Coronavirus update: Mexico surpasses UK to have third highest death toll in the world, WHO reveals devastating daily toll
Deaths reported on Friday (local time) over the previous 24-hour period saw Mexico overtake Britain for the third highest national death toll from COVID-19, behind only the United States and Brazil.
The World Health Organization, meanwhile, reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases a 24-hour period, eclipsing the previous daily record by more than 8,000 infections.
The UK Government reversed its plan to ease lockdowns and Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned of a potential second wave of infections as he announced changes to restrictions.
Saturday’s key moments:
Mexico surpasses UK to have third highest death toll
Mexico has become the country with the third most COVID-19 deaths in the world, behind the United States and Brazil.
Mexican health officials said on Friday there were 688 deaths for the latest 24-hour reporting period, pushing the country’s total to 46,688.
That put Mexico just ahead of the United Kingdom, which has 46,119 according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University. Mexico’s population is double that of Britain.
The health officials also said Mexico has now had more than 424,000 confirmed coronavirus cases during the pandemic.
Nine state governors from opposition parties criticised what they call the Federal Government’s “confusing messages” on measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
Global daily case toll reaches devastating new high
The World Health Organization (WHO) has reported a record increase in global coronavirus cases, with the worldwide total rising by 292,527 on Friday.
The biggest increases were from the United States, Brazil, India and South Africa — the four countries have dominated global headlines with large outbreaks — while India reported its highest daily infection rate, with more than 55,000 new cases confirmed.
Deaths rose by 6,812 on Friday, as the US state of Florida recorded its fourth straight day of record death tolls.
The previous WHO record for new cases was 284,196 on July 24. Deaths rose by 9,753 on July 24, the second-largest one-day increase.
Deaths have been averaging 5,200 a day in July, up from an average of 4,600 a day in June.
Nearly 40 countries have reported record single-day increases in coronavirus infections over the past week, around double the number that did so the previous week.
Last week, cases in Latin America surpassed the combined infections in the US and Canada for the first time. Infections are continuing to surge in Brazil, which is second in the world behind the United States in cases and deaths.
Cases have been on the rise in Australia with the outbreak in Victoria recording multiple daily case highs throughout the week.
Earlier on Friday WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the world may be feeling the effects of the pandemic for decades.
Globally there are more than 17.3 million infections and almost 674,000 deaths attributed to the disease, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
Britain PM Johnson postpones easing lockdown
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has postponed an easing in lockdown restrictions amid fears of a second wave of the pandemic.
Just hours after imposing tougher measures on swathes of northern England, Mr Johnson announced that casinos, bowling alleys and skating rinks, due to reopen on Saturday, would remain shut for at least two more weeks.
“Our assessment is that we should now squeeze the brake pedal in order to keep the virus under control.”
The changes, combined with the stricter lockdown imposed on more than 4 million people throughout Greater Manchester, east Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire, are the largest reversal of restrictions to date in the UK.
England’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said the Government had probably reached the limit of reopening society and the economy without causing an increase in the number of infections.
But that did not stop Britons from flocking to beaches on the third-hottest UK day on record, with temperatures reaching 37.8 degrees Celsius at Heathrow Airport.
That was despite local councils calling on people to stay away as it was impossible to maintain or enforced physical distancing.
Record number of new infections in India
A record surge of 55,079 new cases in the past 24 hours has taken India’s coronavirus caseload past 1.6 million, as the Government decided to lift a night curfew that has been in force since late March.
The Health Ministry on Friday also reported 779 additional deaths, taking total fatalities to 35,747.
The actual numbers, like elsewhere in the world, are thought to be far higher due to a number of reasons including limited testing.
The night curfew will be lifted this weekend and yoga institutes and gyms will reopen on August 5, according to the Home Ministry.
The Government has also removed interstate restrictions on movement of people and goods.
Hotels in the Indian capital will reopen as they no longer serve as quarantine facilities.
Lockdowns remain in place across all containment zones.
Subways, cinemas, swimming pools, entertainment parks, bars, theatres, auditoriums and other social gathering places will remain closed until August 31.
Major League Baseball scrambling after more games postponed
Coronavirus has forced another change in Major League Baseball’s schedule, bringing the league’s total to eight teams affected in the first nine days of the season.
Friday’s game between the St Louis Cardinals and Milwaukee Brewers was postponed after two Cardinals players tested positive for COVID-19.
The league announced the schedule change hours before the game was to be played.
“The team is currently conducting rapid testing of the entire travelling party, has implemented contact tracing, and will continue to self-isolate,” a Cardinals statement read.
The Brewers and Cardinals plan to resume their schedule on Saturday night at Miller Park, pending results from the testing and contact tracing, and make up Friday’s game as part of a doubleheader on Sunday.
Two other games involving the Miami Marlins, Washington Nationals, Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies had already been postponed because of an outbreak among Miami players and two positive tests on Philadelphia’s coaching staff.
The Cardinals played in Minnesota on Tuesday and Wednesday before a scheduled day off Thursday.
The Twins hosted Cleveland on Thursday night, and the Indians used the same visiting clubhouse as St. Louis.
It is uncertain if the Indians and Twins will move forward with their scheduled game Friday night. Cleveland planned to hold a team meeting early in the afternoon to discuss the situation.
Fourth straight day of record deaths in Florida
Florida has reported a record increase in new COVID-19 deaths for a fourth day in a row, with 257 fatalities in the past 24 hours, according to the state health department.
The state has also confirmed 9,007 new cases, bringing its total infections to more than 470,000, which is the second-highest in the US behind California.
Florida’s total death toll rose to nearly 7,000 — the eighth-highest in the nation.
Florida is among at least 18 states that saw cases more than double in July.
It has reported record daily increases in cases three times during the month, with the highest on July 12, at 15,300 new cases in a single day.
Deaths are rising at their fastest rate since early June and one person in the US died about every minute from COVID-19 on Wednesday as the national death toll surpassed 150,000, the highest in the world.
Cases surge as graft hampers South Africa’s fight
South Africa’s number of confirmed coronavirus cases is edging close to half-a-million, with the Health Ministry reporting 11,046 new cases overnight.
That brings the country’s caseload to 482,169, including 7,812 deaths.
Corruption in the country’s pandemic response is also a growing problem.
On Thursday, the Health Minister in the country’s epicentre of Gauteng province was forced to step down over corruption allegations related to Government contracts for COVID-19 personal protective equipment.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned that now, more than ever, South Africa’s persistent problem with widespread graft is endangering people’s lives.
South Africa makes up well over half the cases on the African continent and has the world’s fifth-highest virus caseload.
As cases increase, the first of thousands of South African-designed ventilators have rolled off a Cape Town assembly line.
Hospitals in the country had struggled to source them on global markets, as richer nations scrambled to obtain ventilators and protective gear, officials said.
South Africa aims to build 20,000 ventilators.
F1 driver Sergio Perez tests positive, gifting Nico Hulkenberg return
Nico Hulkenberg has made an unexpected return to Formula 1, stepping in at Racing Point after Sergio Perez tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of Sunday’s British Grand Prix.
The 32-year-old Hulkenberg lost his seat at Renault for this season so was available when Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer made the call.
The German was immediately back in action for the first time since November, driving in first practice on Friday at Silverstone, where no fans are attending due to the pandemic restrictions.
“I was on my way to the Nurburgring for another racing project when the call from Otmar came,” Hulkenberg said.
The race will be Hulkenberg’s 178th Grand Prix.
Perez believes he picked up the virus on a trip home to Mexico between the Hungarian and British races to visit his mother after she had an accident.
Spain records worst day in months
Spain has reported its highest number of new coronavirus infections in almost three months, as authorities aim to contain new outbreaks.
In the past 24 hours, 1,229 new cases were recorded, marking the largest rise since a lockdown was lifted on 21 June, according to Government data.
The figure meant that Spain recorded more than 1,000 infections for a third consecutive day.
A Spanish Health Ministry official said community transmission of the virus had “exceeded expectations” in recent days.
At least 282,641 COVID-19 cases have been confirmed in total in Spain, with 28,441 deaths.