May 20 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton and Rob Picheta, CNN

Updated 9:22 PM ET, Wed May 20, 2020
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10:24 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Cuba goes a week without a single coronavirus death

From CNN's Patrick Oppmann in Havana

A man wearing a face mask looks at his mobile phone while a couple walks by in Havana, Cuba, on May 18.
A man wearing a face mask looks at his mobile phone while a couple walks by in Havana, Cuba, on May 18. Guillermo Nova/picture-alliance/dpa/AP

Cuba has gone a week without any coronavirus-related deaths, health officials said Wednesday, as the numbers of cases in the country continue to drop.

Cuba has so far recorded nearly 1,900 coronavirus cases with 79 deaths, according to a John Hopkins University tally.

Health officials announced 13 additional Covid-19 cases Wednesday without any new fatalities.

People diagnosed with the coronavirus in Cuba are required to receive treatment at hospitals, and wearing masks in public is mandatory.

Since the outbreak began in the island, it has been shut down to everyone but returning citizens and residents.

Despite the apparent success of Cuba’s efforts, government officials have said they have no plans to lift the quarantine and country will likely remain on lockdown through June.

9:43 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Schools in South Korean city closed again after two students test positive for coronavirus

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo

Dozens of schools in Incheon city, west of Seoul, have been closed again on the first day back to school since the outbreak after two Covid-19 cases were found among the student body.

Schools directly related to the two confirmed students had already cancelled face-to-face classes on Wednesday, but 66 schools in Incheon city opened and closed within 2 hours as a precautionary measure until the contact tracing is completed.

The two students had been to karaoke rooms where other previously infected students had also been.

These cases are believed to be linked to South Korea’s recent Itaewon nightclub cluster infection. So far, a total of 196 cases have been reported related to the Itaewon nightclub cluster.

The reopening dates for these schools have not been announced yet.

9:56 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Brazil's Lower House approves proposal to make masks mandatory in public

From Shasta Darlington, Flora Charner and Tatiana Arias

People mourn during a mass burial of coronavirus victims at the Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on May 19.
People mourn during a mass burial of coronavirus victims at the Parque Taruma cemetery in Manaus, Brazil, on May 19. Andre Coelho/Getty Images

Brazil’s Lower House of Congress approved a proposed law Tuesday, which would make masks mandatory in public spaces amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Any businesses authorized to operate during the pandemic must provide masks to employees who work with the public, and the government must also provide masks to low-income citizens, the proposed law stated.

The proposal needs to be approved by the Senate and by President Jair Bolsonaro in order to be signed into law.

Brazil on Tuesday recorded its highest daily number of coronavirus deaths and cases, with 1,179 deaths and 17,408 new infections. This comes a day after it became the country with the third-highest number of cases in the world.

US President Donald Trump told reporters at the White House Tuesday he may consider imposing a travel ban to Brazil. 

Meanwhile, President Bolsonaro continues to dismiss the health crisis, saying the economic impacts will be far worse to what he's compared to a "little flu." 

Bolsonaro in a tweet today said there will be new guidelines to expand the use of chloroquine for treating coronavirus, although it is an unproven treatment for the virus.

Brazil's medical authority approved the use of hydroxychloroquine in April in serious cases of coronavirus if doctor and patient agree.

The Brazilian president has pushed for approval to use the drug in less serious cases.

9:37 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Switzerland will allow places of worship to open as of May 28

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite

An altar boy stands in the central aisle of the Basilica of Neuchatel which pews display the portraits of 400 parishioners unable to attend the mass due to coronavirus on May 3.
An altar boy stands in the central aisle of the Basilica of Neuchatel which pews display the portraits of 400 parishioners unable to attend the mass due to coronavirus on May 3. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images

Switzerland will allow people to attend places of worship again starting on May 28, the Swiss Federal Council announced.

This includes services and celebrations of all religions.

Some background: The Federal Council has passed legislation for a new “SwissCovid-App.” With the changed law, which still needs to be passed by the Swiss parliament, those participating could be notified if there is a chance they are exposed to the virus through a so-called “Proximity-Tracing-System,” the Swiss Federal council said in a press release.

Research and development of a vaccine is to be sped up and access to a safe and effective vaccine for the population is to be ensured, the nation's Federal Council says.

Health workers in hospitals will go back to regular shift and rest schedules as of June, as the situation in most hospital departments has normalized, the Federal Council added.

9:31 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Wuhan has conducted over 2 million coronavirus tests since May 12, health commission says

From CNN's Isaac Yee

A medical worker takes a swab sample from a man to be tested for the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, on Tuesday, May 19.
A medical worker takes a swab sample from a man to be tested for the coronavirus in Wuhan, China, on Tuesday, May 19. Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images

Wuhan conducted 856,128 coronavirus tests on May 19, up from 467,847 tests on May 18, the city's Municipal Health Commission said.

The city has now conducted 2,178,581 coronavirus tests since May 12.

Wuhan started conducting city-wide coronavirus testing on its citizens last week after health officials detected several new locally transmitted cases.

There were no new coronavirus cases reported in Wuhan on May 19, according to the National Health Commission.

9:24 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Kenya records highest single-day spike in coronavirus cases

From CNN's Jennifer Hauser in Atlanta

Kenyan police officers inspects drivers at a checkpoint following a partial lockdown in two COVID-19 hotspots of Eastleigh in Nairobi and Mombasa City in Kenya, on May 7.
Kenyan police officers inspects drivers at a checkpoint following a partial lockdown in two COVID-19 hotspots of Eastleigh in Nairobi and Mombasa City in Kenya, on May 7. Simon Maina/AFP/Getty Images

Kenya has reported 66 new coronavirus cases in the past day — it's highest daily jump so far, bringing the overall number of cases to more than 1,000, its health ministry said Wednesday.

The coastal city of Mombasa has nearly half of those new cases, the ministry said, adding that all the patients are stable and in isolation.

A 6-year-old was the youngest person in Kenya to die of coronavirus, Ministry of Health Director General Patrick Amoth announced today.

At least 50 people have died in Kenya due to coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins University data.

The German Embassy in Kenya said it has donated two mobile labs to help ramp up testing on truck drivers at border points flagged as hot spots, especially the Namanga point, which borders Tanzania.

8:52 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

India to resume domestic flights in "calibrated manner" starting Monday

From CNN's Vedika Sud and Swati Gupta in New Delhi

Air India crew exit the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India, on Monday, May 18.
Air India crew exit the Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport in Kolkata, India, on Monday, May 18.

India's domestic flight operations will resume next Monday "in a calibrated manner," the country's Civil Aviation Minister announced today.

All airports and air carriers are being informed to be ready for operations from May 25, minister Hardeep Singh Puri tweeted on Wednesday.

The operating procedures for passenger movements will be issued separately, he said.

Some context: Domestic flights in India were grounded in late March, when the country went into its first phase of coronavirus lockdown.

Meanwhile, a day after India passed 100,000 coronavirus cases nationwide, it has once again recorded its highest single-day jump with 5,611 positive cases today.

More than 2.5 million tests have so far been carried out in India, according to an announcement by the Indian Council of Medical Research.

8:12 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Iran to allow Eid al-Fitr prayers in religious centers

From CNN’s Ramin Mostaghim in Tehran and Nada AlTaher in Abu Dhabi

Iranians observe Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) during Ramadan, while social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic at the Imam Jafar Sadegh Mosque in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, May 17.
Iranians observe Laylat al-Qadr (the Night of Power) during Ramadan, while social distancing amid the coronavirus pandemic at the Imam Jafar Sadegh Mosque in Tehran, Iran, on Sunday, May 17. Fatemeh Bahrami/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

Iran has reported 64 new coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours – two more than yesterday, the Ministry of Health said Wednesday.

Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur said the death toll in the country now stands at 7,183.

On May 16, Iran reported 35 deaths related to the virus – the lowest figure in 70 days.

During Eid al-Fitr, which marks the end of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, Iran will hold prayers in religious centers, and not at outdoor prayer grounds where worshipers usually gather, the country's state news agency Press TV reported, citing president Hassan Rouhani.

Mosques can, however, be open during the Eid prayers.

8:06 a.m. ET, May 20, 2020

Runner completes 19 marathons in 19 days for coronavirus relief

By CNN's George Ramsay

A runner from the Isle of Man has gone the distance -- and beyond -- to raise money for coronavirus relief.

Christian Varley finished his final 26.2-mile effort between Peel and the island's capital of Douglas in four hours and 39 minutes, his 19th marathon in 19 days.

In the nearly three-week test of endurance, he has raised $102,000 (£83,243) for the Manx Solidarity Fund at the time of writing.

The charity was established in response to difficulties brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic on the Isle of Man, and Varley has more than quadrupled his initial target of $23,250 (£19,000).