News ID: 270763
Published: 0213 GMT June 28, 2020

Global coronavirus cases exceed 10 million

Global coronavirus cases exceed 10 million
AFP
A worker wears a protective suit at a COVID-19 testing station in Beijing, China, on June 28, 2020.

Global coronavirus cases exceeded 10 million on Sunday according to a Reuters tally, marking a major milestone in the spread of the respiratory disease that has so far killed almost half a million people in seven months.

The figure is roughly double the number of severe influenza illnesses recorded annually, according to the World Health Organization, Reuters reported.

The milestone comes as many hard-hit countries are easing lockdowns while making extensive alterations to work and social life that could last for a year or more until a vaccine is available.

Some countries are experiencing a resurgence in infections, leading authorities to partially reinstate lockdowns, in what experts say could be a recurring pattern in the coming months and into 2021.

North America, Latin America and Europe each account for around 25% of cases, while Asia and the Middle East have around 11% and 9% respectively, according to the Reuters tally, which uses government reports.

There have been more than 497,000 fatalities linked to the disease so far, roughly the same as the number of influenza deaths reported annually.

The first cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed on Jan. 10 in Wuhan in China, before infections and fatalities surged in Europe, then the United States, and later Russia.

 

Half a million in lockdown

 

On Sunday, China imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people in a province surrounding the capital to contain a fresh coronavirus cluster, as authorities warned the outbreak was still "severe and complicated," AFP reported.

After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in neighboring Hebei Province in recent weeks.

Health officials said Sunday that Anxin county – about 150 kilometers (90 miles) from Beijing – will be "fully enclosed and controlled", the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year.

Only one person from each family will be allowed to go out once a day to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, the county's epidemic prevention task force said in a statement.

The move was announced on Sunday after another 14 cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours in Beijing, taking the total to 311 since mid-June and spurring the testing of millions of residents.

The outbreak was first detected in Beijing's sprawling Xinfadi wholesale food market, which supplies much of the city's fresh produce, sparking concerns over the safety of the food supply chain.

Nearly a third of the cases so far have been linked to one beef and mutton section in the market, where workers are being made to quarantine for a month, city officials said Sunday.

Businesses in Anxin county had supplied freshwater fish to the Xinfadi market, state news agency Xinhua reported.

Some 12 cases of the novel coronavirus were found in the county – including 11 linked to Xinfadi, the state-run Global Times reported.

The new cases in Beijing have prompted fears of a resurgence of the virus in China.

At a press conference on Sunday, officials said 8.3 million samples have been collected so far, of which 7.7 million have already been tested.

Beijing city official Xu Hejian told reporters Sunday that "the epidemic situation in the capital is severe and complicated," warning that the city needed to continue tracing the spread of the virus.

City officials have urged people not to leave Beijing, closed schools again and locked down dozens of residential compounds to stamp out the virus.

 

   
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