Global death toll from coronavirus surpasses 200,000

Atlanta: As the global death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 200,000 on Saturday, countries took cautious steps toward easing some lockdowns, while fears of infection made even some pandemic-wounded businesses reluctant to reopen.

The states of Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska started loosening restrictions on businesses despite warnings from experts that such steps might be coming too soon. Some owners said they weren’t yet ready to reopen or were doing so only on a limited basis, worried about a second surge of COVID-19 infections.

The worldwide death toll topped 200,000, according to a tally compiled by John Hopkins University from government figures. The actual death toll is believed to be far hig, said an AP report. .

In India, easing restrictions meant reopening neighborhood stores that many of the country’s 1.3 billion people rely on for everything from cold drinks to mobile phone data cards. But the loosening didn’t apply to hundreds of quarantined towns and other places hit hardest by the outbreak that has killed at least 775 people in the country and terrified its multitudes of poor who live in slum conditions too crowded for social distancing.

Shopping malls also stayed closed nationwide. Still, for families that run small stores, being able to earn again brought relief.

Last week, India also allowed manufacturing and farming to resume in rural areas to ease the economic plight of millions left jobless by the lockdown imposed March 24. India’s restrictions have allowed people out of their homes only to buy food, medicine or other essentials.

Elsewhere in Asia, authorities reported no new deaths Saturday for the 10th straight day in China, where the virus originated.

And South Korea reported just 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.

In an announcement that underscored the scientific unknowns about the virus, the World Health Organization said “there is currently no evidence” that people who have recovered from COVID-19 cannot fall sick again.