Coronavirus Live Updates: U.S. Surpasses Italy in Total Deaths While Japan’s Leader Posts Video About Staying Home

Countries around the world are weighing the costs and benefits of reopening society.

The coronavirus pandemic continued its global assault on Sunday, with more than 1.7 million known cases recorded worldwide and at least 108,000 deaths.

But even as some countries join the list of those with broad or expanded lockdown orders, others have begun eyeing the benefits of reopening at least some parts of society.

In Iran, the hardest-hit country so far in its region, some government offices and shops, factories and other businesses began reopening on Saturday as the national lockdown is lifted in phases. President Hassan Rouhani had said last week that economic and government activity must continue. On Saturday, he said that people should still observe social distancing.

The lifting of restrictions came despite warnings from the country’s health ministry that the reopening could cause a new spike in cases and tens of thousands of additional deaths.

Some of the most grievously hit countries in Europe, while still recording hundreds of new deaths every day, say that the worst appears to be past. Their plans to ease some restrictions, they caution, will not bring normalcy, but instead a new phase of learning how to safely live with the pandemic.

Spain, with the world’s highest caseload after the United States, is preparing to allow some nonessential employees to return to work on Monday. The country has reported a falling death rate and a daily growth in new cases of about 3 percent, compared with 20 percent in mid-March.

Italy, which follows Spain in cases but has the highest death toll after the United States, will allow some bookstores, children’s clothing shops and some forestry-related occupations to resume operations after the current restrictions expire on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan took to social media on Sunday to urge people across the country to stay home as confirmed coronavirus cases rose by a record number for the fourth day running.

Last year, the Vatican’s police force estimated that 70,000 faithful crammed into St. Peter’s Square on Easter morning to hear the pope deliver his “Urbi et Orbi” (“To the City and to the World”) message after the Easter Mass.

But on Sunday, Pope Francis won’t impart his Easter message and blessing from a window in the apostolic palace, from where he greets the faithful most Sundays. Instead, Francis will live-stream the Mass, followed by the message and a blessing, on the Vatican news website, starting at 11 a.m. local time (5 a.m. Eastern).

People are prohibited from gathering in the square. And the Francis will celebrate Mass with just a few assistants inside the empty basilica.

The Vatican also live-streamed the Via Crucis, the traditional Good Friday procession that evokes the Stations of the Cross leading up to Christ’s crucifixion, in St. Peter’s Square instead of Rome’s Colosseum, where it is traditionally held. At the end of the procession, Francis prayed silently before a wooden crucifix that had been carried during Rome’s 16th-century plague.

Earlier Friday, Francis called an Italian state TV Good Friday special to say he felt close to the victims of the pandemic, and that he was thinking about the “doctors, nurses, nuns and priests who had died on the front lines as soldiers, giving their life for love.”

In this pandemic, many are resisting, in their communities, in hospitals, caring for the ill. “Even today people are crucified, and die for love,” Francis said.

Here’s what else is happening in the United States:

  • The largest states are split on when and how to reopen. The governors of Texas and Florida, both Republicans, have started talking about reopening businesses and schools, echoing signals from Mr. Trump. But the leaders of California and New York, both Democrats, are sounding more cautious notes.

  • Top officials in New York, the epicenter of the U.S. outbreak with more than 180,000 cases, appear to disagree over whether New York City schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year. Read the latest updates for the New York region.

  • Citing the virus, the Trump administration announced that it would issue visa penalties on countries that refuse to accept people the U.S. aims to deport.

  • With so many restaurants and schools closed and other sources of demand disrupted, many of the largest farms in the country are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they haven’t been able to sell or donate to food banks, which can only absorb so much perishable food.

Strapped by the same problems facing health care workers around the world, including a limited supply of personal protective equipment, hospital beds and ventilators, Guam’s government is contending with how it can protect its own people and simultaneously help the crew of infected sailors on the Theodore Roosevelt carrier, which arrived in Guam on March 27. The outbreak on the ship ended up creating a moral crisis for the military.

As an American territory roughly 7,200 miles from the continental United States, Guam in many ways represents the edge of the United States empire, one that happens to be on the front lines of the American deterrence strategy against China. The island, at 212 square miles, is home to Joint Region Marianas, a military command made up of Andersen Air Force Base on the northern part of the island that supports stealth-bomber rotations, and Naval Base Guam to the south, where four attack submarines are stationed to counter Chinese military expansion in the South China Sea. It is also now home to the Theodore Roosevelt carrier, which is not likely to redeploy anytime soon.

“They’re the ones that are out there, protecting our waters,” said Lourdes Leon Guerrero, the island’s governor, of the Navy. With about two dozen Guam residents serving aboard the carrier, finding space was the “least we could do.”

In interviews with The New York Times, local residents, and Theodore Roosevelt sailors and their loved ones described a complicated situation in which the island is providing logistical support to the Navy while also trying to protect the local population from the coronavirus, which could quickly overwhelm Guam’s fragile health care system.

India appears set to extend a nationwide lockdown for all 1.3 billion citizens, government officials said on Saturday.

A statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s office said the chief ministers of India’s states had reached a consensus to extend the existing 21-day lockdown for two weeks when it ends on April 15.

During a meeting with top officials, Mr. Modi said the lockdown had helped stunt the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and that “constant vigilance is paramount,” according to the statement.

The statement did not make clear Mr. Modi’s final decision, but some states have already extended the restrictions to the end of the month.

“PM has taken correct decision to extend lockdown,” Arvind Kejriwal, the chief minister of Delhi, wrote on Twitter, without elaborating. “If it is stopped now, all gains would be lost.”

Indian officials have faced staggering challenges in enforcing the lockdown, which went into effect on March 25 with four hours’ notice. It shut down almost all businesses and transportation in a country of 1.3 billion people.

Supply chain disruptions have complicated the distribution of food to Indians who rely on subsidies. Hundreds of thousands of migrant workers living hand-to-mouth found themselves trapped in big cities. Some embarked on hundred-mile journeys on foot to reach their villages.

India has a relatively low number of confirmed cases — about 7,500 — but testing is extremely limited, and large numbers of cases would be disastrous. Health care across the country is poor, and millions of people live in packed urban areas, making social distancing nearly impossible.

Reporting was contributed by Ben Dooley, Choe Sang-Hun, Dan Bilefsky, Kai Schultz, Derrick Taylor, Courtney Mabeus and Amie Tsang.

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