Covid-19: Global tally reaches 2.8 million; US death toll surpasses 51,000

In the last 24 hours, 642 new cases were reported, taking the tally to 11,155 in Pakistan
The number of deaths in the US on account of Covid-19 has surpassed the 51,000 mark, with the total count of positive cases exceeding 890,000, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center data.

The country now has registered 51,017 fatalities and 890,524 cases overall, according to the data updated on Friday (local time), leading the world in the number of reported Covid-19 deaths and confirmed cases. There are almost 2.8 million Covid-19 cases worldwide and close to 196,000 deaths, according to the data.

Even as the cases rose past 51,000, salons, spas and barbershops have reopened in the US states of Georgia and Oklahoma, with a green light from their Republican governors, who have eased lockdown orders despite health experts' warnings.

Though limited in scope, and subject to social-distancing restrictions, the reopening marked a symbolic milestone in the debate raging in the United States and the world — as to how quickly political leaders should lift economically damaging lockdown orders.

On Friday, Spain saw 367 people die of novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours for the lowest daily number of deaths in four weeks, the government said. The latest figures are the lowest daily toll since March 22, when 394 deaths had been reported.

That brought the total fatalities from the pandemic in the country to 22,524, the third-highest number for virus deaths in the world after the US and Italy.

Meanwhile, an Italian cruise ship docked in a southern Japan's port city of Nagasaki had 43 more new cases in an outbreak that erupted this week, bringing the total of infected to 91, local officials said.

The outbreak on the Costa Atlantica surfaced on Tuesday when officials from Nagasaki and Mitsubishi Heavy Industry, which is in charge of repairs and maintenance on the ship, announced that a crew member developed a cough and fever. The ship has no passengers and 623 crew members, whose nationalities are not disclosed. Officials suspect they had contracted the virus while in town or when the ship switched crew. Japanese officials are still investigating how the outbreak started on the ship.

In the UK, the coronavirus death toll stood at 19,506 after 684 hospital deaths were reported on Friday.

While the new toll is higher on the previous day's total of 18,738 by 768, the discrepancy of 84 is down to unreported deaths from Thursday by one health board in Wales.

UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps, who led the daily Downing Street briefing to provide the latest figures, said there were some "tentative signs" that Britain was making progress in its efforts to control the spread of the deadly virus as the number of hospitalisations continued its downward trajectory. "The main reason is the way Britain has responded to the guidelines to stay at home and maintain social distancing," said the Cabinet minister.

He went on to announce a series of packages related to transport and trade, including a transport support unit dedicated to fighting the pandemic.

The measures include a trilateral agreement with France and Ireland committed to keeping freight open throughout the crisis for trade of food, medicines and other essential items, protecting ferry routes with funding of up to 17 million pounds and 26 freight routes with the rest of Europe to be protected.

The Singapore health ministry on Friday said 853 foreign workers from packed housing dormitories were among the 897 new confirmed Covid-19 cases, which took the total number of infections to 12,075 in the island nation. These 853 were work permit holders residing in dormitories and another 19 were work permit holders staying outside the dormitories, the ministry confirmed. Among the rest, 12 were work pass holders (foreigners working here) and 13 were Singaporeans (citizens) as well as permanent residents (also foreigners).

In France, 389 deaths were registered, bringing the tally to 22,245, the world's fourth-highest after the US, Italy and Spain, Director-General of Health Jerome Salomon told a daily conference.

The number of people who succumbed to the Covid-19 increased by 1.8 per cent on a daily basis, lower than 2.4 per cent on Thursday and 2.6 per cent on Wednesday, news agency IANS reported. Hospitalisation data reported a "slow and steady decline," providing relief to caregivers. Patients in intensive care units fell by 183 to 4,870, below the country's original capacity of 5,000 beds.

Coming to Southeast Asia, Pakistan on Friday extended the partial lockdown imposed in the country by another two weeks as the number of people affected by the deadly virus rose to over 11,000. About 79 per cent of the total coronavirus cases in Pakistan are now locally transmitted, health authorities said. In the last 24 hours, 642 new cases were reported, taking the tally to 11,155 in the country, health officials said. So far, 13,365 tests have been done in Pakistan, including 6,839 in the last 24 hours.

In Sri Lanka, the number of coronavirus cases has crossed the 400 mark, with 40 new infections being reported on Friday, health officials said. A total of 414 cases have been reported with seven deaths since the outbreak began on March 11.

"Today (Friday) due to more PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests, more sailors from the Welisara naval base have been reported as positive," Gen Shavendra Silva, the Army chief who heads the national prevention programme, said. We have sent to quarantine all of their contacts with more results of PCR tests to come, Silva added.

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