Some nations inch toward reopening as virus deaths rise

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US states and nations around the world are taking divergent paths on when to reopen their economies and communities.

The number of deaths officially attributed to coronavirus topped 200,000 globally, a figure widely believed to understate the actual total.

A second US Navy ship, a destroyer off the coast of South America, reported an outbreak on board.

Global coronavirus cases and deaths
(PA Graphics)

As aides develop plans to shift US President Donald Trump’s public emphasis from the virus to addressing the economic crisis it has caused, Dr Anthony Fauci at the US National Institutes of Health warned against moving too quickly.

“You hear a lot about the need and the desire to get back to normal. That’s understandable,” he said.

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“If we don’t get control of it we will never get back to normal. I know we will, but we’ve got to do it correctly.”

Societies are navigating an uncertain path between preventing a resurgence of the virus and providing economic and psychological relief for people cooped up at home.

Virus Outbreak Texas
A protester attends a Safely Open Texas Now rally (Briana Sanchez/The El Paso Times/AP)

Millions have lost jobs, with migrant workers and the poor particularly hard hit in many places. Protests have broken out from Berlin to Texas over the restrictions.

India allowed neighbourhood stores to reopen this weekend, though not in the quarantined places that have been hit hardest.

Neighbouring Sri Lanka has reimposed a nationwide lockdown until Monday after partially lifting it.

The Chinese city of of Wuhan, where the pandemic began, said that all major construction projects have resumed as officials push to resume factory production and other economic activity after a two-and-a-half-month lockdown.

China reported 11 new confirmed cases Sunday and no additional deaths.

Virus Outbreak Guatemala
Indigenous people gather to receive food aid from their city council at El Hato village, Guatemala (Moises Castillo/AP)

In Europe, Spain has joined Italy and France in preparing to loosen restrictions in early May.

Hawaii governor David Ige extended both the stay-at-home order and a mandatory quarantine for visitors until May 31, warning of undoing progress in containing the virus if public places open up too early.

A spring heatwave drove an increase in people in California visiting beaches, golf courses and trails.

Police in Pacific Grove said they had to close the picturesque Lovers Point Park and Beach at the southern end of Monterey Bay because of a lack of social distancing.

Los Angeles city and county beaches, trails and playgrounds were closed, and officers on horseback were patrolling those areas to enforce distancing rules.

A survey from The Associated Press-NORC Centre for Public Affairs Research found Americans overwhelmingly support stay-at-home measures and other efforts to prevent the spread of the virus.

Georgia and Oklahoma allowed salons, spas and barbershops to reopen, while Alaska cleared the way for restaurants to resume dine-in service and retail shops and other businesses to open their doors, all with limitations. Some Alaska municipalities chose to keep stricter rules.

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