More than 206,544 people have lost their lives due to the respiratory disease caused by the new virus — well over half of them in Europe — and 2,971,477 others are currently infected with the virus across the globe, according to the latest data collected by Johns Hopkins University.
Meanwhile, the contagion curve appears to have flattened in Europe, as the continent’s worst-hit nations — Italy, Spain, France, and Britain — eventually report drops in their daily tallies.
That has allowed the governments to prepare for a staged end to weeks off coronavirus lockdowns.
Spanish children get outside after 6 weeks
Spanish children were finally free to go outside on Sunday, after six weeks of living under one of Europe’s strictest lockdowns.
Under the new lockdown conditions, children under 14 are allowed to step outside of their house for one hour of supervised activity per day.
Schools still remain closed.
Spain’s Health Ministry reported the lowest daily increase in the coronavirus fatality toll in more than a month on Sunday. It registered 288 deaths, which brought the total number of fatalities to 23,190, while the overall number of cases rose to 226, 629.
The county has recorded the world’s third-highest number of deaths, after the United States and Italy.
Italy to reopen factories
Italy will also allow manufacturers, construction companies, and some wholesalers to reopen from next week, and will permit limited family visits after more than two months of a strict lockdown.
Under the revised rules, retailers will be allowed to reopen two weeks later.
Restaurants, however, will remain closed until the beginning of June.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who outlined the road map to restart activities, said on Sunday, “We will live with the virus and we will have to adopt every precaution possible.”
Health authorities reported a third consecutive daily fall in COVID-19 deaths, with 260 fatalities — the lowest number since mid-March.
With 26,644 fatalities, Italy’s death toll still remains the heaviest in Europe, along with 197, 675 confirmed cases of the viral infection.
The number of new cases has been slowing and the number of patients in intensive care has been falling steadily, according to officials.
Britain reports 413 more deaths
Britain’s daily tally was also the lowest since the end of March, as officials reported 413 deaths in 24 hours, with 4,463 new confirmed cases.
That brought the total death toll across the United Kingdom to 20,732, along with 152,840 confirmed cases.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce plans for easing lockdown restrictions as early as this week.
He is due to be back at work on Monday after spending a week in hospital due to a coronavirus infection and two weeks of recovering at Chequers, his country residence.
France reports lowest deaths in over a month
France on Sunday reported the smallest rise in deaths since March 25, with a decrease in the number of patients in intensive care.
Deaths rose by 242 to 22,856, according to figures provided by the French Health Ministry on Sunday.
The number of new cases also increased by 1,129 to 191,743.
Some businesses allowed to reopen in Switzerland
Switzerland also allowed some businesses to reopen on Monday. The country has reported a total number of 29,061 cases of COVID-19 and 1,610 deaths.
Germany detects 1,018 new cases
Germany has confirmed 1,018 new cases, bringing its total to 155,193, according to data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases on Monday.
The death toll also rose by 110 to 5,750, the data showed.
Meanwhile, millions of Muslims across the world have begun the holy month of Ramadan under coronavirus restrictions, which ban them from large gatherings for prayers in mosques.
Saudi Arabia relaxes some curfews
Saudi Arabia has kept 24-hour lockdowns in place in the city of Mecca, but eased some curfews elsewhere on Sunday.
Outside Mecca and certain lockdown areas, curfews will be eased for eight hours during the day.
The kingdom has also allowed some economic and commercial activities to re-start from Wednesday until May 13.
With 17,522 cases of infection and 139 deaths, Saudi Arabia has the highest numbers among the six members of the Persian Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). The countries, namely Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, have collectively recorded almost 46,000 cases and 258 deaths.
Dubai lifts lockdown on two commercial districts
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) lifted a full lockdown on two densely-populated commercial districts in Dubai on Sunday.
Dubai, the Middle East’s business hub, already cut its 24-hour lockdown back to an eight-hour curfew on Friday.
The UAE has reported more than 10,300 cases and 76 deaths resulting from COVID-19, the second-highest count among the six-member Arab alliance.
Turkey’s death toll passes 2,800
Turkey eased a four-day curfew in 31 provinces and lifted quarantines in 177 settlements in 44 cities midnight on Sunday.
The Turkish Interior Ministry, however, said in a statement that regulations to curb the spread of the disease, such as compulsory wearing of masks and social-distancing in markets and streets would be strictly monitored over the next week.
Turkey’s confirmed cases increased by 2,357 in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry data showed on Sunday, taking the country’s tally to 110,130 — the highest total for any country outside Western Europe or the United States.
The number of deaths also increased to 2,805 after 99 people succumbed to the respiratory disease in the last 24 hours.
A total of 29,140 people in Turkey have so far recovered from COVID-19, authorities said.
China reports 3 new cases, no deaths
China, the first ever country to report the disease, has detected three new cases, down from 11 a day earlier, with no new deaths, the country’s health authority said on Monday.
Of the new cases, two were imported, down from five on the previous day, according to the National Health Committee.
The country has a total of 82,830 cases and 4,633 deaths.
Coronavirus keeps Muslims away from mosques across Asia
The Muslim populations in several countries across Asia have now been banned from gathering in mosques during the holy month of Ramadan.
Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim country, has closed its main mosque to worshippers, calling on people to pray at home.
The country’s Istiqlal Mosque, the biggest in South Asia, which every year drew thousands of worshippers for prayers during Ramadan, was empty on Monday due to the lockdown.
Indonesia has confirmed 8,882 cases of infection and at least 743 deaths so far.
Bangladesh also closed the gates of the Mayor Mohammad Hanif Jame Mosque in the capital, Dhaka.
Bangladesh has so far reported a total of 5,416 cases and 145 deaths.
Pakistan also closed one of its biggest mosques to people on Monday.
Police patrolled outside the Faizan-e-Madina Mosque in the city of Karachi to stop worshippers from entering the mosque.
Pakistan has reported more than 11,000 confirmed cases, along with 237 deaths.
India’s Jama Masjid in New Delhi was also deserted as only five worshippers joined an evening prayer on the first day of Ramadan.
The country’s Muslim population has lately been harassed online and across the cities over allegations that they were “deliberately” spreading the coronavirus in India.
India has reported 26,496 cases of the respiratory disease and 824 deaths.
Bangladesh’s garment factories defy lockdown
In a related development, Bangladeshi garment factories defied a nationwide lockdown to resume work.
Hundreds of factories resumed operations over the weekend in the industrial areas of Gazipur and Ashulia, just outside Dhaka.
Factories said they had been “under pressure” from big-name international brands to fulfill export orders.
They had to shut down in late March due to the outbreak.
Some 200,000 workers were likely back at work just in Ashulia, according to police spokeswoman Jane Alam.
This has raised fears that the industry’s vulnerable and largely female workforce could be exposed to the virus.
More than four million people work in thousands of garment factories across the country. Last year, Bangladesh shipped out 35 billion dollars of apparel to retailers such as H&M, Inditex, and Walmart.
Almost 2 million Australians get tracking app
In Australia, nearly two million people have downloaded a government app designed to trace close contacts of COVID-19 patients.
Health Minister Greg Hunt said 1.89 million people had downloaded the app CovidSafe as of Monday. That made only more than seven percent of the country’s population of 25.7 million. Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said at least 40 percent of the population would need to download the app.
The app stores 21 days of data of the users’ contacts, and has sparked concerns about the privacy of users.
Australia has recorded 83 deaths and 6,700 cases.
Some states across the country have now begun easing social distancing restrictions.
Mexico removes almost all refugees from facilities
Mexico, through which many refugees travel to reach the United States, has deported most of the refugees back to their home countries over the past five weeks.
The country’s National Migration Institute (INM) said that it had been removing refugees from its 65 facilities, which held 3,759 people last month.
Authorities have returned 3,653 refugees to Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador by road and air. Only 106 people remain in government refugee centers.
Experts say the move is being taken in line with Mexico’s policy of keeping the number of refugees in check under pressure from US President Donald Trump. The INM, however, said the refugees were being returned in order to comply with health and safety guidelines to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Health officials have reported 13,842 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 1,305 deaths in Mexico.