Most populous nations report new peaks in infection as Covid lockdowns ease

Topics Coronavirus

An officer from the New York Police Department helps workers carry a body out of a house amid the coronavirus outbreak. Photo: Reuters
At least 3,563,596 people have been infected by the novel coronavirus so far across the globe, while the total number of deaths from the disease stands at 248,135, according to worldometer data.

While millions of people took advantage of easing coronavirus lockdowns to enjoy spring, some of the world's most populous countries reported worrisome new peaks in infections on Sunday, including India, which saw its biggest single-day jump yet.

Second in population only to China, India reported more than 2,600 new infections.

In Russia, new cases exceeded 10,000 for the first time.

The confirmed death toll in Britain climbed near that of Italy, the epicentre of Europe's outbreak, even though the UK population is younger than Italy's and Britain had more time to prepare before the pandemic hit.

The United States continues to see tens of thousands of new infections each day, with more than 1,400 new deaths reported on Saturday.

Health experts warn that a second wave of infections could hit unless testing is expanded dramatically once the lockdowns are relaxed. But pressure to reopen keeps building after the weeks-long shutdown of businesses worldwide plunged the global economy into its deepest slump since the 1930s and wiped out millions of jobs.

China, which reported only two new cases, saw a surge in visitors to newly reopened tourist spots after domestic travel restrictions were loosened ahead of a five-day holiday that runs through Tuesday.

Nearly 1.7 million people visited Beijing parks on the first two days of the holiday, and Shanghai's main tourist spots welcomed more than 1 million visitors, according to Chinese media. Many spots limited daily visitors to 30 per cent of capacity.

Italy Health Ministry reported 174 Covid-19 deaths in the 24-hour period, the lowest day-to-day number since the national lockdown began on March 10. Parks and public gardens were set to reopen on Monday.

In Spain, many ventured outside for the first time since the country's lockdown began March 14, but social distancing rules remained in place. Masks are mandatory starting Monday on public transit.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson is under pressure to reveal how the country will lift its lockdown.

The restrictions are due to last through Thursday, but with hundreds of deaths still being reported daily twice as many recently as Italy or Spain it's unclear how the country can safely loosen the restrictions.

The 55-year-old Johnson, who spent three nights in intensive care while being treated for COVID-19, told The Sun newspaper that he knew his doctors were preparing for the worst.

"It was a tough old moment, I won't deny it,'' he said. 

Another potentially troubling sign emerged in Afghanistan's capital city of Kabul, where a third of the 500 people selected in random test came up positive for the virus.

In the US, New Jersey reopened state parks, though several had to turn people away after reaching a 50 per cent limit in their parking lots.

Speaking on Fox News Sunday, White House coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx expressed concern about protests by armed and mostly maskless crowds demanding an end to stay-at-home orders and a full reboot of the economy.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel