By Agence France-Presse
Brazil registered a new record in COVID19 cases and more than 1,000 dead in a 24-hour period, according to official figures out Thursday.
The South American country has the world’s second highest number of confirmed novel coronavirus cases — 438,238 — after the United States.
According to Health Ministry data, 26,417 new cases were confirmed in a 24-hour period ending late Thursday.
In that same period, Brazil experienced its third highest number of virus deaths since the start of the pandemic: 1,156, bringing the total death toll to 26,754, the sixth highest in the world.
Some experts, however, believe that the actual virus infection rate could be up to 15 times higher because there has been no widespread testing in Brazil.
Most states have imposed partial lockdowns, but President Jair Bolsonaro wants them to end and for the economy to open quickly.
Europe lockdown easing, but caution in Asia
Several European countries including France and Britain on Thursday moved to further lift crippling coronavirus lockdown measures, but fresh restrictions in parts of Asia signaled the crisis is far from over.
As much of the world grapples to find the path forward, with the deadly virus still spreading in some places and a vaccine at best a distant reality, Europe is slowly emerging from isolation.
France is set to reopen its bars, restaurants and museums next week — when Britain will send some children back to school and shops throw open their doors.
”Freedom will be the rule and restriction the exception,” French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said.
The death toll mounted to more than 357,000 around the world. More than 5.7 million have been confirmed as infected since the virus emerged in China late last year.
On the economic front, the number of unemployed climbed as well — more than 40 million in the United States have filed jobless claims since the crisis began, and Brazil shed five million jobs in the first quarter.
In Asia, restrictions were reimposed in South Korea and Sri Lanka after a spate of new infections sparked fears of a second wave of contagion.
In a bit of happier news, a Bali zoo named a newborn giraffe after the virus.
”Corona is healthy and is still breastfeeding. We’ll keep her under observation for three months,” said zoo spokesman Anak Agung Ngurah Alit Sujana.
The picture remained grim in Latin America, now fully in the throes of the pandemic, with Chile recording a new record daily death toll Thursday.
Elsewhere in Europe, Spaniards were revisiting old joys — belting out tunes from ”Grease” at a 50s-themed drive-in theatre.
More than two months after closing its borders, Denmark has loosened restrictions to let couples separated by coronavirus lockdowns finally see each other again — even if the easing applies just to partners from a few nearby countries for now.
Parliament agreed a deal last week to speed up the country’s reopening, allowing some foreigners to enter Denmark, including those with partners there.
In the United States, the country processed a grim milestone — more than 100,000 Americans have succumbed to COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.
”To all of the families & friends of those who have passed, I want to extend my heartfelt sympathy & love for everything that these great people stood for & represent. God be with you!” President Donald Trump tweeted on Thursday, as the US death toll reached 101,573.
More and more US states are moving to open up their economies, but health experts have warned not to move too quickly.