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Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020

Aspect of the coronavirus outbreak

Top 10 Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020 related articles

This article documents the chronology of the response to the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020, which originated in Wuhan, China in December 2019. Some developments may become known or fully understood only in retrospect. Reporting on this pandemic began in December 2019.

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020 Intro articles: 139

Reactions and measures at the United Nations

1 May

International experts on the COVID-19 Emergency Committee advised the World Health Organization to work to identify the animal origins of the virus causing the COVID-19 pandemic and its transmission to humans.[1]

The UN Secretary-General warned that the COVID-19 fatality rate for people over 80-years-old was five times the global average, as he launched a new policy initiative tor challenges faced by the elderly as a result of "the biggest public health crisis to hit the world in a century".[2]

UNICEF warned of 'vaccine bottlenecks' and requested urgent help to distribute vaccines worldwide amid dramatic shortages because of COVID-19 restrictions.[3]

The International Civil Aviation Organization released figures warning of a potential overall reduction of 872 million international passengers to just over 1.3 billion in 2020.[4]

4 May

The World Health Organization welcomed a 7.4 billion Euro pledge by world leaders for COVID-19 treatments,[5] while the UN Secretary-General warned that five times that amount would be required, urging the “most massive public health effort in history”.[6]

At a UNESCO-led event to mark World Press Freedom Day, the UN Secretary-General note that journalists are key to countering the “dangerous outbreak of misinformation” accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic, including harmful health advice, hate speech, wild conspiracy theories, and “blatant lies”.[7]

5 May

The International Telecommunications Union outlined the implications of the pandemic, warning that it was essential to bridge the digital divide for the 3.6 billion off-line people, while internet traffic had tripled.[8]

As COVID-19 restrictions worsened people's vulnerability, the World Food Programme warned well over 40 million people across West Africa faced desperate food shortages.[9]

The UN Special Rapporteur on the Contemporary Forms of Slavery warned that the COVID-19 pandemic was worsening global slavery.[10]

6 May

The Director-General of the WHO reported that, since the start of April, an average of 80,000 cases of COVID-19 per day had been reported to the WHO.[11]

The UN Secretary-General launched a new report showing that the COVID-19 pandemic was intensifying inequalities experienced by the world's one billion people with disabilities, calling for an inclusive recovery and response.[12]

New analysis by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime suggested that coronavirus containment measures were placing victims of human trafficking at risk of further exploitation, including by organized crime networks.[13]

7 May

The updated UN Global Humanitarian Response Plan, backed by the WFP and other agencies, sought nearly $7 billion to protect the lives of millions of people and halt the transmission of COVID-19 in over 60 of the world's most fragile countries.[14]

A new UN Office of Drugs and Crime report, on drug market trends during the coronavirus crisis, suggested that countries' coronavirus prevention measures had led to the widespread disruption of trafficking routes for illegal drugs, increasing some prices.[15]

8 May

Th UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet warned that some parties to the conflict in Syria, including ISIL terrorist fighters, may be using the COVID-19 pandemic as “an opportunity to regroup and inflict violence on the population”.[16]

The UN Secretary General made a global appeal calling for concerted global action to quash the “tsunami” of hate speech accompanying the COVID-19 pandemic.[17]

UN ECOSOC warned that the COVID-19 outbreak could trigger a humanitarian catastrophe in Haiti.[18]

The Director-General of the WHO stated that the lessons learned from the eradication of smallpox four decades previously could be applied to the cononavirus pandemic.[19]

Dr Peter Embarek, Food Safety and Zoonosis Expert at WHO, confirmed that a now-closed Wuhan city wholesale market “played a role” in the outbreak, thought it was unclear if it was the original source.[20]

11 May

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned the resurgence of COVID-19 cases in South Korea, China and Germany followed the lifting of stay-at-home restrictions, indicating their complexity.[21]

UN ECOSOC held a wide-ranging policy discussion “Joining Forces: Effective Policy Solutions for Covid-19 Response”, stressing a range of multilateral solutions, while also committing to getting back on track for the Sustainable Development Goals.[22]

Three senior UN officials in the Middle East, including from UNICEF and the UN Human Rights Office, jointly called for the release of Palestinian children from Israeli-run prisons and detentions centres, due to the risk of COVID-19 infection.[23]

The head of UNAIDS warned that two decades of treatment gains were under threat due to the pandemic.[24]

12 May

UNICEF warned that as the coronavirus outbreak entered its fifth month, the health crisis was “quickly becoming a child rights crisis”, requesting $1.6 billion to support its humanitarian response for children affected by the pandemic, as without it, an additional 6,000 under-fives could die daily.[25]

The UN Secretary-General, in an online meeting with religious leaders via the UN Alliance of Civilizations, noted the coronavirus pandemic revealed “our common humanity”, stressing the important role that religious leaders could play in limiting the damage caused by COVID-19.[26]

13 May

In its World Economic Situation and Prospect report update, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) reported that as of mid-2020, the gross domestic product (GDP) in developed countries would plunge to -5.0 per cent, while the output of developing countries would shrink by 0.7 per cent, causing some $8.5 trillion in overall losses and eroding nearly four years of output gains.[27]

The heads of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, World Health Organization, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and UNAIDS warned of the heightened vulnerability to COVID-19 of detainees, urging governments to take “all appropriate public health measures” to protect them.[28]

A new UN report by UN ESCAP noted that the COVID-19 pandemic, due to shutdowns, could help improve the well-being of oceans in the Asia-Pacific region.[29]

14 May

UNAIDS initiated a petition from global leaders requesting that when a successful COVID-19 vaccine is developed, it be available free to all.[30]

The UN Human Rights High Commissioner warned of potential risks as more countries moved to lift lockdowns to contain COVID-19 spread.[31]

The UN Secretary-General launched the latest UN policy brief, 'COVID-19 And The Need for Action On Mental Health', urging the international community to do more to protect those facing increasing mental pressures.[32]

15 May

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) reported the first COVID-19 cases in the Cox's Bazar Rohingya refugee camps.[33]

The UN emergency humanitarian relief agency (OCHA) warned that evacuation centres in the Philippines set up as a response to Typhoon Vongfong were creating the ideal conditions for COVID-19 transmission.[34]

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees warned that coronavirus lockdowns in Central America were being exploited by criminal gangs.[35]

UNICEF in the Democratic Republic of the Congo warned coronavirus restrictions affecting vaccinations could result in a resurgence in deadly childhood diseases like "polio, chickenpox, measles, yellow fever, hepatitis B, diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough and meningitis".[36]

18 May

Addressing the WHO-sponsored World Health Assembly, the UN Secretary-General warned that a “massive” multilateral effort was needed to tackle the COVID-19 pandemic, as WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus insisted that “the majority of the world’s population remains susceptible to this virus”.[37] On International Museum Day, UNESCO revealed that nearly 90 per cent of cultural institutions have had to close, while almost 13 per cent were seriously threatened with never reopening.[38] UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, José Francisco Cali Tzay, issued a statement expressing serious concern over the devastating impact of COVID-19 on Indigenous peoples beyond the simple health threat.[39]

19 May

The World Health Organization concluded the annual World Health Assembly, which adopted a resolution calling for an independent review of the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including the WHO's performance.[40]

20 May

At the launch of a UN briefing paper focusing on the impact of COVID-19 across Africa, the UN Secretary-General called for solidarity to preserve Africa's hard-won progress,[41] while the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Chairperson of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights issued a joint call for urgent measures to reduce the ripple effects of COVID-19 on Africa's most vulnerable, warning that hoping it would go away would not work.[42]

21 May

The UN Secretary-General launched Verified, led by the UN's Department of Global Communications, to create a cadre of “digital first responders” to increase the volume and reach of trusted, accurate information on the COVID-19 crisis.[43][44]

UNICEF warned that migrant children forcibly returned from the United States to Mexico and Central America were facing danger and discrimination worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.[45]

The World Health Organization (WHO) and UN refugee agency (UNHCR) signed a new pact, an update and expansion of a 1997 agreement, funded by the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, to better protect approximately 70 million people affected by COVID-19 in low and middle-income countries with vulnerable health systems.[46]

22 May

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs warned that war-torn Yemen's health system had ‘in effect, collapsed” in the face of a widening COVID-19 outbreak.[47]

On International Day for Biological Diversity, the UN Secretary-General called for the world to build back better and preserve biodiversity after the COVID-19 pandemic.[48]

Director-General of the World Health Organization reiterated that the COVID-19 pandemic was disrupting access to routine immunization services worldwide, increasing the risk of potentially lethal diseases like diphtheria, measles and pneumonia.[49]

27 May

The ILO warned in a new report that more than one in six young people had stopped working since the beginning of the pandemic, creating a 'lockdown generation'.[50]

The WHO Foundation, an independent body, was launched to help fund the WHO as "an integral part of the UN agency’s resource mobilization strategy to broaden its donor base".[51]

28 May

The WFP released projections showing that approximately 14 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean could experience extreme food insecurity in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[52]

The UN Secretary General called for greater "unite and solidarity" at a high-level funding meeting as he warned of 60 million pushed into extreme poverty; coming famines of “historic proportions”; approximately 1.6 billion people unemployed; and a 'Great Depression'-like loss of $8.5 trillion in global output.[53]

UN agencies and global partners announced they were seeking $2.41 billion to fight COVID-19 spread in Yemen and to support millions affected in the "world’s worst humanitarian crisis".[54]

29 May

Thirty countries and multiple international partners signed up to support the WHO-backed COVID-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP), a “one-stop shop” for sharing data, intellectual property, and scientific knowledge to counter the disease.[55]

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020 Reactions and measures at the United Nations articles: 13

Reactions and measures in Africa

Map of the WHO's regional offices and their respective operating regions.
  Africa; HQ: Brazzaville, Republic of the Congo
  Western Pacific; HQ: Manila, Philippines
  Eastern Mediterranean; HQ: Cairo, Egypt
  South East Asia; HQ: New Delhi, India
  Europe; HQ: Copenhagen, Denmark
  Americas; HQ: Washington, D.C., US

1 May

South Africa has begun to loosen its lockdown restrictions, allowing some businesses and factories to resume operations. Restaurants will be allowed to provide takeaway services. Recreational activities such as walking, cycling, and running will be allowed for three hours a day. The South African Government has maintained a ban on the sales of cigarettes and alcohol.[56]

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended Zimbabwe's lockdown for two more weeks and announced a US$720 million stimulus for affected companies.[56]

3 May

Tanzanian President John Magufuli has criticized the quality of imported test kits, stating that the tests had returned positive on samples taken from a goat, sheep, and a pawpaw.[57]

4 May

The International Monetary Fund has disbursed Cameroon US$226 million to meet urgent balance of payment needs caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[58]

The Nigerian Government has announced that a 24-hour "stay at home" order that had been imposed since 30 March in the capital Abuja and the states of Lagos and Ogun will be lifted over a six-week period. This has include allowing businesses and transportation to resume with people wearing face masks.[58]

In South Africa, Dondo Mogajane, the Director-General of the National Treasury, has warned that South African economy could contract by 12% and that one-third of the workforce could be affected by the coronavirus as a result of the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.[58]

Zimbabwean Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube has appealed for the International Monetary Fund to clear its debt arrears in order to access foreign funding for COVID-19 relief efforts.[58]

5 May

The World Health Organization and the US Centers for Disease Control have urged people not to try untested remedies in response to Madagascan President Andry Rajoelina promoting an untested herbal remedy called COVID-Organics, which was produced from artemesia and other indigenous herbs by the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research.[59]

7 May

Dr John Nkengasong, the head of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC) has rejected assertions by Tanzanian President John Magufuli that his country's COVID-19 tests are not reliable. The tests were supplied by the Africa CDC and the Jack Ma Foundation.[60]

8 May

President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that parole will be granted to 19,000 low-risk prisoners in response to a United Nations call for governments to reduce prison populations in order allow social distancing and self-isolation.[61]

Tanzania has received its first shipment of the untested "COVID-Organics" herbal remedy from Madagascar. The World Health Organization has cautioned against using the untested remedy.[61]

9 May

President of Sierra Leone Julius Maada Bio has accused the opposition All People's Congress of inciting "terrorist violence" following a surge of violence linked to the country's coronavirus outbreak.[62]

13 May

President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa has said that his government will begin talks on moving most of the country from "alert level 4" to "alert level 3" by the end of May, although areas with the highest rates of infection would remain at "alert level 4".[63]

14 May

Investigators from the United Nations stated that they deeply regretted Burundi's expulsion of four World Health Organization officials supporting the country's responses to the pandemic.[64]

15 May

A study by the World Health Organization has found that coronavirus could potentially infect 231 million people in Africa by the end of 2020. Concerns were raised that the healthcare systems in many African nations could be quickly overrun if there were to be a sudden rise in infections.[65]

16 May

President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta has ordered the closure of the country's borders with Somalia and Tanzania for the next 30 days.[66]

The Tanzanian government has lowered the country's 2020 economic growth projection due to the impact of the coronavirus, with Finance Minister Philip Mpango forecasting growth of 4% compared to an earlier projection of 6.9%.[67]

President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa has extended the country's coronavirus lockdown, but announced that it would be reviewed every two weeks.[68]

17 May

Authorities in Sudan announced that all airports in the country will remain closed until May 31.[69]

Responses to the COVID-19 pandemic in May 2020 Reactions and measures in Africa articles: 29

Reactions and measures in the Americas

1 May

United States President Donald Trump noted about 63,000 have died in the US. He added that he would regard the virus' elimination and the reopening of the US economy as a victory.[56]

The Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr Anthony Fauci has expressed optimism about Gilead Sciences' antiviral medication remdesivir after initial tests indicated it helped shorten recovery times. Later, the White House announced that Dr Fauci will not be allowed to testify at a Congressional inquiry into the Trump Administration's handling of the coronavirus pandemic.[56]

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has announced that all schools and colleges in New York state will remain closed for the duration of the 2019–20 academic year.[56]

Texas and Ohio have embarked with a gradual relaxation of lockdown restrictions on Friday. Georgia has allowed all businesses to reopen.[56]

Several US airlines including Southwest Airlines, Alaska Airlines, United Airlines, Delta Air Lines, the American Airlines Group, and Frontier Airlines announce that all passengers will be required to wear face masks. Southwest Airlines has announced it will provide masks if patients forget to bring them.[56]

The stay-at-home orders in Marion County, Indiana, Davis County, Utah, and Summit County, Utah are scheduled to end.

2 May

In Brazil, prisoners at Paraquequara Penitentiary in Manaus took seven guards hostage to allegedly protest the suspension of family visits, poor living conditions, sweltering heat and lack of electricity.[70][71]

The United States Food and Drug Administration has authorized the use of Gilead Sciences's antiviral drug remdesivir for emergency use in hospitals. The company's CEO Daniel O'Day announced that the company was donating 1.5 million vials of the drug to help patients.[71]

The National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and SpaceX have advised spectators to stay at home during the launch of two astronauts aboard a SpaceX rocket to the International Space Station on 27 May. This will be the first launch of astronauts from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida since 2011 and the first attempt by a private company to fly astronauts into space.[71]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has rebuffed calls to reopen New York state's economy, calling them premature. While acknowledging that people were struggling with their jobs, Cuomo stated that more understanding of the coronavirus was needed before reopening the state's economy.[71]

The International Monetary Fund has announced that it has approved a US$643 million economic relief loan for Ecuador in response to the coronavirus.[71]

3 May

Brazilian authorities have managed to restore order following an uprising at Puraquequara prison in Manaus, where seven guards were taken hostage by prisoners protesting poor living conditions. Ten guards and five prisoners suffered non-critical injuries during the uprising.[71]

United States President Donald Trump has expressed confidence that there will be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of 2020 during a media interview.[72][73] He also expressed hope that schools and universities will reopen in September.[58]

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has claimed that there is "enormous evidence" that COVID-19 originated in a laboratory in Wuhan.[71]

Democratic US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have declined an offer for quick COVID-19 tests from the Trump Administration, stating that these resources are needed at the frontline.[71]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has thanked Qatar for sending critical supplies and aid to New York state.[71]

In Oregon, hundreds have staged protests in the state capital Salem protesting against lockdown measures.[71]

Swiss multinational health company Hoffman-La Roche has received approval from the US Food and Drug Administration to conduct its antibody test Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2 on people. This antibody test will test whether people have been infected with the coronavirus and assess their immune system's response to the coronavirus.[70]

4 May

According to an Al Jazeera report, the Trump Administration is seeking to accelerate efforts to reduce production and supply chain dependence on China and is considering new tariffs.[74]

The White House has rebuffed a New York Times report forecasting that the United States could experience 3,000 deaths per day by June 2020 as the United States economy reopens.[58] The New York Times report had cited an internal White House document based on government modeling compiled by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, forecasting 200,000 cases per day by late May.[75] The White House claimed that the document had not been presented to the Coronavirus Task Force or undergone inter-agency vetting.[58]

Director of the Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy Peter Navarro confirmed that the Trump Administration would be introducing an executive order requiring federal agencies to purchase US-made medical products.[76]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the state will be reopening its economy in stages, beginning with manufacturing and construction, without announcing dates.[58]

Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres has called for any treatment for the coronavirus to be made available to anyone.[58]

5 May

Several Brazilian indigenous leaders including Joenia Wapichana have appealed to World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom for help in establishing an emergency fund to provide personal protective equipment to health workers in tribal reservations and villages.[77]

United States President Donald Trump has announced that the US Government will release a report into the origins of the coronavirus in the near-future without specifying a date. Later, Trump announced that the White House Coronavirus Task Force would be winding down as the country shifted to reopening the US economy.[77]

White House Coronavirus Task Force adviser Dr Anthony Fauci stated there was no scientific evidence that the coronavirus originated in a Chinese laboratory during an interview with National Geographic.[77]

Former Director of the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority Dr Rick Bright has filed a whistleblower complaint claiming that the Trump Administration had dismissed him after ignoring his initial warnings about the COVID-19 pandemic and his opposition to the use of the anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine to treat the coronavirus.[78][77]

Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) have released a new coronavirus mortality model predicting that 135,000 Americans will die from COVID-19 by early August 2020 as a result of the relaxation of social distancing measures. An earlier model released in 29 April had predicted 72,400 deaths.[77]

The US-based public relations company Edelman released its 2020 Edelman Trust Barometer, showing that 64% of respondents were aware of the rich–poor divide as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; 67% felt that the less educated, poor and less resourced were disproportionately affected by the pandemic; 67% were worried about "biased and inaccurate" information being spread about the coronavirus; and that 67% believed that the government should prioritize saving lives over the economy. Only 33% of respondents globally thought it was more important to save jobs and the economy. Edelman surveyed more than 13,200 respondents in Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the United Kingdom, and United States between April 15 and April 23.[79]

6 May

US President Donald Trump has denied earlier reports that the White House Coronavirus Task Force would be disbanded, stating that its work would continue "indefinitely". He confirmed that Dr Anthony Fauci and Task Force coordinator Deborah Birx will continue to serve on the Task Force.[80]

United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has also announced that US meat processing plants would be fully operational within ten days.[80]

United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement accusing China of covering up the initial outbreak in Wuhan and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and a global economic malaise.[80]

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has criticized several US states for reopening their economies despite the rising number of infections.[80]

Former Director of the US Centers for Disease Control Tom Frieden has advocated an expansion of testing in the United States, warning that the pandemic will be "long and difficult".[80]

7 May

Brazilian Health Minister Nelson Teich stated during a media conference that lockdowns were likely necessary. In addition, over 20 Brazilian government officials including spokesperson Otavio Rego Barros, communications chief Fabio Wajngarten and Secretary of Institutional Security Augusto Heleno have tested positive for COVID-19.[60]

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the federal government and ten provinces will be supplementing the pay of essential workers including those working in rest homes. Trudeau confirmed that the federal government will contribute C$4 billion, which accounted for 75% of the total cost.[60]

El Salvador suspended public transportation for 15 days.[60]

The Mexican Government has converted the former presidential residence Los Pinos into a temporary home for health workers battling COVID-19. 58 doctors and workers are staying at the facility, which can house 100 people.[60]

United States President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have tested negative for the coronavirus after a US military serviceman who worked in the White House was infected with the coronavirus. Trump mentioned that Russian President Vladimir Putin accepted a shipment of ventilators from the United States.[60]

United States federal judge Douglas P. Woodlock has overturned Governor of Massachusetts Charlie Baker's order designating gun shops "non-essential businesses," arguing that closing them down for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic violated the Second Amendment. As a result, gunshops in the state are allowed to reopen.[60] New York state authorities have extended a moratorium on evictions for non-payment of rent by another 60 days until 20 August in order to combat the spread of COVID-19.[60]

Washington state officials have advised people against holding "COVID-19 parties".[60]

The Coordinating Body of Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Basin has launched an Amazon Emergency Fund to raise funds to protect 3 million Amazon rainforest inhabitants from the effects of the coronavirus.[60]

The International Monetary Fund has approved a total of US$18 billion in aid requests from 50 of its 189 members. IMF spokesperson Gerry Rice also confirmed that the IMF was processing requests for aid from over 50 countries including South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Zambia.[60]

United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock has appealed for US$4.7 billion in funding to top up its US$2 billion fund to help developing countries combat COVID-19.[60]

United States airliner Frontier Airlines has announced that it will begin testing the temperatures of all crew and passengers from 1 June, barring entry to anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 Celsius).[60]

8 May

In Mexico, some local authorities have order the closing of markets, pasty and flower shops for the duration of Mother's Day.[61]

The White House confirmed that a member of Vice-President Mike Pence's staff has tested positive for the coronavirus. Pence also called for a resumption of religious services while speaking at a Presbyterian Church in Des Moines, Iowa. In addition, the White House spokesperson Kayleigh McEnany announced that White House Coronavirus Task Force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx would be advising the US Government on the distribution of Gilead Sciences' new remdesivir drug.[61]

The United States Department of Labor has reported that the unemployment rate reached 14.7% in April, with an estimated 20.5 million jobs lost as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. This figure exceeds the unemployment rate caused by the late 2000s Great Recession.[61]

The United States Government has blocked a vote at the United Nations Security Council on a resolution relating to the COVID-19 pandemic due to its reference to the World Health Organization.[61]

The US Food and Drug Administration has revoked US authorization for face masks produced by more than 60 manufacturers on the grounds that they failed to meet health and safety standards for health workers.[61]

The Associated Press has reported that several US state governors have been "disregarding or creatively interpreting" White House safety guidelines for businesses.[81]

Many of Facebook's employees will be allowed to work remotely until the end of 2020. Most of Facebook's offices are closed until 6 July.[61]

Global tech giant Apple Inc. has announced that it will be reopening its retail stores in the United States from next week.[61]

The United Food and Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) has announced its opposition to the reopening of US meatpacking plants, citing concerns for worker safety.[61]

Also in the United States, the annual Miss America pageant commemorating its centennial anniversary, originally scheduled for December and it was cancelled and including associated state pageants that were due to be held in the upcoming summer, marking the first time since 1934 to cancel the pageant.[82]

9 May

President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez has extended the capital Buenos Aires' quarantine until 24 May but has relaxed quarantine restrictions in other parts of the country. Buenos Aires has been under quarantine since 20 March.[62]

Brazilian Minister of the Economy Paulo Guedes has called on the Supreme Federal Court to reverse state quarantine measures in order to prevent a shortage of basic commodities.[62]

US President Donald Trump has announced that the US federal government will buy US$3 billion worth of agricultural goods from the agricultural sector including dairy, meat, and horticulture producers in order to combat unemployment and a drop in revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.[62]

Congressmen Eliot Engel, the Democratic chairman of the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, Michael McCaul, the House Committee's ranking Republican member, Senator Jim Risch, the Republican chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and Senator Bob Menendez, the Senate Committee's ranking Democratic member, have sent a joint letter to nearly 60 "like-minded" countries asking them to support Taiwan's participation in the World Health Organization. These countries have included Canada, Thailand, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia and Australia.[83][62]

White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley confirmed that a military official who worked in close proximity to President Donald Trump had tested positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday. He also confirmed that Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have tested negative for the coronavirus.[62]

Former US President Barack Obama has criticized President Trump's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic in the United States and urged former Obama Administration staff members to support Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.[84][62]

10 May

The Brazilian National Congress has decreed three days of mourning to mark the 10,000 Brazilians who have died and called on Brazilians to follow health authorities' recommendations in order to reduce infection rates.[85]

In the United States, several US officials including Robert Redfield, the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Stephen Hahn, the Director of the Food and Drug Administration, and Dr Anthony Fauci, the leader of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, have entered into self-isolation after coming in contact with an individual who tested positive for the coronavirus.[85]

Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has required nursing homes in New York to test staff twice a week for COVID-19.[85]

Tesla CEO and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk has threatened to pull the company's electrical vehicle factory and headquarters out of California and sued the Alameda County's health department after health authorities stopped the factory from reopening. Musk has accused Alameda health authorities of overstepping both state and federal regulations.[85] [86]

The US airline trade group Airlines for America has endorsed allowing the Transportation Security Administration to conduct temperature checks on passengers for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic.[85]

12 May

Despite Brazil recording its highest daily death toll with 881 fatalities so far, President Jair Bolsonaro stated his intent to push for the reopening of non-essential businesses such as gyms and hair salons amidst strong resistance from state governors. Brazil has recorded over 12,400 coronavirus deaths, the sixth-highest total in the world.[87]

In the United States, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unveiled the Democrat Party's $3 trillion pandemic relief proposal, with aid for struggling states and another round of $1,200 direct payments to American families, as well as a $25 billion bailout to the Postal Service, and $3.6 billion to ensure election security. Republican Senators immediately rejected the proposal, determining it to be 'too large and far-reaching'.[88]

US Republican Senators have proposed legislation enabling Donald Trump to apply sanctions to China if the country does not provide a 'full accounting' for the origins of the coronavirus. Senator Jim Inhofe stated that "The Chinese Communist Party must be held accountable for the detrimental role they played in this pandemic. Their outright deception of the origin and spread of the virus cost the world valuable time and lives as it began to spread".[89]

13 May

In Peru, President Martin Vizcarra stated that the coronavirus had 'peaked' in the country, whilst also confirming that Peru would move into the final stage of lockdown, two months after the first confirmed case in the country. Although the lockdown is due to end on 24 May, social distancing will still be enforced in public spaces.[87]

In the United States, cab companies Uber and Lyft now require passengers to wear masks.[90]

The American Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of a recession resulting from the coronavirus pandemic and urged the White House and Congress to take preventative measures. Powell cautioned that business bankruptcies and unemployment for millions of Americans will remain a serious economic risk.[91]

14 May

Canada and the US are likely to extend a ban on non-essential travel across the border until June 21, as revealed to Reuters by top Canadian and American officials. Canada is allegedly pushing for the measures to be extended for another month, with the restrictions due to end on May 21.[92]

The President of the New York Stock Exchange, Stacey Cunningham announced that the trading floor will partially open on May 26.[93]

The US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has condemned attempts by "cyber actors and non-traditional collectors affiliated with China" to steal American data linked to the coronavirus. The Chinese embassy in Washington described the accusation as "lies". Donald Trump said in an interview with Fox Business Network that he was "very disappointed in China; they should never have let this happen."[94]

The US Labor Department reports that nearly three million Americans applied for unemployment benefits the previous week. Roughly 36 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the first two months of the pandemic [95]

The Supreme Court of the US state of Wisconsin has repealed the stay-at-home order issued by Governor Tony Evers, ruling that his administration surpassed its authoritative powers when the order was extended for an additional month without consulting legislators. This ruling effectively reopened the state, lifting limits on social gatherings, allowing travel, and allowing businesses such as bars and restaurants to reopen. The news was applauded by President Donald Trump.[96]

15 May

Brazil's health minister Nelson Teich resigned. Teich gave no reason for his choice to resign, stating he had given it "his best".[97]

The International Monetary Fund has approved a loan of $520 million to assist Jamaica with the country's handling of COVID-19. The Deputy Managing Director of the IMF, Tao Zhang said that "a sudden stop in tourism and falling remittances" were the primary causes of the need for emergency funds.[98]

Panama's aviation authority extended its ban on international flights to June 22.[99]

The US Center for Disease Control has alerted doctors to a "multi-system inflammatory syndrome in children", with a current or recent exposure to COVID-19 listed as one of the leading causes.[100]

16 May

Air Canada has announced plans to reduce the company's workforce by "50-60 per cent", or at least 20,000 employees, as a result of the decline in air travel during the coronavirus pandemic.[101]

LATAM Airlines has announced it will reduce the company's workforce by 1,400 employees across Latin America, with executive director Roberto Alvo highlighting a large decrease in business during the pandemic as the primary reason for the decision.[102]

US President Donald Trump has stated that his government may consider restoring some World Health Organization funds, after all US contributions were suspended on April 14, potentially in a scenario whereby the US would pay 10% of its former contribution levels.[103]

The United States House of Representatives passed a $3 trillion bill to reduce the economic and social impacts of the coronavirus on the US, although Donald Trump's Republican Party stated that the proposal would be "dead on arrival" in the Senate. The bill would provide $1 trillion for regional governments and further payments to families and the unemployed struggling with the crisis.[104]

22 May

US President Donald Trump designated churches, mosques and synagogues as "essential services" and called upon state governors to allow them to reopen, criticizing the decision by some state governors to allow liquor stores and abortion clinics to reopen but not churches. State and local officials have the authority to designate essential services and issue stay-at-home orders, however.[105][106]

23 May

US car rental company Hertz files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as a result of the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The company had already laid off 10,000 employees and is facing US$14 billion in debts.[107]

24 May

US President Donald Trump has imposed a travel ban on non-US citizens coming from Brazil in response to the country's COVID-19 pandemic,[108] which has recorded over 363,000 cases and nearly 23,000 deaths.[109]

29 May

A partial easing of the stay-at-home order in Illinois, except for Chicago, was scheduled to occur.[110]

31 May

The stay-at-home orders in Alameda County, California; Contra Costa County, California; Marin County, California; San Mateo County, California; Santa Clara County, California; Berkeley, California; and San Francisco, California are scheduled to end.