The global coronavirus pandemic has affected more than 5.9 million people, with over 362,000 deaths. Here are coronavirus-related updates for May 29:

President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, May 29, 2020.
President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, in Washington, May 29, 2020. (AP)

Friday, May 29, 2020

US cuts World Health Organization ties

President Donald Trump said that the US will be terminating its relationship with the World Health Organization, saying it had failed to adequately respond to the coronavirus because China has “total control” over the global organisation.

He said Chinese officials “ignored” their reporting obligations to the WHO and pressured the WHO to mislead the world when the virus was first discovered.

He noted that the US contributes about $450 million to the world body while China provides about $40 million.

The US is the largest source of financial support to the WHO and its exit is expected to significantly weaken the organisation.

Portugal approves third phase of lockdown exit

Portugal gave the green light to the third phase of its lockdown exit, but some restrictions will remain in Lisbon due to localised outbreaks in industrial hubs and outskirts.

From June 1, shopping malls, childcare centres, gyms, cinemas, theatres and other cultural venues can reopen across most of the country but with capacity restrictions.

Gatherings of up to 20 people will be allowed, and the 50 percent capacity rule on restaurants in place since their reopening on May 18 will be lifted.

But in Greater Lisbon, where most recently reported cases were located, gatherings remain limited to ten people, and shopping malls stay closed until at least Thursday.

France's new deaths and cases slow down

France's coronavirus deaths rose by less than 100 for the ninth day running and new confirmed cases slowed again as the country gears up for easing lockdown.

France is to allow restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen from June 2, though with more restrictions in Paris than elsewhere, while the government is also lifting a nationwide 100 km (60 mile) travel restriction.

The French health ministry said the number of fatalities rose by 52, or 0.2 percent, to 28,714, the fourth highest in the world.

New York City expected to reopen on June 8

New York City is "on track" to enter phase one of reopening on June 8, New York Governor Cuomo said as he announced that five upstate regions will now transition to phase two which includes businesses like barber shops and hair salons.

The most populous US city, which has become the epicentre of the country's coronavirus pandemic, was on track to meet the metrics for a safe reopening, Cuomo said.

"We are on track to open on June 8," Cuomo told a daily briefing but warned that "reopening does not mean we're going back to the way things were."

Turkey sees steady rise in number of Covid-19 recoveries

Turkey is seeing a significant rise in the number of Covid-19 recoveries, the country's Health Ministry said.

The number of patients who recovered from the disease hit 125,963 as 1,594 more were discharged from hospitals over the past day, said Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Twitter.

Some 1,141 new cases of the virus were reported in the country, bringing the total to 162,120 Koca added.

The death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,489, as the country reported 28 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to ministry data.

Healthcare professionals also did 36,155 more tests for the virus in the past 24 hours, raising the overall number to over 1.96 million.

Koca stated that while the rate of new cases of the virus was decreasing, the number of patients in ICU were also dropping.

UK death toll rises 324 to 38,161

The United Kingdom's death toll from confirmed cases of Covid-19 has risen by 324 to 38,161, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said.

Including deaths from suspected cases of Covid-19, Britain's toll is over 48,000.

France's Louvre Museum preparing to reopen on July 6

The Louvre museum in Paris plans to reopen its doors on July 6, it said, following new steps announced on Thursday by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe to ease the country's coronavirus lockdown.

In a statement, France's most visited museum said a booking system and new signposting would offer visitors the maximum possible safety while they are in the building. They will be asked to wear a mask and keep social distancing.

Between March 12 and May 22, the Louvre's website received 10.5 million visitors, compared to 14.1 million in all of 2019.

Italy records 87 new deaths, 516 new cases

Deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 87, against 70 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases fell to 516 from 593 on Thursday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb 21 now stands at 33,229 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The agency said 2.369 million people had been tested for the virus against 2.330 million on Thursday, out of a population of around 60 million.

Spain reports two new deaths, total at 27,121

Spain's Health Ministry said recorded deaths from the coronavirus outbreak reached 27,121, increasing by two in the last 24 hours.

A total of 39 deaths were reported over the last seven days, while there have been 238,564 diagnosed cases since the beginning of the outbreak, the ministry's figures showed.

The government has warned the data may fluctuate in coming days as it adjusts to a new methodology of logging cases. 

Greece to open to tourists from 29 countries

Greece said it will open to visitors from 29 countries from June 15, days before its peak tourism season begins.

Visitors will be randomly tested, the Tourism Ministry said, and the government would monitor and evaluate developments related to the coronavirus.

About 33 million tourists visited Greece last year, generating a revenue of 19 billion euros. 

UAE to shorten virus prevention curfew by two hours

The United Arab Emirates will starting on Saturday shorten by two hours a nightly curfew meant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the country's state news agency said.

The curfew, officially called "the national sanitisation program," will run from 10 pm to 6 am as of Saturday. It currently starts at 8 pm and ends at 6 am.

The country has reported a total of 33,170 cases and 260 deaths from the disease.

Azerbaijan extends quarantine regime

Azerbaijan's government said it had extended its quarantine regime and border closure because of the coronavirus outbreak until June 15.

The quarantine regime had been introduced on March 24 and extended twice until May 4 and then June 1.

Despite the extension, shopping centres, cinemas, restaurants and cafes will reopen starting from May 31. Sport competitions will be held in open air venues and without an audience. The wearing of masks and social distancing will be mandatory in public spaces.

Turkey resumes limited mass prayers at mosques

Turkey resumed mass prayers at a limited number of mosques after a break of more than two months, as Ankara eased restrictions imposed to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

Turkey suspended prayers in March among a range of measures including stay-at-home orders, travel bans and closures of shops and restaurants. However, Ankara has started to ease restrictions after a decline in infection and death rates.

The resumption of communal worship was regulated by strict guidelines to minimise infection risks, limited to certain mosques and outdoor public spaces, the religious affairs directorate (Diyanet) said.

Pakistan to resume outbound international flights

Pakistan will allow outbound international flights to resume from Saturday, an aviation official said, after largely closing its airspace to commercial flights to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Friday's announcement came on the day the South Asian nation reported the largest one-day spread of the infection, with 2,636 cases and 57 deaths in the last 24 hours. Pakistan has recorded a total of 64,028 cases.

International flights have been suspended since March, with exemptions for some flights to enable international repatriation in and out of Pakistan.

Malaysia reports 103 new cases

Malaysia reported 103 cases of new coronavirus infections, mostly involving foreigners, the health ministry said, raising the country's cumulative total to 7,732 cases.

The health ministry reported no new deaths, leaving the total number of fatalities at 115.

Irish PM sees good chance for easing restrictions

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar raised the prospect of halving social distancing rules from two metres to one if the rate of coronavirus infections comes down further in a potential boost to still shuttered restaurants and pubs.

Facing one of the longest shutdowns in Europe, Ireland's hospitality sector has called for the guidelines to be eased in line with a number of other European countries, saying it could be the difference between some operators reopening or not.

"Before we can relax that rule and maybe reduce it to 1 (metre), which I know a lot of people would like, we just need to see the virus come down a bit more. We're not at that point yet but I think there's a good chance we get there, just not quite yet," Varadkar told Ireland's FM104 radio station.

Indonesia reports 678 new cases, 24 deaths

Indonesia reported  678 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 25,216, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.

Yurianto reported 24 new deaths related to Covid-19, bringing the total to 1,520, while 6,492 people have recovered.

Russia reports record one-day rise in deaths

Russia reported 232 deaths from the new coronavirus in the last 24 hours, a record one-day amount that pushed the nationwide death toll to 4,374.

Officials said 8,572 new infections had been confirmed, bringing the national tally to 387,623, the third-highest reported total in the world after the United States and Brazil.

South Africa has backlog of nearly 100,000 tests

South Africa says it has a backlog of nearly 100,000 unprocessed tests for the new coronavirus.

A health ministry statement overnight puts the backlog as of Monday at 96,480. The ministry says “this challenge is caused by the limited availability of test kits globally.” 

It says priority is being given to processing tests from patients admitted to hospitals and health workers.

South Africa has conducted more tests for the virus than any other country in Africa – more than 655,000 – and has more confirmed cases than any other country on the continent with 27,403.

UK cant run job protection scheme indefinitely - minister

Britain cannot run its Covid-19 jobs protection scheme indefinitely and needs to start tapering it down as people slowly return to work, environment minister George Eustice said.

"The furlough scheme has been incredibly important in terms of keeping people on standby and ready to return to work," he told Sky News. "Clearly as we start to emerge from the lockdown and start to get our economy back to work, we can't keep people on that furlough scheme indefinitely."

"We need to start identifying ways of moving them off the furlough scheme and back into work ... we need a furlough scheme that can be tapered down as people return to work."

Singapore health ministry confirms 611 new cases

 Singapore's health ministry said it had confirmed 611 new coronavirus cases, taking the city state's tally for infections to 33,860. 

Indonesia rolls out public shaming for virus violators

Indonesian officials are forcing social distancing violators to recite Koran verses, stay in "haunted" houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging coronavirus infections.

The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying around 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing face masks in public.

But provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the virus.

Police in western Bengkulu province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear placards with promises to wear masks and keep their distance from others in future.

South Korea limits school numbers over virus spike

South Korea imposed limits on the number of pupils going to schools in and around Seoul as officials scramble to tackle fresh coronavirus cases that threaten the country's success in containing the epidemic.

Only one in three pupils at kindergartens, elementary and middle schools in the Seoul metropolitan area – home to half the population – will be allowed to physically attend school each day, authorities said, with the others remote learning.

The South endured one of the worst early outbreaks of the disease outside mainland China, but appears to have brought it under control thanks to an extensive "trace, test and treat" programme while never imposing a compulsory lockdown.

Social distancing rules were relaxed and the country was returning largely to normal until this week, when it re-imposed some measures in the capital and the surrounding region following fresh clusters of cases.

Schools have been re-opening in phases in a process that is continuing nationwide.

India death toll passes China's

India's coronavirus death toll passed neighbouring China's, with 175 new fatalities in 24 hours taking the total to 4,706, according to official data.

India, home to some of the world's most packed cities and a creaking healthcare system, is emerging as a new hotspot with record jumps in new cases in recent days.

Figures from India's health ministry showed 165,799 infections, with western Maharashtra state – home to the finance hub of Mumbai – accounting for 36 percent of cases and 42 percent of deaths.

China, where the deadly virus emerged late last year, reported no new deaths or new suspected cases on Friday, with the toll still at 4,634 and a total of 82,995 infections.

Even though the number of cases is surging, India has steadily loosened its lockdown to lessen the massive impact on the economy – and the country's poor who have been the hardest hit.

Germany's cases rise by 741 to 180,458

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 741 to 180,458, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 39 to 8,450, the tally showed.

South Korea reports 58 new cases

South Korea has reported 58 new cases, all in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, as officials scramble to stem transmissions linked to a massive e-commerce warehouse near the capital.

The figures announced Friday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 11,402 infections and 269 deaths.

South Korea has reported 177 new Covid-19 cases over the past three days, a resurgence that threatens to erase some of its hard-won gains against the virus and worsen a massive shock to the country's trade-dependent economy.

Philippines to ease lockdown in Manila next week

The Philippine president is relaxing a lockdown in the capital, the country’s epicentre of coronavirus infections, in a tightrope move amid an economic downturn and massive government spending to help feed millions of poor families restricted to their homes.

President Rodrigo Duterte said Thursday night that metropolitan Manila will be placed under a more relaxed quarantine Monday after more than two months of police- and military-enforced lockdown that restrained public mobility and most economic activities. The economy contracted in the first quarter in its weakest run in two decades.

Under the new arrangement, more work and business operations, along with public transport, will be allowed to resume, but physical distancing, face masks and other safeguards will continue to be required. Classes will remain suspended.

Colombia extends national quarantine until July

Colombia extended a nationwide quarantine to contain the spread of the coronavirus until July 1, while allowing more freedom of movement in some parts of the country.

Thousands of businesses have begun to reopen in the Andean country, with new safety protocols and reduced staff, as a lockdown in place since late March was due to lift at the end of May.

Under the government-mandated extension, that business restart will continue. Hairdressers and barbers are among the businesses allowed to reopen, along with museums and libraries, at the discretion of local mayors.

However, other broad restrictions will remain in place. Public transit between municipalities and domestic flights will remain barred and in many areas people are required to stay indoors.

US deaths rise to 101,573

The United States recorded 1,297 coronavirus deaths bringing its total to 101,573 since the global pandemic began, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The country has also officially logged 1,720,613 cases of the virus, far more than any other nation, the tracker kept by the Baltimore-based university showed at 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Friday).

China reports no new coronavirus cases

China reported no new confirmed virus cases in the mainland as of the end of May 28, down from two a day earlier, the country's health authority said on Friday.

The National Health Commission also confirmed five new asymptomatic cases on May 28, down from 23 a day earlier. 

Brazil registers record 26,417 coronavirus cases in a day 

Brazil reported a daily record of 26,417 new coronavirus cases, according to the Health Ministry, bringing its total tally to 438,238, second only to the United States in confirmed cases.

Brazil's death toll rose 1,156 from a day earlier to 26,754 confirmed fatalities from the Covid-19 respiratory disease, just shy of a record 1,188 deaths registered on May 21.

South Korea reports 58 new virus cases, China none.

 South Korea has reported 58 new cases of the virus, all in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, as officials scramble to stem transmissions linked to a massive e-commerce warehouse near the capital.

The figures announced Friday by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 11,402 infections and 269 deaths.

Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun called for officials to examine working conditions at warehouses of online shopping companies, which have seen orders surge during the pandemic, and other congested workplaces where infection risks may be high.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels admit virus spread

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have acknowledged for the first time that the virus has spread to multiple governorates under their control.

The Houthi health ministry buried the admission in a muted statement Thursday, saying only that authorities are working to trace and isolate infected cases that have been recorded in the capital, Sanaa, and several provinces across the war-torn country.

The rebels have officially reported just four cases, including one fatality, and have muzzled doctors and journalists who try to speak out about a dramatic surge in deaths among those with virus symptoms.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies