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The United States reported its millionth coronavirus case as hard-hit European countries took tentative steps towards lifting lockdowns, with masks mandatory in all German shops from Wednesday.
Excitement over a move towards normality in many places was tempered by fear of new outbreaks and growing evidence of the economic devastation wreaked by the pandemic.
The crisis has left tens of millions unemployed in the US, which has by far the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 fatalities — around a third of the global death toll of 217,000, according to an AFP tally.
Forecasts warn of the worst global recession in a century, with demand for goods gutted, and travel and tourism hammered.
British Airways became the latest airline to sound the alarm, saying it may have to cut its workforce by a third.
In Lebanon there were more immediate signs of economic crisis, with protesters confronting soldiers in defiance of a nationwide lockdown.
"I came down to raise my voice against hunger, poverty and rising prices," Khaled, 41, told AFP, saying he had lost his job and could no longer support his three children.
Even a gradual return to everyday economic activity is "risky", warned French Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe, despite an encouraging downward trend in virus deaths.
Shops, markets and selected schools will reopen from next month in France, with masks required on public transport and work-from-home orders in place for several more weeks.
From Wednesday, masks will be needed to enter shops across Germany. Face coverings were already compulsory on buses, trains and trams.
"We all need to take care that we don't end up with more infections," said Lothar Wieler, president of Berlin's Robert Koch Institute for disease control.
Germany is being closely watched as data on infection rates showed mixed results.
'Cries of the people'
Italy, Spain and France have been the worst affected European countries, with each reporting more than 23,000 deaths.
Spain said restrictions would be slowly lifted over the next two months, while Italians will be able to exercise outdoors and visit relatives from next week -- but hugs and handshakes will not be allowed.
Medical staff members prepare their gear at Saint-Jean train station in Bordeaux, France. AFP
Other nations from Russia to Nigeria also plan to ease lockdown measures, despite warnings from experts of a second wave of contagion if restrictions are lifted too hastily.
In Nigeria's largest city Lagos, bus driver Taju Olonade told AFP the decision showed authorities had finally listened "to the cries of the people."
"For almost one month I have not earned a penny," he said. "I hope life will soon return to normal."
More than three million people worldwide are known to have caught the respiratory disease that first emerged in China in December, but the actual figure is thought to be much higher as many countries only test the most serious cases.
An excavator is seen during a collective burial that have passed away due to coronavirus in Manaus, Brazil. Reuters
US President Donald Trump has increasingly sought to blame China for the pandemic, but Beijing has pushed back fiercely.
"They have only one objective: shirk their responsibility for their own poor epidemic prevention and control measures," foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said on Tuesday.
China's outbreak appears to be under control with no new deaths reported for 13 straight days and confirmed fatalities around 4,600 -- although much doubt has been cast on whether the numbers are accurate.
In Latin America, Brazil has emerged as a new hotspot with 5,000 deaths so far, while nine prisoners were killed in riots at a Peruvian jail after two inmates died from COVID-19.
The dire forecast from the United States came as much of the Western world emerged from weeks of lockdown, with hopes that the disease may have peaked in Europe, where deaths in the worst affected countries have dropped after nearly two months of confinement.
Infections have been reported in more than 210 countries and territories since the first cases were identified in China in December 2019. The United States is the worst hit with 88,719 deaths and 1.49 million cases as of 15.17GMT (UAE time 19.17) on Monday.
Europe has been the hardest hit with 1,954,519 cases and 169,880 deaths while the United States has 1,551,853 cases and 93,439 deaths. The statistics represent only a fraction of the exact total of cases with many countries testing only the most serious infections.
The mixed messaging was the latest from a president whose remarks from the White House podium have frequently raised eyebrows, including most recently a suggestion that disinfectant could be injected to treat patients with COVID-19.
Cease-fire mediator Qatar said efforts are ongoing to renew the truce, which saw Israel pause most military activity in Gaza and release 300 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for Palestinian group Hamas freeing over 100 hostages held in Gaza.
The emirate's delegation comprised the Sharjah Book Authority, Sharjah Literary Agency, Sharjah Department of Culture, Al Qasimi Publications, and Kalimat Group.
"You are the spirit of the union. You are its present and future. I pray to Allah Almighty to bless you and our nation with continued security, progress and prosperity," Sheikh Mohammed said.
In another homage to the UAE, Egyptian couple Manal Mohamed and Mahmoud Muhareb rang in UAE National Day with the birth of baby Zayed exactly at 12:00am, weighing 3.810 kg. After two boys and two girls, Zayed is their fifth child.