COVID-19 UPDATES : Mexico records highest one-day jump of 2,973 cases, 1,188 new deaths reported in Brazil, 20 new cases reported in South Korea, 4 new cases recorded in China


22nd May 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 5,194,879 with 334,622 deaths as of 12pm today.


Around 5% of United Kingdom antibody tests are positive, UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said during a daily briefing on Thursday, citing a surveillance study conducted by the British government.

International travellers could face fines of £1,000 if they fail to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving in the UK, the government is expected to announce.

U.S. and Canada

US President Donald Trump announced that flags will be lowered to half-staff “over the next three days” to honour coronavirus victims.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted new guidance on its website that estimates that about a third of coronavirus infections are asymptomatic. The agency also says its “best estimate” is that 0.4% of people who show symptoms and have COVID-19 will die, and it estimates that 40% of coronavirus transmission is occurring before people feel sick. 

After US President Donald Trump refused to wear a mask in front of cameras during his visit to a Ford manufacturing plant on Thursday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel did not hold back in her condemnation. “Today’s events were extremely disappointing and yet totally predictable,” Nessel told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer during an interview.”The President is like a petulant child who refuses to follow the rules and I have to say this is no joke,” Nessel continued. However, a source familiar with the President’s visit to a Ford plant in Ypsilanti, Michigan, said the President wore a mask out of sight of cameras during his visit.

President Donald Trump said “we are not closing our country” if the U.S. is hit by a second wave of coronavirus infections. “People say that’s a very distinct possibility, it’s standard,” Trump said when he was asked about a second wave while touring the Ford factory in Michigan.

President Trump said he is not looking to replace Dr. Robert Redfield, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

New York state lost 1.7 million private sector jobs, approximately 21.4% in April 2020, according to a statement from the state’s Department of Labour.

The New York Police Department says 119 members are still out with COVID-19 but 5,593 members have returned to full work duty after recovering from the virus.

New York public schools should begin preparing to reopen this fall but it may be too early to know for sure whether that can happen, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. New York City is on track to begin its phased reopening in the first half of June as the number of people admitted to the city’s hospitals and those currently in intensive-care units for Covid-19 continues to decline, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said that Boston has reported 93 additional COVID-19 cases, for a total of 12,143 in the city.

With 46 new deaths reported today, Los Angeles County now has a total of 2,016 coronavirus-related fatalities.

One in 300 people in Colorado are contagious, Gov. Jared Polis said during a briefing on Thursday.

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts said 89 counties will move to phase two of the state’s reopening plan on 1st June.

Both Ohio and West Virginia expanded restaurant services by allowing indoor dining starting Thursday.

Wearing a cloth mask or face covering will be required in Minneapolis starting Tuesday, according to a tweet from Mayor Jacob Frey.

The Mall of America has missed two months of payments on its US$1.4 billion mortgage.

Facebook will ramp up its hiring of remote workers and allow certain existing employees to continue working remotely moving forward after coronavirus restrictions ease, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said. The company expects 50% of employees to work remotely within the next five to 10 years as a result of this decision, Zuckerberg said.

U.S. billionaires grew their fortunes by $434 billion between mid-March and mid-May, with CEOs like Tesla’s Elon Musk and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg nearly doubling their individual net worth, CNBC’s Robert Frank reports. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos also saw his wealth surge by 31% to $147 billion, illustrating how the pandemic has favored large, tech-focused companies. 

US doctors and others in the scientific community are calling for the release of data that convinced health regulators to authorise emergency use of Gilead Sciences Inc’s antiviral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19, so they can direct limited supplies on the right patients.

China and Hong Kong

China will not set a specific target for economic growth this year, said Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 13th National People’s Congress in Beijing.  The National People’s Congress (NPC) will give Chinese leaders an opportunity to highlight their success in containing the virus and underscore the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party, as it faces a growing international backlash over its initial handling of the crisis.

China took the rare move of not setting an annual growth target this year after the coronavirus battered the world’s second-largest economy and ravaged global growth. Instead, given “great uncertainty” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing will “give priority to stabilising employment and ensuring living standards”, Premier Li Keqiang told the opening of the National People’s Congress.

Chinese President Xi Jinping did not wear a face mask as China’s National People’s Congress, the country’s rubber-stamp parliament, opened its third annual session today.

 China will severely punish the illegal hunting and trading of wild animals, it said in its government work report issued on Friday, as it tries to implement a ban imposed in January as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

China recorded four new coronavirus cases on 21st May, up from two a day earlier, the National Health Commission (NHC) reported on Friday. China also reported two imported cases from the previous day.  The NHC reported 35 new asymptomatic coronavirus cases, up from 31 a day earlier. The total number of COVID-19 infections in China to-date stands at 82,971. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

Elsewhere in the world

South Korea reported 20 new cases of COVID-19 yesterday, according to the country’s Centers for Disease Control & Prevention. This raises the national total to 11,142 cases and 264 deaths.

Japan’s central bank on Friday said it decided on the details of a new scheme designed to boost lending to small and medium-sized businesses affected by the pandemic. The measure will make available an estimated 30 trillion yen (US$279 billion) in new funding support to eligible financial institutions.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Ukraine have reached an agreement in principle on a new $5bn aid package to help Kyiv battle the coronavirus crisis.

Guatemala’s president Alejandro Giammattei has questioned his country’s relationship with the United States, revealing frustration over the US continuing to send deportees infected with COVID-19. 

Australia is seeking an exemption from a requirement that travellers arriving in the United Kingdom quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Australia’s most populous state said on Friday restrictions imposed to slow the spread of coronavirus will be eased to allow cafes and restaurants to have up to 50 patrons from 1st June. New South Wales (NSW) state Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the easing of restrictions, which currently limit restaurants and cafes to 10 patrons, was needed to revive the local economy.

A Panama health official said 59 migrants stranded at Panamanian migration centres have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Latin America has reported more new coronavirus cases than either the United States or Europe for three consecutive days, driven by high numbers in Brazil, Peru and Mexico.

Mexico reported nearly 3,000 new coronavirus cases on Thursday evening, the country’s biggest one-day jump in infections since the pandemic began. The 2,973 new cases raise the national total to 59,567, the third-highest in Latin America behind Brazil and Peru.

Brazil recorded its highest number of deaths from coronavirus within 24 hours and surpassed 300,000 total cases, the country’s health ministry announced on Thursday. The country reported 1,188 new deaths, bringing its total to 20,047 COVID-19-related fatalities.