Coronavirus has killed over 300,000 people and infected more than 4.4 million as countries ease curbs. Here are more coronavirus-related developments for May 14:

Health workers cry during a memorial for their co-worker who died of coronavirus disease, at the Severo Ochoa Hospital in Leganes in Leganes, Spain, Friday, April 10, 2020.
Health workers cry during a memorial for their co-worker who died of coronavirus disease, at the Severo Ochoa Hospital in Leganes in Leganes, Spain, Friday, April 10, 2020. (AP)

May 14, 2020

Five New York regions now ready to start reopening on Friday

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said that a central area of his state was now ready to open, bringing to five the number of regions that can take the first steps to reopen some businesses when a statewide stay-at-home order lapses on Friday.

Cuomo also told a daily briefing that he spoke with US President Donald Trump, who expedited a $3.9 billion payment of federal funds to New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the largest mass-transit system in the country.

France's death toll increases to 27,425

France reported on Thursday that the number of people who died of Covid-19 in the past 24 hours increased by 351, making its total death toll 27,425.

France's total infections also increased to 178,682, leaving it as the fifth-hardest hit country in the world. 

Turkey: Nearly 72% of positive patients have recovered

The Covid-19 recovery rate in Turkey has reached 71.8 percent, the country's health minister announced on Thursday.

"The tally of coronavirus tests tops 1.5 million. Intensive care and intubated patient numbers continue to drop," Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, adding that the total number of recoveries from the disease had reached 104,030.

The death toll from the pandemic rose to 4,007 as the country saw 55 more fatalities over the past day, Koca added.

Turkey also registered 1,635 new cases, bringing the tally to 144,749, he said, citing Health Ministry data.

Over 300,000 people killed by Covid-19 globally

Over 300,000 people have now died around the world from the disease.

The latest figures at 1630 GMT from global tracker Worldometer shows 300,385 deaths, 4,482,808 confirmed cases and 1,684,355 recoveries.

World leaders call for 'people's vaccine' against coronavirus

The leaders of South Africa and Pakistan, along with dozens of former world leaders, signed a letter calling for a “people’s vaccine” against the coronavirus that should be made available for everyone, everywhere, and for free.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan signed the letter amid growing fears that richer countries will get first access to any vaccine.

The World Health Organization and a number of countries, but not the United States, have also called for equitable access to a vaccine.

China reports three new cases

China reported three new cases while moving to reopen for business and schools.

The National Health Commission said 101 people remain in treatment for Covid-19, while 716 are isolated and being monitored for being suspected cases or for having tested positive for the disease without showing symptoms.

China plans to restart classes for most students on June 1, with other grades to resume at a later date, depending on conditions. 

China has reported a total of 4,633 deaths among 82,929 cases of the virus.

Turkey makes face masks mandatory in 10 more cities

Turkey made it mandatory for people to wear face masks in public in Adiyaman, Afyonkarahisar, Aydin, Balikesir, Bartin, Denizli, Duzce, Kastamonu, Mugla, and Usak.

In addition to these 10 cities, people without a face mask will also not be allowed to enter crowded streets and markets in Gaziantep, Izmir, and Adana.

The overall count of coronavirus cases in Turkey reached 143,114 on Wednesday, of which 101,715 have recovered, while 3,952 have died so far according to official data.

Italian football sets up inspectors for teams

The Italian football federation has set up a pool of inspectors to check that teams comply with new health protocols and government decrees issued during the pandemic.

Serie A teams were permitted to resume individual training on May 4 while full team training can restart on Monday.

Lazio has reportedly already been training in groups of three players. The federation says inspectors will verify that practices are held according to the rules.

The league said on Wednesday that it hopes to resume playing games on June 13 but the government has not approved a restart yet.

EU: Possible virus drug approval 'before the summer'

The European Medicines Agency predicted that there could be licensed drugs to treat the new coronavirus in the next few months and that a vaccine might even be approved in early 2021, in a “best-case scenario.”

At the moment, there are about a dozen vaccine candidates being tested in China, Britain, Germany and the US. The World Health Organization has estimated it could take about 12 to 18 months for an effective vaccine to be developed.

Some officials have warned that a safe and effective vaccine might never be produced; previous attempts to develop a vaccine against related coronaviruses like SARS and MERS have all failed. But the head of the agency's vaccines department was optimistic an immunisation against the novel coronavirus would eventually be discovered, as there are various technologies being tried globally.

Turkish soccer club Besiktas says 8 people tested positive

Turkish soccer club Besiktas says eight people have tested positive for the coronavirus and training has been suspended.

The club says president Ahmet Nar Cebi and a player were among those who tested positive.

Turkish teams have resumed limited training sessions following the federation’s decision to restart matches in empty stadiums on June 12.

Australia pushes for an inquiry into the origins of the virus

Australia says it will continue to push for an inquiry into the origins of the virus, even if it hurts trade relations with China.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison had been accused of playing “deputy sheriff” to the United States after calling for the inquiry. On Thursday, he brushed off the criticism.

“We have always been independent, we have always pursued our national interests, and we always will,” he told reporters. “We will always be Australians in how we engage with the rest of the world, and we will always stand our ground when it comes to the things that we believe in and the values that we uphold.”

China has suspended beef imports from four abattoirs and plans to impose tariffs on Australian barley, after warning the inquiry could harm two-way trade ties.

UN Secretary-General urges support for mental health needs

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is urging governments, civil society and health authorities to urgently address mental health needs arising from the coronavirus pandemic, warning that psychological suffering is increasing.

He pointed to “grief at the loss of loved ones, shock at the loss of jobs, isolation and restrictions on movement, difficult family dynamics, and uncertainty and fear for the future.”

He said “mental health services are an essential part of all government responses to Covid-19” and must be expanded and fully funded.

Denmark to scale public transport back up

Commuters in Denmark must practice social distancing in trains, subways and buses and sit at least one metre apart when on the same bench and avoid face-to-face seating.

Transportation Minister Benny Engelbrecht said on Friday he expects the capacity in public transportation to reach up to 70 percent of normal capacity.

Public transportation in Denmark has functioned during the lockdown that started March 11 but trains, subway and buses have been almost empty. In recent weeks, the Scandinavian country has been slowly reopening.

Greece to install cameras in classrooms

Greece’s centre-right government says it will install cameras in high school classrooms when schools reopen next week to provide live-streaming to allow for reduced classroom attendance. The move comes despite strong opposition from teaching unions and opposition parties on privacy grounds.

The online coverage will allow schools to rotate classroom attendance and allow distancing between students. But Greece’s main left-wing opposition party described putting cameras in schools as posing “a serious risk” to attending students and promised to raise the issue in the European Parliament.

Parents have until later Thursday to decide whether to let their children attend classes or rely only on online teaching material.

Schools have been closed since March 11.

EU monitors for potential abuse of emergency powers

The European Union’s top rule of law official says the bloc is monitoring whether governments remove emergency powers enacted to combat the coronavirus, amid deep concern about measures in Hungary.

In late March, Hungary’s Parliament endorsed a bill giving Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government extraordinary powers during the pandemic, including a measure against the spread of false information about the virus, and setting no end date for them.

WHO says health and economy debate is 'false dichotomy'

A World Health Organization official says the debate between ensuring health and reviving the economy is a “false dichotomy” and that countries must remain vigilant even as they move to lift restrictions.

The WHO Western Pacific director Takeshi Kasai says the reopening of the economy shouldn’t be rushed and must be done cautiously. He says the world must “create a new normal in which we don’t have to choose between health and livelihood.”

If a resurgence occurs, Kasai said governments must also be prepared to reinstate strict health measures as everybody remains at risk until a vaccine is developed.

Spain calls for social distancing following protests

Spanish authorities are calling for people to respect social distancing after a dozen protesters against the central government’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic refused to disband late on Wednesday.

Clad in Spanish flags and banging pots, a few hundred protesters took to the streets shouting “Freedom! Freedom!” and demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.

Spain’s far-right political party, Vox, has been calling for pot-banging protests against Spain’s left-wing government’s response to the new virus.

Finland reopens elementary and secondary schools

Finland has reopened elementary and secondary schools after a two-month hiatus amid the government’s strict distancing and hygiene guidelines for students and teachers in efforts to avoid a rise in Covid-19 infections.

After weeks of remote classes and distance learning, schools reopened on Thursday for two weeks before the summer break starts in early June.

Students are being kept at a safe distance from each other in classrooms, frequent handwashing is required and only one class at a time is allowed to stay outside during breaks.

UK approves antibody tests

British health authorities have for the first time approved an antibody test that shows whether people have previously been exposed to the new coronavirus.

The test, manufactured by Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche, has already been approved for use in the United States and the European Union.

Public Health England says government scientists found the test to be 100 percent accurate. It shows whether people have been exposed to the virus that causes Covid-19 and have developed antibodies against it, which may provide some immunity.

Japan lifts emergency in most areas

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a state of emergency in large parts of the country but said it would remain in place in Tokyo until the novel coronavirus is contained.

Abe lifted the emergency in 39 of Japan's 47 prefectures but left it in force in the capital and in the second-largest urban area of Osaka, as he tries to cushion the economic blow while stopping the virus.

Abe said he would begin work on a second extra budget and as part of the economic stimulus, the government would take more steps to ease corporate funding strains, if needed.

Spain's daily death toll rises above 200

Spain's daily coronavirus death toll rose above 200 for the first time since May 8, the health ministry reported.

The overall death toll from the disease rose to 27,321 on Thursday from 27,104 as 217 people reportedly died overnight, the ministry said.

The overall number of diagnosed cases rose to 229,540.

China says it will step up testing to prevent virus rebound

China said it will step up Covid-19 testing and screening to prevent a rebound of the coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 4,600 in its mainland territories.

National Health Commission spokeswoman Song Shuli made the remarks during a daily press briefing.

An increase in new cases in the country's northeastern provinces, such as Jilin and Liaoning, have raised fresh concerns for Beijing. 

Thailand reports one new virus case

Thailand reported one new coronavirus case and no new deaths, bringing the total to 3,018 cases and 56 deaths since the outbreak started in January.

The new patient is a 39-year-old man from the northern province of Chiang Mai who recently returned from working on the resort island of Phuket, an area with high infection rate, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, spokesman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Since the outbreak escalated, 2,850 patients have recovered and gone home and 112 people are still being treated in hospitals, he said. 

Malaysia reports 40 new cases; one more death

Malaysia reported 40 new coronavirus cases with one additional death, the health ministry said.

The country has so far recorded a total of 6,819 infections, with 112 fatalities. 

Russia's cases cross 250,000-mark

Russia reported 9,974 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus during the past 24 hours, its lowest daily rise since May 2, bringing its nationwide tally to 252,245.

Russia's coronavirus response centre said 93 people died overnight, bringing the official death toll to 2,305. 

Armenia extends state of emergency 

Armenia extended a state of emergency in the country over the Covid-19 outbreak until June 13, the government said, after the number of new daily infections began rising at the end of April.

In early May, the government opened almost all sectors of the economy to allow people to return to work, who had been facing financial damage from the devastating outbreak.

The South Caucasus country of three million people has registered 3,860 confirmed cases of the virus and 49 deaths.

UK says Belgium is worse on Covid-19 deaths per million

The United Kingdom is on a similar level to France, Italy and Spain on virus deaths per million but Belgium is worse, a junior British health minister said.

"If you look at the death rate per 100,000 or per million, actually we are on a similar level to France, Italy, Spain, Belgium is above us, the US is below," Edward Argar, a junior health minister, told Sky News.

"Different statistics can be portrayed in different ways," he said.

Japan expected to lift emergency in most areas except Tokyo

Japan is expected to lift a state of emergency across a large part of the country but the capital Tokyo will likely remain under restrictions until there is a convincing containment of the virus.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is expected to announce the lifting of the emergency in 39 of Japan's 47 prefectures, but not in Tokyo.

The government had said it would reassess the situation in mid-May.

Germany's infections rise by 933 cases

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany rose 933 to stand at 172,239, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 89 to 7,723, the tally showed.

Brazil is sixth hardest-hit country in world

Brazil confirmed a daily record 11,385 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, as well as 749 new deaths, according to data from the country's health ministry.

Brazil has now registered 188,974 cases since the outbreak began, passing France's tally of 177,700 confirmed and suspected cases to become the sixth hardest-hit country in the world. 

New Zealand leaps out of lockdown with bungee jumps

After seven weeks trussed up with some of the world's toughest coronavirus curbs, New Zealanders like Jim Boult leapt at the chance to cheer the end of the country's lockdown on Thursday.

In Auckland, residents queued from midnight at barbershops and salons for their first chance of a professional hairdo in nearly two months, according to local media reports. 

In Wellington, families strolled along the waterfront, while others waited at stores set to reopen with safety measures in place.

The country had fewer than 1,497 confirmed cases and fewer than 90 people are still sick. It reported extensive testing and no new cases for the third consecutive day on Thursday, and only 21 people have died.
Mexico's total deaths rise to 4,220

Mexico's health ministry confirmed 1,862 new cases of coronavirus infections on Wednesday, along with 294 additional deaths, slightly lower than the country's record number of daily fatalities reported the day before.

The new infections brought confirmed coronavirus cases to 40,186 and 4,220 deaths in total, according to the official tally.

Mexico's highest daily death toll was on Tuesday, when health authorities reported 353 fatalities

Trump says Fauci's virus warning not 'acceptable'

US President Donald Trump broke Wednesday with the nation's top infectious disease expert over his warning of a coronavirus resurgence if proper precautions are not taken as states reopen.

Trump said Dr Anthony Fauci "wants to play all sides of the equation" in response to the warning he issued during testimony before the Senate on Tuesday.

Asked by reporters what he meant as he hosted the governors of Colorado and North Dakota at the White House, Trump said he was "surprised by his answer."

"To me, it’s not an acceptable answer, especially when it comes to schools," Trump said. 

"The only thing that would be acceptable, is professors, teachers, etc. I think they ought to take it easy for another few weeks, five weeks, four weeks, who knows? Whatever it may be."

Italy warns EU states not to forge limited tourist pacts

European Union states must not forge de-facto tourist pacts between themselves during the virus crisis, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday, warning such a move could destroy the single market.

European governments are working on plans to reopen their borders at different speeds, depending on national circumstances, with some countries looking initially to reinstate free travel with only a limited number of neighbours.

"We will not accept bilateral accords within the European Union that might create privileged tourist channels," Conte told reporters.

"That would leave us outside the European Union and we will never allow this."

US to reopen economy slowly 

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the economy would slowly reopen but cautioned that waiting too long risked severe economic damage.

"We're going to slowly open the economy," Mnuchin told Fox News in an interview.

"But there is also a risk that we wait too long, there is a risk of destroying the US economy and the health impact that creates," he said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies