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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

* The city of Wuhan, the original epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak in China, conducted 1,470,950 nucleic acid tests for the virus on May 22, the local health authority said on Saturday, compared with 1,000,729 tests the previous day. Wuhan kicked off a campaign on May 14 to look for asymptomatic carriers – infected people who show no outward sign of illness – after confirming on May 9-10 its first cluster of COVID-19 infections since its lockdown was lifted on April 8.

* Thailand on Sunday (May 24) reported no new coronavirus cases and no new deaths, maintaining the total to 3,040 confirmed cases and 56 fatalities since the outbreak began in January. Sunday was the fourth day in this month that there were no new daily cases, said Panprapa Yongtrakul, a spokeswoman for the government’s coronavirus task force.

* The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Saturday reported 1,595,885 cases of the new coronavirus, an increase of 24,268 cases from its previous count, and said the number of deaths had risen by 1,852 to 96,002.

* Spain will reopen its borders to tourists in July and its top soccer division will kick off again in June, the Prime Minister said on Saturday, marking another phase in the easing of one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. Spain’s overnight death toll from the coronavirus rose by 48 on Saturday to a total of 28,678, the seventh straight day that the fatality rate has been less than 100, while the total number of cases rose to 235,290.

* Canada’s total confirmed coronavirus cases rise to 82,892 from 81,756 on May 22 and the death toll from the coronavirus rise to 6,277 from 6,180 a day earlier, according to Public Health Agency data.

* Australia set out measures to resume tourism to Victoria’s rural regions, ravaged by bushfires and then the coronavirus, after a testing blitz in the country’s second-most populous state showed continuing low cases of community transmission. Tourists will be able to stay overnight from June 1 in regional areas in the southern state of Victoria, where “tourism is such an important part, especially for bushfire-affected communities”, state Premier Daniel Andrews said on Sunday.

* The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased by 431 to 178,281, data from the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases showed on Sunday. The reported death toll rose by 31 to 8,247, the tally showed.

* Mexican health authorities registered 3,329 new cases of the novel coronavirus in the country and 190 new deaths, a health official said on Saturday, bringing the total number to 65,856 cases and 7,179 deaths.

* Argentina extended until June 7 a mandatory lockdown in Buenos Aires on Saturday and tightened some movement restrictions, after a steady increase in the city’s confirmed coronavirus cases in recent days. The country recorded 704 new infections on Saturday, one of the highest single-day increases since the pandemic began. The country has 11,353 cases, mostly in Buenos Aires, where the city’s low-income neighborhoods have been particularly hard hit, government data showed. The death toll is at 445.

* Italy recorded 119 new deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic on Saturday against 130 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency said, while the daily tally of new cases rose marginally to 669 from 652 on Friday.

* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will next week update the public on the coronavirus crisis as his government launches its test-and-trace system in an attempt to prevent a second deadly spike of the outbreak when people return to work. Johnson will hold a cabinet meeting of his senior ministers on Monday to update on ways the United Kingdom can slowly begin to ease the lockdown restrictions, including an update on schools and possibly non-essential retail.

* Coronavirus infection rates in France have slowed further and the number of COVID-19 patients in hospital and intensive care continued to fall, health ministry figures showed, a sign that social distancing is keeping contagion in check for now. Nearly two weeks after lockdown ended, health ministry data on Saturday showed the number of confirmed cases rose by 250 to 144,806 over 24 hours, an increase of 0.2%, below the average 0.3% increase of the past seven days and well below the average 0.8% increase seen in the last week of lockdown.

* The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un hosted a military meeting to discuss new policies to bolster the country’s nuclear capabilities amid stalled denuclearisation talks with the United States, state media KCNA said on Sunday. The meeting of the ruling Workers’ Party’s powerful Central Military Commission marked Kim’s first public appearance in three weeks.

* US President Donald Trump called for a “rapid de-escalation” of the Libyan conflict on a call with Turkish counterpart Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday, the White House said, after recent gains by forces backed by Turkey prompted threats of retaliation. Ankara said the NATO allies agreed to continue pursuing stability in the eastern Mediterranean region, including in Syria, while a spokesman for Erdogan said the international community must stand with Turkey in the Libyan conflict.

* The first of five Iranian tankers carrying fuel for gasoline-starved Venezuela entered the South American country’s exclusive economic zone on Saturday, despite a US official’s warning that Washington was considering a response to the shipment. The tanker, named Fortune, reached the country’s waters at around 7:40 p.m. local time (1140 GMT) after passing north of the neighboring dual-island Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago, according to vessel tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon.

* Saudi Arabia’s finance minister Mohammed al Jadaan said on Sunday that the kingdom’s economy is solid and has the ability to deal with the coronavirus crisis despite the need to cut spending.

* Iraq’s Finance Minister Ali Allawi, who is acting oil minister, said the country had agreed to allow Saudi companies to invest in its western Akkas gas field, Saudi news channel Al Arabiya reported on Saturday. The news channel provided no further details. The Akkas field in western Anbar province and bordering Syria is Iraq’s largest.

* The University of Oxford’s COVID-19 vaccine trial has only a 50% chance of success as the coronavirus seems to be fading rapidly in Britain, the professor co-leading the development of the vaccine told the Telegraph newspaper. The experimental vaccine, known as ChAdOx1 nCoV-19, is one of the front-runners in the global race to provide protection against the new coronavirus causing the COVID-19 pandemic.

* Thailand on Saturday began testing a vaccine against the coronavirus on monkeys after positive trials in mice, an official said. Thailand’s minister of higher education, science, and research and innovation, Suvit Maesincee, said researchers had moved testing of the vaccine to monkeys and hoped to have a “clearer outcome” of its effectiveness by September.

* A woman has died in Gaza Strip after contracting coronavirus, the Palestinian enclave’s first known fatality from the global pandemic, the health ministry said on Saturday. The Gaza health ministry described the fatality as a 77-year-old woman who had entered via the Egyptian border on May 19 and had been kept in quarantine since. She suffered from a prior chronic illness, the ministry said.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News