New York City – the epicenter of the American corona virus outbreak – began partially reopening its destroyed economy on Monday after nearly three months of closure when the World Health Organization warned that the global health crisis was "worsening".
Around 400,000 New Yorkers were allowed to work again when retailers offered limited pickup at the store and on the roadside. Construction and manufacturing were also allowed to resume operations.
"It's nice to be back," said Michael Ostergren, manager of Shakespeare and Co's bookstore in Manhattan's Upper West Side, where a lot of customers arrived shortly after the doors reopened.
"Everyone wants to be out of the house. We're just continuing where we left off in March," he added.
When New York entered the first phase of its reopening and some of the most affected nations in Europe returned to a new kind of normal, WHO reported a record number of new cases worldwide.
Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said 136,000 cases have been reported in the last 24 hours, "most in a single day," most of which are in America and South Asia.
"Although the situation in Europe is improving, it is worsening worldwide," he told reporters.
COVID-19 caused more than 21,000 confirmed and probable deaths in New York after America's most populous city quickly became the zero point of the US epidemic in late March.
Mayor Bill de Blasio welcomed the first easing of restrictions, but warned residents not to keep social distance and to wash their hands regularly.
"This is a triumphant moment for New Yorkers resisting the disease," he told CNN.
"Come back to work, but remember to stick to the smart rules that have brought us this far."
However, the reopening was hampered by a large number of high-end shops that remained nailed down after widespread looting during the protests against racism a week ago.
The economic restart began a day after de Blasio lifted a controversial one-week curfew that he had imposed on the sacking.
Governor Andrew Cuomo has urged the thousands of demonstrators who demonstrated that Minneapolis police killed an unarmed black man, George Floyd, to test COVID-19 for fear they could cause an increase in infections.
One store that opened in Midtown Manhattan was The Container Store, a home outlet.
The sixty-one year old K.B. Barton went with three bags of items that he had first ordered online.
"Today Manhattan is more lively. I see a lot more people on the street. I am happier, but not everyone wears a mask," he told AFP.
In the borough of Queens, subway trains to Manhattan were a bit more busy at rush hour than in the past few weeks, but not nearly before the corona virus.
Seventy-year-old Brandy Bligen said he was looking forward to dining outside, which will be included in the second phase of the reopening next to the barber shops, and would be expected in fourteen days if the cases didn't increase.
"Being restricted is enough to drive you crazy," he told AFP at Roosevelt Avenue-Jackson Heights.
New York's bars are allowed to open in phase three, but cinemas and museums have to wait until phase four, probably in late July and with reduced capacity.
COVID-19 deaths have seen 404,000 deaths worldwide with more than seven million infections since the disease hit China late last year before it hit the globe and blocked some form of billions of people and paralyzed the economy.
Governments around the world are cautiously withdrawing these restrictions to revitalize their economy while trying to avoid infection resurgence.
In Belgium, pubs and restaurants opened their doors, but with social distance measures in place, while Ireland opened shops and allowed six-person gatherings and limited travel.
Moscow said on Monday that it would loosen border restrictions and lift blocking measures in the Russian capital from Tuesday.
New Zealand now raised hopes for the rest of the world when Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said her country had defeated the virus, despite strict border controls.
But Britain, which started a more cautious reopening, imposed a two-week quarantine on everyone who came to the country, including British nationals – which triggered legal action from airlines.
The quarantine came when it had the lowest daily death rate in more than two months, with 55 deaths in the past 24 hours.
On the other side of the Atlantic, the numbers showed that the US economy entered a recession in February and ended 128 months of expansion.
And the World Bank said the pandemic, despite unprecedented government support, caused the world's largest collapse since 1870.
In Latin America, countries were preparing for the worst as the outbreak escalated, with Brazil, Mexico and Peru particularly hard hit.
Brazil has the third-highest number of deaths in the world, with more than 36,000 deaths, but President Jair Bolsonaro continues to downplay the effects of the virus and has urged regional officials to lift the blockade.
In Asia, there is still concern that the virus may not be under control. In India, the number of deaths and the infection rate are rising sharply, although the government lifted some curbs on Monday after a ten-week blockade.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and is generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)