Coronavirus: Latest on COVID-19 from around the world - Tuesday, May 4

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organization, plans to run for a second five-year term as the head of the agency, Stat News reported on Monday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Here's the latest from around the world on the pandemic.

Asia-Pacific

India

India postponed exams for trainee doctors and nurses on Monday, freeing them up to fight the world's biggest surge in coronavirus infections, as the health system crumbles under the weight of new cases and hospitals run out of beds and oxygen.

The total number of infections so far rose to just short of 20 million, propelled by a 12th straight day of more than 300,000 new cases in a pandemic sparked by a virus first identified in central China at the end of 2019.

Medical experts say actual numbers in India could be five to 10 times higher than those reported.

India's daily COVID-19 shots have fallen sharply from an all-time high reached early last month as domestic companies struggle to boost supplies and imports are limited, even as the country fights the world's worst surge in infections.

Taiwan

Taiwan became the latest place to ban arrivals from coronavirus-stricken India on Monday, as it moves to prevent new infections, with more nations reporting cases of a variant first identified in the subcontinent.

Indonesia

Indonesia has recorded two cases of a highly infectious COVID-19 variant first identified in India, Health Minister Budi Gunadi Sadikin said on Monday.

"There were two new mutations that entered. One from India, with two incidents in Jakarta and one from South Africa in Bali," Budi told a virtual conference. Another official confirmed the two cases were the B.1.617 variant, first detected in India.

Indonesia last month stopped issuing visas for foreigners who had been in India in the previous 14 days.

Philippines

Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte received his first dose of Sinopharm's vaccine against COVID-19 on Monday to encourage reluctant Filipinos to get inoculated and help stop the spread of the virus, his closest aide said.

Duterte, 76, got inoculated to protect himself from COVID-19 and encourage the public to get vaccinated, Christopher Go, a senator and his closest aide, said in a statement.

Ahead of receiving his first dose, which was streamed live on Facebook, Duterte said: "I feel good and I have been expecting this shot, vaccination a long time ago."

Thailand

Thailand on Monday reported a new daily record of 31 coronavirus deaths, the health ministry said, as the Southeast Asian country grapples with a third wave of infections.

Europe

Greece

Greece allowed restaurants and bars to open from Monday as it took a further step towards easing coronavirus restrictions ahead of the planned start of the tourist season on May 15.

Germany

Germans who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 should be exempt from quarantine on re-entering Germany, Health Minister Jens Spahn said on Monday after the government cabinet discussed plans to lift restrictions for people who have had their shots.

France

France's new daily COVID-19 infections fell to an almost two-months low on average on Monday, a figure warranting the government's decision to start unwinding the country's third lockdown.

But after falling for five days in a row, the number of people hospitalised for the disease went up by 132, a second consecutive increase, at 28,950.

Denmark

Denmark on Monday became the first country to exclude Johnson & Johnson's COVID-19 shots from its vaccination programme over a potential link to a rare but serious form of blood clot.

The move comes after the Nordic country last month stopped using AstraZeneca's vaccine altogether citing similar concerns. 

Turkey

Turkey logged 340 coronavirus-related deaths and 25,980 new cases in the last 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed on Sunday, the third day of a nationwide lockdown, including curfews, closed schools and many shuttered businesses.

United Kingdom

Britain reported 1671 COVID-19 new infections on Sunday as well as a further 14 deaths within 28 days of a positive test. Britain is on course to ditch on June 21 the social distancing rule that means people need to stay at least one metre apart, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.

Italy

Italy reported 256 coronavirus-related deaths on Monday against 144 the day before, the health ministry said, while the daily tally of new infections fell to 5948 from 9148.

Americas

Venezuela

Venezuela this month will begin clinical trials of the Cuban coronavirus vaccine candidate Abdala, and plans to produce enough doses locally to vaccinate 4 million people, Health Minister Carlos Alvarado said on Monday.

Cuba in March approved late-stage trials of Abdala, named after a poem by the 19th-century Cuban independence hero Jose Marti. The trials are to be completed in July and the first results published in August, according Cuban to state media.

United States

New cases of COVID-19 in the United States fell for a third week in a row, dropping 15 percent last week to 347,000, the lowest weekly total since October, according to a Reuters analysis of state and county data.

Nearly a third of the country's population has been fully vaccinated as of Sunday, and 44 percent has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Deaths from COVID-19 fell 3 percent to 4,819 in the week ended May 2, the fewest deaths in a week since July.

Most coronavirus capacity restrictions on businesses in New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, including retail stores, food services and gyms, will end on May 19, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica is likely to suffer through a second year of costly tourist hesitancy as the spread of the pandemic intensifies in the Central American nation, further battering the key travel sector.

Amid an April surge of COVID-19 infections, hospital beds are scarce in the tropical country. Its infection rate last week surpassed even tragedy-struck India and Brazil. Given the lack of widespread testing, the real figures could be even worse.

"We're anticipating a much worse year than 2020," said Shirley Calvo, head of the tourism business chamber.

Africa and the Middle East

Morocco 

Morocco has detected its first two cases of the Indian variant of the coronavirus whose contacts have been isolated to avoid contagion, the health ministry said on Monday.

Tanzania

Tanzania on Monday announced new anti-coronavirus measures, saying it wanted to prevent the importation of new variants, highlighting new President Samia Suluhu Hassan's more active efforts to contain the pandemic.

Among the new measures, travellers, both foreigners and Tanzanians, will be required to present negative COVID-19 tests at border points.

Reuters / Newshub.