With 20,000 deaths and more than 310,000 infections, Brazil is fast approaching Russia to become the world’s second coronavirus hotspot, behind the United States.
- China will not announce an annual growth target for 2020 as it tries to rebuild its economy in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
- US President Donald Trump ordered the nation’s flags at half-mast to honour coronavirus victims.
Guatemala’s President Alejandro Giammattei slammed Washington for continuing to deport migrants infected with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus.
More than five million people around the world are now confirmed to have the coronavirus, according to data compiled by the Johns Hopkins University. More than 328,000 people have died globally while some 1.9 million people have recovered.
Here are all the latest updates:
Friday, May 22
03:40 GMT – Australia extends bans on cruise ships
Australia extended its ban on cruise ship visits for three months until September 17.
Australian Border Force said any cruise ship capable of carrying more than 100 passengers is prohibited from operating cruises in the country.
The ban has been in place since March 27, following deadly outbreaks linked to cruise ships.
02:07 GMT – No annual growth target for China, a first in decades
China took the rare move of not setting an annual growth target this year after the coronavirus battered the world’s second-largest economy and ravaged global growth.
Instead, given “great uncertainty” caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Beijing will “give priority to stabilising employment and ensuring living standards”, Premier Li Keqiang told the opening of the National People’s Congress.
It is the first time China has not set a gross domestic product goal since the government started to publish such targets in 1990.
01:33 GMT – Dozens test positive at centres for stranded migrants in Panama
A Panama health official said 59 migrants stranded at Panamanian migration centres have tested positive for the coronavirus.
More than 2,500 migrants became stranded in Panama in March when the border with neighbouring Costa Rica was closed. The vast majority of those people are being held in migration centres in the southern Darien province.
“It is not easy to have 1,900 people in a small place,” Dr Juan Rosales told Reuters news agency. “The work has been hard.”
01:02 GMT – Australia seeks exemption from UK quarantine
Australia is seeking an exemption from a requirement that travellers arriving in the United Kingdom quarantine for 14 days to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said in a statement: “Australia has led the world in the successful containment of COVID-19, which clearly means that travellers coming from Australia would pose a low risk to the rest of the world.”
Birmingham said Australia has no plans to open its borders to non-citizens, while all returning locals will still have to quarantine for two weeks upon arrival.
00:46 GMT – IMF, Ukraine agree in principle on new $5bn aid package
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Ukraine have reached an agreement in principle on a new $5bn aid package to help Kyiv battle the coronavirus crisis.
The agreement on the 18-month aid programme is subject to the approval of the IMF’s management and executive board, which will look at the deal “in the coming weeks,” the Washington-based lender said.
Ivanna Vladkova Hollar, the official who led the IMF negotiating team, said the deal would offer “budget support” to Kyiv while “consolidating achievements to date, and moving forward on important structural reforms to reduce key vulnerabilities”.
00:08 GMT – Trump orders US flags lowered to half-mast for virus victims
Donald Trump, the president of the United States, says he will order the US flag to be flown at half-mast over the next three days as the death toll from COVID-19 approaches 100,000.
“I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus,” he said in a Twitter post.
I will be lowering the flags on all Federal Buildings and National Monuments to half-staff over the next three days in memory of the Americans we have lost to the CoronaVirus….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 21, 2020
The move follows a request from Democratic leaders to do so to recognise a “sad day of reckoning when we reach 100,000 deaths”.
00:03 GMT – Brazil passes 20,000 virus deaths after record 24-hour toll
The coronavirus death toll in Brazil surpassed 20,000 after a record number of fatalities in a 24-hour period, the health ministry said.
The country is the epicentre of the outbreak in Latin America and its highest one-day toll of 1,188 pushed the overall death tally to 20,047.
Brazil has now recorded more than 310,000 cases, with experts saying a lack of testing means the real figures are probably much higher.
With its curve of infections and deaths rising sharply, the country of 210 million ranks third in the world in terms of total cases, behind the United States and Russia.
Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives.
You can find all the updates from yesterday, May 21, here.