Hair salon staff in Bruay-la-Buissière, northern France, carry out a test run of strict new distancing and hygiene measures on Friday ahead of the country allowing such businesses to reopen on Monday if they meet such requirements. Photo: Denis Charlet/AFP via Getty Images

From Austria to Australia, countries have begun to relax lockdown restrictions introduced to combat the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The big picture: The number of COVID-19 cases continues to climb, but several countries are beating back outbreaks. The virus has killed almost 280,000 people and infected more than 4 million globally, per Johns Hopkins. With the IMF predicting the pandemic will cause global GDP to contract by 3% this year, governments are beginning to reopen economies with strict health measures in place.

Friday prayers during the fasting month of Ramadan at a mosque in Beirut, Lebanon, after authorities eased some restrictions. Photo: Anwar Amro/AFP via Getty Images
People out walking on a street pedestrianized in response to the pandemic during permitted hours in Madrid, Spain, on Saturday. Photo: Ely Pineiro/Getty Images
A Las Vegas restaurant on Saturday, the first day that dine-in restaurants, hair and nail salons, some retail stores, and other nonessential businesses have been allowed to reopen with physical distancing measures and other strict guidelines in place. Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images
The mayor of New Taipei City checks the social distance before a game at the Xinzhuang Baseball Stadium, which opened to a small number of fans on Friday for the first time since Taiwan's lockdown began. Photo: Gene Wang/Getty Images
Soldiers in Vienna on Friday. Austria was one of the first countries to ease restrictions, beginning in April, notes the BBC, which reports that eateries will be allowed to open in mid-May. Photo: Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images
A teacher with students in Dortmund, western Germany, after fourth-graders were allowed to return to school on May 7. Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images
New strict guidelines in place at an Apple Store at Bondi Junction in Sydney after reopening on May 7. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Friday a three-step process to remove all domestic restrictions nationwide by July amid a major testing and contact-tracing drive. Photo: Lisa Maree Williams/Getty Images
People line up outside a grocery store in New Delhi, India, on May 6. The country allowed more businesses to reopen with stringent measures on May 4, AP notes though some restrictions will remain in place until at least May 18. Photo: Amal KS/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Go deeper: Looking back on locking down

Go deeper

Aug 18, 2020 - Health

Birx: "I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy"

Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, speaks after a June briefing in Washington, D.C. Photo: Joshua Roberts/Getty Images

Deborah Birx, the White House's coronavirus response coordinator, told reporters Monday she would have liked to have seen the U.S. introduce stricter restrictions like Italy did to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

What she's saying: "I wish that when we went into lockdown, we looked like Italy," she said. "When Italy locked down, I mean, people weren't allowed out of their houses, they couldn't come out but once every two weeks to buy groceries for one hour and they had to have a certificate that said they were allowed. Americans don't react well to that kind of prohibition."

Updated 23 hours ago - Health

World coronavirus updates

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Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins; Map: Axios Visuals

Though health workers represent less than 3% of the population in many countries, they account for around 14% of the coronavirus cases reported to the World Health Organization, WHO announced Thursday.

Why it matters: The WHO called on governments and health care leaders to address threats facing the health and safety of these workers, adding that the pandemic has highlighted how protecting them is needed to ensure a functioning health care system.

Dave Lawler, author of World
Aug 16, 2020 - World

The U.S. is far behind other rich countries in coronavirus response

Data: WHO; Chart: Naema Ahmed/Axios

Over the past several weeks, the coronavirus has killed Americans at six times the average rate in other rich countries. And we’re recording about eight times more infections.

Why it matters: The virus burned through the rich world like wildfire in the spring, but this new data confirms that the U.S. is one of very few wealthy countries that have failed to suppress it since then.