As the global death toll from COVID-19 passed the 400,000 mark, and protests sparked by the death of George Floyd continue around the world, U.S. cities and European nations are this week relaxing measures that have seen millions confined to their homes.
Shops will partially reopen and thousands are expected to go back to work in New York City on Monday, for many weeks the hardest-hit city in the country.But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo warns "it doesn't mean we're going to back to the way we were."
Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Germany are among the countries to further lighten lockdown restrictions, while the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, has declared the country free of COVID-19.
- MAPS: Confirmed cases in the U.S. and worldwide; confirmed deaths in the U.S. and globally
- Reopening America: See what states across the U.S. have already reopened.
- The coronavirus has destroyed the job market in every state. See the per-state jobless numbers and how they’ve changed.
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Italy expecting sharp economic hit from COVID-19
Italy's economy will shrink 8.3 percent in 2020 before rebounding in 2021, the country's official statics body has predicted.
Istat said in a statement Monday that the Italian economy was already stagnating at the end of 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the dramatic fall in investment and exports has had a huge impact. Unemployment is forecast to rise to 9.4 percent this year, but Istat predicts both employment and economic output to return to growth in 2021.
"Starting from the end of February the COVID-19 containment measures introduced by the Government was having a deep impact on the economy influencing production, investment and consumption decisions and very negatively affecting the labor market," Istat said.
Lockdowns may have averted 3 million deaths in Europe by curbing COVID-19: study
LONDON — Wide-scale lockdowns including shop and school closures have reduced COVID-19 transmission rates in Europe enough to control its spread and may have averted more than three million deaths, researchers said on Monday.
In a modelling study of lockdown impact in 11 nations, Imperial College London scientists said the draconian steps, imposed mostly in March, had "a substantial effect" and helped bring the infection's reproductive rate below one by early May.
The reproduction rate, or R value, measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.
The Imperial team estimated that by early May, between 12 and 15 million people in the 11 countries — Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland — had been infected with COVID-19.
Drive-thru art gallery opens in airport parking garage
Coronavirus disrupts global fight to save endangered species
Biologist Carlos Ruiz has spent a quarter-century working to save golden lion tamarins, the charismatic long-maned monkeys native to Brazil’s Atlantic Forest.
Thanks to painstaking reforestation efforts, the population of these endangered monkeys was steadily growing until an outbreak of yellow fever hit Brazil in 2018, wiping out a third of the tamarins. Undeterred, Ruiz’s team devised an ambitious new experiment: This spring, they would start vaccinating many of the remaining wild monkeys.
Enter the coronavirus, which is now hampering critical work to protect threatened species and habitats worldwide.
European countries continue to ease lockdown measures
Countries across Europe continued to ease their coronavirus lockdowns Monday with Ireland, Belgium, Denmark and Spain all relaxing their rules.
Belgium moved to phase 3 of its plan to lift the lockdown and permitted the reopening of gyms, bars, restaurants religious services and amateur sports. Denmark, likewise, expanded the limit on public gatherings from 10 people to 50.
In Ireland, small businesses were permitted to begin reopening, the business minister announced on Twitter, and in Spain, many regions were moved from 'phase 2' to 'phase 3' meaning sidewalk cafes and bars can reopen with patrons keeping a safe distance. Barcelona and Madrid will, however, face tighter restrictions than other parts of the country as they move to 'phase 2.'
'I did a little dance': New Zealand leader celebrates no active cases of COVID-19
New Delhi orders hospitals to be reserved for residents only as cases surge
The Indian capital New Delhi ordered state hospital beds to be reserved for residents only on Sunday as the city registered a large increase in new cases. Typically, Indians from all across the country travel to New Delhi to get treatment as the capital has some of the nation's best hospitals.
"Delhi is in big trouble . . . corona cases are rising rapidly," state Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said in a video message on Twitter, "if we open Delhi hospitals for patients from all over, where will Delhi residents go when they get infected with coronavirus?"
Kejriwal began self isolating himself Monday after developing symptoms. He'll be tested for the virus Tuesday Sanjay Singh, leader of the chief minister's AAP party said on Twitter.
New Delhi now has over 10 percent of India's approximately 250,000 coronavirus cases. The country now has the fifth highest number of cases in the world, with almost 10,000 more people testing positive Sunday.
U.K. quarantine rules begin despite travel industry anger
New quarantine rules impacting travelers entering the U.K. began Monday morning despite widespread criticism from airline and travel industry.
New arrivals into the U.K., regardless of their nationality, will be required to self-isolate for 14 days. Enforcement action will take place to ensure that the rules are being followed and those who are found to have breached the requirements face a fine of up to £1,000 ($1,270). Exemptions have been made, including for truck drivers and travelers from Ireland.
However airlines including British Airways and Ryanair — already hit hard by a massive decline in air travel — have been highly critical of the approach. Willie Walsh, the chief executive of national flag-carrier British Airways, claimed the rules were "irrational and disproportionate" and threatened legal action. Getlink, the operator of the cross-channel tunnel linking Britain and France, also wrote to Prime Minister Johnson claiming the plans are "fraught with problems."
New York City begins to reopen after coronavirus lockdown, curfew lifted
New York City is set to begin the first phase of re-opening on Monday after nearly three months of coronavirus lockdown restrictions that were capped off last week with a curfew enacted in the wake of protests.
In the wake of the protests that roiled the city after the death of George Floyd, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Sunday a series of new reforms to the New York City Police Department. He also said the city will shift funding from the police force to youth and social services for communities of color.
As many as 400,000 people are expected to return to work on Monday, NBC New York reported. Full subway service and construction work are also set to resume. As of Sunday, the city had 210,166 confirmed coronavirus cases and 21,752 deaths, approximately one-fifth of the entire U.S. death toll.
New Zealand declares itself free of coronavirus, reopens economy
New Zealand is free of coronavirus, the country's health ministry said Monday as it confirmed that the last remaining patient had been "symptom free for 48 hours."
In a televised statement, Prime Minister Jacinda Adern announced that the economy would be fully reopened and the alert level lowered to one. All lockdown restrictions — apart from the border, which remains closed — were lifted as a result.
New Zealand has managed to successfully contain the coronavirus while many other western nations have been much more severely impacted. The country last reported a new case 17 days ago, and has only 1,154 confirmed cases to date.