The World Health Organization (WHO) has hailed dwindling COVID-19 infection rates and deaths in some countries but called on nations to show extreme vigilance as they begin loosening restrictions.     

Sections of Europe began the long process of reopening from coronavirus lockdowns today, with officials in countries like France and Spain emboldened by declining death rates.

Germany earlier reported an acceleration in new coronavirus infections after it took initial steps to ease its lockdown. 

South Korea, another country that had won widespread international praise for its success in limiting virus infections, has seen a new outbreak in nightclubs.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says that lifting restrictions was complex and difficult and that the slow, steady lifting of lockdowns was key to protecting lives and livelihoods.

The WHO warned against the notion in some countries that even if they do not take the measures needed to halt the spread of the virus, their populations will quickly build so-called “herd immunity”.