US officials have pushed the theory that the virus, which first appeared in Wuhan, emerged from the virology lab there.
Chile’s healthcare system is under strain and “very close to the limit”, President Sebastian Pinera said, as the number of confirmed coronavirus infections approaches 70,000.
Russia reported 153 coronavirus deaths, the epidemic’s highest daily toll in the country, raising total fatalities to 3,541.
Muslims around the world are celebrating Eid al-Fitr with millions under strict stay-at-home orders and many fearing renewed coronavirus outbreaks.
Turkey announced 32 new COVID-19 deaths and 1,186 infections in the past 24 hours, the highest number of the week, pushing total cases to 55,686 and deaths to 4,308. An Eid al-Fitr weekend lockdown has been imposed.
After the United States, the hardest-hit countries are the United Kingdom with 36,793 deaths from 258,511 cases, Italy with 32,785 deaths from 229,327 cases, Spain with 28,752 deaths and 235,772 cases and France at 28,332 deaths and 182,036 cases.
More than 5.3 million people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus to date, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 342,000 people have died, while more than two million have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
President Jair Bolsonaro has hit the streets for a rally with his supporters, ditching his face mask and breaking social distancing measures even as coronavirus cases surged in Brazil.
The president arrived at the rally outside the presidential palace in Brasilia in a white surgical mask, but soon took it off to greet the cheering crowd, shake hands and embrace supporters.
The rally came as Brazil emerged as a new flashpoint in the pandemic.
With nearly 350,000 confirmed cases, Brazil now has the second-biggest caseload in the world, after the United States. It has registered more than 22,000 deaths.
Bolsonaro has famously compared the virus to a “little flu” and argues that stay-at-home measures are unnecessarily hurting the economy.
The premier of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, has expressed shock over a large crowd enjoying a sunny day at a Toronto park, warning of the risk of COVID-19 outbreaks.
“I thought it was a rock concert when I went out there. I was shocked. It’s just too many people, too close,” said Doug Ford, the provincial premier in a brief television interview.
He was referring to the thousands of people who gathered Saturday at Trinity Bellwoods to enjoy a sunny, summery day at the popular Toronto park.
As of Sunday, the province has had 25,500 confirmed new coronavirus cases and 2,140 deaths, compared to 84,000 cases and 6,447 nationwide.
Domestic flights will resume across India on Monday after a day of “hard negotiations”, the federal civil aviation minister has said, after some states sought to limit the number of flights.
Flights will restart under an easing of restrictions imposed over the coronavirus, though the number of new cases rose by a record 24-hour amount on Sunday. The 6,767 new cases took the total to over 131,000.
Airlines are preparing to resume about a third of their domestic flight operations from Monday, even without clarity over what quarantine rules may apply to passengers.
French authorities have reported the smallest daily rise in new coronavirus cases and deaths since before a lockdown began on March 17, raising hopes that the worst of the epidemic is over in France.
The number of confirmed cases rose by 115 to 144,921, health ministry data showed, and the death toll increased by 35 to 28,367, an increase of just 0.1 percent for both tallies.
The weekend totals for new cases and deaths were also both the lowest since France began easing its strict coronavirus restrictions on May 11.
Chile’s healthcare system is under strain and “very close to the limit”, President Sebastian Pinera has said, as the number of confirmed novel coronavirus infections approaches 70,000 after a rapid increase in recent days.
The Ministry of Health reported 3,709 new cases in the last day, bringing the total to 69,102. The death toll is at 718.
“We are very close to the limit because we have had a very large increase in the needs and demands for medical care, and for intensive care unit beds and ventilators,” Pinera said during a visit to a hospital in Santiago, which has the highest concentration of cases.
Claims promoted by the Trump administration that the global coronavirus pandemic originated at the Wuhan Institute of Virology in the central Chinese city are a “pure fabrication”, the institute’s director has said.
US President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly said they suspect the virus that was first detected in Wuhan was somehow released from the laboratory.
Scientists think the new coronavirus, which first emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has killed more than 340,000 people worldwide, originated in bats and could have been transmitted to people via another mammal.
Read more here.
South Africa will further ease coronavirus lockdown restrictions from June 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa has said, allowing large swaths of the economy to return to full capacity.
“Cabinet has determined that the alert level for the whole country should be lowered from level four to level three,” he said in an address broadcast on television, describing the move as a significant shift in approach to the pandemic.
Under level three, Ramaphosa said that aside from a few exceptions where risk of transmission is high, the economy could return to full capacity, a curfew and restriction on outdoor exercise would be lifted and alcohol could be sold for home consumption.
Turkey’s health minister has announced 32 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the death toll in the country to 4,340.
Fahrettin Koca also tweeted there were 1,141 new infections confirmed in the past 24 hours. The total number of infections reached 156,827.
Turkey ranks ninth in a global tally by Johns Hopkins University. More than 118,000 people have recovered, according to the health ministry statistics.
Bolivia’s ex-health minister has been remanded in custody over a corruption investigation into over-priced ventilators to fight the novel coronavirus, the attorney general has said.
Marcelo Navajas was fired after he was arrested on Wednesday as part of an investigation into the purchase of 179 ventilators from a Spanish company for almost five million dollars, around two and a half times their advertised price.
Attorney General Ruddy Terrazas told journalists that a judge had remanded Navajas and three other health ministry officials in “pre-trial detention” following a hearing that lasted 12 hours and ended in the early hours of Sunday.
Navajas is to be held for three months and the other officials for six months.
Italy has recorded 50 new deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic against 119 on Saturday, the Civil Protection Agency said.
However, it added that the data did not include deaths from the worst affected Lombardy region due to technical problems.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 32,785.
The Israeli cabinet has limited the involvement of the Shin Bet security service in the mobile phone-tracking of people infected by the coronavirus, saying the measure would be a last resort where epidemiological investigation proves insufficient.
Circumventing parliament in March, as the coronavirus spread, the cabinet approved emergency regulations that enabled the use of the technology, usually deployed for anti-terrorism. Privacy watchdog groups challenged the practice in court.
Citing waning contagion rates in Israel, the cabinet amended regulations so that the phone tracking is warranted “in specific and special cases only, where location … cannot be completed with epidemiological investigation using other methods.”
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has defended the actions of his chief adviser Dominic Cummings, who has faced growing calls to resign for allegedly breaching national coronavirus lockdown regulations.
Johnson addressed a government news conference amid growing pressure to remove Cummings, who has defended his decision to drive 250 miles (400 kilometres) from London to his parents’ home in Durham, in northeast England, with his wife and son as he was coming down with COVID-19 symptoms at the end of March.
“I believe that in every respect he has acted responsibly and legally,” Johnson told a news conference.
Read more here.
One of the architects of Brazil’s battle against the coronavirus pandemic has resigned.
The departure of epidemiologist Wanderson de Oliveira adds to turmoil in a Health Ministry whose recommendations for restrictions to limit the disease have often clashed with President Jair Bolsonaro’s calls to open the economy.
De Oliveira said he would leave his post on Monday. He initially offered his resignation last month, but stayed on at the request of then-Minister Luiz Mandetta, who shortly afterward was fired by Bolsonaro.
French churches have held their first Sunday masses in more than two months after the government bowed to a ruling that churches, mosques and synagogues should be reopened, nearly two weeks into the relaxation of its shutdown.
France’s Council of State, which instructs the government on legal issues, ordered it last Monday to lift its sweeping ban on all religious services, in place since the lockdown.
Read more here.
An in-person meeting of Group of Seven leaders will take place at the end of June, White House national security adviser Robert O’Brien has said
President Donald Trump, in March, canceled the G7 meeting scheduled for June 10 as the coronavirus outbreak was spreading around the world and international travel was curtailed.
Trump on Wednesday said he may seek to revive the idea of a face-to-face meeting of G7 leaders near Washington, saying it would send a message that the world is heading back to normal.
“The G7 summit, if it happens in person and we think it will, will take place at the end of June,” O’Brien said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
O’Brien said he believed the nation’s capital is close to its peak of coronavirus cases and the US would like to hold an in-person summit if the situation permits.
The public returned to St Peter’s Square to receive Pope Francis’s blessing from his window for the first time in nearly three months as he convoked a year of reflection on the environment.
Only a few dozen people went to the square, which was reopened on Monday along with St Peter’s Basilica following coronavirus lockdowns. They kept to social distancing rules and most wore masks.
Francis delivered his message via the internet from his library, as those in the square watched on large screens, and then went to the window for the silent blessing.
Spain’s overnight coronavirus death toll rose by 70 to a total of 28,752, the health ministry said.
The number of diagnosed cases rose to 235,772 from 235,290.
German authorities are trying to trace everyone who attended a church service in Frankfurt this month after more than 107 people tested positive for the coronavirus.
Churches in the state of Hesse, where Frankfurt is located, have been able to hold services since May 1 following the easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions, provided they adhere to official social distancing and hygiene rules.
“This situation shows how important it is that all of us stay alert and avoid becoming careless, especially now during the easing of restrictions. The virus is still there and will spread,” Hesse state health minister Kai Klose said.
He said the authorities hoped that identifying those who attended the service at a Baptist church on May 10 would help prevent others being infected.
It was not immediately clear whether all the 107 with the coronavirus attended the service, or whether the tally includes people who were infected by those who did.
AngloGold Ashanti’s Mponeng mine in South Africa has been temporarily closed after 164 workers tested positive for the coronavirus, the gold miner said in a statement.
The mine, the deepest in the world, only reopened in April after being shut under a nationwide lockdown, and had been operating at around 50 percent capacity. It accounted for around 7.4 percent of the company’s total gold production in 2019.
AngloGold Ashanti said it had conducted 650 tests at Mponeng since detecting the first case of the virus there last week, and 164 employees had tested positive with only a handful of tests left to process.
“As a precautionary step, and after discussions with the regulator, operations… have been temporarily halted on a voluntary basis, to complete contact tracing and to again deep clean and sanitize the workplace and key infrastructure,” the statement said.
A Bournemouth player was one of two people working for Premier League clubs who tested positive for COVID-19 following a second batch of testing, the club said.
Bournemouth did not disclose the player’s identity but said he would self isolate for seven days in line with league protocols before another test is conducted.
“AFC Bournemouth can confirm that one of its players has tested positive for COVID-19, following the club’s second round of testing,” Bournemouth said in a statement.
“Following strict adherence of the Premier League’s return to training regulations, the club’s training ground remains a safe working environment for players and backroom staff, who will continue to be tested for COVID-19 twice per week.”
— AFC Bournemouth 🍒 (@afcbournemouth) May 24, 2020
Residents of Madrid and Barcelona are eagerly anticipating the opening of parks, museums, churches this week, as Spain prepares to ease some of the strictest lockdown measures in Europe in its capital and second city.
In Madrid, where for two weeks authorities have begun to let runners and cyclists out for exercise for a few hours in the morning and evening, graphic designer Jimena Ruiz jogged near the wrought iron fence of Retiro park, still shut with a chain.
“I can’t wait for it,” she said wistfully. “I’m really looking forward to running, sunbathing and sitting by the fountains.”
Spain is now in the third month of its national emergency, having endured one of the largest per capita death tolls in the world from the coronavirus, which hit hardest in Madrid.
The US is poised to announce a ban on travel from coronavirus-hit Brazil, a top aide to US President Donald Trump has said.
“I think that we’ll have a new travel decision today with respect to Brazil and just like we did with the UK and Europe and China, and we hope that’ll be temporary,” Robert O’Brien, the US national security advisor, said on CBS.
“But because of the situation of Brazil, we’re going to take every step necessary protecting American people,” he said.
The US had previously cut off travel from China, Europe and Britain as the virus surged in those countries.
The Philippine health department has warned the public against social media posts claiming that an anti-viral drug developed by a Filipino doctor can cure or protect people against the coronavirus.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a cease-and-desist order against the use of the Fabunan anti-viral injection, amid reports that more people were getting the medication, said Health
Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire.
“To date, there has not been any record of the (Fabunan anti-viral injection) applying with the FDA,” the Department of Health said in a statement.
“The department will continue to update our people of any scientifically proven developments in our fight against COVID-19,” it added.
Subdued Eid celebrations are held across the Muslim world as many people mark the end of the holy month of Ramadan under lockdown.
View the photo gallery here.
Workers in the Indonesian capital struggle to earn a living and support their families amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read about it here.
Iran has confirmed 58 more fatalities from coronavirus over the past day, bringing the nationwide death toll to 7,417.
Another 2,180 people tested positive for coronavirus, raising the overall count to 135,701, the Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said.
First indications of the effectiveness of a potential vaccine against coronavirus may be available in the autumn, the head of the GAVI vaccine alliance has told a Swiss newspaper, predicting a long road from there to broad availability.
“Unfortunately, we really do not know which vaccine will work and whether there will be one at all. If we’re lucky, we’ll receive indications in autumn as to (a potential vaccine’s) effectiveness,” GAVI head Seth Berkley told NZZ am Sonntag in an interview published on Sunday.
“But there will still be a long way to go from there until an approved active substance becomes available in large quantities for the global population.”
Olympique Lyonnais president Jean-Michel Aulas lashed out at the French football league for ending the Ligue 1 soccer season early, calling the decision “stupid”.
Aulas spoke after La Liga on Saturday got the Spanish government’s green light to resume play. Matches will likely begin on June 12, according to League president Javier Tebas.
“In the past two months, the Spanish officials have been observing and working with UEFA,” Aulas told L’Equipe on Sunday, referring to European soccer’s governing body.
“What is paradoxical is that Javier Tebas, in particular, attended the same meetings as (French League director-general) Didier Quillot, notably that of April 23.”
“In fact, what was said at that meeting with UEFA is ‘patience’. When we see that our officials attended this meeting and drew different conclusions, one can feel that we are really too stupid.”
China’s Foreign Ministry has said US politicians are spreading “lies” and “conspiracy theories” regarding Beijing’s role in the pandemic, while calling on the two countries to cooperate in fighting the virus.
“It’s most regrettable that while the coronavirus is still out there, the political virus is also spreading in the US and jumping at any opportunity to attack and slander China,” Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a press conference on the sidelines of China’s parliamentary session, the National People’s Congress.
Wang added that some US politicians “ignore the basic facts and make up countless lies and conspiracy theories concerning China”.
Lufthansa, which is in talks with the German government over a nine billion euro ($9.8bn) bailout, will resume flights to 20 destinations from mid-June, including some holiday hot-spots, a spokeswoman has said.
The destinations include Mallorca, Crete, Rhodes, Faro, Venice, Ibiza and Malaga, the spokeswoman said, adding flights would depart from the airline’s main hub in Frankfurt.
Further destinations will be unveiled at the end of next week, she said.
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings, who drove 400km (250 miles) to northern England while coronavirus lockdown measures were in place, will not resign, Transport Minister Grant Shapps has said.
“Is he going to resign?” BBC presenter Andrew Marr asked during an interview.
“No,” Shapps said.
Several lawmakers from Johnson’s Conservative Party called on Sunday morning for Cummings to quit.
Malaysia has reported 60 new coronavirus cases, raising the total number of infections to 7,245, the health ministry has said.
The number of deaths remained unchanged at 115, it said.
The United Kingdom’s government intends to stick with a plan to reopen primary schools to some pupils from June 1, Transport Minister Grant Shapps has said.
“That’s certainly the intention,” he told Sky News.
The government faces opposition to the plan from some teachers and labour unions.
India has reported 6,767 new coronavirus cases, its highest daily jump, taking the overall total to 131,868, according to the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
At least 147 coronavirus-related deaths were recorded over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of deaths to 3,867.
According to NDTV (New Delhi Television), Sunday marks the third consecutive day that India has recorded more than 6,000 coronavirus cases with a record number of new patients each day.
China is “open” to international cooperation to identify the source of the coronavirus, China’s foreign minister has said.
But any investigation must be “free of political interference”, Wang Yi said at a press conference, blasting what he called efforts by US politicians to “fabricate rumours” about the pathogen’s origins and “stigmatise China”.
He added that World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has done a good job and countries with decency will support the body.
A 107-year-old Iranian woman who was infected with the new coronavirus has recovered, Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency has reported.
The woman, Saltanat Akbari, was admitted to the Khansari hospital in the central city of Arak. She was released from the hospital after spending “some time” in isolation.
“She defeated the virus with the help of doctors and nurses at the hospital,” Fars said.
Those who want to make China pay compensation for the coronavirus outbreak are daydreaming, the Chinese government’s top diplomat Wang Yi has said.
Russia has reported 153 coronavirus deaths over the past 24 hours, the epidemic’s highest daily toll, raising the total number of coronavirus-related deaths to 3,541, the country’s coronavirus crisis response centre has said.
It also said 8,599 new cases had been documented, fewer than on the previous day, pushing the total number of infections to 344,481.
The Church of the Holy Sepulcher in occupied East Jerusalem has reopened to visitors after a two-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Christian authorities managing the site closed it to visitors in March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but religious leaders maintained prayers inside the shuttered church throughout its closure.
On Sunday, church authorities limited entrance to 50 people at a time, and required that those entering the cavernous site maintain social distance and avoid touching any of the church’s stones, icons or other religious items.
Boris Johnson’s senior adviser Dominic Cummings, who travelled 400km (250 miles) to northern England during lockdown while his wife showed COVID-19 symptoms, must resign, a lawmaker from the Prime Minister’s Conservative Party has said.
“It is intolerable that Boris’ government is losing so much political capital,” Steve Baker wrote on Twitter. “Dominic Cummings must go.”
Cummings said on Saturday he had behaved reasonably and within the law.
Singapore’s health ministry says it has confirmed 548 more coronavirus cases, taking its overall number of infections to 31,616.
The vast majority of the newly infected people are migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry said in a statement. Three are permanent residents.
Muslims prayed outside the closed gates leading to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City as the holy site remained closed amid coronavirus restrictions over the Eid al-Fitr holiday.
Israeli police, some in riot gear, guarded the entrances to the compound.
Most virus restrictions have been lifted in Jerusalem, but the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound remains closed until after Eid, which marks the end of Ramadan.
Australia’s prime minister has stressed the need to create jobs as a way to minimise government welfare spending, while the country’s second-most populous state Victoria set out measures to resume tourism.
“Whether it’s how we access markets, how we deliver assistance, whether it’s to bushfire affected communities … the thing that gets Australia back to where we want to be is making jobs,” Scott Morrison told reporters.
These are his first comments since the Treasury Department flagged last week that Australia had vastly overestimated the initial costs of its coronavirus wage subsidy scheme.
Brazil has confirmed 22,013 deaths from the new coronavirus after 965 more deaths were reported in the last 24 hours.
According to the Health Ministry data, the number of cases jumped to 347,398 with 16,508 new cases registered.
Brazil, which has the largest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths in Latin America, is the second country with the highest number of cases in the world after the US.
Thailand has reported no new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, keeping the total at 3,040 confirmed cases and 56 deaths since the outbreak began in January.
Sunday was the fourth day in this month that there were no new daily cases, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government’s coronavirus taskforce.
There are 2,921 patients who have recovered and returned home since the outbreak started.
Government officials say six million Australians have downloaded a mobile phone app that helps health authorities trace coronavirus infections.
Federal Health Minister Greg Hunt said the COVIDSafe app is playing a strong role in Australia’s response to the pandemic and several countries have expressed interest in learning from the positive experience.
The government has said at least 40 percent of Australia’s 26 million people need to use the app for it to be effective. There are approximately 17 million mobile phones in Australia. If a user is diagnosed, the app works to identify other users who have been in close proximity for 15 minutes or more in the previous three weeks.
China on Sunday reported three new confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the Associated Press news agency.
Two of the cases had arrived from outside the country, and one had been locally transmitted in the northeastern province of Jilin, which had experienced a minor outbreak.
No new deaths were reported, and 79 people remain in treatment, with another 380 under isolation. China has reported a total of 4,634 COVID-19 deaths out of 82,974 cases.
South Korea reported 25 more cases of the new coronavirus as health officials try to bring mass infections tied to Seoul’s nightlife district of Itaewon under control, Yonhap news agency reported.
The total number of cases recorded to date has reached 11,190, while its death toll remained unchanged at 266, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
Eight of the new cases came from overseas, and 17 are local infections, the statement said. The total number of people released from quarantine after making full recoveries stood at 10,213, up 19 from a day earlier.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 431 to 178,281, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed on Sunday.
The tally showed the reported death toll rising by 31 to 8,247, Reuters news agency reported.
Muslims in Indonesia are marking a muted holiday of Eid al-Fitr, usually a joyous three-day celebration that has been significantly toned down as coronavirus cases soar.
The world’s largest Muslim-majority nation, with more than 240 million people, has reported nearly 22,000 infections and 1,350 fatalities, the most in Southeast Asia.
It means no congregational prayers at mosques and open fields, no family reunions, no relatives bearing gifts for children.
US newspaper The New York Times devoted its entire front page on Sunday to a list of the names of people who died in the coronavirus pandemic.
The names and brief descriptions culled from nationwide obituaries fill six columns under the headline: “US Deaths Near 100,000, an Incalculable Loss,” with a sub-headline reading: “They Were Not Simply Names on a List. They Were Us.”
The all-text list takes the place of the usual articles, photographs and graphics in an effort to convey the vastness and variety of lives lost, according to Simone Landon, assistant editor of the graphics desk.
A tally kept by Johns Hopkins University says more than 97,000 people have died of COVID-19 in the US, while the Worldometers website showed more than 98,000 US deaths.
Mexican health authorities registered 3,329 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the country and 190 new deaths, Reuters news agency reported, quoting a health official. The total number of cases in the country has hit 65,856 with at least 7,179 deaths.
The University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine trial has only a 50-percent chance of success as coronavirus cases ebb in the UK, the professor co-leading the development of the vaccine told the Daily Telegraph newspaper.
Adrian Hill, director of Oxford’s Jenner Institute, which teamed up with drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc to develop the vaccine, ChAdOx1, said an upcoming trial involving 10,000 volunteers threatened to return “no result” due to low COVID-19 transmission in the community.
“At the moment, there’s a 50-percent chance that we get no result at all,” Hill told the British newspaper. Human trials of the vaccine started in April.
Two deaths from COVID-19 were reported in Greece during the last 24-hour period, bringing the death toll to 171, AP news agency reported, quoting health authorities.
Another three infections have been recorded since Friday afternoon, raising the nation’s total to 2,876. The number of patients on ventilators stands at 20, while 99 have left intensive care.
Greek authorities say they have administered 152,998 tests for the disease.
Brazil registered 965 new coronavirus deaths on Saturday, taking the total number of deaths to 22,013, the Ministry of Health said.
The country now has 347,398 confirmed cases, according to the ministry, up 16,508 from Friday, when it surpassed Russia to become the world’s virus hot spot behind the US.
Argentina extended a mandatory lockdown for the capital, Buenos Aires, until June 7, President Alberto Fernandez has announced, after the city saw a steady increase of coronavirus cases in recent days.
Argentina’s lockdown, which was due to expire on Sunday, has been in place since March 20, though officials relaxed restrictions in some areas of the country.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
You can find all the updates from yesterday, May 23, here.