Global coronavirus deaths inch closer to 4 lakh

Updated: Jun 04, 2020, 08:17 IST | Agencies | Berlin/Rome

As many as 3,83,178 people have died across the world since the outbreak of COVID-19 in China in December, and the number of those infected now stands at 6,482,695

People attend the opening night of a drive-in festival in Glyfada, as Greece eases lockdown measures. Pic/AFP
People attend the opening night of a drive-in festival in Glyfada, as Greece eases lockdown measures. Pic/AFP

Even as several countries prepare to reopen their international borders, after gradually easing lockdown imposed to contain the spread of novel Coronavirus, the death toll due to COVID-19 inched closer to 4 lakh on Wednesday. As many as 3,83,178 people have died across the world since the outbreak of COVID-19 in China in December, and the number of those infected now stands at 6,482,695.

Germany lifts travel warning
Germany's government says it plans to lift a travel warning for European countries on June 15 — but it may still advise against travel in some cases, for example to Britain if quarantine rules there remain in place.

The country has reported a total of 1,84,115 infections and 8,676 deaths due to COVID-19 so far. On Wednesday, Chancellor Angela Merkel's governing coalition was spending a second day hammering out a stimulus package meant to help kick-start the economy. In Germany, the unemployment rate rose modestly to 6.3 per cent from 5.8 per cent according to its own labour agency measures.

Europe's unemployment rate ticked up modestly last month, contained by use of labour programs that have kept millions of workers on payrolls and as some people stopped looking for work, statistics agency Eurostat said on Wednesday.

The jobless rate in the 19 countries that use the euro rose to 7.3 per cent in April, from 7.1 per cent in March. Europe's rise in unemployment has been moderate by international standards because employers are making extensive use of government-backed short-time work programs that allows them to keep employees on the payroll while they await better times.

Italy reopens int'l borders
Rome's airport sprang back to life on Wednesday as Italy opened regional and international borders in the final phase of easing its lockdown. Italy is the first European country to fully open its international borders, dropping the 14-day quarantine rule for visitors. But most European nations see Italy's move — that aims to boost its collapsed yet critical tourism industry — as premature.

Experts watch as Brazil starts to reopen

Rio de Janeiro, one of the cities worst hit by COVID-19 in Brazil, has slowly started to reopen, more than two months after non-essential businesses were forced to shut down in order to limit the spread of the new Coronavirus. As of June 1, Rio had over 30,000 confirmed cases and 3,671 deaths. Some people ventured onto the beach on Tuesday even though they officially remained closed, while surfers and swimmers were allowed to get into the sea for the first time in weeks.
Sports activities in training centers resumed behind closed doors. In the first of the plan's six phases, most street shops will remain closed, with a few exceptions, such as car and furniture stores. Restaurants and bars also remain shut.

'Sweden could have battled COVID-19 better'

Sweden's chief epidemiologist showed contrition on Wednesday as criticism mounted over the Scandinavian country's hotly debated method of fighting the COVID-19, which has resulted in one of the highest death rates per capita in the world.

Sweden has stood out among European nations and the world for the way it has handled the pandemic, not shutting down the country like others but relying on citizens' sense of civic duty. Authorities have advised people to practice physical distancing, but schools, bars and restaurants remained open. Only gatherings of over 50 people have been banned. "I think there is potential for improvement in what we have done in Sweden, quite clearly," Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency said.

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