Confirmed coronavirus cases close in on 5 million

  • The number of deaths in a single day reached a record in Brazil – the country with the world’s third-biggest outbreak of coronavirus.

  • World Health Organization (WHO) member states agreed on a review of the global pandemic response at a virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly.

  • China has accused the United States of smearing Beijing and shirking responsibilities to the UN health agency after President Donald Trump threatened to quit the organisation.
  • Globally, there have been more than 4.9 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 323,000 people have died, according to the Johns Hopkins University. More than 1.7 million people have recovered.

Here are all the latest updates:

Wednesday, May 20

10:05 GMT – Guterres: African countries may be spared worst of the pandemic

The relatively low number of confirmed cases in Africa has “raised hopes that African countries may be spared the worst of the pandemic”, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, while praising the continent for responding swiftly to the pandemic.

Guterres, however, warned that millions of people in Africa could be pushed into extreme poverty due to the pandemic.

“The pandemic threatens African progress. It will aggravate long-standing inequalities and heighten hunger, malnutrition and vulnerability to disease,” Guterres said.

Since the pandemic is still in its “early days” in Africa, he stressed that “disruption could escalate quickly”.

09:49 GMT – Russian prime minister says outbreak reaching stabler phase

Russia’s coronavirus outbreak is entering a more stable phase, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said, while warning that restrictions should be lifted carefully in the 17 regions where such moves have been authorised.

Russia’s coronavirus cases passed through 300,000, but with the lowest daily rise in infections since May 1.

09:22 GMT – Virtual safaris help attract support for African wildlife parks

Virtual safaris are helping to distract people under lockdowns while attracting badly needed support for African wildlife parks hit hard by the disappearance of tourists.

Wildlife tourism is a major source of revenue for countries like Kenya. Some operators are now sharing live broadcasts of safaris on social media in the hope that attention to endangered and other species doesn’t fade.

In the Ol Pejeta Conservancy, workers have created what they call Sofa Safari, driving around filming with a smartphone from an open-top vehicle.

“One of the ways we are trying to be innovative is looking at virtual ways of bringing wildlife to people’s homes, to their television sets and to their telephones,” said the conservancy’s managing director, Richard Vigne.

09:17 GMT – Number of cases in Malaysia tops 7,000

Malaysia’s health ministry reported 31 new coronavirus cases, taking the cumulative total to 7,009 infections.

No new deaths were recorded, leaving the total number of fatalities at 114.

08:41 GMT – Germany moves to protect healthcare firms from foreign takeover

The German government gave itself new powers to veto hostile foreign takeover bids for healthcare companies, a measure designed to ensure a continuous supply of essential products during the coronavirus crisis.

The regulation, approved during a cabinet meeting, will allow the government to block foreign takeovers of makers of vaccines, precursor chemicals, medicines, protective equipment or medical machinery such as ventilators.

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