Gravediggers carry the casket of a person who died from the coronavirus at Municipal Cemetery No. 13 in Tijuana, Mexico, on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Coronavirus deaths exceed 400,000 – Global virus update

Gravediggers carry the casket of a person who died from the coronavirus at Municipal Cemetery No. 13 in Tijuana, Mexico, on Tuesday, May 12, 2020.

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases pass 6.8 million; deaths exceed 400,000
  • Philippines fears baby boom, steps up family planning
  • Virus spreads as Africa reopens and investors aren’t worried
  • Guardians of world economy stagger from rescue to recovery
  • Post-lockdown Mideast shows signs of virus trouble returning
  • US jobs returning from lockdowns, but an ugly summer looms
  • Greece risks unemployment surge as tourism is slow to restart

Saudi Arabia Total Surpasses 100,000

The country reported 3,045 cases on Sunday, taking the total to 101,914. The virus has claimed 712 lives so far in Saudi Arabia, while 72,817 people have recovered.

Movement restrictions were reinstated in the commercial city of Jeddah last week, possibly entailing another lockdown in the capital Riyadh. The nation of 34 million has reported one of the lowest death rates in the world.

Most Portuguese New Cases in Lisbon Region

Portugal reported 342 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, above 300 for a fifth day and taking the total to 34,693, the government said. There are 12,219 active cases, Health Minister Marta Temido said at a press conference. The total number of hospitalized patients fell to 398, remaining at the lowest level since March.

The additional cases are mostly in the Lisbon region, where authorities have increased testing after new clusters were identified. While shopping malls have been allowed to reopen across the country, they remain closed in greater Lisbon.

Poland Reports Acceleration in Cases

The pandemic is spreading at a quicker pace in Poland, government figures showed. The country registered 576 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, a record high and surpassing a previous daily peak from May 12. A further 263 cases appeared on Sunday but the day’s final tally is set to be bigger when updated figures are published.

Poland, which will hold a presidential election in three weeks, currently has 26,249 cases of the virus.

UK Should Prepare for Second Wave

The UK needs a plan to deal with a potential second wave of COVID-19 infections, NHS staff and public health experts told the Observer. Even though the number of new cases is declining, they’re still high, the experts said. The UK has the highest death toll after the US at more than 40,500.

More than half of deaths may occur in nursing homes, the newspaper reported in a separate article. In an editorial, the paper backed calls for a public inquiry into the government’s response to the crisis.

AstraZeneca Is Said to Approach Gilead About Potential Merger

AstraZeneca contacted Gilead last month about a possible tie-up, people familiar with the situation said, asking not to be identified because the details are private.

AstraZeneca didn’t specify terms for any transaction, the people said. While Gilead has discussed the idea with advisers, no decisions have been made on how to proceed and the companies aren’t in formal talks, the people added.

French Hospitalisations Keep Declining

The number of patients hospitalized in France with COVID-19 continued to decline, falling by 217 to 12,479 on Saturday, official statistics showed. The number of patients in intensive care fell by 35 to 1,059. Confirmed cases rose by 579 to 191,039.

France reported deaths linked to the coronavirus rose by 31 to 29,142, based on hospital data, with reporting of nursing-home fatalities delayed to Tuesday.

Malaysia Allows More Activities

Malaysia will relax restrictions on the movement on people in the country from June 10, and allow almost all activities including domestic tourism to resume, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said. The nation’s borders will remain closed, and overseas travel is still restricted, he said.

Pubs, nightclubs and theme parks won’t be allowed to reopen yet, he said. The new rules will last until Aug. 31.

China Denies Cover-up, Rejects ‘Politicisation’ of Coronavirus

“Some foreign politicians and media have presumed guilt for the origin of the virus, put labels on the virus and politicized the epidemic,” Xu Lin, head of State Council Information Office, said at a briefing in Beijing Sunday.

“The fabricated assumptions — like the ‘China origins of the virus,’ ‘China concealed the virus’ and ‘it’s China’s responsibility’ — are utterly baseless, unreasonable and disrespectful of science,” he added.

China’s Trade Surplus Surges to a Record in May

China’s trade surplus surged to a record in May as exports fell less than expected and imports slumped along with commodity prices.

Exports have come off their lows helped in part by sales of masks and other medical supplies as countries around the world battle to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

China’s Exports Fall Less Than Expected

China’s exports fell less than expected in May in another sign that global demand is starting to bottom out as the coronavirus ebbs. Imports slumped. Exports decreased 3.3% in dollar terms in May from a year earlier, while imports slumped 16.7%.

Japan Cabinet’s Approval Rating Declines to 38%

The approval rating for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s cabinet fell to 38.1% last month, while 61.3% of those polled disapproved of its performance, according to a survey conducted by Jiji Press.

Protests May Add Cases: Ex-CDC Head

Tom Frieden, former head of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said big protest rallies may cause additional coronavirus cases, but he offered some strong offsetting factors. Chiefly, the spread of COVID-19 outdoors is far less than indoors, Frieden said in a “Fox News” interview, with a person 19 times less likely to catch the infection in the open air.

“That doesn’t mean the risk is zero,” said Frieden, chief executive of Resolve to Save Lives, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, whose founder, Michael Bloomberg, is majority owner of Bloomberg LP. “Only time will tell.” Wearing masks, frequent hand-washing and attempting to maintain social distancing are key, he said.

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said earlier he did “worry about the protests and the lack of masks.” He also said that so far, the White House Coronavirus Task Force has yet to see a relationship between states reopening and increased cases. Hahn spoke in a podcast.