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World’s coronavirus caseload at 4.34mn, EU to push for opening of borders

Some 4,342,354 people are now diagnosed with COVID-19 around the world, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The respiratory illness, which is caused by a new coronavirus, has also killed over 292,893 people.

More than 83,000 of the fatalities were reported in the United States, which has some 1,408,639 confirmed cases.

The United Kingdom, trailing America, has 32,692 deaths.

Here is the latest about the pandemic from around the world:

EU will push to unlock borders to revive tourism

As the pandemic has halted almost all travel across Europe, the European Union (EU) is set to push for border restrictions to be gradually lifted.

The executive arm of the EU, the European Commission, will on Wednesday recommend to restart travel around the continent in order to revive tourism, which normally contributes almost one-tenth of the EU’s economic output.

At least 17 countries, out of the 27 members of the EU, have put emergency border controls in place to contain the viral epidemic.

The virus, however, continues to threaten the continent as many nations have lifted their domestic restrictions.


In Germany, the known cases have increased by 798 to 171,306, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Wednesday.

The reported death toll also rose by 101 to 7,634.


Sweden, with 27,272 confirmed cases and 3,313 deaths, has now allocated an additional 226 million dollars to care for the elderly, who have accounted for more than half of its deaths from COVID-19.

The government said Tuesday the funds would be used for the education and training of 10,000 employees for care homes.

The program will operate in 2020 and 2021.

Sweden has so far resisted a full lockdown, relying on its citizens to follow social distancing guidelines.

The death rate in the country, however, is about 32 per 100,000, comparing to the roughly 9 in neighboring Denmark and 24 in the US.

Putin’s spokesman gets COVID-19, Russia rises to 3rd place

In Russia, the spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, has tested positive for COVID-19.

“I have fallen ill. I am receiving treatment,” he said on Tuesday.

Peskov, who is the fifth senior official to contract the virus in Russia, said he last met President Putin in person over a month ago.

Meanwhile, Russia has now moved up to the third place in terms of confirmed cases after the US and Spain.

Later on Wednesday, Russia reported 10,028 new cases and 96 new deaths. That pushed the total case in the country to 242,271.

But with 2,212 deaths, Russia has so far registered one of the lowest mortality rates in the world.

South Korea reports 26 new cases

South Korea has reported 26 new cases on Tuesday, taking the nation’s tally to 10,962.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said the daily tally was slightly lower than the tally reported in the previous two days. It said 21 of the cases were related to the Seoul nightclub outbreak, which came to the knowledge of the authorities last week.

The cluster prompted the government to re-shutter some nightclubs and bars as well as delay the planned reopening of schools by a week.

The capital city also introduced a new policy requiring people to wear protective face masks during peak hours on the subway from Wednesday.

South Korea has so far reported 259 deaths from COVID-19.

New clusters emerge in China’s Jilin

China’s northeastern city of Jilin reported six new cases on Tuesday and is imposing fresh restrictions on travel.

Jilin, which borders North Korea and Russia, will now temporarily suspend departing or transiting train services for passengers.

China’s National Health Commission reported a total of seven new confirmed cases, those of Jilin included.

Nurses wearing face masks pose for pictures during an event held to mark the International Nurses Day, at Wuhan Tongji Hospital, in Wuhan, China, on May 12, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

In the past two weeks, new cases have been reported in seven Chinese provinces, including Hubei, the original epicenter of the outbreak late last year.

As no additional deaths were reported across the country, China’s death toll continued to stand at 4,633.

Australians urged to maintain vigilance

Australia has urged its citizens to stay on guard against the outbreak of the coronavirus, as the death toll in the country rose to 98 on Wednesday.

Authorities already eased restrictions across the country this week.

Australia’s most populated state, New South Wales state, of which Sydney is the capital, recorded six new cases overnight after zero cases on Tuesday.

The state is set to lift restriction on Friday.

Thailand records no new cases

Thailand reported no new cases of infection on Wednesday, for the first time since the outbreak started in the country in early March.

The Southeast Asian country has a total of 3,017 cases and 56 deaths.

The Thai government, however, urged the public to wear masks, practice good hygiene, and maintain social distancing measures. The capital, Bangkok, and surrounding provinces are still at risk, officials said.

Philippines records new cases

The Philippines’ Health Ministry reported 21 additional deaths and 268 new cases of coronavirus infection on Wednesday.

The ministry said total fatalities had now reached 772, while confirmed cases had risen to 11,618.

Singapore reports 675 new cases

Singapore’s Health Ministry said it had confirmed another 675 cases of coronavirus infection, taking the nation’s tally to 25,346 on Wednesday.

The city-state has registered only 21 deaths overall.

A four-legged robot dog called SPOT patrols a park as it undergoes testing to be deployed as a safe distancing ambassador, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Singapore, on May 8, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Brazil records 881 new deaths

Brazil has become a new hotspot of the coronavirus epidemic with 178, 214 confirmed cases.

The country recorded its deadliest day yet with 881 fatalities in 24 hours on Wednesday, bringing the total tally to 12,461.

Meanwhile, President Jair Bolsonaro has started a dispute with state governors by ordering businesses there to reopen. At least 10 governors said they would not follow the decree.

“Bolsonaro is walking toward the precipice and wants to take all of us with him,” said Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel.

The right-wing president, however, threatened to take legal action against state governors if they did not comply with his decree. He argues that the economic damage from closing businesses is worse than the disease.

Nurses wearing protective face masks participate in a protest with signs bearing the names of the healthcare professionals who have died of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Brasilia, Brazil, on May 12, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Dubai further easing curbs

In the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates’ financial center, Dubai, allowed public parks to be opened for groups of up to five people.

Hotel guests will also be provided with private beaches.

Mosques, cinemas, public beaches, and nightclubs, however, remain closed.

Late in April, Dubai eased a full curfew to eight hours at night, and allowed dine-in restaurants and shopping malls to reopen at limited capacity.

In the capital, Abu Dhabi, some malls have also resumed business.

Israel arrest 320 at bonfire festival

Meanwhile, Israeli forces reportedly arrested 320 people who had been attempting to enter a tomb in defiance of virus restrictions on Tuesday.

Police said they broke into the gathering of some 1,000 people who were celebrating an ancient event at a bonfire festival in a settlement situated midway between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem al-Quds.

Some other, smaller gatherings were also reported in other locations, police said.

Israel has confirmed 16,539 cases and 260 deaths from the epidemic.

In the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem al-Quds, 547 Palestinians have tested positive and two others have died. In the Gaza Strip, 20 confirmed cases have been reported.

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