Countries tighten rules as world coronavirus deaths pass 750,000

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Countries tighten rules as world coronavirus deaths pass 750,000

Thursday, August 13, 2020

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PARIS,France(AFP)— The total number of people killed by the novel coronavirus around the world passed 750,000 on Thursday, with some countries toughening control measures as caseloads once again creep up.

The Latin America and the Caribbean region remains the global epicentre, accounting for almost one-third of all deaths and housing two of the worst-affected countries -- Mexico andBrazil.

However, fear is growing in other regions of new spikes, with countries including New Zealand and Italy tightening measures in a bid to secure hard-won gains in fighting the virus, which has now infected more than 20 million worldwide.

New Zealand, which earlier this week broke a streak of more than 100 days without a new infection, is scrambling to find the source of 17 new cases in its biggest city Auckland -- which faces the prospect of a three-day lockdown being extended.

"As with our first outbreak, things will get worse before they get better," Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a televised address.

Italy, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, imposed mandatory coronavirus testing for all travellers arriving from some fellow EU nations and banned all visitors from Colombia.

Health officials worry that Italians returning from foreign holidays may bring home the virus and pass it on at summer events.

Less attention to control measures during the summer holidays is partly to blame for increased numbers of cases, especially among younger people, WHO epidemiologist Richard Peabody said.

"If you take... the pressure off the virus, then it will come back," he warned.

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