Coronavirus pandemic has killed over 3.5 million people and infected nearly 171 million globally. Follow this thread for all the coronavirus-related developments for May 30:

A health worker administers Covishield during a special vaccination drive in Hyderabad, India, May 30, 2021.
A health worker administers Covishield during a special vaccination drive in Hyderabad, India, May 30, 2021. (AP)

Sunday, May 30

Over 1.87 billion coronavirus vaccine shots given

Over 1.87 billion coronavirus vaccine shots have so far been given worldwide, figures compiled by Our World in Data, a tracking website, showed.

China leads the global count with 620.97 million jabs, followed by the US with 293.71 million.

India has administered 207.09 million shots, Brazil 66.93 million, and the UK 63.96 million.

Turkey registers 6,933 new cases

Turkey has registered 6,933 new coronavirus cases, including 582 symptomatic patients, across the country in the last 24 hours. 

Turkey's overall case tally is now over 5.24 million, while the nationwide death toll has reached 47,405 with 134 new fatalities.

The country has administered nearly one million coronavirus jabs over the past week, according to official figures.

Italy reports 44 deaths 

Italy has reported 44 coronavirus-related deaths, down from 83 the day before, and the daily tally of new infections fell to 2,949 from 3,351, the health ministry said.

Egypt to lift restrictions from June 1

Egypt will lift restrictions imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, including easing the early closure of shops and restaurants, from Tuesday, the cabinet said.

Since May 6, stores, malls and restaurants had to close by 9 p.m. after a rise in infections.

Egypt imposed strict measures at the start of the pandemic, closing its airspace and setting nightly curfews to combat the spread of the virus, but it has remained largely open since June 2020.

As part of its efforts to save the tourism sector, it completed vaccinating workers in all hotels in Southern Sinai and Red Sea provinces and plans to vaccinate all residents of the two resorts of Hurghada and Sharm el-Sheik, the cabinet said on Sunday.

Kenya extends nightly curfew by 60 days

Kenya has extended its nightly curfew by 60 days to slow the spread of Covid-19, the Interior Ministry said.

The move followed a decision by President Uhuru Kenyatta in late March to extend the 10 pm to 4 am (1900GMT to 0100GMT) curfew.

A ban on political gatherings and processions that could turn into super spreader events was also extended for 60 days, as was a prohibition on overnight events and vigils, the ministry said.

Italy prolongs entry ban for India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

Italy extended Sunday an entry ban for people coming from India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, as a continued precaution against the more transmissible Indian variant of the novel coronavirus.

The ban, which does not apply to Italian citizens, was introduced in late April and was due to expire on Sunday. It was prolonged until June 21, a spokesman for Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said in a statement.

South Africa extends nightly curfew, limits gatherings 

South Africa has extended its nightly curfew and limited the number of people at gatherings to slow the spread of Covid-19 as positive cases surge, President Cyril Ramaphosa said.

The level two lockdown restrictions will start on Monday, forcing non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres to close by 2000 local time (2000GMT) as the curfew will start at 2300 from midnight and end at 0400, Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation. 

South Korea to get 1M J&J vaccines from US this week

South Korea's Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Sunday that 1 million doses of Johnson & Johnson's (J&J) vaccines will arrive this week, including for 550,000 soldiers, after the US almost doubled its earlier pledge.

US President Joe Biden, at his first summit with President Moon Jae-in earlier this month, promised to supply shots for 550,000 South Korean troops. The two agreed to forge a vaccine partnership to boost regional and global supplies.

Kim said the shipment of the J&J vaccines had doubled since the summit and will arrive this week, thanking the Biden administration for showing its commitment to the bilateral alliance.

India to produce 120M vaccines for local use

India will have nearly 120 million doses of vaccines available for domestic use in June, the government said on Sunday.

This marks a significant jump from the 79.4 million doses that were available in May.

India has administered about 212 million doses, the most after China and the US, but has given the necessary two doses to only about 3% of its 1.35 billion people.

UK could make jabs compulsory in healthcare

The British government is thinking about making vaccination compulsory for healthcare workers to stop the spread of the virus in hospitals, vaccine minister Nadhim Zahawi said on Sunday.

"It would be incumbent on any responsible government to have the debate, to do the thinking as to how we go about protecting the most vulnerable by making sure that those who look after them are vaccinated," he told Sky News.

"There is precedent for this; obviously surgeons get vaccinated for hepatitis B. So it's something that we are absolutely thinking about."

Singapore PM to provide update on plans to keep virus under control

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said he would share plans on Monday on how the authorities are planning to keep the virus under control while opening up the city-state's economy again.

"Tomorrow, I intend to share with you how we plan to keep Covid-19 under control, while progressively opening up again. The solution: testing, contact tracing, and vaccinating, all faster, and more. Also: What will the new normal be like," he said in a Facebook post.

Singapore this month re-imposed some restrictions on social gatherings, the toughest since exiting a lockdown last year, to combat a recent spike in local Covid-19 infections.

Taiwan hasn't given up hope of getting BioNTech vaccines

Taiwan has not given up hope of eventually getting vaccines from Germany's BioNTech SE , Health Minister Chen Shih-chung said on Sunday, a deal that Taipei's government has blamed China for not being able to complete.

After recording just a handful of daily infections for months, Taiwan is dealing with relatively large numbers of community transmissions, though infection rates are starting to fall.

It has only vaccinated around 1% of its more than 23 million people but has almost 30 million shots on order, from AstraZeneca, Moderna and two domestic firms.

The Chinese-claimed island has blamed Beijing for nixing a deal earlier this year for BioNTech vaccines, which China denies.

Malaysia to ramp up vaccinations as new infections surge

Malaysia is planning to set up more mega vaccination centres and get private doctors to join immunisation efforts, after five consecutive days of record daily infections.

Science Minister Khairy Jamaluddin told a virtual news briefing on Sunday that the government will set up another five mega vaccination centres around the capital, Kuala Lumpur, and are considering two in the northern state of Penang and in the southern state of Johor.

The government will also train general practitioners to administer vaccines, he said, noting some vaccines need to be handled and stored differently than usual vaccines.

Millions in India forced into poverty by virus crisis

Rasheeda Jaleel lives in fear that she may not be able to feed her seven children as millions of Indian families are forced into poverty by a devastating new wave.

The 40-year-old, her husband Abdul Jaleel, 65, and the children already survive on just one meal a day.

"When we are hungry and thirsty, I feel very helpless and worry, 'How am I going to survive like this?'" Jaleel told AFP as she made roti -- flatbread -- for the solitary meal in their tiny New Delhi flat.

"We manage with whatever my husband is able to earn. If it's not enough, I stay hungry so I can feed my children."

The virus has killed 160,000 in eight weeks, overwhelmed hospitals and shut many businesses in India. 

Experts warn that another crisis is looming, with rising levels of hunger among poor Indians already reeling from a first lockdown last year.

"It's a double crisis that the poor in the country are facing –- there is the health crisis and there is also an income economic crisis," Anjali Bhardwaj from the Right to Food Campaign told AFP.

"We have had a huge health crisis unfolding... and many have had to spend their life savings on trying to provide medical aid to their families."

About 230 million Indians fell into poverty, defined as living on less than 375 rupees ($5) per day, in the first year of the pandemic, according to a study by Bangalore's Azim Premji University. 

On Sunday, the country reported its lowest daily rise in new infections in 46 days at 165,553 cases during the previous 24 hours, while deaths rose by 3,460.

The South Asian nation's tally of infections now stands at 27.9 million, with the death toll has reached 325,972, health ministry data showed.

Lebanon vaccinates over 10,000 people in day-long drive

Lebanon vaccinated more than 10,000 people as part of a day-long vaccine "marathon" organised by the health ministry to ramp up inoculation rates in the crisis-hit country.

The ministry said 10,452 people over the age of 30 received jabs of the AstraZeneca vaccine at different facilities across the country.

They were allowed to enter vaccination centres on a walk-in basis from early Saturday morning in what health authorities have dubbed a vaccine "marathon".

The capital Beirut and some other parts of the country were excluded from the initiative, but outgoing health minister Hamad Hassan said there were plans for a second such event that would cover more areas.

"Some regions didn't want to participate but after today's encouraging experience, everyone will soon take part," he said, without specifying when.

Lebanon, mired in its worst economic crisis since the 1975-1990 civil war, has recorded 540,132 coronavirus cases, including 7,718 deaths, since its outbreak began last year.

Myanmar virus outbreak hits health system shattered after coup

Breathless, fevered and without the extra oxygen that could help keep them alive, the new coronavirus patients at a hospital near Myanmar's border with India highlight the threat to a health system near collapse since February's coup.

To help her tend the seven virus patients at Cikha hospital, day and night, chief nurse Lun Za En has a lab technician and a pharmacist's assistant.

Mostly, they offer kind words and paracetamol.

"We don't have enough oxygen, enough medical equipment, enough electricity, enough doctors or enough ambulances," Lun Za En, 45, told Reuters from the town of just over 10,000.

"We are operating with three staff instead of 11.

Myanmar's anti-Covid campaign foundered along with the rest of the health system after the military seized power on Feb. 1 and overthrew elected leader Aung San Suu Kyi, whose government had stepped up testing, quarantine and treatment. 

Health workers sue Texas hospital over compulsory vaccinations

A group of 117 healthcare workers at a Texas hospital filed a lawsuit in state court against their employer's mandate requiring all staff to get vaccinations, Washington Post reported.

Employees of Houston Methodist Hospital said in the lawsuit that their employer's compulsory immunisation requirement violated the Nuremberg Code, a set of standards designed after WWII to prevent experimentation on human subjects without their consent, the Post reported.

They also said the hospital presented them with the choice of either getting a vaccine or losing their job, which violated state law, and asked the court to bar Houston Medical from firing unvaccinated staffers, the report said.

Brazilians protest against President Bolsonaro's virus response

Brazilians staged protests against President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic in at least 16 cities across the country on Saturday, carrying signs such as "Out with Bolsonaro" and "Impeachment now."

Bolsonaro's popularity has plummeted during the coronavirus crisis, which has killed more than 460,000 Brazilians as the far-right leader played down its severity, dismissed mask wearing and cast doubt on the importance of vaccines.

Organised by leftist political parties, unions and student associations, Saturday's protests in the capital Brasilia and in Rio de Janeiro were peaceful, but in the northeastern city of Recife, police threw tear gas and shot rubber bullets.

In Sao Paulo, Brazil's largest city, thousands of mask-wearing people blocked one the largest city's avenues. One large balloon depicted Bolsonaro as a vampire.

Some protests, like the one in Rio, included images of former leftist president Luis Inacio Lula da Silva wearing the presidential sash.

Australia's Victoria state reports 5 cases on day 3 of lockdown

Australia's Victoria state reported five new local virus cases on Sunday, including in a worker at a Melbourne aged care facility where not all of the residents have been vaccinated.

The infections on the third day of a week-long lockdown raise the total to 40 in the latest cluster, which started with a returning overseas traveller who tested positive after leaving a quarantine hotel.

Victoria's acting premier, James Merlino, said at a briefing that 70% of the traveller's close contacts have so far tested negative for the coronavirus.

"But it is true to say that this remains a day-by-day proposition," Merlino said.

Pfizer-BioNTech less effective against Indian variant

The Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine is slightly less effective but appears to still protect against the more transmissible Indian strain of the virus that causes Covid-19, according to a  study by France's Pasteur Institute.

Paris stages test concert

Starved of live music for the past year, fans of veteran French rock band Indochine got the chance to see their idols in concert, all in the name of Covid-19 research.

Around 5,000 concert goers took part in the experimental event at Paris's Bercy concert hall. Another 2,500 volunteers who did not attend the concert will serve as a comparison group.

Vaccine discount for Florida punk concert

Fans of punk bands Teenage BottleRocket, MakeWar and Rutterkin can get tickets for a June 26 concert in Saint Petersburg, Florida, for a "discounted" $18 if they can produce proof they have been fully vaccinated. If not, admission costs an even $999.99.

Germany probes testing centres for fraud

Prosecutors in several German regions have launched probes of companies offering free Covid-19 tests after news reports said some were padding their numbers to claim more money from the government.

French budget deficit swells

The French 2021 budget deficit is forecast to swell to 220 billion euros, 47 billion more than previously estimated, owing to measures taken to underpin recovery from the coronavirus epidemic, the public accounts minister told AFP. 

Canada extends shelf life of AstraZeneca jab by 1 month

Canadian health authorities announced Saturday they were pushing back the expiration date on nearly 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine by one month.

Health Canada said in a statement its approval to extend the shelf life of two lots of vaccine from May 31 to July 1 was supported by "scientific evidence."

A spokesperson for Health Canada said that as of May 22, there were about 49,000 doses of AstraZeneca in the country with an expiration date of May 31.

CBC reported that most were in Ontario province.

Canadian health authorities had previously approved a six-month shelf life for AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine.

But they said they received information from the company on May 27 including "product stability and mathematical modelling data" that showed the two lots could be safely and effectively used for an extra month.

Mexico reports 2,725 cases, 383 more deaths

Mexico has reported another 2,725 coronavirus cases and an additional 383 deaths, according to health ministry data, bringing the overall number of cases to 2,411,503 and the death toll to 223,455.

More states ease lingering virus rules as vaccine rates rise

Just in time for Memorial Day weekend, more US cities and states are shrugging off lingering Covid-19 restrictions as vaccination rates rise and the number of infections falls.

Massachusetts lifted a mask requirement Saturday, a day after New Jersey dropped its mandate. In New York City and Chicago, officials reopened public beaches, though winds and cool temperatures kept crowds away.

Chicago's Navy Pier also reopened retail stores and restaurants, carnival rides, and tour boats and cruises after the pandemic forced months-long closures at the busy tourist destination.

It's one more sign of progress that reflects increasingly positive health data. On Saturday, Illinois' Department of Public Health reported 802 new confirmed and probable infections, the second-lowest one-day total in the last six months.

For businesses nationwide, the improving outlook and long holiday weekend offered a chance to welcome customers back to in-person shopping.

Midtown Scholar Bookstore in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, opened its doors to customers for the first time in nearly 14 months Friday.

Masks are still required.

Minnesota lifted all statewide coronavirus restrictions for bars and restaurants Friday, though local governments can maintain their own social distancing and mask rules.

Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker lifted a mask mandate effective Saturday, though face coverings are still required in certain places, including on public transportation.

The state also still encourages unvaccinated people to wear masks in indoor or public areas.

Virginia relaxed its distancing and capacity restrictions on Friday. 

Millions of Americans planned to travel over the long weekend, and airports reported some of their highest traffic since the pandemic began.

Venezuela implements second phase of vaccination plan

Inside a state-owned hotel that became a makeshift health center in March 2020, the Venezuelan government implemented the second phase of its Covid-19 vaccination plan.

On Saturday, hundreds of people over 60 attended the Alba Caracas Hotel in the Venezuelan capital to get their first dose of the Russian vaccine Sputnik-V and the Chinese Sinopharm vaccine.

Venezuela began the first phase of vaccination on February 18, focusing on the health, security and education sectors.

Since February, 380,000 doses of the Russian vaccine Sputnik V have arrived, 3.8 percent of the 10 million vaccines initially agreed in December between the governments of Caracas and Moscow.

Government authorities also announced on Saturday that Venezuela has already paid the total amount required to benefit from the COVAX mechanism.

Through COVAX, created by the United Nations to facilitate equitable access to immunization, 11,374,400 doses of the different range of vaccines provided by COVAX could reach Venezuela according to government figures.

That volume represents 20 percent of the vaccines needed to immunise the Venezuelan population, estimated at around 30 million.  

Recently, the Pan American Health Organization indicated that Venezuela had paid $101 million to secure COVAX vaccines, with $18 million remaining to be cancelled.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies