19 May 2020
Coronavirus worldwide: May 19

Coronavirus worldwide: May 19

Kathy Willens / AP

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, caused by the new SARS-CoV-2 virus, has affected almost every country on the planet and infected over 4.86 million people. The virus has claimed the lives of over 321,000 patients. Multiple states have imposed mandatory quarantines on their citizens, although nationwide lockdowns are now being relaxed, as several countries have handled the first wave of the infection. Here's what you need to know about the global COVID-19 crisis on May 19.

Updates for May 18 are available here.

– US-Canada border restrictions will be extended for another 30 days as the countries continue to battle the COVID-19 pandemic, The Hill reported on Tuesday citing Canadian PM Justin Trudeau.

– Latvian airline airBaltic will resume direct flights from Riga to Helsinki and Munich on May 25, 2020, and from Riga to Berlin on June 1, 2020.

Israeli Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has temporarily lifted the requirement for citizens to wear protective masks in open public spaces and in classrooms until Friday, May 22, due to a heatwave, the Jerusalem Post reported on Tuesday.

– The Seychelles have announced a two-year ban on all cruise ship calls at Port Victoria as part of its measures to prevent a second wave of COVID-19 from impacting the country.

– Serbia will reopen its borders for the citizens of four Balkan states – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Northern Macedonia and Montenegro – on June 1, TASS reported on May 19 citing Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic.

– US President Donald Trump announced on Monday that he is taking daily doses of hydroxychloroquine – an anti-malarial drug he's long touted as a potential coronavirus cure even as medical experts and the US Food and Drug Administration have questioned its efficacy and warned of potentially harmful side effects, CNN reported on Tuesday.

– The minutes of a European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control Technical Advisory Committee meeting in February have revealed that the body believed that COVID-19 presented a “low” risk to the European population and raised only a few warnings about the danger of the virus, El Pais reported on Tuesday.

– US President Donald Trump has said that he will give the World Health Organization (WHO) 30 days to commit to reform – or the suspension of American funding will be made permanent, NPR reported on Tuesday.

– US biotech company Moderna has confirmed 'positive early results' in a Phase 1 clinical trial of its coronavirus vaccine, CNN reported on Monday. The trial enrolled 45 healthy volunteers to start, aged 18 to 55 years old, and randomly gave one of three dose strengths for two shots: 25 micrograms, 100 micrograms, and 250 micrograms. All participants developed detectable antibodies.

– As of 19.30 GMT on May 19, there are 4,867,515 confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University's latest data. The virus has claimed the lives of over 321,000 people. Over 1.66 million patients have recovered. The majority of deaths have been recorded in the US (over 91,100), the UK (over 35,400), Italy (over 32,100), France (over 28,000) and Spain (over 27,700).

The coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, a mass disease caused by severe acute coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province, in December 2019. Wuhan officials first reported a cluster of pneumonia cases of unknown origin to the China National Health Commission on December 30, 2019.

The coronavirus outbreak was officially recognized as a pandemic by the World Health Organization on March 11, 2020. The United States, Italy, the UK, Spain, Germany, France, Turkey and Russia have become major centers of the virus.

The spread of the infection has led to a drop in oil prices, industrial indices, and led to collapses on global stock markets. Many companies have imposed mandatory work-from-home policies, while governments have restricted movement across national territories and imposed mandatory quarantines. An increasing number of institutions and corporations have pledged financial and medical aid to countries hardest affected by the crisis. JPMorgan forecasts that the pandemic could cost the world as as much as $5.5 trillion in lost output.

Schools and universities have closed either on a nationwide or local basis in over 160 countries, affecting more than 1.5 billion students. Major international sports competitions such as the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and UEFA Euro 2020, have been postponed until 2021.

The United Nations has called the pandemic "a defining moment for modern society".