COVID-19 | Record surge in cases due to peak in many nations: WHO

Updated: Jun 24, 2020, 07:43 IST | Agencies | Wellington

Hospitals in Pakistan are turning away patients, but with the economy there teetering, the government remains determined to reopen the country. New cases have also been rising steeply in Mexico, Colombia and Indonesia

A COVID-19 patient is treated at the Oceanico hospital in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The country has over 1.1 million cases. Pic/AFP
A COVID-19 patient is treated at the Oceanico hospital in Niteroi, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The country has over 1.1 million cases. Pic/AFP

The number of global coronavirus cases continued to surge on Tuesday in many large countries that have been lifting lockdowns, including the US, even as new infections stabilised or dropped in parts of Western Europe.

Hospitals in Pakistan are turning away patients, but with the economy there teetering, the government remains determined to reopen the country. New cases have also been rising steeply in Mexico, Colombia and Indonesia.

51,000 deaths in Brazil
Brazil, with over 1.1 million cases and 51,000 deaths, has been affected more than anywhere but the US, which has reported more than 2.3 million cases and 1,20,000 deaths.

In the US, surges in cases across the South and West are raising fears that progress against the virus is slipping away, as states reopen and many Americans resist wearing masks and keeping their distance from others.

Dr Michael Ryan, the World Health Organisation's emergencies chief, said the record number of new cases couldn't be explained by increased testing alone, noting many countries have seen large increases in hospital admissions and deaths. "The epidemic is now peaking or moving towards a peak in a number of large countries," he said.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said it took over three months for the world to see 1 million confirmed infections, but just eight days to see the most recent 1 million cases.

"The greatest threat we face now is not the virus itself; it's the lack of global solidarity and global leadership," he said.

Even some countries that have had initial success in stamping out the virus are finding pockets of resurgence.

In Australia, Victoria state on Tuesday reported 17 new cases, resulting in the closing of two primary schools in Melbourne. State Premier Daniel Andrews said there would be significant community transmission among the new cases. China reported 22 new cases, including 13 in Beijing.

9,220,352
Total no. of COVID-19 infections globally

4,74,999
Total no. of COVID-19 deaths globally

Physical distancing halved to 1m in UK

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday announced July 4 as the date for a significant lifting of lockdown restrictions, with cinemas, museums, restaurants and bars being allowed to reopen. The venues will be required to have safety measures set out under government norms. The current mandatory 2-metre physical distancing rule will be halved to 1 metre from July 4, he confirmed.

'Dexamethasone for critical cases only'

The WHO on Sunday emphasised on a rapid increase in production of dexamethasone, a cheap steroid that has shown life-saving potential for critically ill COVID-19 patients. WHO's Director-General said there is no evidence that this drug works for patients with mild disease or as a preventative measure.

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