More than 294,000 dead from coronavirus; 4.3 million cases worldwide

Agence France-Presse

Posted at May 14 2020 05:04 AM

More than 294,000 dead from coronavirus; 4.3 million cases worldwide 1
Bodies are moved to a refrigeration truck serving as a temporary morgue at Wyckoff Hospital in the Borough of Brooklyn in New York. Bryan R. Smith, AFP/file photo

At least 294,199 coronavirus deaths have been recorded since the epidemic surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally at 1900 GMT on Wednesday based on official sources.

There have been more than 4,305,340 officially recorded cases around the world.

The United States has recorded the most deaths at 83,249. It is followed by Britain (33,186), Italy (31,106), Spain (27,104) and France (27,074).

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.

US Fed supports costly virus spending

Crisis spending measures to confront the pandemic are costly but worth the risk if they prevent even worse economic damage, says US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
With shutdowns dragging on, these could cause "lasting damage" to the US economy and more policies may be needed to deal with that risk, including spending beyond the nearly $3 trillion already approved by Congress, he warns.

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 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 meters (six feet) away from other people, risking a £100 ($123, 113-euro) fine if they break the rules.

France breathes sea air

France opens a selection of Atlantic coast beaches, allowing runners and swimmers to return to the shore, off-limits during lockdown. But the cautious relaxation of restrictions stipulates that while beach-goers can swim or go fishing, no sunbathing is allowed.

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.