The global coronavirus pandemic has affected more than 4.6 million people, with over 308,000 deaths, according to a tracker. Here are more coronavirus-related developments for May 16:

Women wearing face masks ride bicycles as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Milan, Italy, May 16, 2020.
Women wearing face masks ride bicycles as the spread of the coronavirus disease continues in Milan, Italy, May 16, 2020. (Reuters)

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Italy's reports 153 deaths

Italy recorded the lowest number of deaths in a 24-hour period since early in its coronavirus lockdown at just 153.

That brings the total in the epidemic to 31,763, the civil protection agency reported on Saturday. The last time the death count was that low was March 9, the day after the nationwide lockdown was announced.

The number of confirmed new infections rose by 875 for a total of 224,760, while the number of currently infected dropped to just over 70,000.

France sees 96 more deaths

French health authorities reported 96 new coronavirus deaths, as the country eases from a two month lockdown.

In a statement, the health ministry said the figure had fallen slightly from 104 fatalities on Friday. 

This brings France's total to 27,625, the fourth-highest tally in the world, after the United States, Britain, and Italy, and just ahead of Spain.

The ministry said the number of people in hospital fell to 19,432 from 19,861 on Friday and the number of people in intensive care dropped to 2,132 from 2,203 on Friday.

Turkey registers 41 new deaths, lowest since end of March

Turkey’s health ministry says 41 more people have died from the virus in the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll to 4,096. The death rate is the lowest registered since the end of March.

Minister Fahrettin Koca also tweeted that 1,610 new infections were confirmed, which makes the total number of cases 148,067 in the nation of 82 million people. More than 108,000 people have recovered, according to the statistics.

Fifteen provinces, including Istanbul, are on a four-day lockdown. The country has instituted partial lockdowns to combat the novel coronavirus.

Canada to begin first vaccine trials - PM Trudeau

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Canada will begin its first clinical vaccine trials for the coronavirus.

At a briefing in Ottawa, Trudeau said the National Research Council of Canada will be working with the manufacturers on the trials which will begin shortly.

Canada's total confirmed virus cases rose to 74,993 from 73,818 on May 15, according to Public Health Agency Data. 

Turkey expects to start tourism season in late May

Turkey expects to have domestic tourism start late May, while internationally after mid-June, said the country's culture and tourism minister.

"I hope, tourism will start with some tourism mobility domestically by May 28," said Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, speaking to broadcaster NTV.

"We also expect international tourism to start with some countries after mid-June," Ersoy added.

The first destinations might be Asian countries, including China and South Korea, he noted.

Ersoy stressed that Turkey started a detailed certification programme for hotels over the virus outbreak.

UK's confirmed Covid-19 death toll rises to 34,466, up 468

A total of 34,466 people who tested positive for the new coronavirus have died in the United Kingdom, a rise of 468 in a 24-hour period, the health ministry said on Saturday.

The figures are as of 1600 GMT on May 15. Including deaths due to suspected cases, Britain's toll is over 40,000.

Wuhan conducts 113,609 tests on May 15 

The city of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the virus outbreak in China, conducted 113,609 nucleic acid tests on May 15, said the local health authority.

Wuhan has launched a city-wide testing campaign after confirming last weekend its first cluster of virus infections since its release from a virtual lockdown on April 8 to contain the spread of the pathogen.

The number of tests administered on May 15 in the city of 11 million residents was more than 50 percent higher than the 72,791 tests conducted a day earlier, and was also the highest since the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission started publishing the data on February.

Hungary to lift restrictions

Hungary will gradually lift coronavirus restrictions in Budapest from Monday, two weeks after it ended the lockdown in the rest of the country, said Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Two weeks ago the government lifted some restrictions outside Budapest and its outskirts, allowing shops and restaurant terraces to reopen without time limits.

Open-air swimming pools were also permitted to reopen but the wearing of masks or face-coverings remained mandatory in shops and on public transport.

Restrictions have remained in place in the capital, which has reported the highest number of coronavirus infections.

Spain seeks one-month emergency 

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez says he'll ask Parliament for what he hopes will be the last extension of the state of emergency.

Sanchez says he’ll seek the support of the legislature to support a one-month extension of the state of emergency that gives his government extraordinary powers to maintain the nation’s two-month lockdown. 

Previously, Sanchez received parliamentary support for two-week extensions to the state of emergency that took effect on March 14 and expires May 24.

Kenya bans movement to Tanzania and Somalia 

Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta ordered a cessation of movement between the country and neighbouring Tanzania and Somalia to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

He exempted cargo trucks but said drivers would have to be tested for the disease.

Restaurant owners protest in Milan 

Dozens of restaurant owners have protested outside of Milan’s main train station against the new rules for reopening as of Monday.

They say the rules remain unclear and that the entire sector — including suppliers and food producers — is suffering.

They protested in front of signs reading: "I won't open today to close tomorrow," and calling for abolition to taxes and more concrete help.

The government early on Saturday posted rules for restaurants to reopen, including a distance of at least one-meter between patrons, a requirement to take reservations, and keep records for at least two weeks and a recommendation to use disposable or electronic menus that can be read on personal devices. 

It also recommends but does not require taking temperatures of diners as they arrive.

India overtakes China in number of cases

India’s confirmed coronavirus cases have surpassed China’s, with the health ministry reporting a spike to 85,940 infections and 2,752 deaths.

China has reported 82,941 confirmed case and 4,633 deaths since the virus was first detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan.

The worst-hit Indian states are Maharashtra, with 29,100 cases, Tamil Nadu, with 10,108, Gujarat, with 9,931 and New Delhi, with 8,895.

Spain reports 102 coronavirus deaths overnight

Spain's overnight death toll from the coronavirus was 102, the health ministry said, marking the lowest 24-hour rise since mid-March.

The cumulative death toll rose to 27,563, while the number of confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 230,698 on Saturday from 230,183 on Friday, the ministry said.

Qatar infections top 30,000 

Qatar's number of novel coronavirus infections topped 30,000, according to a Reuters tally based on official figures.

The health ministry reported 1,547 new cases on Saturday, according to the state-run Qatar News Agency.

That took the cumulative total to 30,972, according to the Reuters count.

Patient in Pakistan recovers with use of plasma

The first Pakistani Covid-19 patient who was treated at a hospital with blood donated from a man who survived the disease has fully recovered.

The patient was treated at a hospital in the country’s southern Sindh province.

Several Covid-19 patients are currently undergoing the plasma therapy after authorities allowed 350 patients to undergo such a clinical trial across the country.

Pakistan has 38,799 confirmed cases and the increase in infections also coincides with a growing number of daily tests being carried out in this country of 220 million.

Germany mulls $61.65 billion emergency aid 

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz is working on an aid package worth $61.65 billion to help municipalities cope with a plunge in tax revenues caused by the coronavirus crisis, a finance ministry document showed.

The package should help towns stabilise their public finances and include extra relief for some heavily indebted municipalities, according to the finance ministry document seen by Reuters. 

Greeks return to beaches

Greeks flocked to the seaside  when more than 500 beaches reopened.

For many people, it was their first foray into a big public venue since Greece began easing its lockdown earlier this month.

Greece has reported a fraction of the Covid-19 cases of neighbouring countries – more than 2,800 infections with 160 deaths. 

The country of 11 million people is one of the most dependent in Europe on tourism, which generates about a fifth of its economic output.

Russia reports 9,200 new infections

Russia reported 9,200 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, down from 10,598 new cases reported the previous day.

Russia's coronavirus task force said the overall number of cases nationwide stood at 272,043. 

It added that 119 people had died over the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll from the virus to 2,537.

Malaysia reports 17 new cases with one new death

Malaysia reported 17 new coronavirus cases, bringing the cumulative total to 6,872.

Health authorities there reported one new death, with total fatalities at 113.

Philippines records 11 new deaths, 214 more infections

The Philippines' health ministry reported 11 more coronavirus deaths and 214 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus have risen to 12,305, most of which are in the capital, while deaths reached 817. 

But 101 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 2,561.

The Philippines on Saturday started loosening its lockdown in the capital and other major cities to slowly restart an economy weighed down by quarantine measures.

Singapore registers 465 new cases, total at 27,356

Singapore registered 465 new coronavirus infections, its health ministry said on Saturday, taking the city-state's total to 27,356 cases.

The vast majority of the newly infected people are migrant workers living in dormitories, the health ministry said in a statement. Four are permanent residents.

Germany's cases rise by 620 to 173,772

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 620 to 173,772, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 57 to 7,881, the tally showed.

Thailand reports two new cases, no new deaths

Thailand reported two new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, bringing the total to 3,017 cases and 56 deaths since the outbreak started in January.

The two new cases are a 19-year-old woman from Bangkok and a 51-year-old woman from southern Narathiwat province. Both were infected by coming into contact with previous cases, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

The majority of new cases in the past two weeks are from southern Thailand, including a cluster at an immigration detention centre in Songkhla province, Taweesin said.

Cambodia says all patients recovered, no new cases for a month

Cambodia's last patient with the new coronavirus has recovered and left hospital, leaving the Southeast Asian country with zero cases, the health ministry said, while urging continued vigilance.

No easing of restrictions related to the virus – including school closures and border entry checks and quarantines – were included in the Ministry of Health statement.

Cambodia has reported 122 cases of Covid-19.

Cambodia's last reported new case was on April 12. A total of 14,684 tests have been done since January, the ministry said.

China reports eight new cases, up from four a day earlier

Mainland China reported eight new confirmed Covid-19 cases for May 15, up from four the previous day, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement on Saturday.

Six of the eight confirmed cases are so-called imported infections, while two are locally transmitted in northeastern Jilin Province.

The number of new asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus rose to 13 from 11, the NHC said.

The number of confirmed cases in the mainland stands at 82,941 and the death toll at 4,633.

$3 trillion virus recovery bill clears US House, fate uncertain in Senate

House Democrats on Friday narrowly pushed through the largest-ever US economic rescue package, but the coronavirus measure faces headwinds in the White House and Senate where Republicans bemoan its $3 trillion price tag.

The Heroes Act, which passed largely along party lines, provides some $1 trillion for state and local governments; another round of cash disbursements to millions of hard-hit American families; funds for hospitals and health workers; extended unemployment and food aid; and money for virus testing.

Almost all Republicans opposed the bill, with many branding it an exorbitant liberal wish list packed with Democratic priorities like funding for vote-by-mail programs.

The bill, crafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her fellow Democrats, passed mostly along party lines in a 208-199 vote.

Italy to allow travel to and from abroad from June 3

Italy's government on Saturday approved a decree which will allow travel to and from abroad from June 3, as it moves to unwind one of Europe's most rigid coronavirus lockdowns.

Mexico reports fresh one-day coronavirus record of 2,409 new cases – health ministry

Mexico's health ministry on Friday confirmed 290 additional coronavirus deaths and 2,437 new infections in a fresh one-day record rise in cases since the start of the pandemic.

The new infections brought confirmed coronavirus cases to 45,032 and 4,767 deaths in total, according to the official tally.

Mexico's previous highest daily confirmed cases total was a day earlier on Thursday, when authorities reported 2,409 new infections. Mexico's highest daily death toll was on Tuesday, when health authorities reported 353 fatalities. 

LATAM Airlines says cutting 1,400 jobs in South America

LATAM Airlines said Friday it would lay off 1,400 employees in South America, blaming a drastic fall-off in business due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"The effects of Covid-19 are profound and makes reducing the size of the LATAM group inevitable to protect its sustainability in the medium term," executive director Roberto Alvo said in a statement.

The jobs will be cut from operations in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, it said.

Income key factor in coronavirus cases - study

People living in the most deprived areas of Britain are more than four times likelier to test positive for Covid-19 than those living in the richest neighbourhoods, new research showed Saturday. 

A University of Oxford study looked at more than 3,600 Covid-19 test results from national programmes and found that deprivation, age and chronic liver disease all increased the likelihood of testing positive.

Of that sample, the more than 660 people living in the most deprived areas, 29.5 percent tested positive, compared with just 7.7 percent of those in richer areas, the study showed. 

Coronavirus spreads in Yemen with health system in shambles

Hundreds of people in Aden, southern Yemen’s main city, have died in the past week with symptoms of what appears to be the coronavirus, local health officials said in interviews with The Associated Press.

The officials fear the situation is only going to get worse: Yemen has little capacity to test those suspected of having the virus and a five-year civil war has left the health system in shambles.

One gravedigger in Aden told AP he’d never seen such a constant flow of dead – even in a city that has seen multiple bouts of bloody street battles during the civil war.

NFL teams can reopen facilities

NFL teams can begin reopening their facilities on Tuesday if state and local governments will allow it.

In a memo sent to the 32 teams Friday by Commissioner Roger Goodell and obtained by The Associated Press, he stressed that the clubs must be “in compliance with any additional public health requirements in their jurisdiction and have implemented the protocols that were developed and distributed to all clubs on May 6”.

Brazil registers new daily record of 15,305 cases

Brazil confirmed 15,305 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Friday, a record for a 24-hour period, as well as 824 related deaths, according to data from the health ministry.

Brazil has registered 218,223 confirmed coronavirus cases since the start of the pandemic and 14,817 deaths. 

Panama extends suspension of international flights

Panama has extended by one month to June 22 its ban on international flights due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country's aviation authority said on Friday.

The Panama Civil Aviation Authority said in a statement the suspension was due to concerns about "public health".

Trump says considering making vaccine available free of charge

US President Donald Trump said on Friday he was looking at possibly making a coronavirus vaccine available free of charge.

"We're looking at that, actually," Trump said when asked by a reporter at the White House whether a vaccine would be free. 

Five US sailors on carrier retest positive – reports

Five sailors have again tested positive for the novel coronavirus after returning to the USS Theodore Roosevelt from quarantine, according to reports on Friday.

The exact figure could not be immediately verified, but multiple reports cited the figure from a statement issued by Navy spokesman Clayton Doss. Doss reportedly also said "a small number of other sailors who came in close contact with these individuals were also removed from the ship and tested".

Those individuals will also be quarantined pending their re-test results, Doss added, according to the Navy Times.

Turkey imposes 4-day curfew in 15 provinces 

Turkey has imposed a four-day curfew in 15 provinces beginning Friday midnight in an effort to stem the spread of the coronavirus that has claimed 4,055 lives in the country.

The curfew went into effect in the capital, Ankara, as well as in Balikesir, Bursa, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Istanbul, Izmir, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Manisa, Sakarya, Samsun, Van and Zonguldak.

According to Interior Ministry, markets, grocery stores, greengrocers and butchers will be closed on May 16 and 17. However, they will continue to operate from 0700 to 1300GMT on May 18 and 19.

Also, bakeries will remain opened during the four-day curfew.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies