May 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Melissa Macaya, Meg Wagner, Melissa Mahtani and Veronica Rocha, CNN

Updated 8:03 PM ET, Thu May 27, 2021
4 Posts
Sort byDropdown arrow
4:02 a.m. ET, May 27, 2021

With Olympics nearing, Japan considers extending coronavirus state of emergency

From CNN's Chie Kobayashi, Mai Nishiyama and Emiko Jozuka

Japan's government will decide Friday whether to extend a state of emergency across much of the country, nearly two months before the planned start of the delayed Tokyo Summer Olympics.

The country reintroduced emergency measures in April as it grappled with a fourth wave of coronavirus cases -- one that has yet to diminish.

Japan's seven-day average for new cases currently stands at around 4,500, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. Meanwhile, only around 2% of the country's 126 million population has been fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to figures compiled by CNN.

On Monday, the United States advised citizens against traveling to Japan, due to the ongoing outbreak.

The governors of Tokyo and Osaka have already asked the central government to extend the current state of emergency, due to expire on May 31. According to Japanese media, the measures could be extended to June 20. The opening day for the Tokyo 2020 Games -- postponed last year due to the pandemic -- is July 23.

Osaka Gov. Hirofumi Yoshimura said Tuesday that while Covid-19 cases are on the decline for the prefecture, the medical system is strained with severe cases. "If we have another expansion of infection, we cannot deal with it anymore," he said. "Before it becomes too late, I have decided to (request to) extend the state of emergency."

Under the current measures, residents are asked to avoid nonessential outings, work from home and stick to mask-wearing, though such guidance is not mandatory. Large commercial spaces like shopping malls are barred from operating, except to provide essential items and services. Establishments that serve alcohol are advised to shut completely and dry establishments asked to close from 8 p.m., or face a fine.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga will meet with experts Friday to discuss the extension over Tokyo, Osaka, Hyogo, Kyoto, and five other prefectures. The southern island prefecture of Okinawa will already be under a state of emergency until June 20.

Both local and international Olympic officials have repeatedly insisted the Games will go ahead despite the situation on the ground with the pandemic, pointing to protections put in place at venues and the Olympic Village to protect athletes and staff.

Read the full story:

2:53 a.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Taiwan unveils $7.5 billion relief package as Covid-19 cases rise

From CNN's Eric Cheung in Taipei, Taiwan

Chemical troops under the Taiwan Defense Ministry disinfect public transport in Taipei, Taiwan on on May 25 following a dramatic surge of Covid-19 cases.
Chemical troops under the Taiwan Defense Ministry disinfect public transport in Taipei, Taiwan on on May 25 following a dramatic surge of Covid-19 cases. Ceng Shou Yi/NurPhoto/Getty Images

Taiwan plans to spend $7.55 billion on relief measures as it fights its worst Covid outbreak so far, the self-ruled island's National Development Council said Thursday.

The funds will go to subsidies for workers like taxi drivers and tour guides, as well as partial salary compensation for companies affected by ongoing restrictions.

The proposal, which will be discussed in the legislature by the end of the month, is the fourth round of Covid relief that Taiwan has announced since last year, with the first three rounds collectively worth $15 billion.

Contact tracing troubles: On Tuesday, the island's health minister said more than 300 people who tested positive for Covid have been unreachable.

Authorities have been unable to immediately contact 146 people in the capital, Taipei, and 164 in the surrounding New Taipei City, minister Chen Shih-chung told a news conference, voicing concerns this could increase the risk of transmission.

Some background: In 2020, Taiwan had one of the most successful Covid-19 responses in the world, and went more than 250 days without reporting any local infections. The democratic island has been praised internationally for its quick initial action and effective containment measures.

But cases began rising in early May, spiraling into Taiwan's worst outbreak and prompting stringent new restrictions.

On Thursday, Taiwan reported 405 new cases, according to the Central Epidemic Command Center. It also reported 13 new Covid-related deaths -- the highest single-day figure of the pandemic.

2:34 a.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Australia's Victoria state announces 7-day lockdown after fresh outbreak

From CNN's Paul Devitt in Sydney and Sophie Jeong in Hong Kong

People wearing face masks are seen crossing Bourke Street Mall in front of an LED sign in the background displaying news of the impending seven-day lockdown on May 27 in Melbourne, Australia.
People wearing face masks are seen crossing Bourke Street Mall in front of an LED sign in the background displaying news of the impending seven-day lockdown on May 27 in Melbourne, Australia. Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

The Australian state of Victoria will enter a seven-day circuit-breaker lockdown, as health authorities race to contain a fresh cluster of infections in greater Melbourne. 

The lockdown will start at 11:59 p.m. local time Thursday, running until June 3. People will only be allowed to leave their homes for five reasons: shopping for necessary goods and services, authorized work or permitted education, exercise, caregiving or compassionate and medical reasons, and to get vaccinated. 

“We've seen more evidence we're dealing with a highly infectious strain of the virus, a variant of concern, which is running faster than we have ever recorded,” Victoria Acting Premier James Merlino told reporters in Melbourne.

Merlino said they have identified more than 10,000 primary and secondary contacts who will need to either quarantine, or test and isolate, adding “that number will continue to grow and change." 

A cluster of infections in greater Melbourne early this week rose to 26 total cases on Thursday, after the state reported 12 new infections overnight. 

2:24 a.m. ET, May 27, 2021

Facebook will no longer remove claims Covid-19 was man-made

From CNN's Donie O'Sullivan

On the same day that United States President Joe Biden announced he had directed the national intelligence community to redouble its efforts into the origin of Covid-19, Facebook said it would no longer remove from its platforms claims that the virus was man-made. 

The company had announced in February it would remove any such claims after “consultations with leading health organizations, including the World Health Organization (WHO).”

But in a statement to CNN on Wednesday, a Facebook spokesperson said: “In light of ongoing investigations into the origin of Covid-19 and in consultation with public health experts, we will no longer remove the claim that Covid-19 is man-made from our apps.
“We’re continuing to work with health experts to keep pace with the evolving nature of the pandemic and regularly update our policies as new facts and trends emerge,” the spokesperson added. 

Politico was first to report the policy change.