More than 251,000 dead

At least 254,532 people have died of the novel coronavirus since the epidemic surfaced in China late last year, according to an AFP tally at 7pm on Tuesday based on official sources.

There have been more than 3,629,160 officially recorded cases spanning 195 countries and territories.

The United States is the worst-hit country, with 70,115 deaths out of 1,193,027 cases. Britain follows with 29,427, then Italy with 29,315 deaths, Spain with 25,613 and France with 25,531.

UK toll second highest

Britain overtakes Italy to become the country behind the US with the largest single-country death toll. The number of people killed by the virus in the UK now stands at 32,375, according to official figures from the Office for National Statistics.

German states shun Merkel prudence

Regional leaders push back against Chancellor Angela Merkel's pleas for prudence, with the biggest state preempting planned talks by saying it will reopen its restaurants and hotels this month.

Bavaria says restaurants will be the first to be allowed to offer outdoor dining from 18 May, before extending the opening to indoor dining a week later.

Hotels will be allowed to welcome guests again from 30 May.

Hong Kong, California ease measures

Hong Kong announces plans to reopen schools, cinemas, bars and beauty parlours from Friday.

In California, the governor announces some retailers including bookshops, florists and clothing stores will be allowed to reopen at the end of the week.

Oil rallies 

Oil prices rally amid a further easing of lockdowns in the United States and Europe, with a barrel of crude reaching just over $30 for the first time since mid-April.

Bleak economic data

Australia's economy is losing Aus$4bn every week its shutdown continues, with GDP forecast to plunge 10% in the June quarter, its latest figures announce.

Sales of new cars in Britain plunge 97% in April, the lowest level since 1946, as separate figures show the UK service sector plummeted to another record low in April.

French oil giant Total says its quarterly profits have fallen by 99% because of dropping oil prices and announces it will slash investments. The firm reports a net profit of $34m for the first quarter against $3.1bn a year earlier.

Losing jobs

British airline Virgin Atlantic, part-owned by tycoon Richard Branson, says it will cut over 3,000 jobs - around a third of its staff - following "unprecedented pressure" from the pandemic.

Spain's jobless figures rise by more than 282,000 in April, largely because of the collapse of tourism, labour ministry figures show, bringing the total number of unemployed in the country to 3.8 million.

In Britain, the Treasury has paid 6.3 million workers up to 80% of their salaries at a total cost of £8bn, as part of an emergency package of measures.

Russia cases soar

Russia cements its place as the European country reporting the highest number of new infections, with a total of over 155,000.

Mass repatriation of Indians

India embarks on a "massive" operation calling up passenger jets and naval ships to bring back some of the hundreds of thousands of nationals stuck abroad.

Tournament postponed

The European Swimming Championships are postponed a year until May 2021 because of the pandemic.