Worldwide coronavirus cases cross 5.01 million, death toll tops 327,300

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At least 5,010,112 people have been reported to have been infected by the novel coronavirus globally and 327,359 have died, according to a Reuters tally, as of May 21, 2020, 12:35 AM (ET).

Latin America has overtaken the United States and Europe in the past week to report the largest portion of new daily coronavirus cases globally, representing a new phase in the virus’ spread.

Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.

Dismal economic data from Australia, Japan and the United States underlined the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic, while a sceptical press report dented some hopes for a COVID-19 vaccine.


DEATHS AND INFECTIONS

At least 1,557,727 cases of the highly contagious novel coronavirus have been reported in the United States and its territories while 93,313 people have died, according to a Reuters tally of state and local government sources. The US diagnosed its first COVID-19 case in Washington state on January 20.

Likewise, Russia follows the US with a total of 308,705 coronavirus cases. According to Reuters’ interactive graphic tracking the global spread, the UK has the second-highest 35,704 deaths from the viral infection after the US.


EUROPE

‒ Estonia has started to test one of the world’s first digital immunity passports, seeking a safer return to workplaces following the coronavirus lockdown.

‒ British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said a programme to test and trace those suspected of having been in contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19 would be in place by June 1.

‒ Russia recorded its lowest total of new coronavirus cases since May 1 on Wednesday, with more patients discharged from hospital than new cases for the first time, which officials said showed that the outbreak was stabilising at last.

‒ Turkey does not risk a second wave of infections from the new coronavirus at the moment and is preparing to start controlled “medical tourism” with 31 countries.


AMERICAS

‒ US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the $2 billion that Beijing has pledged to fight the pandemic “paltry” compared to the hundreds of thousands of lives lost and trillions of dollars of damage.

‒ Brazil’s outbreak worsened on Wednesday and the South American nation could soon have the second-highest number of cases in the world.

‒ Brazil issued new guidelines for wider use of anti-malarial drugs in mild coronavirus cases, a treatment touted by President Jair Bolsonaro in defiance of public health experts warning of possible health risks.

‒ US immunotherapy company Inovio Pharmaceuticals Inc said its experimental vaccine to prevent coronavirus infection produced protective antibodies and immune system responses in mice and guinea pigs.

‒ Bolivian authorities fired the health minister and opened an investigation of potential corruption over allegations that officials bought ventilators at inflated prices.


ASIA-PACIFIC

‒ The novel coronavirus is behaving differently in patients in northeast China who have contracted it recently compared with early cases, indicating it is changing as it spreads, a prominent doctor said.

‒ Thailand expects to have a vaccine ready next year, a senior official said, after finding positive trial results in mice.

‒ Japan will lift its state of emergency in Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo on Thursday as the number of new coronavirus infections drop.

‒ Cambodia has lifted a ban on entry of visitors from Iran, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the United States, the health ministry said.

‒ Australian state and territory leaders bickered over whether to reopen internal borders as part of measures to ease coronavirus restrictions.


MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA

‒ South Africa recorded its first neonatal coronavirus death on Wednesday, as the death toll jumped by 27 to 339, the health ministry said.

‒ The International Monetary Fund approved a $396 million loan to Jordan to address pressing financing needs.

‒ Egypt will deduct 1% from people’s salaries for 12 months beginning on July 1, according to a draft law approved by the cabinet.

‒ Zambia’s central bank cut its benchmark lending rate by 225 basis points to 9.25%, in response to economic turmoil from the pandemic.


ECONOMIC FALLOUT

‒ Japan’s exports in April fell the most since the 2009 global financial crisis, pushing the world’s third-largest economy deeper into recession.

‒ Australia’s economic future was “unusually uncertain” while growth was expected to remain in the slow lane without a medical breakthrough to prevent and treat COVID-19, the head of the country’s central bank said.

‒ South Korean exports for the first 20 days of May tumbled 20.3% from the same period a year earlier, as US- and EU-bound shipments continued to collapse.

‒ US carriers JetBlue Airways Corp and United Airlines Holdings Inc announced fresh safety measures aimed at restoring confidence in air travel as several executives pointed to signs domestic demand is improving.

‒ Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey said he was less opposed to negative interest rates than before the coronavirus crisis escalated.

‒ Millions more Americans likely filed for unemployment benefits last week as backlogs continue to be cleared and disruptions from the novel coronavirus unleash a second wave of layoffs.

‒ Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc plans to cut at least 9,000 jobs, or more than a sixth of its workforce.



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