Global coronavirus cases surpass 6 million

Divisions among leaders also deepen on how to deal with the pandemic

More than 6 million people worldwide have been infected with the coronavirus since the start of the pandemic, according to the latest tally from Johns Hopkins University. Data compiled by the US university put the number of cases at more than 6,057,000 late on Saturday. Almost 370,000 people worldwide have died in connection to COVID-19, the lung disease caused by the virus, the data showed.

This week, the death toll in the United States, the country worst-affected by the pandemic, surpassed 100,000. The US also has the most infections with just under 1.8 million cases.

Brazil has the second-highest tally globally with around 498,000 infections, according to the Johns Hopkins figures. Russia comes in third with just over 396,000.

Britain follows the US with the second-highest number of deaths related to the virus, with a death toll of 38,458, followed by Italy with 33,340.

Nevertheless, many countries have begun easing restrictions and opening up air travel after weeks of lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. Mid-June has been marked as the time when some European countries plan to start opening up borders to tourists.

"15 June is Europe's "D-Day" for tourism ahead of the summer season," Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio said earlier in the week.

Germany also plans to lift a warning for tourists planning trips to 31 European countries from 15 June.

In the meantime, in Austria, hotels and cinemas were allowed to take in customers, provided they wear masks.

"It is very important that things return to normal," film buff Rotraud Turanitz said at Vienna's historic Admiral Kino cinema on trendy Burggasse.

But as the virus progresses at different speeds around the globe, there has been warnings of a possible second wave of infections. In Britain, which is set to begin lifting its lockdown on Monday, senior advisors to the government warned that the lifting of the restrictions was happening far too quickly.

"COVID-19 spreading too fast to lift lockdown in England," tweeted Jeremy Farrar, a member of the government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies.

But the economic damage from weeks of lockdowns continues to pile up, with Chile and Peru securing credit lines worth billions from the IMF. India's economy grew at its slowest pace in two decades in the first quarter, while Canada, Brazil, France and Italy also saw their GDP figures shrink ahead of an expected worldwide recession.

As the virus hits the world's poor particularly hard, Pope Francis called for a "more just and equitable society" in the post-coronavirus world and for people to act to "end the pandemic of poverty".

Even the animal world has not been left untouched by the pandemic. Gibraltar has banned tourists from touching the British enclave's famous Barbary macaques over fears they could spread coronavirus. Singapore's beloved otters meanwhile have been popping up in unexpected places during the city-state's lockdown, but their increasingly daring antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull.

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