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UK deaths pass 33,000, Germany to gradually relax border controls
Last Updated: 2020-05-14 03:00 | Xinhua
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-- UK faces "significant recession" as COVID-19 deaths pass 33,000;

-- Italy's death toll from coronavirus rises by 195 to 31,106;

-- Germany to gradually relax border controls;

-- Barcelona to remain in first stage of lockdown de-escalation.

The following are the latest developments of the COVID-19 pandemic in European countries.

LONDON -- British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak warned Wednesday that Britain faces a "significant recession" after official figures showed the country's economy shrank by 2 percent in the first quarter of the year.

"Technically a recession is defined as two quarters of negative GDP, we've now had yes, it is now very likely that the UK is facing a significant recession at the moment and this year," Sunak told Sky News Wednesday.

British GDP was estimated to have fallen by 2.0 percent in Q1 2020, compared with the last three months of 2019, the largest quarterly fall since the last quarter of 2008, according to data released by the ONS.

ROME -- A further 195 COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country's death toll to 31,106, out of total infection cases of 222,104, according to fresh figures on Wednesday.

The number of recoveries rose to 112,541, with an increase of 3,502 compared to Tuesday. Nationwide, the number of active infections fell by 2,809 to 78,457, according to Italy's Civil Protection Department.

Of those who tested positive for the coronavirus, 893 are being treated in intensive care, a decrease of 59 compared to Tuesday, and 12,172 people are hospitalized with symptoms, a decrease of 693 over the same period.

BERLIN -- Controls at German borders are to be gradually relaxed from Saturday onwards, the Ministry of the Interior (BMI) announced on Wednesday.

The German government wanted to return to "free travel in Europe" by June 15, said Interior Minister Horst Seehofer at a press conference.

Since the introduction of border controls in mid-March to contain COVID-19 infections, travelers had to give a valid reason before entering Germany. Commuters, members of the medical professions as well as EU citizens who were on their way to their home country had been allowed to cross Germany's borders.

MADRID -- Barcelona, Spain's second-largest city, will have to wait until at least May 25 before progressing to the second phase of the Spanish government's four-phase plan to relax the coronavirus lockdown, which has been in force the country since March 15.

Alba Verges, minister of health of Catalonia, explained at a press conference that while the region in the northeast of Spain will ask for the areas of Lerida, Girona and Central Catalonia to progress to the second phase, Barcelona and its metropolitan area are still not ready to move from "Phase 0" to "Phase 1".

Speaking on a day when Catalonia reported 71 new deaths and 136 new coronavirus cases, Vergas said the decision had been made after "taking into account territorial differences and the way people live in each area."

(Editor:Fu Bo)

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UK deaths pass 33,000, Germany to gradually relax border controls
Source:Xinhua | 2020-05-14 03:00
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