As coronavirus-induced economic pain grew around the world, some U.S. states moved forward Friday with plans to reopen their economies, while European countries held muted commemorations to mark the end of World War II on the continent.
Around the U.K., residents were encouraged to stand on their doorsteps and sing together while socially distanced to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the Allies' victory over Nazi Germany. Meanwhile, South Korea, seen as a model for containing COVID-19, ordered nightclubs closed for a month and considered delaying a school restart after an uptick in coronavirus cases.
Friction arose where national governments disagreed with their local counterparts over business restrictions. In Italy, the government vowed legal action against a province seeking to ease restrictions faster than the country as a whole. In Brazil, the reverse happened as the country's president asked the country's high court to rein in local governments imposing more restrictions than he would like.
A patchwork reopening in the United States included Texas allowing hair salons and barbershops to welcome back customers Friday, while California took more modest steps to let retailers resume curbside operations with employees in masks.
The slow march toward reopening the economy comes as the U.S. reported a jobless rate of 14.7% in April, a level not seen since the Great Depression.
Among those whose finances have been thrown into turmoil is Martin Brossman of Raleigh, North Carolina, who has seen two-thirds of his income as a professional coach and speaker disappear since the pandemic.
I had thousands of dollars in keynote speaking go away overnight, Brossman said.
He said he wasn't waiting for word on the unemployment benefits he filed for weeks ago. Instead, he is retooling his business for a world that will rely more on remote activities.
I dont think this is the last time that a problem like this occurs, he said, so whatever way we can do business ... if this happens again, we have a new income stream.
Hre is a look at COVID-19 developments around the world.
SOMBER V-E DAY
Across Europe, celebrations to mark the May 8, 1945, surrender of Germany were canceled or scaled back dramatically due to the virus. Many were asked to mark the moment in private or from a safe distance.
In the U.K., people were encouraged to sing the iconic wartime anthem, Well Meet Again from their homes a song with added resonance now as coronavirus lockdowns separate family and friends.
In France, where Victory Day is a public holiday, a strict lockdown prompted a somber commemoration. President Emmanuel Macron led a small ceremony at the Arc de Triomphe, accompanied by two former French presidents, all observing social distancing. Macron used a hand sanitizer after signing the official register.
Elsewhere in Europe, friction arose in Italy as the northern province of Bolzano sought to reopen stores this weekend in defiance of a national plan to wait until later in the month. While the province cited a special statute granting it some autonomy, the Rome government planned a legal challenge in the country, which has recorded more than 217,000 cases and more than 30,200 deaths.
U.S. MAKES SOME MOVES TO REOPEN
In Texas, where the Republican governor was praised by President Donald Trump for loosening business restrictions, hair salons and barber shops were allowed to reopen Friday, following earlier restarts of restaurants and retailers.
California, where the Democratic governor was the first in the U.S. to impose a statewide stay-home order, was taking more modest steps forward. Gov. Gavin Newsom allowed clothing stores, sporting goods, florists and other retailers to start operating curbside pickup Friday, with employees required to wear masks.
The moves came as the U.S. recorded nearly 1.26 million cases and nearly 76,000 deaths as of Friday. Massachusetts, with at least 73,000 cases and 4,500 deaths; and Illinois, with 70,000 cases and 3,000 deaths; represent areas where stay-home orders remain in effect until later this month.
SOUTH KOREAN RESTRICTIONS
South Korea told nightclubs on Friday to close for a month and indicated it may delay the reopening of schools after more than a dozen new infections were linked to a nightclub patron in its capital city.
Schools were supposed to begin reopening next week, but fears of a resurgence came after the country reported 25 new infections Friday, marking South Koreas first jump above 10 cases in five days. Before the current uptick, improving virus trends had allowed officials to relax social distancing guidelines and schedule a phased reopening of schools.
Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region, Australias prime minister said there are no plans to welcome back international travelers for the foreseeable future, despite plans to reopen the economy in stages by July. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he was was open to international students returning to Australian universities but said general international travel was some time away.
Brazils fifth-largest city, Fortaleza, on Friday became the nations third metropolis and its most populous yet to start a virus-related lockdown, with the local measures prompting friction with the countrys leader.
President Jair Bolsonaro, who has argued business shutdowns are more harmful than the virus itself, asked the countrys Supreme Court on Thursday to force states to roll back restrictive measures even as deaths and overall case counts surge. The country has had over 136,000 cases and 9,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
Fortaleza, with 2.7 million residents, has had 727 COVID-19 deaths, and local authorities project 4,000 deaths by the end of May.
Meanwhile, Kuwait is re-imposing a full lockdown in the oil-rich nation beginning Sunday that will last through May 30. Kuwait now has over 7,200 confirmed cases of the virus and 47 deaths. A previous lockdown had been loosened amid the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
Drew reported from Durham, North Carolina. Associated Press journalists from around the world contributed.