NEW DELHI: India’s coronavirus cases surged past seven million on Sunday as the health ministry data showed a rise of almost 75,000 cases, taking the total to 7.05 million — second only to the US which has recorded 7.67 million infections.

But experts say the true number may be much higher, with testing rates in the country of 1.3 billion people much lower than elsewhere in the world.

In Europe, the virus closed doors early on Saturday on the German capital’s legendary nightlife, with bars and restaurants ordered shut at 11pm in Berlin under a partial curfew announced till Oct 31.

“This is not the time to party,” said Berlin mayor Michael Muller in a message addressed to young people, who are driving new infections higher. “We can and we want to prevent another more severe confinement.”

Latin America and the Caribbean marked 10 million cases Saturday and with more than 360,000 deaths, the region is the worst hit in terms of fatalities, according to official figures.

Brazil’s virus death toll passed 150,000 people on Saturday, according to health ministry figures, although the rate of new coronavirus infections continues to slow in the South American country.

Authorities in France reported a record 27,000 new infections in a single day Saturday, although numbers in intensive care remained far short of peaks seen in the spring.

Health above all

Spiralling cases in France have led to fears that the government may need to impose local lockdowns in major cities, which would mimic measures already announced in Spain where the government has prevented people leaving the Madrid region.

Residents can only leave the Spanish capital for work, school or medical reasons as part of restrictions that have been denounced by the city’s right-wing authorities.

“We’ve always placed public health above all other considerations,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said during a visit to Portugal.

In Poland, authorities told people to wear face masks in all public spaces after coronavirus cases hit a new record daily high of 4,280.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself spent time in hospital for the virus in April, is to outline a new three-tier lockdown system on Monday.

Local leaders bristled at the plans, with Manchester mayor Andy Burnham saying that “we will not surrender our residents to hardship this Christmas or our businesses to failure”.

In rare good news, New Zealand and Australia battled to a thrilling 16-16 draw in a gripping Bledisloe Cup Test in Wellington on Sunday that saw the return of international rugby following the coronavirus shutdown.

The entertaining encounter lifted rugby out of its seven-month Test hiatus in front of a near-capacity 31,000 mask-free spectators, with New Zealand having largely contained the virus.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2020

Opinion

Editorial

Not without reform
22 Apr, 2024

Not without reform

FINANCE Minister Muhammad Aurangzeb says that the economy has the potential to grow 10 times its size to $3tr for...
Raisi’s visit
22 Apr, 2024

Raisi’s visit

IRANIAN President Ebrahim Raisi, who begins his three-day trip to Pakistan today, will be visiting the country ...
Janus-faced
22 Apr, 2024

Janus-faced

THE US has done it again. While officially insisting it is committed to a peaceful resolution to the...
Elections in India
Updated 21 Apr, 2024

Elections in India

Independent accounts and spot reports are at variance with Modi-friendly TV anchors and they do not see an easy victory for the Indian premier.
IHC letter
21 Apr, 2024

IHC letter

THIS is a historic opportunity for the judiciary to define its institutional boundaries. It must not be squandered....
Olympic preparations
21 Apr, 2024

Olympic preparations

THIS past week marked the beginning of the 100-day countdown to the Paris Olympics, with the symbolic torch-lighting...