Global COVID-19 death toll passes 3m

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THE global COVID-19 death toll passed three million on Saturday as the pandemic speeds up despite vaccination campaigns, leading countries like India to impose new lockdowns to fight spiralling infection numbers.

  It is the latest grim milestone since the novel coronavirus first surfaced in central China in December 2019 and went on to infect more than 139 million people, leaving billions more under crippling lockdowns and ravaging the global economy.

  An average of more than 12,000 deaths was recorded globally every day in the past week, shooting the overall toll past three million on Saturday.

  For comparison, three million people is more than the population of Jamaica or Armenia — and three times the death toll of the Iran-Iraq war which raged from 1980-1988.

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  And the pandemic is showing no sign of slowing down: the 829,596 new infections reported worldwide on Friday is the highest number yet.

  The daily average of 731,000 cases registered over the last week is also close to being a record.

  India’s capital, New Delhi went into a weekend lockdown Saturday, as the world’s second-most populous nation recorded 234,000 new cases and 1,341 deaths.

  It will be recalled that India now has three times the daily cases of the United States, the world’s worst-hit nation, and families are clamouring for drugs and hospital beds with some doctors saying they are alarmed at how many young people are now getting seriously ill — like Raj Karan, who got sick while campaigning for elections in the northern city of Luckno.

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  Hopes that South Asian countries might have seen the worst of the pandemic have been dashed, with India recording over two million new cases this month alone and Bangladesh and Pakistan imposing new shutdowns.

  Richer countries that have waged mass inoculation efforts have seen their virus numbers plummet with Britain, which has given 60 per cent of the population at least one vaccination dose, now recording around 30 deaths a day — down from 1,200 in late January.

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