- Spain is to begin 10 days of mourning on Wednesday in memory of the more than 27,000 people who have lost their lives to the coronavirus. Flags will fly at half-mast.
- A new study is warning that Brazil could be facing a death toll of 125,000 people by early August while the WHO has warned the Americas are the new epicentre.
- President Donald Trump continues to put pressure on US states to reopen the economy.
Nearly 5.6 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 350,000 people have died, while nearly 2.3 million have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:
Wednesday, May 27
06:57 GMT – ‘Move on’, Britain says to outrage over PM adviser Cummings
The British government said that it was time to move on after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s senior adviser provoked outrage and widespread scorn by making a 400 km (250 mile) road trip during the coronavirus lockdown.
Dominic Cummings has refused to quit after it was revealed that he had driven from London to northern England in March with his 4-year-old son and his wife, who was sick at the time, to be close to relatives.
Johnson has backed his adviser.
“Now I think is the time for us all to move on,” Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told the BBC.
“That’s not to say this isn’t an important issue or that people don’t care a great deal about it but I think there is a lot more that we need to focus on now, like the virus and the economy.”
06:32 GMT – Bulgaria to reopen restaurants, bars and cafes
Bulgaria will allow restaurants, bars and cafes to reopen at full capacity on June 1 as the Balkan country further eased restrictions imposed in mid-March to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Health Minister Kiril Ananiev approved the decision, and also allowed the resumption of cultural and entertainment events, including theatres, concerts and stage performances. Dance classes could also resume, using up to 30 percent of their indoor capacity and up to 50 percent of the outdoor capacity.
According to the order, however, discos, piano bars and night bars must stay closed as the country remains under a declared epidemic situation until June 14.
06:10 GMT – Dubai eases lockdown restrictions
Cinemans, gyms, educational institutes and entertainment attractions have been allowed to reopen in Dubai, days after an extension on a nationwide curfew was imposed in the United Arab Emirates.
There will be no restrictions on movement or business operations between 6am and 11pm local time, Dubai’s Media office said, adding that social distancing rules must be observed.
Under the directives of @HHShkMohd, @HamdanMohammed announces the gradual reopening of business activities in #Dubai from Wednesday, 27 May. There will be no restrictions on movement between 6.00 am and 11.00 pm. pic.twitter.com/7ZeMKpyKUY
— Dubai Media Office (@DXBMediaOffice) May 25, 2020
05:30 GMT –
I am handing over this blog to my colleagues in Doha shortly.
A quick update on developments this morning. The global death toll has risen above 350,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, South Korea has seen its highest spike in cases in 49 days with a new cluster now emerging around an online delivery depot, and Japan and the EU are preparing giant new stimulus packages for coronavirus-hit economies.
05:00 GMT – Pakistan government mulls renewed lockdown measures as cases surge
Pakistan’s government is mulling a renewed lockdown after its move to lift many coronavirus restrictions over the past two weeks led to a surge in new cases.
Defacto health minister Zafar Mirza said there had been a “severe rush” to markets and people were behaving as if “the virus had been eradicated” since the curbs were relaxed.
04:45 GMT – Major economies prepare massive new stimulus packages
The European Union and Japan are preparing massive new stimulus packages to get their economies moving after weeks of coronavirus lockdown.
Japan’s measures are due to be finalised at a cabinet meeting later on Wednesday. The $1.1 trillion package includes cash for small and medium-sized enterprises, payouts to healthcare workers as well as funds for vaccine development and medical equipment, and rental subisidies for people or businesses who are struggling.
The 27-nation EU is also due to unveil its latest stimulus plan on Wednesday. The more than one trillion euro initiative involves grants, loans and guarantees. Some of the more fiscally conservative nations have expressed concern about the grants because they would need to be repaid through joint borrowing, which could lead to higher national contributions to the EU budget.
04:20 GMT – South Korea sees spike in cases with new cluster at retail logistics centre
South Korea has seen its biggest surge in new coronavirus cases in 49 days with a new cluster emerging at a retail logistics centre west of Seoul.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) says it confirmed 40 new cases up to midnight on Tuesday.
At least 36 cases have been linked to the Coupang warehouse, which was closed for disinfection on Monday. All 3,600 people who work there are being tested for the virus. Coupang enjoyed a surge of business as South Koreans stayed indoors although some of its workers complained about conditions.
“We are very nervous about community infections and we are keeping a close eye on the situation,” vice minister for health Kim Kang-lip said at a briefing.
04:15 GMT – ‘I use it as a prophylaxis’: El Salvador’s leader touts hydroxychloroquine
El Salvador’s Nayib Bukele has joined US President Donald Trump and Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro to extol the benefits of hydroxychloroquine.
Bukele said he wasn’t promoting it as a treatment of coronavirus – given medical concern about its use – but as a preventative measure.
“I use it as a prophylaxis, President Trump uses it as a prophylaxis, most of the world’s leaders use it as a prophylaxis,” he claimed.
In case you’re wondering about the drug, read what our resident doctor had to say about it here. There are some pretty nasty side-effects.
04:00 GMT – New Zealand expects safe travel plan with Australia by June
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is expecting a draft blueprint for resuming travel between the two countries will be ready by early June.
“We are working to move on this as quickly as we can can,” Ardern told reporters this morning. “We are both very keen on it … across both sides of the ditch.”
The idea is to create a travel bubble that would allow Australians and New Zealanders to travel to each other’s countries without the need for a 14-day coronavirus quarantine.
03:25 GMT – Singapore sets up vending machines for masks
Singapore has set up vending machines at community centres around the island to dispense free, resuable face masks.
The city-state made face masks compulsory on April 14 and gave out free masks to every household.
02:05 GMT – Australia records youngest coronavirus death
A 30-year-old man with underlying health conditions has died in Queensland, becoming the youngest victim of the coronavirus in Australia.
The authorities are tracing a possible link between the man and the Ruby Princess cruise ship which triggered the biggest cluster of cases in the country after it docked in Sydney in March. His partner is also showing symptoms of the disease.
Some 103 people in Australia have now died from coronavirus.
01:30 GMT – Global death toll exceeds 350,000: Johns Hopkins
Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows the confirmed death toll from coronavirus around the world is now 350,417, with roughly 28 percent of those deaths in the United States. The actual toll could be much higher.
- US – 98,902
- United Kingdom – 37,130
- Italy – 32,955
- France – 28,533
- Spain – 27,117
China, where the disease was first recorded late last year, has confirmed 4,638 deaths.
We have been trying to document some of the lives lost over the past few months.
You can read more on some of the victims here. If there is someone you would like to pay tribute to please do get in touch.
00:00 GMT – Spain to begin 10 days of national mourning
Spain, one of the countries worst hit by the coronavirus, will begin 10 days of national mourning on Wednesday to remember the more than 27,000 people who have lost their lives to the disease.
Flags will be flown at half-mast at the thousands of public buildings across the nation, as well as on the ships of the Spanish navy.
At the end of the mourning period on June 5, King Felipe VI will also lead an official ceremony in remembrance of the dead.
23:30 GMT (Tuesday) – Police in Brazil raid home of Bolsonaro rival in coronavirus probe
Brazilian federal police on Tuesday raided the homes of Rio de Janeiro Governor Wilson Witzel as part of a COVID-19 corruption investigation.
Witzel is a political rival of right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro.
The federal police said the search warrants were part of an investigation into alleged corruption involving the use of public money earmarked for the coronavirus pandemic. Read more on that story here.
23:00 GMT (Tuesday) – ‘Still accelerating’ – WHO warns on coronavirus in Americas
The WHO’s regional Latin American health authority has warned that the new coronavirus is “still accelerating” in Brazil, Peru, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Nicaragua, with the Americas becoming the new epicentre of the global pandemic.