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

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

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.

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. 

Colombia to fully shut down Bogota neighborhood amid rising virus cases

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.”

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.