Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis.
– At least 292,000 dead –
At least 292,000 coronavirus deaths have been recorded since the epidemic surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally at 1300 GMT on Wednesday based on official sources.
There have been more than 4,272,880 officially recorded cases around the world.
The United States has recorded most deaths at 82,389. It is followed by Britain (33,186), Italy (30,911), Spain (27,104) and France (26,991).
Lesotho, the last African country to have been unaffected, announces it has detected its first case.
– Europe’s summer holidays –
Desperate to save millions of tourism jobs, the European Union sets out plans for a phased restart of travel this summer, with EU border controls eventually lifted and measures to minimise the risks of infection, like wearing facemasks on shared transport.
– Russia: more than 10,000 new cases –
Health officials in Russia report 10,028 new cases over the last 24 hours, bringing the country’s total number of infections to 242,271, the second highest in the world.
– Germany eyes lifting border controls –
Germany says it wants to end by the middle of next month checks at land borders introduced to fight the virus. Interior Minister Horst Seehofer tells reporters the country has “set the clear goal of free travel in Europe by mid-June”.
– England eases measures –
People living in England are now allowed to leave their homes, including to go to work, as part of the first stage of an easing the lockdown.
Under the new guidelines, which do not apply in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged millions unable to work from home to return to their jobs.
The public is also now able to drive to the countryside, play tennis or golf, see one friend in a public space or visit a garden centre.
But people must at all times remain two metres (six feet) away from other people, risking a £100 ($123, 113-euro) fine if they break the rules.
– UK economy massive slump –
Britain’s economy shrank in the first quarter at the fastest pace since 2008, data shows, prompting the government to warn of a “significant” recession.
Gross domestic product contracted by two percent in the January-March period after zero growth in the three months to December, the Office for National Statistics says.
The nation’s second-quarter contraction is meanwhile expected to be far steeper than the first.
And adding to the grim news, UK output dived by a record 5.8 percent in March from the previous month.
– Perils of normal –
Top US infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci issues a stark warning about the dangers of resuming normal life too soon, saying a run of 14 days with falling cases is a vital first step.
“If a community or a state or region doesn’t go by those guidelines and reopens… the consequences could be really serious,” he says.