Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Sunday, May 24

As of Sunday morning (NZ time), more than 342,000 people had died in the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.

Here's the latest from around the world making headlines.

Europe

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom's death toll from confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose by 282 to 36,675, the government said.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has resisted calls from opposition parties to sack adviser Dominic Cummings after he travelled 400km to northern England while his wife showed COVID-19 symptoms.

Cummings, who masterminded the 2016 campaign to leave the European Union during the Brexit referendum, travelled to Durham in late March when a strict lockdown was already in place.

Johnson's office said Cummings made the journey to ensure his young son could be properly cared for, as his wife was ill with COVID-19 and there was a "high likelihood" that Cummings would himself become unwell.

"I behaved reasonably and legally," Cummings told reporters outside his house on Saturday after telling them to stay 2 metres apart in accordance with government guidelines.

When a reporter said it did not look good, he said: "Who cares about good looks - it's a question of doing the right thing, it's not about what you guys think."

Italy

Italy has recorded 119 new deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic against 130 the day before, while the daily tally of new cases rose marginally to 669 from 652 on the prior day.

The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 32,735, the third-highest in the world after those of the United States and Britain.

The Civil Protection Agency said the total number of confirmed cases in Italy since the start of its outbreak now amounts to 229,327, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Russia, Spain, Britain and Brazil.

Protesters gathered in Rome on Saturday to demand financial help from government as the country reopens after months of strict lockdown.

Many waving the national flag, dozens of "Mascherine Tricolori" members gathered in central Piazza del Popolo asking the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte for help.

Germany

More than 40 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus following a church service in Frankfurt, Germany's financial center, earlier this month, the head of the city's health department told a news agency on Saturday.

Germany's COVID-19 death toll stands at 8354.

France

The number of people in hospital with coronavirus in France fell by 205 to 17,178 on Saturday, continuing a gradual decline that has lasted more than five weeks since a high of 32,292 on April 14.

The number of people in intensive care fell by 36 or 2.1 percent to 1665.

France did not publish a revised number of deaths on Saturday and said the COVID-19 toll will be updated on Monday. As of Thursday, a total of 28,215 people had died from the virus.

Russia

Russia said on Saturday that 9434 new cases of the novel coronavirus had been reported in the last 24 hours, pushing its nationwide tally to 335,882.

The country's coronavirus crisis response center reported 139 new fatalities after a record of 150 deaths the day before, bringing the death toll to 3388.

The Russian capital, Moscow, confirmed 3,190 new cases.

President Vladimir Putin earlier this month announced the gradual easing of coronavirus-related lockdown measures, which has led to a visible increase in the number of people on the streets of Moscow.

Anatoly Konenko, a Russian artist famous for his miniature artworks, found a way to apply his skills in the pandemic situation - he created tiny masks for insects to symbolically protect them from coronavirus disease.

"Now, in this difficult time, we must understand now that it is necessary to save not only people but also animals and insects," Konenko told Reuters.

A woman in Moscow wears a mask to venture out in public.
A woman in Moscow wears a mask to venture out in public. Photo credit: Getty

Spain

Spain's overnight death toll from the new coronavirus rose by 48 on Saturday to a total of 28,678, the health ministry said.

Asia

China

For the first time since the coronavirus pandemic began, China has recorded a day with no new confirmed cases.

The country's National Health Commission says it has only detected two suspicious ones.

In the past 24 hours no new deaths have occurred either, with three patients discharged from hospital.

The Wuhan Institute of Virology has again denied being the source of the virus.

"Our institute first received the clinical sample of the unknown pneumonia on December 30 last year," said Wang Yanyi, director of the institute.

"After we checked the pathogen within the sample, we found it contained a new coronavirus, which is now called SARS-CoV-2. We didn't have any knowledge before that, nor had we ever encountered, researched or kept the virus. In fact, like everyone else, we didn't even know the virus existed. How could it have leaked from our lab when we never had it?"

The US has suggested the virus came from the lab, which is near where the first cases were found. Scientists widely believe the virus could not have been man-made.

Thailand

Thailand begun testing the mRNA (messenger RNA) vaccine against the coronavirus on monkeys on Saturday after successful trials in mice.

Thailand's minister of higher education, science, and research and innovation, Suvit Maesincee said after the testing on mice, researchers have moved to trial the vaccine on non-human primates.

There are three doses altogether and a 'clearer outcome' is expected in September.

"This project is for the human race, not just Thais. The Prime Minister (Prayuth Chan-ocha) has outlined a policy that we must develop a vaccine and join the world community workforce on this," Suvit told journalists on Saturday.

Americas

United States

The United States will exempt some foreign athletes who compete in professional sporting events in the country from entry bans imposed because of the pandemic.

"In today's environment, Americans need their sports," Acting US Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said in a statement announcing he had signed an order for the exemption.

"It's time to reopen the economy and it's time we get our professional athletes back to work."

US President Donald Trump on Saturday went on his first golf outing since the coronavirus pandemic broke out, visiting his club in the Washington suburbs in a purposeful display of normalcy.

On a sunny spring day, Trump's motorcade took him from the White House to Trump National Golf Club, and he was spotted wearing a white cap and white polo shirt. It was his first time at a golf property since March 8, when he visited his club in West Palm Beach, Florida.

The US death toll is now at 98,222.

Middle East and Africa

Palestine

A woman has died in Gaza Strip after contracting the coronavirus, the Palestinian enclave's first fatality from the global pandemic, the health ministry says.

It said the 77-year-old woman had suffered from a prior chronic illness and had travelled to Gaza through neighbouring Egypt on May 19.

She had been quarantined as a precaution since then, the ministry said.

Reuters / Newshub.

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