May 21 coronavirus news

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11:42 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

UK secures deal with pharma giant Roche for antibodies tests

From CNN's Sharon Braithwaite and Lindsay Isaac

Britian's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London on May 20.
Britian's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in London on May 20. Leon Neal/Getty Images

British health care workers will be the first to be tested for coronavirus antibodies after the government reached a deal with Roche to procure the test kits. 

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesman said today that the UK and the giant pharmaceutical company had agreed on deal, a week after the national health agency approved the tests for use. 

The tests will be free and more details will be released later during a daily government coronavirus briefing, he said. 

The UK currently has the fourth most coronavirus cases, according to the John Hopkins University tally on the pandemic.

11:28 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Health officials create Covid-19 guide for kids

From CNN’s Amanda Watts

The World Health Organization has created a Covid-19 guide for children ages 8 to 17, WHO said in a statement.

The guide “aims to help young people understand the science and social science of COVID-19 as well as help them take actions to keep themselves, their families and communities safe,” the statement said.

Along with The Smithsonian Science Education Center, WHO created the free online guide with seven student-led activities for children and teenagers..  

“With all the myths and misconceptions out there, it is important for children and youth to understand the nature of this pandemic and what can be done to prevent future pandemics from happening,” said Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist at WHO.

Here are some highlights from the guide:

  • Through a set of seven cohesive student-led tasks, participants engage in the activities to answer questions previously defined by their peers.
  • The questions explore the impact of Covid-19 on the world, how to practice hand and respiratory hygiene and physical distancing, and how to research more information about Covid-19.
  • The final task teaches youth how they can take action on the new scientific knowledge they learn to improve their health and the health of others. Each task is designed to be completed at home.
  • Includes updated research, activities, quotes from scientists and frontline public health officials, and physical and emotional safety tips on Covid-19
  • It also integrates inquiry-based science education with social and emotional learning and civic engagement.

The guide is available in more than 15 languages and can be found here.

11:38 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

The US is donating $5.6 million in ventilators to Russia. The first shipment just arrived.

From CNN’s Zahra Ullah and Mary Ilyushina

Medical ventilators are seen aboard a United States Air Force military transport aircraft after landing at Vnukovo-3 Airport in Moscow, on Thursday, May 21.
Medical ventilators are seen aboard a United States Air Force military transport aircraft after landing at Vnukovo-3 Airport in Moscow, on Thursday, May 21. Valery Sharifulin/TASS/Getty Images

A shipment of 50 ventilators, the first part of a US humanitarian aid delivery meant to help Russia fight coronavirus, has landed in the Russian capital, the US Embassy in Moscow said in a statement Thursday.

The donation marks the "rapid" fulfillment "of an offer made by President Trump in response to President Putin’s request for assistance," the statement read.

"The United States is donating 100 percent of the cost, delivery, and startup supplies for the 200 ventilators being delivered, valued at approximately $5.6 million," it added.

In early April, Russia sent a cargo plane with medical supplies and ventilators to be deployed in New York and New Jersey.

The model of Russian-made ventilators, Aventa-M, has been since suspended for use in Russia following two fires in hospitals treating coronavirus patients. A Federal Emergency Management Agency spokesperson told CNN at the time the ventilators had never been deployed and the shipment was returned by New York and New Jersey.

9:57 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

UK reports 338 new coronavirus deaths

From CNN's Max Ramsay

The United Kingdom reported 338 daily deaths from coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the country’s death toll to at least 36,042, according to data from the Department of Health and Social Care released today.

The UK had tested at least 2,064,329 people as of Thursday morning.

There were at least 2,615 new positive cases, bringing the UK’s total confirmed positive cases to approximately 250,908.

Read the tweet:

10:02 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

US-made ventilators expected to be delivered to Russia

From CNN’s Mary Ilyushina and Nathan Hodge

Russia Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova today lauded “sincere humanitarian acts and cooperation” by the US and Russia on coronavirus, ahead of the expected delivery to Russia of 50 ventilators produced in the United States.

"Now that the US has increased its ventilator production capacity, Washington has the capability to support the Russian effort in fighting the pandemic and as agreed, it is being implemented right now,” she said in an online briefing.

“In both cases, we are talking about sincere humanitarian acts and cooperation amid extreme circumstances and providing help on a cost-free basis, and I want to underline that.”

Zakharova was referring to a delivery of US-made ventilators expected to arrive later today, as well as a ventilators and protective equipment Russia sent to the US in early April. A US administration spokesperson today's planned delivery followed a request for assistance from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Zakharova said the ventilators from the US would given to Pirogov National Medical and Surgical Center in Moscow. Specialists will decide then decide how the US-made equipment will be used and distributed, she said.

Background: The Russian Direct Investment Fund, Russia's sovereign wealth fund, said in a statement it had facilitated the exchange of aid between Russia and the United States to combat coronavirus, and that it financed the delivery of Russian equipment to the United States.

9:38 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Brexit will "complicate" economic recovery, Irish prime minister says

From CNN's Simon Cullen

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar says the economic recovery from coronavirus pandemic will not be easy, adding that Brexit will “further complicate” it.

Speaking on Thursday, Varadkar warned that some parts of the economy may never look the same again.

“As this is a global recession, an export-led recovery driven by agri-food, tourism and multi-nationals like we experienced ten years ago is unlikely,” he said.

“Brexit will further complicate matters. As I said a few months ago, Brexit’s not over. It’s only half-time. Or perhaps, more accurately, half-time has just ended," he added.

Varadkar used the speech to also urge citizens to get a flu vaccine so that a potential second wave of coronavirus doesn’t hit at the same time as the usual flu season.

“This pandemic teaches us there is no excuse not to be vaccinated. We’ve experienced a small taste of the world was like before vaccines, and it hasn’t been good," he said.

8:43 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

Wuhan has conducted more than 3 million coronavirus tests since May 12, health officials say

From Isaac Yee

Medical workers take swab samples from residents to be tested for COVID-19 in Wuhan on May 15.
Medical workers take swab samples from residents to be tested for COVID-19 in Wuhan on May 15. Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

Wuhan’s Municipal Health Commission says it conducted 887,321 coronavirus tests on May 20, up from 856,128 tests on May 19.

The city, once the epicenter of the pandemic crisis, has now conducted 3,065,902 coronavirus tests since May 12, the commission said.

Wuhan started conducting city-wide coronavirus testing on its citizens last week after health officials detected several new locally transmitted cases. 

There were no new coronavirus cases reported in Wuhan on May 20, according to the National Health Commission.

8:17 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

London Heathrow Airport launches thermal screening trial for coronavirus symptoms

From CNN's Max Ramsay and Lindsay Isaac

A traveler arrives at Terminal 2 at London Heathrow Airport on May 9.
A traveler arrives at Terminal 2 at London Heathrow Airport on May 9. Kirsty O'Connor/PA Images/Getty Images

London Heathrow Airport is implementing thermal screening in one of its arrival terminals in an effort to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. 

The technology under trial “uses camera detection systems capable of monitoring the temperatures of multiple people moving through the airport,” Heathrow’s CEO said in a statement.

Some background: Other international airports have implemented temperature screenings, but they are not currently required to take place in the UK.

The Spanish Health Ministry made temperature checks in airports mandatory earlier this month. 

Temperature checks in the immigration hall of terminal two is part of a wider range of precautions being adopted to reduce the risk of contracting or transmitting Covid-19 in the future.

Starting this week, all operational staff at Heathrow have to wear face coverings, and are handing them out to passengers who do not have their own, Heathrow said. 

Observations from the trial will be shared with the UK government, and will also “explore the use of UV sanitation” and “contact-free security screening equipment”, John Holland-Kaye said. 

He called for international standards of temperature screening in all airports to be implemented and said this trial could provide a global template.

CNN has previously reported that Heathrow has been conducting temperature checks on passengers where their destination requires it. 

8:01 a.m. ET, May 21, 2020

It's just past 1 p.m. in London and 8 a.m. in New York. Here's the latest on the pandemic

The novel coronavirus has infected more than 5 million people worldwide and killed at least 328,000. If you're just tuning in, here are the latest headlines:

  • Russia records more than 8,000 new cases: The country now has 317,554 cases and 3,099 deaths. The nation has the second-highest number of coronavirus cases globally.
  • Italy will open borders to EU countries: Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said EU travelers and people from Britain could enter the country with no mandatory quarantine required from June 3.
  • Sweden publishes antibody data: The country's public health authority said 7.3% of people in Stockholm had developed coronavirus antibodies by late April.
  • Beijing and Washington clash: China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs strongly criticized Mike Pompeo on Thursday, labeling the US Secretary of State an "extremely irresponsible politician."
  • Anti-malarial drug trial begins: Around 40,000 healthcare workers are taking part in a global clinical trial to test the effectiveness of chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19.