World

One person dies of Covid-19 every 18 seconds: Report

Worldwide death toll passes 500,000, India reports close to 20,000 cases for second successive day

MUMBAI/NEW DELHI The worldwide coronavirus death toll crossed 500,000 on Sunday and what the breakdown of that figure shows is startling.

More than 4,700 people are dying every 24 hours from Covid-19-linked illness, according to Reuters calculations based on an average from June 1 to 27.

That equates to 196 people every hour, or one person every 18 seconds.

Health experts have expressed concerns about record numbers of new cases in countries like the United States, India and Brazil and the resurgence of cases in countries that had brought the virus under control.

India reported close to 20,000 fresh cases for the second day running yesterday, as the financial hub of Mumbai extended its lockdown by a month.

There were 19,459 new cases reported in 24 hours, according to data from India's Health Ministry.

That is down slightly from Sunday's record of 19,906, but still a sign that cases in the country are yet to subside.

India lags behind only the United States, Brazil and Russia in the total number of cases.

More than 16,000 people have now died from the disease in India since the first case in the country was found in January - low when compared with countries with similar numbers of cases.

But experts fear its hospitals will be unable to cope with a steep rise in cases.

The western state of Maharashtra, which has reported the highest number of cases in the country, extended its lockdown by another month until end of July, while the number of new infections rose in key cities such as Mumbai, Pune and Aurangabad.

Mumbai witnessed massive traffic jams on key roads connecting suburbs to the southern business district yesterday as the authorities erected roadblocks to enforce new travel restrictions.

Under the new rule, residents can visit markets, salons and parks within a 2km radius of their homes, but are asked not step out of the house unnecessarily. Office workers are exempt from the rule.

DOWN UNDER

In Australia, the state of Victoria said yesterday it is considering reimposing social distancing restrictions after the country reported its biggest one-day rise in new infections in more than two months.

Propelled by Victoria's 75 cases, Australia recorded 85 new infections in 24 hours, its biggest daily tally since April 11.

Australia has fared better than many countries in the pandemic, with around 7,800 cases and 104 deaths, but the recent surge has stoked fears of a second wave after several weeks of fewer than 20 new cases a day.

The state's chief health officer said Victoria may need to re-introduce social distancing restrictions.

"Changing the law is something we have to consider because we have to do whatever is required to turn this around," Mr Brett Sutton told reporters in Melbourne, referring to questions about enforcing localised lockdowns.

Victoria, which is home to more than six million people, began lifting restrictions imposed a month earlier and was planning to remove the bulk of them by the end of July. - REUTERS

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