Germany: infections rise as restrictions ease

Germany is reporting that new coronavirus infections are soaring after taking early steps to ease its lockdown -- news that has sounded a global alarm as businesses from Parisian hair salons to Shanghai Disneyland reopen.

Germany reported that the "reproduction rate" -- meaning the number of people each person infected with the coronavirus goes on to infect -- had risen.

This comes just days after German authorities relaxed lockdown measures -- and it shows just how quickly progress can be reversed,even in a country with one of the best records for containing the virus so far in Europe.

And Germany is not alone -- there's been a new outbreak in night clubs in South Korea -- another country that had succeeded in limiting infections.

Governments around the world are struggling with the question of how to reopen their economies while still containing the virus.

In Europe -- the world's worst-hit continent -- Spain and France began major steps to ease their lockdowns, while Britain announced more cautious moves.

Mickey Mouse welcomed small crowds in Shanghai -- as the Disney theme park reopened, with a strict limit on the number of tickets.

Parades and fireworks were canceled and workers and guests were required to wear face masks and have their temperatures screened at the entrance.

New Zealand, which also had success in fighting infection with one of the toughest and earliest lockdowns, said it would open malls, cafes and cinemas this week.

But some countries are taking steps to open up their economies without yet reporting sustained falls in the spread.

India, which has locked down its population of 1.3 billion people since March, reported a record daily rise in cases.

But it said it would restart some passenger railway services, with 15 special trains running from Tuesday.

In the United States, unemployment figures released last week were the worst since the Great Depression and President Donald Trump has been trying to shift the emphasis towards reopening the economy.

Many states have begun loosening restrictions even though cases continue to rise.

Back to Germany -- and a health ministry spokesman said authorities were taking the rise in the infection rate seriously and it did not mean the outbreak was out of control.