Coronavirus numbers cross six million

Cautious reopening:Families with their children seen on the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday.APManu Fernandez

Cautious reopening:Families with their children seen on the Paseo de la Castellana in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday.APManu Fernandez  

The number of COVID-19 cases worldwide topped six million Sunday as Brazil registered another record surge in daily infections and divisions deepened on how to deal with the pandemic.

Latin American countries are bracing for difficult weeks ahead as the virus spreads rapidly across the region. This contrasts to other parts of the world where the pace has eased and permitted a cautious exit from lockdowns that have wrecked economies and stripped millions of their jobs.

The new epicentre

In Brazil — the epicentre of South America’s outbreak with nearly 5,00,000 confirmed cases — disagreement among its leaders over lockdown measures has hampered efforts to slow a virus that has cost nearly 30,000 lives.

President Jair Bolsonaro, who fears the economic fallout from stay-at-home orders will be worse than the virus, has berated Governors and Mayors for imposing what he calls “the tyranny of total quarantine.” Even as his country surpassed France to have the world’s fourth-highest death toll, Mr. Bolsonaro called for Brazil’s football season to resume.

The pandemic has killed nearly 3,70,000 people and infected more than six million worldwide, according to an AFP tally.

As the virus progresses at different speeds around the globe, there has been pressure to lift crippling lockdowns, despite the lack of a vaccine and experts warning of a possible second wave of infections.

South Africa will reopen its economy on Monday, the continent’s hardest-hit country moving to level three of a five-tier lockdown.

Some good news turned sour in China, where the first flight carrying Europeans arrived on Saturday since the country suspended visas in late March.

Just a day later, Chinese authorities said a German engineer on the flight had tested positive for coronavirus as an asymptomatic carrier.

With infection numbers falling in many of Europe’s most affected countries, restrictions are being steadily eased.

Parks open in Paris

Parks opened in Paris on the weekend for the first time in months, ahead of restaurants, cafes and bars reopening on sidewalks and terraces on Tuesday. “Paris needs to support its restaurants and bars.

They are the heart of our city,” Mayor Anne Hidalgo said, as some restaurants jumped the gun by opening early, with police largely turning a blind eye.

Across the Atlantic, the U.S. capital Washington also resumed outdoor dining, while on the West Coast, restaurants and hair salons in Los Angeles reopened.

New York City, the worst-hit American city with about 21,500 coronavirus deaths, is on track to begin reopening the week of June 8.

The overall U.S. death toll has topped 1,03,000 out of more than 1.7 million cases.

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