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China logs no new coronavirus cases for first time: Live updates

  • May 23, 2020
  • South America has become an “epicentre” of the COVID-19 pandemic with Brazil the hardest-hit country, the World Health Organization said. 

  • Britain will introduce a 14-day quarantine for almost all international travellers from June 8, interior minister Priti Patel has said, with anyone breaking the rules facing a $1,218 fine.

  • Some 80 million infants could be at risk of vaccine-preventable diseases like diphtheria, measles and polio due to disruption of routine immunisation caused by the pandemic, UN agencies have warned.

  • More than 5.2 million people around the world are now confirmed to have the coronavirus, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University. More than 337,000 people have died globally while some two million people have recovered.

Here are all the latest updates:

Saturday, May 23

04:09 GMT – Donated plasma benefits COVID-19 patients in small US study

COVID-19 patients given plasma from people who had recovered from the disease showed improved survival rates and were less dependent on oxygen support than other similar hospital patients, according to results of a small US study.

The study, published on Friday, detailed the preliminary outcomes of 39 patients hospitalised at The Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.

Nearly 70 percent of the 39 patients were on high-flow oxygen and 10 percent were on mechanical ventilation. After two weeks, the disease worsened in 18 percent of the plasma patients and 24 percent of the control patients.

As of May 1, nearly 13 percent of plasma recipients had died, compared with more than 24 percent of the control patients.

“We are encouraged that our initial assessment offers evidence in support of convalescent plasma as an effective intervention, while remaining mindful that additional studies are needed to confirm these findings and draw more definitive conclusions in different populations,” said Dr Nicole Bouvier, an infectious disease specialist at Mt Sinai and the study’s lead author.

03:44 GMT – Hertz files for bankruptcy protection in US and Canada

The car rental company Hertz filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada after its business was decimated during the coronavirus pandemic and talks with creditors failed to result in much needed relief.

“The impact of COVID-19 on travel demand was sudden and dramatic, causing an abrupt decline in the Company’s revenue and future bookings,” Hertz said in a press release.

Hertz said it took “immediate action” to prioritise the health and safety of employees and customers and eliminate “all non-essential spending”. However, it said “uncertainty remains as to when revenue will return and when the used-car market will fully re-open for sales, which necessitated today’s action”.

Hertz’s main international operating regions, including Europe, Australia and New Zealand, were not included in the US Chapter 11 filing.

02:46 GMT – China reports no new cases for first time since pandemic began

China recorded no new confirmed COVID-19 cases on the mainland for May 22, the first time it had seen no daily rise in the number of cases since the pandemic began in the city of Wuhan late last year.

However, the National Health Commission said there were two new suspected cases: An imported one in Shanghai and locally transmitted case in the northeastern province of Jilin.

New asymptomatic cases of the coronavirus fell to 28 from 35 a day earlier, the NHC said.

02:31 GMT – Yemen’s Houthis ban gatherings ahead of Eid al-Fitr

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have announced strict antivirus measures targeted specifically at Eid al-Fitr, the festival that concludes the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.

The health ministry’s restrictions ask citizens to wear masks in public and not leave their homes unless absolutely necessary.

The ban on social gatherings will prevent multi-generational families and friends from feasting together, and children from visiting their neighbours’ homes for gifts and sweets, as is traditional.

02:06 GMT – Protesters demand food aid in Chile’s capital

Residents of a poor neighbourhood in the Chilean capital, Santiago, protested on Friday, demanding food aid to cope with the lockdown in place in the city since late March.

One police officer was shot in an arm during the protest in Cerrillos, in which security forces also used tear gas and water cannon trucks to disperse the demonstrators.

“This is not the way, we have that clear,” one protester who did not give his name told The Associated Press news agency. “But it is the only way to get things done in this country, this is how we fight here, like this, this is how you can see the hunger of some people.”

Protesters were also seen holding a banner that read: “The people are poor, rebel and subversive, to the street!”

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Santiago

01:54 GMT – Peru extends nationwide lockdown

Peru has extended its state of emergency and a nationwide lockdown to fight the coronavirus pandemic until the end of June, marking one of the longest periods of mandatory isolation in the world.

The Andean nation, which began the lockdown in mid-March, will have lived under it for more than three months by a June 30 expiration, outlasting restrictions in Italy, Spain and China, some of the hardest hit countries in the pandemic.

Friday’s extension, announced by President Martin Vizcarra, came as Peru’s confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 111,698, the second highest total in Latin America. The death toll stood at 3,244 on Friday.

01:20 GMT – France to allow faith gatherings

The French interior ministry says it will allow religious gatherings to resume after a two-month hiatus caused by the COVID-19 outbreak but worshippers will have to wear face masks.

The rules will be outlined in a decree in “the coming hours” the ministry said in a statement on Friday.

Under the decree, a ban on gatherings imposed in March would be rescinded. But collective worship would have to observe conditions, including the wearing of masks, a distance of at least one metre (3.2 feet) between worshippers and hand-washing.

France coronavirus

 01:07 GMT – New York eases ban on gatherings

Andrew Cuomo, the governor of New York, dropped the coronavirus-hit state’s absolute ban on gatherings of any size, issuing an executive order saying up to 10 people are now allowed to be together as long as they abide by social-distancing guidelines adopted during the coronavirus pandemic.

That means people still need to stay at least 6 feet (1.8 metres) away from others, or wear a mask or face covering when they cannot maintain that distance in public.

The order represents one of the biggest steps yet the hard-hit state has taken to loosen rules adopted in March that have barred anyone but essential workers from getting together unless they live in the same household.

00:34 GMT – Brazil now has world’s second-highest coronavirus cases

Brazil confirmed a total of 330,890 coronavirus cases on Friday, overtaking Russia to become the world’s second hotspot for COVID-19.

The Health Ministry said there were 1,001 deaths in the previous 24 hours, bringing Brazil’s total death toll to 21,408.

In Sao Paulo, the worst-hit city, aerial video showed rows of open plots at the Formosa Cemetery as it rushed to keep up with demand.

00:18 GMT – Mexico cancels football season over virus concerns

Mexico’s top league has decided to cancel its football season without crowning a champion for the first time in its history.

Liga MX cited uncertainty generated by the coronavirus pandemic for the decision and declared the season over despite having played 10 of its 17 dates.

“It’s indisputable that we live in an unprecedented situation in this country that obliges the football industry in Mexico to act with absolute sensitivity and respond with unity to the demands that have presented themselves,” the league said in a statement.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives. 

You can find all the updates from yesterday, May 22, here

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