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George Floyd protesters told to get tested as global cases top 6 million

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Image: Protests outside the CNN Center in Atlanta
Protests outside the CNN Center in Atlanta. Elijah Nouvelage / Getty Images

As violence erupted in cities across the country over George Floyd's death in Minneapolis last week, protests have now been added to the list of concerns about a possible second wave of coronavirus infections.

Urging demonstrators to get tested, Atlanta mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms said Saturday evening: "There is still a pandemic in America that's killing black and brown people at higher numbers."

Her comments came as the U.S. death toll neared 104,000 early Sunday, according to an NBC News tally. Globally almost 370,000 people have died, according to John Hopkins University data.

Worldwide, the JHU data shows more than 6 million cases have been recorded with more than 500,000 of those reported in Brazil.

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

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1277d 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.

1277d ago / 6:04 PM UTC

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


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.

1277d 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." 

1277d ago / 2:49 PM UTC

Florida reports more than 2,000 cases in 2 days

Florida has reported more than 2,100 positive coronavirus cases since Thursday, bringing the state's total number of cases to 55,424. 

Florida was among one of the first states to begin re-opening its economy earlier this month, despite concerns from public health officials that it might be too soon. The state recorded more than 1,200 positive cases Friday and another 927 Saturday, according to NBC affiliate WFLA

The state's total death toll as a result of the virus is 2,447 as of Sunday morning.

1278d 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. 

1278d 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.

1278d ago / 12:06 PM UTC

Two new cases in China as German employees return to country

China reported two new cases of COVID-19 on Sunday, bringing its total to 83,001. Both cases were imported ones in the Shandong province, south of Beijing.

China has cut international flights drastically to try to keep imported cases out, though on Saturday it allowed a chartered Lufthansa flight with employees of Volkswagen and other German companies operating in China to from Frankfurt. It was the first of two such flights from Germany aimed at restarting the economy.

No new domestic cases have been reported for a week, and the country’s official death toll remained at 4,634.

1278d ago / 11:27 AM UTC

Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque reopens after more than two months

Image: The al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem's Old City is deserted, after clerics took measures in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus,
The deserted al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem's Old City in March, after clerics took measures in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus. Ahmad Gharabli / AFP - Getty Images

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque compound reopened to Muslim worshippers and visitors on Sunday after a two-and-a-half month coronavirus closure, but authorities imposed some precautions as health officials warned of an uptick in local infections.

The resumption of prayers at Islam’s third-holiest site capped a somber period for Jerusalem’s Muslims, who this year marked the holy fasting month of Ramadan and the Eid al-Fitr holiday without their usual daily visits to Al-Aqsa and the adjoining Dome of the Rock.

“After they opened the mosque, I feel like I can breathe again. Thanks be to God,” Jerusalem resident Umm Hisham said through a face mask, her eyes tearing up, after entering the compound for dawn prayers with hundreds of other Muslims.

There have been 17,000 virus cases and 284 deaths in Israel, and 386 cases and three deaths in the occupied West Bank.

1278d ago / 10:35 AM UTC

Rwanda reports its first death from the virus

Rwanda's ministry of health reported the East African nation's first death caused by the coronavirus on Sunday. 

The patient was a 65-year-old driver who opted to return home from a neighboring country after falling severely ill, the ministry said in a statement on Twitter. He died from severe respiratory complications while receiving treatment at a specialized COVID-19 treatment facility.

The country has recorded 359 cases in total. 

It comes as Rwanda has deployed robots at virus treatment centers to carry out simple tasks like taking temperatures and monitoring patients, in a bid to minimize contact between infected patients and healthcare workers. 

1278d ago / 9:51 AM UTC

Colombia to fully shut down Bogota neighborhood amid rising virus cases

Image: Cardboard coffin
Rodolfo Gomez, left, and his employees demonstrate how their design of a cardboard box can serve as both a hospital bed and a coffin in Bogota, Colombia earlier this month.Fernando Vergara / AP

The mayor of Colombia’s capital is planning to shut down one of the city’s largest neighborhoods as cases there continue to rise.

Mayor Claudia Lopez said Saturday that starting June 1 the working-class Kennedy area of Bogota— home to nearly 1.5 million people — will be under a strict quarantine. Police and military will enforce the lockdown and no one will be allowed out, except to seek food, medical care or in case of an emergency.

Lopez said that testing for the virus will be doubled. The area on Sunday has more nearly 2,500 cases and hospitals there are reaching maximum capacity.

The mayor said that in the rest of Bogota no new sectors of the economy will be allowed to reopen until at least the middle of June.

1278d ago / 9:08 AM UTC
1278d ago / 8:27 AM UTC

Global virus cases surpass 6 million

Global coronavirus cases surpassed 6 million on Sunday, according to Johns Hopkins University data, as death toll worldwide nears 370,000.

While the United States has the highest number of cases globally — with more than 1.7 million recorded — Brazil recently surpassed badly-hit European countries to sit second on the grim chart.  

The South American country has reported nearly 500,000 cases, and with 28,834 death recorded as of Sunday, it has the world’s fourth highest death toll behind the U.S., Britain and Italy respectively. 

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the gravity of the epidemic and criticized lockdowns for paralyzing the economy and causing widespread unemployment and some states are preparing to ease quarantine restrictions despite warnings from public health experts who say the worst is still to come.

1278d ago / 12:38 AM UTC

Los Angeles shuts down COVID testing centers due to protests

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Saturday that all of the city's COVID-19 testing centers were closed as of 3 p.m. local time.

Garcetti also said that the city would be under curfew from 8 p.m. till 5:30 a.m. Sunday. Protests in the city were already underway on Saturday as buses were overtaken and multiple police cars were set on fire in the city's 4th day of protests.

1278d ago / 5:10 PM UTC

With NYC poised to reopen starting June 8, focus is on city's infection hotspots

With New York City poised to begin reopening on June 8, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Saturday that the state has identified 10 coronavirus hotspots in the city.

"We are laser-focused on the 10 hotspots where infection rates are highest. It is not just coincidence that the hotspots are in low-income and minority communities. The inequality in health outcomes of this pandemic is just one of countless inequalities," Cuomo said during a press conference. 

Most of the hotspots are located in neighborhoods around the Bronx and a few other areas in Brooklyn and Queens. Ten new coronavirus-testing sites will be added to these areas to address the disproportionate rate of infections. Efforts to distribute personal protective equipment, hand sanitizers and information on how to better practice social distancing around crowded living conditions will also be ramped up in these areas.

Cuomo also announced a partnership with Northwell Health, the largest hospital system in the state, to "go deeper" and "address the inequality in health care."

"Why are black people dying from COVID at higher rates than white people? Why are health outcomes worse in communities of color?" said Cuomo. "If you look across the nation, many more people of color died from the virus than white people. That is a fact."

Coronavirus deaths across New York reached an "all-time low," with the state reporting 67 deaths on Friday, said Cuomo. New hospitalizations and intubations have also continued to decrease across the state. 

1278d ago / 2:29 PM UTC

Supreme Court rejects challenge to coronavirus limits on church services

A divided Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal by a California church that challenged state limits on attendance at worship services that have been imposed to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Over the dissent of the four more conservative justices, Chief Justice John Roberts joined the court’s four liberals in turning away a request from the South Bay United Pentecostal Church in Chula Vista, California, in the San Diego area.

The church argued that limits on how many people can attend their services violate constitutional guarantees of religious freedom and had been seeking an order in time for services on Sunday. The church said it has crowds of 200 to 300 people for its services.

Roberts wrote in brief opinion that the restriction allowing churches to reopen at 25 percent of their capacity, with no more than 100 worshipers at a time, “appear consistent” with the First Amendment.

Read the full story here.

1278d ago / 2:26 PM UTC

India’s coronavirus caseload surges again

India on Saturday registered another record single-day jump of 7,964 virus cases and 265 deaths, a day before the two-month lockdown is set to end. The Health Ministry put the total number of confirmed cases at 173,763 with 4,971 deaths.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in an open letter marking the first year of his government’s second term, said India was on the path to victory in its battle against the virus. He said India will set “an example in economic revival” and asked the nation to show a “firm resolve.”

Image: Migrant workers queue outside the Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Terminus railway station to return to their hometowns after the government eased a nationwide lockdown as a preventive measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus, in Mumbai
Migrant workers queue outside a railway station to return to their hometowns after the government eased a nationwide lockdown in Mumbai, India earlier this month.Punit Paranjpe / AFP - Getty Images

Modi also acknowledged the “tremendous suffering” of millions of migrant workers who had lost their jobs during the lockdown and have been forced to make grueling and dangerous trips back to their hometowns.

The federal government is expected to issue a new set of guidelines this weekend, possibly extending the lockdown in worst-hit areas.