May 1 (UPI) — Australia and Malaysia on Friday announced plans to ease lockdown restrictions as the number of people cured of the coronavirus surpassed 1 million worldwide.
By Friday, more than 3.2 million people had been confirmed infected with COVID-19 since the virus emerged late last year in Wuhan, China, but according to data from Johns Hopkins University, nearly a third have recovered.
The United States, which has the most cases at more than 1 million, also recorded the highest number of people to recover from the disease at nearly 154,000.
Germany, which is sixth in number of infections, was second in number of recovered patients at 123,500 followed by Spain with 112,050 and China at 78,523.
Deaths to the virus, however, continued to climb toward 234,000 globally on Friday with the United States, which reported its first case on Jan. 21, recording more than 63,000 people killed by the disease, double that of Italy, which has the second-highest death toll of nearly 28,000.
In Australia, which has 6,765 cases and 93 deaths, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced coronavirus restrictions could be eased next Friday due to the public’s effort to curb the number of infections.
He praised Australians for preventing the spread of the coronavirus during a press conference, stating they “deserve an early mark” for the work that they have done.
Morrison said now they need to curb unemployment and the negative effects the Australian economy has endured due to stringent measures put in place to prevent coronavirus infections.
“We need to restart our economy, we need to restart our society, we can’t keep Australia under the doona,” he said, referring to a native quilt. “We need to be able to move ahead.”
More than 900,000 unemployment claims have been processed in the last week, Morrison said.
The national cabinet will meet on Monday and Friday to discuss lifting federal restrictions, but Morrison said a condition to do so will be more Australians downloading the COVIDSafe tracing smartphone application the government has been promoting.
“We need that tool so we can open the economy,” he said. “So, if you haven’t downloaded the app yet, download it.”
Greg Hunt, the health minister, said via Twitter more than 3 million people had registered with the app in the last three days.
In Malaysia on Friday, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced most sectors of the economy will reopen following a partial lockdown on Monday.
“Beginning May 4, almost all economic sectors will be allowed to open with conditions,” he said in a televised address. “This is important as business and work are sources of income. If was are under [movement control order] for too long, we will not get any income and this will have a bad impact on your finances.”
Malaysia, which has 6,002 cases of the virus causing 102 deaths, imposed the partial lockdown on March 18.
Yassin said businesses that involve large groups will still be shuttered.
He said the move was informed by the Ministry of Health and best practices of the World Health Organization.
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