COVID-19 has claimed the lives of more than 3 million people globally, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
The center’s website reported early Saturday the 3-million mark had been surpassed with 3,001,068 deaths.
The grisly landmark death toll comes as the world has begun to rollout vaccine programs to combat the deadly virus, and many locations are experiencing a surge in cases.
India, a major vaccine producer, reported Saturday it had recorded more than 230,000 new cases in the previous 24-hour period.
While the U.S. is inoculating millions of people, it still leads the world in the number of cases. Johns Hopkins reports the U.S. has 31.5 million of the world’s 140 million cases, followed by India with 14.5 million cases and Brazil with 13.8 million.
A surge in cases in Canada’s largest province as resulted in the implementation of severe new measures. Ontario residents who have contracted the virus must now observe a six-week home quarantine, two weeks longer than the previously required isolation measures. Police in Ontario now have new authority to question people who are leaving their home. In addition, Ontario residents are facing new restrictions of non-essential travel with new checkpoints at the province’s Quebec and Manitoba borders.
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced Friday the country will begin easing some of its stricter COVID-19 restrictions April 26.
Draghi said a priority will be given to opening outdoor establishments such as restaurants, and all schools will reopen during a news conference in Rome.
The prime minister expressed “cautious optimism” about the nation’s progress in curbing the spread of COVID-19, saying there had been some modest improvement. But he said government is taking a risk in that reopening is based on the premise that people continue to wear masks and follow social distancing rules.
The move comes the same day the World Health Organization expressed concern about the continued global increase in new COVID-19 cases.
At his regular Friday news briefing, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the weekly number of new cases has more than doubled over the past two months, approaching the highest infection rate seen since the pandemic began.
He said the infection numbers began to rise steadily in February, following six consecutive weeks of decline.