Some of the world’s most populous countries reported worrisome new peaks in infections Sunday, including India, which saw its biggest single-day jump yet.
Second in population only to China, India reported more than 2,600 new infections. In Russia, new cases exceeded 10,000 for the first time. The confirmed death toll in Britain climbed near that of Italy, the epicenter of Europe’s outbreak, even though the U.K. population is younger than Italy’s and Britain had more time to prepare before the pandemic hit.
The United States continues to see tens of thousands of new infections each day, with more than 1,400 additional deaths reported Saturday.
Health experts have warned of a potential second wave of infections unless testing is expanded dramatically once the lockdowns are relaxed. But pressure to reopen keeps building after the weeks-long shutdown of businesses worldwide plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s and wiped out millions of jobs.
China, which reported only two new cases, saw a surge in visitors to newly reopened tourist spots after domestic travel restrictions were loosened ahead of a five-day holiday that runs through Tuesday. Nearly 1.7 million people visited Beijing parks on the first two days of the holiday, and Shanghai’s main tourist spots welcomed more than 1 million visitors, according to Chinese media. Many spots limited daily visitors to 30% of capacity.
On the eve of Italy’s first steps toward easing restrictions, the Health Ministry reported 174 COVID deaths in the 24-hour period ending Sunday evening — the lowest day-to-day number since the national lockdown began on March 10. Parks and public gardens were set to reopen on Monday.
In Spain, many ventured outside for the first time since the country’s lockdown began March 14, but social distancing rules remained in place. Masks are mandatory starting Monday on public transit.
In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to reveal how the country will lift its lockdown. The restrictions are due to last through Thursday, but with hundreds of deaths still being reported daily — twice as many recently as Italy or Spain — it’s unclear how the country can safely loosen the restrictions.