputnik) - The number of the confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Egypt has reached 22,082 as the country confirmed 1,289 new cases of the disease over the past 24 hours, which is the highest daily increase since the outbreak, Khaled Mugahed, a spokesperson for the country's Ministry of Health, said on Friday.

      "We have recorded 1,289 new positive coronavirus tests", Mugahed said in a statement, adding that 34 patients have died and 152 others have recovered over the past day.

      According to the official, since the outbreak, 5,511 COVID-19 patients have recovered and 879 others have died.

      Earlier in May, the authorities closed many public spaces and extended the curfew during the five-day Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, which started 24 May, to limit the spread of the coronavirus. All public transportation was stopped.

    • 19:13

      Turkey's COVID-19 Toll Continues Growing in Daily Increments of Over 1,000 Cases - Gov't

      ANKARA (Sputnik) - Health authorities in Turkey have detected 1,141 new cases of the coronavirus infection over the past day, marking a return to an upward trend in the daily increase in cases, according to a situation update by Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Friday.

      After hitting a two-month low of 948 new cases per day this past Tuesday, the spread of the infection in Turkey picked up the pace again, increasing to 1,035 cases confirmed on Wednesday and 1,182 cases on Thursday.

      According to Koca's report, posted on Twitter, the cumulative toll since the epidemic's start in Turkey has now grown to 162,120 cases.

      Throughout the day, 28 people died from COVID-19, taking the death toll to 4,489.

      Total recoveries have reached 125,963, an increase of 1,594 from the day before.

    • 19:12

      Spain Records 39 Coronavirus-Related Fatalities Over Past 7 Days - Health Ministry

      MADRID (Sputnik) - Spain has registered 39 coronavirus-related fatalities over the past seven days, bringing the country's death toll to 27,121, the Spanish Health Ministry said on Friday.

      Over the past day, 187 new cases of the coronavirus have been detected, which brings the total number of those infected to 238,564, the authority added. As for the increase in the number of fatalities and recoveries, the ministry no longer publishes the relevant data per day.

      Over the past seven days, 286 patients have been hospitalized, of which 12 people have been admitted to intensive care units, the ministry said.

    • 18:44

      Switzerland Reports 1st Child Death From Coronavirus - Health Authorities

      GENEVA, May 29 (Sputnik) - One of the two coronavirus-related fatalities recorded in Switzerland over the past day was in a child with a history of contact with an imported COVID-19 case, Stefan Kuster, head of the infectious diseases department of the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health, said at a press conference on Friday.

      Earlier in the day, Swiss health authorities reported that the coronavirus toll in the country has reached 30,828 confirmed cases with 1,657 fatalities, including 32 new cases and two new fatalities confirmed since Thursday.

      According to Kuster, the deceased child was from the northern Swiss canton of Aargau and had contact with people who have contracted the coronavirus while abroad. The health official did not specify the child's age.

      Authorities of the northwestern Basel canton have, in turn, reported confirming COVID-19 in two children belonging to the same family. They purportedly contracted the virus in a local primary school which has already had 70 affiliated persons quarantined over the infection.

      Switzerland is now in phase two of easing off the coronavirus-related restrictions.

      The first phase began on April 27 with the permission to hardware stores and flower stores to reopen, along with hairdresser stores, medical and dentist centers. On May 11, the second phase began, and all stores as well as bars and restaurants, albeit with certain limitations, were allowed to reopen. Switzerland also partially lifted the ban on entries from certain countries of the European Union.

      The third phase is due to begin on June 6 and bring along the permit of gathering of up to 300 people, opening of all food and drink services with no restrictions, public pools, SPA and other recreational venues.

    • 17:15

      UK's Death Toll from COVID-19 Rises by 324 Surpassing 38,000 - Finance Minister

      LONDON, May 29 (Sputnik) - UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak announced on Friday that the number of COVID-19 fatalities in the country has increased by 324 to 38,161 over the past 24 hours.

      The Financial Times newspaper reported on Thursday that, according to its study, the UK had a higher rate of excess deaths per million people than Italy, Spain, and the United States, all of which have been considered to be epicenters of the coronavirus disease outbreak. On Thursday, the UK reported the daily increase in COVID-19 fatalities of 377, stating that 1,877 more people tested positive for the disease over the day.

      According to Sunak, a total of 2,095 new COVID-19 cases were registered in the UK in the past 24 hours, taking the total toll to 271,222.

      Earlier, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the reopening of non-essential shops starting June 15, as part of gradual relaxation of lockdown.

    • 16:47

      Canada Commits $470Mln for Indigenous Communities Amid Coronavirus Pandemic - Trudeau

      TORONTO, May 29 (Sputnik) - The Canadian government is committing $470.58 million in funding for indigenous communities amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told reporters on Friday.

      "This morning, I can announce that we are investing $650 million [US$470.58 million] to support indigenous communities on healthcare, income support and new shelters for women," Trudeau said during a daily briefing on the pandemic.

      Of the funding, $206.40 million is allotted for supporting public health services in Indigenous communities; $195.47 million for income support measures; and $32.43 million will be distributed over the next five years to build 12 new shelters for Indigenous females fleeing violence.

      The announcement follows earlier announcements of $220.81 million in funding through the Indigenous Community Support Fund and $53.77 million for more than one million indigenous people residing outside of reservations.

      According to the latest data from Indigenous Services Canada, 214 members of Canadian First Nations communities have contracted the novel coronavirus, with 176 recorded recoveries and five fatalities.

    • 16:36

      Increase in COVID-19 Cases Slows Down Significantly in Russia - Official

      MOSCOW, May 29 (Sputnik) - The increase in new cases in Russia has slowed down 12 times compared to the beginning of April, Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova said on Friday.

      "This period [non-working days between March 25 and May 11] helped us move forward with daily decrease in number of new cases of the novel coronavirus starting as early as April. And as of today, if we take the beginning of April as a baseline, the increase in new cases in Russia has slowed down 11.8 times," Golikova told a briefing.

      The coronavirus transmission rate is below one at the moment, Golikova said.

    • 16:33

      Number of Coronavirus Cases in US Capital, Bordering States Surpasses 100,000 - Authorities

      WASHINGTON, May 29 (Sputnik) - The number of novel coronavirus cases in the US national capital area and the surrounding states of Maryland and Virginia has surpassed 100,000, according to data reported by local authorities.

      The authorities have reported 102,059 cases and 4,166 novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19)-related deaths since the beginning of the pandemic, including 3,457 cases and 68 fatalities in the past 24 hours.

      The data reveals that nearly six of every 1,000 residents in the region of 14 million have been infected.

      Almost half of the confirmed cases and deaths - 50,988 and 2,348 - have been reported in Maryland, the Office of Governor Larry Hogan said on Friday.

      Virginia has reported more than 42,500 cases and 1,358 COVID-19-related deaths, while Washington, DC reported 8,538 cases and 460 deaths.

    • 16:12

      Poland Provides Medical Assistance to Western Balkan States Amid COVID-19 - NATO

      MOSCOW, May 29 (Sputnik) - Poland has distributed nearly 70 tonnes of medical supplies, including face masks and disinfectants, to six Western Balkan states over the week in a bid to help them combat the coronavirus pandemic, NATO said in a press release on Friday.

      "Poland dispatched nearly 70 tonnes of medical supplies to Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo and Serbia this week, helping them respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. This aid includes more than 10,000 litres of disinfectant and 100,000 face masks for each recipient. A convoy of seven State Fire Service vehicles set off from Warsaw on Tuesday to transport the supplies," the press release said.

      According to the alliance, Poland is providing support through NATO’s Euro-Atlantic Disaster Response Coordination Center (EADRCC) in response to a request for assistance from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and North Macedonia.

      The EADRCC, which operates on a 24-hour basis and coordinates requests and offers of assistance, is the alliance's main civil emergency response mechanism. Since the COVID-19 outbreak began, the center has coordinated requests from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and 15 NATO and partner countries, resulting in dozens of offers of assistance.

    • 16:09

      Guterres Says 2 Peacekeepers From UN Mission in Mali Died This Week Due to COVID-19

      UNITED NATIONS, May 29 (Sputnik) - UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Friday said that two peacekeepers deployed at the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have died this week due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

      “Yesterday and today, two of our military colleagues have passed away due to COVID-19,” Guterres said in a statement. “Both are members of MINUSMA.”

      He added that the peacekeepers were from Cambodia and El Salvador.

      Guterres was speaking at a ceremony to mark the International Day of the UN Peacekeepers and honor personnel who have lost their lives while on duty with Dag Hammarskjold Medal.

      According to him, in 2019, 83 military police and civilian personnel lost their lives while serving in UN operations.

      “In... memory of all those fallen on the line of duty, I want to express my deepest condolences to their families,” Guterres said. "I hope that this medal offers them a measure of comfort."

      The UN chief also presented the Military Gender Advocate Award, created in 2016 and given every year to recognize the effort to promote the critical role of women in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peacekeeping and humanitarian response.

      This year, the award went to Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo from Brazil, who serves at the UN Mission in the Central African Republic, and Major Suman Gawani of the Indian Army, a Military Observer formerly deployed with the UN Mission in South Sudan.

    • 16:06

      Canada’s Novel Coronavirus Case Total Hits 88,856, Death Toll at 6,918 - Health Agency

      TORONTO, May 29 (Sputnik) - The number of Canadians who have contracted the novel coronavirus increased to 88,856, while the death toll from the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) stands at 6,918, updated data from the Public Health Agency revealed on Friday.

      The growth rate of the number of infections and deaths held steady throughout the week, the data also showed.

      The province of Quebec remains the epicenter of the outbreak in Canada, accounting for more than half of all confirmed cases - 49,702 - and 4,302 deaths.

      The province of Ontario trails with 27,210 confirmed cases and 2,230 COVID-19-related fatalities.

      Combined, Ontario and Quebec account for more than 86 percent of all infections and 94 percent of deaths in Canada.

      The World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus outbreak a pandemic on March 11. As of Friday, more than 5.85 million people have been infected with the virus worldwide, of which more than 361,000 have died, according data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center.

    • 15:29

      Italy’s Emilia-Romagna Against Sardinia’s Proposal to Introduce Health Passports - Reports

      MOSCOW, May 29 (Sputnik) - Stefano Bonaccini, the governor of the northern Italian Emilia-Romagna region, rejected the proposal to introduce so-called health passports for domestic tourists made by Sardinia Governor Christian Solinas, media reported on Friday.

      According to the ANSA news agency, Solinas’ idea is to regulate visitors from COVID-19 hard-hit northern Italian regions, including Emilia-Romagna, and only allow travelers who hold a certificate proving they are coronavirus-negative into Sardinia and other less-affected areas. Local authorities of Sicily also support the proposal, the news agency said.

      Bonaccini said that it would be impossible to enforce such a measure and called on southern governors to refrain from blaming northern regions for spreading COVID-19.

      Emilia-Romagna has so far confirmed over 27,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 4,000 virus-related fatalities, while Sardinia has confirmed 1,355 cases and 136 deaths. Overall, Italy has confirmed over 231,000 coronavirus cases and 33,142 fatalities.

    • 15:27

      WHO, Costa Rica Launch COVID-19 Technology Access Pool

      MOSCOW, May 29 (Sputnik) - The World Health Organization (WHO) and Costa Rica have launched the COVID-19 Technology Access Pool, which is aimed at sharing vaccines, tests, treatments and other health technologies to overcome COVID-19, the UN health agency said in a press release on Friday.

      The initiative was announced by WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus and Costa Rica's President Carlos Alvarado during a virtual press conference on May 15.

      According to the press release, 30 countries and many international organizations have since backed the initiative.

      "The COVID-19 Technology Access Pool will ensure the latest and best science benefits all of humanity. Vaccines, tests, diagnostics, treatments and other key tools in the coronavirus response must be made universally available as global public goods," Alvarado said as quoted in the press release.

      Tedros, in turn, reiterated the importance of international solidarity and collaboration for combating COVID-19.

      "Based on strong science and open collaboration, this information-sharing platform will help provide equitable access to life-saving technologies around the world," the WHO chief said.

      The health technology depository will be voluntary, while serving as sister initiative to the Access to COVID-19 Tools  Accelerator launched by WHO in late April.

      The new initiative includes public disclosure of gene sequences and data regarding the virus; transparent release of all clinical trial results; encouragement of governments to include clauses on equitable distribution, affordability and the publication of trial data in agreements with pharmaceutical companies; licensing potential vaccine, treatment or other technology to the UN-backed Medicines Patent Pool; promotion of open innovation models and technology transfer, including through joining the Open Covid Pledge and the Technology Access Partnership.

    • 14:39

      Ireland 'is on Track to Move to Phase 2 on June 8' - Prime Minister

      "We are on track to move to phase 2 on June 8," Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, as quoted by Reuters.

      He added that all trends are going in the right direction on COVID-19.

    • 14:35

      COVID-19 Death Toll in Sweden Tops 4,300 as Stockholm Continues to Refrain From Lockdown

      STOCKHOLM, May 29 (Sputnik) - Sweden, one of the world’s few countries that refused to impose stringent lockdown measures during the coronavirus outbreak, has confirmed 4,350 coronavirus-related deaths and a total of 36,476 active cases, Chief Public Health Official Anders Tegnell said on Friday.

      According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, Sweden’s COVID-19 death rate exceeds that of all Nordic countries and is among the highest in the world.

      "To date, there are 4,350 deaths, 36,467 cases of [coronavirus] infection. This week we see a small trend in the increase in the number of cases, more young people are being infected. We associate this with an increase in the number of conducted tests," Tegnell said at a briefing.

      In mid-April, the Swedish authorities announced the adoption of a new testing strategy, which broadened the range of those being checked, having included police officers and firefighters so that they could return to work as soon as possible. Previously, only hospital patients, people with severe symptoms, and medical staff were tested for COVID-19.

      "At the same time, the number of patients in intensive care units continues to decline, which may indicate that we are seeing a drop in the spread of coronavirus," Tegnell added.

      The Swedish authorities have refrained from introducing strict lockdown measures, favoring the concept of collective immunity, when a large percentage of a population becomes immune by being exposed to the virus.

      The Scandinavian country, with a population of over 10 million, kept schools, kindergartens, shops and other public places open across the country, relying on citizens' responsible behavior.

    • 14:34

      Italy's GDP Falls by 5.4% Year-on-Year in Q1 2020 Due to COVID-19 Pandemic - Statistics

      ROME, May 29 (Sputnik) -Italy's GDP dropped by an unprecedented 5.4 percent n the first quarter of 2020, compared to the same indicator a year ago, due to the devastating economic consequences of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Italian National Institute of Statistics, said in a press release on Friday.

      According to the institute's Quarterly National Accounts report, the Italian economy has not seen such a contraction since the statistical measurement instruments used today were created in 1995.

      "In the first quarter of 2020 the seasonally and calendar adjusted, chained volume measure of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) decreased by 5.3 per cent to the previous quarter and by 5.4% in comparison to the first quarter of 2019," the report read.

      At the same time, the institute's experts had to adjust their April’s preliminary GDP estimates downward. Last month, the contraction caused by the pandemic was predicted to be at 4.8 percent.

      Simultaneously with the institute's release, Ignazio Visco, the governor of the Bank of Italy, said that the country was experiencing the worst health and economic crisis in recent history.

      According to Visco, the GDP in 2020 may drop by 13 percent, and in the case of the baseline scenario, which implies a 9-percent decline, about half of this drop will be compensated in 2021. According to the European Commission's forecast, Italy's economy will decline by 9.5 percent by the end of the year.

      Last week, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that the peak of the COVID-19 infection in Italy was over, although he urged citizens to continue taking health precautions and avoid traveling abroad. Italy first began easing its lockdown measures, enacted in March to slow the spread of the disease, on May 4.

      Italy has so far confirmed over 231,000 COVID-19 cases, more than 150,000 recoveries and 33,142 fatalities.

    • 13:53

      Austria to Ease Mask Use Rules, Social Distancing Curbs for Dine-in Services in Mid-June

      Austria will ease mask wearing rules and allow cafes and restaurants to service larger groups of people starting June 15, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said Friday.

      "Starting 15 June, nose-and-mouth protection will only be required on public transport, in health care facilities, including pharmacies, and wherever services provided do not allow for distance keeping," Kurz said during a press briefing.

      Face covering will not be mandatory while shopping, eating out and in schools. Cafes and restaurants will be allowed to service groups larger than four. Closing times for eateries have been extended by two hours to 1 a.m.

      Austria has been relaxing coronavirus restrictions every two weeks since 15 April after the infection rate slowed down. It has so far confirmed 16,564 cases, including 668 deaths.

    • 13:16

      Estimated 12% of UK Immigration Staff Had COVID-19 Symptoms Between Jan-Apr

      An estimated 12 percent of the United Kingdom's immigration staff took sick leave between January and April due to COVID-19 symptoms, The Guardian reported, citing figures provided by the minister for immigration compliance in an answer to a parliamentary inquiry.

      According to this data, nearly 1,880 immigration staff, including those working at the country’s ports and airports, had a period of sickness absence over coronavirus-like symptoms between 1 January and 29 April. The newspaper estimates that it is 12 percent of employees of Border Force and UK Visas and Immigration.

      Of these, 1045 people, or 7 percent of the combined workforce, were off before 23 March, when the UK was put on lockdown.

      In a comment to The Guardian, Labour lawmaker Stephen Doughty who asked this information from the minister described the figures as "shocking revelation."

      "[It] shows one of the likely impacts of failing to introduce proper measures to protect staff at the border when they were most needed – in the first quarter of the year – when over 23 million British and other travellers entered the UK without proper health checks or formal quarantine," he said.

      Citing the government’s chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance as saying that there was "a big influx" of COVID-19 cases from Italy and Spain in early March, the lawmaker suggested that "many frontline staff may have been exposed and infected in the course of their work."

      According to The Guardian, at least two Border Force staff have died after contracting coronavirus.

    • 13:10

      Italy Might Face Up to 1Mln Job Cuts Due to COVID-19 Pandemic

      From 700,000 to 1 million people in Italy might lose their jobs due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of industrial employers group Confindustria, Carlo Bonomi, said on Friday.

      On Thursday, the ANSA news agency reported, citing the Italian National Institute of Statistics, that up to 400,000 Italians could lose their jobs by the end of 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic.

      "Let's wait for the data for the end of May, but we are talking about the situation when from 700,000 to 1 million jobs that are at risk," Bonomi said during a videoconference on prospects on national entrepreneurship.

      According to the Confindustria head, the Italian leadership lacks the strategic vision to develop ways to overcome the current crisis.

      "I see the political class focused on the emergency, and that is right. But it completely lacks a vision, a strategy regarding where we should go, and this is a matter of deep concern," Bonomi stated, adding at the same time that this crisis could provide major opportunities to modernize the country, and the authorities should take advantage of it.

      So far, the country has reported 231,732 COVID-19 cases, with 593 of them being recorded over the past 24 hours, continuing the downward trend in the country. A total of 33,142 people have died since the start of the outbreak.

    • 12:39

      Azerbaijan Extends Borders Closure to 15 June Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

      Azerbaijan will extend the borders closure, introduced to contain COVID-19, to 15 June, the cabinet's coronavirus response centre said on Friday.

      In early April, the cabinet banned entry to and exit from Azerbaijan's territory by ground and air transport. The ban was initially introduced until 20 April and then extended to 31 May.

      "As part of events to counter the spreading of the novel coronavirus infection (COVID-19), most countries have temporarily closed their borders and have extended the suspension of international flights ... After analyzing the situation emerging globally due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a decision was made to extend the restrictions on entry-exit to the territory of the Republic of Azerbaijan through ground and air transport (with an exception for cargo and charter flights) to 15 June, 2020," the response center said.

    • 12:21

      Danish Prime Minister Plans to Reopen Border With EU, Schengen Countries and UK After Summer

    • 12:16

      Denmark Plans to Open Borders to Tourists From Norway, Germany And Iceland on 15 June - PM

    • 11:45

      Estonia’s COVID-19 Case Count Rises by 8 to 1,859 as Numbers Show Downward Trend

      Estonia has registered eight new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, meaning that the country's infection rate remained low even after a state of emergency was lifted, the Estonian Health Board said on Friday in a statement.

      On 18 May, the Estonian government lifted the COVID-19 state of emergency that has been in effect since 12 March. Restrictions and social distancing rules, however, have been kept in place and will be lifted in a phased manner.

      "COVID-19 was confirmed among 1,859 residents of Estonia in different regions of the country," the statement read.

      According to health authorities, the death toll increased to 67 after one COVID-19 carrier died over the given period.

    • 11:36

      Poland’s COVID-19 Tally Nearing 23,000 Amid Steady Decline in New Cases

      Poland’s COVID-19 tally is approaching 23,000 as another 141 people have tested positive for coronavirus in Poland between Thursday evening and Friday morning, the Health Ministry said.

      A day before, the country registered 127 cases over the same period. Since April, Poland has been witnessing a general downward trend in new infections.

      The case count now stands at 22,964.

      The death toll has risen by five to 1,043. A day before, two fatalities were reported. On Monday, Poland reported no COVID-19 fatalities for the first time since late March.

      Over 2,000 coronavirus patients remain in hospitals nationwide, and 79,995 people are under quarantine. More than 10,600 patients have recovered.

    • 11:25

      Pakistan Resumes International Flight Operations From Saturday - Civil Aviation Authority

    • 11:16

      Seoul Museums, Theaters to Close Again As New COVID-19 Clusters Discovered

      Museums, theaters and other national cultural institutions in South Korea’s Seoul and surrounding areas will temporarily close again due to a surge in COVID-19 cases that have been discovered in clusters, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said on Friday.

      Cultural institutions reopened on May 6 as the country eased its COVID-19 restrictions after the spread had slowed.

      According to the ministry, museums, galleries, libraries, concert halls and theaters will shut down from May 29 to June 14 in Seoul, the nearby city of Incheon and the capital province of Gyeonggi-do. The authorities added that the new measure could be kept in place even after the deadline, as it depended on the coronavirus situation.

      The new ban comes weeks after the authorities discovered a new cluster linked to a young man who visited several nightclubs in Seoul and tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in May. Separately, concerns are rising over a hotspot connected to a retail logistics center in the city of Bucheon, which is 15.5 miles west of Seoul.

      On Thursday, the country reported 79 new cases, which is the highest daily increase since early April, while on Friday, 58 new cases were confirmed. Some 90 percent of new cases this week have been registered in Seoul and surrounding areas. Overall, South Korea has confirmed 11,402 COVID-19 cases and 269 coronavirus-related deaths since the start of the outbreak.

    • 10:36

      Iran Confirms Another Sharp Rise in COVID-19 Cases as 2,819 New Positive Tests Reported

      A further 2,819 new positive tests for COVID-19 have been reported in Iran over the past 24 hours, spokesperson for the Iranian Health Ministry Kianush Jahanpur said on Friday, the second day in a row that public health authorities in the country have reported a sharp rise in the daily number of new cases.

      "Over the past 24 hours, 2,819 new cases of infection have been reported. The total is now 146,668," Jahanpur said during an appearance on the state-run IRINN broadcaster, adding that 114,931 people have now been discharged.

      The latest rise in the case total is a significant increase from the 2,258 new cases reported a day before and the 2,080 new positive tests confirmed on Wednesday.

      Jahanpur also confirmed that the COVID-19 death toll in Iran has risen by 50 over the previous 24 hours. Since the start of the outbreak, 7,677 people who had tested positive the disease have died.

      The number of new COVID-19 cases in Iran has begun to rise since the start of May after the authorities began to ease lockdown measures amid a fall in the infection rate.

    • 10:27

      Libya Has No Confirmed COVID-19 Cases Among Refugees, Asylum Seekers - UNHCR

      Libyan health authorities have so far not reported any cases of the coronavirus infection among refugees or asylum seekers, Caroline Gluck, a spokesperson for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Libya said.

      "Libya currently has no reported cases or suspected cases of refugees or asylum seekers being infected with COVID-19," Gluck said.

      The spokeswoman added that the UNHCR continues to "regard the spread of Coronavirus with great concern," as it considers Libya to be among the high-risk countries in the region due to its fragile public health institutions and ongoing conflict.

      Gluck pointed to the fact that Libya's health care system "was already overstretched and underresourced before the pandemic," which resulted in the pandemic catching the war-torn country at a time when many hospitals and medical facilities are shut down due to the military action.

      Since the onset of Libya's political disarray in 2011, the oil-rich country got practically split into a duopoly. The internationally-recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) of Fayez Sarraj has established itself as the power pole in the country's west with the center in Tripoli, while the rival Libyan National Army (LNA), led by Khalifa Haftar, took control over the east with the center in Tobruk.

      Following a failed offensive on Tripoli last year, the LNA forces attempted a rematch and the GNA launched a counteroffensive this past April. Despite numerous calls from international actors upon the warring parties to cease fire during the pandemic, armed confrontation has continued.

    • 09:09

      Malaysia Reports 103 New Coronavirus Cases; 7,732 in Total With No New Deaths

    • 08:53

      S Korea’s Industrial Output Falls 6% in April Amid COVID-19 Shutdown

      South Korea’s industrial output fell by six percent in April amid the economic disruption caused by lockdown measures enforced to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease, the state statistical agency Statistics Korea said on Friday.

      According to the statistical body, industrial production fell by 6.0 percent in April and a 6.4 percent decline was observed in the manufacturing industry in the same month.

      The service industry was the only sector that registered a increase in production, recording a modest 0.5 percent rise, according to the agency.

      According to the country’s Yonhap news outlet, the decline in industrial production is the sharpest recorded in South Korea since the 2007-2008 financial crisis.

      The drop in industrial production corresponds with an even-sharper fall in exports. At the start of May, the South Korean Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced that the country’s exports had fallen by 24.3 percent year-on-year in April as a result of the coronavirus disease pandemic.

      Countries across the globe are facing severe financial challenges amid the ongoing coronavirus disease pandemic that has shut down many sectors of the economy. In April, the International Monetary Fund projected that the global economy will contract by 3 percent in 2020. 

    • 08:10

      Good Chance Social Distancing Rule Can Be Relaxed - Irish PM

      "Before we can relax that rule and maybe reduce it to 1 (metre), which I know a lot of people would like, we just need to see the virus come down a bit more. We're not at that point yet but I think there's a good chance we get there, just not quite yet," Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said.

    • 08:06

      Tokyo City Government Plans Further COVID-19 Lockdown Easing From 1 June

      The Tokyo Metropolitan Government is planning to further ease lockdown measures in the Japanese capital, which were put into force to curb the spread of COVID-19, from June 1, domestic media reported on Friday, citing the city authorities.

      “We are moving to the next step at 12 a.m. on 1 June [15:00 GMT on 30 May],” Yuriko Koike, the mayor of Tokyo, told reporters at a press conference, as quoted by the NHK broadcaster.

      As part of the lockdown easing, many non-essential businesses, including gyms and theaters, will be allowed to reopen, although bars and restaurants will only be permitted to serve customers until 22:00 local time, the broadcaster stated.

      The daily number of new positive tests reported in the Japanese capital has fallen to below 15, although other areas of the country are experiencing a surge in cases, the broadcaster stated.

      "Our city is in the middle of a second wave. We'll do our utmost to contain the virus by asking everyone who had close contact with the infected to undergo PCR [polymerase chain reaction] tests,” Kenji Kitahashi, mayor of the southern city of Kitakyushu, said on Friday, as quoted by the broadcaster.

      A total of 43 new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Kitakyushu, in Fukuoka prefecture, over the past six days, the broadcaster stated.

      Since the start of the outbreak, more than 16,700 cases of the coronavirus disease have been reported in Japan, resulting in the deaths of roughly 880 people, according to the broadcaster.

    • 07:45

      Bolivia Extends Coronavirus-Related Quarantine Until 30 June

      Bolivian authorities have extended coronavirus-related quarantine until 30 June with borders remaining shut, Bolivian Communications Minister Isabel Fernandez said.

      "We have extended the quarantine regime until 30 June depending on the level of [health] risks in each particular department and municipality," Fernandez told reporters late on Thursday.

      According to the minister, the ban on international flights will remain in place except for evacuation and cargo flights. Classes at schools will also remain suspended.

      The quarantine measures also include a ban on holding cultural and sports events, though churches will be open but required to ensure that their occupancy does not exceed 30 of available space.

      On Thursday, Bolivia's Interim President Jeanine Anez promoted Deputy Health Minister Eidy Roca to the post of Health Minister. Roca became the third health minister to take office since the beginning of 2020.

      Last Wednesday, then-Bolivian Health Minister Marcelo Navajas was arrested and dismissed over his suspected involvement in a corruption scandal that erupted over public procurement of Spanish ventilators. The scandal followed the purchase of ventilators that, upon arrival, were found not to meet World Health Organization standards. The Bolivian government appeared to pay more than $27,000 for each of the 170 ventilators, a fee many times higher than market value.

      Bolivia has so far recorded 8,387 cases of the coronavirus infection, including 293 fatalities and 738 recoveries.

    • 07:39

      Russia Registers 8,572 COVID-19 Cases Over Past 24 Hours

      Russia has registered 8,572 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours (8,371 yesterday), bringing the total count to 387,623, the national coronavirus response center said on Friday.

      "Over the past 24 hours, 8,572 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in 84 regions. Of these, 3,380 (or 39.4 percent) have been detected actively, with people showing no clinical symptoms," the center said in a statement.

      This brings the total tally to 387,623 (+2.3 percent) in 85 regions across Russia.

      Of all the new cases, 2,332 have been registered in Moscow, 773 in the Moscow region and 369 in St. Petersburg (compared to yesterday's 2,560, 774 and 382, respectively).

      The country's COVID-19 death toll has grown by 232 (174 yesterday), which is the highest daily increase since the beginning of the outbreak, to 4,374.

      As many as 8,264 COVID-19 patients have recovered in Russia over the past 24 hours (8,785 yesterday). The total number of cured people has grown to 159,257.

    • 06:30

      Germany Records 741 New COVID-19 Cases, Total Reaches 180,458

      Germany has confirmed 741 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, with the total count reaching 180,458, the Robert Koch Institute said on Friday.

      The death toll has grown by 39 to 8,450 people within the same period of time.

      A day earlier, the country confirmed 353 new cases and 62 fatalities.

      More than 164,000 COVID-19 patients have recovered in Germany since the beginning of the outbreak.

    • 06:30

      Number of COVID-19 Cases in India Rises by 7,466 to 165,799

      India has confirmed 7,466 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, which brings the total toll of those infected to 165,799, the country's Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said on Friday.

      The death toll from the disease has reached 4,706, with 175 new fatalities being recorded over the past day. The number of recoveries has risen to 71,105 after growing by 3,414 in the past 24 hours, the ministry added.

      India's central state of Maharashtra with confirmed 59,546 cases remains the most affected region. It is followed by the southern state of Tamil Nadu, with 19,372 cases, and the National Capital Territory of Delhi, with 16,281 cases.

    • 04:48

      Australian PM Considers Creating 'Travel Bubble' With New Zealand Even if Some States Keep Borders Closed

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    COVID-19 Live Updates: Germany's Tally Rises to 181,196, Deaths Reach 8,489 - Institute
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    Countries Ease Lockdown Measures While COVID-19 Cases Surpass 4 Mln Worldwide (197)
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