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Pandemic growing slowly in most countries, US still grappling with worst outbreak

Some 3,116,398 people are now infected with the new coronavirus and a total number of 217,153 others have so far died of the illness caused by the virus (COVID-19) around the world, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University.

More than one million people — roughly one third of the global toll — are infected in the United States, making it the worst-hit country in the world.

The US now has the highest death toll, at 59,266, followed by Italy with 26,977 deaths.

The other nations with death tolls topping 20,000 are France with 23,261 deaths, Spain with 23,190, and the United Kingdom with 21,092.

Here are updates from around the world:

China, the first ever nation to report the disease, confirmed 22 new cases on Tuesday. The figure brought the mainland’s total to 82,858 cases, according to the National Health Commission.

Reporting no additional deaths, the country’s death toll stands at 4,633.

In the latest sign of improvement from the epidemic, China’s parliament will hold its annual meeting on May 22, two months later than it was originally planned.

The 13th National People’s Congress, to be held in the capital, Beijing, can now go ahead as the coronavirus situation in the country has improved, according to the official Xinhua news agency.

China’s top political consultative body, the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, has also proposed to start its annual session on May 21.

Typically, more than 5,000 people gather in Beijing from all over the country for 10 days for the two sessions.

It was not clear how long the two meetings would last this year.

The capital is now under strict quarantine rules for anyone entering the city from elsewhere.

The pandemic in Europe

The coronavirus epidemic has so far claimed the lives of 126,422 people and infected over 1,322,706 others across Europe.

The most deaths have occurred in Italy, and the United Kingdom has had the highest daily number of deaths for the past five consecutive days.

Britain reported 161,145 cases and 21,678 deaths as of Tuesday.

“The United Kingdom is going to be right up there among the worst-hit nations in the initial surge,” said Bill Hanage, an associate professor of epidemiology at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

Italy reported another 2,091 new cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, bringing its total number of known cases to 201,505.

With another 382 deaths, the country’s tally also reached to 27,359.

Meanwhile, the government has started to take highly cautious steps to slowly end the country’s lockdown, which was enforced seven weeks ago.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said strict curbs would be eased from May 4, when parks, factories, and construction sites are scheduled to reopen.

Spain recorded a drop in the number of both new cases and deaths, according to health officials, who reported 301 new deaths and 1,308 more cases on Tuesday.

The figures brought the country’s tallies to 23,822 deaths and 210,773 cases.

The number is less than a third of a record high of 950 in early April. This has prompted the government to announce a four-phase plan to lift one of the toughest lockdowns in the continent. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has said the lifting of the restrictions would begin on May 4 and the country would return to normal life by the end of June.

In Germany, confirmed cases rose by 1,304 on Tuesday, taking the total to 157,641.

Health officials also reported 202 more deaths, taking the toll to 6,115, according to the country’s infectious diseases institute, Robert Koch Institute.

Meanwhile, France’s death toll rose by 367 to 23,660 on Tuesday.

The number of positive cases also increased by 1,520 to hit a total of 129,859, according to the French Health Ministry.

The death toll has increased 1.6 percent compared to Monday, with the rate slightly slowing over 24 hours.

However, France would not end its lockdown restrictions unless the number of new cases drops below 3,000 per day, said Prime Minister Edouard Philippe.

Russia’s confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 6,411 on Tuesday, bringing the nationwide tally to 93,558.

Meanwhile, President Vladimir Putin extended the national “non-working” month through May 11, as health officials register increases in COVID-19 cases. Putin warned that his country had yet to see the peak of its outbreak.

Russia now ranks eighth in the world for the virus infections.

Dutch health officials confirmed 171 new cases on Tuesday, taking the total to 38,416, with 48 new deaths, which brings the Netherlands’ tally to 4,566.

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