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Global Coronavirus Cases Top 6 Million as Lockdown Measures Ease

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Mourners after a mass burial of coronavirus victims in Brazil, which now has the world's second largest outbreak after the U.S. Andre Coelho / Getty Images

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases passed six million Sunday, even as many countries begin to emerge from strict lockdowns.


As of Monday morning, the total global tally of cases was at 6,172,448, with 372,136 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. still leads the world for both caseloads and deaths, with nearly 1.8 million cases and 104,383 fatalities. Brazil now has the second-highest number of cases, at 514,849.

Combatting the outbreak has become a charged political issue in Brazil, The Guardian reported, as governors and mayors impose lockdown measures while rightwing President Jair Bolsonaro rails against the "tyranny of total quarantine."

The country's health ministry said it had no idea when the outbreak would peak, and experts say its caseload could be much higher than reported because there has not been widespread testing.

Meanwhile, U. S. President Donald Trump announced Saturday that the G7 meeting he had wanted to host in Washington, DC in late June would be postponed until September, The Guardian reported further. The decision reverses an intention laid out in a May 20 tweet.

"Now that our Country is 'Transitioning back to Greatness', I am considering rescheduling the G-7, on the same or similar date, in Washington, D.C., at the legendary Camp David. The other members are also beginning their COMEBACK. It would be a great sign to all - normalization!" he wrote.

His reversal came days after German Chancellor Angela Merkel told him in a phone call that she thought holding the summit was a health risk. Her office said on Saturday she would not attend the meeting unless the coronavirus situation had changed substantially, The Associated Press reported.

"As of today, given the overall pandemic situation, she cannot commit to participating in person," her office said, according to The Associated Press.

However, in other ways many countries are moving back towards normalcy. Here are some of the restrictions being eased, according to The New York Times and EURACTIV:

  • Greece: To boost tourism, the country is reopening to all international travelers. Two airports will handle international travel from June 15 to June 30, while international flights will resume for all airports July 1, along with international arrivals by sea.
  • Norway and Denmark: The two Scandinavian countries will allow travel between each other.
  • The Middle East: Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque reopened for prayers Sunday, while Iran announced that collective prayers would begin again in mosques.
  • Europe: Parks and the Galeries Lafayette department store reopened in Paris Saturday, as did Italy's Tower of Pisa. In Austria, hotels and movie theaters opened to customers provided they wear masks.
  • The U.S.: Washington, DC allowed outdoor dining again while Los Angeles reopened restaurants and hair salons. Hard-hit New York City will start reopening the week of June 8.
  • The UK: More stores and English primary schools will reopen Monday, and small groups will be able to gather outdoors. Professional sports will also begin June 1.

However, not all public health experts think it is wise to ease lockdown measures.

Experts on the UK's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) urged caution, as The Guardian reported. There are still 8,000 new coronavirus cases in England a day, and that figure does not include hospitals and care homes.

"Covid-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England," SAGE member Jeremy Farrar tweeted.

And not every country is joining the race to reopen. In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said Sunday he would ask Parliament to extend the state of emergency until June 21, The New York Times reported.

"We cannot throw away all the work that we have done," he said.

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