COVID-19 UPDATES : Total worldwide cases reach 5.13m, Russia has has 317,554 cases, Beijing to retaliate if US passes legislation threatening sanctions, US flags requested to be flown at half staff when COVID-19 deaths reach 100,000


22nd May 2020 – (Hong Kong)  Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 5,138,470 with 331,649 deaths as of 1am today.

The World Health Organization has created a COVID-19 guide for children ages 8 to 17, WHO said in a statement.

Around 40,000 healthcare workers are taking part in a global clinical trial to test the effectiveness of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against COVID-19.

The destruction of tropical forests has accelerated rapidly during the pandemic, the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has said.


Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said EU travellers and people from Britain could enter the country with no mandatory quarantine required from 3rd June.

British health care workers will be the first to be tested for coronavirus antibodies after the government reached a deal with Roche to procure the test kits. 

The United Kingdom reported 338 daily deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the country’s death toll to at least 36,042, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Care released today. The UK had tested at least 2,064,329 people as of Thursday morning.

Britain has begun trials of a new swab test for the novel coronavirus which provides results in 20 minutes, the UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced during a daily briefing on Thursday.

London Heathrow Airport is implementing thermal screening in one of its arrival terminals in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

Scotland’s leader has presented a “route map” for easing restrictions in the months ahead while observing social distancing guidelines.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says the economic recovery from coronavirus pandemic will not be easy, adding that Brexit will “further complicate” it.

Italy has recorded 156 new deaths from the epidemic, against 161 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases also declined slightly to 642 from 665 on Wednesday.

German second division club Dynamo Dresden, where the entire squad is nearing the end of a 14-day quarantine after three players tested positive for COVID-19, say a fourth player plus a staff member have returned positive tests.

Spain’s daily death toll from the coronavirus has fallen below 50 for the first time since a lockdown was imposed in mid-March, but the figure excludes deaths in the northeastern region of Catalonia. The number of people who arrived in Spain by air collapsed by 99.7 per cent in April compared to the same month in 2019, the state tourism agency has said. Nearly one in six Spanish children have felt regularly depressed during the pandemic, with those from poorer backgrounds suffering worse, a charity has said.

Sweden’s public health authority said 7.3% of people in Stockholm had developed coronavirus antibodies by late April.

Denmark is now starting phase 2 of reopening: This includes opening cultural activities such as museums, theatre, movie theatres, and zoos, which were previously scheduled to reopen June 8.

U.S. and Canada

There are at least 1,602,193 cases of COVID-19 in the country with 95,437 deaths.

The Dow opened down 0.1%, or 35 points.

At least 2.4 million people filed for first-time unemployment benefits last week, which ended with 16th May.

A shipment of 50 ventilators, the first part of a US humanitarian aid delivery meant to help Russia fight coronavirus, has landed in the Russian capital, the US Embassy in Moscow said in a statement Thursday.

Most Americans will be vaccinated against Covid-19 by the middle of next year, Morgan Stanley biotech analyst Matthew Harrison told CNBC.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer have sent a letter to President Donald Trump requesting that flags be flown half staff “on all public buildings in the country” when the COVID-19 death toll in the US reaches 100,000.

Sales of existing homes fell 17.8% month-to-month to the slowest pace in 9 years, according to the National Association of Realtors.

New York Gov. Cuomo said today that coronavirus cases in the state are down to 246. Hospitalizations were also down at 5,187. He further said that the state is now investigating 157 cases of an inflammatory syndrome in children that has been linked to COVID-19. He said it’s “still too early” to decide if students should return to classrooms this fall.

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.

Restaurant owners in New York are getting creative as they prepare to welcome customers back into their businesses for dine-in services.

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont encouraged people to visit his state’s parks over the Memorial Day weekend but wants people to do so safely.  

Michigan will reopen retail businesses and auto dealerships by appointment beginning Tuesday, 26th May, according to a statement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s office.

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel is calling on President Trump to wear a mask ahead of his visit to a Ford manufacturing plant in the state today. “If he fails to wear a mask, he’s going to be asked not to return to any enclosed facility inside our state,” Nessel said. 

The Colorado State Emergency Operations Center announced scientists from Colorado State University will conduct eight weeks of COVID-19 tests on workers and residents in up to 30 skilled nursing facilities. 

 Elvis Presley’s Graceland in Memphis, Tennessee, reopens Thursday. 

Campbell University in Buies Creek, North Carolina, will provide private room accommodations to all residential students for the 2020-21 academic year.

Macy’s released its preliminary earnings for the first quarter and said it expects it lost as much as US$1.1 billion between February and May, blaming its losses on lockdown measures that governments imposed because of coronavirus.

A new report found that at least 151,964 Americans died due to alcohol, drugs or suicide in 2018 and it warns COVID-19 could exacerbate the so-called “deaths of despair.” 

Starbucks customers are gradually returning to the chain’s cafes in U.S. and China. The company has regained about 60% to 65% of its U.S. same-store sales over the last week, compared with the same period a year ago, CEO Kevin Johnson wrote in a letter to employees.

U.S. officials and scientists are hopeful a vaccine to prevent the virus will be ready by early next year. However, it’s far from guaranteed, scientists warn. The fastest-ever vaccine development, mumps, took more than four years and was licensed in 1967. Additionally, scientists still don’t fully understand key aspects of the virus, including how immune systems respond once a person is exposed.

China and Hong Kong

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly criticized Mike Pompeo on Thursday, labelling the US Secretary of State an “extremely irresponsible politician.”

“Pompeo has played to perfection the part of an extremely irresponsible politician, but his numerous lies have bankrupted his credibility in the world,” Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian said on Thursday. 

Beijing will retaliate if the US Congress passes legislation threatening sanctions against China over the pandemic, the spokesman for the country’s parliament has said.”We firmly oppose these bills, and will make a firm response and take countermeasures based on the deliberation of these bills,” spokesman Zhang Yesui said at a news conference.

Wuhan’s Municipal Health Commission says it conducted 887,321 coronavirus tests on 20th May, up from 856,128 tests on 19th May.

China’s annual high-level political meetings opened on Thursday with a minute’s silence for the victims of the coronavirus pandemic, which has claimed over 4,600 lives in the country since emerging late last year.

Hong Kong reported a total of 8 cases yesterday. All of them were returnees from Pakistan.

Elsewhere in the world

Russia recorded 8,849 new Covid-19 cases and 127 deaths in the past 24 hours. The country now has 317,554 cases and 3,099 deaths. The nation has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases globally.

Qatar has welcomed NATO’s initiative to airlift needed medical and humanitarian supplies in support of the UN’s efforts in fighting the pandemic.

About 10,000 Iranian health workers have been infected with coronavirus, the semi-official ILNA news agency has quoted the deputy health minister as saying.

The number of those infected with coronavirus in Africa has reached 95,201, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention has reported.

South Africa could see up to 50,000 coronavirus deaths and as many as three million infections by the end of the year as the southern hemisphere winter leads to a higher rate of infection, scientific models have shown. The country already has the highest number of infections and deaths on the continent, with more than 18,000 identified cases and 339 deaths, but a national lockdown entering its sixth week had slowed infections.

Argentina, which has enforced one of the world’s toughest travel bans, plans to help charter a private flight to bring in rabbis from Israel to certify meat at the country’s packing plants for kosher markets around the world.

Crossings used by thousands of Cypriots daily between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides of the divided island and sealed shut by the lockdown will gradually start reopening from June 8, an official has said.

The main coronavirus treatment centre in southern Yemen has recorded at least 68 deaths in just over two weeks, the medical charity running the site has said, more than double the toll announced by Yemeni authorities so far.

Lebanon has confirmed 63 new cases of the coronavirus in the last 24 hours. The total number of cases in the country is now at 1,024 – however, only 335 of those are active cases, according to the information ministry.

Serbia said it will start reopening its borders after sealing them on 15th March.

The four-day work week has been touted as a way to improve work-life balance. Now it’s getting a boost from New Zealand’s leader, who recently raised the idea as one that might help the economy in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said it was possible that a state of emergency in Tokyo and its surrounding regions could end as early as next week if the number of coronavirus infections continues to decrease.

Singapore’s health ministry has confirmed another 448 coronavirus cases, taking the city-state’s tally of infections to 29,812.  The number of new COVID-19 cases among Singaporeans or permanent residents hit its highest level in more than three weeks on Thursday. Thirteen Singaporeans are among the 14 new COVID-19 community cases reported on Thursday by the Ministry of Health (MOH).

Indonesia has recorded its biggest daily jump in cases, bringing the total number of cases to 20,162 in the world’s fourth most populous country. Indonesia confirmed 973 new infections and 36 new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 1,278, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

The Philippines’ health ministry has confirmed four more coronavirus deaths and 213 new cases.