The global coronavirus pandemic has affected more than 5.7 million people, with over 357,000 deaths. Here are coronavirus-related updates for May 27:

Medical staff performs a stereotactic radiotherapy treatment at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center San Pietro FBF, during the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Rome, Italy, May 27, 2020.
Medical staff performs a stereotactic radiotherapy treatment at the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center San Pietro FBF, during the coronavirus disease outbreak, in Rome, Italy, May 27, 2020. (Reuters)

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Italy reports 117 more deaths

Italy’s known death toll in the Covid-19 pandemic topped 33,000 on Wednesday, with 117 more deaths registered nationwide since the previous day.

But authorities acknowledge that the real number of deaths will probably never be known since many with coronavirus symptoms in care residences or in their own homes died without being tested in the past few months.

Turkey reports more recoveries

Proving success in its fight against coronavirus, Turkey is recording more and more recoveries from Covid-19, according to the Health Ministry data on Wednesday.

The number of patients who recovered from the disease climbed 122,793, as 1,286 more were discharged from hospitals over the past day, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Twitter, sharing the latest official coronavirus figures.

A total of 1,035 new cases were reported in the country, bringing the total to 159,797, Koca added.

The death toll from the outbreak rose to 4,431 as the country reported 34 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, according to the ministry data.

Health care professionals conducted 21,043 more tests for the virus, raising the overall number to over 1.89 million.

Russia says it avoided worst-case scenarios

President Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday that Moscow, the epicentre of Russia's coronavirus outbreak, had succeeded in preventing what he called worst-case scenarios as the city announced it would ease tough lockdown measures within days.

Speaking to Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin, an ally, by video conference, Putin said it was obvious the situation in the city of 12.7 million people had stabilised thanks to steps taken by the authorities.

It was now time for Moscow to provide medical help to regions where the coronavirus remained rampant, said Putin, something Sobyanin said would be organised immediately.

UK unveils test and trace plan

After two months of lockdown and more than 37,000 coronavirus deaths, Britain on Wednesday finally rolled out a countrywide “test and trace” programme –– an enormous undertaking meant to help isolate the virus and return the country to some sense of normality.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson also hopes the programme, which starts in England on Thursday, will shift the nation’s attention away from a furor over allegations his t op aide flouted the government’s own lockdown rules with a cross-country trip.

The test and trace project involves 50,000 workers, including 25,000 contact-tracers hired to track down the contacts of anyone who tests positive for Covid-19.

EU governments ban malaria drug for Covid-19

European governments moved on Wednesday to halt the use of anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat Covid-19 patients, and a second global trial was suspended, further blows to hopes for a treatment promoted by U.S. President Donald Trump.

The moves by France, Italy and Belgium followed a World Health Organization decision on Monday to pause a large trial of hydroxychloroquine due to safety concerns.

A UK regulator said on Wednesday that a separate trial was also being put on hold, less than a week after it started. The study, being led by the University of Oxford and partly funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, was expected to involve as many as 40,000 healthcare workers.

"All hydroxychloroquine trials in Covid-19 remain under close review" while investigators assess any further risks, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) said in an email to Reuters.

Hospitalisation number declines in New York

New York governor Andrew Cuomo said statewide total coronavirus death toll increased by 74 and hospitalisations decline further on May 26 from 4,265 a day earlier. 

Moreover, three-day rolling average of new Covid-19 hospitalisations is at 101 on may 26, it was 201 a day earlier.

Walt Disney to reopen in US

SeaWorld and Walt Disney World will reopen in Orlando, Florida, in June and July after months of being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to plans a city task force approved on Wednesday.

The proposals will now be sent to Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for final approval.

The plan calls for SeaWorld to open to the public on June 11. Disney plans a tiered reopening, with Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom opening on July 11, followed by Epcot and Hollywood Studios on July 15.

France halts hydroxychloroquine for treatment

The French government banned treatment of Covid-19 patients with hydroxychloroquine, a controversial and potentially harmful drug that US President Donald Trump has said he is taking preventively.

The move came after two French advisory bodies and the World Health Organization warned this week that the drug, a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, had been shown to be potentially dangerous in several studies.

The urgency of the coronavirus outbreak has prompted some doctors to prescribe the drug despite a lack of research to demonstrate its efficacy against the virus.

EU proposes $825B recovery fund

The head of the European Union's executive commission says that the proposed new recovery fund is an “ambitious answer” to Europe’s coronavirus challenge.

The commission is proposing an $825 billion (750 billion euro) recovery fund to help the bloc’s economy through the painful recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

Unveiling the package to EU lawmakers, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “This is Europe’s moment. Our willingness to act must live up to the challenges we are all facing.” 

She said that the fund, dubbed Next Generation EU, is “providing an ambitious answer.”

Malaysia reports 15 new cases

Malaysian health authorities reported 15 new cases, raising the cumulative total to 7,619 cases.

The health ministry also reported no new deaths, keeping total fatalities at 115. 

Serbia blocks flights from Montenegro over virus row

Serbia has banned inbound flights by Montenegro's flag carrier Montenegro Airlines after Podgorica refused to open its borders to people from Serbia, where infections persist.

Serbia's Directorate for Civilian Aviation said it decided to act as Montenegro's move affects reciprocity in air transportation.

Montenegro's prime minister Dusko Markovic declared his country free of coronavirus.

Markovic also said Montenegro would open borders to travellers from countries reporting no more than 25 cases of infection per 100,000 people.

So far, Serbia, with a population of 7.2 million, has reported 11,227 cases of coronavirus infection and 239 deaths. 

South Korea reports spike in cases

South Korea has reported 40 new coronavirus cases – its biggest daily jump in nearly 50 days, causing alarm in a country where millions of children are returning to school.

Figures from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention brought national totals to 11,265 cases and 269 deaths.

All but four of the new cases came from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been scrambling to stem transmissions linked to nightclubs, karaoke rooms and an e-commerce warehouse.

Three cases were linked to international arrivals.

Thailand reports 9 new cases, no new deaths

Thailand reported nine new coronavirus infections, bringing its total to 3,054 confirmed cases. There were no new deaths reported.

The cases were Thai nationals in quarantine who recently returned from overseas, including two from the United States, one from Qatar and six from Saudi Arabia, said Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a spokesman for the government's coronavirus taskforce.

There are 2,931 patients who have recovered since the outbreak started. The country has recorded 57 deaths.

Germany's cases rise by 362 to 179,364

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 362 to 179,364, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 47 to 8,349, according to the tally.

Bulgaria to reopen restaurants, bars and cafes on June 1

Bulgaria will allow restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen at full capacity as the Balkan country further eased restrictions imposed in mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

According to the new order issued by the country's Health Minister Kiril Ananiev, however, discos, piano bars and night bars must stay closed as the country remains under a declared epidemic situation until June 14.

Bulgaria has 2,460 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 133 deaths, a relatively low number in Europe.

China reports one new case

China reported one new confirmed case in the mainland as of end of May 26, up from seven a day earlier, the National Health Commission reported.

It also reported 28 new asymptomatic cases, patients who are infected but do not show symptoms, versus 29 a day earlier.

The new confirmed case was an imported one. 

The seven reported a day earlier were also all imported.

The total number of cases to date in the mainland stands at 82,993. 

The death toll remains unchanged at 4,634

Mexico daily figures sees biggest jump yet for the country

Mexico registered 501 new deaths, its biggest single-day increase in fatalities yet, as the jump in new cases also set a record.

The country's totals now stand at 74,560 cases of coronavirus and 8,134 deaths, health authorities told a press conference.

Under-fire Nicaragua reports significant rise in cases

Nicaragua, criticised by its Central American neighbours for doing little to halt the spread, reported a significant rise in deaths and infections.

The health ministry reported 480 new infections and 18 deaths in the week since May 19.

The previous week it reported 279 new cases.

The Washington-based Pan American Health Organization projected a "sharp increase" in the number of infections in Nicaragua and complained of a lack of official data on the virus' spread in the country.

Nicaragua's health ministry provides only weekly, and not daily, updates on the coronavirus.

The Secretary General of Nicaragua's health ministry, Carlos Saenz, said Nicaragua now has a total of 759 infections with 35 deaths.

A prominent Nicaraguan NGO, Citizen Observatory, said the government is hiding the real extent of the crisis.

Biden calls Trump 'absolute fool' for not wearing face mask

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden called his Republican rival Donald Trump an "absolute fool" for not wearing a mask at a series of recent public events, saying his lack of leadership on the issue is "costing peoples' lives."

The decision whether to wear a face mask in public has emerged as a national political battle, and the two presidential candidates have adopted very different approaches.

Biden's decision to wear a mask outdoors on Memorial Day at his first public event since March caught the attention of Trump, who retweeted an image of Biden at the event accompanied by a comment: "This might help explain why Trump doesn't like to wear a mask in public."

The president has resisted wearing masks in front of cameras at series of public events, including on Memorial Day.

"He’s a fool, an absolute fool to talk that way. Every leading doc in the world says you should be wearing a mask in a crowd," Biden said in a taped interview with CNN.

Biden called Trump's behaviour "macho stuff" and falsely masculine actions that were costing people's lives.

Aid projects in Yemen “reaching a breaking point”

The UN food agency is warning that humanitarian aid projects in war-torn Yemen are “reaching a breaking point” amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The World Food Program said Tuesday that it needs $870 million to provide badly needed assistance to millions of Yemenis over the next six months. International donors had slashed funding earlier this year in response to obstruction by the Houthi rebels, leaving a major shortfall.

Although the internationally recognised government has reported just 249 infections and 49 deaths, the number of people dying with Covid-19 symptoms has dramatically spiked across the country, indicating a much larger outbreak.

ICUs in Chile nearly at full capacity

Chilean authorities say intensive care units in the country’s hospitals are nearly at capacity amid a flood of coronavirus patients, and some doctors report they are having to make wrenching choices over which patients should get available beds.

Health officials said on Tuesday that 95 percent of the country’s 2,400 ICU beds are occupied, even after a doubling of capacity from the levels in March. They announced plans to add 400 more critical care beds in the coming days.

The nation of 18 million people has the third most coronavirus cases in the region, after Brazil and Peru.

An average of 4,000 new infections are being reported daily. About 15 percent of the cases require hospitalisation.

Germany reaches deal to extend restrictions

The German government says it has reached an agreement with the country’s 16 states to extend pandemic-related restrictions on interpersonal contact until June 29.

The question of whether to replace the current blanket rules with much looser restrictions targeting specific areas, such as public transport, has caused friction between federal and state governments in recent days.

In a statement late Tuesday, the federal government said states could let up to 10 people gather in public places, even if they belong to more than two households, which is the current limit.

Officials said the decision to relax restrictions a month ago hadn’t led to a rise in coronavirus cases, meaning further steps were justified.

Large outbreak in Washington state's Yakina County

The state of Washington is implementing safety recommendations to battle a large outbreak in an agricultural county in the central part of the state.

Yakima County, a major food producer, has recorded nearly 3,000 cases among its 250,000 residents, and infections have moved into its massive farm and food processing sector. 

Officials said Tuesday that many cases are showing up on farms, in meat plants and fruit and vegetable processing warehouses, where many workers are immigrants.

Brazil total coronavirus death toll reaches 24,512

Brazil deaths by Covid-19 reached 24,512, with 1,039 new deaths over the last 24 hours, the health ministry said.

The number of infections in Brazil rose to 391,222, with16,324 new cases.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies