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Global COVID-19 cases surpass 3.5 million, total deaths top 247,000

NEW YORK: Global confirmed COVID-19 cases topped 3.5 million, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University, which maintains a tally of worldwide cases.
A total of 247,107 people worldwide have died of the disease, according to the CSSE. The United States, which remains the hardest-hit, reported 1,156,924 cases and 67,498 deaths.
Spain and Italy followed with 217,466 cases and 210,717 cases, respectively. Other countries with over 150,000 cases included the United Kingdom, France and Germany.
Italy
Italy’s daily new deaths from COVID-19 dropped to 174 on Sunday, the lowest level since the country imposed a lockdown on March 10 to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The new increase pushed the death toll to 28,884. The numbers of those in intensive care, hospitalisation and recovering at home with symptoms all decreased.
Italy is set to ease its lockdown measures beginning on Monday. The new rules will allow Italians to visit family members living in the same region, and bars and restaurants to offer takeaway options instead of delivery only during the lockdown.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said that if indicators continued to improve, he would consider speeding up the reopening in parts of the country least hurt by the pandemic.
France
The number of people who have died in France after contracting the new coronavirus rose on Sunday by 135 to 24,895, the health ministry said. The number of people treated in hospital for the coronavirus and the number of people in intensive care units continued to decline.
A total of 131,287 people have tested positive for the coronavirus since the start of the epidemic, up from Saturday’s tally of 130,979 cases.
France is planning to lift it two-month lockdown by gradually opening schools and shops and unwinding restriction on people movement, as a slowdown in the spread of the virus is putting less pressure on hospitals in the last three weeks.
The government decided to extend the state of health emergency by another two months to address a possible resurgence of COVID-19 when the lockdown ends on May 11.
Travellers to France who arrive from a country in Europe’s Schengen open-border area or Britain will be exempt from a planned compulsory two-week quarantine, the French consulate in London said.
Meanwhile, France’s state-supported ‘StopCOVID’ contact-tracing app should enter its testing phase in the week of May 11 when the country starts to unwind its lockdown.
United Kingdom
Another 315 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain, bringing the death toll in the country to 28,446, Minister for the Cabinet Office Michael Gove said Sunday. The figures include deaths in hospitals, care homes and the wider community.
During a briefing at Downing Street, Gove said that in the coming days, Prime Minister Boris Johnson would talk more about the government’s plan on the next step when the lockdown in Britain is eased.
Britain will trial a new coronavirus tracing program next week on the Isle of Wight, just off the south coast of England, Gove said. He also unveiled that the government has pledged an additional 1.6 billion pounds to councils across England to support essential frontline services including adult social care.
United States
In the United States, half of the states partially reopened their economies after the coronavirus lockdown. Thousands of people gathered on the National Mall in Washington to view a US Navy flyover to honor healthcare workers and others battling the pandemic.
In New York City, the warmest weather yet this spring caused picnickers and sunbathers to flock to green spaces in Manhattan. The number of US cases topped 1.1 million and the death toll rose to more than 67,000 on Sunday.
President Donald Trump said he now believes as many as 100,000 Americans could die in the pandemic, after the death toll passed his earlier estimates, but said he was confident a vaccine would be developed by the year’s end.
Trump also said there had to be more help for Americans suffering from the economic tailspin brought about by the new coronavirus in a possible hint he wants Congress to pass another aid bill.
Canada
Canada’s daily coronavirus death toll edged up by under 5 percent on Sunday in another sign the outbreak has peaked and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised additional funding for mental healthcare services.
The total number of people killed by the coronavirus rose by 4.6 percent to 3,606 on Sunday, public health agency data showed. The figure for those diagnosed with the coronavirus rose to 57,148, the public health agency said.
Trudeau said he understood the stress caused by the shutdown of businesses across the country and orders to stay inside. He announced the government would spend C$240 million to help develop virtual mental health tools to deliver support digitally.
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