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Virus deaths pass 600,000 as global cases surge


Confirmed coronavirus deaths globally have passed 600,000 as the World Health Organisation reported a record 259,848 new daily infections.

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While the US leads global infections, South Africa now ranks as the fifth worst-hit country in the pandemic with more than 350,000 cases.

India, which has now confirmed more than 1 million infections, on Sunday reported a 24-hour record of 38,902 new cases.

Confirmed global virus deaths have risen to nearly 603,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins.

The United States tops the list with more than 140,000, followed by more than 78,000 in Brazil, while Europe as a continent has recorded about 200,000 deaths.

The number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.2 million, with 3.7 million in the United States and more than 2 million in Brazil.

Experts believe the pandemic’s true toll around the world is much higher because of testing shortages and data collection issues.

Hong Kong has made the wearing of masks mandatory in all public places and told non-essential civil servants to work from home.

Authorities in Amsterdam urged people not to visit the city’s famous red light district and have closed off some of the historic area’s narrow streets because they are too busy.

Slaughterhouses also have featured in outbreaks in the US, Germany and elsewhere.

In the US, cases have risen in 42 out of 50 states over the past two weeks, according to a Reuters tally.

Since late June, the United States has recorded a resurgence in new cases and now, six weeks later, deaths have also begun rising, according to a weekly Reuters analysis of state and county data.

5000 US virus deaths a week

The country is losing about 5000 people to the virus every week.

By contrast, neighbouring Canada has reported total deaths of 8800 since the pandemic started.

In just one week, the US records about as many deaths as the 5600 lives Sweden has lost since the pandemic began earlier this year.

In the hardest-hit US counties, officials are running out of places to store bodies as their morgues fill up.

Arizona’s Maricopa County, home to the state’s largest city, Phoenix, is bringing in 14 coolers to hold up to 280 bodies and more than double morgue capacity ahead of an expected surge in coronavirus fatalities, officials said on Thursday.

In Texas, the city of San Antonio and Bexar County have acquired five refrigerated trailers to store up to 180 bodies.

The appearance of such mobile morgues has fed the sense in some southern states that the pandemic appears to be spinning out of control.

-with AAP

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