The number of global Covid-19 cases has surged past 3.5 million with more than 247,000 deaths. Here are the developments on the pandemic for May 3, 2020.

Health workers rest near the NYU Langone Hospital, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, May 3, 2020.
Health workers rest near the NYU Langone Hospital, during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) in the Manhattan borough of New York City, New York, US, May 3, 2020. (Eduardo Munoz / Reuters)

Sunday, May 3, 2020

US CDC reports total of 1,122,486 cases, 65,735 deaths

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported 1,122,486 cases of Covid-19, an increase of 29,671 infections from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,452 to 65,735.

The CDC reported its tally of cases of the respiratory illness known as Covid-19, caused by the novel coronavirus, as of 4 PM on Saturday, compared with its count a day earlier. 

The CDC figures do not necessarily reflect cases reported by individual states. 

Total cases in Brazil rise above 100,000

There have been 4,588 new cases of the novel coronavirus in Brazil and 275 deaths during the past 24 hours, the health ministry said, bringing total confirmed cases in the country to over 100,000.

The nation has now registered 101,147 confirmed cases of the virus and 7,025 deaths. The number of cases increased roughly 5 percent from the previous day, while deaths rose by roughly 4 percent, the ministry said.

Serbia to end state of emergency as infections slow

Serbia will end its state of emergency over the coronavirus next week, as the rate of infections has slowed sufficiently, President Aleksandar Vucic said.

The lifting of the state of emergency should be ratified by the government-controlled parliament on Wednesday, Vucic said.

The Balkan nation has confirmed 9,464 cases and 193 people deaths from the Covid-19 disease, but infections have declined to under 5 percent of the thousands of people tested daily, epidemiologists say.

French quarantine to spare travellers from Schengen area and UK

Travellers to France who arrive from a country in Europe's Schengen open-border area or Britain will be exempt from a planned compulsory two-week quarantine, the French consulate in Britain said.

The new quarantine rules will apply to travellers, whether French or foreigners, as part of the fight against the new coronavirus.

France, which has been the fifth-hardest hit country with 24,895 deaths from Covid-19, is preparing to gradually lift lockdown measures from May 11.

Italy reports lowest toll since first day of lockdown

Italy reported 174 new coronavirus deaths, its lowest toll since 168 fatalities were registered when the country's stay-at-home orders were imposed on March 10.

The Mediterranean country's toll on the eve of its first easing of lockdown measures on Monday officially stands at 28,884 dead, second only to the United States.

The 1,389 new infections were also the lowest since the first week of March.

France reports 135 more deaths

The number of people who have died in France after contracting the new coronavirus rose by 135 to 24,895, the health ministry said.

The number of people treated in hospital for the coronavirus and the number of people in intensive care units continued to decline, it said.

The number of people in hospital with the Covid-19 respiratory disease fell to 25,815 from 25,827 on Saturday, and the number of people in intensive care fell to 3,819 from 3,827. 

UK's toll up by 315

The United Kingdom's death toll from Covid-19 rose to 28,446, an increase of 315, according to data that includes hospitals and other settings like nursing homes.

The data, produced by the official Public Health England and its counterparts in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, records the number of deaths in a 24-hour reporting period.

Jordan lifts all curbs on economic activity

Jordan said it had lifted all restrictions on economic activity in the latest easing of coronavirus lockdown rules to help jump-start the cash-strapped economy.

Jordan has in the last two weeks been lifting restrictions to allow businesses back to work, but with lower levels of staff and strict social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

Minister of Industry and Trade Tariq Hammouri said businesses and industries would now be able to resume production.

Public transport will be allowed to return to full normal service with safety guidelines following the outbreak, but universities and schools will remain closed and a night curfew will continue.

JK Rowling donates to Covid-19 victims of domestic violence, homeless

"Harry Potter" author JK Rowling has donated $1.25 million (£1 million) to help victims of domestic abuse and homelessness during the pandemic after recovering from the virus herself.

The British writer said the money would be split between the charities Crisis and Refuge, which help the homeless and victims of domestic violence respectively.

India, Bangladesh report biggest one day jumps

India reported its biggest one-day jump in coronavirus cases as the country entered the 40th day of a nationwide lockdown.

Confirmed infections have neared the 40,000 mark and the death toll has reached 1,301, including 83 deaths in the last 24 hours, officials said. The 2,600 newly confirmed cases are a single-day high for the country.

Bangladesh also confirmed its highest single-day total, announcing 665 new cases. The country has confirmed a total of 9,455 cases, including 177 deaths. There are major concerns that Bangladesh's front-line fighters like doctors, nurses and police are facing serious dangers of being infected.

At least 113 police officers have been infected over the last 24 hours, raising the total to 854, police officials said. More than 500 doctors have also been infected with the virus, according to a doctors' group.

Canada reports 160 new deaths

The total number of people killed by the coronavirus in Canada rose by 4.6 percent to 3,606 on Sunday, official data posted by the public health agency showed. 

The figure for those diagnosed with the coronavirus rose to 57,148, according to a statement posted on the agency's website. On Saturday there were 3,446 deaths and 55,572 positive diagnoses.

Pompeo says "enormous evidence" virus came from Wuhan lab

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there was "enormous evidence" that the coronavirus pandemic originated in a laboratory in Wuhan, China.

"There is enormous evidence that this is where it began," he said on ABC's "This Week."

But while highly critical of China's handling of the matter, Pompeo declined to say whether he thought the virus had been intentionally released.

US President Donald Trump has been increasingly critical of China's role in the pandemic, which has infected nearly 3.5 million people and killed more than 240,000 around the world.

He has insisted that Beijing recklessly concealed important information about the outbreak and demanded that Beijing be held "accountable."

Turkey extends travel restrictions for 31 provinces

Turkey extended restrictions on entry and exit for 31 provinces till Monday.

A statement by the Interior Ministry said all travels by land, sea and air are restricted till midnight.

It said that the restrictions applied in 31 provinces as part of coronavirus measures will be evaluated at the Cabinet meeting to be chaired by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday and a decision will be taken regarding the measures.

Dutch coronavirus cases rise 335 to 40,571 

The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has increased by 335 to 40,471, Dutch health authorities said.

The National Institute for Public Health reported 69 new deaths, taking total fatalities to 5,056. The authorities stress that the actual number of infections is likely higher because not all suspected Covid-19 patients are being tested.

Vietnam reports first new coronavirus infection in 9 days

Vietnam reported its first new virus infection in nine days on Sunday, a British oil expert who was quarantined on arrival, the health ministry said.

The Southeast Asian country has registered a total of 271 cases and has reported no deaths, the ministry said in a statement. 

Over 30,500 people have been quarantined, and 261,000 tests have been carried out.

Iran reports low daily death toll

The death toll in Iran rose by 47 over the past 24 hours to 6,203, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said on state TV.

Iran, one of the Middle Eastern countries hardest hit by the outbreak, has a total of 97,424 case, he said.

Indonesia reports 349 new virus cases

Indonesia reported 349 new cases, taking the total number of infections in the Southeast Asian country to 11,192, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto said 14 new virus-related deaths were confirmed, bringing the total to 845.

More than 83,000 people have been tested for the virus, he added. 

Spain reports lowest death toll in seven weeks

Spain's Health Ministry reported that 164 had died in the past 24-hours bringing the total to 25,264, marking the lowest one-day increase since March 18.

Confirmed cases of the virus rose to 217,466 from 216,582 on Saturday, the ministry said.

Malaysia reports 122 new virus cases

Malaysia reported 122 new confirmed cases, taking the cumulative total to 6,298 infections.

The health ministry also reported two new deaths, raising the total number of fatalities from the outbreak to 105.

Russia records highest daily toll in the world

Russia recorded the highest daily rise in new virus cases in the world, with 10,633 new cases, bringing the overall number of cases to 134,686, according to the authorities' official website.

The mortality rate has slowed in recent days and remains much lower than other countries.

The nationwide death toll rose to 1,280 after 58 people died in the last 24 hours, Russia's crisis response centre said.

Philippines cases surpass 9,000

The number of cases in the Philippines climbed to 9,223 after the Health Ministry reported 295 new infections.

The ministry also recorded four more deaths, bringing the tally to 607.

Another 90 people recovered, it added, bringing total recoveries to 1,214.

Iran to reopen many mosques as lockdown eases: Rouhani

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said mosques would reopen across large parts of the country Monday after being shuttered since early March over outbreak.

Rouhani said 132 counties, or about one third of the administrative divisions, would "reopen their mosques as of tomorrow," speaking at a televised virus task force meeting.

Maintaining "social distancing is more important than collective prayer," he added, arguing that Islam considers safety obligatory while praying in mosques is only recommended.

Singapore reports 657 new cases

Singapore's health ministry confirmed 657 new virus infections, taking the city-state's total to 18,205.

Most of the new cases are among migrant workers living in dormitories, the ministry said.

South Korea to relax social distancing rules further

South Korea will further relax social distancing rules starting on May 6, allowing a phased reopening of businesses, as the nation has largely managed to bring the outbreak under control, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said.

The government "will allow businesses to resume at facilities in phases that had remained closed up until now, and also allow gatherings and events to take place assuming they follow disinfection guidelines," he told a televised meeting of government officials.

Thailand reports its lowest number of cases since early March

Thailand reported only three new virus cases and no new deaths, as the country started lifting restrictions on some businesses and aspects of life.

The new infections marked the lowest number since early March, just before the country started reporting clusters and tolls started rising.

Thailand has seen a total of 2,969 cases and 54 deaths since the outbreak began in January.

New daily infections have stayed in the single digits for a week. 

The government has allowed some businesses and public parks to reopen on Sunday, as well as resumed alcohol sales.

Covid-19 cases in Germany rises over 165,000

The number of confirmed cases in Germany rose by 793 to 165,760, data from tracker Worldometer showed.

The death toll rose by 74 to 6,886.

Australia fights virus clusters as parts of country ease restrictions

Australia's state of Victoria saw its highest increase in new cases in weeks on Sunday and New South Wales state struggled with a cluster of infections at an aged care facility, as parts of the country began easing distancing rules.

Thirteen new cases were recorded in Victoria, health officials said, with six of the cases related to an infections cluster at a meat processing facility in Melbourne.

In New South Wales there were four new cases, two of which were recorded at the Newmarch aged care facility in Sydney, where more than 60 people have been infected and 14 have died.

Australia and neighbouring New Zealand, which have closed borders and imposed lockdowns and tight social restrictions, have been hailed for containing Covid-19 outbreaks, but the measures are set to push both economies into recession.

Roche gets US FDA emergency use nod for Covid-19 antibody test

Roche Holding AG received emergency use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antibody test to help determine if people have ever been infected with the coronavirus, the Swiss drugmaker said

Governments, businesses and individuals are seeking such blood tests, to help them learn more about who may have had the dis ease, who may have some immunity and to potentially craft strategies to end lockdowns that have battered global economies.

Roche had previously pledged to make its antibody test available by early May and to boost production by June to "high double-digit millions" per month.

The Basel-based company, which also makes separate molecular tests to identify people with active Covid-19 infections, said its antibody test, Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2, has a specificity rate of about 99.8% and sensitivity rate of 100%.

These rates help determine if a patient has been exposed to CovidD-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, and if the patient has developed antibodies against it.

Cremation traumatises in virus-hit Philippines

Families of virus victims in the Philippines are being denied traditional death rites in favour of hurried, impersonal cremations, with virus restrictions often meaning they are forbidden a last look at their loved ones.

It is a painful and disorienting process for both the families and crematory workers that has upended the Philippines' intimate rituals of laying the dead to rest.

Burial is the norm in the Catholic-majority nation, and it usually follows a days-long display of the embalmed body at home or in a chapel.

But due to the pandemic authorities are encouraging rapid cremations, though quick burials are still allowed, of suspected or confirmed Covid-19 deaths.

Wakes are barred in these cases and hospitals must seal remains in plastic and send them directly to crematories or funeral homes.

Before the virus struck, families opting for cremation were able to have one last look at their loved one before the body was consigned to the flames.

Virus sweeping through massive US prison population

A massive wave of infections is blasting through the world's largest prison population in the United States even as officials begin opening up their economies, saying the disease has plateaued.

One prison in Marion, Ohio has become the most intensely infected institution across the country, with more than 80 percent of its nearly 2,500 inmates, and 175 staff on top of that, testing positive for Covid-19.

Virus deaths are on the increase in jails and penitentiaries across the country, with officials having few options, they are unable to force adequate distancing in crowded cells and facing shortages of medical personnel and personal protective gear everywhere.

Riots over inadequate protection and slow responses by prison authorities have already taken place in prisons in Washington state and Kansas.

Because of the hodge-podge of prison management, federal, state, and local authorities have their own, and many are run by for-profit private companies, testing and reporting has been haphazard.

Prison advocacy groups say that little has been done at the state and federal level to release prisoners who are non-violent or whose terms were near completion, which could lessen their danger of infection and create more space in the facilities.

US deaths climb by 1,435 in 24 hours

Virus deaths in the United States climbed by 1,435 in the past 24 hours, a tally by Johns Hopkins University showed, bringing the total number of fatalities to more than 66,000.

The Baltimore-based university had recorded more than 1.1 million cases in the country as of 8:30 pm Saturday (0030 GMT Sunday), with 66,224 deaths, a two percent rise from a day earlier.

The United States has by far the highest death toll of any country in the global pandemic.

Mexico posts 1,349 new cases, 2,061 total deaths

Mexico's health ministry reported 1,349 new known virus cases and 89 more deaths, bringing the country's total to 22,088 cases and 2,061 deaths.

The head of Mexico's consumer protection agency, Ricardo Sheffield, said on Twitter on Saturday he had tested positive, becoming at least the second high-ranking federal government official with the virus.

Panama records 370 more cases as testing increases

Panama registered 370 more cases, bringing its total to 7,090 cases and 197 deaths, the health ministry said, noting that the newly registered cases were partially due to increased testing.

However, Luis Sucre, Panama's health vice minister, said about a quarter of all tests performed were positive in the country, which is one of Latin America's busiest transit points.

"This tells us that we're not meeting our required objectives for this phase," he told reporters.

Venezuela eases lockdown for children, seniors

Venezuela's lockdown was eased for the second weekend in a row, allowing children and people over 65 to leave their homes for a few hours.

Families took advantage of the opportunity, taking to public squares and sports courts to get some exercise.

Children were seen playing with kites and looking at farm animals in a square in the centre of the capital Caracas.

Everyone appeared to be heeding calls from President Nicolas Maduro to wear face masks.

The Venezuelan government has reported 345 cases of the virus and 10 deaths.

Brazil reports 4,970 new cases, 421 deaths

There have been 4,970 new cases in Brazil and 421 deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said.

The nation has now registered 95,559 confirmed cases of the virus and 6,750 deaths. 

New cases increased roughly 5.4 percent on Saturday from the previous day, while deaths rose by roughly 6.7 percent.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies