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Global COVID-19 cases cross 25m as India sets grim record

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GLOBAL coronavirus infections yesterday soared past 25 million as countries further tightened restrictions to try to stop the rampaging pandemic.

  A million additional cases have been detected globally roughly every four days since mid-July, with India setting the record for the highest single-day rise in cases with 78,761.

  The surge in India, home to 1.3 billion people, came as the government further eased lockdown restrictions on the weekend to help ease pressure on the reeling economy.

  Even nations such as New Zealand and South Korea, which had previously brought their outbreaks largely under control, are now battling new clusters of infections.

  On the other side of the world, Latin America — the worst-hit region — was still struggling with its first wave, with Covid-19 deaths in Brazil crossing 120,000, second only to the United States.

  Brazil’s curve “has stabilised now, but at a very dangerous level: nearly 1,000 deaths and 40,000 cases per day,” said Christovam Barcellos, a researcher at public health institute Fiocruz.

  “And Brazil still isn’t past the peak.”

  Nearly 843,000 people have died of Covid-19 globally, and with no vaccine or effective treatment available yet, governments have been forced to resort to some form of social distancing and lockdowns to stop the spread of the virus.

  Masks will become mandatory from Monday on public transport and flights in New Zealand, which went more than 100 days without local transmission before the current cluster emerged.

  And tightened virus curbs kicked in on Sunday in South Korea, which is also battling fresh clusters — including in the greater Seoul region, home to half the country’s population.

Despite the grim numbers, there has been steady opposition to lockdowns and social distancing measures in many parts of the world, often because of their crushing economic cost.

  But resistance has also come from the extreme right and left of the political spectrum, as well as conspiracy theorists and anti-vaccine campaigners.

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