Coronavirus News Asia

Global cases top 3.5m as Europe’s lockdown eases


Millions of Europeans emerged from lockdown on Monday, with hardest-hit Italy leading the way out of its two-month coronavirus confinement.

Blue skies greeted Romans as they stepped into a world forever changed by the pandemic that has now infected 3.5 million people.

The milestone came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said “enormous evidence” showed the disease came from a Chinese laboratory, fuelling tensions with Beijing and sending jitters through stock markets.

About 248,000 people have died since the coronavirus emerged in China late last year and swept across the globe, given wings by the vast network of air routes that in normal times keep the modern world ticking.

Lockdowns imposed on half the planet in a bid to stem the spread have derailed economies and left tens of millions of people out of work.

Politicians are now grappling with how to get the wheels turning again without sparking a second wave of infections.

Italy – second only to the United States in its Covid-19 death toll – was gingerly emerging into the spring sunshine on Monday, with construction sites and factories getting back to work.

Restaurants will reopen for takeaway service, but bars and ice cream parlors will remain shut. The use of public transport will be discouraged and everyone will have to wear masks in indoor public spaces.


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