The worldwide toll from the coronavirus pandemic crossed 1,60,000 on Sunday and more than 2,355,337 declared cases have been registered in 185 countries and territories since the disease first emerged in China late last year, according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. Of these, Europe accounts for a total of 1,00,510 deaths – nearly two-thirds of the fatalities globally.
The United States has the highest number of cases and has lost over 38,660 people to the infection.
Meanwhile, Spain’s toll from the coronavirus outbreak rose by 410 on Sunday, down from 565 on Saturday, the health ministry said, AFP reported. The total number of deaths in the country due to the virus reached 20,453.
Spain’s daily increase was the lowest since March 22. It is far below the highest daily increase – 950 deaths reported on April 2 – in a sign of a slowdown of the spread of the infection after Spain imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March.
On Saturday, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that he would ask parliament for a 15-day extension of the lockdown until May 9, adding that the restrictions would be more flexible.
Similarly, Netherlands also reported its lowest daily coronavirus death rate in more than three weeks, according to The Guardian. The health authorities confirmed 83 deaths – its lowest increase since March 26.
Russia on Sunday reported 6,060 new cases in the previous 24 hours, bringing its nationwide count to 42,853, though the official toll of 361 remains relatively low compared with other countries with a similar number of cases.
Meanwhile, Pakistan has started repatriating some of its citizens from the United Arab Emirates, which had threatened to review labour ties with countries refusing to take back their nationals during the pandemic. More than 40,000 Pakistanis in the Gulf Arab state have registered with the consulate to return home.
Higher infection rates among migrant workers
The UAE and other Gulf states have reported increased infections among low-income migrant workers who live in overcrowded quarters. Rights’ group have also voiced concerns, saying their risk of exposure to coronavirus is very high.
“The problem is in the dormitories, as social distancing can be organised in the dining areas,” Ryszard Cholewinski, a senior migration specialist with the International Labour Organisation told The Guardian. “There have been attempts by a number of companies to sort out sleeping arrangements, but even on a good day in some of these facilities, people are four to a room.”
A report by the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre also noted that migrant workers in the Gulf “live in tightly packed labour camps, often in unsanitary conditions, some without access to running water”. “These conditions provide the perfect conditions for the spread of Covid-19,” it added. “Quarantines and other movement and travel restrictions...may inadvertently raise the risk to workers, as well as result in workers suffering severe economic consequences from being unable to work.”
On Sunday, the UAE announced 479 new cases and four deaths, bringing its total to 6,781 cases and 41 deaths so far.
Boris Johnson missed five coronavirus meetings, says report
Britain Cabinet minister Michael Gove on Sunday defended Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s approach towards tackling the pandemic, reported Reuters. A Sunday Times report said that Johnson had skipped five Covid-19 crisis meetings early in the outbreak. Gove described the report as “grotesque” and said the prime minister took all the major decisions. “Nobody can say that the prime minister wasn’t throwing heart and soul into fighting this virus,” he said, adding that the story overall was “slightly off-beam”.