#Covid19 has infected more than 167M people and has claimed at least 3.4M lives. Here are virus-related updates for May 23:

People wearing face masks a precaution against the coronavirus are seen in Dhaka, Bangladesh on May 7, 2021.
People wearing face masks a precaution against the coronavirus are seen in Dhaka, Bangladesh on May 7, 2021. (AP)

Sunday, May 23: 

Bangladesh says Covid-19 vaccines to run out in a week

Bangladesh will be through its remaining Covid-19 vaccine stocks within a week and has stepped up its efforts to replenish them to continue its mass inoculation program, according to officials.

The South Asian nation of 165 million has already contacted the US, UK and Canada through official channels to secure some 3.5 million doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine as emergency shipments, according to the Foreign Ministry and Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

"Vaccines stocks will be empty after this week across the country. Jabs have already run out at vaccination stations where more [people] have registered, while only limited doses remain in stock where registration numbers for inoculation are lower," Nazmul Islam, spokesman of the Directorate-General of Health Services (DGHS) said during a video briefing.

Italy reports 72 deaths, 3,995 new cases

Italy has reported 72 coronavirus-related deaths, down from 125 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 3,995 from 4,717.

The country has registered 125,225 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak began in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world.

Italy has reported 4.19 million cases to date.

Pakistan to reopen tourist resorts as cases decrease

Pakistan’s federal authorities have reported a decrease in Covid-19 deaths and new cases and decided to reopen tourist resorts from Monday but only for those who have either tested negative or got vaccinated.

As per the earlier decision of the federal body, schools and higher education institutions to open by Monday as well except for the southern Sindh province which opted to keep them closed for another two weeks.

Federal authorities reported 74 deaths due to Covid-19 and just over 3000 new cases of the virus in a single day.

The national body countering the spread of the virus urged people to continue to adhere to the precautionary measures of mask-wearing and maintaining physical distance at public places and during travel in public transport. 

They also stressed that people should get vaccinated.

Turkey reports over 7,800 new cases, 197 fatalities

Turkey has reported a total of 7,839 new cases, including 710 symptomatic patients.

Turkey's overall case tally is now over 5.18 million, while the nationwide death toll reached 46,268 with 197 more fatalities.

The country has administered over 27.86 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine since the launch of a mass vaccination campaign on January 14, according to official figures.

As of Sunday, more than 15.94 million people have received their first doses, while over 11.91 million have been fully vaccinated, according to the Health Ministry data.

Over 1.65B vaccine shots administered worldwide

Over 1.65 billion coronavirus vaccine shots have been given worldwide, figures compiled by Our World in Data, an online portal, showed.

China was the most vaccinated country with 497.27 million jabs, according to the data, followed by the US with almost 284 million.

India has administered 190.84 million jabs, the UK 59.8 million, and Brazil 57.61 million. Germany has reported giving nearly 44.4 million shots, France 32.2 million, and Italy 30.49 million.

The list continues with Turkey, which has administered more than 27.84 million jabs, followed by Russia, Mexico, and Indonesia.

The country with the most doses administered by population was the East African island nation of Seychelles, with 134.39 doses per 100 people.

UK reports 2,235 more cases, five further deaths

Britain has reported 2,235 more cases of Covid-19 and five further deaths within 28 days of a positive test, official data showed.

The total number of people to have received a first vaccine dose reached 37,943,681, the data also showed.

India's capital Delhi to ease restrictions as cases drop

India's capital New Delhi will start relaxing its strict coronavirus lockdown next week if new cases continue to drop in the city, its chief minister said.

The nation reported 240,842 new infections nationwide over 24 hours - the lowest daily new cases in more than a month - and 3,741 deaths.

New Delhi, one of the worst-hit cities, went into lockdown on April 20, but new cases have declined in recent weeks and test positivity rate has fallen under 2.5 percent, compared to 36 percent last month, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said.

"If cases continue to drop for a week, then from May 31 we will start the process of unlocking," Kejriwal told a news conference.

Delhi reported around 1,600 new Covid-19 cases in the previous 24 hours, he said.

France could impose tougher measures on Britain

France does not rule out "slightly tougher" health measures for travellers from Britain, the French foreign affairs minister said, citing the spread in the UK of the coronavirus variant first found in India.

"We worry about the Indian variant and we remain on high alert regarding that matter, in cooperation with British authorities", Jean-Yves Le Drian told RTL radio.

Germany's public health institute has declared Britain and Northern Ireland a virus variant region, requiring visitors from the United Kingdom to quarantine for two weeks on arrival.

Israel reopens borders to small groups of foreign tourists

Israel reopened its borders to foreign tourists after a fall in Covid-19 infections but said it would take time for visitors to start arriving and to revive the tourism industry.

Under an easing of coronavirus restrictions, the government went ahead with a plan to start letting in small groups of tourists from countries using vaccines it has approved.

"It is unlikely that the first groups will arrive before the beginning of June," a Tourism Ministry spokeswoman said.

Tourism in 2019 hit a record high of 4.55 million visitors, contributing $7.1 billion (23 billion shekels) to Israel's economy, mainly via small and mid-sized businesses.

Under a pilot programme due to continue until June 15, Israel gave the green light to visits by 20 groups of between 5 and 30 tourists from countries including the United States, Britain and Germany.

Germany needs lower virus numbers for 'carefree summer'

Germany needs to stay vigilant and further bring down the number of coronavirus infections if the country is to enjoy a "carefree summer" and large-scale reopenings, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

"The weather is improving, the number of vaccinations is rising, infection rates are falling. The restrictions will fall one by one," Spahn told the Bild am Sonntag newspaper.

"And that's incredibly important after the long, dark winter months. But for a carefree summer, we need to lower the incidence rate even further," he said.

Germany has in recent weeks managed to break a third wave of the pandemic after imposing strict nationwide curbs and picking up the pace of vaccinations.

The closely watched seven-day incidence rate in the European Union's most populous country has fallen from 169 new infections per 100,000 people in late April to 64.5.

Russia reports 8,951 new cases, lifting total above 5 million

Russia reported 8,951 new Covid-19 cases, including 2,924 in Moscow, taking the official national tally since the pandemic began to 5,001,505.

The government coronavirus task force said that 357 people had died of coronavirus-linked causes in the past 24 hours, pushing the national death toll to 118,482.

Malaysia reports 6,976 cases, record daily count

Malaysia reported a record 6,976 new coronavirus cases amid a recent surge in infections, raising the total count in the country since the pandemic began to 512,091.

The Southeast Asian's previous record of 6,806 new cases in one day was set on May 20, when it also saw its highest daily death toll of 59.

Indonesia finds new virus cluster after cargo ship infections

Indonesia reported a new cluster of 42 infections among medical workers who treated 13 Filipino ship crew who were sick with the virus, and is tracing dozens of others, a government official said.

About 140 other medical workers came into close contact with the crew of the Panamanian-flagged cargo ship Hilma Bulker, who tested positive for the new coronavirus after docking in Central Java on April 25, the province's governor, Ganjar Pranowo, told Reuters. The vessel had come from India.

Genome sequencing showed the crew had the highly infectious B.1617.2 variant first identified in India, Ganjar said, adding that one of them had later died in hospital.

Taiwan reports another rise in domestic virus cases

Taiwan reported 457 new domestic virus cases, including 170 cases added to the totals for days over the past week as it continues to readjust its infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests. 

China reports 19 new mainland virus cases vs 10 a day earlier

China reported 19 new virus cases on May 22, up from 10 cases a day earlier, the country's national health authority said.

The National Health Commission said in a statement that 18 of the new cases were imported infections. The number of new asymptomatic cases, which China does not classify as confirmed cases, was 25, including one local case.

One new local infection was reported in Luan city in the eastern province of Anhui, local health authorities said late Saturday. The patient was a close contact of a previous case and was under centralised quarantine since May 13.

Pandemic offers southern Italians chance to return home

Sipping a craft beer on a warm spring evening in Catania, Sicily, Corrado Paterno Castello spares a thought for friends and colleagues he left behind in Milan, 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) north.

"Today, between meetings, I had a swim at the beach," the 29-year-old entrepreneur told AFP, with a beaming smile.

"The quality of life you have here is very different from what you experience up north, and it is priceless."

Croatia ready to welcome foreign tourists, hoping they come

Sun loungers are out, beach bars are open and rave music is pumping. Hotels and restaurants are greeting visitors hoping to get a head start on summer after more than a year of coronavirus lockdowns and travel restrictions.

Croatia has widely reopened its stunning Adriatic coastline for foreign tourists, becoming one of the first European countries to drop most of its pandemic measures. Now, the ability of people to go there depends on each country's travel rules.

Virus death toll in India nears 300,000

India reported 3,741 virus deaths over the last 24 hours and 240,842 new infections.

The country's total death toll was at 299,266 while total infections stood at 26.5 million, according to data from the health ministry.

India leads the world in the daily average number of new deaths reported, accounting for one in every three deaths reported worldwide each day, according to a Reuters tally.

Thailand finds first local cases of South African variant

Thailand has detected the first local cases of the variant discovered in South Africa, a group of scientists said on Saturday, saying the finding should prompt vaccination efforts to be ramped up.

The South African variant, known as B.1.351, carries mutations that threaten the efficacy of vaccines, several studies have shown.

In Thailand, the variant was identified in three test samples from a cluster of infections that could be linked to illegal migration in the south of the country, the COVID-19 Network Investigations Alliance said in a report.

Thai health authorities did not immediately comment on the scientists' findings.

Thailand detected the South African variant on February 15 in a Thai man who had travelled from Tanzania and was put under the mandatory quarantine upon arrival.

But the discovery of a domestic transmission of the variant could complicate the country's efforts to tackle its worst outbreak so far.

The country report 3,052 new cases and 24 more deaths on Saturday, bringing the total to 126,118 cases and 759 fatalities since the pandemic started last year.

Guide: Over 100 virus cases on Everest

An outbreak on Mount Everest has infected at least 100 climbers and support staff, an expert mountaineering guide said, giving the first comprehensive estimate amid official Nepalese denials that the disease has spread to the world’s highest peak.

Lukas Furtenbach of Austria, who last week became the only prominent outfitter to halt his Everest expedition due to virus fears, said Saturday one of his foreign guides and six Nepali Sherpa guides have tested positive.

“I think with all the confirmed cases we know now – confirmed from (rescue) pilots, from insurance, from doctors, from expedition leaders – I have the positive tests so we can prove this,” Furtenbach told The Associated Press in Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.

“We have at least 100 people minimum positive for Covid in base camp, and then the numbers might be something like 150 or 200,” he said.

Mexico reports 2,586 new cases

Mexico reported 2,586 new confirmed cases and 341 additional fatalities on Saturday, according to health ministry data, bringing the total number of cases to 2,395,330 and the overall death toll to 221,597.

Brazil registers 1,899 new deaths

Brazil on Saturday registered 1,899 new virus deaths, the Health Ministry said, bringing the total death toll in the country to 448,208.

Confirmed cases rose by 76,490 and now total 16,047,439, the ministry said.

US CDC investigating heart problem in few young vaccine recipients – media

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is looking into reports that a very small number of teenagers and young adults vaccinated against the coronavirus may have experienced heart problems, The New York Times reported, citing the agency's vaccine safety group.

The CDC is reviewing several dozen reports that teenagers and young adults may have developed myocarditis, an inflammation of the heart muscle, after vaccination, the New York Times said, citing CDC officials.

There were "relatively few" cases and they may be entirely unrelated to vaccination, the newspaper said, citing a statement from the CDC's vaccine safety group.

The review is in the early stages, and the agency has yet to determine whether there is any evidence the vaccines caused the heart condition, the New York Times said.

English health body: Two shots effective against India variant

A double dose of vaccines is almost as effective against the fast-spreading variant first identified in India as it is against Britain's dominant strain, English health officials said.

Britain's health minister said the data was groundbreaking and he was increasingly hopeful that the government would be able to lift more restrictions next month.

A study by Public Health England found the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine was 88 percent effective against symptomatic disease from the B.1.617.2 variant two weeks after the second dose.

That compared with 93 percent effectiveness against the B.1.1.7 "Kent" strain which is Britain's dominant COVID variant.

Two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine were 60 percent effective against symptomatic disease from the Indian variant compared with 66 percent effectiveness against the Kent variant, PHE said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies