The global coronavirus pandemic has affected more than 5.5 million people, with over 346,000 deaths, according to a tracker. Here are coronavirus-related updates for May 25:

A vial with a potential vaccine for coronavirus is lifted at Novavax labs in Rockville, Maryland on March 20, 2020
A vial with a potential vaccine for coronavirus is lifted at Novavax labs in Rockville, Maryland on March 20, 2020 (AFP)

WHO warns Brazil against reopening its economy

The World Health Organization warned Brazil against reopening its economy before it can perform enough testing to control the spread of the pandemic.

The organization’s executive director, Michael Ryan, said in a news conference that Brazil’s “intense” transmission rates meant it should keep some sort of stay-at-home measures in place, regard less of negative impacts on the economy.

Rio de Janeiro’s Mayor Marcelo Crivella, an evangelical bishop, announced Monday he was including religious institutions in the list of “essential services.”

This means churches would be able to open their doors, while keeping a minimum two meters between attendees, in spite of existing recommendations for people to stay at home and most businesses remaining shut.

Meanwhile, Sao Paulo Gov. Joao Doria, ruled out a full-on lockdown in Brazil’s largest state economy and said he would start loosening restrictions on June 1.

Novavax begins clinical trials with potential Covid-19 vaccine

US vaccine company Novavax Inc said it has started the first phase of a clinical trial of a vaccine candidate and has enrolled the trial's first participants, with preliminary results slated for July.

The Maryland-based late-stage biotechnology company in April said it identified the candidate, NVX-CoV2373, with which it planned to use its Matrix-M adjuvant to enhance immune responses.

Adjuvants are mainly used to make vaccines induce a strong immune response, including through the greater production of antibodies, and provide longer -lasting protection against viral and bacterial infection.

Novavax said it expects preliminary immunogenicity and safety results from the trial in July.

UK total death toll rises to 36,914 

UK death toll rose to 36,914 after 121 more fatalities, officials said on Monday.

The European country which has the second biggest death toll across the world has 261,184 cases in total, with 1,625 daily increase.

Meanwhile, PM Boris Johnson said Britain could reopen non-essential retail on June 15

Johnson said that Britain could reopen all non-essential retail stores on June 15 if the coronavirus remains contained.

"On June 15, we intend to allow all non-essential retail, ranging from department stores to small independent shops, to reopen," Johnson told reporters, stressing that this "will be contingent upon progress against" the disease.

Spain reports 50 deaths

As much of Spain moved to relax lockdown measures, the country reported another 50 deaths.

Cumulative deaths from the virus reached 26,834 in the hard-hit country, while 132 new cases were diagnosed, bringing the total number of cases up to 235,400, the ministry said.

Germany divided over plans to nix rules despite outbreaks

Germany's federal government and state governors squared up for a battle over plans to end pandemic-related restrictions despite fresh clusters of cases across the country.

As restrictions have slowly been lifted there have been case spikes across Germany linked to slaughterhouses, restaurants, religious services, nursing homes and refugee shelters.

The country's current raft of coronavirus measures is due to expire on June 5.

Italy reports 92 coronavirus deaths

Deaths from the pandemic in Italy climbed by 92, against 50 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases dropped to just 300 from 531 on Sunday.

Italy's total death toll since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 now stands at 32,877, the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 230,158, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Spain, Britain and Brazil.

Montenegro becomes Europe's first coronavirus-free state

Montenegro's prime minister declared the country coronavirus-free – a move vital for its Adriatic tourism industry coming 69 days after it reported its first case and after 20 without a new one.

Montenegro has reported 324 confirmed cases and nine deaths.

WHO worries about "silent epidemic" in Africa

Africa has so far been spared the worst impact of the coronavirus, but the World Health Organization is worried the continent could face a "silent epidemic" if its leaders do not prioritise testing for it, a WHO envoy said.

"My first point for Africa, my first concern, is that a lack of testing is leading to a silent epidemic in Africa. So we must continue to push leaders to prioritise testing," Samba Sow told a news conference.

Dubai to allow free movement, business activity

Dubai will begin allowing free movement and business activity to restart from Wednesday, Crown Prince Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed said on Monday.

Starting from Wednesday there will be no restrictions on movement or business operations between 02.00 GMT and 19.00 GMT the Dubai Media office said in a press release.

The number of coronavirus cases in the United Arab Emirates rose past 30,000, the health ministry said.

A ministry official reported 822 new cases, taking the cumulative total to 30,307. The death toll increased by three to 248.

Numbers of French patients fall

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus in France fell by 387 to 16,798 on Monday, resuming a gradual decline that had been interrupted Sunday.

The health ministry said numbers in intensive care fell by 46 to 1,609, continuing a more than six-week downtrend.

France did not publish a new death toll. 

A total of 28,367 people had died from the virus as of Sunday. 

Turkey sees more than 1,000 recoveries

Number of recovered coronavirus patients in Turkey rose to 118,694 with 1,092 additions in past 24 hours, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

He announced 29 new deaths from the pandemic, bringing the death toll in the country to 4,369.

Canada sees 29 deaths

Canada reported 405 new cases, bringing the total case into 85,104 while total death toll reaches to 6,453. 

The North American country has 44,207 recoveries in total.

WHO to temporarily stop study of malaria drug

The World Health Organization said that it will temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine — the malaria drug US President Trump said he is taking — from its global study into experimental Covid-19 treatments, saying that its experts need to review all available evidence to date.

WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in light of a paper published last week in the Lancet, that showed people taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death and heart problems than those that were not, there would be "a temporary pause" on the hydroxychloroquine arm of its global clinical trial.

Sweden deaths top 4,000

The death toll from the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in Sweden has topped 4,000, statistics published by the Public Health Agency showed.

The data published on the agency's website showed that deaths from Covid-19, had risen to 4,029 from 3,998 a day earlier while the number of confirmed cases amounted to 33,843 up from 33,459.

Sweden has taken a soft-touch approach to fighting the virus, leaving most schools, shops and restaurants open and relying on voluntary measures focused on social distancing and good hygiene.

Germany aims to extend distancing rules to July 5

The German government aims to impose social-distancing rules until at least July 5 to keep the virus outbreak under control, according to a draft policy seen by AFP news agency, in the face of a revolt by regional states.

The working paper from Chancellor Angela Merkel's office would extend by a month existing contact restrictions "to maintain a distance of 1.5 metres" between people and "require masks in certain public areas" such as supermarkets and buses.

The policy, until now pursued in coordination with the federal government, comes as two eastern states, Thuringia and Saxony, announced a drastic opening up from June 6 in defiance of Berlin's guidelines. 

Spain urges tourists back from July

Spain urged foreign holidaymakers to return from July as one of Europe's strictest lockdowns eased, though tourism businesses were sceptical about salvaging the summer season.

The world's second-most visited nation closed its doors and beaches in March to handle the virus pandemic, imposing a two-week quarantine on overseas visitors. But that requirement will be lifted from July 1, a government statement said.

Japan lifts coronavirus emergency in all remaining areas

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted a coronavirus state of emergency in Tokyo and four other remaining areas on Monday, ending the restrictions nationwide as businesses begin to reopen.

Experts on a government-commissioned panel approved the lifting of the emergency in Tokyo, neighbouring Kanagawa, Chiba and Saitama prefectures, and in Hokkaido to the north, which had more cases and remained under the emergency declaration after it was removed in most of Japan earlier this month.

Abe said the lifting of the emergency does not mean the end of the outbreak. He said the goal is to balance preventive measure and the economy until vaccines and effective drugs become available.

Japan, with about 16,600 confirmed cases and about 850 deaths, has so far avoided a large outbreak like those experienced in the US and Europe despite its softer restrictions.

Syria reports 20 new cases

Syria’s health ministry is reporting 20 new cases of Covid-19 in the country, the highest daily count since the new virus was first reported there in late March. 

Syria has reported 106 confirmed cases and four deaths.

The ministry said all 20 new cases are of Syrians who returned from abroad. They comprise 15 people who came back from Kuwait, three from Sudan, one from Russia and one from the UAE.

Syria recently began easing restrictions imposed over the past weeks.

Earlier in May, regime leader Bashar Assad issued a decree postponing the country’s parliamentary elections until July — the second such delay in light of restrictions in place to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Second case of mink transmitting virus to human

The Dutch agriculture ministry said it had found what it believes to be the second case of a human becoming infected with Covid-19 after coming in contact with a mink that had the virus.

In a letter to parliament, minister Carola Schouten repeated that the country's National Institute for Health believes the risk of animal-to-human transmission of the virus outside the farms on which they are kept is "negligible."

On April 26 the Dutch government reported mink on a farm in the south of the country had been found to have the disease, prompting a wider investigation of such farms, where mink are bred for their fur.

Last week, the government reported its first suspected case of mink-to-human transmission.

Malaysia reports 172 new cases, most of them foreigners

Malaysia reported 172 new coronavirus cases, most of them foreigners held at immigration depots, and taking the total number of infections in the country to 7,417.

The health ministry said the number of deaths remained unchanged at 115.

Indonesia reports 479 new coronavirus cases

Indonesia reported 479 new cases of the novel coronavirus, taking the total in the Southeast Asian nation to 22,750, health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said.

Yurianto reported 19 more coronavirus deaths, taking the total to 1,391. Indonesia has the highest Covid-19 death toll in East Asia after China.

Dutch coronavirus outbreak spreads to Germany

A coronavirus outbreak linked to a slaughterhouse in the Netherlands has spread across the border to Germany.

Dutch regional health authorities said that tests showed 147 of the 657 employees at a meat processing plant in Groenlo were positive for Covid-19.

They said 79 of those infected live in Germany, while 68 are resident in the Netherlands.

Germany has seen several clusters of Covid-19 among slaughterhouse workers, mostly migrants from Eastern Europe employed by subcontractors, prompting a government pledge to crack down on conditions in the industry. 

Russia's confirmed cases pass 350,000

Russia's Covid-19 cases climbed to 353,427, having risen by 8,946 in the past 24 hours, the country's crisis response centre said.

It said the number of fatalities had risen by 92 overnight, taking the overall nationwide death toll from the virus to 3,633.

Thailand reports two new cases, one more death

Thailand confirmed two new coronavirus cases and one additional death, a health ministry spokesman said.

The new numbers brought the total number of cases in the Southeast Asian country to 3,042 and deaths to 57 since the outbreak began in January, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the Covid-19 Administration Centre.

More than 96 percent of the patients, or 2,928 people, have recovered, he said.

Australia's New South Wales urges parents to work from home 

Australia's most populous state urged locals to continue working from home despite schools reopening as the number of coronavirus cases slows.

Australia has reported just over 7,100 Covid-19 infections, including 102 deaths, well below figures reported by other developed countries.

With fewer than 20 new Covid-19 cases most days, Australian states are pressing ahead with a three-stage plan to remove most social restrictions imposed by July.

In New South Wales (NSW), which includes the city of Sydney, children returned to full-time face-to-face learning, allowing many parents to return to offices although lawmakers urged those who could to stay home to avoid putting pressure on the transport network.

Germany's cases rise by 289 to 178,570 – RKI

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 289 to 178,570, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 10 to 8,257, the data showed.

Trudeau asks banks for views on economy – Globe and Mail

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken to the heads of the country's six big banks to get their views on the state of the economy and the Covid-19 relief efforts, The Globe and Mail reported on Sunday, citing multiple sources.

This was Trudeau's first one-on-one dialogue with the CEOs since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, according to the report, which added that the calls took place around the Victoria Day long weekend.

The topics covered included adjustments required in relief efforts rolled out by the government, need for further support and pressures faced by clients of the banks, the report said, adding that the talks were "high-level check-ins rather than deep policy discussions".

Millions of kids in Australia return to schools

Millions of children in Australia have returned to schools in the states of New South Wales and Queensland as numbers of Covid-19 patients in hospitals across the country fall.

The two states on Monday joined the less populous Western Australia and South Australia states and the Northern Territory in resuming face-to-face learning, instead of studying from home online.

China reports 11 new mainland cases 

China reported 11 new confirmed coronavirus cases in the mainland as of end-May 24, up from three a day earlier, the National Health Commission reported.

The commission said in a statement all of the new infections were imported cases involving travellers from overseas. Ten of the new cases were in Inner Mongolia region, with one in the southwestern province of Sichuan.

The commission also reported 40 new asymptomatic cases –– patients who are infected but do not show symptoms –– compared with 36 a day earlier.

The total number of cases to date in the mainland stands at 82,985. 

The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634.

Mexico's coronavirus toll rises to 68,620 cases, 7,394 deaths

Mexican health officials on Sunday reported 2,764 new cases of the novel coronavirus and 215 deaths, bringing the totals to 68,620 and 7,394, respectively.

Brazil, world's No 2 Covid-19 hotspot, sees 653 new deaths

Brazil, the world's number 2 coronavirus hotspot behind the United States, registered 653 new coronavirus deaths on Sunday, taking the total number of fatalities to 22,666, the health ministry said.

Brazil has 363,211 confirmed cases, up 15,813 from Saturday, the ministry said. The United States has more than 1.6 million cases and nearly 100,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally based on official reports.

Coronavirus could cost Mexico a million jobs – president

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Sunday that the novel coronavirus could cost as many as a million jobs in the country as many industries considered not essential remain shut.

The Mexican economy was already in recession before the pandemic struck and different investment banks have forecast contractions as large as 9% for this year with only a gradual recovery next year.

"My prediction is that with coronavirus, a million jobs will be lost," Lopez Obrador said in a televised speech. "But we will create two million new jobs."

Boris faces cabinet revolt over Cummings – The Sun

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson is facing a revolt from his cabinet over his backing of senior adviser Dominic Cummings, who faces calls from within the Conservative Party to resign for driving 250 miles during the coronavirus lockdown, The Sun newspaper reported late on Sunday.

"He (Cummings) cannot stay," the newspaper quoted an unnamed cabinet minister as saying. "There has to be some contrition from Boris too or he will spend the next ten weeks having to answer questions about it all."

"This is not a bubble story. Real people are furious, because they have been doing the right thing and isolating," the minister said.

Sevilla players warned by Liga chief for flouting lockdown 

La Liga chief Javier Tebas said on Sunday that footballers must remember to act responsibly to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus after four Sevilla players broke the Spanish government's rules on social gatherings.

Argentine trio Ever Banega, Lucas Ocampos and Franco Vazquez, as well as Dutch striker Luuk de Jong, were pictured at a party alongside eight other people over the weekend.

US travel ban follows established benchmark – Brazil

An adviser to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Sunday the US restrictions on travel from Brazil had followed previously established benchmarks, playing down the slight from US President Donald Trump, whose support Bolsonaro has touted.

"There is nothing specific against Brazil," wrote Filipe Martins, an adviser on international affairs to the Brazilian president, in a Twitter post. 

White House limits travel to US from Brazil due to coronavirus

The White House announced Sunday that it is prohibiting foreigners from travelling to the United States if they had been in Brazil in the last two weeks, two days after the South American nation became the world number 2 hotspot for coronavirus cases.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany said the new restrictions would help ensure foreign nationals do not bring additional infections to the US, but would not apply to the flow of commerce between the new countries. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies