Published: 10:47, May 5, 2020 | Updated: 03:14, June 6, 2023
Yemen's Houthis see 1st infection with death in Sanaa hotel

Surfers enjoy a sunrise surf at Sumner Beach as level four COVID-19 restrictions are eased in Christchurch, New Zealand, April 28, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)

JERUSALEM / AMMAN / TOKYO / SYDENY / HONG KONG / ADEN / NEW DELHI / KUWAIT CITY / BEIRUT - Authorities in Houthi-held north Yemen confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus on Tuesday, a Somali national found dead in a Sanaa hotel, while the government in the south of the war-torn nation reported nine new infections.

One of the last countries to declare COVID-19 infections on April 10, Yemen has now reported 21 cases, including 3 deaths, in territory held by the internationally recognised government, and one case, a death, in areas under the Iran-aligned Houthis.

The deceased Somali had underlying liver and kidney problems, the minister said, adding that a sample had been tested in a laboratory for COVID-19 infection.

The World Health Organization has said it fears COVID-19 could rip through Yemen as the population has some of the lowest levels of immunity to disease compared with other countries.

Minimal testing capacity has added to concerns. The WHO said on Tuesday just 200 tests for infection with the coronavirus had been carried out and results received across Yemen.


More COVID-19 cases and deaths were reported Tuesday in Asia-Pacific, with Bangladesh reporting its highest daily rise of 786 cases and India reporting 179 new deaths, infections in Indonesia also surpassed 12,000.

Bangladesh confirmed 786 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic in the country on March 8, bringing the total to nearly 11,000.

Nasima Sultana, a senior health ministry official, told an online press conference that "786 new COVID-19 positive cases and death of a youth were reported in the last 24 hours across Bangladesh."

"The total number of positive cases is now 10,929 and the death toll stands currently at 183," she added.


The number of COVID-19 positive cases in Afghanistan has risen to 3,224 as 320 new positive cases have been registered over the past 24 hours, Public Health Ministry spokesman Wahidullah Mayar said Tuesday.

Mayar also said that five patients have died due to COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the number of COVID-19 related deaths to 95 since the outbreak of the disease in February.


The Australian government has committed 352 million Australian dollars (about US$226 million) towards the global effort to fight COVID-19 and to find a vaccine.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged the funding in a video message to the Coronavirus Global Response International Pledging Event on Monday night local time.

"We're very pleased to be part of this important event today, and I want to thank the European Commission for bringing us all together for this important purpose," Morrison said in his message.


India's federal health ministry Tuesday evening said 15 new deaths due to COVID-19, besides fresh 278 positive cases were reported since morning across the country, taking the number of deaths to 1,583 and total cases to 46,711.

"As on 5:00 pm (local time), today 1,583 deaths related to novel coronavirus have been recorded in the country," reads the information released by the ministry.

According to ministry officials, so far 13,161 people have been discharged from hospitals after showing improvement.

Officials in India’s capital imposed a special tax of 70 percent on retail liquor purchases from Tuesday, to deter large gatherings at stores as authorities ease a six-week lockdown imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Taxes on alcohol are a key contributor to the revenue of many of India’s 36 states and federal territories, most of which are running short of funds because of the lengthy disruption in economic activity caused by the virus.

The Indian government announced it would initiate the process of bringing back citizens stranded abroad in the next two days in a phased manner, officials said Tuesday.

Motorists ride along a street during a government-imposed nationwide lockdown to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in New Delhi on May 5, 2020. (JEWEL SAMAD / AFP)


Indonesia reported on Tuesday its biggest daily rise in coronavirus infections with 484 new cases, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 12,071, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.

Yurianto reported eight new deaths, taking the total to 872, while 2,197 have recovered.


Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that a recent US move to cut funding to the World Health Organization (WHO) hampers global fight against the novel coronavirus, official IRNA news agency reported.

"At a time when the coronavirus has turned into a threat against global security and public health ... the impair of WHO's role amounts to weakening joint global fight against the coronavirus," Rouhani said addressing a virtual meeting of the leaders of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group.

READ MORE: Police clash with crowds as India eases coronavirus curbs


Israel on Monday eased many restrictions on the public put in place to prevent the spread of coronavirus, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu citing the country’s success in containing the virus so far.

Israelis, who for the most part have been confined for weeks to their home or immediate neighborhoods, will now be allowed to travel anywhere in the country - including to visit elderly relatives whom they have been avoiding as a precaution.

Malls and markets will open later in the week and schools, which opened partially on Sunday, will return to regular schedules by the end of the month, Netanyahu told reporters.

Meanwhile, Netanyahu announced Monday that Israel will invest US$60 million in COVID-19 research and development.

The number of coronavirus cases in Israel increased by 38 to 16,246 in the past 24 hours while the toll rose to 235, with three new death cases.


Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike will ask businesses in Japan’s biggest city to refrain from operating until the end of this month, following the central government’s extension of the state of emergency, a public broadcaster NHK reported.

The Tokyo government will pay more financial aid to businesses that remain closed during the period, the report said, adding that she will announce details at a media briefing later on Tuesday.

Japan on Monday extended a nationwide state of emergency to May 31, saying the new coronavirus infection rate had yet to drop enough to justify ending measures aimed at slowing the outbreak.


Kuwait on Tuesday reported 526 new cases of COVID-19 and two more deaths, bringing the total infections in the country to 5,804 and the death toll to 40, the health ministry said in a statement.

The new cases included six Kuwaiti citizens who returned from the United States, the statement said.

Currently, 3,732 patients are receiving treatment, including 90 in ICU, according to the statement.

Meanwhile, Minister of Health Bassel Al-Sabah announced the recovery of 85 patients from the coronavirus, raising the total number of recoveries in the country to 2,032.


Kyrgyzstan reported 13 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 843.

Deputy Health Minister Nurbolot Usenbaev told a news briefing on Tuesday that one patient died Monday night, taking the total to 11.

One of the newly infected is a medical worker, Usenbaev said.


Lebanon recorded on Tuesday one imported COVID-19 case, raising the total number of infections in the country to 741, the National News Agency (NNA) reported.

The new case is an expatriate who arrived in Lebanon two days ago, NNA said, adding the health ministry did not witness any new infections among Lebanese residents.

The death toll from the virus has remained at 25, it noted.

Meanwhile, the cabinet decided to extend the general mobilization measures by another two weeks until May 24 despite its approval of the gradual reopening of businesses.

Lebanon’s supreme defence council will advise the government to extend a shutdown to curb the spread of coronavirus by two weeks until May 24, a security source said after the council convened on Tuesday.

A decision is expected at a cabinet meeting later on Tuesday.


Malaysian health authorities on Tuesday reported 30 new coronavirus cases, bringing the cumulative total to 6,383 cases as the country entered the second day of relaxed curbs on movement and businesses.

The health ministry also reported one new death, raising the 7total fatalities to 106.

People watch the sunset over the Mediterranean Sea on the beachfront of Tel Aviv, Israel, May 3, 2020. Israeli authorities have recently begun loosening the restrictions of the coronavirus lockdown. The easing brought people out of their homes to enjoy the outdoors. (PHOTO / AP)


Maldives can expect another surge in COVID-19 cases in capital Male in the coming weeks, local media quoting President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih said here Monday.

The president in a public address urged Maldivians to remain cautious during the next two weeks as health authorities projected a new surge of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Meanwhile, Dr. Ibrahim Afzal of the Health Protection Agency (HPA) was quoted in local media warning that a large cluster of COVID-19 cases may be identified in the coming days despite a recent lull.

ALSO READ: NZ joins Australia's virus cabinet meeting to discuss travel hub


Mongolia's National Center for Communicable Diseases (NCCD) on Tuesday reported one newly confirmed COVID-19 case, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 41.

"A total of 307 tests for COVID-19 were conducted at five laboratories across Mongolia yesterday and one of them tested positive," Dulmaa Nyamkhuu, head of the NCCD, said at a daily press conference.

New Zealand

New Zealand announced Tuesday that the State of National Emergency to support the COVID-19 response will be extended for a sixth time, for a further seven days.

The initial declaration was made on March 25, and the seven-day declaration can be extended as many times as necessary. It does not change the COVID-19 Alert Level.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern joined Australia’s coronavirus cabinet meeting on Tuesday as the neighbouring countries discuss reopening their borders to trans-Tasman travel following their successes in containing the disease.

Both countries have a COVID-19 mortality rate of just 1% and have boosted their medical equipment reserves as they plan to slowly reopen their economies, including restarting travel across the Tasman sea.


The Omani Ministry of Health announced on Monday 69 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of cases in the country to 2,637.

According to a statement issued by the ministry, out of the 69 new cases, there are 37 Omanis, and all the new cases are related to community contact.

A total of 12 deaths were reported.


 Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has extended to June 5 a state of emergency declared in areas under his administration in the Israeli-occupied West Bank in response to the coronavirus crisis, the official news agency Wafa said on Tuesday.

First announced two months ago, the state of emergency heralded a full lockdown that confined Palestinians to their homes, except for essential travel. Border crossings with Israel and Jordan were closed.

Palestinian Minister of Health Mail al-Kaila told a news briefing in Ramallah that 10 cases were recorded on Monday, including nine cases from the West Bank and one case from East Jerusalem, adding that the total number of infection cases has reached 532.

South Korea

South Korea reported three more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of 0:00 a.m. Tuesday local time, raising the total number of infections to 10,804.

It was the lowest daily increase in 77 days since Feb. 18. The daily caseload hovered below 20 for 18 straight days.

All the new cases were imported from overseas, lifting the combined figure to 1,102. The domestic infection logged zero for the second consecutive day.

Two more deaths were confirmed, leaving the death toll at 254. The total fatality rate stood at 2.35 percent.


Singapore’s health ministry on Tuesday confirmed 632 new coronavirus cases, taking the city-state’s tally of infections to 19,410.


Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warned on Monday that the country could face a “real catastrophe” if coronavirus cases spike and overwhelm health services.

The current low level of infections did not mean Syria had escaped the “circle of danger”, Assad said in an address to the government committee that oversees measures to curb the pandemic.

“These figures could suddenly spike in a few days or few weeks and we would see in front of us real catastrophe that exceeds our health and logistical abilities,” he said.

Syrian has now reported 44 confirmed cases and three deaths. UN bodies and humanitarian workers have warned that the country is at high risk in the event of a major outbreak due to a fragile health sector and a lack of resources.


Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha on Tuesday blamed convenience stores, supermarkets and liquor stores for allowing many customers to buy alcoholic beverages at the same time, breaking the social distancing rule.

Thailand on Tuesday reported one new coronavirus case and no new deaths, the lowest number of new infections since March 9.

Since Thailand’s outbreak began in January, the country has seen a total of 2,988 coronavirus cases and 54 deaths. Taweesin said 2,747 patients have recovered, while 187 are still being treated in hospitals.

The Philippines

The Philippines’ health ministry on Tuesday reported 14 new coronavirus deaths and 199 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the health ministry said total deaths from the outbreak have reached 637, while confirmed cases have increased to 9,684. But 93 more patients have recovered, bringing total recoveries to 1,408.


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday announced a series of steps to gradually ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Speaking after attending a cabinet meeting via a video conference from Istanbul, Erdogan said the government would gradually ease the restrictions during May, June, and July.

The Turkish health minister on Monday confirmed 1,614 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number in the country to 127,659.

The deaths from the coronavirus have reached 3,461 after 64 new fatalities in the past 24 hours, Fahrettin Koca tweeted.

Turkey conducted a total of 35,771 tests in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of tests to 1,171,138, the minister noted.A man sanitizes a room where Syrians who returned from Turkey are placed in quarantine in the countryside of the town of Jisr al-Shughur, west of the mostly rebel-held Syrian province of Idlib, on April 27, 2020. (PHOTO / AFP)


The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Monday announced 567 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 14,730.

The ministry also confirmed 11 more death, pushing the country's death toll to 137.