May 22 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Adam Renton, Melissa Macaya and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:38 PM ET, Fri May 22, 2020
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4:38 p.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Travelers to UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days 

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

Passengers arrive at Heathrow airport in London, on May 22.
Passengers arrive at Heathrow airport in London, on May 22. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

Travelers arriving in the United Kingdom will be required to self-isolate for 14 days starting June 8, the British Home Secretary Priti Patel announced on Friday.

“People arriving in the UK will be required to self-isolate for 14 days, except for those on a short list of exemptions,” she said, adding that new arrivals will be required to provide their address and contact details should authorities need to trace them and that the quarantine was mandatory. “There will be penalties for those who break these mandatory measures.”

Patel defended the measures saying the UK government was taking them “to guard against imported cases” and assured it was doing so at “a time where it would be most effective.”

“It is to protect that hard-won progress and prevent a devastating resurgence and a second wave of the virus,” she said.

10:14 a.m. ET, May 22, 2020

UK plan to reopen schools on June 1 deemed "not safe" on current evidence, scientist group warns 

From CNN's Max Ramsay

Desks are rearranged and separated as a precaution against coronavirus on May 18 at Marsden Infant and Nursery School in Marsden, England.
Desks are rearranged and separated as a precaution against coronavirus on May 18 at Marsden Infant and Nursery School in Marsden, England. Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images.

A group of leading British scientists has warned it is not safe to reopen schools in England on June 1, according to a draft report published Thursday.

The UK government had announced schools in England may partially re-open from June 1 if certain conditions are met.

The "Independent SAGE" group of researchers, which is an unofficial group chaired by former government chief scientific adviser David King, said re-opening schools should depend on “evidence of low levels of Covid-19 infections in the community” and “the ability to respond to new infections through a local test, track and isolate strategy."

“There is no evidence that these conditions are met. Until they are it is not safe to open schools on June 1,” the report continued.

Delaying school reopenings by two weeks would halve the risk to children of getting sick, the group estimates, with further delays reducing the risk even more, the report said.

10:43 a.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Wedding in Jordan resulted in a deadly Covid-19 outbreak, new study found

From CNN's Health Gisela Crespo

A wedding in northern Jordan led to 85 people being infected with Covid-19, resulting in one death, a new study published by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found.

According to researchers at Jordan University of Science and Technology, the wedding ceremony and party were held indoors on March 13 in the city of Irbid.

Around 360 people attended the event, according to the researchers. Around that time, Jordan only had one confirmed case of Covid-19.

The study conducted tests on samples from 350 possible cases within four weeks of exposure at the wedding, including people who were at the wedding and people who had close contacts with attendees.

Here's what the study found:

  • At least 85 people with a history of exposure related to the wedding tested positive for Covid-19, the study found. Researchers believe the first documented patient in the outbreak was the father of the bride, who traveled to Jordan from Spain, where community spread was already taking place at the time.
  • Of those who tested positive, 76 attended the wedding and nine were close contacts of confirmed cases from the event. All positive cases were admitted to the hospital for monitoring.
  • Nearly half of the 76 patients who tested positive and attended the wedding were asymptomatic at the time of diagnoses. Four of the 9 cases that tested positive but did not attend the wedding were symptomatic, with symptoms starting between 9 and 19 days after the wedding.
  • Only two patients had serious or critical conditions, including an 80-year-old woman with breast cancer who developed pneumonia and respiratory failure, dying two weeks after being admitted to the hospital for monitoring.
  • One woman gave birth to a healthy baby on the second day of being admitted to the hospital for monitoring.

Cases in the outbreak may have been undercounted because possible asymptomatic patients had either shed the virus or have not yet started when tested, researchers said.

Researchers said their findings show one infected person "can transmit the disease to 2-3 other susceptible persons."

 "In closed and crowded social gatherings, the transmission rate can be much higher, as evidenced by this investigation," the study said.

 

9:36 a.m. ET, May 22, 2020

US instructs WHO to immediately begin work on coronavirus inquiry: "There is no time to waste"

From Simon Cullen

Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images
Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The United States is calling on the World Health Organization (WHO) to immediately begin work on an investigation into the source of the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent timeline of events.

In a letter to the WHO’s executive board meeting in Geneva on Friday, US Assistant Secretary for Health Brett P. Giroir wrote: “As President Trump just made clear in his May 18 letter to Director-General Tedros, there is no time to waste to begin on the reforms needed to ensure such a pandemic never happens again.”

“We applaud the call for an impartial, independent, and comprehensive review, to be undertaken in consultation with member states, and urge that work begin now," Giroir wrote.  

He said that such a review will ensure there is a thorough understanding of the “source, timeline of events, and decision-making process for the WHO’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic." 

8:03 a.m. ET, May 22, 2020

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

A student arrives at a high school in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, May 20.
A student arrives at a high school in Seoul, South Korea, on Wednesday, May 20. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

The Covid-19 virus has infected more than 5.1 million people and killed at least 333,000 worldwide, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

If you're just joining us, here's the latest on the pandemic:

  • Covid-19 threatens EU's survival, says George Soros: The billionaire said the bloc needs to provide financial relief for its hardest-hit member states.
  • South Korean city's schools to reopen Monday: Sixty-six high schools in Incheon will reopen on May 25 after closing on Wednesday over outbreak fears.
  • US death toll rises to 94,729: The virus continues to spread across the country, with at least 1,577,758 cases confirmed in the US, according to Johns Hopkins University.
  • UK scraps charge for migrant health workers: Prime Minister Boris Johnson removed the health surcharge after the policy was heavily criticized.
  • Singapore's cases surpass 30,000: The vast majority of the Asian city-state's 30,426 cases are migrant workers living in dormitories, where clusters began emerging in April.
7:45 a.m. ET, May 22, 2020

WHO chief says $800 million has been pledged for its Covid-19 response

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a Covid-19 press briefing at the agency's HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 11.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus attends a Covid-19 press briefing at the agency's HQ in Geneva, Switzerland, on March 11. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says almost $800 million has been pledged to help pay for its response to the coronavirus pandemic this year.

That leaves a gap of just over $900 million to reach the agency's funding target of $1.7 billion.

"Since the beginning of the pandemic, [the] WHO has worked day and night to coordinate the global response at all three levels of the organization -- providing technical advice, catalyzing political solidarity, mobilizing resources, coordinating logistics, and much more,” Tedros told its executive board meeting on Friday.
7:59 a.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Coronavirus pandemic threatens the survival of the European Union, says George Soros

From CNN's Chris Liakos

George Soros at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 23.
George Soros at the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, on January 23. Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros has said that coronavirus threatens the survival of the European Union (EU) unless the bloc takes action to raise its budget and provide financial relief to its hardest-hit nations.

“Exceptional circumstances require exceptional measures," Soros said in an interview with Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf published Friday.

"Perpetual bonds or consols are such a measure. They should not even be considered in normal times. But if the EU is unable to consider it now, it may not be able to survive the challenges it currently confronts. This is not a theoretical possibility; it may be the tragic reality."

The billionaire added that the EU could provide perpetual bonds by authorising taxation in order to issue them, as the bloc would need to maintain its AAA rating for the idea to work.

Soros suggested that the money raised could be allocated to those in the greatest need, especially the hardest hit Southern countries. He was particularly concerned about Italy, which he said had been treated unfairly by the EU and Germany in the past.

“What would be left of Europe without Italy?" Soros said.
"Italy used to be the most pro-European country. Italians trusted Europe more than their own governments, and with good reason. But they were badly treated during the refugee crisis of 2015. That is when Italians decide to vote for [Matteo] Salvini’s Lega and the Five Star Movement in a landslide."
"More recently, the relaxation of state aid rules, which favor Germany, has been particularly unfair to Italy, which was already the sick man of Europe and then the hardest hit by Covid-19."

Soros said he expected the damage suffered by the Eurozone economy due to the virus to last longer than most people think it will.

6:56 a.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Liver disease patients with Covid-19 face high mortality rates, study suggests

From CNN's Lauren Kent 

 The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England.
The John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford, England. Steve Parsons/PA Images/Getty Images

Patients with chronic liver disease or cirrhosis have high mortality rates from the Covid-19 virus, according to a new study conducted by Oxford University Hospitals in the UK and the University of North Carolina in the US. 

The researchers found that patients with cirrhosis -- scarring of the liver caused by long-term damage -- had an overall death rate of 40%. Cirrhosis is often caused by excessive alcohol consumption over many years, prolonged hepatitis infections, or excess fat build-up around the liver, according to the UK's National Health Service (NHS). 

Researchers studied clinical records from 21 countries encompassing 152 patients with chronic liver disease and cirrhosis who developed Covid-19.

The study, published in the Journal of Hepatology, said: "Those with advanced disease called 'decompensated cirrhosis' had the highest rate of death (between 43 and 63%), compared with 12% for patients with liver disease but without cirrhosis."

Dr. Thomas Marjot, who led the project at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, said: "Until now, very little was known about the impact of Covid-19 on patients with pre-existing liver disease."

Marjot said the research revealed coronavirus patients with liver disease face "particularly poor outcomes," but he cautioned that the study is limited by selection bias because doctors tend to report more severe cases.

"Many patients with cirrhosis and Covid-19 who have good outcomes will therefore not be included in the registry," Marjot said.
"Nonetheless, these findings do suggest high death rates with Covid-19 in patients with cirrhosis and that contracting the virus may lead to a deterioration in liver function. Therefore, anyone coming into hospital with worsening symptoms of liver disease should be considered for coronavirus testing."
6:20 a.m. ET, May 22, 2020

Dozens of South Korean schools that shut over coronavirus concerns to reopen Monday

From CNN’s Yoonjung Seo

A staff member greets a student at a high school in Seoul, South Korea, on May 20.
A staff member greets a student at a high school in Seoul, South Korea, on May 20. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

Sixty-six high schools in Incheon, South Korea, that shut on May 20 over coronavirus concerns, will reopen on May 25 the country's Education Ministry has said.

The high schools opened on Wednesday, the first day back to school since the outbreak, but closed within two hours after two Covid-19 cases were found among the student body.

Contact tracing and tests related to the cases have since been carried out.

All 972 students who had been to the infected areas have tested negative for the novel coronavirus, the ministry said, adding that health officials believe the risk of local transmission is not high enough to keep the schools closed.

South Korea’s Itaewon nightclub cluster infection, which started in early May, has reached a total of 215 cases so far, Jung Eun-kyeong, director of the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said on Friday.

He said 20 new cases of the virus had been recorded, raising the national toll to 11,142.

At least 264 people have died from the virus in South Korea.