May 29 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George and Zamira Rahim, CNN

Updated 9:49 p.m. ET, May 29, 2020
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3:44 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Cases are still climbing in some places across the US

New daily case figures are starting to hold steady or tick downward nationally -- but that doesn't mean things are improving everywhere.

The risk is still high in places like Montgomery, Alabama. This morning, there were just two unoccupied ICU beds in Montgomery. In the county, cases have more than quadrupled since the state began reopening.

"We can't fast forward to the end of this movie," warned Montgomery Mayor Steven Reed.

And today, California reported its biggest ever one-day jump, with 2,617 new cases.

In every southern state except Florida and Texas, new case counts are still climbing.

The US now has more than 1.7 million cases of Covid-19 and more than 101,600 related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

2:47 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

UK's furlough scheme needs to be dialled back as people return to work, government official says

From CNN's Simon Cullen

The UK’s furlough scheme needs to be “tapered down” as people begin returning to work, said Environment Secretary George Eustice on Friday.

“The furlough scheme has been incredibly important in terms of keeping people on standby and ready to return to work,” Eustice told Sky News.

“Clearly as we start to emerge from the lockdown and start to get our economy back to work, we can't keep people on that furlough scheme indefinitely. We need to start identifying ways of moving them off the furlough scheme and back into work ... We need a furlough scheme that can be tapered down as people return to work." 

Eustice added that about 8.4 million people were using the British government’s furlough scheme, which was put in place to support workers during the coronavirus crisis.

1:55 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Tokyo will start Phase 2 of reopening on Monday

From CNN's Kaori Enjoji

A visitor wearing a face mask walks down the stairs at the Tokyo Tower on May 28 in Tokyo.
A visitor wearing a face mask walks down the stairs at the Tokyo Tower on May 28 in Tokyo. Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

The Japanese capital Tokyo will enter Phase 2 of its reopening plan on midnight June 1, this coming Monday, said the city's governor, Yuriko Koike.

Phase 2 means that schools, tutoring centers, gyms, theaters, malls and other non-essential retail locations can reopen.

Restaurants are still advised to close at 10 p.m.

Tokyo just lifted its state of emergency on Monday. It was one of the last prefectures to emerge from the emergency order, which had been lifted from other low-risk areas earlier this month.

1:02 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

The US reported more than 21,700 cases today

The US reported 21,760 new cases of coronavirus and 1,174 related deaths today, according to Johns Hopkins University.

That brings the national tally to at least 1,721,753 cases and 101,616 deaths.

The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

New York is the hardest-hit state, with 366,733 cases and 29,529 deaths. New Jersey, Illinois and California follow.

Take a look at CNN's live tracker of US cases:

12:39 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

As US deaths top 100,000, Trump's coronavirus task force is curtailed

From CNN's Jim Acosta, Kevin Liptak and Sarah Westwood

As the American death count from coronavirus ticks above 100,000, the panel assembled by President Donald Trump to confront the pandemic has been sharply curtailed while the White House looks ahead to reopening.

Vice President Mike Pence convened the White House coronavirus task force on Thursday for the first time in a week. The group of doctors and high-ranking administration officials, which met daily even on weekends at the height of the pandemic, has seen its formal sessions reduced from three per week at the start of May to one per week now, according to White House schedules.

The task force has essentially been sidelined by Trump, said senior administration officials and others close to the group, who described a greatly reduced role for the panel created to guide the administration's response to the pandemic.

Asked about the dwindling number of task force meetings, one administration official said there are not as many decisions that need to be made on an urgent basis.

"You don't need a decision every day" on some of the items on the task force's agenda, the official said. "We're monitoring things," the official added.

Read the full story here:

12:27 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

South Korea authorities race to contain a new cluster at a logistics center near Seoul

From CNN's Jake Kwon

Health workers receive visitors at a temporary Covid-19 testing center in Bucheon, south of Seoul, on May 27.
Health workers receive visitors at a temporary Covid-19 testing center in Bucheon, south of Seoul, on May 27. Ed Jones/AFP/Getty Images

South Korea recorded 58 new coronavirus cases and no new deaths on Thursday, said authorities Friday.

That brings the national total to 11,402 cases and 269 deaths.

Authorities are also working to contain a new cluster that emerged this week in a logistics center near Seoul. A total of 96 cases have been linked to the cluster, said Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip.

Of 4,351 workers and visitors at the center, 3,836 people had been tested for the virus.

Online learning: Meanwhile, 502 schools in Seoul metropolitan area had switched to online classes due to the recent outbreaks and clusters, said Vice Education Minister Park Baeg-beom.

As of Thursday, 838 schools across the nation had postponed reopening of the schools and continued with online classes, the Education Ministry said.

12:01 a.m. ET, May 29, 2020

Japan reports biggest one-day jump in cases in two weeks, raising fears of second wave

From CNN's Yoko Wakatsuki

A staff member wearing a face shield and mask conducts body temperature checks for visitors at the entrance of the 332.9m (1,092ft.) high Tokyo Tower on May 28, as the city's landmark reopened.
A staff member wearing a face shield and mask conducts body temperature checks for visitors at the entrance of the 332.9m (1,092ft.) high Tokyo Tower on May 28, as the city's landmark reopened. Philip Fong/AFP/Getty Images

Japan reported 63 new coronavirus cases and seven new deaths on Thursday -- the biggest one-day jump in infections since May 14.

Of the new cases on Thursday, 21 came from the southern city of Kitakyushu. The city had reported zero new infections for 23 days -- then it saw its numbers spike again, raising fears that a second wave may be arriving. Kitakyushu has now reported 43 new cases in the past six days.

This raises the national total to 17,431 cases and 887 deaths, including the cases and deaths from the Princess Diamond cruise ship.

11:40 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Brazil President Jair Bolsonaro says economic shutdowns are a “terrible disgrace”

From CNN's Rodrigo Pedroso in Sao Paulo and Taylor Barnes in Atlanta

President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask with a print of Brazil's Coat of Arms and written God above all, Brazil above all, watches supporters of his government who waited for him outside the Palácio do Alvorada on May 27 in Brasilia.
President of Brazil Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a face mask with a print of Brazil's Coat of Arms and written God above all, Brazil above all, watches supporters of his government who waited for him outside the Palácio do Alvorada on May 27 in Brasilia. Andressa Anholete/Getty Images

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro called for the economy to open up, saying that the closures in non-essential sectors were "“a terrible disgrace” for the country. 

Speaking in a Facebook live on Thursday, Bolsonaro said that he wants the economy “to run again.”

“Its been 70 days now that I am saying that we have two problems: life and the virus, of course, but also unemployment,” Bolsonaro said.

“It was a terrible disgrace what they (mayors and governors) did, this way of shutting everything down,” the President added.

Bolsonaro added that he supported "vertical isolation," in which elderly and vulnerable people like his mother stay home, but allows "young people" to return to work.

Controversial president: Critics have lambasted Bolsonaro's approach to the pandemic, both within the country and internationally.

Arthur Virgilio Neto, the mayor of a Brazilian city that was badly hit with the virus, called on Bolsonaro to resign.

Brazil has suffered more infections than every country in the world except the United States, and is yet to reach a peak of cases and fatalities, experts warn.

11:08 p.m. ET, May 28, 2020

People in the UK are staying home despite easing restrictions, study shows

From CNN's Sarah Dean and Lauren Kent in London and Chandler Thornton in Atlanta

People enjoy the warm and sunny weather relaxing on the pavement outside their homes in the Shorefields area of Liverpool on May 28 in Liverpool.
People enjoy the warm and sunny weather relaxing on the pavement outside their homes in the Shorefields area of Liverpool on May 28 in Liverpool. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

The British public is staying home despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently easing lockdown restrictions, according to a new study by King's College London. 

“The UK government’s advice may have shifted to ‘stay alert’, but it’s the ‘stay at home’ message that the public are continuing to follow," Professor Bobby Duffy, Director of the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said.

The study showed that one in seven adults surveyed did not leave their home once in the previous week and 41% of people did not leave their home for five or more of the past seven days.

These numbers show "the seriousness with which the public are still treating the Covid-19 crisis," Duffy said.

More people are also wearing face masks, according to the study which showed that the number of people wearing them has doubled from six weeks ago.

"Compared with six weeks ago, compliance remains very high and virtually unchanged" for measures such as social distancing and hand washing, the study said.

Some context: Prime Minister Johnson said on Thursday that Britain will begin lifting restrictions starting Monday in a phased approach. 

The relaxation comes after the death rate in the UK has fallen consistently. From a peak of 943 deaths on April 14, the UK announced 256 coronavirus-related deaths on Thursday -- a significant but diminishing toll.