Alarm over new coronavirus outbreaks as India cases hit one million

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Fresh outbreaks of coronavirus, even in places as far flung as China’s western Xinjiang region, are prompting worldwide moves to guard against the pandemic as the number of confirmed cases globally approaches 14 million.

India said it had surpassed one million cases on Friday, third only to the United States and Brazil, with nearly 25,000 deaths.

That followed Brazil’s announcement it has passed two million cases and 76,000 deaths – 1,000 fatalities a day, on average, since late May on a gruesome plateau yet to fall.

India’s milestone drove home concerns over the country’s readiness to deal with an inevitable surge that could overwhelm hospitals and test the country’s feeble health care system.

Global coronavirus cases and deaths
(PA Graphics)

Health officials in Xinjiang reported six confirmed cases of local transmission and said another 11 people tested positive but were asymptomatic – China does not include asymptomatic cases in its totals.

The Muslim-majority region is so far from Beijing that residents operate by their own, unofficial timezone and had until now been little affected by outbreaks elsewhere that appear to have been brought under control.

Health officials said all the cases emerged from among people who had earlier been placed under isolation and close monitoring in the regional capital, Urumqi.

Another 135 people are being monitored in isolation in the city of 3.5 million.

Virus Outbreak Indonesia
Health workers take the body temperature reading of a woman during a mass test in Tangerang, Indonesia (Tatan Syuflana/AP)

As of Thursday, 15,636 cases with 713 deaths had been recorded in the capital, Jakarta.

The city imposed sweeping social restrictions on April 10 but relaxed some of them two months later.

Indonesia as a whole has reported nearly 82,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,800 deaths.

South Africa now has the world’s sixth highest reported caseload with 324,221, accounting for more than half the total confirmed in Africa.

Many are clustered in South Africa’s densely populated Gauteng province, home of Johannesburg and a quarter of the country’s population.

South Korea Financial Markets
A currency trader wearing a face mask at the foreign exchange dealing room in Seoul (Lee Jin-man/AP)

Its Centres for Disease Control and Prevention still reported 60 newly confirmed infections, including 39 linked to people arriving from abroad.

But a senior Health Ministry official, Yoon Tae-ho, told reporters imported cases are less of a concern than local ones because they will be caught in a mandatory 14-day quarantine for all people arriving from abroad.

All are to be tested within three days.

More than 13.7 million infections have been confirmed worldwide and nearly 590,000 have died, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

The actual numbers are likely higher for various reasons, including limited testing.

Two-week quarantines are becoming the norm and many governments have been rolling back reopenings and tightening restrictions to try to stave off further waves of new cases.

Virus Outbreak Pakistan
A girl reacts while getting a nasal swab sample (Fareed Khan/AP)

Around 42 cases have since been linked to that cluster.

Authorities had hoped fresh controls might bring the infection count to a plateau, as Melbourne reported a record 428 new Covid-19 cases on Friday.

Coronavirus has also been surging in hot spots around the US, with record numbers of confirmed infections and deaths in the south and west.

Texas reported 10,000 new cases for the third straight day and 129 additional deaths.

A third of its more than 3,400 total Covid-19 fatalities came in the first two weeks of July alone.

Florida reached another ominous record, with 156 virus deaths and a 13,965 new cases.

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