Coronavirus pandemic: Key developments
PARIS, May 21: Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis.
CASES DOUBLE IN A MONTH
The number of officially recorded cases of the novel coronavirus has doubled in one month, according to an AFP tally based on official sources. Infections now top five million, with surges in particular in countries in Latin America. Brazil leads the pack, logging the third-highest number of cases in the world after the US and Russia. Peru, Mexico and Chile are also seeing steady increases in infections.
MORE THAN 328,000 DEATHS
The pandemic has killed at least 328,220 people worldwide since it surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally at 1100 GMT on Thursday based on official sources. There have been 5,012,630 officially recorded cases in 196 countries and territories. The United States has recorded the most deaths at 93,439. It is followed by Britain with 35,704, Italy with 32,330, France with 28,132 and Spain with 27,888.
CHINA SAYS IT IS 'TRANSPARENT'
In a low-key rebuttal of the accusations by US President Donald Trump of mass killing, China maintains it has "always had an open, transparent and responsible attitude" as it battled the pandemic. Speaking a day after Trump's remarks, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian tells a press briefing: "We have persisted in speaking the truth, presenting the truth and speaking with reason, doing our utmost to protect the lives and health of the people."
JAPAN LIFTS EMERGENCY
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifts a state of emergency in sev
eral big cities in western Japan -- Osaka, Kyoto and Hyogo -- and hints that the measure will be removed nationwide as early as next week.
ASTRA GETS $1B FROM US
British pharmaceuticals group AstraZeneca secures more than one billion dollars from the United States to help fund production of its coronavirus vaccine. AstraZeneca is partnering with University of Oxford to develop and distribute a vaccine being trialled in the UK.
FRESH IRE FROM TRUMP
US President Donald Trump again lashes out at China over the pandemic, blaming Beijing for "mass Worldwide killing" in an early morning tweet. "It was the 'incompetence of China', and nothing else, that did this mass Worldwide killing," the president tweets.
SPAIN'S CHILDREN MASK UP
Everyone in Spain aged six and above must wear a mask in public places where social distancing is not possible, officials say, with the new rule to be enforced from Thursday.
GRIM PROJECTION IN SOUTH AFRICA
A consortium called the Modelling and Simulation Hub Africa (MASHA), comprising experts from the University of Cape Town and the Department of Health, release its first projections of the impact of the pandemic in South Africa. The scientists say more than a million people in the country could be infected by the virus, causing at least 40,000 deaths, by the time the disease reaches a likely peak there in November. -AFP