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COVID-19 Live Updates: Coronavirus Cases in US Top 1.5 Million - Johns Hopkins University

The pandemic continues to spread around the globe, infecting over 4.6 million people worldwide, and killing around 317,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. However, multiple countries have reported a decline in the number of new cases, announcing an ease of the coronavirus restrictions or even lifting lockdowns and travel bans.

The United States remains the nation most affect by the virus, with New York the hardest hit city, reporting over 193,000 cases and 20,806 fatalities. At the same time, US President Donald Trump said on Twitter that the number of new cases "is strongly trending downward throughout the United States, with few exceptions".

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03:47 GMT 19.05.2020
01:08 GMT 19.05.2020

TEL AVIV (Sputnik) - More than 20 new cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded in Israel since Monday morning, the overall case tally reached 16,643 by Monday evening, while the COVID-19 death toll increased by four to 276, the Health Ministry reported.

A total of 11 new cases and no deaths were registered the day before.

Currently, 3,114 people are sick with coronavirus in Israel, 52 of them are in serious condition, 42 patients need lung ventilation. The number of recoveries as of Monday evening was 13,253.

Israel has begun gradually lifting the lockdown. Public events with up to 50 people are allowed in the country. On Sunday, school studies resumed. From 20 May, it is allowed to visit beaches.

00:19 GMT 19.05.2020

ANKARA (Sputnik) - Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu discussed the response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak by phone with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a Turkish Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.

"Our minister held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The sides discussed the coronavirus situation, as well as touched upon regional issues," the spokesperson said.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic on 11 March.

According to the WHO, the global coronavirus death toll has surpassed 311,000 people, with the number of cases worldwide exceeding 4.6 million.

In line with Johns Hopkins University's data, the global case tally tops 4,795,000, with over 317,000 deaths and more than 1,784,000 recoveries.

23:14 GMT 18.05.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US state of Oregon Governor Kate Brown's COVID-19 restrictions on religious gatherings to prevent the spread of the pandemic are null and void, Circuit Judge Matthew Shirtcliff said in a ruling.

"The governor’s orders are not required for public safety when plaintiffs can continue to utilize social distancing and safety protocols at larger gatherings involving spiritual worship,'' Shirtcliff said as quoted by The Oregonian newspaper on Monday. "The Governor’s subsequent Executive Orders 20-05 through 20-25 are... null and void."

Shirtcliff ruled in a lawsuit brought by ten 10 churches.  However, Brown said she would appeal the ruling immediately to the state supreme court in a bid to have it reversed within hours.

"The science behind my executive orders hasn’t changed: today’s ruling from the Baker County Circuit Court will be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court within hours to keep my emergency orders in effect, ensuring we can continue to safeguard the health of all Oregonians," she said in a statement.

22:14 GMT 18.05.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - Moscow has registered 71 deaths of patients with the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) over the past 24 hours, bringing the Russian capital's death toll to 1,651, the city's coronavirus response centre said in a statement.

"A total of 71 patients who were diagnosed with pneumonia and tested positive for the coronavirus infection have died in Moscow," the centre said.

The day before, 77 people died from COVID-19 in Moscow.

21:25 GMT 18.05.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The number of globally confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has increased by 93,324 over the past 24 hours to surpass 4.6 million, and the death toll has topped 311,000 people, the World Health Organization (WHO) said.

The case tally currently amounts to 4,618,821, and the number of deaths stands at 311,847 - a rise by 4,452 over the past day.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic on 11 March.

20:57 GMT 18.05.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States will deliver 200 ventilators to Russia to help combat the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a senior Trump administration official said on Monday.

"In response to President [Vladimir] Putin’s request for assistance, President [Donald] Trump offered to donate and deliver 200 ventilators to the Russian people," the official said. "This delivery represents the rapid fulfillment of that offer."

The official noted that the situation regarding COVID-19 in Russia is worsening and the US ventilators will help save many lives.

"The United States is the largest contributor to global public health and has committed more than 15,000 ventilators to more than 50 countries, including our European Allies and partners," the official said.

Earlier on Monday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said the work continues on the idea to receive ventilators from the United States.

Russia sent to the United States in April a plane-full with medic al equipment, including 45 ventilators, 15,000 respirators and 1 million masks, Ryabkov added.

20:40 GMT 18.05.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Texas Governor Greg Abbott announced on Monday that restaurants and bars will be allowed to open in his state at partial capacity on Friday and youth sports programs, summer camps and professional sports can resume on 31 May.

"Beginning this Friday, May the 22nd, a long list of businesses can now reopen or expand capacity," Abbott said. "Restaurants can open to a 50 percent capacity. Bars, wine tasting rooms, craft breweries and similar businesses can open at a 25 percent capacity."

In addition, Abbott said that on 31 May youth sports programs and summer camps will be able to resume operations.

Professional sports like golf, auto racing, baseball, softball, tennis, football and basketball will also be able to resume on 31 May, Abbott said.

The governor pointed out that summer school can begin on 1 June under safe distancing practices.

However, Abbott pointed out that the cities of El Paso and Amarillo are not prepared to enter into phase 2 of the reopening process.

Abbott said Texas is administering an average of 25,000 novel coronavirus tests each day and that there has been a downward trend in the number of Texans testing positive each week, from 13.8 percent on April 13 to 4.8 percent on 16 May.

On Monday, several Texas businesses in office buildings, gyms and childcare services were allowed to reopen.

Other Texas businesses have been allowed to reopen since 1 May, including retail stores, restaurants, movie theaters, malls, barbershops and hair salons. All licensed healthcare professionals in Texas have also been allowed to return to work under fewer restrictions.

To date, Texas has 47,784 confirmed novel coronavirus cases and 1,336 deaths related to the COVID-19 disease as of Monday, according to the state’s Department of State Health Services. More than 27,500 Texans have recovered from the novel coronavirus infection, according to the data.

20:30 GMT 18.05.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The death toll in the United States from the novel coronavirus has surpassed 90,000, with the number of cases exceeding 1.5 million, Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center data showed on Monday.

Health officials in the country have documented 90,312 fatalities and 1,500,753 cases overall, according to the data.

The United States is leading the world in the number of reported COVID-19 deaths and confirmed cases. There are more than 4,775,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases worldwide and more than 316,000 deaths, according to the data.

20:23 GMT 18.05.2020

MADRID (Sputnik) - Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Monday that Madrid supports the proposal of Germany and France to set up a vast EU recovery fund to help European regions worst hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Earlier in the day, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron said in a joint statement that the European Union should work on its "strategic health sovereignty" through a joint strategy and proposed to establish Recovery Fund, which would provide 500 billion euros ($545 billion) in EU budget spending to back the sectors and regions that were hit hardest.

"We welcome the proposal by France and Germany to establish a €500 bn European Recovery Fund based on grants. It is a positive step in the right direction, in line with our own demands. Now its time for #EU to put forward a proper financial package. We should keep moving forward," Sanchez wrote on Twitter.

On 6 May, the European Commission said in its forecast that the eurozone's GDP would see a 7.7 percent decrease in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and then grow again by 6.3 percent in 2021. Commenting on the projections, European Commissioner for Economy Paolo Gentiloni expressed belief that the bloc had entered the "deepest economic recession in its history."

19:59 GMT 18.05.2020

BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The Belgian government reopened on Monday schools and museums as part of the new phase of the relaxation of COVID-19 lockdown amid steady decline in new infections.

Belgium's COVID-19 mortality rate continues to decline. Earlier in the day, the Health Ministry said that COVID-19 death toll in the country grew by 28 to 9,080 over the past 24 hours, while on Saturday and Sunday, the health authorities reported 47 new fatalities a day. The number of confirmed cases in Belgium has increased by 279 in the past day to a cumulative total of 55,559. On Sunday, the daily increase was at 291.

According to Caroline Desir, the education minister of Belgium's French Community, the first day of resumed classes proceeded smoothly.

In accordance with the National Security Council's decision, studies in school are resuming gradually. The first to return to school were students of final grades and those who are finishing primary school. All students were provided with protective masks and sanitizers and divided into groups of ten.

Museums and cultural and historical sites were reopened under the condition that they sell tickets online only and that they prevent large groups of people from gathering indoors.

On 4 May, Belgium began a phase-by-phase abatement of the coronavirus-related restrictions. Businesses in which there is no direct contact with customers were allowed to resume operations. All stores and street stalls were allowed to reopen and Belgians were allowed to receive guests, but with certain limitations — up to four people belonging to the same family and preferably in outdoor venues, such as gardens. Food services, bars and night clubs are expected to reopen on 8 June.

18:41 GMT 18.05.2020

TORONTO (Sputnik) - Half of Canadians confirmed to have contacted the novel coronavirus have recovered from the COVID-19 disease, Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr Theresa Tam said in a statement on Monday.

"As of Monday, May 18, there are 77,306 COVID-19 cases, including 5,805 deaths. More than 38,828 or 50 per cent of cases are now recovered", the statement said.

Tam said that 26,000 to 28,000 people on average are being tested daily across Canada.

17:37 GMT 18.05.2020
17:37 GMT 18.05.2020

"We hope that, on 15 June, we will be able to replace the general travel warning with travel recommendations on where one can visit and what one can expect", Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said.

Berlin issued the travel warning in mid-March, cautioning against all non-essential travels abroad, especially for tourism.

17:26 GMT 18.05.2020
17:24 GMT 18.05.2020
17:19 GMT 18.05.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US national capital area registered more than 1,850 new COVID-19 infections within the past 24 hours, an increase of 16 percent in the average daily case count, official data revealed on Monday.

The whole region, consisting of Washington, DC and the states of Maryland and Virginia, registered 1,852 cases in the last 24 hours compared with 1,585 positive tests on Sunday, according to a tally of numbers released by local officials and health departments.

The spike comes as Maryland and Virginia begin reopening although some Washington suburbs have not lifted home stays because they do not meet the criteria. Washington's home stay order will be in place until June 8.

Maryland added 958 cases since yesterday, the governor's office said. Overall, Maryland has confirmed 39,762 cases and 1,903 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

Washington Mayor Muriel Bowser confirmed 147 new cases and 9 additional deaths, bringing the respective totals to 7,270 and 392.

Virginia has registered 31,140 cases and 1,014 fatalities since the beginning of the outbreak, according to the state's health department.

17:12 GMT 18.05.2020

"During periods of active epidemic growth, we invited critical personnel with a negative test to isolate themselves during off-hours shifts in health centre or specially equipped observers. If COVID-19 is suspected, workers were strictly isolated and all their contacts were examined. This allowed us to ensure sanitary and epidemiological safety and continuity of the technological cycle at nuclear power plants and other strategically important organisations, despite different epidemic situations in different regions of the country",  Russian Federal Biomedical Agency (FMBA) chief Veronika Skvortsova said, as quoted by the agency.

17:10 GMT 18.05.2020

ANKARA, (Sputnik) - Turkey records 1,158 new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours compared to 1,368 infections the day before amid the relaxation of the quarantine measures, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday, stating that the total tally surpassed 150,500.

"Today, we identified 1,158 new cases, the total number increased to 150,593. We lost 31 patients today, and the death toll stands at 4,171", Koca tweeted.

17:10 GMT 18.05.2020
16:40 GMT 18.05.2020

The measure will be in place from 23 to 26 May, Erdogan said in a televised speech.

16:00 GMT 18.05.2020

"We report 99 new victims today, which brings our national death toll to 32.007. The total number of discharged patients who have recovered from the virus has risen to 127.326 an increase of 2.150 people compared to yesterday", the Department of Civil Protection said in a statement, adding that the current number of confirmed COVID-19 cases is at 225,886 with an increase of 451.

15:56 GMT 18.05.2020
15:41 GMT 18.05.2020

GENEVA (Sputnik) - The number of new COVID-19 cases in Switzerland continues to steadily decline amid the country's second phase of gradually relaxing the related lockdown, with the daily rate on Monday decreasing to 10 cases compared to 15 the day before, the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health said on Monday, adding that no fatalities have been registered in Switzerland over the past day.

Switzerland began to lift its restrictions on 27 April with a gradual return to business for hairdressers and dentists’ offices. The second phase of restriction easing started on 11 May, with all shops, restaurants and bars reopening with some limitations still in place. The third phase is scheduled to begin on 8 June.

The overall number of infections in the country now amounts to 30,597, and 1,603 patients have died from the disease, the federal office said. Since the outbreak, 345,760 people have been tested for the coronavirus, of which only 11 percent tested positive.

The most affected regions remain Vaud with 5,498 cases, Geneva with 5,188 cases, Zurich with 3,472 cases and Ticino with 3,251 cases.

15:40 GMT 18.05.2020
15:27 GMT 18.05.2020

TORONTO (Sputnik) - The number of Canadians who have contracted the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) grew by 3,477 over the weekend to 77,306, Public Health Agency data revealed on Monday.

The virus-related death toll grew to 5,805, the data also showed.

The province of Quebec remains the epicentre of the outbreak in Canada, accounting for more than half of all confirmed cases - 42,920 - and 3,562 deaths.

The province of Ontario trails with 22,957 confirmed cases and 1,904 COVID-19-related fatalities.

To date, 1,312,613 Canadians have been tested for the deadly disease with nearly 6 percent testing positive.

15:09 GMT 18.05.2020
15:00 GMT 18.05.2020

The official also said it was crucial that Taiwan participate as an observer at the World Health Assembly.

14:47 GMT 18.05.2020
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13:46 GMT 18.05.2020

BAGHDAD (Sputnik) - Select businesses and retailers in six districts of the Iraqi capital city will be placed under complete lockdown as a measure to curb the spread of the coronavirus infection, the Health Ministry of Iraq said in a statement on Monday.

"Due to the fast spread of the coronavirus infection in Baghdad and the emergence of hotbeds in several districts ... we decided to introduce a complete two-week lockdown in certain districts beginning on Wednesday, 20 May", the ministry said in a statement, obtained by Sputnik.

Alongside the lockdown, the Iraqi health authorities will launch "the largest operation for the detection of cases" in businesses, as well as disinfection works and a public awareness campaign, the ministry said. According to the statement, they will engage the Civil Defence Corps, the operational command of the Baghdad armed forces, and mass media.

The new regulation will apply to "several sectors of the national economy and retail facilities”, in Baghdad districts, including Sadr City, Habbibiya, Kamaliya, Hurriyah, Al-Shu'ala ,and Al-Amriya. It might be expanded to other districts if the spread of the infection continues, the statement read.

13:46 GMT 18.05.2020
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13:24 GMT 18.05.2020

MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The vaccine against the coronavirus infection must become a "global public good" obtained via a coordinated effort by all stakeholders, including the World Health Organisation (WHO), French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday.

"At a moment when health workers are fighting against the pandemic, when all our people and all our countries are facing it with courage, we cannot let ourselves be divided. We have a collective duty to be effective", Macron said in an address to the 73d World Health Assembly.

The French president urged all stakeholders, be it states, organisations, funds, pharmaceutical companies, or ordinary citizens, to join forces. He also called on them to cooperate with the WHO, highlighting the organisation's "irreplaceable coordinating role, scientific expertise and knowledge of the situation on the ground".

"If we discover a vaccine against COVID-19, it will be a global public good, and everyone must have access to it", Macron said, adding that "as long as the disease remains a threat to a few, it will remain a threat for everybody".

12:49 GMT 18.05.2020
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The world does not need new health organisations or systems, it needs to support existing ones, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Monday.

"The world doesn't need another plan, another system, another mechanism, another committee, or another organisation. It needs to strengthen, implement, and finance the systems and organisations it has – including the WHO", he stated at the World Health Assembly.

The international community can no longer "afford the short-term amnesia" that has long characterised its response to health security, the WHO chief said.

"The COVID-19 pandemic is asking us two fundamental questions: What sort of world do we want? And what sort of WHO do we want? The answer to the first question will determine the answer to the second. Now more than ever, we need a healthier world. Now more than ever, we need a safer world. Now more than ever, we need a fairer world. And now more than ever, we need a stronger WHO. There is no other way forward but together", Tedros noted.

11:20 GMT 18.05.2020
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MOSCOW (Sputnik) - New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that the country's customs had launched an investigation into the Ruby Princess cruise ship to establish whether any offences had been committed by managers that could have led to a coronavirus outbreak on board the ship in New Zealand and Australia.

"I can tell you that customs is currently undertaking an investigation into the Ruby Princess cruise ship, following its visit here...What they are seeking to do through that investigation is to establish whether any offences have been committed because, of course, the visit is governed under the Customs and Excise Act. Other than that, I cannot say anything more, it is really a matter for customs to continue their investigation", Ardern said at a briefing.

The Ruby Princess made several stops in New Zealand during a trip from 11-15 March. On 19 March, it anchored in Sydney, letting passengers disembark even though many of them were already feeling ill at that point. About one in ten COVID-19 cases and more than 20 related deaths in Australia are feared to be linked to the cruise ship. In Hawke's Bay, New Zealand, at least 16 confirmed cases are believed to be linked to the cruise ship.

07:53 GMT 18.05.2020
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BANGKOK (Sputnik) - All Thai schools closed due to the coronavirus pandemic will reopen on 1 July and regular classes will resume, Education Minister Nataphol Teepsuwan said on Monday.

"This is the final decision, all the schools across the country will open their doors again on 1 July", Nataphol said, as aired by the state broadcaster NBT.

If the epidemiological situation deteriorates, schools will likely switch to online classes again, the minister added.

"If the epidemiological situation aggravates in a region, we will implement measures to contain the spreading of the infection and we will likely switch schools to the online regime again if the situation becomes menacing", the minister specified, adding that the entire secondary school system will not go online anyway.

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NEW DELHI (Sputnik) - The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in India appears to be on an exponential trajectory as the country continues reporting record spikes in daily increments, with more than 5,200 cases confirmed over the last 24 hours, according to the latest situation update from the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

The previous two days saw the number of COVID-19 cases in India increase from 85,940 to 90,927.

The total case count in India has now reached 96,169, including 56,316 active cases under treatment, the ministry said.

The death toll from COVID-19 has grown by 157 to a total of 3,019 fatalities. Recoveries stand at 36,823, an increase of 2,715 over the past day.

The central state of Maharashtra continues to be the hotbed of infection in the country, with 33,053 confirmed cases. It is followed by the westernmost state of Gujarat with 11,379 cases, and the southeastern state of Tamil Nadu with 11,224 cases.

04:47 GMT 18.05.2020
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