World hits another milestone

Updated: 30 June, 2020 19:51 IST | Agencies | Rome

As deaths race past 5 lakh, more govts that attempted re-openings continue to backtrack; COVID-19 gains foothold in poor and war-torn countries ill-equipped to contain the infection

Venezuelan Wilmer Hernandez, 44, breathes from an oxygen tank at his room in Peru. Pic/AFP
Venezuelan Wilmer Hernandez, 44, breathes from an oxygen tank at his room in Peru. Pic/AFP

The world surpassed two sobering COVID-19 milestones on Sunday — 5,00,000 confirmed deaths, 10 million cases — and hit another high mark for daily new infections as governments that attempted re-openings continued to backtrack and warn that worse news could be yet to come.

Re-openings were rolled back in Texas, California, Florida where the governor said interactions among young people are driving the surge. For months, experts have warned of a potential nightmare scenario: After overwhelming health systems in some of the world's wealthiest regions, the COVID-19 gains a foothold in poor or war-torn countries ill-equipped to contain it.

Now some of those fears are being realised. In southern Yemen, health workers are leaving their posts en masse because of a lack of protective equipment, and some hospitals are turning away patients struggling to breathe. In Sudan's war-ravaged Darfur region, where there is little testing capacity, a mysterious illness resembling COVID-19 is spreading through camps for the internally displaced.

In Latin America, Brazil has a confirmed caseload and death count second only to the US. Alarming escalations are unfolding in Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Panama, even after they imposed early lockdowns. The first reports of disarray are also emerging from South Africa. Sick patients are lying on beds in corridors as one hospital runs out of space.

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First Published: 30 June, 2020 11:23 IST

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