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Coronavirus latest: China reports no new cases for first time

  • May 23, 2020
  • Trump has called for places of worship to open this weekend
  • South America is “a new epicenter of COVID-19,” WHO says
  • Trump-endorsed hydroxychloroquine increases chances of death  
  • Over 5 million confirmed infections recorded worldwide

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

04:29 The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 638, bringing the total to 177,850 infections, the Robert Koch Institute said on Saturday. The death rose by 42 to 8,216, a rise from the day before.

Here are the German figures for recent days:

Thursday, May 21: 460 new cases; 27 new deaths

Wednesday, May 20: 797 new cases; 83 new deaths

Tuesday, May 19: 513 new cases; 72 new deaths

Monday, May 18: 342 new cases; 21 new deaths

Sunday, May 17: 583 new cases, 33 new deaths

Saturday, May 16: 620 new cases; 57 new deaths

Friday, May 15: 913 new cases; 101 new deaths

Thursday, May 14: 933 new cases; 89 new deaths

Wednesday, May 13: 798 new cases; 101 new deaths

Tuesday, May 12: 933 new cases; 116 new deaths

03:35 Demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions are once again expected to take place in several German cities this weekend, with protests announced in Berlin, Stuttgart, Munich, Frankfurt, and Hanover. 

The demonstration in Stuttgart is forecast to be smaller than the one last weekend that drew 5,000 people. In Cologne, some 500 people plan to make a human chain. In Bavaria, 60 separate protests are expected.

Last weekend, thousands gathered in cities around Germany to protest restrictions on public life put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus. Many argue that the restrictions violate rights guaranteed by Germany’s constitution. 

Other groups also turned out for counter-demonstrations against conspiracy theories and right-wing groups that police have warned could exploit the current situation.

03:33 Car rental company Hertz Global Holdings Inc filed for bankruptcy protection in the US and Canada after a massive drop in sales due to the coronavirus pandemic. Its operating regions in Europe, Australia, and New Zealand were not included in the filing.

“With the severity of the Covid-19 impact on our business, and the uncertainty of when travel and the economy will rebound, we need to take further steps to weather a potentially prolonged recovery,” CEO Paul Stone said.

The century-old company had racked up $18.7 billion in debt by the end of March, with only $ 1 billion of available cash.

Hertz had laid off 12,000 workers and furloughed another 4,000 in late March.

02:35 China reported zero new cases of the coronavirus for the first time since the country’s National Health Commission started releasing data. Yesterday, Premier Li Keqiang said the country has “made major strategic achievements in our response to COVID-19.”

The number of cases in China reached its peak in mid-February but dwindled rapidly as the country appeared to have brought the contagion under control. The number of deaths stands at 4,634.

The reliability of China’s official figures has been doubted, particularly by the United States. Beijing has denied accusations of a coverup, insisting it has been transparent in sharing information with the World Health Organization. The virus, which first emerged in the city of Wuhan late last year, has since spread worldwide, killing more than 335,000 people. 

02:11 New York state has lifted a complete ban on gatherings of any size, allowing up to 10 people to be together as long as they follow social distancing guidelines.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the executive order ahead of the Memorial Day, which honors US veterans who died while serving in the armed forces. “Please be safe and wear a mask,’’ the governor’s spokesperson said on Twitter.

The order is a significant step in easing restrictions imposed in March that barred all non-essential gatherings.

00:05 Here’s a roundup of the latest news from Latin America:

Brazil has reported 330,890 cases of the coronavirus, the country’s health ministry said, overtaking Russia as the second most affected country after the United States. The country also registered 1,001 new deaths, taking the total number of fatalities to 21,048. 

Most of the cases are in the densely populated Sao Paulo, whereas the highest rate of infection is in the state of Amazonas — 490 people infected per 100,000 population, said WHO emergencies director Mike Ryan. Unlike in the US and Europe where the elderly were the worst-hit, a significant number of deaths in Brazil are among younger people. 

Peru has extended its state of emergency and national lockdown until the end of June, as its confirmed cases rose to 111,698, the second-highest in Latin America. It has also reported 3,244 deaths. 

While the lockdown, which began in mid-March, has been extended for the fifth time, there will be easing of certain restrictions, as the Andean nation gradually reopens its economy. 

By June 30, Peru will have been under lockdown for more than three months. “We must move to a new coexistence, which allows us as a society to be more caring, more responsible, disciplined, respectful of the minimum standards of behavior so as not to harm the people we love the most,” President Martin Vizcarra said.

Cuba said it has curbed its coronavirus-related death toll by using two drugs produced by its biotech industry. The drugs, used on severely ill COVID-19 patients since April, reduces hype-inflammation, the government said. 

The country has reported just two virus-related deaths among the more than 200 active cases over the past nine days. 

One of the drugs is Itolizumab, a monoclonal antibody produced in Cuba and elsewhere. The other is a peptide that Cuba says its biotech industry discovered and has been testing for rheumatoid arthritis in Phase II clinical trials.

“Some 80% of patients who end up in critical condition are dying. In Cuba, with the use of these drugs, 80% of those who end up in critical or serious condition are being saved,” Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said.

Mexico has been downplaying the coronavirus outbreak for weeks, and the government said it had the situation under control, even as the country emerges as one of the global hotspots for the pandemic.

Mexico reported its first case in February and has since recorded 62,527 cases and 6,989 deaths. About a quarter of all cases and deaths were reported in the past week. Many of the deaths categorized as “atypical pneumonia” are believed to COVID-19 but are not included in the official count. The country has neither imposed a strict lockdown as seen in neighboring countries nor has it ramped up testing.

00:00 Catch up on yesterday’s coronavirus news here: Coronavirus latest: Trump-endorsed hydroxychloroquine increases chances of death

In reporting on the coronavirus pandemic, unless otherwise specified, DW uses figures provided by the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Coronavirus Resource Center in the United States. JHU updates figures in real-time, collating data from world health organizations, state and national governments and other public official sources, all of whom have their own systems for compiling information. 

rmany’s national statistics are compiled by its public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI). These figures depend on data transmission from state and local levels and are updated around once a day, which can lead to deviation from JHU.

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