Worldwide coronavirus cases surpass three million

Confirmed coronavirus cases have now topped three million worldwide, as hard-hit countries were set to detail their exit strategies from lockdowns

Worldwide coronavirus cases surpass three million
A doctor shows a rapid COVID-19 blood test - Photo: Florian Plaucheur/AFP
English 28/04/2020 12:47 AFP Actualizada 13:25
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Confirmed coronavirus cases have now topped three million worldwide, as hard-hit France and Spain were on Tuesday set to detail their exit strategies from lockdowns imposed to stem the spread of the deadly disease.

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More than 209,000 people have been killed around the world by COVID-19, a quarter of them in the U.S.

The three-million figure probably reflects only a fraction of the actual number of infections, as many countries are testing only the most serious cases.

Forecasts warn of the worst global recession in a century, with oil prices tumbling and the travel and tourism sector badly hammered.

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With a handful of U.S. states taking steps to revive their shuttered economies, schools and shops in some parts of Europe also opened up as the rate of people dying slowed in the worst-hit European nations.

Spain has already begun easing its tight lockdown and was set to announce more detailed plans.

Italythe first European country to go into lockdown seven weeks ago—began allowing some construction and factory workers to go back to work on Monday.

From next week, Italians will be able to exercise outdoors and visit relatives—but only if they wear masks and refrain from hugs and handshakes.

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Spain has already begun easing its tight lockdown and was set to announce more detailed plans on Tuesday, as was France, which has said it will begin to ease confinement on May 11.

Florists, dentists and others went back to work in Switzerland in the first stage of a three-phase plan.

But British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who emerged from his own battle with the virus, called for patience in the United Kingdom, saying it was too early to follow suit.

Looking thinner and with his blond hair longer after his hospital stay, the 55-year-old said he could not "throw away all the effort and the sacrifice of the British people and to risk a second major outbreak."

His comments stood in stark contrast to those made the previous day by New Zealand's Prime Minister Jacinda Arden, who said the nation had won the battle against "widespread, undetected community transmission".

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New Zealanders indulged in fast food and coffee-shop treats for the first time in five weeks as the country eased its strict lockdown that banned any form of takeaway.

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