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WHO launches foundation for new funding: Coronavirus live updates

The new WHO Foundation was not created in response to the US’s pausing of funding to the organisation, WHO chief says.

  • The WHO has announced the launch of the WHO Foundation, a legally separate body that aims to broaden the organisation's donor base, while denying the foundation was created in response to the US pause on funding. 
  • Spain began 10 days of mourning on Wednesday in memory of the more than 27,000 people who have lost their lives to the coronavirus. Flags are flying at half-mast until June 5.
  • South Korea has seen its highest spike in cases in 49 days with a new cluster now emerging around an online delivery depot west of Seoul.
  • A new study is warning that Brazil could be facing a death toll of 125,000 people by early August while the WHO has warned the Americas are the new epicentre. 
  • More than 5.6 million cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 350,000 people have died, while nearly 2.3 million have recovered.
Here are the latest updates:

Wednesday, May 27

16:15 GMT - Italy records 117 new deaths, 584 new cases

Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy have climbed by 117, against 78 the day before, the Civil Protection Agency has said, while the daily tally of new cases climbed to 584 from 397 on Tuesday.
The total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 33,072, the agency said, the third highest in the world after those of the US and Britain.
The number of confirmed cases amounts to 231,139, the sixth highest global tally behind those of the United States, Brazil, Russia, Spain and Britain.
Italy Venice
Tourists have lunch at a restaurant by the Grand Canal following the outbreak of the coronavirus in Venice, Italy [Manuel Silvestri/Reuters]

16:00 GMT - England's test and trace programme to launch on Thursday: Johnson

A COVID-19 test and trace service will launch in England on Thursday to help the loosening of lockdown measures, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said.
"We are also saying from tomorrow, and this is an important development, that there is a new test and trace operation which will change people's lives and which will require a great deal of thought and compliance but which I think will be worth it for the whole nation," Johnson told a committee of lawmakers on Wednesday.
The service, which will have a taskforce of 50,000 people to test and identify the contacts of anyone who tests positive for the virus, will not initially include the app that is key to finding anonymous contacts. The government did not give a date for when the smartphone technology would be deployed.

15:45 GMT - WHO chief announces creation of foundation to tap new funding sources

WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has announced the creation of a foundation that will enable it to tap new sources of funding, including the general public.
The WHO Foundation is being created as an independent grant-making entity that will support WHO efforts to address the most pressing global health challenges by raising new funding from "non-traditional sources", according to the organisation.
The new body will "will facilitate contributions from the general public, individual major donors and corporate partners to WHO and trusted partners to deliver on high-impact programmes", the WHO said.
The US suspended funding to the WHO earlier this year and President Donald Trump threatened this month to halt funding altogether if the body does not commit to reforms within 30 days. But Tedros said the new foundation had "nothing to do with recent funding issues".
WHO head says he will keep leading virus fight after Trump threat

15:30 GMT - French restaurants set empty tables in appeal for lockdown help

Restaurants, bars and hotels across France set empty tables and draped chef's aprons outside on Wednesday to protest against continuing lockdown restrictions and demand more state aid.
France ordered the shutdown of its hospitality industry on March 14 - three days before a nationwide coronavirus lockdown - and all establishments remain closed even after the government began relaxing some restrictions on May 11.
"It's sad not to have restaurants and bars open, they're part of our life and culture," Aurore Begue, co-owner of three restaurants, told Reuters news agency at a protest meeting by the Alexandre III bridge over the Seine.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe will unveil measures to ease the lockdown on Thursday, though it is not known whether that will include reopening restaurants and cafes, particularly in 'red zone' virus hot spots like Paris.
france restaurants
Dozens of chef's aprons, chef's hats, and restaurant trays are displayed on the ground of a bank of the Seine river in Paris during a nationwide protest by restaurants and bars owners [Benoit Tessier/Reuters] 

15:15 GMT - Spain reports just one new coronavirus death, bringing total to 27,118

Spain has registered 27,118 deaths from the coronavirus, the Health Ministry has said, just one more than the previous day.
Only 39 deaths were reported over the last seven days, while a total of 236,769 cases have been detected since the beginning of the outbreak, the ministry's figures showed.
The government has warned that data may fluctuate in coming days as authorities retrospectively apply a new methodology for logging cases and deaths.
COVID-19: Spain volunteers make masks for healthcare workers

15:00 GMT - Poland's ruling party says June 28 deadline for presidential vote

The last possible date that Poland could hold a presidential election on is June 28, the leader of the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) party said on Wednesday, amid deepening conflict surrounding the timing of the vote.
The date of Poland's presidential election, originally scheduled for May 10, remains uncertain, with PiS accusing the opposition-controlled Senate of delaying tactics designed to help their main candidate's chances.
Planning for the election collapsed earlier this month because of the coronavirus pandemic, forcing the government to abandon the original schedule.
"Our position is clear, shared: the elections will take place," Jaroslaw Kaczynski told a news conference, flanked by the leaders of the junior partners in his ruling alliance. "If there are any attempts to oppose this, then we will use all the means at the state's disposal to see to it that the law is followed."
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14:45 GMT - Georgia to reopen all shops, cafes, resume public transport before June 8: PM

Georgia will restart public transport and reopen shops, shopping malls and cafes and restaurants before June 8, the ex-Soviet country's Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia has said.
Gakharia told the government that public transport, including the metro, would resume on May 29, while shops and shopping malls, roofed and open-air markets, and restaurants with open spaces will reopen from June 1. Restaurants of all types, hotels and inter-city transportation will resume operations from June 8.
"We took a decision on further easing the existing restrictions by considering the economic and social interests of our citizens," Gakharia said, adding that wearing face masks on public transport and in shops would remain obligatory.
Swimming pools, gyms, theatres and night clubs remain closed. Georgia had reported 735 cases of the coronavirus as of Wednesday, with 12 deaths.
Tbilisi
An empty cafe located in a district popular with tourists, during coronavirus pandemic in Tbilisi, Georgia [Irakli Gedenidze/Reuters]

14:30 GMT - UK can help companies prepare for Brexit and COVID-19, minister says

The British government is working with businesses to help them prepare for the departure from the European Union even as it helps them cope with the coronavirus pandemic, cabinet office minister Michael Gove has said.
"We are not considering an implementation phase," he told a parliamentary committee, adding that staying within the purview of the EU would mean additional costs for taxpayers.
"What we will do is make sure that businesses adjust appropriately to the situation on the 1st of January once we're outside the Customs Union and the Single Market," he said. "Obviously we've all been preoccupied by the COVID pandemic ... it is also the case though that we can step up our engagement with business in advance of December 31."

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