Coronavirus: Global deaths pass half a million as more clusters emerge

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Coronavirus: Global cases pass ten million while new clusters ...
More than 500,000 people worldwide are now known to have succumbed to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

The number of confirmed infections has meanwhile crossed the 10 million threshold.

 The US remains the most bereaved country with 125,804 fatalities. It also accounts for a quarter of all cases worldwide. It is followed by Brazil, which has so far recorded 57,622 deaths and more than 1.3 million cases.

However, the global death toll is expected to be much higher as countries do not count fatalities the same way.

The grim milestone comes as health authorities warn that the pandemic is far from over and has made a comeback in regions that appeared to have defeated the virus a few weeks ago.

Many are wondering if effective containment methods will work to contain the spread, but already new clusters in some countries have spread fears of a potential second wave.

 Russia reports nearly 7,000 new cases in a day

Authorities in Russia said 6,791 new cases were registered in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to over 634,000 cases.

The country has the third highest number of infections in the world, of which more than a third are reported in Moscow, a city that recently lifted lockdown restrictions.

The death toll stands at 9,073, with 104 new fatalities reported on Sunday.

The number of deaths is much lower than what has been reported in other countries similarly affected, which has led to speculations figures may be manipulated – something Russia has denied.

Europe fears ‘resurgence’ as many ignore distancing

Authorities in Europe have been calling on people to act responsibly after good weather resulted in crowding on the coast of England.

“An unprecedented number of visitors” gathered in Bournemouth, a costal town in southern England, the Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole council said.

Local Council leader Vikki Slade said she was “absolutely appalled” at the scenes. Beachgoers left a considerable amount of waste behind.

In London, the Metropolitan police said they “had seen some large numbers of people completely flouting the health regulations seeming not to care at all about their own or their families’ health and wanting to have large parties”.

Meanwhile, several thousands gathered in Liverpool to celebrate the football club’s Premier League title win, ignoring social distancing and putting public safety at risk, a joint statement by the football team, Merseyside Police and Liverpool City Council read.

They deemed such behaviours as “wholly unacceptable”.

AP photo/Jon Super
Liverpool supporters celebrate as they gather outside of Anfield Stadium in Liverpool, England, June 25, 2020 after Liverpool clinched the English Premier League titleAP photo/Jon Super

Germany, one of the countries that had most successfully controlled the outbreak, reinstated lockdown in two districts of its most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, after 1,300 slaughterhouse workers tested positive for coronavirus.

It followed other recent outbreaks in Berlin, where 369 households were quarantined.

Other clusters were discovered in the states of Hesse and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania among members of religious communities and in retirement homes.

Chancellor Angela Merkel warned on Saturday that “the risk posed by the virus is still serious”.

“It’s easy to forget because Germany has got through the crisis well so far, but that doesn’t mean we are protected […] that is not the case, as is demonstrated by these regional outbreaks.”

Not too far away – in the Balkans – Croatia reimposed quarantine on travellers from Bosnia, Serbia, North Macedonia and Kosovo following a second wave of coronavirus in the region.

On the same day, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned against a “significant resurgence” in COVID-19 cases in nearly a dozen countries in their Europe region.

The nations concerned are Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, North Macedonia, Sweden, and Ukraine.

Czech Republic is another worrying case. On Friday it recorded the highest number of daily infections in more than two months, following several new local outbreaks.

In Italy, the northern region of Lombardy, Europe’s first major cluster in the pandemic, remains a worrying hotspot, accounting for over half of the country’s 174 new cases reported on Sunday.

Positive signs keep coming from the south of the country, with eight regions reporting no new infections over the last 24 hours.

All-time record in US daily infections as southern states impose new restrictions

The pandemic is not loosening grip in the US, where the daily number of infections surged to an all-time high of 45,300 on Friday.

Over the past two weeks, newly reported cases per day have risen about 60% on average, according to an analysis by the Associated Press.

Texas closed all bars and Florida banned alcohol in such venues. They joined other states, especially in the South and the West, who are backtracking or putting on hold any further reopening of their economies.

The US remains the worst-affected nation for both number of COVID-19 cases and related deaths.

On Saturday, overall infections went over 2.5 million.

India has over 500,000 cases, South Korea struggles to contain new outbreak

India reported more than 18,000 new cases on Saturday and another 19,000 on Sunday, pushing the total over the half-million mark, the fourth-highest in the world globally after the US, Brazil and Russia.

This prompted the city of Gauhati, capital of Assam state, to announce a new two-week lockdown from Monday, with night curfews and weekend lockdowns in the rest of the state.

Another state currently battling against a second wave is South Korea, where new clusters were spotted outside the capital, Seoul.

Many infections were linked to nightspots, church gatherings, restaurants, door-to-door salespeople and warehouse employees.

Authorities have warned they may impose stricter social distancing measures.

South Africa and Egypt worst-hit countries in Africa’s growing epidemic

Africa’s confirmed cases of COVID-19 have climbed to a new high of more than 371,000, including 9,484 deaths, according to the African Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

South Africa accounts for over a third of the continent’s cases, and on Sunday it registered its highest single daily increase to date.

Egypt, despite having the highest death toll in the continent, over 2,700, has lifted many of its restrictions, reopening cafes, clubs, gyms and theatres after more than three months of lockdown. Authorities also allowed the reopening of mosques and churches.