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COVID-19 cases surge in India, China as outbreaks wane elsewhere in world

By
Allen Cone
A person wears face shield while walking along the Marine Drive promenade in Mumbai, India, on Friday. Photo by Divyakant Solanki/ EPA-EFE
A person wears face shield while walking along the Marine Drive promenade in Mumbai, India, on Friday. Photo by Divyakant Solanki/ EPA-EFE

June 14 (UPI) -- The two most populous nations -- India and China -- have reported surges in coronavirus cases as the pandemic continues in some parts of the word and ebbs elsewhere, including Europe.

The world death toll stands at 435,181, including 3,263 reported on Sunday, and nearly 8 million cases, according to worldometers.info, which has been tracking the virus. The United States tops the world list with more than 117,000 deaths and 2.1 million cases but the pandemic is ballooning in two Latin American nations with Brazil surging to second and Mexico up to seventh in deaths.

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In the past day, India has reported the largest single-day spike in coronavirus cases and mainland China, the original epicenter of the pandemic, reported 57 cases, the first surge since April when its last death was announced.

India, which has 1.37 billion people, announced a record 11,929 new cases Saturday and 11,275 on Sunday for a total of 332,901.

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The death count also has been mounting in the Asian nation with 321 fatalities Sunday after 309 Saturday for a total of 9,520 in ninth place in the world. Two weeks ago, the toll was 5,408 and one week ago 6,846, when the nation was in 11th place. Despite the surging numbers, the nation has reported only 7 deaths per million compared with the worldwide 55.4 per million figure and 355 in the United States, according to data from Worldometers.info.

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India has been in lockdown for eight weeks, which has delayed the projected peak by 34 to 76 days to sometime in November, according to research. This delay may allow the nation to add intensive care units and ventilators, according to a study by researchers from the Operations Research Group.

"While lockdowns will delay the onset of peak and will give the much-needed time for the health system to respond, strengthening the health system in terms of testing, isolation of cases, treatment and contact tracing, as is being done currently, will have to be the mainstay to reduce the impact of the pandemic in India until a vaccine becomes available," the study read.

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In neighboring China, the most populated nation with 1.44 billion people, the outbreak had largely been contained. It hasn't reported a death since April 26 -- with the toll at 4,634 in 18th place. And since May 1, only 231 cases were reported.

But on Sunday, the 57 cases became the highest since 89 on April 13 with a total of 83,132. The breakdown of the cases includes 19 travelers arriving from overseas, mostly in the southern province of Guangdong.

Among the remaining 38 cases, all but two were in the capital, Beijing, with a major seafood and produce market appearing to be the source of a new outbreak. Authorities are conducting mass testing.

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The outbreak has prompted officials to lockdown 11 neighboring districts.

Beijing had gone eight weeks without a single locally transmitted case until seven were reported Thursday and Friday.

In Asia, there have been 40,248 deaths and 1.6 million cases. Iran fell out of the top 10 last week and added 107 new deaths Sunday.

South Korea has reported 277 deaths, including 29 since May 1 and none over the past two days. The nation, which underwent widespread testing and intensive tracing, switched to "everyday quarantine" on May 6. And lockdown was never severe as even one theme park, Everland, in Yongin about 35 miles south of Seoul, never closed.

In the Western Hemisphere, the outbreak has been skyrocketing, specifically Brazil and Mexico.

On Friday, Brazil moved past Britain into second place behind the United States in deaths. The South American nation's total is 43,389, including 598 on Sunday -- the most in the world -- after 890 Saturday. The record is 1,492 last week. One week ago, there were 36,399 deaths and 29,314 two weeks ago. In addition, Brazil reported 19,223 new cases, three days after a record 33,100.

Bruno Covas, the mayor of Brazil's largest city, Sao Paulo, tested positive for coronavirus.

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The Sao Paulo state had recorded 172,875 virus cases and 10,581 deaths.

Amazon's indigenous people also are especially vulnerable. Indigenous leaders say nearly 230 of them have already died, many in Brazil's most isolated places.

"Help from the government? We've received nothing, nothing, nothing," Sinesio Tikuna Trovao, leader of the Tikuna people, told The Washington Post. "We need oxygen. We need equipment. Our medicinal plants cure only some of the symptoms. ... We need more doctors to teach us. It isn't easy. We need rapid tests."

One week ago, President Jair Bolsonaro tweeted his country's disease totals are "not representative" of Brazil's current situation, implying the spread of the virus is being overestimated. The president has disdained social distancing, often appearing with people, and has threatened to pull out of the World Health Organization.

Also in South America, Peru reported 190 new deaths and 4,383 new cases. The total 6,498 deaths and 225,132 cases are second to Brazil. Worldwide, Peru is eighth in cases and 14th in deaths.

Most of the 60,457 deaths in South America are in those nations.

Farther north on the hemisphere, Mexico reported 424 more deaths late Saturday after 504 Friday as well as 3,494 cases. The nation's deaths have risen from 9,779 to 16,872 in two weeks into seventh place.

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"I don't know anyone who goes to work and isn't afraid," Oscar Prado, a paramedic who has worked in a public ambulance for 10 years, told CNN. "The level of stress we're working under is immense and we're angry that we're not getting the proper support from our superiors."

Mexico and Canada's borders have closed to the United States except for essential travel as well as goods.

The outbreak in Canada has been more contained. On Saturday, the nation reported 58 deaths for a total of 8,107 in 12th place.

In North America, most of the 144,966 deaths are in the United States, Mexico and Canada.

The outbreak has subsided in Europe, including Italy, which at one time was the epicenter.

The six European nations in the top 10 are reporting the lowest increases since the outbreak reached their borders.

Britain reported 36 additional deaths, which is the lowest since 35 on March 22 from a high of 1,172 for third with 41,696. Fourth-place Italy, which at one time was the world's epicenter, including a high of 919, reported 44 additional deaths, the lowest since 36 on March 7. Also in the top 10, No. 8 Belgium added 5 and Germany 1. Spain, which had been 961 on April 2. On Saturday, No. 5 France reported 24 compared with a high of 1,494.

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Britain plans to keep the social distancing rule of 2 meters, which is 6.56 feet, until the next stage of the government's planned reopening of the economy, scheduled for July 4.

"We'll work very closely with the scientists at all times and make the right decision on the basis of safety, health and stopping the disease," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Sunday.

"The question for us is -- as we get the numbers down so it becomes one in 1,000 [people infected with coronavirus], one in 1,600, maybe even fewer -- your chances of being 2 meters or 1 meter or even a foot away from somebody who has the virus are obviously going down statistically."

On Monday, non-essential retail shops are being allowed to open in England but pubs, clubs, restaurants, hairdressers and beauty salons will remain closed.

The European Commission has recommended countries in the Schengen Area of 26 countries lift internal border restrictions by Monday. They operate with a common visa policy.

And in mainland France, restrictions related to businesses, including restaurants and bars, and transportation also will be removed on Monday.

"We must get our economy back on track whilst protecting the most vulnerable," French President Emmanuel Macron said Sunday night.

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The restrictions have been in place since March.

"We can be proud of what has been done and of our country," Macron said. "Tens of thousands of lives have been saved by our choices, by our actions.

In Italy, some restrictions will be lifted Monday entering the third phase of its emergency plan.

Theater and cinemas will be permitted with capacity restrictions. Summer camps, kindergartens, playgrounds, bingo halls and betting places can reopen.

In Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced his country will reopen its borders to people from other European Union countries on June 21, except for Portugal.

"From then the obligation for travelers who enter our country to quarantine will disappear," Sanchez said at a news conference Sunday in Madrid.

In all, a total of 182,868 people have died in Europe from the disease, including 41,698 in Britain, 34,345 in Italy, 29,398 in France and 27,136 in Spain, which has reported only seven deaths since June 1. The nation had struck several duplicates from its list.

No. 13 Russia reported 119 additional deaths and 8,835 cases for third overall behind the United States and Brazil.

Sweden, which has been doing "herd immunity," reported no new deaths after 20 with 4,874 for 16th place as well as 38 new cases Sunday. Neighboring Norway reported no deaths for the fourth day in a row to stay at 242 as well as 1 more case.

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In Oceania, there have been 102 deaths in Australia and 22 in New Zealand. The last reported death in Australia was May 23 and in New Zealand, it was May 28.

In Africa, Egypt has reported 1,484 deaths and South Africa 1,480 among the 6,488 fatalities, which is an increase from 5,215 fatalities in one week.

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