India has passed three million coronavirus cases, with the country leading the world in new infections as the disease marches through impoverished rural areas in the north and the wealthier but older populations of the south.
The milestone came on Sunday, as Mexico passed 60,000 deaths and South Korea reported its highest daily Covid-19 tally since early March, with outbreaks continuing to spread from a Seoul church and from political demonstrations its members had attended.
India has the third-highest number of coronavirus infections in the world, after the US and Brazil, but with the rate of infection growing in recent weeks, experts fear India could soon surpass those countries.
For 18 consecutive days, India has reported the most new cases in the world. By Sunday India’s death toll had reached 56,706.
The country’s health ministry said the key to fighting Covid-19 was shaping the country’s recovery rate, which it mapped out in a tweet. Last week India carried out a million tests on a single day for the first time.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 397 new infections Sunday, up from the previous day’s 332 and marking more than a week of daily three-digit rises.
Three-quarters of the new cases were in the capital and surrounding areas, and one quarter in provincial areas. Yonhap reported that it was the first time in recent weeks that 100 cases had been reported outside the capital.
The new figure, the highest since early March, coincided with new social distancing measures outside the capital, Seoul. They ban in-person church meetings and nightclubs, buffets and cyber cafes are all closed.
Health authorities say they may eventually deploy the toughest stage-three social-distancing rules, where schools and business are urged to close, if the rate of increase in new infections does not slow soon.
Mexico’s death toll has passed 60,000 and its infections rose past 550,000. Mexico is now the third worst country for fatalities, only behind Brazil (114,000) and the US (176,000). However Mexico is only seventh in terms of infections.
Despite the figures, the government declared this week that the coronavirus scourge was in “sustained decline” in Mexico. On Saturday the country recorded 644 deaths, the second lowest figure this month.
The worst-hit Latin American country, Brazil, on Saturday recorded 50,032 new cases of coronavirus. The country has so far seen more than 3.5 million cases of the virus.
In the Australian state of Victoria, which has been battling a major outbreak, a further 208 new cases were reported as the national death toll passed 500.
The state’s chief health officer, Dr Brett Sutton, said the trajectory of the outbreak was decreasing. “We are not going to see three-hundreds or four-hundreds again – not under my watch,” he said. Seventeen deaths were also reported, including 11 in age care facilities.
Victoria is now halfway through a six-week period of hard lockdowns. The premier Daniel Andrews said if the state was to open up early, the freedom enjoyed by people would be short-lived and a third wave would be inevitable.
“There’s going to be a massive job of repair but we are up to that,” Andrews said.
In New Zealand, which until two weeks ago had gone 100 days without a locally transmitted case, the health ministry reported just one new infection in the community. The case was a household contact of someone already identified in the Auckland cluster.
There are now 151 people linked to the city’s cluster who have been moved into managed quarantine facilities, including 82 positive cases.
In other developments:
Source: The Guardian