New York starts to shake off virus; Europe recovering
China Daily

A woman waits for a flight at LaGuardia Airport, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in New York City, US on June 7, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

NEW YORK-The state of New York is reopening more quickly than expected because of the progress in various metrics in combating COVID-19 even as the United States suffers by far the largest number of both deaths and infections.

There had been more than 1.9 million infections in the country and 109,802 deaths by Sunday morning. The number of those dying each day had fallen to about 1,000, compared with about 3,000 in mid-April.

In New York state, the death toll fell to a new low since the beginning of the pandemic at 35 on Friday, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Saturday, as he planned to reopen more of the state's economy.

The state's places of worship will be permitted to reopen with 25 percent occupancy during phase two of reopening, and visitors must follow social distancing protocols, Cuomo said.

As offices have started to reopen in phase two, Cuomo said he would issue an executive order allowing commercial buildings statewide to conduct temperature checks for people entering buildings.

New York City had its first day without any related deaths on Wednesday, marking a hopeful point in the recovery of the country's epicenter of the pandemic.

The New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority is ready to return to normal service and has installed no-touch payment scanners in half of all subway stations to prevent contact.

Elsewhere in the Americas, the government of Panama said on Saturday that it would reimpose curbs, starting from Monday, on the movement of people in two provinces with the highest incidence of coronavirus following the latest increases in new infections.

In the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, on Saturday health authorities began a door-to-door operation to search for close contacts of people diagnosed with the disease.

The program began in three neighborhoods that have registered some of the highest numbers of cases in the capital.

France's Palace of Versailles reopens on Saturday.

Signs of improvement

In Europe, Italy's Foreign Minister, Luigi Di Maio, said on Saturday that the country hoped other European Union countries would reopen their borders to Italians on June 15. Italy opened its doors to other EU citizens on Wednesday, but most European countries are still largely off-limits for Italian nationals.

In France, the country's coronavirus death toll, the fifth-highest in the world, rose more slowly on Saturday, and the number of people in intensive care continued to fall, the government said.

The number of related deaths rose 31, or 0.1 percent, from the previous day to reach 29,142, the government said.

The head of a COVID-19 scientific committee advising the French government said on Friday that the epidemic was under control.

In another sign of the epidemic's ebbing, the Paris police authority said a temporary mortuary set up in April in a vacant building in a wholesale food market south of the capital was shut down on Saturday.

Over the past month France eased one of the strictest lockdown regimes in Europe to contain the virus, and restaurants and bars reopened last week.

In Africa, South Africa had reported 45,973 cases and 952 deaths as of Saturday.

The country's epicenter of the virus, Western Cape province, had recorded 30,379 infections and 729 deaths, accounting for more than 66 percent of the country's total and more than 76 percent of the nationwide death toll.

During a visit to the province on Friday, President Cyril Ramaphosa promised urgently to tackle shortages of medical personnel as he ordered the Western Cape government to recruit more doctors and nurses.

Egypt registered 1,497 daily new cases on Saturday, raising the total number of infections to 32,612, the health ministry said. It was the 10th consecutive day for Egypt's COVID-19 daily infections to exceed 1,000.

The number of those who had died of the disease rose to 1,198 after 32 deaths were added, the health ministry said.