May 15 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung and Adam Renton, CNN

Updated 0055 GMT (0855 HKT) May 16, 2020
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3:31 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Italian museums to reopen Monday after two-month lockdown

From CNN's Livia Borghese and Sharon Braithwaite

Italian museums are preparing to reopen on Monday, but the world-renowned Uffizi Gallery in Florence will "probably" wait another week because the government has not issued safety guidelines, the museum's press office told CNN on Friday.

Uffizi is planning to allow a maximum of 450 people at one time once it reopens, compared to the capacity of 900 before the pandemic, the press office said, adding that the museum has suffered a loss of 10 million euros (about $10.8 million USD) during the lockdown, mainly due lack of revenue from ticket sales, but also from the missed sales of merchandising and books in their shops.

In 2019, the Uffizi was visited by 2.2 million people, the press office said.

The archaeological site of Pompeii is planning to reopen on May 26 with a two-week trial during which visitors will be allowed only on the main streets of the ancient city. 

After that period, some of the main “domus” – roman houses – will be opened, with separate entrance and exit paths for visitors.

The Vatican Museums have not set a date for reopening yet.

3:10 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Global coronavirus cases top 4.5 million

There are now 4,508,435 cases of coronavirus in the world as of Friday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The countries with the highest cases in order are the US, Russia, UK, Spain and Italy.

The US, UK and Italy have the most deaths.

3:37 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in France falls below 20,000

From CNN’s Barbara Wojazer

French caregiver Mireille takes care of a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital in Vannes, France, on May 6
French caregiver Mireille takes care of a patient suffering from the coronavirus disease in the Intensive Care Unit at the hospital in Vannes, France, on May 6 Stephane Mahe/Reuters

The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients in France has fallen below 20,000 — now totaling at least 19,861, according to the latest figures released by the National Health Agency.

As of today, a total of approximately 27,529 coronavirus patients in France have died — an increase of 104 deaths over the last 24 hours — including at least 17,342 in hospitals and 10,187 in care homes.

Approximately 2,203 coronavirus patients are currently in intensive care, the National Health Agency added.

2:00 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

All care home residents and staff in England to get coronavirus test by early June

From CNN's Milena Veselinovic and Nada Bashir in London 

UK Health Minister Matt Hancock
UK Health Minister Matt Hancock Pool

All care home residents and staff in England — both those with coronavirus symptoms and those without — will be tested between now and early June, UK Health Minister Matt Hancock said on Friday.

More than 25% of care home deaths were caused by coronavirus in England and Wales, data from UK's Office for National Statistics published on Friday shows. 

Hancock defended the government's strategy in handling the outbreak among the elderly population in residential facilities, saying that this week 600 million euros ($727 million) was made available to care homes in England, on top of the 3.2 billion euros ($3.9 billion) made available in March and April.

He added that these measures helped save lives, and ensured that almost two thirds of care home did not have any cases of coronavirus at all. 

1:28 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

WHO says inflammatory disease in children "a bit of a confused picture"

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization technical lead on Covid-19
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization technical lead on Covid-19 World Health Organization

A newly identified condition called multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C) is “a bit of a confused picture” right now, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization (WHO) technical lead on Covid-19, said Friday.

“We know so far, very little about this inflammatory syndrome,” she said. 

Van Kerkhove said WHO has put out a case definition, describing what symptoms may look like.

“We need to have clinicians use this case definition to determine how many children fit that definition, and then we need specific data collected from each of those patients,” she said at a news briefing.

“We need to understand if the syndrome is associated with Covid-19 or not. As I mentioned before, some of the children have not tested positive for Covid-19, while others have,” Van Kerkhove added. “So right now it's a bit of a confused picture, although more information is coming.”

It’s not clear if the syndrome is what’s called a post-viral syndrome, or a direct result of infection, said Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO’s Health Emergencies Program.

“What we don't know yet is whether those rare things that happen are associated directly with the virus — and the virus directly attacking the cells and those organs — or is what we are seeing also the result of the immune response to the virus?" he said.

 Ryan likened this to what happens with the Ebola virus and bleeding: “It's not the virus that causes the bleeding. it's very often the immune response to the presence of the virus that depletes the capacity of the blood to clot. So when a person bleeds, the bleeding continues," Ryan said.

Ryan also said as the number of global coronavirus cases grows, “you start to potentially notice much more rarer syndromes.”

1:09 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

WHO says coronavirus modeling helps countries plan ahead

From CNN's Amanda Watts

Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization technical lead on Covid-19
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization technical lead on Covid-19 World Health Organization

Coronavirus models that predict the rise and fall of infections help countries plan ahead and prepare, Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, the World Health Organization (WHO) technical lead on Covid-19, said Friday.

Van Kerkhove said the estimates help “get countries ready for how to build the workforce: how many contract tracers do we need, how many clinicians and nurses and medical professionals do we need, how many beds do we need in particular ICU or oxygen support, ventilatory support, treatment centers, et cetera?” 

Models work best when they help countries and communities prevent their forecasts from coming to fruition.

“We also know that there are tools that we have that could prevent these numbers from becoming realities,” she said.

“For me, one of the most critical values of these models is to ensure that we take the right precautions, we put the right emphasis in these interventions where they need to be done, so that these numbers do not become reality,” she added. 
12:42 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Ireland will start to ease coronavirus restrictions on Monday

From CNN’s Tiff Gault

A man prepares social distancing signage at Malahide Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Dublin on Friday, May 15, as it prepares to re-open as one of the first sports allowed to resume having followed previous directives from the Irish Government.
A man prepares social distancing signage at Malahide Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club in Dublin on Friday, May 15, as it prepares to re-open as one of the first sports allowed to resume having followed previous directives from the Irish Government. Brendan Moran/Sportsfile/Getty Images

The Republic of Ireland will begin to relax its restrictions on Monday, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed today in a statement, outlining a roadmap for the gradual easing of emergency coronavirus restrictions over the weeks and months ahead.

“I can confirm that it is safe to proceed with Phase 1 of our plan to ease the COVID-19 restrictions on Monday,” Varadkar said.

“If all goes well, we will enter a new phase of reopening our country every three weeks,” he added, confirming that the next government review will take place on June 5.

As part of the government’s new guidance, citizens are urged to continue to stay at home, but will be permitted to meet friends or family outdoors in groups of no more than four, go to work if they are unable to work from home and exercise outside within 5 kilometers of home.

Citizens will also be asked to wear face coverings when using busy public transport services or when in enclosed public areas, such as shops.

Addressing the nation after a meeting of the Irish Cabinet and talks with the First Minister of Northern Ireland, the Irish Prime Minister cautioned that all adjustments are “provisional and reversible,” and are dependent on continued adherence to social distancing measures.   

“This gives us reason to hope, but it is not a cause for celebration. We have a long way to go yet. There will be bumps in the road and we have to keep our guard up,” Varadkar said.
12:09 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

WHO asks health workers to be "on the alert" for childhood illness possibly linked to Covid-19

From CNN Health's Jacqueline Howard

The World Health Organization will release a report later today about the multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children that may be related to the novel coronavirus, WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing in Geneva today.

Tedros also called for all clinicians worldwide to be "on the alert" for this possible coronavirus-related syndrome in children.

"In the past three weeks, reports from Europe and North America have described a small number of children being admitted to intensive care units with a multi-system inflammatory condition, with some features similar to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock syndrome," Tedros said on Friday.

The CDC also issued a health alert about the syndrome yesterday. The CDC said children with fever and dysfunction in at least two organ systems, such as the heart, lungs or kidneys, should be considered as possible cases.

“There is limited information currently available about risk factors, pathogenesis, clinical course, and treatment for MIS-C. CDC is requesting healthcare providers report suspected cases to public health authorities to better characterize this newly recognized condition in the pediatric population,” the CDC said in a Health Alert Network advisory to doctors. 

12:11 p.m. ET, May 15, 2020

Denmark records no coronavirus deaths over 24 hours for the first time since March

From CNN's Niamh Kennedy

Danish Prime Minster Mette Frederiksen speaks at a press conference to give information about the current coronavirus situation in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, May 12.
Danish Prime Minster Mette Frederiksen speaks at a press conference to give information about the current coronavirus situation in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Tuesday, May 12. Philip Davali/Ritzau scanpix/AP

Denmark has recorded zero deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, the Danish Ministry of Health's press office told CNN, adding that this is the first day since March 13 that the country has recorded no fatalities from the virus.

Denmark switched to a mitigation strategy on March 12 and accelerated testing according to an epidemiology report from the Statens Serum Institut in Denmark, which works under the auspices of the Danish Ministry of Health to ensure preparedness against infectious diseases and biological threats.

As of April 1, extensive testing was carried out on patients with mild symptoms, the report adds.