Coronavirus News Asia

Europe lifts shutters as Brazil toll keeps rising

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Europeans flocked to parks, gyms and pools on Monday as more countries eased coronavirus restrictions, while Japan lifted its state of emergency but urged vigilance to avoid another wave of infections.

In the United States, as the pandemic death toll approached the horrific milestone of 100,000, stir-crazy Americans also headed en masse to beaches and parks for the big Memorial Day weekend.

While many Americans wore masks and followed distancing rules, many did not – and images of packed pools and boardwalks triggered fears of a new flare-up of the virus that has infected more than 5.4 million worldwide and killed more than 344,000, according to an AFP tally.

Meanwhile, hopes that anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine could be used as a potential treatment for the virus were quashed as the World Health Organization halted clinical trials “while the safety is reviewed.”

With the global economy battered, governments are scrambling to provide relief to businesses and citizens wearying of mass confinement.

In hard-hit Spain, Madrid and Barcelona cautiously emerged from one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, with parks and cafe terraces open for the first time in more than two months.

Hundreds of people flooded Madrid’s famous Retiro Park to enjoy a stroll or a jog in the sunshine.

“The reopening of Retiro brings me a feeling of serenity, gives me comfort,” said Rosa San Jose, a 50-year-old schoolteacher.

In other parts of Spain, beaches reopened with strict guidelines for social distancing.

The Spanish government also announced that it would scrap quarantine for foreign arrivals from July 1, in the hope of helping the battered tourism sector.

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