WHO praises China for ‘openness’ on coronavirus: Live updates

UN agency says it’s ‘pleased to hear a very consistent message from China’ as US and others pile on criticism.

People wearing protective face masks are seen on a street following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shanghai, China May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song [Reuters]
People wearing protective face masks are seen on a street following an outbreak of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Shanghai, China May 25, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song [Reuters]
  • WHO has praised China for its eagerness towards the prospect of scientific inquiries into determining the origins of COVID-19.

  • The number of coronavirus cases in Russia has climbed to 353,427, with 8,946 new infections in the past 24 hours.

  • The United States has barred arrivals from Brazil, the country with the second-highest number of cases in the world after the US.

  • More than 5.4 million people around the world have been infected with the coronavirus to date, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 344,000 people have died, while more than two million have recovered.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, May 25

22:50 GMT – Brazil surpasses US in daily coronavirus death toll

Brazil daily coronavirus deaths were higher than fatalities in the United States for the first time over the last 24 hours, according to the country’s Health Ministry.

Brazil registered 807 deaths over the last 24 hours, whereas 620 died in the US.

Brazil has the second worst outbreak in the world, with 374,898 cases, behind the US with 1.637 million cases. Total deaths in the US has reached 97,971, according to Reuters tally compared with Brazil at 23,473.

22:30 GMT – White House brings forward Brazil travel restrictions by two days

The White House issued a statement amending the timing of the start of new restrictions on travel from Brazil to the United States to 11:59pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, May 26 (04:59 GMT on Wednesday).

The White House announced on Sunday that it was restricting travel from Brazil to the United States, two days after the South American nation became the world’s No 2 hotspot for coronavirus cases. In its original announcement, it said the restrictions would come into force on May 28.

20:55 GMT – No new virus deaths in Ireland for first time in nine weeks

Ireland recorded no new deaths from the coronavirus for the first time since March 21.

Prime Minister Leo Varadkar called it a “significant milestone”, adding on Twitter: “This is a day of hope. We will prevail.”

The announcement came one week after Ireland, which has suffered 1,606 deaths from 24,698 infections, began to ease lockdown measures that had been in place for nearly two months.

The announcement came one week after Ireland, which has suffered 1,606 deaths from 24,698 infections, began to ease lockdown measures that had been in place for nearly two months [Jason Cairnduff/Reuters]

20:50 GMT – Tourists stranded in Peru finally set to fly home

Hundreds of stranded tourists gathered in Peru’s capital to secure seats on humanitarian flights for their return home after more than two months of the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

Citizens from the Netherlands, India, Ukraine, among other countries, boarded buses headed for a military airport to board a flight organised by the Dutch embassy.

Many of the individuals were tourists who arrived in Peru to travel to popular destinations such as Machu Picchu, and others were there for special events.

20:45 GMT – In Bolsonaro’s Brazil, everyone else is to blame for virus

With Brazil emerging as one of the world’s most infected countries, President Jair Bolsonaro is deflecting all responsibility for the coronavirus crisis, casting blame on mayors, governors, an outgoing health minister and the media.

Asked about Brazil’s death toll surpassing China’s, he feigned impotence: “I don’t work miracles. What do you want me to do?” Confronted with a travel ban imposed on Brazil by the US because of widespread COVID-19, one of his advisers called it “press hysteria”.

Bolsonaro portrays himself as a clear-eyed crusader willing to defend an unpopular idea – that shutting down the economy to control COVID-19 will ultimately cause more suffering than allowing the disease to run its course.

Since the outbreak started, the Brazilian leader has avoided acknowledging the potential effects of his actions, particularly in undermining local leaders’ stay-at-home recommendations [File: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters] 

20:30 GMT – Luxembourg to reopen, cafes, restaurants

Luxembourg will ease its coronavirus restrictions on Wednesday, reopening cafes and restaurants and allowing civil and religious ceremonies under strict conditions, the government announced.

The country has so far registered only 3,993 COVID-19 cases, of which 110 have been fatal. Four people are in intensive care and shops were closed on March 18 to slow the spread of the new coronavirus.

Prime Minister Xavier Bettel told a news conference that eateries could reopen terraces with a maximum of four people at a single table.

20:17 GMT – California has guidelines for church reopenings

California says churches can resume in-person services but the congregations will be limited to less than 100 and worshippers should wear masks, avoid sharing prayer books and skip the collection plate.

The state Department of Public Health released a framework for county health officials to permit houses of worship to reopen. Most have been limited to online and remote services since March, when Governor Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home order took effect to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Several thousand churches had vowed to defy Newsom’s order on May 31, which is Pentacost Sunday, a major holiday for many Christians.

Activists hold signs and protest the California lockdown due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in San Jose [Sean M Haffey/Getty Images/AFP]

19:59 GMT – Egypt’s doctors criticise government over virus ‘negligence’

Egypt’s medical union blamed the government for increasing levels of coronavirus infections and deaths among healthcare professionals, its sharpest criticism yet of the country’s handling of the pandemic.

Citing growing frustration over a lack of protective equipment, testing and hospital beds for front-line doctors, the union described the Egyptian health ministry’s negligence as “a crime of killing by irresponsibility”.

The union reported that 19 doctors have died and 350 have contracted the virus, according to official figures, although testing of medical staff remains limited.

19:38 GMT – Presidential candidate Biden makes first public appearance since March

Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, emerged from more than two months of seclusion, wearing a black face mask during a visit to lay a wreath on the day the United States honors its war dead.

“It feels good to be out of my house,” said the 77-year-old, who has remained in isolation at his home in Wilmington, Delaware in keeping with recommended measures to protect the elderly and prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Biden’s last public appearance was March 15 when he faced off against his former Democratic rival Bernie Sanders for a debate in a television studio held with no live audience.

19:22 GMT – US CDC reports 1,637,456 coronavirus cases, 97,669 deaths

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1,637,456 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 15,342 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 620 to 97,669.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as COVID-19, caused by a new coronavirus, as of 4pm ET (20:00 GMT) on May 24 versus its previous report a day earlier.

19:10 GMT – Kuwait will not extend 24-hour curfew beyond May 30 – interior minister

Kuwait will not extend its 24-hour curfew beyond May 30, the interior minister said at a news conference.

The minister added that the cabinet will announce on Thursday the details of a partial curfew and a plan for public life to return to normal gradually.

18:50 GMT – WHO renews praise for China in response to virus

World Health Organization officials have renewed praise for China in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, citing its “openness” to the prospect of scientific inquiries involving foreign experts into the origins of the novel coronavirus.

Dr Michael Ryan, the WHO’s emergencies chief, pointed to “day-to-day” discussions with colleagues in China.

He said the UN health agency and many governments are eager to understand the animal origins of the virus, “and I am very pleased to hear a very consistent message coming from China, which is one of openness to such an approach.”

18:45 GMT – Dubai to allow free movement, business activity

Dubai will begin allowing free movement and business activity to restart from Wednesday, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said.

Starting Wednesday there will be no restrictions on movement or business operations between 6:00am and 11:00pm, the Dubai Media office said in a press release.

Some retail and wholesale businesses will be allowed to reopen subject to further sterilization operations and social distancing measures, the media office said on Twitter [File: Karim Sahib/AFP]

18:40 GMT – Second man with COVID-19 dies in US immigration custody: Report

A Guatemalan man held in United States immigration custody died on Sunday after contracting the novel coronavirus, US media reported. He is the second known migrant to die of coronavirus while in immigration custody.

Citing a document by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), BuzzFeed News and CBS News reported that Santiago Baten-Oxlag, 34, died at a hospital in Columbus, Georgia, after being transferred there on April 17 from the Stewart Detention Center, a privately operated prison near the state’s border with Alabama. 

Read more here.

18:30 GMT – PM Johnson says Britain could reopen non-essential retail on June 15

Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the UK could reopen all non-essential retail stores on June 15 if the coronavirus remains contained.

“On June 15, we intend to allow all non-essential retail, ranging from department stores to small independent shops, to reopen,” Johnson told reporters, stressing that this “will be contingent upon progress against” the disease.

18:20 GMT – EU’s Von der Leyen to begin ‘trillion-euro’ recovery battle

European Union chief Ursula von der Leyen will on Wednesday unveil a trillion-euro post-coronavirus recovery plan she hopes will point the way to compromise between sparring capitals.

The EU has plunged into its deepest ever recession and pressure is mounting to unleash spending to drag 27 members out of the slump, especially those unable to help themselves because of big debts – Italy and Spain foremost among them.

18:12 GMT – Iran reopens major Shia shrines after two-month closure

Iran has reopened major Shia shrines across the Islamic republic, more than two months after they were closed, as it reported its lowest deaths from coronavirus since March.

At Tehran’s Shah Abdol-Azim shrine, worshippers had to wear a mask, walk through a disinfection tunnel and have their temperature checked as they began returning early morning, according to AFP reporters.

Read more here.

An Iranian woman visits the Shah Abdol-Azim shrine in the capital Tehran following the reopening of major Shiite shrines across the Islamic republic, more than two months after they were closed because of the Middle East’s deadliest novel coronavirus outbreak [AFP]

17:59 GMT – Dutch PM didn’t see dying mother due to COVID-19 rules

Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte was unable to visit his dying mother in her final weeks because he obeyed coronavirus restrictions against visiting care homes, his office said.

The news about Rutte emerged as Britain was gripped by a political row over allegations that the top aide to premier Boris Johnson broke COVID-19 rules to travel cross-country to stay on his parents’ estate.

Rutte on Monday announced the death of 96-year-old Mieke Rutte-Dilling in a home in The Hague on May 13, nearly two months after the government shut all such institutions to the public on March 20.

17:43 GMT – Former NBA star Ewing out of hospital after being treated for COVID-19

Georgetown basketball coach and former NBA great Patrick Ewing has been released from the hospital and is recovering from COVID-19 at home, his son said.

The 57-year-old Hall of Famer who played for the Hoyas in college and the New York Knicks in the NBA announced Friday that he had tested positive for the coronavirus and was being treated at a hospital.

17:35 GMT – Spain revises virus death toll down by nearly 2,000

Spain’s government on Monday revised downward the country’s death toll from the coronavirus by nearly 2,000, bringing the total number of deaths recorded to 26,834.

A new system of gathering data had allowed them to identify cases that had been counted twice and exclude deaths wrongly attributed to the virus, said Fernando Simon, the health ministry’s emergencies coordinator.

17:25 GMT – Germany stamps authority on Lufthansa with $9.8 bln lifeline

Germany threw Lufthansa a 9 billion euro ($9.8 billion) lifeline, agreeing a bailout which gives Berlin a veto in the event of a hostile bid for the airline.

The largest German corporate rescue since the coronavirus crisis struck will see the government get a 20 percent stake, which could rise to 25 percent plus one share in the event of a takeover attempt, as it seeks to protect thousands of jobs.

Lufthansa has been locked in talks with Berlin for weeks over aid it needs to survive an expected protracted travel slump, with the airline wrangling over how much control to yield in return for financial support [File: Bloomberg] 

17:10 GMT – Czechs, Slovaks open border for short visits

The Czech Republic and Slovakia will open their border this week for those travelling to the other country for up to 48 hours, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said.

“This will be possible without tests or quarantine” starting Wednesday, he added in a message posted on Twitter.

16:50 GMT – French doctor defiant on hydroxychloroquine despite study

A controversial French doctor insisted he stood by his belief that anti-viral drugs hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine can help patients recover from the coronavirus, rejecting a study that indicated there was no benefit.

Marseille-based doctor Professor Didier Raoult has earned huge prominence in France during the crisis for his controversial beliefs and was visited by President Emmanuel Macron in person as the head of state sounded out experts.

Raoult has consistently argued that the drugs have a tangible benefit, a stance that has been loudly backed by President Donald Trump who has said he has even been taking hydroxychloroquine as a precaution.

16:35 GMT – WHO to temporarily to temporarily drop trial of malaria drug 

The World Health Organization said that it will temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine – the malaria drug US President Trump said he is taking – from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments, saying that its experts need to review all available evidence to date.

In a news briefing on Monday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in light of a paper published last week in the Lancet, that showed people taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death and heart problems than those that were not, there would be “a temporary pause” on the hydroxychloroquine arm of its global clinical trial.

“This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19,” Tedros said, adding that the drugs are accepted treatments for people with malaria or auto-immune diseases.

Read more here

The WHO decision came after the publication last week of a study in the Lancet indicating that using the drug on COVID-19 patients could increase their likelihood of dying [File: Denis Balibouse/Reuters]

16:17 GMT – Putin spokesperson recovers after bout with COVID-19

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesperson, Dmitry Peskov, has left hospital after recovering from the novel coronavirus, the Russian news agency Interfax reported.

Peskov, 52, had revealed two weeks ago that he was undergoing treatment for the virus. He suffered from pneumonia in both lungs, Interfax reported.

15:55 GMT – Aide to British PM Cummings says he doesn’t regret lockdown trip

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s closest adviser Dominic Cummings said that he didn’t regret his decision to drive 250 miles from London to northern England, saying he had not flouted lockdown rules by staying on his family’s farm.

“I don’t regret what I did. Reasonable people may well disagree about how I thought about what to do in these circumstances. But I think that what I did was actually reasonable in these circumstances,” Cummings noted, adding that the rules covered exceptional circumstances when it came to issues of looking after small children.

Read more here.

Dominic Cummings, senior aide to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, makes a statement inside 10 Downing Street, London, over allegations he breached coronavirus lockdown restrictions [Jonathan Brady/Pool/AP]

15:30 GMT – France promises ‘significant’ pay hikes for health workers

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said health workers would soon get hefty pay increases as part of an overhaul of France’s hospital system in response to the coronavirus crisis.

“I can say without any ambiguity, the increase will be significant,” Philippe said while kicking off consultations with doctors and nurses that are expected to conclude in July.

Health workers have long complained about low salaries and insufficient staff at French hospitals, leading to a series of strikes over the past year to demand funding increases.

15:10 GMT – First patients arrive at Dagestan field hospital

The first patients arrived at a field hospital in the town of Buinaksk in the North Caucasus where a number of residents have contracted COVID-19, including the mayor.

The Defence Ministry organised the creation of the field hospital in the Dagestan town, where 70 medical specialists will work.

Dagestan has become one of the hardest-hit regions in Russia, with reports of mass infections in secluded mountain villages and overflowing hospitals.

14:50 GMT – South Korea to require masks on transit, flights

South Koreans will be required to wear masks when using public transportation and taxis nationwide starting Tuesday as authorities look for more ways to slow the spread of the coronavirus as people increase their public activities.

Health Ministry official Yoon Taeho said masks will also be required on all domestic and international flights from Wednesday. 

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14:35 GMT – In race for tourism, Greece reopens cafes, island ferries

Greece restarted regular ferry services to its islands Monday, and cafes and restaurants were also back open for business as the country accelerated efforts to salvage its tourism season.

Travel to the islands had been generally off-limits since a lockdown was imposed in late March to halt the spread of the coronavirus, with only goods suppliers and permanent residents allowed access.

14:25 GMT – Japan’s Abe says vaccine a priority for Olympics

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the swift development of vaccines and effective treatments for COVID-19 are priorities towards achieving the Tokyo Olympics next year.

Abe said recovery from the coronavirus pandemic only in Japan would not be enough to hold the Games, because it involves spectators and athletes from around the world.

Abe reiterated that the government hopes to hold the Tokyo Games “in a complete form” – with spectators – as a proof of human victory against the coronavirus.

14:05 GMT – Trump demands immediate answer from governor on RNC capacity

President Donald Trump demanded that North Carolina’s Democratic governor sign off “immediately” on allowing the Republican National Convention to move forward in August with full attendance despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump’s tweets about the RNC, planned for Charlotte, come just two days after North Carolina recorded its largest daily increase in positive cases yet.

On Friday, Governor Roy Cooper moved the state into a second phase of gradual reopening by loosening restrictions on hair salons, barbers and restaurants. But he said the state must continue to closely watch virus trends and has ordered indoor entertainment venues, gyms and bars to remain closed for several more weeks.

13:59 GMT – Pakistan mulls reinforcing lockdown amid surge in virus cases

Pakistan may reinforce its lockdown to stem the spread of the coronavirus, officials said, amid a spike in infections and deaths three weeks after restrictions were lifted.

Health authorities and regional governments expressed alarm as Pakistan’s confirmed coronavirus caseload surged past 56,000, with nearly 1,200 related deaths.

The number of confirmed cases has more than doubled from 23,000 on May 6, when the country lifted its lockdown. 

New reported cases appeared to spike over the Muslim festival of Eid al-Fitr this weekend [File: K.M. Chaudhry/AP]

13:55 GMT – Spain to end quarantine for tourists on July 1 

Spain says it will lift a 2-week mandatory confinement for all travelers arriving from overseas starting July 1.
The government said in a brief statement that Cabinet ministers made the decision to lift the mandatory quarantine.

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez had already announced over the weekend that his nation was ready to welcome some foreign visitors in July.

The government is looking to establish safe corridors between parts of Spain that have the outbreak under control and similar areas in Europe that are an important source of tourists. There has been no talk so far of reopening to travelers from outside the European Union.

13:47 GMT – Thai researcher eyes affordable, accessible vaccine for Southeast Asia

A researcher leading Thailand’s push to manufacture a coronavirus vaccine says its aim is to make it cost-effective and accessible to Southeast Asia, and play a part in preventing a supply shortage globally.

Thailand’s government announced last week its plans to have a vaccine ready for deployment next year after researchers at Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University successfully conducted trials on mice.

“We don’t aim for making money. It’s not a money issue but an accessibility one,” said Kiat Ruxrungtham, director of the university’s coronavirus vaccine development.

He said it was important not to rely only on major economies to develop and manufacture coronavirus vaccines, or there could be supply bottlenecks. “Lets say there is proof that it works, how can the manufacturing facility make millions or billions of doses? So a country like us, a small country, we need to step up and then do our own work as well.”

13:30 GMT – Palestinian government ends coronavirus lockdown

The Palestinian government is ending its two-month coronavirus lockdown in the occupied West Bank, prime minister Mohammed Shtayyeh announced after a steady decline in new cases.

Shops and businesses will operate as normal from Tuesday, while government employees will return to work after the Eid holiday on Wednesday, Shtayyeh told a press conference.

Mosques, churches and public parks will also reopen, though with social distancing measures. Public transport will resume. Cafes and restaurants would be reopened but subject to restrictions to be announced in the coming days.

“The easing in the measures and gradual return to normal life is being taken with caution,” Shtayyeh said, warning an increase in cases could lead to restrictions being reinstated.

13:05 GMT – Mongolia to maintain strict virus regulations ‘until vaccine found’

Mongolia will maintain strict coronavirus regulations until a vaccine is found, the prime minister said, raising the prospect of the country being locked down for months to come.

Wedged between Russia and China, landlocked Mongolia on March 12 become one of the first countries to close its borders in the face of the growing global epidemic.

Universities, schools and kindergartens are closed until September, conferences and public protests are banned, children under 12 are not allowed in malls or restaurants, and facemasks are mandatory.

“The country will keep the quarantine rules until a vaccine becomes available,” Prime Minister Khurelsukh Ukhnaa told reporters in the country’s parliament. He did not provide more details about what measures would remain in place, but said he did not know when borders would reopen.



Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui in Doha taking over from my colleague Umut Uras.


This is Umut Uras. I’ll be handing over this blog shortly to another colleague.

Here’s a quick summary of the latest developments until 13:00 GMT:

  • Coronavirus cases in Russia have climbed to 353,427, with 8,946 new infections in the past 24 hours
  • Japan has lifted a nationwide state of emergency 
  • The death toll from the outbreak in Sweden has topped 4,000

12:45 GMT – COVID-19 deaths in Sweden top 4,000

The death toll from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Sweden has topped 4,000, statistics published by the Public Health Agency showed.

The data published on the agency’s website showed that deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, had risen to 4,029 from 3,998 a day earlier while the number of confirmed cases amounted to 33,843 up from 33,459.

Sweden has taken a soft-touch approach to fighting the virus, leaving most schools, shops and restaurants open and relying on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and good hygiene.

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12:20 GMT – EuroLeague and EuropCup seasons terminated

Europe’s top two club basketball competitions have been terminated this season without naming any winners due to the COVID-19 pandemic, organisers EuroLeague Basketball said.

“Having explored every possible option, the Executive Board has made the decision to cancel the 2019-20 EuroLeague and EuroCup,” the organising body said on its official Twitter account.

The 2020-21 EuroLeague and EuroCup seasons will start on October 1 and September 30 respectively, said the statement, which added that the same 18 teams that contested this season’s EuroLeague would also compete in the next campaign.

11:45 GMT – Syria records 20 new cases in largest single-day increase

Syria’s health ministry reported 20 new cases of the novel coronavirus, the largest single-day increase to date.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad, the ministry said.

Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by nine years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.

11:15 GMT – Japan lifts coronavirus emergency

Japan lifted a nationwide state of emergency over the coronavirus, gradually reopening the world’s third-largest economy as government officials warned caution was still necessary to prevent another wave.

“We had very stringent criteria for lifting the state of emergency. We have judged that we have met this,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a nationally televised news conference.

Read more here.

Japan’s Prime Minister Abe speaks at a news conference on May 25 in Tokyo [Getty Images] 

10:40 GMT – Dutch gov’t reports 2nd case of mink transmitting virus to human

The Dutch agriculture ministry said it had found what it believes to be a second case of a human becoming infected with the new coronavirus after coming in contact with a mink that had the virus.

In a letter to parliament, minister Carola Schouten repeated that the country’s National Institute for Health believes the risk of animal-to-human transmission of the virus outside the farms on which they are kept is “negligible.”

On April 26, the Dutch government reported mink on a farm in the south of the country had been found to have the disease, prompting a wider investigation of such farms, where mink are bred for their fur. Last week the government reported its first suspected case of mink-to-human transmission.

10:15 GMT – Malaysia reports 172 new cases, most of them foreigners

Malaysia reported 172 new coronavirus cases, most of them foreigners held at immigration depots, and taking the total number of infections in the country to 7,417.

The Ministry of Health said the number of deaths remained unchanged at 115.

The number of coronavirus-related deaths in Malaysia stands at 115 [Reuters]

09:45 GMT – Singapore confirms 344 fresh cases

Singapore’s health ministry on Monday confirmed 344 more coronavirus cases, taking its tally of infections to 31,960.

The lower number of cases on Monday is partly due to fewer tests being conducted, the ministry said in a statement.

The vast majority of the newly infected people are migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry said, adding that four were Singaporeans or permanent residents.

09:20 GMT – Muslim doctors in Malaysia spend Eid in hospitals

Eid has become a more sombre affair for Muslim Muslim Malaysian doctors, amid the coronavirus pandemic that has so far seen over 7,000 people in the country infected with the coronavirus, including 115 who have died of COVID-19.

Muslim-majority Malaysia has imposed widespread restrictions on movement since mid-March in a bid to stem the virus outbreak.

09:00 GMT – Indonesia reports 479 new coronavirus cases

Indonesia reported 479 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the total in the Southeast Asian nation to 22,750, Health Ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto reported 19 more coronavirus deaths, taking the total to 1,391. Indonesia has the highest COVID-19 death toll in East Asia after China.

08:35 GMT – Philippines posts five new coronavirus deaths

The Philippines’ health ministry reported five additional novel coronavirus deaths and 284 more infections, the largest daily increase of cases in two weeks.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths have increased to 873, while confirmed cases have risen to 14,319. But 74 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 3,323.

Seventy-four more patients have recovered in the country, bringing total recoveries to 3,323 [Aaron Favila/AP]

08:15 GMT – Foreign tourists can book holidays in Spain from July: minister

Foreign tourists can book vacations in Spain from July as the two-week self-quarantine for overseas travellers is likely to be suspended by then, the tourism minister said.

One of the worst-hit nations in the world from the coronavirus, tourism-dependent Spain is gradually easing a strict lockdown though it has kept a quarantine for visitors so as to prevent a second wave of infections.

“It is perfectly coherent to plan summer vacations to come to Spain in July,” Reyes Maroto said in an interview with local radio station Onda Cero.

07:50 – Russia’s coronavirus infections pass 350,000

Cases of the coronavirus in Russia climbed to 353,427, having risen by 8,946 in the past 24 hours, the country’s coronavirus crisis response centre said.

It said the number of fatalities had risen by 92 overnight, taking the overall nationwide death toll from the virus to 3,633.

A woman wears a mask as a precaution against coronavirus as she walks at Pyatnitskaya street in Moscow [EPA]

07:30 GMT – Hungary partially reopens border with Serbia for local citizens

Hungary opened its southern border for citizens of Serbia and Hungary, Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto told a news conference.

Hungary decided to reciprocate a similar measure taken by Serbia on Friday, Szijjarto said, adding that the novel coronavirus pandemic was under control in both countries, which allowed the easing of restrictions.

The move followed a gradual reopening of landlocked Hungary’s other borders, which now allow some movement although restrictions have not been fully lifted.

07:00 – Germany’s confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 289 to 178,570

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 289 to 178,570, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Monday.

The reported death toll rose by 10 to 8,257, the data showed.

The reported coronavirus-related death toll in Germany rose by 10 to 8,257 [EPA] 

06:35 GMT – Hungary’s 2021 budget to contain $9.3bn anti-pandemic fund

Hungary’s 2021 budget will contain a nearly the trillion forint ($9.34bn) anti-pandemic fund, Finance Minister Mihaly Varga said in a video posted on Facebook, adding that he would submit the budget to parliament.

Like other governments, Hungary’s cabinet unrolled a massive economic stimulus package earlier this year to fight the fallout from the novel coronavirus pandemic. The government hopes that a projected 3-plus percent recession will turn around in 2021.

06:10 GMT – Thailand reports two new cases, one more death

Thailand confirmed two new coronavirus cases and one additional death, a health ministry spokesman said.

The new numbers brought the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,042 and deaths to 57 since the outbreak began in January, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the COVID-19 Administration Centre.

More than 96 percent of the patients, or 2,928 people, have recovered, he said.


Hello, this is Umut Uras in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry.

I’m handing over this blog to my colleagues in Doha. Before I go, here’s a quick reminder of what has been happening in the past few hours. First up, the US has added Brazil to the list of countries with which it has imposed travel bans. Brazil has the second highest number of cases in the world – after the US. In Australia, where the outbreak is under control, children across New South Wales have returned to school, while Japan is preparing to lift the state of emergency in Tokyo. 


05:30 GMT – Duterte calls for Philippines government to get workers home

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has given his government a week to process some 24,000 repatriated Filipino workers stuck for weeks on cruise ships or in coronavirus quarantine, so they can finally go home.

Thousands are aboard some 29 vessels off Manila Bay or stuck in hotels and crowded health facilities, some growing frustrated having tested negative for the coronavirus and completed the mandated 14-day quarantine.

Overseas Filipino Workers, or OFWs, are breadwinners and a key support base of Duterte. Their more than $30 billion of annual remittances is a key driver of the Philippine economy, supporting millions of family members.

“The president said they can use all government resources and whatever means of transportation – bus, airplane, ships – to bring the OFWs home,” Duterte’s spokesman, Harry Roque, said on Monday.

05:05 GMT – Masked, disinfected: China’s clubs try to get back into the groove

Nightclubs have begun to reopen in China as coronavirus curbs are eased.

All customers have to give their names and numbers before entering and go through a temperature check.

Charles Guo, owner of 44KW in Shanghai, told Reuters that business was slow to begin with because people were “quite worried about their safety” but had picked up by the end of last month.

All staff wear masks and gloves, while door handles, toilets and other surfaces are disinfected every hour. Customers are not required to wear masks, but hand santiser is freely available and drinks are served in disposable glasses.

People wear face masks at a nightclub in Shanghai [Aly Song/Reuters]

04:05 GMT – Singaporean cooks up Eid feast for migrant workers

Singaporean Dushyant Kumar, his wife and a team of chefs cooked up an Eid feast of Briyani for hundreds of migrant workers spending the festival in quarantine because of the coronavirus outbreak in the city state.

“We want to make sure they don’t get left out,” Kumar told Reuters as he prepared the food for about 600 men. “The smile on their faces gives you a lot of satisfaction.”

Singapore has some 300,000 migrant workers mainly from India, Bangladesh and China who live in crowded dormitories that have become the epicentre of the country’s coronavirus outbreak.

Kumar’s initiative was funded by public donations and an NGO. He has also been delivering 1,000 meals a day to the men who have been in strict quarantine since early April.

03:40 GMT – One million jobs lost: The price of coronavirus in Mexico

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador says the novel coronavirus could cost up to one million jobs, because many industries considered not essential remain shut.

“My prediction is that with coronavirus, a million jobs will be lost,” Lopez Obrador said in a televised speech on Sunday. He then promised the government would create two million new jobs.

Lopez Obrador’s government has repeatedly said it has the outbreak under control but has since posted record numbers for new cases and deaths. The Mexican economy was already in recession before the pandemic struck and some banks have predicted it could contract 9 percent this year. Read more here

Workers at a wire harness and cable manufacturing plant in Ciudad Juarez [File: Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters]

03:00 GMT – COVID-19 emerges in Malaysia immigration detention centres

Malaysia’s top civil servant in the health ministry has called for medical attention and decontamination in the country’s immigration detention centres after three were found to have cases of coronavirus.

Dr Noor Hisham Abdullah, who is secretary-general at the Ministry of Health, said there should ne no discrimination against non-Malaysians in dealing with the virus.

“We need to enhance the active cases detection and isolate and treat those positive cases immediately,” Dr Noor Hisham wrote on his Facebook page. “Quarantine those close contacts and decontaminate the respective centres. The virus knows no boundaries and does not favour any ethnicity and social status.”

Malaysia has carried out a series of raids on undocumented migrants during the country’s coronavirus lockdown. Health ministry data shows 115 confirmed cases across the three centres.

02:15 GMT – Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo to start selling face masks 

Japanese retailer Uniqlo is to start selling masks in its stores to meet coronavirus demand.

The masks will be made from the same quick-drying material as its AIRism brand of underwear to help keep the wearer cool, according to the Nikkei Asian Review.

02:00 GMT – Japan to lift state of emergency for Tokyo

Japan is expected to lift the state of emergency in Tokyo and four other areas that are still under coronavirus restrictions.

The government will seek approval for the plan from key advisers on Monday with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe due to hold a press conference at 6pm (09:00 GMT)

Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike said the capital would move to reopen libraries and museums with the state of emergency lifted and allow restaurants to open for longer. Theatres, cinemas and other venues would reopen at a later stage.

01:20 GMT – Children in NSW return to class, as parents go back to work

Chlldren of all ages across Australia’s most-populous state of New South Wales went back to class on Monday, as offices began to reopen.

NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian told the media only a “very, very small proportion” of parents had chosen to keep their children at home because of concerns about COVID-19.

Children across New South Wales returned to their classrooms on Monday as coromavirus restrictions were eased [Joel Carrett/EPA] 

00:00 GMT – US bans Brazil arrivals as coronavirus toll surges 

The United States said on Sunday that it was banning all travel into the US by non-citizens who have been in Brazil.

“We hope that it will be temporary, but because of the situation in Brazil, we’re going to take every step necessary to protect the American people,” National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien told CBS’s Face the Nation programme.

Brazil registered 653 deaths on Sunday and an additional 15,813 cases, bringing the total to 363,211.

Writing on Twitter, Filipe Martins, a foreign affairs adviser to President Jair Bolsonaro played down the move saying the ban was “nothing specific against Brazil” and the US was following “preciously established parameters”. 

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all the updates from yesterday (May 24) here.

Source : Al Jazeera, News Agencies

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