Greece and France opened some beaches, German soccer’s Bundesliga became the first major sports league to resume, Thais were allowed to visit shopping malls and people in the Chinese city of Wuhan were dancing again on Saturday night.
But it all took place with tight restrictions to prevent a resurgence of the coronavirus: many countries are treading cautiously as they start gradual easing of lockdowns.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
* More than 4.64 million people have been reported to have been infected globally and 310,164 have died, according to a Reuters tally, as of 0316 GMT on Sunday..
* Thousands of Greeks returned to church on Sunday after weeks of staying away as a ban on mass gatherings was eased.
* Greeks flocked to the seaside when more than 500 beaches reopened, as the country sought to walk the fine line between protecting people from COVID-19 while reviving the tourism sector that many depend on for their livelihoods.
* Bathers also took a dip in the sea or strolled Nice’s Promenade des Anglais on the French Riviera, many wearing protective masks, as the beach reopened to the public for the first time since mid-March.
* Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte outlined a further loosening of movement restrictions, including opening borders to travellers from Europe from next month.
* Spain’s government will seek to extend its coronavirus state of emergency one last time until late June, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said as anti-government protests broke out around the hard-hit country.
* From social distancing substitutes using airport stairs, to disinfected balls and a potential television audience of one billion, the German soccer’s Bundesliga enjoyed a chequered restart as the first major sports league to resume amid the pandemic.
* British Prime Minister Boris Johnson admitted there is public frustration with his government’s measures to ease the lockdown following widespread criticism of the new rules.
* Brazil’s confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus rose on Saturday past those of Spain and Italy, which was once the epicenter of the pandemic, making Brazil’s outbreak the fourth largest in the world, according to official figures.
* U.S. President Donald Trump said his administration was considering numerous proposals about the World Health Organization, including one in which Washington would pay about 10% of its former level.
* New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state’s new confirmed COVID-19 cases are predominantly coming from people who left their homes to go shop, exercise or socialize and not from essential workers.
* Thailand opened malls and department stores for the first time since March in its second phase of relaxing measures.
* Hailed for her leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and her partner were turned away from a cafe because it was too full under the physical distancing guidelines.
* Wearing masks and keeping about a metre apart, men and women in Wuhan were dancing once again on a Saturday night by the side of the Yangtze river, which winds through the central Chinese city where the pandemic began.
* Japanese hospital doctors on the front line of the pandemic face tough working conditions, with many reusing masks and few getting hazard pay, a survey by a labour union showed.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* Egypt will bring forward the start of its curfew by four hours to 5 p.m. and halt public transport during the six-day Eid holiday from May 24 as it seeks to curb the spread of the new coronavirus, the prime minister said.
* Zimbabwe will keep its coronavirus lockdown for the time being, though businesses will be allowed to open for longer and the restrictions will be reviewed every two weeks, President Emmerson Mnangagwa said.
* China has asked trading firms and food processors to boost inventories of grains and oilseeds as a possible second wave of coronavirus cases and worsening infection rates elsewhere raise concerns about global supply lines.
* The governments of Abu Dhabi and Dubai are discussing ways to prop up Dubai’s economy by linking up assets in the two emirates, with Abu Dhabi’s state fund Mubadala likely to play a key role in any deal, three sources familiar with the matter said.
* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he would look at possible ways to help airlines further, but laid out no new measures after the country’s biggest airline announced mass layoffs due to the pandemic.
* German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has run into opposition from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives over a plan worth 57 billion euros ($61.65 billion) to help municipalities cope with plunging tax revenues caused by the coronavirus crisis.
* The U.S. House of Representatives on Friday narrowly approved a $3 trillion bill crafted by Democrats to provide more aid for battling the coronavirus and stimulating a faltering economy.