The global coronavirus pandemic has affected almost 5 million people, with around 320,000 deaths. Here are more coronavirus-related updates for May 19:

People walk past a mural supporting the NHS on Falls Road, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 19, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff
People walk past a mural supporting the NHS on Falls Road, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues, Belfast, Northern Ireland, April 19, 2020. REUTERS/Jason Cairnduff (Reuters)

May 19, 2020

France revises down coronavirus death toll

France adjusted downwards its death toll as a result of revisions to how fatalities are registered in nursing homes.

The health ministry put the latest toll at 28,022, compared with a figure of 28,239 published the day earlier.

It said this was due to a revision in the data for nursing homes, where 342 fewer people are now recorded to have died from Covid-19.

Over the last 24 hours, 125 more people were registered to have died of the coronavirus in hospital, it added.

With France now over a week into the easing of its hard lockdown , the numbers of people in intensive care continued to fall by 104 to a total of 1,894.

At the peak of the crisis, this figure reached over 7,000.

Egypt announces more anti-coronavirus measures

Egypt has announced further anti-virus measures to follow Eid al Fitr, the three-day festival that marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

Prime Minister Mustafa Madbouly says that starting May 30, the government will require people to wear face masks in public places, with violators fined around $250 by police.

As Egypt’s curve accelerates, calls for tighter movement restrictions in the Arab world’s most populous country are growing. 

The number of detected cases in the state jumped by 720 on Tuesday to 13,484 infections and 659 deaths, the highest single-day increase.

Restaurants and bars to reopen in Netherlands

The Dutch prime minister says the country’s bars and restaurants can reopen on June 1, with limited numbers of guests and social distancing.

Prime Minister Mark Rutte says the country can begin the next phase of emerging from what he has called an intelligent lockdown, while stressing people should continue practicing social distancing and work from home whenever possible.

The number of new deaths and infections has been falling for weeks in the Netherlands, where the official death toll stands at 5,715, although it is thought to be much higher since it only includes people who have tested positive.

Bars and restaurants will be allowed a maximum of 30 clients inside, and people on terraces outside will have to sit at tables.

Cinemas, theaters and concert halls also will be allowed to reopen with a maximum of 30 visitors and social distancing. Museums also can reopen with the number of visitors based on the size of the buildings.

50,000 families apply to have rent paid for in Rome

Nearly 50,000 families in Rome over a three-week period have applied for help in paying their rent amid economic hardships during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rome’s City Hall says the aid will consist of up to 40% of the rent due over a three-month period this year.

While Rome itself hasn’t been severely stricken in terms of infections, the national lockdown aimed at containing contagion put a temporary end to tourism, one of the city’s major industries, with cafes, restaurants and shops shut down for weeks. Hotels saw occupancy plunge.

Hydroxychloroquine drug in short supply

Six US drugmakers that manufacture generic hydroxychloroquine report the drug is in short supply, while three others reported in the last week that their product is available, according to the Food and Drug Administration’s drug shortages website.

The companies cite increased demand as the cause, with some stating they expect to next ship the drug at the end of May.

US President Donald Trump said Monday he has been taking hydroxychloroquine and a zinc supplement daily “for about a week and a half now,” after two White House staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. Trump has spent months pushing hydroxychloroquine as a potential cure or preventive drug for Covid-19 against the cautionary advice of many of his administration’s top medic al professionals.

One of the companies, Concordia Pharmaceuticals, also makes the brand-name version, called Paquenil. It says that drug is completely unavailable but is expected to be available again at the end of this month.

Turkey’s daily Covid-19 figure drops

Turkey registered 1,022 new cases of Covid-19, bringing the tally to 151,615 while the active cases dropped to 34.521, the Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter.

The recoveries from the virus hit 112,895 as 1,318 more patients recovered over the past day.

The death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,199 as the country reported 28 new fatalities, the lowest figure since March 29, over the past 24 hours.

Turkey conducted more than 25,000 tests over the past 24 hours, raising the overall number to over 1.67 million.

Spain's daily death toll inches up

Spain's daily virus death toll rose to 83 from 59 in the previous 24-hour period, the health ministry said.

The overall number of fatalities was now 27,778, the ministry said, while the number of diagnosed cases rose to 232,037 cases.

UK death toll from confirmed cases rises to 35,341

The United Kingdom's death toll from confirmed cases of the virus rose to 35,341, an increase of 545 on the day, Environment Minister George Eustice said.

The UK now has the second highest number of virus deaths in the world after US.

Italy's daily virus death toll and new cases climb

Deaths from the virus in Italy climbed by 162, against 99 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases rose sharply to 813 from 451 on Monday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 32,169 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 226,699 the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Spain, Britain and Brazil .

Canada, US agree to 30-day extension of ban on non-essential travel

Canada and the United States have agreed to extend a ban on non-essential travel between the two nations by another 30 days as part of the fight against the coronavirus, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday.

Trudeau made the announcement in remarks to reporters. Officials from both nations said last week it was likely that the measure would be rolled over until June 21.

European Union supports WHO against Trump 

The European Union urged all countries to back the UN agency after President Donald Trump threatened to permanently cut US funding.

European Commission spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson says global cooperation is “the only effective and viable option to win this battle.”

Trump’s threatened to cut US WHO funding unless it commits to “substantive improvements” in the next 30 days.

Eid will be quite in Indonesia's capital

This year's celebration for the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan will be muted in Indonesia’s capital as authorities extended the enforceable restrictions.

Jakarta Governor Anies Baswedan announced that a large-scale social restriction, initially slated to end Friday, will be extended to June 4.

He urged Muslims to suspend communal gathering, including religious activities in mosques, during Eid ul Fitr celebration.

Eid ul Fitr is one of Islam’s two major religious holidays. 

It marks the end of Ramadan, the holiest month for Muslims, who fast from dawn to sunset. It’s expected to fall on May 24 after the sighting of the new moon.

Russian PM back at work 

Russia’s prime minister has fully resumed his duties after recovering from the virus.

Mikhail Mishustin, 54, announced he was infected on April 30.

Mishustin’s office says he's checked out of the hospital and returned to his duties in the Cabinet headquarters.

He's set to take part in a video conference with President Vladimir Putin later in the day.

Several Cabinet ministers and Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov also have been infected.  

Poland's PLL LOT extends ban on international flights

Poland’s national carrier PLL LOT says it is extending its ban on international flights for two more weeks, until June 14, but is resuming some domestic flights June 1.

The airline says on Twitter the ”current pandemic situation and the continuing lockdown of borders in many countries” was behind the decision to ground international flights for 14 more days.

Domestic daily flights will resume June 1 between cities with a “stable epidemiology situation.

Russia reports 9,263 new infections, total nears 300,000

Russia said that 9,263 new cases of the novel coronavirus had been reported in the last 24 hours, pushing its nationwide tally to 299,941.

The daily rise in cases was below 10,000, a threshold that it has been above for much of May, for the fourth day in a row.

Russia's coronavirus taskforce said 115 people had died overnight, bringing the death toll to 2,837.

Spain lifts direct ban on flights from Italy

Spain lifted  a ban on all direct flights and ships from Italy since March 11 during its coronavirus lockdown, according to the government gazette.

Travellers from Italy will have to comply, however, with a two-week quarantine like other foreign visitors, while a state of emergency is in place.

China's Wuhan conducts 467,847 tests

China's city of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the new coronavirus outbreak, conducted 467,847 nucleic acid tests on May 18, the local health authority said, up from the 335,887 tests a day earlier.

Wuhan kicked off a campaign on May 14 to look for asymptomatic carriers - infected people who show no outward sign of illness - after confirming on May 9-10 its first cluster of Covid-19 infections since its release from a virtual lockdown in early April.

Indonesia reports 486 new infections, 30 deaths

Indonesia reported 486 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 18,496, the country's Covid-19 task force reported on its official website.

The task force also recorded 30 more deaths, taking the total to 1,221, while 4,467 people have recovered.

Germany's confirmed coronavirus cases rise by 513 to 175,210 - RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany rose by 513 to 175,210, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed, with new infections accelerating after decelerating the previous four days.

The reported death toll rose by 72 to 8,007, the tally showed.

Coronavirus cases surpass 100,000 in India

The number of coronavirus cases in India surged past 100,000, with the rate of growth of new infections showing little sign of slowing despite a strict weeks-long lockdown.

India's Health Ministry reported total cases stood at 101,139 and deaths at 3,163.

New cases have continued to rise by an average of over 4,000 each day over the past week. India officially extended its lockdown on Sunday to May 31, although several states indicated they would allow businesses to reopen. 

China reports seven new virus cases

China reported seven new coronavirus cases, a day after President Xi Jinping announced his country would provide $2 billion to help respond to the outbreak and its economic fallout.

Three of the new cases were listed as imported, and once again no new deaths were reported. Just 85 people remain in treatment while another 392 are under observation and isolation for being suspected cases or after testing positive without showing symptoms.

China has reported 4,634 deaths among 82,690 cases of Covid-19.

South Korea reports seven new cases

South Korea has reported 13 new coronavirus cases, a possible sign that a recent outbreak in the capital area is stabilising as officials prepare to reopen schools, starting with high school seniors this week.

Figures announced by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday brought national totals to 11,078 cases and 263 deaths.

Nine of the new cases were from Seoul and nearby regions, where dozens of infections have been linked to club goers who went out in early May as the country began relaxing social distancing measures.

New Zealand reports no new coronavirus cases

New Zealand recorded no new coronavirus cases for the second straight day, but authorities said it was premature to discuss moving the country to "level one" in its scale of alert.

The Pacific nation, home to more than 5 million, moved to "level 2" last week, allowing cafes, shops and restaurants to reopen under strict social distancing rules.

Like neighbouring Australia, New Zealand has so far escaped a high number of casualties. The country has had just over 1,500 infections and 21 deaths, aided by a nationwide lockdown that lasted for more than a month.

Thailand reports 2 new , no additional deaths

Thailand confirmed two new coronavirus cases and no additional deaths, bringing its total to 3,033 infections, a senior official said.

The two new cases were in the south in a province bordering Malaysia, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration, said at a daily briefing.

There have been 56 deaths since the outbreak began in January and 2,857 patients have recovered.

Brazil sees world's third-highest number of infections

Brazil records 674 new Covid-19 deaths and announces a total of 254,220 confirmed cases, overtaking Britain to become country with the third-highest number of infections.

There are now 16,792 people who have died from the outbreak, the health ministry said.

Half of Chile senate, four ministers in quarantine

Around half of Chile's 50-member Senate, as well as four ministers, have been placed in quarantine after coming into contact with at least three colleagues infected with the novel coronavirus, official sources said.

Finance Minister Ignacio Briones and Chief of Staff Felipe Ward both wrote on Twitter that they had tested negative for the virus but were in quarantine until a second test is conducted.

Briones said he was tested on Friday, due to his "regular contact with" infected senator Jorge Pizarro on the Senate finance committee, and has since begun "preventative quarantine."

Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel and Social Development Minister Sebastian Sichel are also in isolation.

El Salvador court orders state of emergency suspended

El Salvador's Supreme Court said it has ordered the immediate suspension of the state of emergency declared due to the coronavirus pandemic by President Nayib Bukele, who has faced criticism of showing authoritarian tendencies and exceeding his powers. 

Bukele ordered the state of emergency on Saturday when previous orders were set to expire, without congressional approval.

The renewal would have kept the emergency declaration in force for the next 30 days, extending strict lockdown measures such as school suspensions and a ban on movement in certain areas with high numbers of infections.

Qatar confirms virus in jail, denies widespread outbreak

Qatar confirmed 12 cases of Covid-19 at a jail as campaign group Human Rights Watch warned other prisoners could be at risk of contracting the disease.

Two inmates were acutely ill but none had succumbed to the respiratory condition, the Government Communications Office said in a statement which denied there was a widespread outbreak among prisoners.

Human Rights Watch had said in a statement that six non-Qatari detainees "described a deterioration in prison conditions" at Doha's Central Prison.

Mexico reports 155 new deaths

Mexico registered 2,414 new cases of the coronavirus and 155 more deaths on Monday, the health ministry said, raising its overall number of infections since Mexico recorded its first cases in late February to 51,633.

The country has tallied 5,332 overall deaths from the virus.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies