Coronavirus: Global Covid-19 cases pass 2 million

The number of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus has passed the 2 million mark globally, as countries that have already had the worst of it begin to look to toward restoring normal life.

A tally from the US-based Johns Hopkins university shows the number of reported cases worldwide has roughly doubled since April 2, while the global death toll stands at 119,483.

Restrictions imposed to halt the spread of coronavirus have been slightly eased in some countries although health officials around the world are concerned that halting quarantine and social distancing measures could easily undo hard-earned progress.

Spain permitted some workers to return to their jobs, a hard-hit region of Italy loosened its lockdown and grim predictions of a virus that would move with equal ferocity from New York to other parts of US had not yet materialised on Tuesday (NZT).

New York state's 671 new deaths on Monday marked the first time in a week that the daily toll dipped below 700.

Almost 2000 people were newly hospitalised with the virus that day, though once discharges and deaths are accounted for, the number of people hospitalised has flattened to just under 19,000.

"This virus is very good at what it does. It is a killer," New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo said during a news briefing.

As the coronavirus throws millions out of work and devastates economies worldwide, governments are struggling with the delicate balance between keeping people safe from a highly contagious disease and making sure they can still make a living or have enough to eat.
Workers in some non-essential industries returned to their jobs on Tuesday (NZT) in Spain, one of the hardest hit countries in the pandemic.

In South Korea, officials warned that hard-earned progress fighting the virus could be eroded by new infections as restrictions ease.

The decisions are complicated because each country is on its own coronavirus arc, with places like the UK, Japan and parts of the United States still recording increasing daily levels of deaths or infections; France hoping it is stabilising, albeit at a high plateau of deaths; and countries like Italy and Spain registering declines in the rates of increase.