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Virus updates: Brazil now 4th worst-hit country; Europe seeing anti-lockdown upheaval

Some 4.72 million people are now infected with the new coronavirus around the world, and 313,260 people have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Many European governments have cautiously eased their lockdown restrictions, imposed to contain the spread of the new coronavirus, but thousands of people have taken to the streets across the continent to protest against the rules that remain in place.

Meanwhile, Brazil has surpassed Spain and Italy in terms of total caseload, becoming the fourth worst-affected nation in the world.

The first three countries on the list are the United States, Russia, and the United Kingdom.

Here are the latest developments of the pandemic from across the world:

Brazil overtakes Spain, Italy

Brazil’s Health Ministry registered 14,919 additional cases of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s tally to 233,142.

The ministry also reported 816 new deaths on Saturday, taking the total to 15,633.

That has piled pressure on far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, who has been defying public health experts to demand the relaxation of rules and to call for the widespread use of unconfirmed drugs. Bolsonaro has downplayed the lethal effects of the disease, calling it a “little flu.”

Police in Europe used tear gas against protesters who had taken to the streets in several cities to censure their governments’ restrictive rules or response to the pandemic.

UK police arrest protesters

In London, British police arrested at least 19 people on Saturday for breaking social distancing rules in a rally against the government’s handling of the crisis.

Police said that “a relatively small group of people” had gathered in Hyde Park.

The protest came on the first weekend since Prime Minister Boris Johnson outlined plans to ease the lockdown.

Under the revised rules, people are now allowed to meet with another person from a different household in a park. The social distancing rules, however, bans gathering of large groups in the country.

Britain, which is behind the US and Russia in terms of caseload, has so far reported 240,161 positive cases and 34,466 deaths.

A protester is detained by police officers during a demonstration in Hyde Park, in London, Britain, on May 16, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Police use tear gas against protesters in Warsaw

Police in Poland’s capital, Warsaw, used tear gas to disperse protesters on Saturday.

Hundreds of people had gathered in the city’s Old Town in the early afternoon to call on the government to allow businesses to reopen. They were holding signs reading “Work and bread” and “It will be normal again.”

Police, however, blocked the planned rally, saying that public gatherings were still banned under the coronavirus restrictions.

Poland has been steadily loosening lockdown restrictions in recent weeks.

But demonstrators say the restrictions need to be lifted further in order for them to sustain their livelihoods.

Poland’s total number of cases is 18,257, along with 975 deaths.

Thousands of Germans rally against lockdown

Thousands of people took to the streets in several cities across Germany for the second consecutive weekend, calling for the restrictions to be lifted.

Police and organizers said rallies were held in the capital, Berlin, as well as in Munich, Frankfort, Hamburg, and Stuttgart.

Germany imposed unprecedented restrictions to shut down public life in March.

A soccer ball is disinfected after the match at the Red Bull Arena, in Leipzig, Germany, on May 16, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

Some lockdown measures have already been relaxed, but Chancellor Angela Merkel insists that other restrictions are needed to remain in place to slow down the outbreak.

This is while the death toll in the country is lower than most of its European neighbors. The coronavirus epidemic has so far infected more than 173,000 people and killed 8,027 others in Germany.

Spain mulling extended emergency

Meanwhile, Spain is considering extending the state of emergency for another month.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Saturday that he would ask parliament for an extension of about a month until the end of June. “The path that we are taking is the only one possible,” he said.

Spain was the first country to declare a state of emergency on March 14.

The death toll from COVID-19 rose by 102 to 27,563 in Spain on Saturday. The figure was the lowest 24-hour increase since March 18, according to the Spanish Health Ministry.

Cases also climbed to 230,698 from 230,183.

Italy loosening bans as daily death toll falls

Italy announced a further loosening of restrictions on Saturday.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined new rules under which travelers from the European Union (EU) will be allowed into the country from next month.

Shops, bars, and restaurants will reopen from Monday, and people will no longer have to justify travel within their own region.

Conte said that people “will be able to go wherever they want — to a shop, to the mountains, to a lake or the seaside.”

The announcement came as the death toll fell to 153 on Saturday, the lowest since early March.

Italy has so far reported 224,760 cases of COVID-19 and 31,763 deaths.

Russia reports almost 10,000 new cases

Russian health authorities reported some 9,709 new confirmed cases of the disease on Sunday, a rise from the 9,200 cases reported the previous day.

According to Russia’s coronavirus taskforce, the overall number of cases nationwide hit 281,752. It said that 94 people had died over the last 24 hours, bringing the death toll from the virus to 2,631.

China reports 5 new cases

Mainland China reported five new cases of infection on Saturday, according to the country’s National Health Commission (NHC), which said the number was down from eight the previous day.

Two of the five new cases were imported, and the three others were locally transmitted in northeastern Jilin Province.

The number of confirmed cases in the mainland reached 82,947, and the death toll stands at 4,634.

South Korea reports 13 new cases

South Korea reported 13 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday. That brought the country’s total to 11,050, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

With no additional deaths, the number of fatalities in South Korea stands at 262.

Meanwhile, health officials said a nightclub-linked outbreak in the capital, Seoul, had shown signs of a slowdown over the weekend.

People wearing protective masks walk on an empty street in Itaewon, Seoul, South Korea, on May 14, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)

South Korea, China consider easing border bans with Japan

Meanwhile, South Korea and China have consulted Japan about easing border controls on business travelers to help revive their economies.

The move would allow a fast-track entry of business people if they test negative for the disease before departure and after arrival, according to the Japanese Yomiuri newspaper.

Tokyo, which is cautious about easing border restrictions, has not yet commented on the report.

On Thursday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe lifted the state of emergency for 39 of Japan’s 47 prefectures, easing curbs on 54 percent of the population.

The greater Tokyo area — accounting for one-third of the country’s economy — and other major cities remained under restrictions.

The Tokyo metropolitan government confirmed 14 new infections on Saturday, taking the total number of cases in the capital to 5,050.

Japan’s total number of infections reached 16,237, with the number of deaths standing at 725.

Sudan reports highest one-day tally of infections

In Sudan, the Health Ministry reported the highest one-day tally of coronavirus cases, after 325 people were diagnosed with COVID-19. That brought the total tally to 2,289.

Most of the cases were reported in the capital, Khartoum, which has been under round-the-clock curfew since April to contain the outbreak.

The ministry also reported six additional deaths, taking the fatality tally in the African country to 97.

Mexico records over 47,000 cases of infections

Mexico recorded 47,144 new cases of infection on Saturday, with the country’s death toll rising to 5,045, according to health authorities.

Source: Presstv

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