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Coronavirus deaths pass 800,000 worldwide

Global coronavirus deaths hit the 800,000 mark on Saturday, according to a tally by the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, with nearly 23 million cases worldwide.

The US is the hardest hit country, accounting for almost 5.6 million cases and over 175,000 fatalities, followed by Brazil, Mexico, India and the UK per number of deaths.

The largest epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic remains the Americas, accounting for over half of the global cases.

The pandemic could force 45 million people in Latin America and the Caribbean into poverty, 37% of the region’s population, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) said.

The situation is deteriorating quickly in Argentina, where an outbreak in the disadvantaged province of Jujuy saw 30% of healthcare workers infected. Authorities fear the whole system could collapse.

Things do not look better in Asia. India has reported record daily infection rates for 18 days straight, while South Korea – once hailed for its successes in containing the virus – has been forced to shut nightclubs, churches and close beaches after reporting over 600 cases in the past two days.

In the Middle East, Lebanon – recently struck by a devastating explosion that took nearly 200 lives in Beirut – reimposed curfew and lockdown measures on Friday to stem a new outbreak. Iraq passed 200,000 infections on Saturday, second only to Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, Europe remains gripped with a second wave of COVID-19 only a few months after the continent brought down infection rates.

Several countries are battling new outbreaks and are reinstating lockdown measures and imposing travel restrictions.

Croatia was added to UK’s quarantine list on Friday after recording one of the highest daily figures since the start of the pandemic with 265 cases.

On the same day Germany placed coastal areas of the Balkan country in its “high-risk” list, forcing all returning travellers to quarantine on arrival.

Both the UK and Germany are busy fighting virus resurgences. Britain has placed Birmingham, its second-most-populous city, on its COVID-19 “watch list” and enforced local lockdowns in England’s north-west.

Meanwhile, Germany on Saturday reported over 2,000 new cases in the past 24 hours – the highest daily figure since the end of April. Record daily figures were reported in Czech Republic and Slovakia too.

Spain, after shutting all nightclubs, has now recommended Madrid residents stay home after 8,000 new cases were reported across the country on Friday.

Worrying figures are being reported in Denmark too, where the government imposed compulsory mask wear on public transport from Saturday.

Compulsory mask wear was also imposed on the French city of Lyon on Saturday in certain areas after France recorded over 4,500 new cases on Friday.

Numbers are rising in Italy too, with nearly 1,000 new infections recorded on Friday.

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