May 28 coronavirus news

By Jessie Yeung, CNN

Updated 6:01 p.m. ET, May 28, 2021
4 Posts
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8:24 a.m. ET, May 28, 2021

Japan extends state of emergency until June 20 due to Covid-19 

From CNN's Chie Kobayashi in Tokyo

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, right, attends a meeting about Covid-19 in Tokyo on May 28.
Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, right, attends a meeting about Covid-19 in Tokyo on May 28. Yoshitaka Sugawara/Kyodo News/AP

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced Japan would extend the state of emergency for nine prefectures until June 20, about one month before the start of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. 

Suga said despite decreasing Covid-19 infection numbers in Osaka and Tokyo, cases continue to be at high-levels and hospitals in Osaka are under strain. 

“Infection is on the decline these days, however the situation is still unpredictable …Considering these situations I have decided to extend the declaration,” Suga said. 

Just before Suga announced the extension, the head of the Tokyo 2020 Games, Seiko Hashimoto, said she expected it would happen and added that Olympic officials would not be making any decisions on spectators until the state of emergency was lifted. 

“We want to make a decision as soon as possible but after the state of emergency is lifted, we will assess how we can make it open for general spectators following the direction by government," she said.

  

2:45 a.m. ET, May 28, 2021

Japan prefecture changes plans for Olympic torch relay due to Covid

From CNN's Chie Kobayashi in Tokyo

Japan's Chiba prefecture, which lies east of the capital Tokyo, has become the latest prefecture to alter plans for the Olympic torch relay.

Chiba's relay section was originally scheduled to take place along the streets of 21 cities and towns at the start of June -- but Gov. Toshihito Kumagai said Thursday the event would instead be taken off the road and changed to a “torch lighting ceremony.”

"The whole Chiba prefecture is still under the situation that people are asked to refrain from nonessential going out," he said. "Having runners has a risk of causing people’s movement and spreading the virus."

The torch relay began its 121-day domestic journey from Fukushima to Tokyo on March 25. But it has since seen numerous other cancelations and alterations to the plan, as Japan struggles to contain its Covid-19 cases amid a slow vaccine uptake.

The western region of Osaka canceled its torch event in April as cases began spiking. The torchbearers were no longer able to run through public streets as had been planned -- instead, the relay took place behind closed doors.

The Games are scheduled to start on July 23, though there have been growing calls from doctors and communities to cancel the event entirely.

Japan will decide Friday whether to extend a state of emergency across much of the country.

3:03 a.m. ET, May 28, 2021

Projection model predicts US cases and deaths will fall over the next 4 weeks

From CNN's Lauren Mascarenhas

A free bed is viewed in the Emergency Department at Providence St. Mary Medical Center on March 30, in Apple Valley, California. 
A free bed is viewed in the Emergency Department at Providence St. Mary Medical Center on March 30, in Apple Valley, California.  Mario Tama/Getty Images

Ensemble forecasts published Wednesday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention project the number of newly reported Covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths will likely fall over the next four weeks. 

The forecast predicts a total of 596,000 to 606,000 Covid-19 deaths in the United States by June 19. 

The previous ensemble forecast, published May 19, projected up to 604,000 US Covid-19 deaths by June 12.

The US reported 27,248 new Covid-19 cases and 1,332 virus-related deaths in the past day, according to Johns Hopkins University.

2:15 a.m. ET, May 28, 2021

China counters Biden's Covid origins lab probe ... by calling for a US lab probe

From CNN's Nectar Gan and Jessie Yeung

US President Joe Biden's call for a renewed investigation into the origins of the coronavirus feels like déjà vu in Beijing.

Just over a year ago, when Covid-19 infections were rising in the US, former President Donald Trump started to promote a then-fringe theory that the virus had escaped from a lab in Wuhan, the Chinese city where it was first detected. Beijing reacted angrily to the claim, accusing Trump of trying to scapegoat China for his own failure to contain the outbreak domestically.

This week, a previously undisclosed intelligence report surfaced, claiming that several researchers at the Wuhan Institute of Virology fell ill in November 2019 and had to be hospitalized. Under mounting public pressure, Biden ordered the intelligence community to intensify its efforts to re-examine how the virus originated, including the possibility that it emerged from a lab accident.

Naturally, that's drawn the ire of Beijing -- again -- and prompted it to renew a counter-conspiracy theory that the virus actually started in the US.

"The US doesn't care about facts or truth at all, neither is it interested in a serious scientific study on the origins. Its only aim is to use the pandemic for stigmatization and political manipulation to shift the blame," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.

Zhao then referenced Fort Detrick, a US Army biomedical research laboratory in Maryland that has been linked -- without evidence -- to the emergence of the virus by Chinese officials and state media outlets.

"What secrets are hidden in the suspicion-shrouded Fort Detrick and the over 200 US bio-labs all over the world?" Zhao said, adding that the US "owes an explanation to the world."

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