As the head of the World Health organization warns of a “new and dangerous ” phase for the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa is dealing with thousands of new cases of infection.
The country has reported nearly 4,000 new cases of the novel coronavirus as it continues to loosen lockdown measures under economic pressure.
Casinos, beauty salons and sit-down restaurant service are among the latest permitted activities as President Cyril Ramaphosa this week warned citizens that the fight against the coronavirus is a personal responsibility.
South Africa once had one of the world’s strictest lockdowns. It now makes up about 30 per cent of the cases on the African continent, or more than 87,000.
Africa’s 54 countries have more than 286,000 virus cases overall, but a shortage of testing materials means the real number of infections is unknown.
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On Friday, WHO director-genneral Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the pandemic that began in China late last year is “accelerating” and that more than 150,000 cases were reported on Thursday — the highest single-day number so far.
He said nearly half of the newly reported cases were from the Americas, with significant numbers from South Asia and the Middle East.
The coronavirus has sickened more than 8.68 million people worldwide and killed at least 460,256, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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Brazil’s government says the country has surpassed more than a million confirmed coronavirus cases. Internationally, that is second only to the United States.
The country’s health ministry reported Friday that the total of cases had risen to 1,032,913, up more than 50,000 from the previous day. The ministry says the sharp increase was due to corrections from previous days.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro still downplays the risks of the virus after nearly 50,000 fatalities in three months. He says the impact of social isolation on Brazil’s economy can be more deadly.
Specialists believe that the actual number of cases could be up to seven times higher, with the coronavirus now heading into underequipped smaller cities inland, where there are fewer health professionals.
Indonesia reported 1,226 new coronavirus infections and on Saturday, taking its total number of cases to 45,029.
Health ministry official Achmad Yurianto said there were 56 more deaths reported, with total fatalities now at 2,429, the highest coronavirus death toll in East Asia outside of China.
What’s happening in Canada with COVID-19
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As of 7 a.m. ET on Saturday, Canada had 100,629 confirmed and presumptive COVID-19 cases, with 63,003 of the cases considered recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial information, regional health data and CBC’s reporting stood at 8,396.
Quebec accounts for more than 54,500 cases, and there are more than 33,000 recorded cases in Ontario.
All regions of Ontario except for Toronto, Peel and Windsor-Essex entered Stage 2 of the province’s phased reopening plan on Friday.
The second stage includes restaurant patios, hair salons and swimming pools. Child-care centres across Ontario can also reopen.
Quebec’s finance minister says the pandemic has hit the province hard. Eric Girard delivered an economic update Friday, showing a return to multi-billion-dollar deficits.
Just three months ago, he delivered a balanced budget, thanks to a stronger economy and better employment numbers than Quebec had seen in a generation.
Now, gone is his $1.9-billion surplus, spent on measures to keep the economy and private businesses afloat.
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The United States accounts for over 2.2 million cases, with more than 118,000 deaths.
Abroad, COVID-19 infections have been reported at the U.S Embassy in the Afghan capital and the staff who are affected include diplomats, contractors and locally employed staff, the U.S. State Department says.
The department did not say how many people were affected. An official at the embassy in Kabul said as many as 20 people were infected, the majority of whom are Nepalese Gurkhas, who provide embassy security.
Afghanistan has 28,424 confirmed coronavirus cases. International aid organizations monitoring the pandemic’s spread in the country say the numbers are much higher because of a lack of testing capabilities as well as access to testing. They also fear the highly contagious disease has spread throughout the country with the return of nearly 300,000 Afghans from Iran, the hardest hit country in the region. Iran has recorded more than 200,000 cases and 9,392 deaths.
Few of the Afghans who returned from Iran were tested before they fanned out across the country to their homes.
Portugal’s government is lashing out at some of its European Union partners who have barred Portuguese from entering their country due to fears over the spread of COVID-19.
Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva said Friday that some countries are basing their risk evaluation solely on the number of new cases reported each day.
Portugal has in recent weeks been reporting around 300 new infections a day due to a spate of isolated outbreaks, and Portuguese are now shut out of a half-dozen other EU countries.
Santos Silva said in a statement that Portugal has been carrying out more tests than most EU countries, with its tally of 98,700 tests per million inhabitants making it the sixth-highest in the EU. He said that strategy increases the number of cases detected.
Also, he said that Portugal’s COVID-19 death toll is relatively low in EU terms, at 149 per million inhabitants.
Singaporeans can wine and dine at restaurants, work out at the gym and get together with no more than five people after most lockdown restrictions were lifted Friday.
The city-state has one of the highest infection rates in Asia with 41,473 confirmed cases, mostly linked to foreign workers’ dorms. The government says the infections have declined, with no new large clusters emerging.
Cases outside the dorms were also stable despite a partial economic reopening two weeks ago.
Malls, gyms, massage parlours, parks and other public spaces reopened Friday, with strict physical distancing and health and safety rules. Minor prohibitions remain, including on contact sports and mass religious congregations.
Entertainment venues such as cinemas, karaoke rooms and bars are still shut, while big events including trade fairs and concerts are banned.
The coronavirus continues to spread in South Korea, particularly in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan region, which is home to half the country’s 51 million people.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 49 new cases for the nation Friday, with 26 of them in Seoul and the nearby port city of Incheon. South Korea has had a total of 12,306 infections, including 280 deaths.
Officials have been reporting around 30 to 50 new cases a day since late May, inspiring second guessing on whether officials were too quick to ease physical distancing guidelines in April after the country’s first wave of infections waned.
Hundreds of cases in the Seoul area have been linked to leisure and religious activities and low-income workers who can’t afford to stay home.
India has recorded the highest one-day spike of 13,586 coronavirus cases, raising the total to 380,532.
India’s death toll on Friday reached 12,573, a rise of 336. The number of recoveries touched 52 per cent at 204,711.
India stands behind the U.S., Brazil and Russia in the number of cases. But the country is continuing with unlocking the economy.
The lockdown, imposed on March 25, is now restricted to high-risk areas. The worst-hit states are Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and New Delhi. They account for 60 per cent of all cases.