More than 4.5 million people have been reported to be infected by the novel coronavirus globally and at least 305,155 people have died, according to Reuters’ interactive graphic tracking, as of Saturday.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019.
The World Health Organization referred to it as a pandemic on March 11, 2020.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
At least 1,449,755 cases of the highly contagious novel coronavirus have been reported in the United States and its territories, 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 262,843 coronavirus cases. According to Reuters tally, the UK has the second-highest 33,614 deaths from the viral infection after the US.
– Ireland will begin the gradual reopening of its economy as planned from Monday, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, calling for increased discipline from the public if a further relaxation is to be triggered in three weeks’ time.
– Denmark, the first country in Europe to gradually start reopening, reported no coronavirus-related deaths on Friday from the day earlier for the first time since March 13.
– Norway will likely keep travel restrictions in place until Aug. 20, Prime Minister Erna Solberg said, as it negotiates a path between restarting economic activity and preventing a new wave of coronavirus infections.
– Moscow began testing thousands of randomly-chosen residents for coronavirus antibodies under a mass screening programme authorities hope will help them determine when it is safe to lift the city’s lockdown restrictions.
– Azerbaijan will allow cafes and restaurants to reopen in the capital Baku and other big cities on Monday, but working hours and the number of customers will be restricted, the government said.
– The Czech Republic will take major steps to relax its coronavirus lockdown measures from May 25, opening restaurants, hotels and pools and allowing gatherings of hundreds of people, health officials said.
– Georgia will end the state of emergency it declared over the new coronavirus on May 22, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said.
– Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia opened their common borders, creating the first “travel bubble” within the European Union in a bid to jump-start economies broken down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
– Some children, many with face masks, returned to school on Friday as Belgium further eased a two-month coronavirus lockdown.
– The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives approved a measure that would allow debate and a vote on a new $3 trillion coronavirus relief bill and a proposal to allow voting by proxy in the House.
– Less populated areas of New York, Virginia and Maryland took their first steps toward lifting lockdowns, part of a patchwork approach to the COVID-19 pandemic that has been shaped by political divisions across the United States.
– Canada will extend a costly emergency wage subsidy program until August end to help firms retain employees during the coronavirus outbreak, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.
– The US government plans to stockpile hundreds of millions of doses of vaccines that are under development to combat the coronavirus with the goal of having one or more vaccines ready to deploy by the end of the year.
– Ontario will allow some retail stores as well as vehicle dealerships and construction sites to reopen next Tuesday, its premier said, as Canada’s most-populous province takes steps to restart its economy after a two-month shutdown.
– Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich resigned on Friday after just weeks on the job, adding to turmoil in President Jair Bolsonaro’s handling of an accelerating coronavirus outbreak in one of the world’s worst hotspots.
– Authorities in Wuhan have tested over 3 million residents for the coronavirus in April and May and aim to test all of the rest, as the city at the epicentre of the original outbreak faces the threat of a second wave of infections.
– Thailand will begin allowing department stores, shopping malls and other businesses to reopen from Sunday as new coronavirus cases dwindle, the government said.
– The number of cases in the Philippines’ has passed the 12,000 mark, and more than 800 people have now died.
– Restaurants, cafes and bars in Australia’s most populous state were reopening on Friday after a two-month shutdown.
– Airport Authority of India issued passenger guidelines for a possible resumption of domestic flights that included compulsory registering of passengers on a contact tracing mobile application.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
– Prominent emerging market creditors have set up a working group to help heavily-indebted African countries with the economic impact of COVID-19, but have criticised recent G20 calls for blanket debt relief.
– Zambia reopened its Nakonde border with Tanzania for cargo after a five-day closure of the transit point for copper and cobalt exports and fuel imports, but people were not allowed to cross.
– US stocks gyrated before ending slightly higher, as investors worried about increased China-US trade hostilities and disappointing retail sales figures, while signs of a pick-up in crude demand boosted oil prices.
– The US Federal Reserve warned Friday that the financial sector faces “significant” vulnerabilities due to the coronavirus pandemic, as businesses and households grapple with fragile finances for the foreseeable future.
– US retail sales endured a second straight month of record declines in April as the COVID-19 pandemic kept Americans at home, putting the economy on track for its biggest contraction in the second quarter since the Great Depression.
– The euro zone economy saw its deepest contraction on record in the first quarter, as expected by markets, as a result of lockdowns introduced in March.
– Investors piled on more cash, loaded $15.8 billion in bonds and dumped equities this week, BofA said, amid worries about a second wave of coronavirus infections.
– Central and east European economies fell as much as 5% on a quarterly basis to start 2020 though some managed a last gasp of growth as the coronavirus forced lockdowns in March.