The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned over virus immunity as global death toll tops 200,000.

Iran PressEurope: The global death toll in the novel coronavirus pandemic soared past the grim 200,000 milestone on Sunday, as the World Health Organization warned against "immunity passports" for recovered patients, seen as a possible tool for countries preparing to re-open their economies.

The WHO opposes such "passports" because recovery from the virus might not protect a person from reinfection, AFP reported.

"There is currently no evidence that people who have recovered from #COVID19 and have antibodies are protected from a second infection," the UN health body said in a statement.

And Australians and New Zealanders marked Anzac Day without the normal parades and public ceremonies to commemorate fallen soldiers. Instead, under social distancing policies, people held dawn vigils in front of their homes.

Even as governments from Sri Lanka to Belgium to the United States began moving in the direction of partial reopening, the COVID-19 pandemic still had nearly half of humanity under some form of lockdown or confinement.

The total number of coronavirus deaths in the world exceeded 200,000 on Saturday, while it is expected to see more than 3 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in the coming days.

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Europe, the hardest-hit region, has recorded 122,171 coronavirus deaths. 

The US toll rose by 2,494 over the past 24 hours to hit 53,511 deaths. The number of coronavirus cases in the United States jumped by nearly 46,000 to 936,293 since Friday.

In Italy, the number of COVID-19 fatalities rose to 26,384; Spain 22,902, France 22,614 and the United Kingdom 20,319.

The WHO warned on Saturday that people who test positive and survive infection cannot be certain they will not be hit again by the coronavirus.

The warning came as some governments study measures such as "immunity passports" for those who have recovered as one way to get people back to work after weeks of economic shutdown.

People holding such a "passport" may tend to ignore public health advice, such as continuing to wear facemasks, assuming they are not a danger to themselves or others, the WHO said.

That is a particular worry as testing becomes more widespread, especially testing for coronavirus antibodies, whose presence indicate a person had previously contracted the virus and recovered.

Germany has carried out tens of thousands of tests and other countries are also working on determining so-called levels of immunity.

In Washington, the White House's top pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci said this week that the United States will certainly have a coronavirus problem in the fall, which could be complicated by the return of the seasonal flu toward year-end.

Even so, the pressure from broken economies and citizens frustrated by stay-at-home orders had areas pushing to open up.

German police arrested dozens of protesters in Berlin on Saturday for flouting the coronavirus lockdown measures they were demonstrating against.

The governor of the US state of Georgia rejected warnings from top disease experts and allowed businesses like hair dressers, nail salons and bowling alleys to reopen.


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