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PARIS: Confirmed coronavirus cases have now topped three million worldwide, as hard-hit France and Spain were on Tuesday set to detail their exit strategies from lockdowns imposed to stem the spread of the deadly disease.

As countries begin to chart their path out of shutdowns, US President Donald Trump said the devastating pandemic could have been ‘stopped at the source’ by China, suggesting the US may seek damages.

More than 209,000 people have been killed around the world by Covid-19, a quarter of them in the US.

Forecasts warn of the worst global recession in a century, with oil prices tumbling and the travel and tourism sector badly hammered.

For parts of the US, the lockdown has begun to ease despite criticism from health experts.

With a handful of US states taking steps to revive their shuttered economies, schools and shops in some parts of Europe also opened up as the rate of people dying slowed in the worst-hit European nations.

“We see the difference in other countries and I don’t envy them, that’s for sure,” said Wellington resident Cheryl Robertson, who planned to celebrate with a curry.

Germany, which started lifting restrictions last week, has seen small but regular protests against remaining curbs on personal freedom.

Starting Monday, masks became obligatory on public transport and in most shops in Germany.

“It’s warm, slippery, you can’t breathe well, but if it’s to avoid infection, I’m fine with it,” said Emil, a commuter at a Berlin train station. — AFP

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