WASHINGTON - Russia has seen a record rise in coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours, according to government figures reported Sunday.
The daily rise of 10,633 new cases is the highest since the beginning of the outbreak in the country and brings the total of cases to almost 135,000. On Sunday, 58 more people in Russia were reported dead, bringing the death toll from coronavirus-linked cases to 1,280. The death rate is still lower than in the United States, Italy and some other countries.
Russia’s Tass news agency reports that 4.1 million coronavirus tests have been administered so far, 174,000 in the last official report issued Sunday. Earlier in the week Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin tested positive for the coronavirus, the highest Russian official who has been diagnosed with COVID-19.
Meanwhile France reports that the number of new cases is flattening and has declined in three of the hardest hit regions. The total number of new cases reported Sunday was less than 300 and the total of new deaths was 135, compared to April 7 when the number of new cases was close to 9,000 and the death toll was more than 14,000. France is one of the most affected European countries with a total of nearly 170,000 COVID-19 cases and close to 25,000 deaths. The government has extended health emergency for two more months, until the end of July.
About a half of European Union countries will begin relaxing coronavirus measures starting Monday after weeks of shutdowns which have brought down their economies. Italy and Spain, Europe’s most affected countries, are among them. On Sunday, both reported the lowest daily death tolls in weeks.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the only head of state to have had COVID-19, is expected to announce a plan to reopen his country next week after declaring that the number of new cases is flattening in the country. Britain has had close to 187,000 COVID cases and the coronavirus has killed close to 29,000.
Sweden also announced a drop in new infections. The European country has raised eyebrows with its liberal coronavirus policy, keeping its schools and restaurants open throughout the outbreak. On Sunday it said that one infected person on average passes the infection to less than one person, which means the pandemic is in decline. Sweden has had more than 22,000 cases and nearly 2,700 deaths, which is more than double the numbers of Denmark and Norway put together.
European leaders have announced plans to establish an international organization to fight the coronavirus. The group wants to raise $8 billion in an online pledging campaign to finance finding a COVID-19 vaccine and treatment.
Another campaign is seeking to raise funds to stop the spread of coronavirus in India. International stars including Mick Jagger, Will Smith, Kate Bosworth and Jack Black joined Bollywood celebrities in the 4-hour-long “iFor India” concert livestreamed Sunday on Facebook to help COVID-19 relief in the second most populous Asian country. India reported a daily record of 2,600 new cases on Saturday, despite tough shutdown measures. The country now has more than 42,500 COVID-19 cases with close to 1,400 deaths, despite the government’s tough restrictions aimed at stopping the outbreak.
The number of new cases grew sharply in Bangladesh in the past 24 hours, with 665 new cases reported on Sunday.
China, the continent’s most populous country, where the virus was first recorded in December, reported only two new cases since Saturday.
The United States has about 1,200.000 cases, with close to 69,000 deaths so far. On Friday, the country saw the highest number of coronavirus-related deaths – 2909 within 24 hours, according to the World Health Organization. It also recorded 34,000 new cases, the highest daily total since April 24. More than 1,000 deaths were reported in the past 24 hours.
In South America, Brazil and Peru are experiencing a spike in new cases.
Close to 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 and about nearly 250,000 resulting deaths have been confirmed and reported around the world.