Novel coronavirus has infected more than 6.2 million people around the world, with close to 2.75 million recoveries and over 371,000 deaths. Here are the pandemic-related updates for May 31:

An ice cream van is seen as people enjoy the hot weather on the bank of the River Thames in London, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, London, UK, May 31, 2020.
An ice cream van is seen as people enjoy the hot weather on the bank of the River Thames in London, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease, London, UK, May 31, 2020. (Reuters)

Sunday, May 31, 2020

UK Covid-19 death toll reaches 38,489

The United Kingdom's death toll from people who have tested positive for Covid-19 has risen by 113 to 38,489, the government said on Sunday.

Meanwhile, British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab defended the government's "careful" loosening of the coronavirus lockdown, saying it was the "right step to be taking at this moment in time".

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has come under fire from some scientists for easing a lockdown put in place 10 weeks ago, with several saying it was a premature and risky move in the absence of a fully functioning system to track new outbreaks.

Italy records 75 new coronavirus deaths

Deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic in Italy climbed by 75 on Sunday, against 111 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of newcases fell to 355 from 416 on Saturday.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 33,415 the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The number of confirmed cases amounts to 233,019, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Spain, Britain and Brazil.

Canada's total cases rise to 90,516 

Canada's total coronavirus cases rose to 90,516 from 89,741 on May 30; 7,092 deaths, up from 6,996, according to Public Health Agency data.

Canada will invest $21.8 million to enable its provinces and territories to promote holidays in their "own back yard" because of the closure of the country's borders due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Destination Canada, the country's national marketing body which usually focuses on luring international visitors, is due to announce the new funding later on Sunday, according to a statement seen by Reuters before its official release.

Emirates Airline lays off trainee pilots, cabin crew

Emirates Airline said it had made some staff redundant due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, with two company sources saying trainee pilots and cabin crew had been affected.

"We reviewed all possible scenarios in order to sustain our business operations, but have come to the conclusion that we unfortunately have to say goodbye to a few of the wonderful people that worked with us," a spokeswoman said.

"The company is doing everything possible to protect the workforce wherever we can," she added.

Spanish PM to extend lockdown a final time to June 21

Spain's prime minister said the country needed 15 more days of lockdown until June 21 "to finish with the pandemic once and for all", and he would ask parliament to approve a final two-week extension to the stay home rule.

"We have almost set out what we set out to do," Pedro Sanchez told a press conference, as he expressed his intense relief that the number of new cases of Covid-19 in Spain, one of the nations hardest-hit by the virus, had fallen dramatically.

From June 21 a national state of emergency will end and with it the lockdown, allowing citizens to move freely in their regions. From July 1, citizens will be able to move throughout the country.

Spain's death toll rose by two on Sunday to 27,127, the health ministry said, while the number of Covid-19 infections rose by 96 overnight to 239,429.

Turkey opens another emergency hospital in Istanbul

Turkey opened an emergency hospital in the Turkish metropolis Istanbul as part of the country's continued fight against the pandemic.

The new Yesilkoy Prof Dr Murat Dilmener Emergency Hospital in Istanbul is named after a Turkish doctor and academic who was claimed by the virus on May 3.

Attending the opening ceremony were Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vice President Fuat Oktay, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca, and other top officials.

Malaysia reports 57 new infections

Malaysia reported 57 new coronavirus infections, taking its tally to 7,819, but with no additional deaths its toll stands at 115, the health ministry said on Twitter.

Pakistan sees single-day high of 88 deaths

Pakistan’s daily death toll from the coronavirus is climbing, hitting a new high of 88 overnight, amid reports of acute care bed shortages and near daily warnings from health professionals to tighten lockdown measures.

The government, however, has kept mosques open, urging safe distancing but not enforcing the rules.

In the latest reduction of restrictions, the government has withdrawn the limits on congregations in mosques and churches in Muslim-majority Pakistan, where minorities make up less than 5 percent of the population of 220 million.

Pakistan’s coronavirus death toll is at 1,483 with 69,496 confirmed cases.

Officials to keep watch as Australia eases rules

Covid-19 restrictions are easing in most of Australia, but authorities say they’ll be watching carefully to ensure the country’s success in containing the pandemic remains on track.

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth says the lifting of restrictions is a balancing act between the socio-economic benefit from their removal and the public health risk.

“Most importantly we’re taking the time to gather the data over the coming weeks to determine whether it’s safe to move to the next round of lifting restrictions.”

Coronavirus cases remain low in Australia by international standards, with 7,180 infections and 103 deaths.

The more flexible restrictions, which differ across the states, will mean more movement in public places, including pubs, cafes, and restaurants. But authorities have renewed their call for safe hygiene and social distancing measures to remain.

India records more than 8,000 new infections

India has recorded more than 8,000 new cases in a single day for the first time as the infection tally surged to 182,143.

The death toll climbed to 5,164 after 193 fatalities were recorded in the last 24 hours, according to the health ministry data. This week has been the deadliest in India, with cases of infections and deaths reaching a new high almost every day.

Overall, more than 60 percent of the country’s virus fatalities have been reported from only two states — Maharashtra, the financial hub of India, and Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The new cases of infections are also largely concentrated in six Indian states, including the national capital New Delhi.

Experts warn that the pandemic is yet to peak in India.

Saudi mosques reopen for first time in two months

Tens of thousands of mosques across Saudi Arabia have reopened for the first time in more than two months.

Worshipers have been ordered to follow strict guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Islam’s holiest site in Mecca remains closed to the public.

Jerusalem's Al Aqsa mosque opens after closure

The Al Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem, that had been closed since mid-March, reopened for prayers. Worshipers waited outside the gates, many wearing surgical masks.

As they entered, they were stopped to have their temperature taken.

Indonesia reports 700 new infections

Indonesia reported 700 new  infections, taking the tally in the Southeast Asian nation to 26,473, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto. 

Yurianto reported 40 new deaths from Covid-19, taking the total to 1,613, while 7,308 have recovered.

Scotland's Sturgeon says lockdown easing must be very cautious

Scotland's first minister Nicola Sturgeon said she agreed with scientists that any easing of the coronavirus lockdown must be very cautious after some of those advising government said Britain was moving too quickly.

Asked whether she thought that politicians were no longer following scientific advice, Sturgeon told Sky News: "I agree with the opinion that has been expressed over the weekend that we've got to be very cautious. This virus hasn't gone away, there is still a significant risk that it could run out of control again."

Russia says infections pass 400,000

Russia reported 9,268 new cases of the novel  coronavirus, raising the national tally to 405,843.

Officials said 138 people had died of Covid-19, the respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus, in the last 24 hours, pushing to nationwide toll up to 4,693.

Singapore's health ministry confirms 518 more cases

Singapore has confirmed 518 more infections, the health ministry said, taking its tally to 34,884.

Migrant workers living in dormitories make up the vast majority of the new cases, the ministry said in a statement. 

Rwanda reports its first death from Covid-19

Rwanda's ministry of health reported the East African nation's first death caused by the new coronavirus.

The victim was a 65-year-old driver who opted to return home from a neighbouring country, where he resided, after falling severely ill, the ministry said in a statement.

He passed away from severe respiratory complications while receiving treatment at a specialised Covid-19 treatment facility.

China reports two new cases

China recorded two new confirmed cases, down from four the day before, data from the country's health authority showed.

Both cases were imported in the Chinese province of Shandong, the National Health Commission (NHC) said in a statement on its website.

The NHC also confirmed three new asymptomatic cases, compared to four the day before. With no new deaths reported, the death toll remained at 4,634.

The total number of confirmed cases in the mainland as of May 30 stood at 83,0 01, data form NHC showed.

Thailand reports four new cases, no new deaths

Thailand reported four new cases and no new deaths, taking the total number of infections to 3,081 with 57 deaths since January.

The new patients had arrived in Thailand from the UnitedArab Emirates, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia and have been in state quarantine, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government's Centre for Covid-19 Situation Administration.

Local infections have slowed and over the last two weeks, around 80% of new cases were Thais who had returned from abroad, Panprapa added.

Thailand will on Monday begin reopening more businesses classified as medium to high risks, including cinemas and gyms.

Germany's confirmed cases rise by 286 

The number of confirmed cases in Germany increased by 286 to 181,482, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed.

The reported death toll rose by 11 to 8,500, the data showed.

Trump postpones G7 meeting, seeks expansion of members

President Donald Trump said that he will postpone until the fall a meeting of Group of 7 nations he had planned to hold next month at the White House despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. And he said he plans to invite Russia, Australia, South Korea and India as he again advocated for the group's expansion.

He said he had not yet set a new date for the meeting, but thought the gathering could take place in September, around the time of the annual meeting of the United Nations in New York, or perhaps after the U.S. election in November.

The surprise announcement came after German Chancellor Angela Merkel's office earlier said on Saturday that she would not attend the meeting unless the course of the coronavirus spread had changed by then.

Pope calls for end to 'pandemic of poverty' after virus

"Everything will be different" after the coronavirus pandemic, Pope Francis said Saturday, calling for a fairer society and action to "end the pandemic of poverty in the world".

Speaking in Spanish in a video message to mark the feast of Pentecost, the pontiff said there was a duty to build a new reality, particularly for the poorest.

"Once we emerge from this pandemic, we will not be able to keep doing what we were doing, and as we were doing it. No, everything will be different," he said.

"From the great trials of humanity – among them this pandemic –one emerges better or worse. You don't emerge the same. I ask this of you: how do you want to come out of it? Better or worse?" said the 83-year-old Argentinian.

Colombia to shut down Bogota neighbourhood

The mayor of Colombia’s capital is planning to shut down one of the city’s largest neighbourhoods as cases there continue to rise.

Mayor Claudia Lopez said that starting June 1st the working-class Kennedy area – home to nearly 1.5 million people – will be under a strict quarantine.

Police and military will enforce the lockdown and no one will be all owed out, except to seek food or medical care or in case of an emergency. Businesses like manufacturing that had been allowed to operate will be ordered closed. Lopez said that testing for the virus will be doubled.

The area today has more nearly 2,500 cases and hospitals there are reaching maximum capacity. Lopez said that in the rest of Bogota no new sectors of the economy will be allowed to reopen until at least the middle of June.

Mexico counts 9,779 coronavirus deaths, 87,512 cases

Mexico registered 2,885 new cases of coronavirus and 364 more deaths, bringing the total numbers to 87,512 cases and 9,779 fatalities, according to data from health authorities. 

South Korea reports 27 new cases, including 21 from Seoul

South Korea has reported 27 new cases of the virus, including 21 from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been scrambling to stem transmissions linked to club-goers and warehouse workers.

The figures announced by South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday brought national totals to 11,468 cases and 270 deaths. Twelve of the new cases were linked to international arrivals.

US records 960 deaths in 24 hours - Johns Hopkins

The United States recorded 960 virus deaths, bringing its total to 103,758 since the global pandemic began, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University.

The country has officially logged 1,769,776 cases of the virus, far more than any other nation, the tracker by the Baltimore-based university showed at 8:30 pm (0030 GMT Sunday).

Brazil has record new  cases, surpasses France in deaths
Brazil reported a record 33,274 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Saturday, its health ministry said, and the death toll surpassed that of France and now ranks only below the United States, Britain and Italy.

The South American nation has now reported 498,440 confirmed cases of coronavirus since the outbreak began, a level of contagion second only to the United States.

The death toll in Brazil from Covid-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, increased to 28,834, with 956 new deaths in the last 24 hours, the ministry said.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies