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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Russia on Sunday reported more than 11,000 new coronavirus cases, passing 10,000 for an eighth straight day as other nations in Europe began to ease lockdowns.
There were 11,012 new cases in Russia, raising the tally of infections to 209,688, the government said on Sunday.
In the previous 24 hours, 88 people died, taking the toll to 1,915.
But the World Health Organisation said the outbreak might be nearing its peak.
“The cases are still there but the growth rate is stabilising,” said Melita Vujnovic, head of the UN health agency’s office in Russia.
“We do hope, looking at the last few days, that it is on a plateau.”
Germany had its fewest new infections in five days and the lowest number of deaths in more than a month, data from Johns Hopkins University indicated on Sunday.
But on the same day, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said its estimate of the effective reproduction number had risen to 1.1, indicating a rise in infections was likely as lockdown measures eased.
On Sunday, fatalities in Britain, Italy and Spain also fell to their lowest since March.
But weekend numbers after often artificially low because of a lack of hospital administration staff working over the weekend.
Russia now has the fifth largest number of reported cases globally and looks likely to pass Britain, Italy and Spain in the coming week.
President Vladimir Putin last week cautioned regional governors against rushing to ease lockdowns.
Economic activity in Russia shrank by a third since widespread restrictions were put in place at the end of March.
Despite more than 160,000 deaths on the continent, European states are under pressure to quicken steps to pull the economy out of its nosedive.
France will start rolling back lockdown measures on Monday, joining neighbours in gradually easing restrictions.
French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe last week said the country was ready for a nationwide plan to relax curbs, although strict controls would remain on public transport in Paris, where infection rates were too high.
Looser restrictions on businesses and shops will start coming into effect on Monday.
Germany took its biggest step yet to ease restrictions last week as it made plans to allow restaurants and shops to open and for the resumption of professional soccer matches.
Social-distancing rules will stay in place until at least June 5, and curbs may be reinstated locally if outbreaks emerge.
Spain’s government has authorised a further partial easing of restrictions from Monday for areas of the country where about half of its population lives as health officials make further progress in containing the virus.
Under the more relaxed rules, hotels and smaller-sized shops will be able to reopen while bars and cafes will be able to offer service to controlled groups of customers sitting at outside tables.
The easing so far does not apply to major cities including Madrid and Barcelona.
Italy may speed up its easing of restrictions as the death toll and new cases moderate.
Daily deaths from the virus fell to 165, the fewest since mid-March, and there were only 802 new cases reported on Sunday, down from 1,083 the day before.
Meanwhile, in his Sunday address to the nation, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said that the lockdown would not be eased by much.
But Mr Johnson unveiled a new virus alert system, similar to the government's process for terror threat levels.
The new system will have five levels, ranging from one (green), which would enable life to return to normal, to five (red).
England is on the verge of improving from level four to three, which indicates that the Covid-19 infection rate is not increasing significantly, Mr Johnson said.
The government also revealed a new mantra: “Stay alert, control the virus and save lives.”
But some officials said the new advice to “stay alert”, compared to its earlier message of “stay home”, was confusing.
Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon called the slogan “vague and imprecise".
Ms Sturgeon said her administration would stick to its guidance for people to stay at home.
Updated: May 11, 2020 12:06 AM
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