A woman wearing a face mask to protect against the coronavirus walks past a boarded up pub in London, May 4, 2020. (KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH / AP)
BRASILIA / ALGIERS / TUNIS / MEXICO CITY / WASHINGTON / BERLIN / QUITO / PARIS / MONTREAL / LONDON / ROME / PRAGUE / BRUSSELS / CAPE TOWN / KAMPALA / ATHENS / CAIRO / BELGRADE / LISBON / TRIPOLI / MOSCOW / MADRID / KIEV / RIGA - Britain has overtaken Italy to report the highest official death toll from coronavirus in Europe with more than 32,000 deaths, figures released on Tuesday showed.
Weekly figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) added more than 7,000 deaths in England and Wales, raising the total for the United Kingdom to 32,313.
Weekly figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) added more than 7,000 deaths in England and Wales, raising the total for the United Kingdom to 32,313
The true figure for deaths from coronavirus may be even higher. The ONS said 33,593 more people had died than average up to April 24 in England and Wales, compared to 27,365 cases in which coronavirus was mentioned on the death certificates.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock on Monday said that another 288 COVID-19 patients have died in Britain, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in the country to 28,734.
The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community.
Hancock said the number marked the smallest daily rise since the end of March, although the daily reported rise in deaths after a weekend tends to be lower than later in the week.
Britain will start testing its own COVID-19 tracing app on the Isle of Wight from Tuesday, hoping that the technology in combination with more testing and tracking will help limit transmission of the coronavirus.
A girl wearing a mask runs as people stroll in a park which reopened after several weeks of closure. In Milan, Italy, May 4, 2020. (ANTONIO CALANNI / AP)
World leaders pledge US$8b to fight virus
World leaders and organizations pledged US$8 billion to research, manufacture and distribute a possible vaccine and treatments for COVID-19 on Monday, but the United States refused to contribute to the global effort.
Organisers included the European Union (EU) and non-EU countries Britain, Norway and Saudi Arabia. Leaders from Japan, Canada, South Africa and dozens of other countries joined the virtual event. China was represented by its ambassador to the EU.
The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, a UN-backed body focusing on health crises, estimates that of the US$8 billion immediately needed, US$3 billion will have to be spent to develop, manufacture and distribute a possible vaccine against COVID-19, the EU Commission said
"In the space of just few hours we have collectively pledged 7.4 billion euros (US$8.1 billion) for vaccine, diagnostics and treatment" against COVID-19, the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said after chairing the online event.
Donors included pop singer Madonna, who pledged 1 million euros, von der Leyen said.
EU diplomats said the United States, which has the world's most confirmed COVID-19 cases, was not taking part. A senior US administration official declined to say specifically why the United States was not participating.
ALSO READ: Envoy: China to expand special fund for COVID-19 cooperation
Many leaders stressed that any vaccine must be available to everyone. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the search for a vaccine was "the most urgent shared endeavour of our lifetime", calling for "an impregnable shield around all our people".
The Global Preparedness Monitoring Board, a UN-backed body focusing on health crises, estimates that of the US$8 billion immediately needed, US$3 billion will have to be spent to develop, manufacture and distribute a possible vaccine against COVID-19, the EU Commission said.
Another US$2.25 billion is needed to develop treatments for COVID-19, US$750 million for testing kits, and another US$750 million to stockpile protective equipment, such as face masks.
The remaining US$1.25 billion would go to the World Health Organization to support the most vulnerable countries.
Britain will hold an online donor summit on June 4 for GAVI, the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations.
Global COVID-19 deaths surpassed 251,000 and the global tally surpassed 3.58 million, with cases reported in 187 countries and regions around the world, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.
The United States reported the most COVID-19 deaths with a toll surpassing 68,000. Other countries with over 20,000 fatalities included Spain, Italy, Britain and France, the CSSE data showed.
The daily number of coronavirus deaths registered in Spain remained below 200 on Tuesday for a third consecutive day, the country's health ministry said, as it reported 185 deaths in 24 hours.
The overall coronavirus death toll in the country rose to 25,613 on Tuesday, up from 25,428, the ministry said, while the overall number of diagnosed cases rose to 219,329, up from 218,011 the day before.
The weak coalition government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez must seek parliamentary approval on Wednesday for another extension of the state of emergency, which gives him wide powers to enforce the exit from a strict lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. The opposition People's Party has said it will not support another two-week extension to the state of emergency, which ends on Saturday, saying Sanchez should use legislation to navigate the return to normality.
In a sign of how the lockdown measures have generated huge financial strain for the state, data on Tuesday showed the cost of benefits paid to the 5.2 million people fully or partly depending on unemployment benefits in April more than tripled from a year earlier to 4.5 billion euros. This represented the highest spending in history for unemployment services in Spain.
Belgium reported 97 fatalities in the past 24 hours, up from 80 the prior day. Of the 8,016 deaths so far in the nation of 11.4 million, only 46 percent occurred in hospitals.
Nursing homes account for no less than 53 percent of Belgian fatalities, 82 percent of which haven’t been confirmed by a diagnostic test for the coronavirus.
The coronavirus pandemic has claimed over 29,000 lives in Italy, bringing the total number of infections, fatalities and recoveries to 211,938 as of Monday, according to the latest data released by the country's Civil Protection Department.
The death toll on Monday was 195, bringing the nationwide fatalities to 29,079 since the pandemic first broke out in the northern Lombardy region. Total active infections stood at 99,980, with a decrease of 199 cases compared to the previous day.
Monday saw 1,221 new coronavirus infections and 1,225 additional recoveries compared to Sunday, bringing the nationwide totals to 211,938 and 82,879, respectively.
In a separate joint report on Monday, Italy's National Health Institute (ISS) and National Institute of Statistics (ISTAT) said the number of deaths for all causes in the country increased by 49.4 percent in March compared to the same period in the years 2015-2019.
Italy recorded 90,946 deaths from Feb 20, when the first patient diagnosed of COVID-19 died, to March 31. The average for the same period from 2015 through 2019 was 65,592, according to a report by ISS and ISTAT. The jump in mortality was largely ascribed to the impact of the coronavirus.
Staff members work at a shoe factory in Castelnuovo Vomano, central Italy, on May 4, 2020. (DOMENICO STINELLIS / AP)
Also on Monday, Italians enjoyed more liberties as some restrictions on productive activities and personal movements were relaxed for the first time after almost eight weeks.
Overall, some 4.4 million people went back to work, on top of those employed in essential economic sectors who never stopped during the lockdown that had entered into force on March 10.
READ MORE: Italy starts slow return to normality, fears resurgence of virus
The number of new coronavirus cases in Germany declined for the fifth day in a row as the government takes tentative steps to relax restrictions on daily life and reignite economic activity.
There were 488 additional infections in the 24 hours through Tuesday morning, bringing the total to 166,152, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. That’s the lowest in about five weeks. Fatalities rose by 127 to 6,993.
“We are seeing, as a result of our joint achievements, that the virus outbreak has gone from a dynamic phase around the beginning to the middle of March to a situation where we have it under control,” Health Minister Jens Spahn said Tuesday in an interview with DLF radio.
Germany's state premiers will agree on measures to further ease coronavirus restrictions in a teleconference with Chancellor Angela Merkel scheduled for Wednesday, two people familiar with the preparations told Reuters on Monday.
The state premiers are expected to give the green light for large shops to reopen, probably from May 11, the sources said.
German states are also set to allow the Bundesliga soccer league to resume matches, probably from May 15, under strict conditions without fans in stadiums, the sources said. At the same time, state premiers will allow outdoor sports for non-professionals and children, the sources added.
The states will also agree to reopen schools for all grades step-by-step, though most children will only be allowed to go to class in rotating shifts, not on daily basis, the sources said.
READ MORE: Germany set to discuss curbs, UK not yet 'on downward slope'
The number of new coronavirus cases in Russia has risen by 10,102 over the past 24 hours, compared with 10,581 the previous day. This brought Russia's nationwide tally to 155,370, the country's coronavirus crisis response centre said on Tuesday.
It also reported 95 more deaths from COVID-19, bringing the total death toll in Russia to 1,451.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Netherlands rose by 317 to 41,087 on Tuesday, with 86 new deaths, health authorities said.
The country’s death toll stands at 5,168, the National Institute for Health (RIVM) said in its daily update. The RIVM cautioned that it only reports confirmed cases, and actual numbers are higher.
The Dutch government will consider reopening outdoor spaces of bars and restaurants starting June 1, while barber shops and hair salons could resume next week, Dutch press agency ANP reported late on Monday, citing unidentified sources.
The proposals are set to be discussed on Wednesday. Other measures being considered are requiring face masks on public transport, as is the case in neighboring Belgium.
Current lockdown measures have been put in place until at least May 19 with a ban on mass events until Sept 1. Some schools will start to reopen under certain conditions starting May 11.
The Ukrainian government has extended quarantine measures over the COVID-19 epidemic until May 22, but agreed to partially ease its lockdown from May 11, Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said in his official Telegram channel on Monday.
"Easing quarantine does not mean a complete lifting. The quarantine will be extended until May 22, and we will continue observing how the pandemic evolves in the world and the number of cases in Ukraine," Shmyhal said.
At the same time, Ukrainians are allowed to visit parks, beauty shops, non-food retail, outdoor restaurants and cafe terraces, museums and libraries. Public transport, as well as train and airplane connections, will not start operation in the first stage of eased restrictions.
A man walk past shuttered stores in the fashion district of Los Angeles, California, on May 4, 2020. (MARCIO JOSE SANCHEZ / AP)
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday outlined a phased reopening of business activity in the state hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, starting with select industries like construction and the least affected regions.
Cuomo said construction, manufacturing and select retail shops could open in a first phase of reopening, followed by a second phase that would include finance, administrative support and real estate and rental leasing industries.
Phase three will see restaurants and the food service and hotel industries reopen, Cuomo said, followed by arts, entertainment and recreation facilities as well as schools in the fourth and final phase.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that the state will start loosening its lockdown on Friday by allowing stores to sell items such as books, clothes and flowers through curbside pickup, as the state had sufficiently slowed the virus’s spread to allow for more commercial activity.
Arizona also joined other states to relax restrictions, allowing service businesses such as salons and barber shops to reopen Friday while restaurants can start dine-in service next week.
READ MORE: Trump says up to 100,000 Americans may die from virus
Meanwhile, the US Senate convened in Washington for the first time in nearly six weeks on Monday, despite concern it might put lawmakers and staff at risk of contracting the coronavirus, but made clear it could take weeks to pass any new relief legislation.
France is hoping to deploy its state-supported "StopCOVID" contact-tracing app by June 2, Minister for Digital Affairs Cedric O said on Tuesday.
Previously on Sunday, the minister said the app should enter its testing phase in the week of May 11 when the country starts to unwind its lockdown.
France said Monday the number of deaths from the coronavirus rose above 25,000, becoming the fifth country to pass that threshold after the United States, Italy, Britain and Spain.
The number of people who have died from COVID-19 increased by 306, or 1.2 percent, to 25,201 - the sharpest rate of increase in four days, government data showed.
Total confirmed cases rose by 576 to 131,863, well below the 3,000 President Emmanuel Macron's government has set as the upper limit before it would reverse a decision to partially lift a national lockdown on May 11.
Health Ministry figures show the number of people in intensive care with COVID-19 infections and the number of people in hospital with coronavirus continued their downward trends.
Latvia has recorded the first day with zero new COVID-19 cases since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the Baltic country's health authorities reported Tuesday.
The Latvian Center for Disease Prevention and Control said that none of the COVID-19 tests carried out over the past 24 hours came back positive.
However, one elderly COVID-19 patient died of the disease, raising the total COVID-19 death toll in Latvia to 17.
To date, Latvia has reported 896 confirmed coronavirus cases and 348 recoveries. Also, 98 COVID-19 patients have been discharged from hospitals.
Latvia detected the first COVID-19 case on March 2, 2020. In a bid to contain the spread of the virus, Latvia entered a national state of emergency from March 13, which was extended to May 12 in April. This week, the government is expected to start revising some of the restrictions introduced as part of the battle against the virus.
Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Brazil rose from 101,147 to 105,222, and the death toll rose from 7,025 to 7,288, the Ministry of Health reported on Monday.
According to latest government data, 4,075 new cases and 263 more deaths were registered over the last 24 hours.
Health Minister Nelson Teich disputed the need to set up a new hospital to fight the pandemic in hard-hit Manaus, even as the city's hospitals are overwhelmed and officials have resorted to burying COVID-19 victims in mass graves.
Manaus, located in the heart of the Amazon rainforest, is arguably the worst hit of all major cities in Brazil, which has recorded over 105,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 7,000 deaths as of Monday.
Mexico registered 1,434 new cases of the coronavirus on Monday and 117 more deaths, a health official said, bringing the total in the country to 24,905 confirmed cases and 2,271 deaths.
However, health officials have previously said that the real number of cases is much higher.
At least 300 people held in two centers set up by the Salvadoran government to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus protested on Monday, demanding to be released and given the results of their tests.
El Salvador holds people accused of violating the mandatory home quarantine decreed by President Nayib Bukele in March even though the Supreme Court has since ordered him to not detain such people.
People in a sports center in the capital, San Salvador, said they had been in quarantine for more than 40 days; they also said they had been tested but did not get the results.
The Salvadoran government did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.
El Salvador, which has reported 13 deaths and 555 confirmed cases, has 91 containment centers where 3,964 people are quarantined there, according to official data.
The National Center for Disease Control of Libya on Monday reported one COVID-19 recovery, bringing the total number of recoveries in the country to 23.
The center said in a statement that it tested 136 suspected samples, all of which were negative.
The number of confirmed cases in Libya so far stands at 63, including 23 recoveries and three deaths, according to the center.
Women wearing face masks buy crayfish at a market in Lagos, Nigeria, May 4, 2020. (SUNDAY ALAMBA / AP)
Nigerian health authorities on Monday confirmed 245 new cases of COVID-19, the highest single-day increase, taking the tally in the most populous African country to 2,802.
The Nigeria Center for Disease Control (NCDC), which provided the update in a statement, reported six more deaths, bringing the death toll to 93.
The country currently has 2,292 active cases of COVID-19 while 417 cases had recovered from the disease as of Monday, the NCDC said.
Meanwhile, a senior health official has said that COVID-19 was the cause of most unexplained deaths earlier reported in the northern state of Kano.
Nasiru Sani Gwarzo, leader of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 deployed to Kano, told reporters Sunday night that the conclusion was made in a preliminary report of a panel working to unravel the cause of the deaths.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in South Africa rose to 7,220 as of Monday, up by 437 from the previous day, said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize.
Seven more COVID-19 related deaths were reported, pushing the death toll to 138, according to Mkhize.
A total of 257,541 tests had been conducted as of Monday, with 11,794 tests done in the past 24 hours, according to the minister.
Researchers in South Africa on Monday vaccinated hundreds of health workers with a 100-year-old tuberculosis (TB) in clinical trial in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Through this trial, researchers aim to determine if a booster shot of Bacille Calmette-Guerin (BCG) reduces the probability of COVID-19 infection and the severity of the symptoms.
The booster shots were administered to 250 healthcare workers, while another 250 received a dummy formula, or placebo.
Algerian health authorities on Monday reported 172 new COVID-19 infections and two more deaths as President Abdelmadjid Tebboune called for ensuring access to future vaccine to all countries.
Djamel Fourar, head of the COVID-19 Detection and Follow-up Commission, told reporters that the total number of infections in Algeria has jumped to 4,648 and the death toll increased to 464.
Fourar further added that 62 patients have recovered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,998.
Traffic returns to normal in downtown Tunis, Tunisia, on May 4, 2020 as the country began the first phase of the national strategy for partial lifting of the lockdown imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus. (ADEL EZZINE / XINHUA)
More than three million Tunisians returned to work on Monday in various sectors after about six weeks of general confinement imposed by authorities to combat the novel coronavirus.
"Today, we are starting the first phase of the national strategy for partial lifting of lockdown, a step which was based on what had previously been achieved in relation to the decline in the speed of contamination," said Tunisian Minister of Health Abdellatif Mekki in a post on his official facebook page.
Tunisia started the first of a three-stage national strategy for partial lifting of lockdown from May 4 to 24. The next stage is poised to kick in from May 24 to June 4 followed by the last stage, which is slated to begin from June 4 to 14.
The Ministry of Health reported on Monday five new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of infections to 1,018 in the country.
A total of 406 patients have recovered in Tunisia while 43 deaths had been reported in 13 provinces, said the ministry in a statement.
Finland’s government set out steps to the gradual reopening of services as the pace of new coronavirus infections slowed.
Gatherings of fewer than 50 people will be permitted from June 1, up from the current limit of 10, Prime Minister Sanna Marin said in Helsinki on Monday. Restaurants may resume dine-in services from June and the government will allow work-related travel to and from the European Union’s Schengen area.
As of Monday afternoon, Finland has 5,327 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Nearly 3,500 people have recovered while 240 have died, according to the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare.
READ MORE: Masked and standing apart, the world tiptoes out of lockdown
Ecuador on Monday exceeded 30,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, while the government launched a plan to start gradually relaxing quarantine measures that have been in place since mid-March.
The South American country has confirmed 31,881 cases of COVID-19, with 1,569 reported deaths and a further 1,336 deaths likely a result of the virus.
The government has warned the actual death toll is much higher than reports indicate, particularly in the largest city of Guayaquil.
The Chilean health ministry confirmed on Monday that 20,643 cases of COVID-19 had been reported in the country, with 270 deaths.
Speaking at the La Moneda Palace, President Sebastian Pinera asked citizens to respect the quarantines, curfews, and preventive measures mandated by the government, and called on employers "to protect the jobs and health of their workers as a first priority" and to promote adequate working conditions.
The president also urged legislators to discuss the emergency family income law, which would benefit 4.5 million people affected by the crisis.
The Peruvian health ministry said on Monday the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has risen to 47,372, with 1,344 deaths.
The province of Quebec, worst hit in Canada by the coronavirus, began gradually reopening its economy on Monday but pushed back plans for a restart in the city of Montreal, citing health concerns.
Quebec is allowing stores with an outside entrance for customers to serve shoppers, joining some other provinces, like Manitoba, in taking steps to reopen the economy.
The planned reopening of Montreal's non-essential stores was delayed to May 18 from May 11 because there were too few hospital beds to cope with a possible surge in new cases, Quebec' premier said.
While high schools and colleges will remain shut, elementary schools will reopen on May 11 for most of the province, and May 19 in Montreal.
Canada has so far reported 59,844 positive diagnoses and 3,766 deaths from COVID-19.
The Czech Republic will lift a ban on international bus and train travel from May 11 as the government on Monday rolled back more of its measures to combat the coronavirus outbreak and added aid to hard-hit companies.
The government decided international bus and rail links can restart next week. However, operators said the renewal of routes will depend largely on neighbouring countries' restrictions.
The government said it would also allow non-EU citizens in for seasonal work or healthcare work from May 11.
In addition, the government approved extended aid payments to small companies and self employed. The cabinet suspended an online sales reporting system, easing businesses' costs.
The Czech Republic, a country of 10.7 million, had reported 7,799 cases of the virus by late Monday afternoon. Almost half have recovered and 251 deaths have been recorded.
Bulgaria will not extend a state of emergency past its May 13 expiry date but some coronavirus restrictions will remain in force for two more months, Finance Minister Vladislav Goranov said on Monday.
Meanwhile, the government on Monday approved a draft bill to amend the Health Act that will give the health minister the power to impose stricter measures to deal with the virus or relax existing restrictions, depending on how the outbreak develops.
The minister will also have the right to declare an epidemic emergency, if required. The bill is expected to be put to parliament on Tuesday.
Bulgaria, with a population of nearly 7 million, has so far confirmed 1,652 cases of the illness and 78 deaths.
Switzerland will resume the systematic tracing of contacts on a national level from next week if the number of new COVID-19 infections continues to decline, said the Swiss Federal Office of Public Health (FOPH) on Monday.
Speaking at a press conference, Daniel Koch, head of infectious diseases at FOPH, said that some cantons have already started tracing the chains of infection, and it is possible to have recourse to the tracing method because the daily number of infections has fallen below 100.
The Alpine country reported 76 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, a new low since March, raising the total to 29,981. The death toll stands at 1,477.
Monday also marked the first day of an extraordinary session for Swiss parliamentarians as they resumed work at Bern Expo - for the first time in history outside the Federal Palace - to discuss issues on the pandemic.
During the session, the parliament approved a 57-billion-CHF (US$59 billion) loan plan for corporations proposed by the government and decided to earmark 100 million CHF for daycare centers.
Shopping malls and hotels reopened in Poland on Monday as the government lifted additional restrictions put in place in March to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Besides malls, hotels, libraries and cultural institutions are allowed to open again, as well as some art galleries and other museums. A
So far, the Polish government has reported 14,006 coronavirus cases, with 698 deaths. The spread of the epidemic has been steady, with typically between 200 and 400 new cases reported daily.
Uganda began to loosen one of Africa's strictest anti-coronavirus lockdowns on Tuesday after President Yoweri Museveni declared the infection "tamed."
The country of 42 million reported 97 confirmed cases and no deaths in 45 days of restrictions, and Museveni said it was now better equipped to trace and detect new infections faster.
"We have somehow tamed the virus," Museveni said in a televised address late on Monday.
Businesses including hardware shops, restaurants, wholesale stores and others will now be allowed to reopen. Public transport and most private vehicles would still remain prohibited, however - meaning that workers for reopened businesses will have to commute either by bicycle or on foot.
Schools and international borders were to remain shut, Museveni said.
After a 14-day period, he said, authorities will announce the next level of reopening.
People wearing protective masks wait at a bus station in Athens, Greece, on May 4, 2020 as Greece gradually eases its lockdown against the COVID-19 pandemic. (LOUISA GOULIAMAKI / AFP)
Greeks started a gradual return to normalcy on Monday following the partial lifting of the restrictive measures imposed on March 23 to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Citizens no longer need to inform authorities about their visit to the pharmacy, the supermarket, or the park by sending a text message when leaving their home.
Hair and beauty salons, bookstores, athletic apparel shops, telecommunications equipment stores and other categories of shops reopened Monday. In the next stage on May 11, high school students in their last year will also return to schools and other students will follow a week later. Hotels are due to reopen on June 1.
Greece has so far reported 2,632 confirmed cases and 146 deaths.
Croatia entered on Monday the second phase of the easing of nationwide COVID-19 restrictions.
Starting from Monday, surgery programs, as well as diagnostic and treatment procedures that have been delayed from mid-March, will resume. Private health institutions are also allowed to reopen.
Businesses with close social contact, such as hairdressers and beauty salons, are also allowed to reopen.
The third phase of COVID-19 relaxation begins on May 11, when day-cares and lower-grade primary school classes will open. Shopping malls and some bars and restaurants will also be allowed to open from May 11.
Croatia recorded only five new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, according to official data. So far, 2,101 people have been infected in the country and 80 people have died.
Egypt reported on Monday 348 new COVID-19 cases and seven more deaths, raising the total infections registered in the country to 6,813 including 436 deaths, said the Egyptian health ministry in a statement.
The ministry's spokesman, Khaled Megahed, pointed out that 70 more patients have recovered and were discharged from hospitals on Monday, bringing the total number of recoveries to 1,632.
The seven deaths confirmed on Monday marked the lowest daily reported COVID-19 fatalities in Egypt since April 24.
Serbia reported Monday 93 new COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours, the first time since March 30 that the figure decreased to double digits, as bars and restaurants opened across Serbia, as well as inter-city transport.
Meanwhile, the Serbian government said in a press release on Monday that it has approved the Defense Ministry initiative that President Aleksandar Vucic and Prime Minister Ana Brnabic should jointly propose to the parliament on lifting the state of emergency.
Vucic said on Sunday that the state of emergency will be lifted before May 6, and that there would be no more curfews from Thursday.
So far, 9,557 people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 in Serbia and 197 have died.
The health ministry of Cyprus announced zero local coronavirus infections on Monday for the first time since the first case was confirmed on March 9.
The ministry's top scientist advisor, virologist Leondios Kostrikis, said the only two cases detected in the previous 24 hours were people who arrived from abroad.
With the two new imported cases, total coronavirus infections announced by Cypriot authorities rose to 874. The death toll stood at 15.
"The very good results coincided with the first day of the gradual relaxation of restrictions. We are particularly happy to see our country and society taking the first step to normality," Kistrikis said.
Cyprus kick-started its economy on Monday by allowing 25,000 retail shops and the construction sector to resume operations after a six-week coronavirus lockdown.
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a laundry shop in Nicosia, Cyprus, on May 4, 2020. (ZHANG BAOPING / XINHUA)
Portugal began reopening its economy and society on Monday after nearly 50 days of lockdown under the state of emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
During phase one of the three-step deconfinement from Monday to May 18, commercial centers up to 200 square meters and street stores are allowed to reopen with strict sanitary measures.
READ MORE: As Portugal slowly reopens economy, businesses fear uncertain future
During an interview with Radio Montanha on the Azorean islands on Monday, President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa warned that the COVID-19 pandemic "did not disappear by miracle" and has yet to be won.
As of Monday, Portugal has registered 1,063 COVID-19 deaths and 25,524 confirmed cases, the health authorities said.
Tanzania has suspended the head of its national health laboratory in charge of testing for the coronavirus and ordered an investigation, a day after President John Magufuli questioned the tests' accuracy.
Magufuli said on Sunday the imported test kits were faulty as they had returned positive results on a goat and a pawpaw - among several non-human samples submitted for testing, with technicians left deliberately unaware of their origins.
Catherine Sungura, acting head of communications at the ministry of health, said in a statement on Monday a 10-person committee had been formed to investigate the laboratory's operations, including its process of collecting and testing samples.
As of Monday, Tanzania had recorded 480 cases of COVID-19 and 18 deaths, according to a Reuters tally based on government and World Health Organization data.
Mali's health authorities reported on Monday 17 new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 580 in the country.
So far, Mali has reported 29 deaths and 223 recoveries from COVID-19.
Morocco's health ministry on Monday announced 150 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total infections in the country to 5,053.
A total of 179 people have died from COVID-19 while 1,653 have recovered so far, said Mohamed El Youbi, director of epidemiology at the ministry, at his daily briefing.
Guinea-Bissau on Monday reported 156 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the past 72 hours, bring the country's total number of confirmed cases to 413, an official said.
"Among those infected, there are 15 medical staff who tested positive for COVID-19," said Dionisio Cumba, member of the Interministerial Commission of COVID-19 prevention and control.
So far, Guinea-Bissau has reported 413 confirmed cases, including 19 recoveries and one death.
Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio has tested negative for COVID-19 after around two weeks'self-isolation, the country's State House Media Unit confirmed on Monday.
All his family members and closes aides have also tested negative, it added.
"After my fifteen-day self-isolation period, all tests for coronavirus are negative. I am very healthy and determined as ever to fight this Corona pandemic in Sierra Leone," said Bio in a tweet.
The president was put on self-isolation after one of his bodyguards tested positive for COVID-19.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Malawi rose to 41 after two more cases were confirmed, Health Minister Jappie Mhango said Monday.
The minister said the latest two cases were confirmed in the country's commercial city of Blantyre.
Among the 41 confirmed cases, nine have recovered and three have died, according to Mhango.
"Fifteen of these cases are imported and 26 are local transmission," according to an update compiled by the Public Health Institute of Malawi.
Kenya's Ministry of Health on Monday confirmed 25 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of infections to 490.
Mercy Mwangangi, chief administrative secretary, said that six more patients were discharged from hospital after undergoing treatment, bringing the total number of recoveries to 173.
Somalia's health ministry on Monday confirmed 34 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections to 756.
Health Minister Fawziya Abikar said three more people have died, bringing the total number of fatalities to 35.
Abikar added that 17 more patients have recovered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of recoveries to 61.
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