May 27 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, Steve George, Zamira Rahim and Fernando Alfonso III, CNN

Updated 9:52 p.m. ET, May 27, 2020
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5:38 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Boris Johnson's popularity falls after controversy over chief aide's lockdown travel

From CNN's Richard Greene and Vasco Cotovio

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

Boris Johnson's popularity has fallen dramatically in the aftermath of a political scandal involving his chief aide Dominic Cummings, according to British political polls. The UK government's popularity has also fallen.

Cummings has been heavily criticized after British newspapers revealed that he travelled 260 miles across England with his family, to stay near his parents during the coronavirus lockdown.

He has refused to apologize or resign. Cummings said that his wife had fallen ill, that he was concerned that he too would become unwell, and that no one would be able to look after their young child.

Johnson has refused to sack his aide, but polls also show that a majority of the public believe Cummings should resign.

Two-thirds of British adults responding to a poll for the Daily Mail, published Wednesday, said Cummings should resign. Around the same number of adults believed the UK leader should fire his aide.

A poll by SavantaComRes, published Tuesday, also suggested Johnson’s personal popularity had fallen by 20 points in four days.

The opposition Labour Party appears to have benefited from the scandal. A poll for The Times out Wednesday showed the gap between Johnson’s Conservatives and Labour closing by nine points; while another by Survation showed it closing by five. Both polls still show the Conservatives as more popular than Labour.

Meanwhile, UK Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the government would not review fines imposed on people traveling during the lockdown for childcare purposes, during an interview with the BBC’s Breakfast show on Wednesday.

 Health Secretary, Matt Hancock had suggested that was a possibility on Tuesday, in response to a question from a member of the public.

"No there isn’t going to be a formal review," Jenrick said, adding that it was "for the police to decide whether to impose fines under the law."
"They have the guidance that we've provided, and the national police chiefs have provided their own guidance which does give officers a degree of discretion to use their common sense again reflecting the fact that all of our circumstances are different," he said.
"Dominic Cummings didn’t break the guidelines; the police, as far as I'm aware, haven't chosen to impose a fine on him."

 

4:49 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

New Zealand's hospitals are cleared of all coronavirus patients for first time in months

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a press conference on May 27, in Wellington, New Zealand.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at a press conference on May 27, in Wellington, New Zealand. Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images

New Zealand reached a milestone in its battle against coronavirus today; for the first time since the pandemic prompted a total lockdown, there are no patients in hospitals being treated for Covid-19.

"Currently, there is nobody in hospital with Covid-19 following the discharge of a person from Middlemore Hospital," said Dr. Ashley Bloomfield, the Director-General of Health, at a press conference today.
"We've had a number of people in hospital -- never a big number, but I think this is the first time in a couple of months we haven't had someone in hospital. That's another good position to be in."

There are still 21 active cases, but they are not hospitalized at this time, he said.

There were also no new deaths reported today, and no new cases for the fifth consecutive day, he said.

The country now has 1,504 cases and 21 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The New Zealand timeline: Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern first announced on March 14 that incoming travelers would need to self isolate for two weeks. At the time, the country had six cases.

When, on March 19, Ardern banned foreigners from entering the country, there were 28 confirmed cases.

And on March 23, when Ardern announced that the country was going into full lockdown, there were 102 confirmed cases -- and no deaths.

The tough measures seem to have paid off: The country was able to ease restrictions starting May 14, reopening businesses and public spaces in gradual phases.

People are now able to go back to bars, exercise in parks, and return to school.

But Bloomfield warned residents today to continue taking precautions like social distancing when possible. The country remains in Alert Level 2, which indicates the disease is contained but there is still risk of community transmission.

4:36 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

The US now has 1.68 million cases of Covid-19

The United States now has at least 1,681,418 cases of coronavirus and 98,929 related deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The totals includes cases from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and other US territories, as well as repatriated cases. 

New York remains the hardest hit state, with 363,836 cases and 29,302 deaths. New Jersey, Illinois, and California follow next.

Take a look at CNN's live tracker of US cases:

3:52 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Dominic Cummings, the British official who broke lockdown, "shouldn't resign," says minister

From CNN’s Vasco Cotovio in London

Dominic Cummings, Chief Advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in London on May 26.
Dominic Cummings, Chief Advisor to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, in London on May 26. Leon Neal/Getty Images

The British Housing Secretary, Robert Jenrick, defended top government official Dominic Cummings on Wednesday, amid a national controversy over Cummings breaking lockdown.

Cummings, a top advisor to British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, traveled 260 miles across England in March while his wife was sick with coronavirus symptoms -- at a time when the public was being urged not to leave their homes.

“No, he shouldn’t (resign),” Jenrick said on the BBC’s Breakfast show. “He has given his explanation to the Prime Minister, who listened and concluded that he’d acted reasonably and legally.”

He added that it was time to "move on" to other matters that the nation needed to focus on.

“It’s important obviously that everybody sticks to the rules and acts within the guidelines and Dominic Cummings did do that,” he said. “People will disagree with the decisions that he made, many people do, but he did stick to the guidelines, it was within the law.”

When asked if he was one of those people who disagreed with Cummings’ decisions, Jenrick said he was “not going to judge how individuals have made those decisions.”

“The Prime Minister supports him, the Cabinet supports him, I think it’s now for him to go about his job and more importantly, for the rest of us to get on with ours,” he said. 
3:46 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Almost 260 cases in South Korea have been linked to the nightclub cluster.

From CNN's Yoonjung Seo

Passengers wearing face masks line up to board their planes at the domestic flight terminal of Gimpo Airport in Seoul, on May 27.
Passengers wearing face masks line up to board their planes at the domestic flight terminal of Gimpo Airport in Seoul, on May 27. Ahn Young-Joon/AP

In South Korea, a total of 259 coronavirus cases have now been linked to a cluster in Seoul's entertainment district of Itaewon, known for its nightclubs and bars.

It may also have given rise to a second cluster, which authorities are now racing to contain.

The nightclub cluster emerged on May 9, after an infected person visited multiple clubs. In the following weeks, authorities tested tens of thousands of people who were in either in the area or may have been indirectly exposed.

One person, who had been infected from the nightclub cluster, visited a buffet restaurant. Then, another diner there was reported infected -- and brought it back to a logistics center in the city of Bucheon.

36 cases have now been linked to that logistics center -- 32 employees and four of their family members, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Authorities estimate up to 4,000 people may have been exposed to the virus through this cluster, and so far have conducted about 1,920 tests.

City and health officials are still carrying out the epidemiological investigation, said the KCDC.

3:39 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

The global death toll has surged past 350,000

Funeral service workers load the coffin of a person who tested positive for Covid-19 into a hearse at their funeral home in Manchester, England on May 26.
Funeral service workers load the coffin of a person who tested positive for Covid-19 into a hearse at their funeral home in Manchester, England on May 26. Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has now reached 350,531, according to a tally by John Hopkins University.

There are now close to 5.6 million cases worldwide.

The United States remains the country with the highest number of cases and deaths. Brazil has the second highest number of cases, while the UK has the second highest number of deaths.

3:05 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

It's 4 p.m. in Seoul and 8 a.m. in London. Here's the latest on the pandemic

If you're just joining us now, here are the latest developments on the global coronavirus pandemic:

  • South Korea cluster: A total of 257 cases have now been linked to the nightclub cluster in Seoul's entertainment district of Itaewon. The country reported 40 new cases today, the highest daily rise in cases since early April.
  • Japanese warning: A Japanese city is reported more than a dozen new cases, after going 23 days without any new infections. The mayor warned that they could be "on the doorstep of a second wave." Just earlier this week, the government lifted all lockdown measures across the country.
  • Google reopening plans: The company said it plans to reopen "more buildings in more cities" starting July 6, but did not specify which. Employees at those locations will be able to gradually return to the office in phases.

And some big headlines from earlier:

  • Latin America buckles: Latin America is now at the center of the global outbreak, experts say. On Tuesday, Peru reported more than 5,700 cases. Mexico recorded its largest single-day increases in both new cases and deaths. And Brazil has had more daily new cases than the US for two days in a row.
  • A British scandal: Junior UK minister Douglas Ross has resigned over the controversy surrounding Prime Minister Boris Johnson's senior adviser, Dominic Cummings, who broke lockdown and traveled more than 250 miles from his London home in March.
2:23 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

Germany reports 47 new deaths in the past day

From CNN's Frederik Pleitgen in Berlin 

Visitors sit in a bar on chairs that are set apart to provide social distance during the coronavirus crisis on May 26, in Berlin.
Visitors sit in a bar on chairs that are set apart to provide social distance during the coronavirus crisis on May 26, in Berlin. Maja Hitji/Getty Images

Germany has reported 47 new deaths from coronavirus in the past 24 hours, said the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Wednesday.

This raises the nationwide death toll to 8,349, according to the RKI, the national agency for disease control and prevention.

The country also confirmed 362 new cases, raising the nationwide count to 179,364 cases.

On Tuesday, the German government announced social distancing restrictions will be extended through June 29. Under the restrictions, no more than 10 people, or two households, are allowed to gather in public places.

1:53 a.m. ET, May 27, 2020

More than 62,000 US health care professionals have had Covid-19, CDC says

From CNN's Jen Christensen

A registered nurse draws blood to test for Covid-19 antibodies at Abyssinian Baptist Church in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on May 14.
A registered nurse draws blood to test for Covid-19 antibodies at Abyssinian Baptist Church in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City on May 14. Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images

Thousands of American doctors and nurses have gotten sick caring for Covid-19 patients, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Of an estimated 62,344 health care professionals who have contracted the disease, at least 291 have died, said the CDC.

And these numbers are likely higher in reality, since the agency only has death status data for a little over half of cases it has information on. Many reports on cases also don't include whether the person worked in health care, meaning there are probably cases left out of this count.

The last time the CDC highlighted the number of cases among health care workers was on April 15. At that time, the number of infected health care workers was 9,282 -- a fraction of what it is now.

Health care workers around the country have also complained for months that they do not have enough access to protective equipment.