COVID-19 UPDATES : U.K. could roll out COVID-19 vaccine as early as September, President Trump threatens to pull funding from WHO permanently, 6 new cases reported in China


19th May 2020 – (Hong Kong) Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 4,894,098 with 320,180 deaths as of 12pm today.

Studies from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council of Museums have confirmed that more than 85,000 museums across the world – about 90 percent of all institutions – have shut because of the coronavirus.


The U.K. could roll out 30 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine as early as September, officials have said.

The U.K. government, at the end of April, pledged to recruit an army of 18,000 contact tracers to keep tabs on COVID-19 patients and their contacts. Despite the large number of jobs apparently available in this area, it wasn’t immediately clear how members of the public should go about applying for either type of role.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron proposed a 500 billion-euro fund to help economies significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The number of coronavirus patients in intensive care in France has fallen under 2,000 for the first time in two months, the health ministry said on Monday.

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 99 on Monday, against 145 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, registering the first tally of below 100 since Mar 9. New cases increased by just 451 against 675 on Sunday, the lowest daily figure since 2nd March.

U.S. and Canada

The coronavirus death toll in the United States surpassed 91,981 on Monday as the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases climbed above 1.5 million across the country, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally. 

A key model often cited by the White House has revised its death projection for the US slightly downward. It now predicts that 143,360 people will die by 4th August, 3,700 fewer deaths than its previous forecast.

President Trump, first lady Melania Trump and Vice President Mike Pence held a call with governors and leaders of the 50 states, territories, and the city of Washington, DC, and the White House Coronavirus Task Force to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Trump administration is preparing to extend travel restrictions and stringent border control measures this week related to the coronavirus pandemic, according to two administration officials.

US President Donald Trump late Monday threatened to permanently pull US funding from the World Health Organization if it does not “commit to major substantive improvements in the next 30 days.” President Trump attacked the United Nations health body as a Chinese “puppet” on Monday and confirmed he is considering slashing or cancelling US support.

 President Donald Trump said he is taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine that he’s long touted as a potential coronavirus cure. Medical experts and the FDA question its efficacy and warn of potentially harmful side effects.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) plans a nationwide study of up to 325,000 people to track how the new coronavirus is spreading across the country into next year and beyond, a CDC spokeswoman and researchers conducting the effort told Reuters.

The U.S. decline in job hiring may have hit bottom in mid-April and could be on the verge of starting to recover, according to data gathered by LinkedIn and provided to CNBC.

President Trump on Monday pushed back against a restaurant CEO’s suggestion that the restaurant industry will struggle to recover, saying his administration’s work on the issue “negates” his point.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up more than 1,000 points, or 4.25%, in the final minutes of the trading session, boosted by hopes of a coronavirus vaccine.

The United States Health and Human Services Department said Monday it is delivering $11 billion in new funding to states and territories to help them test people for coronavirus.

More than 1,000 immigrants in United States’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement custody have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the agency’s latest statistics.

Market research company Euromonitor said U.S. retail sales could be down at least 6.5% in 2020. Factors that can alter its forecast for the year include the duration of the pandemic, the government’s response, and the rate at which shoppers feel comfortable enough to return to malls and stores. 

The US Department of Health and Human Services has set aside US$11 billion in new funding to support coronavirus testing.

A man from Winter Springs, Florida, told CNN on Monday that he has been stuck on a cruise ship and then a hospital ship in an Italian port for 62 days after testing positive for Covid-19 in early April. 

New York City could begin to reopen by the first half of June, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he wants to “safely” move forward with reopening the economy, but emphasizes that the social distancing and wearing face coverings is still necessary.

Bars in Arkansas will be able to reopen starting on 26th May, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said at a news briefing on Monday. Bars inside restaurant facilities can reopen tomorrow, he said.

Texas is reporting 11 new deaths from COVID-19 today – the lowest new, daily death toll since March 31 when the state had only 4 fatalities, Texas Health and Human Services data shows.

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis said he wished President Trump would ask Americans to wear face masks in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced today an emergency rule requiring businesses to follow the existing stay-at-home order.

Gov. Andy Beshear announced today the Kentucky Department for Public Health is working with Deloitte Consulting to launch the statewide effort to gather information about contacts from newly diagnosed patients. 

The University of Notre Dame announced in a statement today that students will return to campus for their fall semester during the week of 10th August, two weeks earlier than originally scheduled.

In California and across the United States, recent data shows many children are missing their vaccines during the coronavirus pandemic.  The California Department of Public Health said the number of shots given to children up to 18 years old in California decreased by more than 40% in April 2020 in comparison to April 2019.

Joshua Tree National Park, located near Palm Springs, California, has partially reopened to the public, according to the National Park Service.

Revenues for Louisiana are expected to decline by US$900 million because of the pandemic, Gov. John Bel Edwards said Monday.

At least 2,601 workers in the state’s meat processing industry have tested positive for COVID-19 since the outbreak began, Nebraska Chief Medical officer, Dr. Gary Anthone, announced at an afternoon news conference.

Leaders in Missouri say they now have enough capacity to test every staffer and resident at long-term care facilities with a confirmed COVID-19 case.

The Navajo Nation, with the latest case count of at least 4,002 infections of COVID-19, has surpassed New York and New Jersey as having the highest per capita infection rate.

Indiana reported 492 more cases of COVID-19 on Monday, up to 28,255 total, Dr. Kristina Box, the state’s health commissioner, said.

Pennsylvania reported 822 new cases of COVID-19, according to the state’s top health executive Dr. Rachel Levine.

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced that the state will reopen public beaches in Virginia Beach this Friday ahead of Memorial Day weekend. 

Ohio’s bars and restaurants were allowed to resume outdoor service this past Friday. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said that while the reports he got over the weekend showed most establishments were following guidelines, “it’s clear that we have some outliers — businesses that were not doing what they should do.”

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an order lifting restrictions in the Upper Peninsula and the Traverse City area starting Friday at 12:01 a.m. 

Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont told reporters this afternoon that the state had hit all of its benchmarks to go ahead with its planned first phase of reopening on Wednesday.

Three more universities – Purdue University, Rice University and Creighton University – plan to cancel fall breaks and end “face-to-face” instruction before Thanksgiving, in part due to health concerns tied to a mass exit and return of students during these breaks.

Moderna said it priced an offering of 17.6 million new shares at US$76 each. The offering, which is expected to raise US$1.34 billion, comes after the biotech company reported positive data in a early-stage human trial for its coronavirus vaccine candidate.

Uber is cutting another 3,000 jobs, less than two weeks after an initial round of 3,700 cuts, CNBC confirmed.

China and Hong Kong

China recorded six new cases of coronavirus on Monday, including three locally-transmitted infections. The locally transmitted cases include two infections in Jilin province, and one new patient in Wuhan, Hubei province, authorities said. In addition, 17 new asymptomatic cases were also recorded. The total number of officially reported cases in mainland China now stands at 82,960. Some 78,241 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

Hunan province in southern China has announced a scheme to buy wild animals from farmers as the country cracks down on the trade of wildlife for consumption.

Infectious particles from COVID-19 virus were found in fecal samples from a 78-year-old COVID-19 patient at the Fifth Affiliated Hospital of Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangdong Province in late January and early February, researchers reported in the journal Emerging Infectious Diseases.

China defended its coronavirus response at World Health Assembly (WHA) on Monday. “China has insisted on detecting, reporting, isolating and treating in time. We have been focusing on patients, experts, resources and treatment. After making great efforts and sacrifices, the local transmission of the pandemic has been basically cut off now,” said Ma Xiaowei, director of China’s National Health Commission, at WHA meeting. 

Meanwhile in Hong Kong, existing gathering ban of up to 8 people and anti-epidemic measures to remain status quo, virus testings will be increased to 7,000 per day, according to Chief Executive Carrie Lam this morning.

Elsewhere in the world

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has seen his approval rating decline, with 55% of respondents in a recent Nikkei/TV Tokyo poll saying they do not have a favorable view of the government’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak. 

India’s Ministry of Health and Welfare has confirmed that more than 100,000 people have tested positive for novel coronavirus nationwide. The total number of confirmed cases stands at 101,139, including 3,163 deaths, according to the ministry.

Mexico issued guidelines on Monday for restarting operations in the automotive, mining and construction sectors, pushing ahead with reopening the economy despite a growing national toll from the COVID-19 pandemic and concerns about unsafe work sites.

Taiwan hasn’t reported any new cases of the coronavirus disease for more than a week — that’s a feat that few globally have achieved even as more countries and territories prepare to roll back containment measures. Part of Taiwan’s efforts includes the use of big data and technology, which helped authorities identity potential cases and isolate those with a higher risk of infection, according to a report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The Seychelles is taking the bold step of banning all cruise ship tourism through the end of 2021 as a measure to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Qatar confirmed 12 cases of COVID-19 at a jail on Tuesday as campaign group Human Rights Watch warned other prisoners could be at risk of contracting the disease.

El Salvador’s Supreme Court on Monday suspended the anti-coronavirus state of emergency declared by President Nayib Bukele, saying the decree’s extension was unlawful.

The coronavirus is spreading so fast among indigenous people in the most remote parts of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest that doctors are having to evacuate the most seriously-ill patients by plane.

Brazil is reporting the third most Covid-19 cases in the world, behind only the US and Russia. At least 254,220 infections have been officially recorded in the country.

Children in the Australian state of New South Wales will return to school full-time from next week, the state’s Premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters in Sydney.