Global toll rises to 9,41,473

WHO Europe warns of ‘alarming’ transmission rates

Agence France-Presse . Paris | Published: 10:27, Sep 17,2020 | Updated: 00:32, Sep 18,2020


The novel coronavirus has killed at least 9,41,473 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Thursday.

At least 2,99,14,290 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 2,01,31,400 are now considered recovered.

On Wednesday, 5,954 new deaths and 2,82,592 new cases were recorded worldwide. Based on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were India with 1,132 new deaths, followed by Brazil with 987 and United States with 968.

The United States is the worst-hit country with 1,96,831 deaths from 66,31,561 cases. At least 25,25,573 people have been declared recovered.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 1,34,106 deaths  from 44,19,083 cases, India with 83,198 deaths from 51,18,253 cases, Mexico with 71,978 deaths from 6,80,931 cases, and United Kingdom with 41,684 deaths from 3,78,219 cases.

Latin America and the Caribbean overall has 3,16,572 deaths from 84,80,585 cases, Europe 2,23,326 deaths from 46,60,226 infections, the United States and Canada 2,06,064 deaths from 67,70,982 cases, Asia 1,20,247 deaths from 68,57,575 cases, Middle East 41,115 deaths from 17,38,023 cases, Africa 33,253 deaths from 13,76,017 cases, and Oceania 896 deaths from 30,889 cases.

The World Health Organisation on Thursday warned of ‘alarming rates of transmission’ of COVID-19 across Europe and cautioned against shortening quarantine periods as countries in the region scrambled to find ways to reduce infections without resorting to new lockdowns.

The WHO’s regional director for Europe Hans Kluge said a September surge — Europe set a new record last week, with some 54,000 cases recorded in 24 hours — ’should serve as a wake-up call for all of us.’

‘Although these numbers reflect more comprehensive testing, it also shows alarming rates of transmission across the region,’ he told an online news conference from Copenhagen.

In Britain, new restrictions will take effect Friday, with prime minister Boris Johnson warning that pubs may have to close earlier to help avoid a ‘second hump’ of coronavirus cases.

Residents of northeast England, including the cities of Newcastle and Sunderland, will no longer be allowed to meet people outside their own homes or immediate social circles.

The government already imposed rules across England on Monday limiting socialising to groups of six or fewer, as daily cases reached levels not seen since early May.

Britain has been Europe’s worst-hit country, with the government registering nearly 42,000 deaths.

The city of Madrid meanwhile backtracked on a plan for targeted lockdowns and said it would instead move to ‘reduce mobility and contacts’ in areas with high infection rates.

WHO Europe said the UN health body would not change its guidance calling for a 14-day quarantine period for those exposed to the virus.

The recommendation is ‘based on our understanding of the incubation period and transmission of the disease. We would only revise that on the basis of a change of our understanding of the science,’ WHO Europe’s senior emergency officer Catherine Smallwood said.

France has reduced the recommended length for self-isolation to seven days, while it is 10 days in the UK and Ireland. Several more European countries, such as Portugal and Croatia, are also considering shorter quarantines.

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