May 28 coronavirus news

By Joshua Berlinger and Brett McKeehan, CNN

Updated 0508 GMT (1308 HKT) May 29, 2020
28 Posts
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9:17 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

WHO Africa says they are seeing "rapid increases" in cases across the continent

From CNN's Amanda Watts

People wait to be tested for coronavirus on May 28 in Ruaraka, Kenya.
People wait to be tested for coronavirus on May 28 in Ruaraka, Kenya. Tony Karumba/AFP/Getty Images

The World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Office for Africa said they are "seeing some rapid increases" in cases during a press briefing on Thursday.

Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa said, “It took 36 days to reach 1,000 reported cases, and then 62 days to move to 100,000 cases. We are just above 100,000 now.” 

Moeti said it’s a mixed bag across the continent, “Compared to two weeks ago, reported cases have tripled in five countries and doubled in 10 countries, noting that most countries still have fewer than 1,000 reported cases.”

Governments in each country have been working day and night to “procure and replenish essential supplies and equipment,” Moeti said and added that this remains one of the biggest challenges of the response.

“With strong country leadership and implementation of public and social health measures, cases in Africa remain lower than in some other parts of the world. However, we are not letting our guard down and we cannot be complacent,” she said. 

8:01 a.m. ET, May 28, 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 coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 5.7 million people globally. If you're just joining us, here are the latest developments:

  • US passes 100,000 deaths: More than 350,000 people have died from the disease globally, including at least 100,442 people in the US. The country has the highest number of deaths and cases around the world.
  • Seoul shuts public facilities: South Korea will close all public facilities in Seoul and its surrounding metropolitan area starting tomorrow, after a cluster of infections emerged at a logistics center near the city.
  • Airline easyJet announces layoffs: The budget airline announced plans to reduce the size of its workforce by up to 30% as it tries to cut costs in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • UK temporarily shuts North Korean embassy: Britain has shuttered its embassy in North Korea due to Covid-19 restrictions limiting the ability of staff to travel in and out of the country
  • Cyprus to cover costs for Covid-19 positive tourists: The Mediterranean country has offered to cover the cost of accommodation, food, drink and medication for tourists who test positive for the virus while visiting the island.
7:57 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony with Kobe Bryant postponed until spring 2021, ESPN reports

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant will have to wait to be inducted posthumously into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The enshrinement ceremony scheduled for August 29 in Springfield, Massachusetts has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to ESPN.

Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the board of governors for the Hall, told ESPN Wednesday the Class of 2020 ceremony will be pushed back to the spring of 2021.

"We're definitely canceling," Colangelo said. "It's going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We'll meet in a couple of weeks and look at the options of how and when and where."

The Board of Governors will get together June 10 to discuss possible dates for next year, ESPN reports.

Eight other honorees, including Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings, were set to join Bryant in the distinguished class.

Colangelo said there will be separate ceremonies for this year's class and the class next year despite both happening in 2021.

"We won't be combining them. The Class of 2020 is a very special class and deserves its own celebration," he said.

CNN has reached out to the Hall for confirmation on the induction ceremony delay.

7:38 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Don't scream on the roller coasters! Japanese theme parks issue new Covid-19 guidelines

From CNN's Maggie Hiufu Wong

Riders on a roller coaster at the Toshimaen amusement park in January 2020 in Tokyo.
Riders on a roller coaster at the Toshimaen amusement park in January 2020 in Tokyo. Tomohiro Ohsumi/Getty Images

Thrill seekers in Japan will soon get to enjoy their favorite roller coasters again now that amusement parks around the country are reopening.

But there's one request they might struggle with: No screaming.

With Japan lifting the state of emergency this week, a group of major theme park operators has introduced a set of guidelines on how to ensure the safety of both guests and staff in the face of Covid-19.

Many of the items are to be expected, recommending increased sanitizing measures, regular body temperature checks and face mask use while emphasizing the importance of social distancing.

But some items will likely take visitors by surprise. Namely, a suggestion that theme parks encourage visitors riding outdoor attractions, including roller coasters, to avoid shouting or cheering -- a tough ask, given how wild some of the country's rides are.

Read more here.

8:52 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Cyprus will cover holiday costs for Covid-19 positive tourists and their families

From CNN's Chris Liakos

People gather at Mackenzie beach in Larnaca, Cyprus, on May 23.
People gather at Mackenzie beach in Larnaca, Cyprus, on May 23. Etienne Torbey/AFP/Getty Images

Cyprus has offered to cover the cost of accommodation, food, drink and medication for tourists who test positive for Covid-19 during a stay on the popular Mediterranean island.

“The traveler will only need to bear the cost of their airport transfer and repatriation flight, in collaboration with their agent and/or airline," the Cypriot government announced earlier this week in a letter made public to media, tour operators and airlines.

The costs for their co-travelers and family members will also be covered, Cyprus said.

The country added that a 100-bed hospital will be made available exclusively for travelers who test positive.

Cyprus is reopening its hospitality establishments on June 1 and international air travel to the island will resume on June 9. 

Initially all passengers arriving to Cyprus will be required to undertake a coronavirus test in advance (within 72 hours prior to travel), but by June 20th travel restrictions are expected be lifted entirely for a number of countries. Cyprus will retain its ability to randomly test some travelers.

7:04 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

UK temporarily shuts North Korean embassy

From CNN's Jake Kwon

The UK has temporarily shuttered its embassy in North Korea due to Covid-19 restrictions limiting the ability of staff to travel in and out of the country, according to the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO).

“The UK has temporarily closed its embassy in Pyongyang and our staff have departed the country," the FCO said in a statement Thursday.
"This decision has been made because the DPRK [Democratic People's Republic of Korea] restrictions on entry to the country have made it impossible to rotate our staff and sustain the operation of the Embassy."

The FCO said that London maintains diplomatic relations with Pyongyang, and it will seek to re-establish a presence there, "as soon as we are able to return to smooth Embassy operations."

The UK has advised against all but essential travel to North Korea since August 2017.

8:32 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Travel bosses urge UK to “immediately” withdraw 14-day quarantine on arrival

From CNN's Hilary McGann

A passenger wearing a face mask arrives at Heathrow airport in west London on May 22.
A passenger wearing a face mask arrives at Heathrow airport in west London on May 22. Tolga Akmen/AFP/Getty Images

More than 70 travel industry bosses have signed a letter calling on British Home Secretary Priti Patel to “withdraw immediately” the planned 14-day quarantine measures for international travelers arriving to the UK. 

The UK government announced last week that from June 8, international arrivals to the UK would be required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, with the exception of those coming from the Republic of Ireland. 

The travel industry letter – sent on Wednesday – accuses the government of being “woefully slow to react” to the impact of the pandemic. It also accuses ministers of procrastinating “to the point of absurdity” on whether to support or oppose refund credit notes, which are sometimes offered to customers as an alternative to a cash refund.

Senior management from well-known luxury hotels such as The Dorchester, The Shangri-La, The Savoy and The Ritz were among those who endorsed the letter. 

The CEO of tour operator Red Savannah, George Morgan-Grenville, said the quarantine plans were “poorly thought out, wholly detrimental to industry recovery and are more or less unworkable.”

Morgan-Grenville added that while travel companies usually compete “ferociously,” “on this issue, we are united.”

Responding to the letter, the Home Office defended the proposed measures in a statement sent to CNN on Thursday.

“It is right that we introduce these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave.” 
The statement also said the government continues to support businesses in the tourism sector “through one of the most generous economic packages provided anywhere in the world.” 
6:09 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

Lockdown has exposed “shocking levels” of child hunger in England, rights group says

From CNN's Hilary McGann

A pupil is seen outside a southeast London school that closed due to the coronavirus outbreak on March 18.
A pupil is seen outside a southeast London school that closed due to the coronavirus outbreak on March 18. Dan Kitwood/Getty Images

The coronavirus pandemic and subsequent closure of schools in England has exposed “shocking levels” of childhood hunger, according to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) statement released on Wednesday.

HRW's statement criticized the British government's “failure” to ensure all pupils had sufficient food while schools remain closed, adding that the lapse “violates” a child’s “right to food.”

The organization said a government-commissioned voucher system for those who normally receive free school meals was “plagued with problems” and “deeply flawed.”

The electronic vouchers are designed to enable families to buy meals at selected supermarkets. The scheme began two weeks after schools closed in mid-March, and some families reported waiting weeks to receive the vouchers, HRW said.

A May 4 survey by the Food Foundation estimated that 200,000 children had to skip meals by the end of April, and 31% of children entitled to free school meals “did not have adequate alternatives.”

HRW has called upon the UK Department of Education to “urgently address” flaws in the voucher scheme, and also transition to a cash transfer system “that offers families and children great dignity.”

On May 26, a representative for the department told HRW that “no system of this magnitude to provide free school meals has been implemented in such a short period of time before.” They added that authorities and the voucher company had worked hard to reduce waiting times and improve the voucher ordering process.

CNN has requested comment from the UK Department of Education.

5:19 a.m. ET, May 28, 2020

UK opposition demands 24-hour coronavirus test guarantee

From CNN's Simon Cullen

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks outside his home in London on May 24.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer speaks outside his home in London on May 24. Aaron Chown/PA Images/Getty Images

UK Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has demanded that the British government bring in a 24-hour guarantee for coronavirus testing.

“I'm calling on the Prime Minister to introduce a guarantee that no one will have to wait longer than 24 hours to get a coronavirus test and 24 hours to get the result. Boris Johnson must put the nation’s health first,” Starmer said on Twitter.

England’s contact tracing system takes effect today. Anyone who tests positive -- or comes into contact with someone who has -- will be required to self-isolate for 14 days.

UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the government was trying to speed up the coronavirus testing process.

“84% of the tests from the drive-through centers are returned within 24 hours. 95% of all tests are returned within 48 hours,” he told Sky News.
“Of course there are examples of where the process hasn’t worked.”
“I want to see every test returned within 24 hours from those drive-through centers. And we do that just as quickly as we can.”