Global toll rises to 11,39,406

Cases in 23 EU nations, UK of ‘serious concern’

Agence France-Presse . Paris | Published: 23:57, Oct 23,2020


The novel coronavirus has killed at least 11,39,406 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Friday.

At least 4,17,67,540 cases of coronavirus have been registered. Of these, at least 2,85,31,800 are now considered recovered.

On Thursday, 6,464 new deaths and 4,59,302 new cases were recorded worldwide.

Based on latest reports, the countries with the most new deaths were the United States with 1,035 new deaths, followed by India with 690 and Brazil with 497.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 2,23,059 deaths from 84,11,259 cases. At least 33,53,056 people have been declared recovered.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Brazil with 1,55,900 deaths from 53,23,630 cases, India with 1,17,306 deaths from 77,61,312 cases, Mexico with 87,894 deaths from 8,74,171 cases, and the United Kingdom with 44,347 deaths from 8,10,467 cases.

Latin America and the Caribbean overall has 3,87,534 deaths from 1,07,55,961 cases, Europe 2,58,076 deaths from 82,65,897 infections, and the United States and Canada 2,32,921 deaths from 86,19,644 cases.

Asia has reported 1,63,769 deaths from 1,00,13,574 cases, the Middle East 55,358 deaths from 23,89,787 cases, Africa 40,738 deaths from 16,88,896 cases, and Oceania 1,010 deaths from 33,788 cases.

The EU’s disease control agency warned on Friday that transmission levels of COVID-19 in 23 member countries and the United Kingdom were now of ‘serious concern’.

All EU countries except Cyprus, Estonia, Finland and Greece fall into that category, according to European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control’s latest assessment, up from only seven countries a month ago.

‘The continuing increases in COVID-19 infections... pose a major threat to public health, with most countries having a highly concerning epidemiological situation,’ ECDC director Andrea Ammon said in a statement.

‘The impact in terms of pressure on healthcare services and mortality has become increasingly evident. With high levels of community transmission, the protection of vulnerable individuals becomes harder, and it is inevitable that more of them will develop severe disease,’ she added.

The agency also said new recorded cases had been ‘steadily increasing since August and has shown a marked escalation in recent weeks’.

Suggested measures included physical distancing, limits on large gatherings, hand washing and encouraging the use of face masks.

In addition to the 27 EU countries, the ECDC covers the UK, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein.

According to the ECDC, as of Friday 5,528,320 cases of Covid-19 had been recorded in all those countries and 205,986 deaths.

France’s second wave of coronavirus could be worse than the first, the boss of Paris public hospital group AP-HP said on Friday as the country registered a record number of daily cases.

With fast-rising pressure on hospitals, France has expanded a 9:00pm to 06:00am curfew to cover 46 million people, more than two-thirds of its population.

‘There has been a perception in recent months that a second wave does not exist, or that it is a small wave. The situation is the opposite,’ Martin Hirsch told the RTL broadcaster.

‘It is possible that the second wave will be worse than the first,’ he said, warning of a ‘daunting’ challenge ahead.

On Thursday, France reported a daily record of 41,622 new cases, and the number of patients in intensive care is at its highest level since May.

Thursday’s figure of 165 fatalities in 24 hours is still well below the April peak, when the death toll soared to more than 900 a day.

The Eiffel Tower, one of the world’s most popular tourist attractions, has seen visitor numbers fall by 80 per cent compared to 2019, according to the operator, SETE.

As foreign tourists stay away and tight coronavirus measures, including a curfew, take their toll, its revenues have also fallen by 70 per cent.

Ten million people head into coronavirus lockdowns in the United Kingdom.

The government imposes its most stringent measures on the northwestern city of Manchester and its surrounding region. The English county of South Yorkshire will also face the same ‘very high’ alert from Saturday.

In Wales, more than three million people will have to stay at home from 6:00pm (1700 GMT) Friday.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez says the ‘real number’ of coronavirus cases in Spain is more than three million.

Earlier this week, Spain became the first in Europe to officially surpass one million confirmed Covid-19 infections but Sanchez said the actual figure was much higher because the number of cases detected at the start of the pandemic was very low.

Czech health minister Roman Prymula comes under fire from social media users after being photographed leaving a restaurant that should have been closed under his own anti-virus restrictions.

An epidemiologist who has been in office since September, Prymula also failed to wear a face mask when he got in his car with a driver, the Blesk daily tabloid reports.

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