Covid-19 has killed nearly 3.3M people and infected over 158M others globally. Here are all the coronavirus-related developments for May 9:

People wearing masks walk along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, US on April 24, 2021.
People wearing masks walk along the Las Vegas Strip in Las Vegas, US on April 24, 2021. (AP)

Sunday, May 9:

White House: US turning corner on pandemic 

The United States is closer to getting the pandemic under control and health officials have been focused on the next challenge: getting more Americans vaccinated, the White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients has said.

"I would say we are turning the corner," Zients said in an interview with CNN's "State of the Union."

Zients said about 58 percent of American adults have received at least one coronavirus vaccine shot. 

The task now is to continue building confidence in vaccines and get enough Americans vaccinated to mitigate the spread of the virus and its variants, he said.

US health officials are aiming to meet President Joe Biden's goal of 70 percent of American adults having at least one shot by July 4, US Independence Day.

Zients said reaching that goal could help the country reach a sustainable low level of infections.

Turkey reports over 15,000 new cases

The downward trend in the number of daily cases in Turkey has continued as the country reported just over 15,000 new cases, according to Health Ministry data.

A total of 15,191 cases, including 2,102 symptomatic patients, were confirmed across the country, the data showed.

Turkey's overall case tally is over 5 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 43,029, with 283 fatalities over the past day.

Mexico reports over 1,000 new cases

Mexico's Health Ministry has reported 1,175 new confirmed cases and 57 more deaths, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 2,365,792 and fatalities to 218,985.

Separate government data published in March suggested the real death toll may be at least 60 percent above the confirmed figure. 

Pakistan reports over 3,000 new cases

Pakistan has been struggling with a third surge of cases, despite a complete closure of all business and transport that began this weekend and continues until May 16, the end of the Eid holidays.

Pakistan reported 118 more deaths and 3,785 new cases in a single day. It has now seen nearly 19,000 deaths in the pandemic.

All businesses are now closed except for essential food stores, pharmacies and fuel stations. 

Public transport in major cities and towns is either at halt or allowed only with 50 percent capacity while intercity passenger transport is completely shut.

Emirates to ship aid to India from WHO and other groups

Dubai’s long-haul carrier Emirates has said it will begin shipping aid from the World Health Organization and other groups into India for free to help fight a crushing outbreak.

The offer by Emirates, which has 95 flights weekly to nine cities in India, initially involves aid already in Dubai but may expand across the carrier’s network as time goes on.

That could mean major savings for aid groups as airfreight costs have skyrocketed amid the pandemic. Demand for flown cargo stands at record levels worldwide.

EU won't renew order for AstraZeneca vaccine

The European Union's Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton has said the EU Commission did not renew its order for AstraZeneca vaccines.

"We have not renewed the order for after June. We'll see what happens," Breton said on French radio France Inter.

The announcement comes one day after the European Union cemented its support for Pfizer-BioNTech and its vaccine technology by agreeing to a massive contract extension for a potential 1.8 billion doses through 2023.

UK cases and deaths fall further, vaccinations rise

A total of 1,770 new cases have been recorded in the United Kingdom, with the seven-day total of 14,659 cases down by 4.3 percent compared with the previous seven days.

The country recorded two new deaths within 28 days of a positive test. The seven-day death toll of 67 was down by 39.1 percent compared with the previous seven days.

The data showed that 35.37 million people, or 67.2 percent of the UK adult population, have now received a first dose. Of those, 17.67 million, or 33.5 percent of adults, have received the recommended two doses.

Tunisia begins week of strict measures

Tunisia has started a week of restrictions covering the Eid holiday, as hospitals battle to stay afloat as cases soar.

Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi said on Friday that Tunisia was going through "the worst health crisis in its history" and that health facilities were at risk of collapse.

Until next Sunday, mosques, markets and non-essential shops must close, gatherings and family or cultural celebrations are banned, and people are forbidden from travelling between regions.

An overnight curfew begins at 7 pm (1800 GMT) instead of 10 pm, and is in force until 5 am.

Vietnamese woman is Laos' first fatality

A Vietnamese woman has died in Laos, according to state-run media, marking the first death from the disease in the impoverished communist country.

Reclusive, landlocked Laos had appeared to escape the brunt of the pandemic in 2020, but a community outbreak uncovered last month has sent the number of cases soaring — from 49 in early April to 1,302 in less than a month.

Slovak Health Ministry says Sputnik V test satisfactory

A Slovakia Health Ministry spokesperson has said a Hungarian lab confirmed that the first batch of Russia's Sputnik V vaccines sent to Slovakia were satisfactory and the government would discuss the next steps with Russia.

The tests were carried out in Hungary after Russia had requested additional tests in an EU-certified laboratory, saying the Slovaks had not tested them in such a facility. 

The Slovak government is considering whether to use the Russian shots in the country of 5.5 million that has been hit hard by the outbreak.

The Slovak Health Ministry's spokesperson, Zuzana Eliasova, said on Sunday that Slovakia is now waiting for further test results from Russia, which are expected at the end of May.

Vietnam reports over 100 new infections

Vietnam has reported 102 new infections as the Southeast Asian country battled a fast-spreading outbreak which Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh said threatened political stability if not brought under control.

The new cases raised the total to 3,332 since the pandemic began, with 35 deaths, the Ministry of Health said.

Vietnam has been praised for its record in containing its outbreaks quickly through targeted mass testing and a strict, centralised quarantine programme.

But a new outbreak emerged late last month and has spread rapidly in the country, infecting 333 people in 25 cities and provinces, including the capital Hanoi, and leaving around 10 hospitals under lockdown.

Italy reports over 8,000 new cases

Italy has reported 139 deaths, down from 224 the day before, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 8,292 from 10,176, Health Ministry figures showed.

Italy has registered 122,833 deaths since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. 

The country has reported 4.1 million cases to date.

Saudi Arabia will organise pilgrimage to Mecca this year

Saudi Arabia has said it will organise the pilgrimage to Mecca this year, but under special conditions to guard against the spread of the virus, state TV reported.

"The mechanism and conditions for holding the Hajj this year will be announced later," it said, citing the Ministry of Pilgrimage.

Last year, Saudi Arabia allowed a limited number of domestic pilgrims to perform the Hajj. 

Macron: Other vaccines more efficient than AstraZeneca

French President Emmanuel Macron has said France and Europe would continue to use the existing stock of AstraZeneca vaccines, "because it will help us get out of this crisis" but future orders would focus on jabs from other pharmaceutical companies.

"Who could have known last autumn which vaccine would work or not? I think it was a good policy to buy as many vaccines with all the solutions possible, which most other countries and world powers have done," he said, adding that to combat variants, alternative vaccines to AstraZeneca had shown to be more efficient.

His comments, after attending a European conference in Strasbourg, came after the European Union Commission announced its decision to not renew its order for AstraZeneca vaccines.

Variant among accelerators of India's Covid explosion – WHO scientist

A Covid-19 variant spreading in India is more contagious and it is feared it could be dodging some vaccine protections, contributing to the country's explosive outbreak, the World Health Organization's chief scientist has said.

In an interview with AFP, Soumya Swaminathan warned that "the epidemiological features that we see in India today do indicate that it's an extremely rapidly spreading variant".

Swaminathan, an Indian paediatrician and clinical scientist, said the B.1.617 variant of Covid-19, which was first detected in India last October, was clearly a contributing factor to the catastrophe unfolding in her homeland.

"There have been many accelerators that are fed into this," the 62-year-old said, stressing that "a more rapidly spreading virus is one of them".

India's Covid-19 deaths rise by over 4K for second consecutive day

India's Covid-19 deaths has risen by more than 4,000 for a second consecutive day  as calls for a nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus mounted.

India's Health Ministry reported 4,092 fatalities over the past 24 hours, taking the overall death toll to 242,362. New cases rose by 403,738, just shy of the record and increasing the total since the start of the pandemic to 22.3 million.

India has been hit hard by a second Covid-19 wave with cases and deaths hitting record highs every other day. With an acute shortage of oxygen and beds in many hospitals and morgues and crematoriums overflowing, experts have said the actual numbers for Covid-19 cases and fatalities could be far higher.

Many Indian states have imposed strict lockdowns over the past month to stem the surge in infections while others have announced restrictions on public movement and shutdown cinemas, restaurants, pubs and shopping malls.

Spain ends state of emergency

Spain has lifted a state of emergency in place since October to fight the pandemic, allowing Spaniards to travel between regions for the first time in months.

In scenes akin to New Year's Eve celebrations, hundreds of mainly young people gathered in Madrid's Puerta del Sol square to applaud the clock striking midnight while in Barcelona revellers headed to the beach with drinks in hand.

Police in Barcelona had the strange task of moving people on after the last curfew began at 10 pm (2000 GMT), only to let them back at midnight when it ended for good.

Australia's most populous state extends restrictions

Australia's most populous state has recorded no new Covid-19 infections for a third straight day but extended raised social distancing and mask-wearing rules by a week as the authorities hunted for the source of a small outbreak.

After a Sydney couple tested positive to the virus last week, ending a long run without community transmission, the authorities reinstated some social distancing measures until May 10, and a campaign to get more people tested, as they scrambled to determine the source of infection.

On Sunday, the authorities reported a third straight day without a new case, easing concerns about a wider outbreak in the city, but cited the mystery cause of infection as a reason for extending the measures.

As the country awaits vaccine shipments and watches infection spikes in other countries, top lawmakers said borders now appear likely to reopen in 2022, not 2021 as previously envisaged.

Russia reports 8,419 new cases

Russia has reported 8,419 new cases in the last 24 hours, taking the national tally to 4,880,262.

The government coronavirus task force said 334 people had died in the last day, taking the national death toll to 113,326.

The federal statistics agency has kept a separate count and has said Russia recorded around 250,000 deaths related to Covid-19 between April 2020 and March 2021.

Germany records 12,656 more cases

The number of confirmed virus cases in Germany has increased by 12,656 to 3,520,329.

The reported death toll rose by 127 to 84,775, the data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

Brazil registers 63,430 new Covid-19 cases, 2,202 deaths

Brazil has recorded 63,430 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the past 24 hours and 2,202 fatalities from Covid-19, the Health Ministry said.

That raised the total number of confirmed cases in Latin America's largest country to 15,145,879, and the official death toll to 421,316.

Thailand reports 2,101 new cases, 17 new deaths

Thailand has reported 2,101 new coronavirus cases and 17 new deaths, as the country struggles with the third wave of infections.

The new cases took the total number of infections to 83,375 and total fatalities to 399 since the pandemic started last year.

S Africa picks up first cases of coronavirus variant from India

South Africa's Health Ministry has said it had detected the first four cases of a new coronavirus variant that emerged in India and was responsible for a surge of infections and deaths in the Asian country.

Testing had also picked up 11 cases of variant B.1.1.7 first detected in the UK, the Health Ministry said in a statement.

Pressure on French hospitals continues to ease

The number of Covid-19 patients in French intensive care units fell for the fifth day in a row, down 101 from the previous day at 5,005, the health ministry has said.

The number of people in hospital with the virus fell by 531 to 25,800, it said.

These data follow President Emmanuel Macron's decision to start unwinding the country's third lockdown last week.

France also reported 176 new coronavirus deaths in hospitals, down from 226 on Friday.

China reports 12 new virus cases

China reported 12 new virus cases in the mainland, up from seven a day earlier, the country's national health authority has said.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that all the new cases were imported infections originating from overseas. 

The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, rose to 10 from eight a day earlier.

The total number of confirmed virus cases in mainland China now stands at 90,758, while the death toll remains unchanged at 4,636 

Bangladesh detects first cases of Indian variant

Bangladesh has detected its first case of a highly infectious coronavirus variant first identified in India, the country's health directorate has said, prompting the government to keep its border sealed for another two weeks.

Six cases of the Indian variant had been detected in Bangladesh, Nasima Sultana, additional director general of the health directorate, told reporters.

“Two cases are confirmed to be of the Indian variant, and the others are quite close t o it," Sultana said, adding that they all recently returned from neighbouring India and were in isolation.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies