Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 30 November 2020

CORONAVIRUS

Global Covid-19 cases cross 25 million as India sets grim record

The surge in India, home to 1.3 billion people, came as the government eased restrictions

Global coronavirus infections soared past 25 million on Sunday, as countries around the world further tightened restrictions to try to stop the rampaging pandemic.

About a million new cases were detected globally roughly every four days since mid-July. On Sunday, India set the record for the highest single-day increase in cases with 78,761.

The surge in India, home to 1.3 billion people, came as the government further eased lockdown restrictions at the weekend to help ease pressure on the economy.

Millions have lost their jobs since the start of the lockdown, with the poorest people hit particularly hard.

The Home Affairs Ministry said gatherings of up to 100 people would be allowed at cultural, entertainment, sports and political events from next month, with precautions such as wearing face masks and social distancing in place.

Metro train services would also resume "in a graded manner" in major cities.

The outbreak has badly hit megacities such as financial hub Mumbai and the capital New Delhi, but is now also surging in smaller cities and rural areas.

Schools remain closed but pupils can meet teachers on a voluntary basis on school premises if needed, according to the guidelines.

Even nations such as New Zealand and South Korea, which had previously brought their outbreaks largely under control, are now battling new clusters of infections.

Latin America, the worst-hit region, was still struggling with its first wave, with the Covid-19 death toll in Brazil crossing 120,000 on Saturday, second only to the US.

More than 847,000 people have died of Covid-19 globally and with no vaccine or effective treatment available yet, governments have been forced to resort to some form of social distancing and movement restrictions to stop the spread of the virus.

Masks will become mandatory from Monday on public transport and flights in New Zealand, which went more than 100 days without local transmission before the latest cluster was reported.

Tightened virus curbs kicked in on Sunday in South Korea, which is also battling new clusters, including in the greater Seoul region, home to half the country's population.

Despite the grim numbers, there has been steady opposition to lockdowns and social distancing measures in many parts of the world, often because of their economic cost.

But resistance has also come from the extreme right and left of the political spectrum, as well as conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine campaigners.

Updated: August 30, 2020 07:40 PM

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