India reported nearly 11,000 new cases of COVID-19 in a 24-hour period Friday, the largest one-day jump to date.
The surge came as India reopened stores, shopping malls, manufacturing plants and places of worship. The country’s two-month lockdown that began in March has been eased, with restrictions remaining largely intact in high-risk areas.
Pakistan also reported its highest single-day increase Friday, with 6,397 cases. Experts say the coronavirus has spread throughout the country since last month, when Prime Minister Imran Khan relaxed lockdown measures.
Khan said he eased the lockdown to save the weakened economy and to limit hunger and poverty.
India’s record surge of 10,956 new cases propels the massive South Asian nation to fourth place worldwide, surpassed only by the U.S., Brazil and Russia.
India has more than 297,500 of the world’s total 7.5 million COVID-19 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The U.S. leads the world by far in coronavirus cases with more than 2 million, while Brazil has more than 800,00 and Russia has more than 510,000.
The U.S. is also the world leader in COVID-19 deaths, with more than 114,100, about one-quarter of the more than 423,000 fatalities worldwide.
A spike in new cases in the northwestern U.S. state of Oregon has prompted Governor Kate Brown to delay reopening plans by one week. Brown announced the delay Thursday after 177 new cases and two deaths were reported. The state’s Supreme Court on Friday upheld the shutdown orders.
The U.S. states of Florida, Idaho and Georgia said they planned to proceed with reopening plans, despite high numbers of new cases.
Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday that states might need to reimpose restrictions if cases of the virus spike. The agency also urged organizers of large gatherings that involve shouting, chanting or singing to “strongly encourage” attendees to wear face masks, following more than a week of U.S. protests against police brutality.
Meanwhile, U.S. Education Secretary Betsy Devos issued a rule Thursday that prohibits colleges from providing coronavirus relief funds to students who are not citizens, including students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival (DACA) program.
In China, seven new cases were reported Friday, including two new cases of transmission in Beijing for the first time in weeks. The development prompted authorities to close all or part of several large wholesale food markets that the infected patients had recently visited.
Norway said Friday it would maintain travel restrictions for visitors from Sweden. Unlike other European countries, Sweden did not impose lockdown measures, opting only to advise social distancing and banning gatherings of more than 50 people.
While new infections are slowing in most of Europe, the European Union’s health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, said Friday that countries should be prepared to reimpose restrictions if they see a rise in infections.
"We must be ready to roll back relaxation of measures if needed," she said.
A U.S. biotechnology company says it will make the first widespread tests of a possible coronavirus vaccine next month.
Moderna is working with the U.S. National Institutes of Health in developing a COVID-19 vaccine.
The company said Thursday the vaccine trial will begin with 30,000 volunteers. Some will get the actual vaccine, and others will get a placebo. Data released Friday shows the vaccine cleared a safety hurdle in a study with mice.
A Chinese biotech firm, Sinovac, also plans to test its vaccine next month, on 9,000 volunteers in Brazil. Brazil will also be the testing ground for a vaccine being developed by Britain's Oxford University.
The Trump administration is working with private labs in what it calls “Operation Warp Speed,” which hopes to have 300 million doses of a COVID-19 vaccine ready to go by January.
But experts say there’s never any guarantee a vaccine will work or, if it does, that it will offer more than a few months of protection.
Another major study forecasts millions sinking into extreme poverty because of the coronavirus pandemic.
A report by the United Nations University says the economic fallout could plunge 395 million people into conditions in which they are forced to live on $1.90 a day or less – the definition of extreme poverty.
A separate World Bank report this week put that number between 70 million and 100 million people.
“The outlook for the world’s poorest looks grim unless governments do more and do it quickly and make up the daily loss of income the poor face,” one of the U.N. report’s authors, Andy Sumner, said. “The result is progress on poverty reduction could be set back 20-30 years and making the UN goal of ending poverty look like a pipe dream.”
The U.N. report says South Asia – India in particular – will see the largest number of people sinking into extreme poverty, followed by sub-Saharan Africa.
Experts are appealing to economically powerful nations, such as the United States, to forgive the debts of developing countries that would take a strong hit from the pandemic.