The death toll in the US coronavirus hot spot of New York City has passed 3200 as in the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson lay in intensive care.
The twin developments came even as the crisis seemed to be easing or at least stabilising, by some measures, in New York state and parts of Europe, although health officials warned people at nearly every turn not to let their guard down.
After 76 days, China finally lifted the lockdown on Wuhan, the city of 11 million where the outbreak was first recorded.
At least 3202 people have died in New York City from COVID-19, the city reported. New York state recorded 731 new coronavirus deaths, its biggest one-day jump yet, for a statewide toll of nearly 5500, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.
But in an encouraging sign, the governor said hospital admissions and the number of those receiving breathing tubes are dropping, indicating that measures taken to force people to keep their distance from one another are succeeding.
And alarming as the one-day increase in deaths might sound, the governor said that's a "lagging indicator," reflecting people who had been hospitalised before this week. Over the past several days, in fact, the number of deaths in New York appeared to be levelling off.
"You see that plateauing - that's because of what we are doing. If we don't do what we are doing, that is a much different curve," Cuomo said. "So social distancing is working."
Across the US., the death toll topped 12,000, with about 380,000 confirmed infections.
In London, the 55-year-old Johnson was in stable condition and conscious at a hospital, where he was receiving oxygen but was not on a ventilator, officials said.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was designated to run the country in the meantime.
"For all of us in cabinet, he is not just our boss. He's also a colleague and he's also our friend," Raab said. "And I'm confident he'll pull through because if there's one thing I know about this prime minister, he's a fighter."
Deaths in Britain reached nearly 6200, after a one-day increase of almost 800.
On Wall Stock street, a strong rally propelled by signs that the outbreak may be leveling off in some of the hard-hit parts of the world evaporated after the price of crude oil suddenly fell. Stocks ended the session slightly lower on Tuesday.
Elsewhere around the globe, Chinese authorities ended the lockdown on Wuhan, allowing residents to travel in and out of the sprawling industrial city.
Residents must use a mobile phone app showing that they are healthy and have not been in recent contact with anyone confirmed to have the virus.
China, which officially recorded more than 82,000 infections and more than 3300 deaths, listed no new cases on Tuesday.
In Japan, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and six other prefectures because of a spike of infections in the country with the world's oldest population.
In some European hot spots, authorities saw signs that the outbreak was turning a corner, based on slowdowns in new deaths and hospitalisations.
In Spain, new deaths on Tuesday rose to 743 and infections climbed by 5400 after five days of declines, but the increases were believed to reflect a weekend backlog. Authorities said they were confident in the downward trend.
In Italy, the hardest-hit country of all, with more than 16,500 deaths, authorities appealed to people ahead of Easter weekend not to lower their guard and to abide by a lockdown now in its fifth week, even as new cases dropped to a level not seen since the early weeks of the outbreak.
In France, the number of dead passed the bleak milestone of 10,000, climbing to more than 10,300, said health director Jerome Salomon.
"We are in the epidemic's ascendant stage," he said. "We have not yet reached the peak." But he offered a glimpse of hope, saying the virus rate is "slowing a little."
To keep up social distancing, Paris banned daytime jogging just as warm spring weather settled in.
Australian Associated Press