Corona Update May 31
The White House rebuked the top US health agency saying “it let the country down” on providing testing crucial to the battle against the corona virus outbreak.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has been under intense scrutiny since producing a faulty test for COVID-19 that caused weeks of delays in the US response.
Critics have pointed out it could simply have accepted testing kits made by the World Health Organization, which has been producing them since late January, instead of insisting on developing its own.
“Early on in this crisis, the CDC, which really had the most trusted brand around the world in this space, really let the country down with the testing,” White House official Peter Navarro told NBC. “Because not only did they keep the testing within the bureaucracy, they had a bad test. And that did set us back.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 1,467,065 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 31,967 cases from its previous count, and said that the number of deaths had risen by 1,394 to 88,709.
French health authorities reported 483 new corona virus deaths on Sunday, bringing the total to 28,108.
The heath ministry said the number of people in hospitals fell to 19,361 from 19,432 the previous day while the number of people in intensive care units dropped to 2,087 from 2,132.
Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque reopened to worshippers on Sunday after a two-and-a-half month coronavirus closure, but Muslim authorities imposed some precautions as health officials warn of an uptick in local infections.
Hundreds of Muslims chanted “God is the greatest” as they packed into the compound in Jerusalem’s walled Old City early on Sunday for dawn prayers, a Reuters witness said.
Brazil reported a record 33,274 new cases of the novel corona virus on Saturday, its health ministry said, and the death toll surpassed that of France and now ranks only below the United States, Britain and Italy.
The South American nation has now reported 498,440 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, a level of contagion second only to the United States.
The number of confirmed corona virus cases in Germany increased by 286 to 181,482, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Friday.
The reported death toll rose by 11 to 8,500, the data showed.
Rwanda’s ministry of health on Sunday reported the East African nation’s first death caused by the new corona virus.
The victim was a 65-year-old driver who opted to return home from a neighbouring country, where he resided, after falling severely ill, the ministry said in a statement.
He passed away from severe respiratory complications while receiving treatment at a specialised COVID-19 treatment facility.
Russia on Sunday reported 9,268 new cases of the novel corona virus, raising the national tally to 405,843.
Officials said 138 people had died of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the corona virus, in the last 24 hours, pushing to nationwide toll up to 4,693.
China announced on Sunday two new confirmed cases of corona virus and four new asymptomatic cases, including one person without symptoms of COVID-19 on a chartered flight from Germany.
The two confirmed cases in Shandong province on Saturday compared with four cases the day before, data from the country’s health authority showed.
The National Health Commission (NHC) confirmed three new asymptomatic cases on Saturday.
Egyptian hotels operating with a new reduced occupancy rate of 25% to contain the spread of the novel corona virus have almost reached full capacity, a tourism ministry official told Reuters on Sunday.
Egypt suspended international flights in March and shut down restaurants, hotels and cafes in order to combat the pandemic. Although airports remain closed to all but domestic and repatriation flights, hotels were recently allowed to reopen at a quarter of their usual capacity if they met strict health and safety protocols.
Around 78 hotels, mostly along the Red Sea coast, met these rules and are currently operating with an occupancy rate of 20%-22%, said the ministry official, who spoke on condition of anonymity. An additional 173 hotels across the country have applied for a licence to reopen and will be considered in the coming week, he added.
British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday the “careful” easing of the coronavirus lockdown was now the “right step” to take, shrugging off criticism for moving too quickly to allow people more social contact.
“We are confident that this is the right step to be taking at this moment in time,” Raab told Sky News. “We are taking those steps very carefully, based on the science but also based on our ability now to monitor the virus.”
India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi warned the country on Sunday to remain vigilant against the spread of corona virus as the country prepares a phased re-opening of activities even as daily cases rise to record highs.
India, with the world’s longest lockdown, is set to largely lift containment measures in June, except in high-risk zones.
“The fight against the corona virus is intense, we cannot drop our guard,” Modi said in his national radio address, a day after his government extended the lockdown until June 30 in high-risk zones but permitted restaurants, malls and religious buildings to reopen elsewhere from June 8.
“Wearing a mask, gloves and following social distancing rules is essential as everyone will soon start stepping out of their homes,” Modi said.
The novel corona virus has infected more than 182,000 people and claimed the lives of 5,164 in India.
The number of cases reached a daily record high in the last 48 hours, two months after the federal government enforced a rigid lockdown to stop the pandemic from spreading in a country with more than 1.3 billion people.
Spain’s prime minister said on Sunday he will ask parliament to agree to a last two-week extension of the state of emergency lockdown until 21st June, after which the government will no longer restrict citizens’ movements, newspaper El Pais reported.
Pedro Sanchez told regional government leaders during a video-conference meeting that this would be the last lockdown as Spain’s infection rates have reduced dramatically.
The country’s death toll rose by four on Saturday to 27,125, the health ministry said, reflecting a dramatic decline in daily fatalities as Spain brings the outbreak under control.
The number of COVID-19 infections increased by 271 overnight to 239,228 on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia’s mosques opened their doors to worshippers on Sunday for the first time in more than two months as the kingdom, the birthplace of Islam, eased restrictions imposed to combat the corona virus.
“It is great to feel the mercy of God and once again call people for prayers at mosques instead of at their homes,” said Abdulmajeed Al Mohaisen, who issues the call to prayer at Al Rajhi Mosque, one of the largest in the capital Riyadh.
Worshippers headed to mosques for dawn prayers amid strict regulations requiring use of face masks and personal prayer mats, avoiding handshakes and standing at least 2 metres apart.
The elderly, children under 15 and people with chronic diseases are not permitted. People must perform the ablution rite, the act of washing the face, arms and legs before prayer, at home.
“My eyes filled with tears when I entered the mosque and when I heard the call to prayer. Thank God for this blessing that we are back to the houses of worship,” Said Maamoun Bashir, a Syrian resident in Riyadh.
Saudi authorities said earlier this month that restrictions would be lifted in three phases, culminating in a curfew ending on June 21, with the exception of the holy city of Mecca.
Iran says its caseload of novel corona virus infections has passed the grim milestone of 150,000, as the country struggles to contain a recent upward trend.
The government has largely lifted the restrictions it imposed in order to halt a COVID-19 outbreak that first emerged in mid-February.
But the health ministry has warned of a potential virus resurgence with new cluster outbreaks in a number of provinces.
Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said 2,516 new cases were confirmed across the country in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 151,466.
Jahanpour said the virus had claimed another 63 lives over the same period, raising the overall toll to 7,797.
A 100-year-old Indonesian woman has recovered from coronavirus, making her the country’s oldest survivor of the deadly respiratory illness.
Kamtim, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, was discharged from hospital this week after a month of treatment in her hometown Surabaya, Indonesia’s second-biggest city, officials said.
East Java Governor Khofifah Indar Parawansa said she hoped Kamtim’s story would give a boost to at-risk residents — the illness is especially dangerous for older people and those with chronic conditions.
Indonesia has confirmed more than 26,000 cases of corona virus and 1,613 deaths.
But the sprawling Southeast Asian archipelago of more than 260 million has among the lowest testing rates in the world.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa health department has reported 20 more deaths, taking the total to 473 in the province and the number of deaths nationwide to 1,519.
The tally of infections breached the grim milestone of 10,000 with 487 new cases. The total now stands at 10,027.
More than 80 percent of respondents said they felt the government’s economic aid, including cash handouts of 100,000 yen to residents, in response to the impact of the coronavirus outbreak was slow.
The government has no immediate plan to place Tokyo and Fukuoka under a state of emergency again despite the areas seeing an increase in the number of coronavirus infection cases in recent days, economy minister Yasutoshi Nishimura said Sunday.
Local governments in Japan are waking up to the need to prepare for a worst-case scenario — a natural disaster and a corona virus outbreak hitting their areas at the same time.
U.S. President Donald Trump said Saturday he is postponing the Group of Seven summit from June until September and that he wants to invite Russia and other countries to the meeting, the latest in a series of flip-flops over the corona virus pandemic-impacted talks.
The Indian government said it will reopen economic activities in a phased manner from Monday with the number of corona virus infections in the country topping 170,000.
A probe by nuclear regulators into the causes of the March 2011 Fukushima crisis has been hampered by the corona virus pandemic, with the dispatch of staff from Tokyo postponed for fear of spreading infection among the some 4,000 on-site decommissioning workers.
Thirty-eight of Japan’s 47 prefectures are set to fully reopen their economies on Monday as they seek to strike a balance between rebuilding the economies hit by the corona virus and implementing measures to prevent a second wave of infections.
With many smokers reconsidering a habit that seems more dangerous than ever as the corona virus pandemic rages, an app promoted by a city in western Japan last year may be the way forward for those ready to quit.
Around 80 percent of mayors across Japan disagree with or are wary of a proposed shift in the start of the academic year to September from April, according to a recent survey conducted amid the closure of schools due to the novel corona virus pandemic.
New York City, the hardest-hit spot in the corona virus outbreak in the United States, will start easing its restrictions on businesses in phases from June 8 as the local spread of the virus has apparently peaked, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.
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