U.S. marks Memorial Day as deaths near 100,000

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Visitors wear face masks at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on May 25, 2020.
Visitors wear face masks at the Korean War Veterans Memorial on Monday.Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

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The United States marked Memorial Day with somber ceremonies and, in many places, reopened beaches, as the number of coronavirus deaths inched closer to 100,000, according to NBC news' count.

President Donald Trump, who participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery, was also looking ahead to the Republican National Convention. Trump threatened on Twitter on Monday to move the event from Charlotte, North Carolina, if there is a chance the venue might not be filled there later this summer due to virus-related restrictions.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden appeared in public Monday for the first time in more than two months, laying a wreath to honor the fallen at a Delaware war memorial.

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

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This live coverage has ended. Continue reading May 26 coronavirus news.

Vehicle theft spikes across the U.S. amid COVID-19 pandemic

A smashed window after a car was broken into on a street in Los Angeles on May 21, 2020.Damian Dovarganes / AP

The coronavirus hasn’t been kind to car owners.

With more people than ever staying home to lessen the spread of COVID-19, their sedans, pickup trucks and SUVs are parked unattended on the streets, making them easy targets for opportunistic thieves.

Despite silent streets and nearly non-existent traffic, vehicle larcenies shot up 63 percent in New York and nearly 17 percent in Los Angeles from Jan. 1 through mid-May, compared with the same period last year.

And many other law enforcement agencies around the U.S. are reporting an increase in stolen cars and vehicle burglaries, even as violent crime has dropped dramatically nationwide in the coronavirus pandemic. It's a low-risk crime with a potentially high reward, police say, especially when many drivers leave their doors unlocked or their keys inside.

“You might as well put a sticker on the window that says ‘come take my stuff,’" said an exasperated Alex Villanueva, the Los Angeles County sheriff.

Read the full story here.

South Korean cafe hires robot barista to help with social distancing

An employee stands next to a robot barista that takes orders, makes coffee and brings drinks to customers in Daejeon, South Korea, on May 25. Kim Hong-Ji / Reuters

The new robot barista at the cafe in Daejeon, South Korea, is courteous and swift as it seamlessly makes its way towards customers.

"Here is your Rooibos almonds tea latte, please enjoy. It's even better if you stir it," it says, as a customer reaches for her drink on a tray installed within the large, gleaming white capsule-shaped computer.

After managing to contain an outbreak of the new coronavirus which infected more than 11,000 people and killed 267, South Korea is slowly transitioning from intensive social distancing rules towards what the government calls "distancing in daily life." 

Robots could help people observe social distancing in public, said Lee Dong-bae, director of research at Vision Semicon, a smart factory solution provider which developed the barista robot together with a state-run science institute.

2 Chicago police officers injured after breaking up block party

Two Chicago police officers were taken to the hospital on Sunday with minor injuries after breaking up a Memorial Day weekend block party.

The party, which took place in the city's Englewood neighborhood, ended in violence when officers tried to disperse the crowd, police said. Police took two men into custody after officers spotted them with handguns; in one case, shots were fired, Chicago police said in a statement. Three other people were taken into custody for disorderly conduct, the statement said. 

Chicago remains under a mandatory stay-at-home order until May 31.

Photo: A long awaited hug on Long Island

Michelle Grant, right, hugs her mother, Mary Grace Sileo, through a plastic drop cloth hung up on a clothesline in Wantagh, N.Y., on Sunday. It was the first time the mother and daughter had physical contact since lockdown measures began in late February.Al Bello / Getty Images

Spain to lift quarantine for foreign tourists beginning July 1

Spain will lift a requirement for foreign tourists to undergo a two-week quarantine beginning July 1, the government said on Monday in a statement.

Under current restrictions, visitors from abroad must isolate themselves for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Foreign Minister Arancha Gonzalez Laya had previously said the measure would be relaxed in July, without specifying the date.

Italy calls for volunteers to help authorities enforce social distancing

Around 60,000 volunteers in Italy will be tasked with ensuring people follow the government’s social distancing guidelines under a new plan unveiled by the country's Civil Protection Agency.

Volunteers, or "civilian assistants" as they'll be called, won’t have the authority to impose fines, but will patrol public spaces like parks and beaches and remind people to practice social distancing.

They will be allowed to work a maximum of three days a week, for no more than 16 hours per week. The Italian Civil Protection Agency called on the unemployed, retirees and people signed on to the government’s basic income scheme to volunteer, and will announce further details later in the week.

War-ravaged Syria reports 20 new coronavirus cases in largest single day increase

Syria reported 20 new coronavirus cases on Monday, the largest single-day increase to date, the Health Ministry announced.

The war-torn country has recorded 106 infections and four deaths so far, and new cases have increased in recent days with the return of Syrians from abroad, the ministry said. Syria has kept an overnight curfew in place but has begun to open some of its economy after a lockdown. Doctors and relief groups worry that medical infrastructure ravaged by nine years of conflict would make a more serious outbreak deadly and difficult to fend off.

Health Minister Nizar Yazigi said last week that "coercive and unfair" Western sanctions were hitting medical services needed to cope with coronavirus and he called for their removal.

Shoppers report empty sympathy card shelves

Sympathy cards are selling out in many stores across the U.S. with shoppers sharing photos on social media of striking gaps where the cards would usually be found on greeting card displays. 

"At a time when the graduation card rack should be empty, it’s the sympathy cards that are sold out," wrote one Twitter user

Google searches in the United States for "virtual sympathy cards" have increased 200 percent, while "how to sign a sympathy card" searches are up 180 percent in the last year. 

More than 100 new coronavirus infections linked to German church service

At least 107 people have tested positive for coronavirus following a church service in Frankfurt, Germany earlier this month.

Worshipers from the Rhine-Hesse area were among the infected, the state of Hesse Health Minister Kai Klose said in a statement on Sunday. State authorities are trying to trace everyone who attended the service at the Gospel Christians Baptists Frankfurt, which took place on May 10, according to reports by German newspaper, Frankfurter Rundschau.

In a statement posted on its website, the church said it was “deeply distraught” to learn of the outbreak and had moved all subsequent services online.

South Korea to send masks to Korean adoptees living abroad

South Korea will this week send 370,000 face masks to Korean adoptees living in 14 countries severely affected by the coronavirus, with about 60 percent going to the United States.

About 50 masks would be made available to each adoptee who had submitted a request via their consulate, the director-general for overseas Koreans and Consular Affairs Bureau of South Korea’s Foreign Ministry, Byun Chul Hwan, told NBC News.

“Currently, it is illegal in South Korea to export masks to overseas except when you have families in South Korea, in which case a limited number of masks can be sent. But, it is difficult for adoptees to receive masks as their immediate families cannot be reached,” Byun said. Of the 167,000 South Koreans adopted overseas around 110,000 live in the United States. Other countries include France, Denmark, Sweden and Australia.