Washington: Multiple countries were easing or considering the gradual relaxation of restrictions for social and economic recovery although the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases globally was nearing 3 million.
As of Monday morning, the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases stood at 2,973,264, with 206,569 deaths, according to the latest tally by the Washington-based Johns Hopkins University.
The US currently accounted for the highest number of cases and deaths in the world at 965,933 and 54,877, respectively.
Meanwhile in Italy, which has the second highest number of deaths at 26,644 with 197,675 cases, there has been a steady decline of new fatalities, infections and patients in intensive in the past few days, the country's Civil Protection Department said on Sunday.
A total of 260 people died of COVID-19 in the last 24 hours in the country, the lowest single-day death toll since March 15.
It registered 2,324 new cases over the last 24 hours, 33 fewer than on Saturday, and the lowest in six days.
Starting May 3, Italy will be adopting "Phase Two" of a national lockdown put in place since March 10, which involves "the gradual resumption of social, economic and productive activities".
Last week, US President Donald Trump unveiled guidelines for a phased reopening of parts of the economy disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Some states started reopening portions of their businesses over the weekend.
Anthony Fauci, Director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the country will be able to double its COVID-19 testing capacity over the next several weeks, which is needed to safely reopen portions of the economy.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced on Sunday that he would present the government's strategy for lockdown exit to parliament on Tuesday.
France saw COVID-19 deaths rise by 242 to 22,856 as of Sunday, the lowest daily increase, bringing relief to the health system as the country is planning to lift the lockdown on May 11.
(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)