The US states of Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska began loosening lockdown orders on their pandemic-wounded businesses, even as the confirmed U.S. death toll from the coronavirus soared past 50,000 and despite warnings from health experts that such steps may be coming too early.
The news came as the outbreak appeared to continue to subside in much of Asia. In China, where the virus was first detected late last year, authorities on Saturday reported no new deaths for the 10th straight day, along with just 12 new cases, 11 of them brought from overseas and one local transmission in the northeastern province of Heilongjiang bordering Russia, according to the National Health Commission.
Just 838 people remain hospitalized in China with COVID-19 while another 1,000 are undergoing isolation and monitoring for being either suspected cases or having tested positive for the virus while showing no symptoms. China has reported a total of 4,632 deaths among 82,816 cases.
South Korea reported 10 fresh cases, the eighth day in a row its daily jump came below 20. There were no new deaths for the second straight day.
India announced the easing of a stringent lockdown for 1.3 billion people with the reopening of neighbourhood and standalone shops. India has reported more than 18,600 cases and 775 deaths. Last week, it allowed resumption of manufacturing and farming activities in rural areas as millions of daily wage earners were left without work.