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As global cases pass 7 million, WHO warns the pandemic is 'far from over'

Here are the latest coronavirus updates from around the world.
A woman is sprayed with disinfectant before entering a shopping mall in Jakarta on Tuesday. Dita Alangkara / AP

Despite encouraging signs in east Asia and Europe, where economies are slowly reopening after months of lockdown, the World Health Organization has warned that the pandemic is "far from over" as the number of cases globally hit 7 million.

"More than six months into the pandemic, this is not the time for any country to take its foot off the pedal," WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Monday.

More than 135,000 cases were reported Sunday, he said, making it the worst day for new confirmed infections since the pandemic began. Some three quarters of the new cases were from 10 countries, including the U.S, which is approaching the 2 million cases mark.

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Maryland reports 500 new cases of COVID-19, 35 additional deaths

Maryland health officials announced 500 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing the statewide total to 58,904.

The state also said another 35 people had died of COVID-19; in all, 2,811 people have died of the virus there.

France to open preliminary investigation into handling of coronavirus

The Paris prosecutor's office said Tuesday it would open an official preliminary investigation into the management of the coronavirus pandemic in France.

Rémy Heitz, the district attorney, said the investigation was prompted by 62 complaints filed by individuals and professional groups. The charges varied from endangering the lives of others to unintentional homicide.

There is no single defendant in the country as investigating judges will have to determine whether charges should be brought against a person, agency or government body.

The purpose of the judicial inquiry will be to examine the decision-making process implemented during the health crisis in order to uncover any criminal offences that may have been committed, Heitz said.


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The last cruise ship passengers of the pandemic finally come home

What is thought to be the last cruise ship still carrying passengers has finally docked six months after it set off.

The eight passengers on board the MV Artania disembarked at the German port of Bremerhaven on Monday, according to the ship's owner, Phoenix Reisen. On its epic voyage, a total of 36 passengers tested positive for coronavirus when it docked in Fremantle, Western Australia. Three passengers later died.

The remaining passengers, mostly Germany nationals, chose to fly back from Australia to Frankfurt but a hardy group of eight decided to stay on board the 1,200-capacity ship since it left Australia on April 18 until now. The journey home was even extended by two weeks, as the ship stopped off at various ports to repatriate crew members.

Moscow lifts lockdown measures despite high daily case count

On Monday night Moscow Mayor Sergey Sobyanin unexpectedly announced that from Tuesday various lockdown measures will be cancelled. A QR-code pass system, walking schedule and a self-isolation regime are all now stopped.

However, masks and gloves outside of the home remain technically mandatory — though it is clear that fewer and fewer people are following this rule.

Over the next two weeks, normal life will return to the city and economy in three phases, the first of which sees things like hairdressers, photo shops, veterinary clinics, and employment agencies reopened.

The move comes despite Moscow’s daily new case count remaining consistent at around 2,000 a day for the past month, and repeated warnings that strict measures would remain in place until daily new cases had fallen into the dozens or hundreds.

WHO says asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is rare, contradicting CDC

German imports and exports record biggest ever drop in April

German exports and imports slumped in April, posting their biggest declines since records began in 1990 as demand dried up in the coronavirus lockdown, adding to a gloomy outlook for Europe’s biggest economy, data showed on Tuesday.

Facing its deepest recession since World War Two, the big question is how quickly Germany’s export-oriented economy can recover now a shutdown that halted production and stunted retail has eased.

Desperate to speed up recovery, the government last week announced a 130 billion euro ($146.35 billion) stimulus package to help boost domestic demand. That comes on top of 750 billion euros worth of measures announced in March.

How a Texas couple claimed their baby from Ukraine despite coronavirus lockdown

Darlene Straub, 45, the mother of baby Sophia, born via surrogacy, holds the newborn for the first time in a rented apartment in Kyiv, Ukraine.Oksana Parafeniuk / for NBC News

KYIV, Ukraine — It took the Straubs more than three days to travel from Dallas to the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv. But, arduous as it was, to them the trip was worth it.

A baby was waiting for them in Kyiv. Their baby. Waiting to come home.

Whether the Straubs would be able to enter Ukraine — or would be stopped by travel restrictions aimed at halting the spread of the coronavirus — they did not know. Already, reports had emerged of parents traveling to Ukraine to pick up babies born to surrogate mothers, as the Straubs were doing, but being turned away at the border, leaving as many as 100 infants in legal limbo.

Read the whole story here.

New Zealand celebrates end of most coronavirus restrictions

U.S. death toll could reach 145,000 by August, researchers predict

The U.S. could have a death toll of over 145,000 people from COVID-19 by August, according to researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle. 

If true, it would mean a further 30,000 deaths occurring in the country in the next two months. The U.S. has reported 113,000 deaths to date. 

Almost half of U.S. states have reported an uptick of cases in recent days and weeks following widespread reopening of economies raising fears of a second peak.