India has recorded its highest one-day tally of new coronavirus cases since the first known case was detected in January, as the country edged closer to surpassing Russia as the third-most affected in the world.
The health ministry added just under 25,000 positive tests to its total infections on Sunday, taking India’s total to more than 673,000 cases and 19,268 deaths. Russia has recorded 680,000 infections, behind Brazil with 1.6m cases and the United States with 2.88m.
In the Indian capital New Delhi, medical staff started treating patients at a spiritual centre converted into a sprawling isolation facility and hospital with 10,000 beds, many made of cardboard and chemically coated to make them waterproof.
About the size of 20 football fields, the facility on the outskirts of the city will treat mild symptomatic and asymptomatic cases.
State government officials fear Delhi, home to 25 million people, could record more than half-a-million cases by the end of the month. The city has repurposed some hotels to provide hospital care. It is also converting wedding halls and has several hundred modified railway coaches standing by.
A strict lockdown in place since late March has gradually been lifted, allowing most activities after the economy nose-dived during the shutdown.
Schools, metro trains in cities, cinemas, gyms and swimming pools remain closed and international flights are still grounded. Authorities have made wearing masks mandatory in public places, while large gatherings are banned and shops and other public establishments are required to implement social distancing.
Like India, South Africa imposed some of the strictest stay-at-home measures in the world in late March in a bid to limit the spread of Covid-19, but the number of infections is rising daily as the lockdown rules are gradually eased. South Africa on Saturday reported more than 10,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily jump on record for the country. There have been 196,750 cases and 3,199 deaths in the country so far.
The total global number of cases is 11.4 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The virus has claimed the lives of 533,780 people.
In the United States, the Centres for Disease Control reported 52,228 new cases on Sunday, marking the fourth day in a row that new cases have been over 50,000 according to its tallies.
Two prominent Texas mayors warned that hospitals in their cities will be “overwhelmed” by cases of Covid-19 inside two weeks, even as Donald Trump continues to portray the coronavirus resurgence nationwide as the embers of a fire he is steadily extinguishing.
The Australian state of Victoria recorded its largest jump in cases at any point in the coronavirus crisis, with 127 cases reported on Monday, as the premier announced the border with neighbouring New South Wales, Australia’s most populous state, would be closed from midnight on Tuesday. The decision marks the first time the border between the two states will be closed in 100 years.
Victoria also recorded one new death, bringing Australia’s total fatalities to 105. The country has 8,583 cases.
In response to the record case increase, New South Wales premier Gladys Berejiklian says, “what’s occurring in Victoria hasn’t yet happened in Australia. It’s a new phenomenon”.
NSW police commissioner Mike Fuller meanwhile warned that the border was very long, but would be thoroughly monitored.
“Someone could choose to swim across the river, walk through the bush, use dirt tracks,” he said, noting that aerial surveillance, for example with drones, will be used to enforce the restrictions.
Iran broke a sombre record for daily deaths, meanwhile, 163 people in the country dying in 24 hours. The government has introduced compulsory face masks in public spaces after admitting that its efforts to introduce effective voluntary social distancing have failed.
Other key global developments include:
The governor of Tokyo, Japan, Yuriko Koike, won a second term, propelled to an election victory by public support for her handling of the coronavirus crisis, despite a recent rise in infections.
Peru on Sunday jumped past 300,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19, the fifth-highest in the world, as the Andean nation of nearly 33 million people slowly reopens its battered economy. Peru’s death toll from the virus now stands at 10,589, the 10th-highest in the world.
In the US, Tony award-nominated Broadway actor Nick Cordero died in Los Angeles from severe medical complications after contracting coronavirus. He was 41.