India’s virus death toll tops that of China | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 30, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:45 AM, May 30, 2020

India’s virus death toll tops that of China

The Americas, Russia see surge in deaths

India's coronavirus death toll passed neighbouring China's yesterday, with 175 new fatalities in 24 hours taking the total to 4,706, according to official data.

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 percent of cases and 42 percent of deaths.

China, where the deadly virus emerged late last year, reported no new deaths or new suspected cases yesterday, 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.

Home Minister Amit Shah was set to hold talks with state chief ministers yesterday to discuss a further relaxing of restrictions, press reports said.

TOLLS SURGE IN AMERICAS

The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic spiked again in Russia and the Americas yesterday, even as Europe's experiment with reopening from lockdown grew bolder by the day.

Fresh restrictions in Asia also signalled that there will be a long road back to normality from the pandemic that has killed more than 360,000 people and hammered the global economy.

However signs of pre-Covid 19 life's return continue to grow, with English and Italian football unveiling plans to join Germany in resuming to play the world's most popular game.

Populations are learning to adjust to life with the long-term threat of infection as the virus continues its march around the globe -- with more than 5.8 million cases -- and a vaccine remains elusive.

Russia reported a record increase of 232 coronavirus deaths yesterday, 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 meanwhile 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 that first emerged in China late last year before spreading around the world.

Brazil recorded more than 1,000 fatalities and a national one-day record for infections, while Chile also logged a record daily death toll 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, told AFP.

'SENSE OF FREEDOM'

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.

The economic carnage continues, with eurozone inflation slumping in May as Europe is predicted to enter its sharpest ever recession, the number of people filing unemployment claims in the US reaching 40 million, and Brazil shedding five million jobs.

Seeking to stem the bleeding, Europe has been carefully moving ahead with the lifting of restrictions, with France set to reopen bars, restaurants and museums next week and Britain sending children back to school over the next two weeks.

The crucial tourism industry is also seeking its day back in the sun as the Northern Hemisphere's summer holiday season approaches, with hotels in Austria allowed to reopen yesterday under special guidelines.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spaniards were revisiting old joys as life gets back on track -- with people seen belting out tunes from the classic movie "Grease" at a 1950s-themed drive-in theatre in Madrid.

"It gives you a real sense of freedom. We really wanted to get out of the house," said 22-year-old Belen Perez.

CURBS RETURN

But 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 yesterday 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.

World leaders on Thursday called for resilience and cooperation after the pandemic recedes, during a UN videoconference in which the United States, China and Russia did not participate.

About 50 leaders took part in the event on development financing, with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte saying in a recorded message that the goal must be to "leave no one behind."

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres asked leaders to "go further" than they already have on debt relief for vulnerable countries, in a spirit of "needs-based solidarity and transparency."

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