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Nationwide protests raise infection fears

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Protesters rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd in San Francisco
A child wearing a face mask watches a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in San Francisco, May 31, 2020. Picture taken May 31, 2020.Stephen Lam / Reuters

Health experts and political leaders have warned that the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd could cause a catastrophic setback for controlling COVID-19 in the U.S., as cities and states continue efforts to reopen.

So far, more than 1.7 million Americans have been sickened by the disease and more than 105,000 have died.

"If you were out protesting last night, you probably need to go get a COVID test this week," said Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms at a news briefing Sunday.

Elsewhere, lockdown restrictions continue to be eased across Europe and east Asia, where the virus originated, but cases continue to grow in Latin America, with Brazil passing 500,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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921d ago / 4:55 PM UTC

WHO chief wants collaboration with U.S. to continue despite Trump terminating relationship

Image: SWITZERLAND-HEALTH-VIRUS-WHO
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during an event in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday, May 27. Christopher Black / orld Health Organization via AFP - Getty Images

The head of the World Health Organization said Monday the U.S. role in the health agency's work has been "immense," and he wants that collaboration to continue despite President Donald Trump announcing last week that the U.S. would be “terminating” its relationship with the WHO over the organization's response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

“The world has long benefited from the strong collaborative engagement with the government and the people of the United States," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an online briefing with reporters from Geneva. “The U.S. government’s and its people's contribution and generosity towards global health over many decades has been immense and it has made a great difference in public health all around the world.”

“It is WHO’s wish for this collaboration to continue,” Tedros added. 

He deflected further questions on whether there is a formal process for a country to withdraw from the WHO. Tedros also indicated that the WHO first heard that the U.S. was ending its relationship through news media reports on Friday.  

921d ago / 4:46 PM UTC

N.Y. Gov. Cuomo floats possibility of NYC curfew

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said he will speak with Mayor Bill de Blasio about putting the country's biggest city under a curfew after some weekend protests over George Floyd's death turned violent.

"Legally, I can impose a curfew," Cuomo said. "I'm not at that point, but I know something has to happen because last night was not acceptable and the night before was not acceptable."

At his coronavirus briefing Monday, de Blasio said that he does not believe a curfew is needed but it is being considered as an option.

De Blasio said he will consult with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and the governor.

Earlier Monday, Shea said he did not think a curfew would work.

"The problem is: People need to listen to a curfew, and that’s not going to happen," he said on the “TODAY” show. "If people think it will, they don't understand what's going on."

921d ago / 4:17 PM UTC

Gov. Cuomo says Western New York to move to Phase 2 reopening Tuesday

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said the Western New York region will move to Phase 2 of reopening Tuesday.

As part of Phase 2, offices, stores and personal-service businesses such as barber shops can reopen, with restrictions.

The governor said that 50,000 people in the state were tested for the coronavirus Sunday and fewer than 1,000 tested positive. 

"That is the lowest number we have had since this began, and when we began, we were doing 3 or 4,000 tests," Cuomo said.

Still, 54 people died Sunday from COVID-19-related illnesses.

921d ago / 4:13 PM UTC

Spain records no deaths for first time in 3 months

MADRID — Spain said Monday it's reporting no deaths in a 24-hour period from the new coronavirus for the first time since March.

Emergency health response chief Fernando Simón said the development is “very, very encouraging.”

He told a news conference there were only 71 new infections over the past 24 hours.

Spain reported its first two deaths on March 3. Another was reported two days later. Spain’s number of infections and death jumped exponentially. On April 2, it recorded 950 deaths in 24 hours — the peak death toll. The official death toll now stands at 27,127, with 240,000 confirmed cases.

921d ago / 4:07 PM UTC

Eli Lilly starts first antibody treatment trial in humans

Eli Lilly has started the first COVID-19 antibody treatment trials in humans, the company said in a statement Monday. 

The treatment uses what are known as monoclonal antibodies made from people who were sick with the coronavirus. They are meant to work as natural antibodies do in the body by blocking the virus.

The first trial will look at the drug's safety, Lilly said. Later trials will test whether the drug works in hospitalized patients. The company will also study whether the antibody has protective properties, meaning it could be given to healthy people so they don't get sick.  

921d ago / 3:59 PM UTC

Fauci: 'My meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased'

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, says he is no longer meeting with President Donald Trump nearly as frequently he was before, even as the pandemic drags on.

"We used to have task force meetings every single day, including Saturday and Sunday, and about 75 percent of the time after the task force meeting, we’d meet with the president," Fauci, the head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told STAT News in a wide-ranging interview.

"But as you probably noticed, that the task force meetings have not occurred as often lately. And certainly my meetings with the president have been dramatically decreased," Fauci said.

Fauci's comments come nearly a month after the White House indicated it was winding down Trump's coronavirus task force, prompting backlash. A day later, Trump reversed course and announced the task force would continue "indefinitely."

But the group has not held press briefings for several weeks. The task force had been holding press briefings almost every day until late April, when Trump made a widely condemned suggestion that injecting disinfectants into people could help them recover from the coronavirus. 

922d ago / 2:46 PM UTC

Gilead says remdesivir helped moderate COVID-19 patients improve

Gilead Sciences Inc. said on Monday its antiviral drug remdesivir showed improvement in patients with moderate COVID-19 in a late-stage study.

Remdesivir is being closely watched after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization last month, citing results from another study run by the National Institutes of Health that showed the drug reduced hospitalization stays by 31 percent, or about four days, compared to a placebo.

Read more. 

922d ago / 2:18 PM UTC

922d ago / 2:18 PM UTC

Lockdowns ease across Europe, Asia with new tourism rules

ROME — The first day of June saw coronavirus restrictions ease from Asia to Europe on Monday, even as U.S. protests against police brutality sparked fears of new outbreaks. The Colosseum opened its ancient doors in Rome, ferries restarted in Bangladesh, golfers played in Greece, students returned in Britain and Dutch bars and restaurants were free to welcome hungry, thirsty patrons.

Countries around the Mediterranean Sea tentatively kicked off a summer season where tourists could bask in their famously sunny beaches while still being protected by social distancing measures from a virus that is marching relentlessly around the world.

922d ago / 12:29 PM UTC
922d ago / 12:09 PM UTC

India's coronavirus infections overtake France amid criticism of lockdown

NEW DELHI — India's cases of coronavirus crossed 190,000, the health ministry said on Monday, overtaking France to become seventh highest in the world, as the government eases back on most curbs after a two-month-long lockdown that left millions without work.

With a record 8,392 new cases over the previous day, India is now behind the United States, Brazil, Russia, Britain, Spain and Italy, according to a Reuters tally.

Criticism has grown in recent days that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's sudden lockdown of 1.3 billion Indians in March has failed to halt the spread of the disease while destroying the livelihoods of millions of people who depend on daily wages.

922d ago / 11:37 AM UTC

Socially distanced cinema in Thailand

Image: People wearing protective face masks are seen inside a movie theater during its reopening after the Thai government eased isolation measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Bangkok, Thailand
People wearing protective face masks are seen inside a movie theater during its reopening after the Thai government eased isolation measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in Bangkok, Thailand, Mondauy.Jorge Silva / Reuters
922d ago / 11:00 AM UTC

Restrictions ease in South Africa but schools remain closed

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South Africa began to lift some coronavirus lockdown restrictions Monday as people were allowed to leave home for work, worship or shopping. A temporary ban on alcohol consumption — introduced to try and take the pressure off the emergency services — was also lifted resulting in queues outside liquor stores. 

However schools, which were also due to open Monday, remain closed following a reversal from the Education Ministry. Trade unions had voiced concerns over staff safety. Pupils will now return in two weeks with teachers reporting to school this week for training and to receive protective gear. 

South Africa has the highest number of confirmed cases of coronavirus on the African continent with over 32,000 to date. There are over 144,000 cases across Africa with approximately 4,000 deaths to date, according to the World Health Organization. 

922d ago / 10:49 AM UTC

American Seafoods confirms 86 crew on fishing trawler contracted COVID-19

American Seafoods has confirmed that at least 86 crew members on board a fishing boat have tested positive for COVID-19, while docked in Bellingham, Washington State.

All crew members on board the American Dynasty, which has capacity for 142 crew, were tested after the company said a single crew member tested positive last week. Test results are still pending for nine people and the entire crew is now in quarantine.

The company stressed in a statement that all crew were tested before the boat set sail and "100% of those who sailed had tested negative."

922d ago / 10:19 AM UTC

China says U.S. 'addicted to quitting' over plan to withdraw from WHO

China said on Monday the United States was "addicted to quitting" following a U.S. decision to leave the World Health Organization (WHO) and said the withdrawal reveals a pursuit of power politics and unilateralism.

Foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters during a daily briefing that the international community disagreed with what he described as the selfish behavior of the United States.

"The U.S. has become addicted to quitting groups and scrapping treaties," said Zhao.

922d ago / 9:59 AM UTC
922d ago / 9:43 AM UTC

Russia passes 400,000 cases as virus spreads outside of Moscow

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Russia has recorded over 400,000 coronavirus infections — with only Brazil and the U.S. recording more — as the epidemic grows in regions outside of Moscow. 

Even as the country begins to reopen some services in a partial easing of lockdown measures, it is reporting more than 9,000 daily cases, with over two thirds of those now being recorded outside of Moscow. At the start of last month, the majority of new cases in Russia were recorded in its capital. 

Moscow began relaxing lockdown restrictions Monday as the country approached 5,000 fatalities from COVID-19.

922d ago / 9:27 AM UTC

Queen Elizabeth II pictured riding a pony in first outdoor appearance since March

Image: Queen Elizabeth II rides Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, in Windsor Home Park over the weekend.
Queen Elizabeth II rides Balmoral Fern, a 14-year-old Fell Pony, in Windsor Home Park over the weekend.Steve Parsons / Getty Images

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has been pictured outside for the first time since the country's coronavirus lockdown came into effect in March. 

The Queen, 94, was pictured riding a horse near her current base at Windsor Castle in southern England. The pictures — tweeted by the Royal Family's twitter account — show the Queen riding a 14-year-old fell pony called Fern.

Britain further relaxed lockdown restrictions Monday with some schools and shops reopening and groups of up to six people allowed to meet outdoors as long as they maintain social distancing rules. 

922d ago / 1:57 AM UTC

Protests could accelerate spread of coronavirus, experts say

Within the last few days, careful social distancing has been overturned by demonstrations against social injustice — as thousands of Americans congregate in cities across the country protesting the death of George Floyd.

The large gatherings, infectious disease experts said, could cause a catastrophic setback for controlling COVID-19 in the U.S. as cities and states try to reopen.

"It makes me cringe on a number of levels," said Dr. Katie Passaretti, medical director for infection prevention at Atrium Health in Charlotte, North Carolina.

"It's a setup for further spread of COVID," Passaretti added. "It's heartbreaking."

Read the full story here.

922d ago / 6:55 PM UTC

Canada to promote holidays at home because of COVID-19 border closures

Canada will invest 30 million Canadian dollars ($21.8 million) to enable its provinces and territories to promote holidays in their "own back yard" because of the closure of the country's borders due to the pandemic.

Destination Canada, the country's national marketing body which usually focuses on luring international visitors, is due to announce the new funding later on Sunday, according to a statement seen by Reuters before its official release.

Canada, which has had more than 7,000 deaths due to COVID-19, has closed its borders to non-essential travel since March, and it is unclear when they will be opened again. Many provinces have also shut down domestic non-essential travel.

Quebec, which shares borders with the U.S. states of New York, Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine, accounts for more than 60 percent of the Canadian death toll from the virus, and Ontario, the most populous province, has also been hit hard.

922d ago / 6:04 PM UTC

South Korea reports 27 new cases as it works to stem infections

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South Korea has reported 27 new cases on Sunday, 21 of which were reported in densely-populated Seoul metropolitan area where officials have been working to stem transmissions linked to nightclub-goers and warehouse workers.

The figures brought national totals to 11,468 cases and 270 deaths, according to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Korea was reporting about 500 new cases per day in early March but had seemed to stabilize its outbreak with aggressive tracking and tracing, which allowed authorities to ease social distancing guidelines.

But cases in the greater capital area have been rising again since May amid increased public activity, causing alarm as students have begun returning to schools.

922d ago / 3:36 PM UTC

D.C. mayor, Maryland governor say they're concerned about spread of coronavirus at protests

Washington, D.C., Mayor Muriel Bowser told NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday that she's concerned about the potential for coronavirus to have spread at recent protests following the death of 46-year-old George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police.

"I'm concerned that we had mass gatherings on our streets when we just lifted a stay at home order and what that could mean for spikes in coronavirus cases later," Bowser said. "In fact, I'm so concerned about it that I'm urging everybody to consider their exposure — if they need to isolate from their family members when they go home and if they need to be tested — because we have worked very hard to blunt the curve."

"And while I saw some people with masks last night, others didn't," she continued. "When I saw some people social distancing, other people were right on top of each other. So we don't want to compound this deadly virus and the impact it's had on our community."

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, shared similar sentiment, telling CNN's "State of the Union" that he's "a little bit concerned" about the protests leading to further spread.

"Right now, the immediate concern is to lower the temperature, stop the looting, and potentially keep our citizens safe from the riots that are going on," he said. "But the next step is to worry about this, what we have been focused on for the past couple of months, is the safety — dealing with this coronavirus."

"And there's no question that, when you put hundreds or thousands of people together in close proximity, when we have got this virus all over the streets, is — it's not healthy," Hogan continued. "There's about a 14-day incubation period. So, two weeks from now across America, we're going to find out whether or not this gives us a spike and drives the numbers back up again or not." 

923d ago / 1:30 PM UTC

People over profit, Pope Francis says during service

Pope Francis said on Sunday that people are more important than the economy, as countries decide how quickly to reopen their countries from coronavirus lockdowns.

Francis made his comments, departing from a prepared script, at the first noon address from his window overlooking St. Peter's Square in three months as Italy's lockdown drew to an end.

"Healing people, not saving (money) to help the economy (is important), healing people, who are more important than the economy," Francis said.

The pope's words were met with applause by hundreds in the square, many of whom wore masks and kept several meters apart from each other. 

923d ago / 1:04 PM UTC

Belgian prince tests positive for virus after attending gathering in Spain

A nephew of Belgium’s King Philippe, Prince Joachim, has tested positive for coronavirus after attending a party in Spain.

Spanish media said it broke lockdown rules because of the number of people there.

The prince, 28, tested positive after attending the gathering in the southern city of Cordoba on May 26, a spokesperson for the Belgian Royal Palace said on Saturday.

The spokesperson said the palace could not confirm the number of people in attendance at the party. The palace said Joachim travelled to Spain from Belgium on May 24 for an internship and was still there.