NEW DELHI: India’s coronavirus death toll passed neighbouring China’s on Friday, with 175 new fatalities in 24 hours taking the total to 4,706, according to official data.
The death toll from the pandemic spiked again in Russia and the Americas, even as Europe’s experiment with reopening from lockdown grew bolder by the day.
India, home to some of the world’s most packed cities and a creaking healthcare system, is emerging as a new hotspot with record jumps in new cases in recent days.
Figures from India’s health ministry showed 165,799 infections, with western Maharashtra state — home to the finance hub of Mumbai — accounting for 36 per cent of cases and 42pc of deaths.
Russia reports a record increase in fatalities
China, where the deadly virus emerged late last year, reported no new deaths or new suspected cases on Friday, with the toll still at 4,634 and a total of 82,995 infections.
Even though the number of cases is surging, India has steadily loosened its lockdown to lessen the massive impact on the economy — and the country’s poor who have been the hardest hit.
Fresh restrictions in Asia, meanwhile, signalled that there would be a long road back to normality from the pandemic that has killed more than 360,000 people and hammered the global economy.
Russia reported a record increase of 232 coronavirus deaths on Friday, taking it to a total of 4,374 deaths and 387,623 cases, the third-highest number of infections in the world after the United States and Brazil.
Moscow authorities released mortality figures to dispel allegations they were under-reporting deaths to play down the scale of the crisis.
Russian authorities said numbers of deaths in the capital were far lower than those in New York and London, attributing the difference to mass testing.
Moscow is due to ease its lockdown on Monday, and the Kremlin is in talks with world leaders to attend a World War II parade in late June.
The urgency was underlined by ballooning death tolls in South America, increasingly the new focus of the pandemic. Brazil recorded more than 1,000 fatalities and a national one-day record for infections, while Chile also logged a record daily death toll on Thursday and total fatalities topped 4,000 in Peru.
“With confinement everything has changed for most of us. We find ourselves without any work,” Oscar Gonzalez, a 43-year-old welder in the deprived Brisas del Sol area of Santiago, said.
The United States recorded 1,297 new coronavirus deaths on Thursday, and has now seen more than 101,000 fatalities from the disease, the worst toll in the world.
Many countries that have seen success in curbing the virus are now on alert for a second wave of infections, particularly in Asia.
South Korea — held up as a global model in how to stop the virus — has re-imposed some social distancing rules after a series of new clusters emerged, many in the capital Seoul.
Numbers of children in Seoul schools will be cut back while museums, parks and art galleries were closed again from Friday for two weeks.
In Sri Lanka, some lockdown rules will be rolled out again from Sunday after more than 250 returnees from Kuwait were found to be infected.
Published in Dawn, May 30th, 2020