WHO states agree to coronavirus response probe: Live updates | News

  • WHO member states agreed to an independent review of the global response to the pandemic at a virtual meeting of the World Health Assembly.

  • China accused the United States of dirtying Beijing and taking on responsibilities with the World Health Organization (WHO) after President Donald Trump threatened to leave the UN health agency.

  • Britain's unemployment claims increased by 69% last month when the coronavirus pandemic took over and hit the job market.

  • Globally, there were more than 4.8 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 and more than 318,800 people died, according to Johns Hopkins University. Almost 1.8 million people have recovered.

Here are all the latest updates:


Tuesday, May 19

15:00 GMT – Sweden overcomes deaths per capita in Europe in the last 7 days

Sweden, which has opted for a more open strategy to combat the virus than other European countries, has the highest number of deaths in Europe per capita from COVID-19 disease in the past seven days, data show.

Sweden kept most schools, restaurants and businesses open during the pandemic. While deaths are on the decline, Sweden had 6.25 deaths per million inhabitants per day, on an average of seven days between 12 and 19 May, according to Ourworldinsata.org. This was the highest in Europe and just above the UK, with 5.75 deaths per million.


Throughout the pandemic, Sweden still has fewer deaths per capita than the United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, Belgium and France, which opted for roadblocks, but far above Nordic neighbors Denmark, Norway and Finland.

Sweden's response to the coronavirus outbreak divides opinion

14:45 GMT – UK economy will take time to return to normal after blockade: Finance Minister

British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said it would take time for the economy to return to normal, even when the government's coronavirus shutdown was suspended.

"It is not obvious that there will be an immediate return," Sunak told lawmakers, saying the retail sector, for example, would still face restrictions when it reopens.


"In all cases, it will take a little while for things to return to normal, even after we reopen the currently closed sectors."


England schools reopen as coronavirus restriction eases

14:30 GMT – WHO will continue to lead the global fight against the pandemic, promises Tedros

WHO will continue to lead the global fight against the coronavirus pandemic, which "threatens to tear the fabric of international cooperation," said its chief.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO, thanked "the many member states that expressed their support and solidarity" at their annual two-day ministerial assembly.

He welcomed an EU resolution, adopted by consensus by the 194 WHO member states, which calls for an independent assessment of the international response, "including, but not limited to, WHO's performance".

"We want responsibility more than anyone," said Tedros. "We will continue to provide strategic leadership to coordinate the global response" to the pandemic.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus received a resolution calling for an independent assessment of the international response to the pandemic [Christopher Black/AFP]

14:10 GMT – Russia denounces US attempts to "break" WHO

Russia denounced President Donald Trump's threat to withdraw the United States from WHO due to the management of the coronavirus pandemic.

"Yes, there are opportunities to improve it … but we are against breaking everything that exists because of a state's political or geopolitical preferences," said Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov, according to the news agency Interfax.

13:50 GMT – China protests against Taiwan at World Health Assembly

The Chinese envoy to WHO denounced the support shown by the United States and other members to Taiwan during its annual ministerial assembly.

"There are still some countries determined to appeal to the Taiwanese authorities …" said Chen Xu, the Chinese ambassador to the virtual assembly, saying this was "undermining global epidemic anti-efforts".

"Such conduct is not acceptable," added Chen in response specifically to US support for Taiwan, following comments by a senior US diplomat who he dismissed as "political hype".

Taiwan is not a member of the UN agency, although a proposal has been made to allow it to attend the assembly as an observer. However, no invitation was made due to a lack of consensus.

Xi: No one can change fact Taiwan is part of China

13:30 GMT – USA supports WHO pandemic resolution, but rejects patent text

The United States joined a consensus on an EU resolution on the global treatment of the coronavirus pandemic, but quickly distanced itself from its words about intellectual property and reproductive health services.

In a statement, the US mission to the UN in Geneva said that reviewing the pandemic would guarantee "a complete and transparent understanding of the source of the virus, schedule of events … and the decision-making process for the WHO response".

But he had to "disassociate himself" from references in the pandemic resolution to intellectual property under the so-called "TRIPS" agreement, which allows compulsory licensing of medicines and vaccines during a health emergency.

This language "will send the wrong message to innovators who will be essential to the solutions that the whole world needs," said the US statement. The Trump administration "believes in legal protections for unborn children" and cannot accept the idea of ​​an international right to abortion, he added.

Arcturus Therapeutics, an RNA medication company, is researching a vaccine for the new coronavirus (COVID-19)

The US rejected the wording on intellectual property in an EU resolution passed at the World Health Assembly [Bing Guan/Reuters]

13:15 GMT – Prime Minister of Italy says he enters the next phase of the pandemic with cautious optimism

Italy's prime minister told the World Health Organization on Tuesday that he was cautiously optimistic about the next phase of the pandemic, as the country eases coronavirus measures.

"We are entering this phase with cautious optimism and a sense of responsibility," said Giuseppe Conte in a speech at the World Health Assembly, which is being held virtually. "We know that our fight is far from over."

He also said that global health should be a "shared priority" soon after the assembly passed an EU resolution on the pandemic.

Hello this is Joseph Stepansky in Doha, replacing my colleague Saba Aziz.

12:30 GMT – WHO states agree with COVID-19 response probe

The member states of the World Health Organization agreed to an independent investigation into the UN agency's COVID-19 response, as criticism from the United States increased about the management of the pandemic.

Countries participating in the WHO annual assembly, held virtually for the first time, adopted a consensus resolution calling for an "impartial, independent and comprehensive assessment" of the international response to the crisis, including a survey of WHO actions and "their schedules for the pandemic. of COVID-19 ".

None of the 194 WHO member states – including the United States – has objected to the resolution proposed by the European Union on behalf of more than 100 countries, including Australia, China and Japan.

12:15 GMT – How does blocking affect our mental health?

The coronavirus pandemic and blockages are affecting people's psychological well-being.

So, how do we help ourselves and the people around us? Watch our latest Starts here episode.

12:10 GMT – Egypt extends suspension of international flights

Egypt has extended the suspension to all international passenger flights to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Mostafa Madbouly said in a statement.

Flights at Egyptian airports were suspended on March 19, and the stoppage will continue until further notice, the statement said.

11:45 GMT – South African rugby team uses World Cup scores to raise funds

The South African World Cup winning team is using last year's final score in Japan to launch a campaign to feed people affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

A total of 100,000 raffle tickets are being sold to 32.12 South African rand ($ 1.76), who will pay for food packages and soup kitchens.

20th Laureus World Sports Award in Berlin

South African rugby players pose after winning the Laureus World Team of the Year award in February [Annegret Hilse/Reuters]

The Springboks beat England 32 to 12 in the end of November win World Cup for the third time and many of its main players have already launched their own initiatives to collect food for the hungry, notably captain Siya Kolisi.

11:30 GMT – Turkey extends travel ban in 15 major cities

Turkey has extended a travel ban in the top 15 cities for a further 15 days to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.

In a statement, the Interior Ministry said the travel ban will continue until June 3 and anyone who fails to comply with travel restrictions will face administrative fines.

Cities include Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir, Balikesir, Bursa, Eskisehir, Gaziantep, Kayseri, Kocaeli, Konya, Manisa, Sakarya, Samsun, Van and Zonguldak.

May 19 Celebration of Ataturk, Youth and Sports Day

Turkey imposed a travel ban in 31 provinces in April to contain the spread of the virus and then lifted restrictions in some of them [Mehmet Ali Ozcan/Anadolu]

11:10 GMT – EU supports WHO after threat of Trump withdrawal

The European Union supported the World Health Organization and multilateral efforts to combat the coronavirus after Trump threatened to leave the global agency.

"This is the time for solidarity, not the time to point the finger or undermine multilateral cooperation," European Foreign Affairs spokeswoman Virginie Battu-Henriksson told reporters.

The EU sponsored a motion at the Tuesday session of the WHO annual assembly to request an "impartial, independent and comprehensive assessment" of the international response to the pandemic.

11:00 GMT – Qatar introduces new restrictions for Eid al-Fitr

Qatar has announced a series of new measures aimed at preventing the spread of the new coronavirus, including stopping most commercial activities by 30 May.

All stores, with the exception of food and restaurant stores, pharmacies, restaurant delivery services and some other essential services, will also be closed during the same period, which coincides with the official holiday of Eid al-Fitr.

Read More on here.

10:20 GMT – Al-Aqsa Mosque to reopen after Eid holiday

The Al-Aqsa mosque in Jerusalem will reopen to worshipers after the Eid holiday, a statement from its agency said, two months after the coronavirus closure.

"The council has decided to suspend the suspension of the faithful who entered the blessed Al-Aqsa Mosque after the Eid al-Fitr holiday," said a statement from the Waqf organization, referring to the holiday that is due to begin this weekend.

The statement added that the exact terms of the reopening of Islam's third holiest site would be announced later.


09:10 GMT – Russian PM returns to work after battle with coronavirus

Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin is returning to his duties after fighting the coronavirus, the Kremlin said.

President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering Mishustin to take up his regular duties, carried out by a deputy since April 30, while the prime minister was receiving medical treatment.

Russian Prime Minister Mishustin presides over a video link meeting in Moscow

Mishustin told Putin last month that he was temporarily stepping down while recovering from the coronavirus [Dmitry Astakhov/Sputnik/Reuters]

09:00 GMT – Spain suspends direct ban on flights from Italy

Spain has lifted the ban on all direct flights and ships from Italy since March 11, during the coronavirus blockade, according to the government newspaper.

However, travelers from Italy will have to comply with a two-week quarantine like other foreign visitors as long as there is a state of emergency.

08:45 GMT – Latest coronavirus numbers:

Russia: 299,941 cases (9,263), 2,837 deaths (115)

Indonesia: 18,496 (486), 1,221 deaths (30)

Oman: 5,671 cases (292), 26 deaths (0)

08:00 GMT – China says US is trying to defame Beijing over WHO

China said the U.S. was trying to shift the blame for Washington's mishandling of the COVID-19 crisis, responding to Trump's letter threatening to permanently freeze funding to WHO.

Trump on Monday threatened to reconsider Washington's participation in the UN agency if the organization does not commit to improvements within 30 days, and said the agency showed an "alarming lack of independence" from China.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that the United States was trying to defame China and miscalculated by trying to use China to avoid its own responsibility.

Zhao also said that China would agree to a possible review of the global response to the pandemic, but not an immediate investigation, as Australia and others have proposed.

Trump says he's taking hydroxychloroquine

07:30 GMT – South Sudan's Riek Machar test positive for coronavirus

Riek Machar, a rebel leader in South Sudan and a former vice president, tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar speaks at a press conference in Juba

So far, South Sudan has registered 339 coronavirus cases and six deaths [File: Samir Bol/Reuters]

Machar's wife, Defense Minister Angelina Teny, and "a number of officials and bodyguards" were also infected, his office said.

Read More on here.

07:15 GMT – Qatar confirms virus in prison, but denies widespread outbreak

Qatar confirmed 12 cases of coronavirus in its central prison, but denied reports of a widespread outbreak, saying that all infected patients were "transferred immediately" to a specialized hospital, isolating them from others.

The government released the statement after a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), which warned of the spread of the disease within the prison complex that would become "a public health disaster".

Read the complete story.

07:10 GMT – Tennis players join aid efforts in Pakistan

Some of the world's top tennis stars, including male number one Novak Djokovic, have joined aid efforts led by Pakistan's top tennis player to help feed people affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

The initiative was launched last week by duplication expert Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi, who has been raising funds and delivering door-to-door packages of feed to poor families suffering from partial country blockade.

Novak Djokovic

Djokovic donated a shirt he wore in the 2011 Australian Open final, which he won [Saba Aziz/Al Jazeera]

Read More on here.

07:00 GMT – Countries report new total numbers:

Germany: 175,210 cases (513), 8,007 deaths (72)

India: 101,139 cases (4,970), 3,163 deaths (134)

Czech Republic: 8,586 cases (111), 297 deaths (0)

06:30 GMT – UK unemployment claims jump to 2.1 million in April

A measure of the number of people claiming unemployment benefits in Britain soared in April, the first full month of the government's coronavirus blockade, government data showed.

The number of claimants has increased from 856,500 to 2,097 million, reported the Office of National Statistics.

The ONS also said that Britain's unemployment rate fell to 3.9% in the period from January to March, covering just one week of the blockade, from 4.0% in the three months to February.

Read More on here.

Britons adapt to coronavirus block, now in ninth week

A worker disinfects the door release buttons at Waterloo station in London, England [Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]

06:15 GMT – Singapore regretted sending positive test results

Singapore apologized to 357 patients with COVID-19 who received an erroneous text message saying they had tested positive for the new coronavirus again.

"The messages were sent due to a failure in testing the IT system, while we were looking to improve the efficiency of our system," the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

He apologized "for any inconvenience and anxiety caused" and said the recipients were alerted to the error within hours.

Hello this is Saba Aziz in Doha, replacing my colleague Kate Mayberry.

05:25 GMT –

I will deliver the blog to my colleagues in Doha soon. A quick recap of this morning's developments: US President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently freeze US funding for WHO and to withdraw from the organization if it does not reform within 30 days; the US has set aside $ 11 billion to accelerate coronavirus testing; and it appears that Hong Kong will extend measures of social detachment that prohibit large group meetings.

05:05 GMT – Chinese city tightens blockade after rising cases

Chinese city officials in Shulan are stepping up blockade measures after an increase in coronavirus cases.

Since midday on Monday, people living in complexes with confirmed or suspected cases have been prevented from leaving while visitors were banned. All food will be delivered.

The city of Shulan, in the northeast of the country, confirmed 19 cases transmitted locally since May 7, according to state media. It was classified as a "high risk" area on May 10.

04:45 GMT – & # 39; A joke & # 39 ;: Chinese Embassy dismisses Australia on revenge allegation

The Chinese Embassy in Canberra rejected Australian claims that a World Health Assembly (AMS) resolution calling for a coronavirus inquiry was a justification for the country's campaign for a global review.

"The draft resolution on COVID-19 to be adopted by the World Health Assembly is totally different from Australia's proposal for an independent international review," the embassy said in a statement sent to journalists in Australia.

"To claim the WHA resolution, a claim from Australia's call is just a joke."

More about the promised review of the assembly on here.

04:25 GMT – Hong Kong signals that social distance measures will be extended

Hong Kong Executive Director Carrie Lam has indicated that measures of social detachment that prohibit the gathering of more than eight people will be extended, which would make the annual commemoration of the territory of the Tiananmen massacre in 1989 impossible.

"There is no political consideration at certain birthdays or political meetings and so on," said Lam. "Our only consideration is public safety and public health concerns."

With the retreat of the coronavirus, protests against the government that shook the territory last year were resumed.

Government protests continue in Hong Kong amid coronavirus pandemic

Protests against the government – meeting with riot police – began to restart in Hong Kong as the coronavirus threat subsided [Anthony Kwan/Getty Images]

03:30 GMT – Trump threatens to permanently stop funding if WHO does not reform

US President Donald Trump has threatened to permanently suspend WHO funding and withdraw the United States from the United Nations health agency if it does not make "substantial improvements" in the next 30 days.

On Monday, he attacked WHO as a "China puppet". The president froze US funding for WHO in April.

02:30 GMT – Children in New South Wales return to school next week

Children in the Australian state of New South Wales (NSW) will return to school full time starting next week, state premier Gladys Berejiklian told reporters.

Berjiklian said the state government used the time children were at home to prepare schools as a safe environment for coronavirus use, but warned that temporary closures would likely be needed to contain sporadic outbreaks of the virus.

The decision took the state teachers' union by surprise. "It has caused a lot of worry, frustration and anger among teachers and principals," said Teachers Federation President Angelo Gavrielatos to Australian network ABC Television. About 800,000 children attend school in NSW, Australia's most populous state.

02:00 GMT – Medical evacuations of indigenous people in the Amazon with COVID-19

Coronavirus is spreading so rapidly among indigenous people in the most remote parts of the Brazilian Amazon rainforest that doctors are having to evacuate the most seriously ill patients by plane.

"It is the last opportunity to save their lives," Edson Santos Rodrigues, a pediatric doctor who works on medical plans in Amazonas, told Reuters Reuters "Sometimes we don't get there in time, because we can't land at night in remote airports that don't have light."

Brazil's indigenous health service, Sesai, said on Monday that at least 23 indigenous people died from COVID-19. The country's main tribal umbrella group, APIB, which counts cases among indigenous people who moved to cities, recorded 103 confirmed deaths on Monday – against 18 on April 3.

00:30 GMT – US pledges $ 11 billion for expanded coronavirus testing

The US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has set aside $ 11 billion in new funds to support coronavirus testing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will provide $ 10.25 billion to states, territories and local jurisdictions, the CDC said in a statement. The Indian Health Service will provide $ 750 million for IHS, tribal and urban indigenous health programs, he added.

HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the "historic investment" would allow the United States to track and control the spread of the virus when the country reopens.

"For the sake of all Americans' health and well-being, we need to help Americans safely return to work and school, and this requires continued expansion of testing, surveillance and contact tracking," he said.


23:30 GMT (Monday) – Trump links WHO to pandemic treatment

President Trump again attacked the WHO who called the UN agency "China's puppet" who "did a very sad job" in dealing with the coronavirus.

"The United States pays $ 450 million a year, China pays $ 38 million a year, and they are a puppet of China. They are centered on China to make it better, but they are a puppet of China," he said. Trump told reporters. in Washington, DC.

Trump has already suspended WHO funding in the U.S.

Trump's comments came after the U.S. government continued to put pressure on WHO over the treatment of the pandemic at an important meeting of the agency's decision-making body, the WHA.

23:00 GMT (Monday) – UNESCO says 90% of the world's museums are closed

Studies by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Council of Museums have confirmed that more than 85,000 museums worldwide – about 90% of all institutions – have closed because of the coronavirus.

Almost 13% can never reopen, added UNESCO.

UNESCO said that staff protection, digitization and inventory, as well as the development of online content, are priorities for museums, but noted that there are wide disparities in digital access between different regions.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera's ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I'm Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

Read all of yesterday's updates (May 18th) on here.

Russia: 299,941 cases (9,263), 2,837 deaths (115)

Oman: 5,661 cases (292), 26 deaths (0)

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