Lockdowns ease across the world as U.S. protests continue

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
Costumers take drinks at the terrace of a cafe-restaurant in Paris on June 2, 2020, as cafes and restaurants reopen in France, while the country eases lockdown measures taken to curb the spread of the COVID-19.Christophe Archambault / AFP - Getty Images

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Protests over the death in police custody of George Floyd in Minneapolis continued throughout the U.S. overnight, raising fears of a wave of new infections. According to NBC News' tally there have been 1.8 million coronavirus infections in the U.S. and 105,000 related deaths, the highest of any country on both counts.

Meanwhile, countries across the world were lifting lockdown measures, with schools and businesses opening as a new way of life after the coronavirus pandemic emerges. Paris' famous street-side cafes will reopen Tuesday, while restrictions are also being eased in parts of Latin America.

Schoolchildren returned to classes in Singapore Tuesday, all wearing face masks, following the United Kingdom on Monday and several other European and Asian countries last month.

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus, plus a timeline of the most critical moments:

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QR codes to trace cases after South Korea nightclub outbreak

South Korea is trialing a new QR code system to better track and trace visitors to high-risk locations including nightclubs, restaurants and churches. 

The decision to use the system follows authorities concern after struggling to trace a number of people who had visited nightclubs and bars at the center of a virus outbreak in the capital Seoul last month. The outbreak centered on a number of LGBTQ venues and, as homosexuality is still taboo in the east Asian nation, entries to the handwritten visitor logs were often found to be false or incomplete. 

Starting June 10, visitors to these high-risk locations will be required to use their phone to generate a one-time, personalized QR code that is scanned at the door. The information will be logged in a database for four weeks before being automatically deleted, according to South Korea's Ministry of Health. 

Wuhan tests 60,000 people and finds no new asymptomatic cases

Wuhan has registered no new asymptomatic infections for the first time following tests of over 60,000 people, the city's municipal health commission reported. 

The city, in Hubei Province, was the epicentre of China's initial coronavirus outbreak. Just five new cases were confirmed across China Monday, according to official figures, and all were attributed to foreign travelers.

China has officially recorded 4,634 deaths from COVID-19 to date, with no new deaths reported since the middle of last month. 

New Zealand may remove all coronavirus restriction next week

WELLINGTON — New Zealand could lift all remaining restrictions to limit the spread of the coronavirus next week, after the country all but eliminated the virus domestically.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said New Zealand could move to alert level 1 next week, which means all social distancing measures and curbs on mass gatherings will be lifted. Borders will remain closed, she said.

"Our strategy of go hard, go early has paid off... and in some cases, beyond expectations," Ardern said at a news conference.

The cabinet will decide on June 8, earlier than the planned date of June 22, she said. New Zealand recorded no new cases of coronavirus for a 11th consecutive day on Tuesday, and has just one active case in the country.

As protests sweep nation, research finds social distancing most effective at slowing coronavirus spread

Demonstrators sit in an intersection during a protest over the death of George Floyd on May 30, 2020, in Los Angeles.Mark J. Terrill / AP

Social distancing is the most effective way to slow the spread of the coronavirus — more so than face coverings and eye protection — according to a meta-analysis published Monday in The Lancet.

The findings have new significance as thousands of Americans are gathering alongside strangers in the midst of the pandemic, demonstrating against the death of George Floyd and demanding an end to social injustice.

"We just spent 93 days limiting behavior, closing down, no school, no business, thousands of small businesses destroyed," New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, "And now? Mass gatherings, with thousands of people, in close proximity?"

"What sense does this make?"

Read the full story here. 

WHO chief wants collaboration with U.S. to continue despite Trump terminating relationship

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus during an event in Geneva, Switzerland on Wednesday, May 27. Christopher Black / orld Health Organization via AFP - Getty Images

The head of the World Health Organization said Monday the U.S. role in the health agency's work has been "immense," and he wants that collaboration to continue despite President Donald Trump announcing last week that the U.S. would be “terminating” its relationship with the WHO over the organization's response to the coronavirus pandemic.  

“The world has long benefited from the strong collaborative engagement with the government and the people of the United States," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in an online briefing with reporters from Geneva. “The U.S. government’s and its people's contribution and generosity towards global health over many decades has been immense and it has made a great difference in public health all around the world.”

“It is WHO’s wish for this collaboration to continue,” Tedros added. 

He deflected further questions on whether there is a formal process for a country to withdraw from the WHO. Tedros also indicated that the WHO first heard that the U.S. was ending its relationship through news media reports on Friday.  

N.Y. Gov. Cuomo floats possibility of NYC curfew

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday said he will speak with Mayor Bill de Blasio about putting the country's biggest city under a curfew after some weekend protests over George Floyd's death turned violent.

"Legally, I can impose a curfew," Cuomo said. "I'm not at that point, but I know something has to happen because last night was not acceptable and the night before was not acceptable."

At his coronavirus briefing Monday, de Blasio said that he does not believe a curfew is needed but it is being considered as an option.

De Blasio said he will consult with Police Commissioner Dermot Shea and the governor.

Earlier Monday, Shea said he did not think a curfew would work.

"The problem is: People need to listen to a curfew, and that’s not going to happen," he said on the “TODAY” show. "If people think it will, they don't understand what's going on."

Spain records no deaths for first time in 3 months

MADRID — Spain said Monday it's reporting no deaths in a 24-hour period from the new coronavirus for the first time since March.

Emergency health response chief Fernando Simón said the development is “very, very encouraging.”

He told a news conference there were only 71 new infections over the past 24 hours.

Spain reported its first two deaths on March 3. Another was reported two days later. Spain’s number of infections and death jumped exponentially. On April 2, it recorded 950 deaths in 24 hours — the peak death toll. The official death toll now stands at 27,127, with 240,000 confirmed cases.

Eli Lilly starts first antibody treatment trial in humans

Eli Lilly has started the first COVID-19 antibody treatment trials in humans, the company said in a statement Monday. 

The treatment uses what are known as monoclonal antibodies made from people who were sick with the coronavirus. They are meant to work as natural antibodies do in the body by blocking the virus.

The first trial will look at the drug's safety, Lilly said. Later trials will test whether the drug works in hospitalized patients. The company will also study whether the antibody has protective properties, meaning it could be given to healthy people so they don't get sick.