COVID-19 Death Toll Exceeds 600,000 Globally

Relatives observe undertakers unloading a casket containing the remains of a COVID-19 coronavirus patient during a funeral at the Avalon cemetery in Soweto, on July 24, 2020. AFP

 

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 645,715 people since emerging in China late last year, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Sunday.

At least 16,072,290 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 9,061,300 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only symptomatic or the most serious cases.

On Saturday, 6,003 new deaths and 260,578 new cases were recorded worldwide. The countries with the newest deaths were Brazil with 1,211, followed by the United States with 1,067 and Mexico with 729.

The US is the worst-hit country with 146,463 deaths from 4,178,730 cases. At least 1,279,414 people have been declared recovered.

The next hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 86,449 deaths from 2,394,513 cases, the United Kingdom with 45,738 deaths from 298,681 cases, Mexico with 43,374 deaths from 385,036 cases and Italy with 35,102 deaths from 245,864 cases.

The country with the highest number of deaths compared to its population is Belgium with 85 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by the United Kingdom with 67, Spain 61, Italy 58, and Sweden 56.

China — excluding Hong Kong and Macau — has to date declared 83,830 cases (46 new since Saturday), including 4,634 deaths and 78,908 recoveries.

FILES) In this file photo taken on May 21, 2020 Worker move a coffin with the body of a COVID-19 victim out of a refrigerated container before its cremation at the El Angel crematorium, in Lima.

Europe overall has 207,869 deaths from 3,061,857 cases, Latin America and the Caribbean 182,511 deaths from 4,329,332 infections, while the United States and Canada have reported 155,381 deaths from 4,292,245 cases.

Asia has recorded 57,019 deaths from 2,456,523 cases, the Middle East 25,238 deaths from 1,087,157 cases, Africa 17,513 deaths from 829,127 cases, and Oceania 184 deaths from 16,057 cases.

As a result of corrections by national authorities or late publication of data, the figures updated over the past 24 hours may not correspond exactly to the previous day’s tallies.

AFP

Iran’s COVID-19 Deaths Cross 12,000

A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on July 8, 2020 shows President Hassan Rouhani (2nd-R) attending a cabinet session with ministers clad in face masks, measure against the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, in the capital Tehran. Iranian Presidency / AFP

 

Iran said on Wednesday that its deaths from the novel coronavirus had surpassed 12,000, with authorities considering reimposing restrictive measures in Tehran to contain a resurgence of the disease.

It came a day after the Islamic republic reported its highest single-day fatality count of 200 from the COVID-19 illness.

Iran has been battling the Middle East’s deadliest outbreak of the virus since late February.

Health ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari said that another 153 deaths had been recorded over the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 12,084.

She said total cases had risen to 248,379 with 2,691 more people testing positive.

READ ALSO: Buhari Replaces Two Non-Career Ambassadors-Designate

Nine of Iran’s 31 provinces are now classified as “red”, the highest category in the country’s virus risk scaling.

Another 10 are on alert including the capital Tehran and the surrounding province, Lari added.

“Tehran is facing a very fragile situation,” said Alireza Zali, the head of the city’s virus taskforce.

“The number of infections, deaths and hospitalisations have been on a sharp rising trajectory in the past 10 days,” he was quoted as saying by ISNA news agency.

Iran closed schools, cancelled public events and banned movement between its 31 provinces in March, but the government progressively lifted restrictions from April to try to reopen its sanctions-hit economy.

Zali said that Tehran needs “more restrictive measures” to contain the virus and will discuss their reimposition in an emergency meeting with the health minister.

His deputy, Ali Maher, told ISNA that measures may be reintroduced as soon as Saturday.

Some red provinces have already reimposed restrictions in recent weeks after receiving a green light from the government.

AFP

COVID-19 Deaths Exceed 400,000 Globally

Members of a Muslim burial organisation prepare the body of a man who died of COVID-19 coronavirus for burial, at the Ghietmatiel Islamia Mosque in Athlone, Cape Town, on June 9, 2020. 
RODGER BOSCH / AFP

 

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 407,914 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT on Tuesday.

At least 7,169,550 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 3,148,200 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.

Many countries are testing only symptomatic cases or the most serious ones.

Since 1900 GMT Sunday, 3,653 new deaths and 102,424 new cases were recorded worldwide.

The countries with the most new deaths were Brazil with 679, the United States with 604, and Mexico with 354.

The United States is the worst-hit country overall with 111,375 deaths from 1,968,221 cases. At least 518,522 people have been declared recovered.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Britain with 40,883 deaths from 289,140 cases, Brazil with 37,134 deaths from 707,412 infections, Italy with 34,043 deaths from 235,561 cases, and France with 29,296 deaths from 191,394 cases.

The country with the highest number of deaths compared to its population is Belgium with 83 fatalities per 100,000 inhabitants, followed by Britain with 60, Spain 58, Italy 56 and Sweden 47.

China — excluding Hong Kong and Macau — has to date declared 4,634 deaths and 83,043 infections with 78,351 recoveries.

Europe overall has 184,807 deaths from 2,308,977 cases, the United States and Canada have 119,316 deaths from 2,064,835 infections, Latin America and the Caribbean 67,191 deaths from 1,365,832 cases, Asia 20,167 deaths from 719,876 cases, the Middle East 10,790 deaths from 499,044 cases, Africa 5,512 deaths from 202,345 cases, and Oceania 131 deaths from 8,648 cases.

As a result of corrections by national authorities or late publication of data, the figures updated over the past 24 hours may not correspond exactly to the previous day’s tallies.

AFP

Nasarawa Records Four COVID-19 Deaths

 

The death toll of COVID-19 in Nasarawa State has risen to four.

Governor Abdullahi Sule disclosed this on Thursday during the maiden State COVID-19 Stakeholders Review Meeting.

After the meeting, the ban on motorcycles was lifted, markets opened and religious centres to maintain status quo but are advised to adhere strictly to safety protocols.

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Jigawa Discharges 1,322 Almajirai From Isolation

COVID-19 Deaths In Russia Surpass 5,000

Cemetery workers wearing protective gear bury a coronavirus victim at a cemetery on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg on May 6, 2020. OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP
Cemetery workers wearing protective gear bury a coronavirus victim at a cemetery on the outskirts of Saint Petersburg on May 6, 2020. OLGA MALTSEVA / AFP.

 

Coronavirus deaths in Russia passed the 5,000 mark on Tuesday as authorities eased lockdown measures and prepared to announce steps to kickstart the economy.

Health officials registered 182 new fatalities in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 5,037.

The government tally also reported 8,863 new infections for a total of 423,741, the third-highest number after the United States and Brazil.

New infections have been steadily dropping since mid-May when officials were reporting daily increases of around 11,000 cases.

Officials say Russia’s high virus count is the result of mass testing and that a steady decline in new infections and its low fatality numbers mean the country can begin to return to normal.

Yet critics have cast doubt on the numbers, accusing the authorities of under-reporting deaths and threatening a new wave of infections by lifting restrictions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday announced that a postponed nationwide vote on constitutional reforms that could extend his hold over power will go ahead on July 1.

The authorities have also rescheduled Russia’s massive May 9 Victory Day military parade for June 24.

READ ALSO: WHO Warns Of Pressure On Latin American Health Systems

Moscow, the epicentre of Russia’s pandemic with around half of the country’s total cases, on Monday eased a nine-week lockdown allowing shops to reopen and residents to leave their homes for short walks.

Putin was scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Tuesday to discuss proposals to restart an economy badly hit by lockdown measures and a sharp fall in oil prices.

AFP

UK Has Highest COVID-19 Death Rate – FT Analysis

File: A member of the ambulance services assists in moving a patient from an ambulance to St Thomas' Hospital in London on March 31, 2020, as the country is under lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Tolga AKMEN / AFP.
File: A member of the ambulance services assists in moving a patient from an ambulance to St Thomas’ Hospital in London on March 31, 2020, as the country is under lockdown due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Tolga AKMEN / AFP.

 

Britain has suffered the highest death rate from the novel coronavirus among the most-affected countries with comparable tracking data, according to Financial Times research published Thursday.

Official numbers from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) released earlier this week show Britain has registered almost 60,000 more deaths than usual since the week ending March 20.

Subsequent analysis by the FT, which looked at data from 19 countries, indicate the virus has directly or indirectly killed 891 people per million in the UK, the highest comparable figure.

According to this measure, the UK death rate exceeds those in other countries also badly affected by the pandemic, including the US, Italy, Spain and Belgium.

Counting how many people died above a running average for the previous five years is considered by many experts to be the best way to give international comparisons, due to a lack of uniformity in the way countries collect data.

READ ALSO: US COVID-19 Death Toll Surpasses 100,000 As Pandemic Rages In Latin America

Britain has Europe’s highest death toll from the pandemic, with more than 46,000 fatalities attributed to the virus by mid-May, according to ONS figures.

The government, whose separate tally of deaths confirmed by a positive test now stands at 37,460, has faced sustained criticism over its handling of the crisis.

According to the latest AFP tally, published Thursday, the coronavirus death toll in Europe has now passed 175,000, making it the worst affected continent.

In addition, Italy — which does not count most deaths in care homes or the community — has officially suffered 33,072 deaths, France 28,596 and Spain 27,118.

The US topped 100,000 fatalities on Wednesday and the global number of deaths now stands at more than 355,000.

AFP

Brazil Leads Daily COVID-19 Deaths For Fifth Straight Day

(Files) A patient affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus is treated at a field hospital set up at a sports gym, in Santo Andre, Sao Paulo state, Brazil, on May 11, 2020. Miguel SCHINCARIOL / AFP.

 

Brazil reported the highest daily COVID-19 death toll in the world Tuesday with 1,039 people killed, the fifth straight day the country has topped the list.

Latin America’s largest country, which has emerged as a new epicenter in the coronavirus pandemic, has seen its daily death toll surge past that of the United States, the hardest-hit country so far.

The US recorded a death toll of 657 in the past 24 hours, said the Johns Hopkins University tracker. That was the third day in a row it had come in under 700, bringing the country’s overall toll to 98,875 deaths.

Meanwhile, Brazil’s daily death toll has passed 1,000 four times since the pandemic accelerated in the country a week ago.

Brazil has now confirmed a total of 24,512 deaths, according to health ministry figures.

Experts say under-testing means the real number is probably much higher.

With a population of 210 million people, Brazil has recorded 391,222 infections, second only to the US, which has confirmed more than 1.68 million.

READ ALSO: EU Agency To Set Up ‘Independent’ Research On COVID-19 Vaccine

Brazil is torn over how to respond to the pandemic.

Far-right President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the virus and railed against stay-at-home measures, arguing the economic fallout risks causing more damage than the virus itself.

But most state governments have stuck to the World Health Organization’s guidance and closed non-essential businesses.

Bolsonaro has meanwhile pinned his hopes on the medication hydroxychloroquine, which — like US President Donald Trump — he has touted as a potential wonder drug against COVID-19.

Brazil’s health ministry recommends doctors in the public health system prescribe hydroxychloroquine or a related drug, chloroquine, from the onset of COVID-19 symptoms.

It said Monday it stood by that guideline, despite the WHO ending clinical trials of hydroxychloroquine over concerns about its safety and effectiveness against the coronavirus.

AFP

Sweden COVID-19 Deaths Pass 4,000 – Health Authorities

Philip FONG / AFP

 

Sweden, which has gained international attention for its softer approach to the coronavirus than many of its European neighbours, said on Monday its number of deaths passed the 4,000 mark.

The Public Health Agency said it had recorded 4,029 deaths and 33,843 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in the country of some 10.3 million inhabitants, with 90 percent of the deceased over the age of 70.

Sweden’s death toll has far surpassed the tolls in neighbouring Nordic countries, which have all imposed more restrictive containment measures.

According to website Worldometer, Sweden’s virus death rate of 399 per million inhabitants is far higher than Norway’s death rate of 43 per million, Denmark’s rate of 97, or Finland’s rate of 56.

However it is still lower than France’s 435, the UK’s and Italy’s 542, and Spain’s 615.

Critics have accused Swedish authorities of gambling with the lives of citizens by not imposing strict stay-at-home measures. But the Public Health Agency has insisted their more relaxed approach is sustainable in the long-term and has rejected drastic short-term measures as too ineffective to justify their impact on society.

The Scandinavian country has kept schools open for children under the age of 16, along with cafes, bars, restaurants and businesses, while urging people to respect social distancing and hygiene guidelines.

READ ALSO: Italy Proposes 60,000 Volunteers For Post-virus Vigilance

State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the Public Health Agency has repeatedly insisted that stricter measures would not have saved more lives.

Three-quarters of Swedes who have died have been either in nursing homes or receiving at-home care.

Tegnell noted that a ban on visits to nursing homes was introduced in mid-March, but said elderly residents needed regular contact with their carers — who were believed to have spread the virus around many nursing homes.

“I’m really not sure that we could have done so much more,” he said in a weekend interview with Swedish Radio, acknowledging nonetheless that the country had ended up in a “terrible situation that highlights the weaknesses of our elderly care.”

He said care homes had initially failed to respect basic hygiene rules that could have curbed the spread of the disease, but said the situation had since improved.

AFP

New Virus Deaths In Spain Fall To Two-month Low Under 100

This handout picture made available by Madrid´s regional government, Comunidad de Madrid, shows patients arriving at the temporary hospital set up for coronavirus patients at a pavilion in Ifema convention and exhibition center in Madrid, on March 21, 2020. COMUNIDAD DE MADRID / AFP
COMUNIDAD DE MADRID / AFP

 

Spain on Sunday reported 87 coronavirus deaths over a 24-hour period, the first time in two months that the daily toll has dropped below 100.

The number came a day before Spain is to further relax lockdown measures across the country, but not in Madrid and Barcelona.

“For the first time in a long time we are below 100 which is good news,” said the head of the emergency health centre Fernando Simon.

At the height of the current outbreak in early April, Spain counted 950 deaths in one day.

Spain remains one of the countries hardest hit by the virus with a total of 27,650 deaths, the health ministry reported on Sunday.

The number of confirmed cases was more than 231,000.

Simon said Spain was now “very close” to putting an end to the transmission of the virus, adding this was thanks to efforts by the population.

READ ALSO: Iran Says Coronavirus Deaths Close To 7,000

He warned, however, that the danger of a second wave of infections was “still very big”.

Spain last Monday began a three-phase plan to end lockdowns for half the country by the end of June.

Some 70 percent of the population will have emerged from lockdown this coming week.

Outdoor seating in bars and restaurants will be allowed again, as are family reunions and meetings between friends up to 10 people.

But people living in Madrid and much of the neighbouring Castile y Leon region are to remain confined next week, as are the inhabitants of Barcelona.

Small shops, however, will be allowed to reopen.

AFP

Iran Says Coronavirus Deaths Close To 7,000

 

Iran said Friday it had recorded nearly 7,000 deaths from the novel coronavirus, warning of infection clusters in new regions after it partially eased lockdown measures.

Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said the COVID-19 illness had claimed a further 51 lives over 24 hours into Sunday.

The ministry raised the overall death toll to 6,988 since Iran announced its first fatalities in the Shiite pilgrimage city of Qom in February.

Jahanpour warned that cases were rising “in the province of Lorestan, and to some extent in Kermanshah, Sistan and Baluchistan”.

“Khuzestan province is still in a critical situation,” he added.

The southwestern province has become Iran’s new coronavirus focal point, with the most critical “red” ranking on the country’s colour-coded risk scale.

It is the only region so far where authorities have reimposed business lockdowns after a country-wide relaxation in April.

Iran stopped publishing provincial figures for the coronavirus last month, but the health ministry’s latest report said there is a “rising trend or the beginning of a peak” in eight provinces, including Khuzestan.

The country on Friday reported its highest number of new infections in more than a month.

READ ALSO: New Virus Deaths In Spain Fall To Two-month Low Under 100

A virus taskforce official said Sunday that the increase was due to a surge in testing, not just of COVID-19 patients with severe symptoms.

Early in the outbreak “our focus was on severe cases that had to be hospitalised, but as we started to manage the disease we looked at those infected and not hospitalised,” said Ali Akbar Haghdoost, head of the taskforce’s epidemiology committee.

“It is possible that the reported number of infections have gone up, but this in no way means more have been infected with COVID-19,” he told ISNA news agency.

According to Jahanpour, 1,806 new cases had been confirmed across Iran in the past day, bringing the total to 120,198.

Over 1,460 of the new cases were “outpatients, including those who had been in close contact with the infected,” he said.

The ministry said 94,464 people hospitalised with the virus have recovered and been discharged.

Experts both at home and abroad have voiced scepticism about Iran’s official figures, saying the real toll could be much higher.

Iran also cancelled rallies held annually in solidarity with the Palestinians, set for Friday next week.

President Hassan Rouhani had said Saturday that the Qods (Jerusalem) Day parades would go ahead with some measures against the virus.

But organisers said Sunday the event could not be held “decently” and would be scrapped apart from a televised speech by the supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

AFP

Coronavirus Deaths Top 250,000 As Billions Raised For Vaccine Push

Emergency medical personnel carries a patient affected with coronavirus (Covid-19) from a military hospital to an ambulance before being transported aboard a medicalised TGV (high-speed train) to be evacuated towards hospitals of other French regions on March 29, 2020 in Mulhouse, eastern France, amid the spread of the COVID-19 (new coronavirus) pandemic. Photo: Sebastien Bozon / AFP
Sebastien Bozon / AFP.

 

Global deaths from the coronavirus pandemic topped a quarter-million on Monday, mostly in the US and Europe even as both regions slowly moved away from lockdown and world leaders raised billions towards a vaccine.

An AFP tally of official figures showed that Europe is the hardest-hit continent with around 145,000 fatalities, and the United States recorded close to 68,700 — together accounting for more than 85 percent of global fatalities.

An internal government estimate in Washington forecasts an even worsening number of fatalities for the country. It said the daily COVID-19 death toll could double by the end of May.

In Europe, though, governments believe they have passed the peak of the disease with deaths in the continent’s worst affected countries, having dropped as a result of nearly two months of confinement.

Restaurants in Italy partially reopened and Germans queued for haircuts in a Europe edging gingerly out of lockdown.

READ ALSO: Doctor Who Treated First US COVID-19 Patient Fears Second Wave

Half of the planet has been under orders to shelter in place, and much of the world remained cautious even as countries from India to Nigeria sought to ease restrictions so that businesses can remain afloat and workers earn a wage after the pandemic-induced economic crash.

“Today is wonderful,” Lagos fruit and vegetable vendor Adewale Oluwa said, opening his stall in Africa’s largest city after a five-week lockdown.

– Russia infections surge –

Still, confirmed cases, since the disease surfaced in China late last year, rose to almost 3.6 million across 195 countries and territories.

Infections continued to surge in Russia, now adding more than 10,000 a day.

“The threat is apparently on the rise,” Moscow mayor Sergei Sobyanin told citizens.

But the United States remains far more severely affected than any other nation, although deaths in the past 24 hours rose by the lowest figure in a month — 1,015.

An internal study by the US government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predicted that new coronavirus cases will surge more than eight-fold to 200,000 per day by June 1, and the toll could rise to 3,000 a day, up from the current 1,000-2,000.

That could more than double the number of US coronavirus deaths, now at about 69,000, over the next few months, according to the study first reported by The New York Times and The Washington Post.

It underscored the tough, politically-tinged debate over reopening that pits Trump and his allies against many governors and community leaders worried that social distancing and quarantines need to remain in place longer.

The study suggested that the surge in infections could come from mid-May in states and localities that had not implemented tough distancing measures or were loosening up too early.

On Sunday Trump acknowledged that deaths would go beyond his earlier prediction of 60,000, saying “we’re going to lose anywhere from 75, 80 to 100,000 people.”

The White House downplayed the CDC forecast as an “internal” document which had not been vetted by the task force, which is led by Vice President Mike Pence.

– ‘Joy and fear’ –

In Europe, there was still caution as countries allowed people to return to the streets and some businesses to open.

“We are feeling a mix of joy and fear,” 40-year-old Stefano Milano said in Rome as Italian restaurants reopened for takeaway orders — though bars and ice cream parlours will remain shut.

Spain and Portugal made face masks mandatory on public transport starting Monday as they further eased their lockdowns.

Slovenia, Poland and Hungary also allowed public spaces and businesses to partially reopen.

“I looked like Robinson Crusoe,” joked 87-year-old Helmut Wichter, emerging clean-shaven from a barber in Berlin.

– Vaccine telethon –

A special telethon backed by the World Health Organization but snubbed by Washington pulled in 7.4 billion euros ($8.1 billion) to support international efforts to develop and manufacture a vaccine to slow the coronavirus spread.

Leaders of major European powers, Japan and Canada made the biggest pledges, along with philanthropists including Bill and Melinda Gates, at the videoconference hosted by European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.

“This was a powerful and inspiring demonstration of global solidarity,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said of the donations.

Seeming to defend its non-participation, the US State Department issued a statement declaring that the United States is “leading” the global response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and said it has spent more than $1 billion together with US drug companies to work on a vaccine.

Trump claimed Sunday that the United States will have a coronavirus vaccine ready by the end of the year.

The war of words between the United States and China over responsibility for the pandemic continued, with China’s state broadcaster attacking US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for “insane” remarks in which he said the virus originated at a laboratory in Wuhan, the city where the pandemic first emerged.

The WHO said it had received no evidence on the “speculative” Wuhan lab claims.

AFP

COVID-19: Lagos Announces Three More Deaths, 22 Recoveries

 

The Lagos State Government has announced three COVID-19 fatalities, saying that 22 persons have been discharged from the isolation centres in the state.

In a series of tweet on Sunday, the Ministry of Health said the state had now recorded a total of 28 COVID-19 deaths and discharged 247 patients who had recovered from the infection.

“Update as at 2nd May 2020. 62 new cases of COVID19 Infection confirmed. Total confirmed cases in Lagos now 1,084. 22 COVID19Lagos patients were discharged. Total Discharged now 247.

“Unfortunately, 3 #COVID19 deaths were recorded. This brings the total number of #COVID19 related deaths in Lagos to 28,” the tweet read.