US coronavirus death toll surpasses 55000

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It took 91 days for the death toll to pass 100,000 and a further 16 days to reach 200,000, according to the Reuters tally of official reports from governments. China has reported a total of 4,632 deaths among 82,816 cases.

But with signs the disease is peaking in the USA and Europe, governments are starting to ease restrictions, weighing the need for economic recovery against cautions that lifting them too soon risks a second wave of infections.

The US continues to be the worst-hit country with 987,322 cases and almost 55,415 fatalities.

Despite the rising number of cases, most people who contract the virus suffer mild symptoms before making a recovery.

Spain's daily virus toll - the third highest fatality rate in the world - rose slightly on Saturday with 378 people dying, a day after the country registered its lowest number of fatalities in four weeks.

Europe has a total of 122,171 deaths from 1,360,314 cases, the United States and Canada have 55,586 deaths and 969,896 cases, Asia has 7,854 deaths from 195,102 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean have 7,434 deaths from 150,162 cases, the Middle East has 6,225 deaths from 150.625 cases, Africa has 1,361 deaths from 29,981 cases and Oceania has 105 deaths from 7,991 cases.

"Our instruction remains clear, people should stay at home, protect the NHS (National Health Service) and save lives", Patel told a news conference on Saturday.

Iran has steadily allowed the reopening of businesses that were closed to stop the virus spread.

President Donald Trump skipped conducting a press briefing on the coronavirus response and later tweeted that the near-daily briefings were "not worth the time & effort" because of what he claimed was negative and erroneous media coverage.

As experts - and disinfectant manufacturers - rushed to caution against any such risky experiment, the president tried to walk back his comments, saying he had been speaking "sarcastically".

Over the past five weeks, roughly 26 million people have filed for jobless aid in America, or about one in six U.S. workers.

In Italy, where restrictions will be eased May 4, authorities warned against abandoning social distancing practices when millions return to work.

Elsewhere, pockets of hope started to emerge in several countries.

There are concerns that limited testing could mean a slow exit from lockdown and a worse hit for Britain's economy, the world's fifth largest.

India's restrictions have allowed people out of their homes only to buy food, medicine or other essentials.

"Thank you to the caregivers, shame on the leaders" read one such banner hanging outside a building in a Paris suburb. There were no new deaths for the second straight day.



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