Covid-19 pandemic has infected more than 171 million people claiming at least 3.5 million lives around the world. Here are updates for May 31:

Relatives of a Covid-19 victim carry a coffin at the General Cemetery in the central city of Huanuco, Peru, January 26, 2021.
Relatives of a Covid-19 victim carry a coffin at the General Cemetery in the central city of Huanuco, Peru, January 26, 2021. (AFP)

Monday, May 31

Peru almost triples official Covid-19 death toll

Peru has revised its official Covid-19 death toll to 180,764, almost triple the previous official figure of 69,342, following a government review that shows the severity of the outbreak in the Andean country.

Peru has been one of the most battered countries in Latin America by the pandemic, which has overcrowded its hospitals and outstripped the availability of oxygen tanks. 

Experts had long warned that the true death toll was being undercounted in official statistics.

"We think it is our duty to make public this updated information," said Peru's Prime Minister Violeta Bermudez in a press conference announcing the result of the review.

Peru's updated numbers are in line with so-called excess deaths figures, which researchers have used in Peru and other countries to measure possible undercounting.

Excess deaths measure the total number of deaths in a period of time and compares it with the same period pre-pandemic.

WHO calls for pandemic treaty as part of reforms

The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) has called for launching negotiations this year on an international treaty to boost pandemic preparedness, as part of sweeping reforms envisioned by member states.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO director-general, told its annual ministerial assembly that the UN agency faced a "serious challenge" to maintain its Covid-19 response at the current level and required sustainable and flexible funding.

The ministers from the WHO's 194 member states are to meet from November 29 to decide whether to launch negotiations on the pandemic treaty.

The 14-page resolution adopted vowed among other things to remove the uncertainty around the organisation's funding.

Member states committed to "ensure the adequate, flexible, sustainable and predictable financing of WHO's programme budget".

Turkey eases restrictions

Turkey has eased some public gathering restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus.

Addressing reporters following a Cabinet meeting in the capital Ankara, Turkey's President Erdogan said that a curfew will be imposed from 10 pm to 5 am (1900GMT to 0200GMT) on weekdays and Saturdays in June.

A full lockdown will be imposed on Sundays until further notice.

Restaurants and cafes will serve in-person between 7 am and 9 pm (0400GMT to 1800GMT), and delivery will continue until midnight.

Meanwhile, the country's health ministry reported 6,493 new cases and 122 virus-related deaths on Monday.

Italy reports 82 more deaths

Italy reported 82 coronavirus-related deaths against 44 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 1,820 from 2,949.

Italy has registered 126,128 deaths linked to Covid-19 since its outbreak emerged in February last year, the second-highest toll in Europe after Britain and the seventh-highest in the world. The country has reported 4.22 million cases to date.

French hospital numbers and new cases drop

French Covid-19 hospital numbers and new cases continued falling as the gradual unwinding of France's third nationwide lockdown showed no sign of increasing the pressure on hospitals and the vaccination campaign sped up.

France registered just 1,211 new confirmed coronavirus cases, down from 2,229 last Monday, taking the total to over 5.66 million.

The health ministry reported 126 new coronavirus deaths, bringing the total death toll to 109,528.

Vietnam to suspend incoming international flights to Hanoi

The international airport of Vietnam's capital will suspend inbound flights from abroad beginning on Tuesday, the country's aviation body announced, as it grapples with a fresh wave of coronavirus outbreaks.

The Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam said in a statement that the "temporary suspension of receiving international flights transporting people" will begin at Hanoi's Noi Bai International Airport from June 1 at midnight until June 7.

Before the announcement, the communist country had already severely limited entries of foreign arrivals, and every person coming in is subjected to mandatory quarantine for 21 days in mostly state-run facilities.

Philippines extends curbs in capital

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte has prolonged partial coronavirus curbs in the capital and nearby provinces until mid-June to contain infections that have been decreasing since hitting a peak in April.

Religious gathering remain capped at 30 percent of venue capacity while dining in restaurants can operate at 20 percent in the capital region, an urban sprawl of 16 cities that is home to at least 13 million people, and nearby provinces.

Non-essential travels will remain prohibited.

France opens Covid jabs for all adults

France has opened up Covid-19 vaccines to all adults, a week before Germany, as Europe races to avoid another wave of infections caused by new virus variants.

So far, 25.4 million people have received a first shot of a vaccine, representing about 38 percent of the population and nearly one in two adults.

Until now, people over 50, workers in professions particularly exposed to the virus and younger adults with underlying health problems were given priority.

South Korea reports blood clot case from AstraZeneca jab

South Korea reported its first case of rare blood clotting linked to AstraZeneca's vaccine.

The patient is a man in his 30s who got the shot on April 27 because of his job at a medical facility, Korea Disease Control and Prevention Agency (KDCA) director Jeong Eun-kyeong told a briefing.

He felt a headache on May 9 and sought medical treatment before being hospitalized on May 12 as it continued and he suffered muscle cramps, Jeong said.

"His condition has improved since then and we understand there is no big problem though he still needs monitoring," she said.

Jeong said the symptoms are curable if detected early and treated properly.

Around 3.27 million people in South Korea have received at least one does of the AstraZeneca vaccine so far.

WHO agrees to study major reforms, meet again on pandemic treaty

The World Health Organization, battling to coordinate the global response to the coronavirus pandemic, agreed to study recommendations for ambitious reforms made by independent experts to strengthen the agency, with member states firmly in the driver's seat.

Health ministers from its 194 members will also meet from Nov. 29 to decide whether to launch negotiations on an international treaty aimed at boosting defences against any future pandemic.

"We really do welcome the recommendations within the resolutions and also the decision to take this forward to an international agreement or framework convention on preparedness and response for pandemics," WHO's emergencies director Mike Ryan told its annual ministerial assembly.

Vietnam to suspend incoming international flights to Hanoi

Vietnam will suspend incoming international flights to its capital Hanoi from Tuesday as part of the country's effort to contain a coronavirus outbreak, the government said

The announcement made no mention of domestic flights. Vietnam has been restricting the amount of inbound international flights since the start of the pandemic.

Singapore to allow special access for more vaccine brands

Singapore's health minister said the city-state will allow access to other vaccines, besides the ones already approved, under a special access route (SAR) in order to enhance overall coverage.

The SAR can be used for the supply of vaccines that are on the World Health Organization's (WHO) emergency use listing, Ong Ye Kung said. Singapore has so far approved vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, and Moderna.

Russia reports 8,475 cases, 339 deaths

Russia reported 8,475 cases, including 2,614 in Moscow, pushing the national infection tally to 5,071,917 since the pandemic began.

The government task force said that 339 people had died of coronavirus-related causes in the last 24 hours. That pushed the death toll to 121,501.

The federal statistics agency, which has kept a separate toll, has said that Russia recorded around 250,000 deaths from April 2020 to March 2021. 

Bangkok to ease some curbs despite rise in cases

Bangkok will ease bans on venues such as massage shops, clinics and parks applied to stop the spread, but schools, cinemas, gyms and zoos will remain closed, the Thai capital said in a statement.

Thailand has been battling since April its deadliest coronavirus outbreak so far. It reported 5,485 new cases on Monday, with 1,356 of those in Bangkok.

The Southeast Asian country also reported 19 new deaths on Monday, bringing to 1,031 the number of fatalities since the outbreak started. The Bangkok Metropolitan Administration said it was relaxing restrictions in venues where there had been no clusters of infections "to ease the suffering of the business sector and allow people to go on with their jobs under strict measures."

Taiwan reports rise in domestic cases

Taiwan reported 347 domestic cases, including 73 cases added to the totals for recent days as it continues to readjust its infection numbers following delays in reporting positive tests.

Burkina Faso receives first shipment of vaccines

Burkina Faso, one of several countries in Africa that has yet to launch a vaccination campaign, received its first shipment under the global vaccine-sharing scheme COVAX, the health ministry said.

The 115,200 AstraZeneca doses were flown into the airport of the capital Ouagadougou and were welcomed by a local delegation led by health minister Charlemagne Ouedraogo.

"In a few weeks other vaccines will probably arrive to supplement what we have," Ouedraogo said.

The vaccination campaign, which will first target health workers, aims to eventually inoculate over 15 million of the West African nation's 21.5 million citizens, the ministry said.

Some 1.5 billion vaccine doses have been administered globally, but only around 1% of them in Africa, data from the World Health Organization (WHO) found.

Tokyo Olympics fans to need vaccination or virus test: report

Tokyo Olympics fans may have to be vaccinated or test negative before being allowed into venues, a Japanese newspaper report said.

Cheering, eating, high-fives and drinking alcohol would also be banned under controls now being considered, the Yomiuri Shimbun daily said, citing unnamed government officials.

Organisers are set to decide in June how many spectators, if any, will be allowed to attend the pandemic-postponed Games.

Overseas fans are already barred, and the report warned domestic spectators may be denied entrance or kicked out f or breaking the rules.

"The plan is to stop the spread of infections during Games time with strict countermeasures," the paper said.

Under the plan, spectators must be able to show a vaccination certificate or a negative test taken at their own expense less than a week before entering the venue.

They must wear masks and fill in health-check sheets, and once inside must not cheer loudly or high-five each other.

India death toll nears 330,000

India reported its lowest daily rise in new infections since April 11 at 152,734 cases over the past 24 hours, while deaths rose by 3,128.

The South Asian nation's tally of infections now stands at 28 million, while the death toll has reached 329,100, health ministry data showed.

India's Serum Institute to raise AstraZeneca vaccine output in June

The Serum institute of India will raise production of the AstraZeneca vaccine to about 90 million doses in June from about 65 million a month now, a company spokesman told Reuters on. 

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 1,978 - RKI

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 1,978 to 3,681,126, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 36 to 88,442, the tally showed. 

China administered 621M doses of  vaccines as of May 29

China administered 17.98 million vaccine doses on May 29, bringing the total number administered to 621 million, according to data released by the National Health Commission on Sunday. 

Australia finds more infections in nursing homes

Authorities say a cluster in Australia’s second-largest city has spread into to nursing homes.

Victoria state began a seven-day lockdown on Friday due to a cluster in its capital Melbourne.

State health authorities on Monday announced 11 new cases.

A second staff member and a 90-year-old resident of the Arcare Maidstone Aged Care facility in Melbourne were among the new infections. The first infected staff member was reported on Sunday.

The second staff member had also worked at the BlueCross Western Gardens nursing home in Melbou rne last week and had not been vaccinated.

The BlueCross facility has gone into lockdown after the news.

Health Minister Martin Foley described the cluster spreading into aged care homes as a “very great concern to the Victorian government.”

The vast majority of Victoria‘s 820 deaths have been in nursing homes.

Copa America: no host after Argentina dropped due to COVID

Copa America, formerly known as the South American Football Championship is left without a host country only two weeks before kickoff after South American soccer body CONMEBOL ruled out Argentina amid the rise of Covid-19 cases in the country. 

Argentina is facing a surge of coronavirus infections, with strict lockdown measures imposed last weekend amid a seven-day average of 35,000 cases and 500 deaths.

The football body announced on Twitter that it was studying “the offer of other nations who showed interest in hosting the continental tournament,” without naming them. Copa America was scheduled to be played between June 13 and July 10.

Colombia was dropped as a tournament co-host on May 20 amid a wave of protests against President Ivan Duque.

Australia's Victoria state continues to see new cases 

Australia's Victoria state has reported five new local Covid-19 cases on Monday, marking half way through a seven-day lockdown to fight a coronavirus outbreak that has now reportedly spread to an aged care facility.

The infections raise the total to 45 in the latest cluster, including in a worker at a Melbourne aged care facility where not all of the residents have been vaccinated.

Victoria health reported 43,874 tests had been received in the past 24 hours, while 16,752 doses of vaccine were administered.

China reports 20 new local coronavirus cases in Guangdong province

China has witnessed a sudden surge of Covid-19 in the country's south, with 20 new local cases on May 30, as authorities locked down areas of Guangdong province's capital city.

Of the 27 new coronavirus cases reported by the national health authority in its daily updates, only 7 infections were imported, with the remainder originating in Guangdong province.

On Saturday, authorities placed a neighborhood in the capital city of Guangzhou under lockdown as a precautionary measure to curb the virus ' spread.

State media reports have suggested that the the recent outbreak is linked to a strain of the virus originating in India.

China also reported 19 new asymptomatic patients, compared with 22 a day earlier.

As of May 30, China had a total of 91,099 confirmed COVID-19 cases, while its death toll remained unchanged at 4,636. 

Venezuela to receive 5 million vaccines, Maduro says

Venezuela will receive 5 million coronavirus vaccines via the COVAX program as of July and will seek to receive doses of the Johnson & Johnson inoculation, President Nicolas Maduro said.

This weekend, the South American nation announced the launch of a vaccination campaign following delays in obtaining inoculations due to payment problems, leaving it will behind most vaccination efforts in the region.

The pandemic has been less severe in Venezuela than in other countries due to chronic gasoline shortages and early lockdown measures, according to research by local doctors and scientists.

The COVAX facility, backed by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), aims to secure 2 billion vaccine doses for lower-income countries by the end of 2021.

Mexico sees steady decrease in cases and deaths

Mexico has recorded 1,307 coronavirus cases and 52 more deaths, according to health ministry data, bringing the overall number of cases to 2,412,810 and the death toll to 223,507.

The Latin American nation is witnessing a steady decrease in its daily reported cases and deaths.   

Brazil's death toll reaches 461,931, as total cases hit 16.5 million

Brazil has registered 43,520 new cases of Covid-19 taking country's total to 16.5 million infections.

The country, which has the world's second largest number of Covid-19 fatalities, registered 874 new deaths, raising its total to 461,931.

The country witnessed protests earlier in the day, as tens of thousands of Brazilians took to the streets to protest President Jair Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic. 

South Africa extends restrictions amid surge in cases

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 announced.

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 as the curfew will start at 2300 from midnight and end at 0400, Ramaphosa said in an address to the nation.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies