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Coronavirus: latest global developments

AFP – At least 254,532 people have died of the novel coronavirus since the epidemic surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally at 1900 GMT Tuesday based on official sources.

There have been more than 3,629,160 officially recorded cases spanning 195 countries and territories.

The United States is the worst-hit country, with 70,115 deaths out of 1,193,027 cases. Britain follows with 29,427, then Italy with 29,315 deaths, Spain with 25,613 and France with 25,531.

– German states shun Merkel prudence –

Regional leaders push back against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s pleas for prudence, with the biggest state Bavaria preempting planned talks on Wednesday by saying it will reopen its restaurants and hotels this month.

– Hong Kong, California ease measures –

Hong Kong announces plans to reopen schools, cinemas, bars and beauty parlours from Friday.

In California, the governor announces some retailers including bookshops, florists and clothing stores will be allowed to reopen at the end of the week.

– Oil rallies –

Oil prices rally amid a further easing of lockdowns in the United States and Europe, with a barrel of crude reaching just over $30 for the first time since mid-April.

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– Bleak economic data –

Australia’s economy is losing Aus$4 billion (US$2.5 billion) every week its shutdown continues, with GDP forecast to plunge 10 percent in the June quarter, its latest figures announce.

French oil giant Total says its quarterly profits have fallen by 99 percent because of dropping oil prices and announces it will slash investments. The firm reports a net profit of $34 million for the first quarter against $3.1 billion a year earlier.

Spain’s jobless figures rise by more than 282,000 in April, largely because of the collapse of tourism, labour ministry figures show, bringing the total number of unemployed in the country to 3.8 million.

– Russia cases soar –

Russia cements its place as the European country reporting the highest number of new infections, with a total of over 155,000.

– Mass repatriation of Indians –

India embarks on a “massive” operation calling up passenger jets and naval ships to bring back some of the hundreds of thousands of nationals stuck abroad.

– Tournament postponed –

The European swimming championships are postponed a year until May 2021 because of the pandemic.