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Pedestrians walk past a billboard featuring Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern with the word Aroha, meaning love, in Christchurch, New Zealand, June 8, 2020. VOA

Lockdowns across the globe prevented millions of deaths from the novel coronavirus, a new study reports.

According to a study by the Imperial College of London, lockdowns and closing nonessential businesses and schools may have saved about 3 million lives in 11 countries — Austria, Belgium, Britain, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

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A separate study in the United States concluded that lockdowns in China, France, Iran, Italy, South Korea, and the U.S. prevented another 530 million COVID-19 cases.

But the World Health Organization warned Monday that while the situation was improving in Europe, it is getting worse in other parts of the world.

Parents and children take part in a flashmob entitled “Open School” at the Gianicolo Belvedere overlooking Rome on June 8, 2020, to mark the end of their “unusual school year” as the country eases its lockdown. VOA

“More than 100,000 cases have been reported in nine of the past 10 days. Yesterday, more than 136,000 cases were reported, the most in a single day so far,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.

Tedros said 75% of the new cases are in 10 countries, mostly in Latin America and South Asia.

But in New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said Monday she is confident the country has stopped COVID-19 from spreading after reporting no new cases for the last 17 days.

Her Cabinet has scrapped all virus-related restrictions on public gatherings, including sports and weddings. Although New Zealanders are celebrating what they see as a victory over the coronavirus, the country’s borders remain closed, and anyone arriving must be quarantined.

Commuters wait for transport at a bus interchange in Christchurch, New Zealand June 8, 2020. VOA

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“We almost certainly will see cases here again … and that is not a sign that we have failed. It is a reality of this virus. But if and when that occurs, we have to make sure that we are prepared,” Ardern said.

A little more than 1,500 people contracted the virus in New Zealand, and 22 have died. (VOA)


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