Sao Paulo, epicenter of Brazil's COVID-19 outbreak, to begin easing lockdown in May

Sao Paulo, epicenter of Brazil's COVID-19 outbreak, to begin easing lockdown in May

Starting May 11, Brazil's southeast state of Sao Paulo, the epicenter of the country's COVID-19 outbreak, will gradually ease lockdown measures that began on March 24, Governor Joao Doria said on Wednesday, Trend reports citing Xinhua.

Social distancing measures will be relaxed by regions, depending on the local conditions, Doria said at a press conference.

"There will be differentiated criteria for the new lockdown starting on the 11th, but it will always be in keeping with scientific data gathered by cities and regions in Sao Paulo state," he said.

Elsewhere in Brazil, the southern state of Santa Catarina, which borders Argentina, began to lift lockdown measures on Wednesday, but maintained limits on mass gatherings, while continuing to keep bars and restaurants closed.

According to Sao Paulo Deputy Governor Rodrigo Garcia, the state's 645 cities managed to preserve 74 percent of their economic activity during the lockdown, while observing social distancing rules.

Sao Paulo is Brazil's most populated state, with 46 million inhabitants, and accounts for a third of the nation's gross domestic product.

Brazil has registered 45,757 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection and 2,906 deaths from the disease. Sao Paulo is the hardest-hit state, with 15,914 cases and 1,134 deaths.

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