COVID-19 UPDATES : Highest number of COVID-19 cases recorded in last 24 hours, 19,951 new infections reported in Brazil, China reports 2 new cases and 31 new asymptomatic cases


21st May 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 5,089,928 with 329,729 deaths as of 12pm today.

The World Health Organization reported the highest number of COVID-19 cases recorded in a 24-hour period on Wednesday. Nearly two thirds of all cases came from just four countries: the United States, Russia, Brazil, and India.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel says the country won’t be cutting foreign aid due to the coronavirus pandemic, and further relief for poor nations is needed.

Airline Lufthansa said on Thursday it is in advanced talks with the German government’s economic stabilisation fund over a rescue deal worth up to 9 billion euros (US$9.9 billion), including the state taking a 20 per cent stake in the company.

Greece will restart its tourism season on 15th June and gradually restore international flights from 1st July to boost its economy after the virus lockdown, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Wednesday.

There is no sign yet that France’s easing of a lockdown to combat the coronavirus has boosted the epidemic, the health minister said on Wednesday, as the latest figures showed daily deaths trending lower.

The world’s largest airliner, the Airbus A380, took a step closer to the aviation archives on Wednesday as Air France said it would permanently axe its grounded fleet and sources said Emirates was in talks to reduce remaining deliveries.

Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez won parliamentary backing to extend the lockdown for another two weeks on Wednesday, despite opposition from his rightwing opponents and protests against his minority coalition government.

U.S. and Canada

The United States recorded 23,285 new cases of coronavirus and 1,518 related deaths. Total cases accumulated to 1,593,036. Total deaths reached 94,941.

US President Donald Trump took to Twitter again to criticize China’s response to the coronavirus outbreak, saying, “It all comes from the top.” It’s as far as Trump has gone in calling out Xi Jinping, although he did not name the Chinese leader directly.  He blamed Beijing for “mass Worldwide killing.”

President Donald Trump has threatened to hold up federal funds for two election battleground states of Michigan and Nevada that are trying to make it easier and safer to vote during the coronavirus pandemic.

The US’ top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, has been conspicuously absent from national television interviews over the past two weeks, as the White House moves ahead with reopening the economy.

Protesters staged a mock funeral in Washington on Wednesday to protest the White House coronavirus response.

The USS Theodore Roosevelt has returned to sea, after being docked in Guam for weeks due to a coronavirus outbreak onboard.

Coronavirus testing in the United States is disorganized and needs coordination at the national level, infectious disease experts said in a new report released on Wednesday. Right now, testing is not accurate enough to use alone to make most decisions, including who should go back to work or to school, the team at the University of Minnesota said.

More than half of all California counties are now moving forward with plans to further reopen their economies despite data showing the state recorded its second highest number of daily COVID-19 deaths on Tuesday. According to California Department of Public Health, there were 102 deaths reported in the state Tuesday, bringing the total number of deaths to 3,436.

If the United States had implemented social distancing policies just a week sooner, it could have prevented more than half the number of coronavirus deaths and infections, according to new research from Columbia University. And if the country had locked down two weeks earlier than it did, it could have prevented 84% of deaths and 82% of cases, said the the research team, led by epidemiologist Jeffrey Shaman.

Vice President Mike Pence and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis visited what looked to be a crowded Beth’s Burger Bar in Orlando Wednesday afternoon. The Vice President was clearly not practicing social distancing, and nobody appeared to be wearing a mask. 

Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that the US is considering additional travel restrictions for South America. 

After President Donald Trump pressured the Food and Drug Administration to waive certain rules, his administration was able to purchase mask-cleaning machines in a deal that ballooned from a $60 million price tag to one with a ceiling of US$600 million.

At least 4,742 cases and 98 deaths have been reported in Orange county.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper said dine-in eating, hair and nail salons, barbershops, churches and pools will be open on Friday.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker said restaurants in Illinois can offer outdoor seating to patrons with certain additional precautions as part of phase three of reopening.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced she will be allowing movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums, and wedding reception venues to reopen Friday.

President Trump’s former fixer Michael Cohen will be released early from prison on Thursday and is expected to serve out the remainder of his sentence at home as coronavirus continues to spread behind bars, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The New York Police Department says 5,521 members of the department have returned to full work duty after recovering from coronavirus.

Ford said on Wednesday that production has resumed at the Chicago assembly plant after two employees tested positive for COVID-19.

The number of people staying in hotel rooms across the US continues to increase from previous weeks, but it is still well below totals from a year ago, according to hospitality analytics company STR. 

Expedia reported that its revenue fell 15% year over year when announcing its first-quarter earnings. 

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said the company is going to give $20 million in grants to small businesses owned by women, minorities and veterans in the U.S.

Connecticut entered the first phase of its reopening plan Wednesday, allowing retailers to offer in-store service.

Retailer Canada Goose Holdings Inc said on Wednesday it has laid off 125 workers, about 2.5per cent of its global workforce, as part of steps to cope with the impact of COVID-19 on its business.

Mastercard will not ask employees to return to its worldwide corporate offices until they are comfortable that the sometimes fatal coronavirus is under control with vaccines or other measures, a senior executive told Reuters on Wednesday.

Apple released a software update on Wednesday, iOS 13.5, which makes it easier to use an iPhone with a face mask on.

China and Hong Kong

China recorded two new coronavirus cases and no new deaths yesterday, according to the country’s National Health Commission. Of the new cases, one was an imported infection in Guangdong province and the other a local case in Shanghai.  This raises the national total to 82,967 confirmed symptomatic cases, of which 84 remain active. Some 31 new asymptomatic cases were also reported.

Chinese President Xi Jinping engaged in separate phone calls with Myanmar’s President U Win Myint and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina this morning and said that it will continue to support both countries to fight the COVID-19 pandemic at its best in terms of medical supplies and teams of medics based on their needs.

Ambassador Zhang Jun, Permanent Representative of China to the United Nations said China supports the UN’s ceasefire appeals in Syria, calling for cooperation among relevant parties to remove all obstacles of delivering medical supplies to the northwest and northeast of Syria. 

Elsewhere in the world

Japan’s economy minister says experts have approved a government plan to remove a coronavirus state of emergency in Osaka and two neighbouring prefectures in the west where the infection is deemed slowing, while keeping the measure in place in the Tokyo region and Hokkaido. Recession-hit Japan’s exports plunged nearly 22 percent in April, the country’s worst drop in more than a decade as the coronavirus pandemic slammed global demand, AP news agency reported.

South Korea’s exports of coronavirus test kits are expected to gather momentum down the road thanks to high overseas demand, Yonhap news agency reported on Thursday, quoting industry sources.

The Russian military has set up a quarantine facility at a Siberian gold mine where hundreds have been infected with the novel coronavirus. The Olimpiada mine in the town of Yeruda has emerged as a top spot of contagion, with more than 800 workers testing positive for COVID-19. The new facility can accommodate as many as 2,000 patients. The United States said on Wednesday it was donating 200 ventilators to help Russia in the coronavirus pandemic, turning the tables a week after a high-profile shipment by Moscow.

At least 500 Cuban health workers are helping tackle the new coronavirus in Mexico City, Mexican officials told Reuters news agency, making it likely the largest contingent the communist-led island has deployed globally as part of its response to the pandemic.

Cambodia has announced the lifting of a travel ban of tourists from Iran, Italy, Germany, Spain, France and the US.

South Africa recorded its first neonatal coronavirus death on Wednesday, as the death toll jumped by 27 to 339, the health ministry said.

New Zealand’s prime minister wants employers to consider switching to a four-day work week as a way to promote tourism, which has been hard-hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

 Australian state and territory leaders bickered on Thursday over whether to reopen internal borders, a major step to rejuvenating the country’s A$80 billion (US$50 billion) domestic tourism industry, as part of measures to ease coronavirus restrictions.

Jordan will impose a three-day nationwide curfew after a rise in local cases followed an easing of lockdown measures.

Mexico reported 424 deaths in just 24 hours, its highest one-day jump in fatalities. Brazil recorded nearly 20,000 cases within 24 hours, its highest one-day spike and Peru reported more than 4,500 new infections, pushing the national total past 100,000 cases.

Bolivian health minister Marcelo Navajas was arrested in a mounting corruption scandal over the purchase of 170 ventilators at an inflated cost, Col. Ivan Rojas, chief of the Bolivian Special Forces in the Fight Against Crime, announced on Wednesday.

 Police in Indonesia are clamping down on sellers of fake medical certificates, reportedly used to circumvent travel restrictions enforced to curb the spread of COVID-19.

A mall in Thailand has swapped lift buttons for foot pedals in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus as well as help restore normalcy and get shoppers spending again.