COVID-19 UPDATES : Russia reports 232 fatalities, Louvre Museum in Paris to reopen on 6th July, Singapore and China plan to reopen essential travel for business and official purposes


30th May 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 5,962,453 with 363,900 deaths as of 12.45am today.

The World Health Organization (WHO) called on tobacco and nicotine industries across the world to stop taking advantage of the global pandemic and marketing directly to children and teens. 


 The European Union will conduct an accelerated review of Gilead’s remdesivir as a potential treatment for Covid-19, the European Medicines Agency said, according to Reuters. 

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 87 on Friday, against 70 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency has saidsaid, while the daily tally of new cases fell to 516 from 593 on Thursday.

Greece to open to tourists from 29 countries from 15th June. The countries are: Germany, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Cyprus, Israel, Switzerland, Japan, Malta, Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Australia, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Albania, Estonia, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Hungary, South Korea, Serbia, Montenegro, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Czech Republic and Finland.

Norway and Denmark will resume free travel between the two countries, three Norwegian media outlets reported, creating a travel bubble that excludes Scandinavian neighbour Sweden, where the number of COVID-19 infections is higher.

Pubs in the German capital will reopen from Tuesday, 2nd June. Open-air events such as concerts or film screenings will be allowed to start from the same date, but will be capped at a maximum of 200 people.

Berlin is further easing its coronavirus restrictions, by allowing pubs and fitness studios to reopen and increasing limits for public gatherings, according to the region’s Senate.

Spain’s Health Ministry has said recorded deaths from the coronavirus outbreak reached 27,121, increasing by two in the last 24 hours.

An additional 324 people have died from coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total number of fatalities in the country to at least 38,161, UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak said on Friday. So far,271,222 people have tested positive for COVID-19, an increase of 2,095 cases since yesterday, Sunak said at the daily Downing Street coronavirus briefing. 

The Louvre museum in Paris is working to reopen on 6th July, according to a statement released Friday on museum’s website.

Sweden’s economy expanded at an annual rate of 0.4% during the first three months of the year, official data published Friday showed, following the government’s contrarian decision not to impose a full coronavirus lockdown.

Travellers entering Denmark will be encouraged to take a randomized coronavirus test, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced Friday.

Renault is slashing 14,600 jobs as part of a major overhaul designed to reduce costs and help the French carmaker survive the coronavirus pandemic. Some 4,600 positions will be eliminated in France, with 10,000 more in other markets.

An infant has died from COVID-19 in Switzerland, the first child to perish from coronavirus in the country, authorities have said.

The number of overnight stays by tourists in Portugal dropped 98.3 percent to nearly 71,000 last month from the previous year, showing the sector’s collapse as lockdowns to contain the spread of the coronavirus grounded flights and kept visitors away.

Bulgaria plans to lift an obligatory 14-day quarantine from June 1 for travellers from some European Union countries, but not those states with the biggest coronavirus outbreaks, a senior health official said.

U.S. and Canada

US stocks were mixed at the start of Friday’s session, with the Dow and the S&P 500 adding onto losses from the prior day.

A forecast published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) now projects more than 123,000 coronavirus deaths in the US by 20th June.

April’s personal consumption data showed a 13.6% drop in consumer spending, according to a Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) report released Friday. That’s equal to $1.89 trillion. 

Pentecostal and Baptist churches in California and Illinois were pushing for the US Supreme Court on Friday to stop their states’ governors from limiting the number of people that can attend religious services as part of coronavirus social distancing measures, according to new filings sent to the court.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was pressed on whether he can narrow down the potential phase one start date as June commences next week.  The percentage of New York City residents who have tested positive for coronavirus is at 5%, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Thursday.

More than 2 million New Yorkers had been infected with Covid-19 by the end of March – about 10 times the official count, according to a new study. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is looking into possibly easing some Canada-US border restrictions that would allow immediate family members to reunite. Trudeau made clear that anyone entering Canada would still have to quarantine for 14 days but acknowledged that a number of families are facing undue hardship with the border closure.

China and Hong Kong

According to CGTN, China is willing to strengthen practical cooperation with Peru in various fields including epidemic prevention and control to safeguard public health and safety and to facilitate economic recovery, Chinese President Xi Jinping said when recently exchanging letters with Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra over bilateral cooperation on the COVID-19 fight.

Chinese airlines for the first time are on track to operate more passenger flights than their U.S. counterparts this month in a shift driven by the coronavirus. Chinese airlines sharply reduced their flying in January as the virus started to spread in China. U.S. airlines took similar measures in March and April, when the wave of infections hit America. 

13 imported cases from Pakistan reported in Hong Kong yesterday.

Elsewhere in the world

Moscow health authorities have revised the city’s coronavirus death toll for April, revealing that more than twice as many people died than previously reported. Officials raised the documented number of fatalities attributed to COVID-19 to 1,561 up from 636. Russia reported 232 fatalities as a result of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours, reflecting the country’s highest one-day spike in COVID-19 deaths since the outbreak began.

The prime minister of one of Bosnia’s two regions has been detained as part of a probe into the purchase of 100 respirators from China for coronavirus patients, his party has said.

Pakistan will allow international flights to resume, an aviation official said, after largely closing its airspace to commercial flights since March to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

Qatar recorded 1,993 new confirmed coronavirus cases and three deaths in the last 24 hours, according to the ministry of public health.

Azerbaijan’s government said on Friday it had extended its coronavirus restrictions and border closure until 15th June.

The UAE will shorten from Saturday by two hours a nightly curfew meant to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus, the country’s state news agency said on Friday.

South Africa, which has the most confirmed cases in Africa, says it has a backlog of about 100,000 unprocessed coronavirus test kits, the Associated Press reports.

India has registered another record daily increase with 7,466 new coronavirus cases.  A troop of monkeys in India attacked a medical official and snatched away blood samples of patients who had tested positive for COVID-19, authorities said on Friday.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called for the economy to open up, saying that the closures in non-essential sectors were ““a terrible disgrace” for the country. 

More than 500 schools in the South Korean capital closed on Friday after briefly reopening. The country’s health officials are trying to stamp out a new coronavirus cluster in the city.

The Japanese capital Tokyo will enter Phase 2 of its reopening plan on midnight 1st June, this coming Monday, said the city’s governor, Yuriko Koike.

Singapore and China plan to reopen essential travel for business and official purposes between the two countries early next month, the two countries have said in a joint statement. The so-called “Fast Lane arrangement” will be first applied between the Southeast Asian city-state and six Chinese provinces and municipalities – Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing, Guangdong, Jiangsu and Zhejiang – before being gradually expanded.

Singapore’s health ministry said it has confirmed 611 new coronavirus cases, taking the city state’s tally for infections to 33,860.The country reported 23 deaths in total.

The Philippines has reported 21 more novel coronavirus deaths and 1,046 additional infections. In a bulletin, the health ministry said total deaths rose to 942 while confirmed cases reached 16,634. It said 122 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 3,720. The World Bank Group approved a $500m loan for the Philippines to help it cope with the economic impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the Bank said on Friday.

Indonesia has reported 678 new coronavirus infections, taking the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 25,216, according to the health ministry official, Achmad Yurianto.

Thailand will next week shorten curfew hours and ease restrictions on more businesses, the government has said, in response to its low numbers of locally transmitted cases of the novel coronavirus. Thailand has confirmed 11 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, taking the number of infections to 3,076.

Malaysia’s health ministry reported 103 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the national total to 7,732.