Protests flare in US, coronavirus toll tops 40,000

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International desk, April 20: Signs of slowdown in pandemic in parts of Europe, as some countries begin to tentatively ease lockdowns.Coronavirus-related deaths in the US exceeded 40,000 with nearly half of all casualties in New York, as protests against “stay at home” orders flared in a number of states.

An estimated 2,500 people rallied at the Washington state capitol in Olympia to protest Democratic Governor Jay Inslee’s stay-at-home order, defying a ban on gatherings of 50 or more people.

Despite pleas from rally organizers to wear face coverings or masks as public health authorities recommend, many did not.

“Shutting down businesses by picking winners and losers in which there are essential and non-essential are violations of the state and federal constitution,” rally organizer Tyler Miller, 39, an engineer from Bremerton, Washington, told Reuters.

The number of deaths in Italy was the lowest in a week, while the pace of new infections also slowed. Spain registered its lowest daily death toll in almost a month.

New Zealand will relax some of its restrictions – among the most stringent in the world – from next Monday.

A group of more than 150 economists in Australia have urged the government to maintain social distancing restrictions as some urge a lifting of the lockdown to save the economy. “We believe a callous indifference to life is morally objectionable,” they wrote.

Globally, 2.4 million people have been diagnosed with the virus while more than 165,000 have died, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 625,000 people have recovered.

Source: News Agencies