Over 1.5 million coronavirus cases recorded across Europe
European countries have recorded more than 1.5 million cases of coronavirus infection less than half of the global total of the disease as reported by an AFP tally.
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With at least 1,506,853 infections, including 140,260 deaths, Europe is the hardest-hit continent. Across the world, 3,350,224 cases and 238,334 deaths have been recorded.
Spain, with 215,216 cases and 24,824 deaths, Italy with 207,428 cases and 28,236 deaths, Britain (177,454 and 27,510), France (167,346 and 24,594), and Germany (161,703 and 6,575) are the five European countries with official tolls over 150,000.
The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.
Nevertheless, people across Spain were allowed to freely go for walks and play sport after 48 days of home confinement.
Italy's emergency response commissioner Domenico Arcuri, though, begged Italians not to lower their guards as the country prepared to ease the world's longest coronavirus lockdown. "On Monday, Phase Two begins. We have to be aware that it will be the start of an even bigger challenge," he said.
The United Kingdom's COVID-19 death toll rose 621 to 28,131 as of May 1, just short of Italy which has had the deadliest novel coronavirus outbreak among European countries.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said the country would extend a health emergency imposed to fight the new virus for another two months until July 24.
Russia reported 9,623 new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, its highest daily rise since the start of the pandemic, bringing the total to 124,054, mostly in the capital Moscow, where the mayor threatened to cut the number of travel permits, Reuters reported. The death toll nationwide rose to 1,222 after 57 people died in the last 24 hours, Russia's coronavirus crisis response centre said, after revising the previous day's tally.
The number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the Netherlands has also increased by 445 to 40,236, Dutch health authorities said on Saturday. The National Institute for Public Health reported 94 new deaths, taking total COVID-19 fatalities to 4,987.