The number of daily deaths linked to Covid-19 in New York - the hardest hit state in the US - over the past 24 hours has fallen to 84, the lowest one-day total since 24 March.

"The news is good news," New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said in his daily televised briefing.

Hospitalisations, intubations and new infections were all in decline, he added.

"In my head, I was always looking to get under 100," Mr Cuomo said, speaking from the governor's mansion in Albany.

"It doesn't do good for any of those 84 families that are feeling the pain," he added, "but for me it's just a sign we are making real progress."

At the pandemic's peak in New York in early April, the authorities were reporting more than 1,000 deaths a day.

Parts of the state that saw fewer virus cases have already begun to ease lockdown restrictions, but they have yet to be lifted in New York City, the former virus epicentre in the US.

The city's beaches will remain closed for the long Memorial Day weekend, which traditionally marks the beginning of the US summer season.

Beaches are being reopened elsewhere in the state, and in other coastal areas, often with bathers required to observe social distancing.

Mr Cuomo issued an unexpected order late on Friday to allow public assemblies of up to 10 people "for any lawful purpose."

He was easing an early order that applied only to religious services and Memorial Day celebrations, after a civil liberties group filed suit to object to the narrower language.

Nearly 30,000 deaths have been recorded in New York.

Number of cases worldwide reaches 5.25 million

Meanwhile, the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 recorded worldwide has passed 5.25 million, with more than two thirds of them in Europe and the United States.

There are now 5,250,658 cases officially recorded, with 339,172 deaths attributed to the virus.

Europe is the hardest-hit continent, with 2,003,510 cases and 173,186 deaths, while the United States is the worst-hit country, with 1,604,879 cases and 96,125 deaths.

These latest figures mean that the number of recorded cases worldwide has doubled in a month, and that 250,000 new cases have been recorded in less than three days.

The region that is seeing the swiftest rise in cases is now Latin America and the Caribbean, which saw 33,719 recorded on Friday - against 28,647 in the United States and Canada, which was previously where new recorded cases were appearing fastest.

The World Health Organization said that South America was "a new epicentre" of the virus, describing the situation in Brazil as particularly alarming.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the WHO, probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.