Coronavirus updates: WHO warns people must be ready for ‘new way of living’


(NEW YORK) — A global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed more than 170,000 people worldwide.

Nearly 2.5 million people across the globe have been diagnosed with COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Since the first cases were detected in China in December, the United States has become the worst-affected nation, with more than 787,000 diagnosed cases and at least 42,364 deaths. The number of cases in New York state alone is higher than in any single country outside the U.S.

Here’s how the news is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:

5:59 a.m.: Russia surpasses 50,000 cases

Russia on Tuesday morning reported 5,642 new cases of the novel coronavirus, bringing the national tally to 52,763, according to the country’s coronavirus response headquarters.

Another 51 people died from COVID-19 overnight, bringing Russia’s death toll to 456.

Moscow still has the bulk of the country’s infections, with 3,083 new cases registered in the city over the past 24 hours.

5:19 a.m.: Italy can start reopening next month, prime minister says

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced Tuesday that the virus-hit country can start reopening on May 4, but he said a total loosening of the lockdown measures “would be irresponsible.”

In a Facebook post, Conte explained that Italy was preparing to move into “phase two” of its response plan, the details of which will be announced by the end of next week. Officials will also take into account the situation in each region.

“It is too easy to say, ‘let’s open everything,"” Conte said.

Italy is one of the world’s worst-affected countries in the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 181,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19 and over 24,000 deaths, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The country became the first in Europe to impose a coronavirus-related nationwide lockdown, which has been in place since March 10.

On Monday, Italy recorded its first drop in the number of people currently sick with the virus since the country reported its first case in February.

4:46 a.m.: Germany cancels Oktoberfest 2020 due to pandemic

Germany’s iconic Oktoberfest, the world’s largest beer festival, has been canceled this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Every year, around six million people flock to the festival grounds in Munich, the capital of southern Germany’s Bavaria state. This year, the annual festival was slated to run from Sept. 19 to Oct. 4.

After meeting with Munich’s mayor on Tuesday, Bavaria’s minister-president, Markus Soder, said they agreed the risk is “too high” to let Oktoberfest 2020 take place since “you can neither keep your distance nor work with facial protection” at the festival.

“We are living in different times,” Soder told a press conference.

Munich Mayor Dieter Reiter added, “It is an emotionally difficult moment and of course it is also an economically difficult moment for our city.”

Germany, which has more than 147,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, lifted some social distancing measures on Monday, but major events with large audiences remain banned until at least the end of August.

3:30 a.m.: WHO warns people must be ready for ‘new way of living’

As many countries seek to lift lockdowns and other social distancing measures put in place to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, the World Health Organization warned on Tuesday that easing restrictions too soon would likely lead to a resurgence of infections.

“This is not the time to be lax,” Dr. Takeshi Kasai, the WHO regional director for the Western Pacific, told an online press conference. “Instead, we need to ready ourselves for a new way of living for the foreseeable future.”

Kasai said the the restrictions have proved effective and lifting them must be done gradually while continuously monitoring the situation. He said society must be prepared for a new way of living that keeps people healthy and allows economies to function while governments still work to keep the virus in check.

“As we move forward in this difficult time, our lives, our health system and approach to stopping transmission must continue to adapt and evolve along with the epidemic, at least until a vaccine or very effective treatment is found,” he said. “This process will need to become our new normal.”

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