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Poonam Singh

Washington: The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 61.5 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.44 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Saturday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 61,585,651 and 1,441,875, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 13,086,367 and 264,842, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 9,309,787, while the country's death toll soared to 135,715.

The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (6,238,350), France (2,248,209), Russia (2,196,691), Spain (1,628,208), the UK (1,593,248), Italy (1,538,217), Argentina (1,407,277), Colombia (1,290,510), Mexico (1,078,594) and Germany (1,027,327), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 171,974.

The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (104,242), the UK (57,648), Italy (53,677), France (51,999), Iran (47,095), Spain (44,668), Argentina (38,216), Russia (38,175), Colombia (36,214), Peru (35,785) and South Africa (21,378).

UK records another 16,022 coronavirus cases with 521 deaths

Another 16,022 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 15,89,301, according to official figures released Friday.

The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 521 to 57,551, the data showed.

The figures came as the British government's Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) warned that the relaxation of coronavirus restrictions over Christmas will increase infections by "potentially a large amount," the Xinhua news agency reported.

France reports 957 new Covid-19 deaths, hospitalisations down

As of Friday, 51,914 people have died of coronavirus in France, with 957 new fatalities registered in the past 24 hours. Meanwhile, Covid-19-associated hospitalisations continued their week-long decline, the country's health authorities said.

France's hospitals reported 393 deaths, and the remaining 564 fatalities occurred in nursing homes, the Xinhua news agency reported.

The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases was 21,96,119. Friday's reported increase was 12,459, against Thursday's 13,563, but above the 5,000 threshold which the government has set for lifting the lockdown on December 15.

Of all those infected, 28,648 patients are hospitalized with symptoms, down by 662. The number of patients in intensive care decreased by 135 to 3,883, maintaining the downward trend for nearly two weeks.

Pandemic and economic uncertainty darken Black Friday in Spain

Black Friday, one of the most anticipated days by consumers, could indeed be a black day for retailers in 2020 as millions of Spaniards change their shopping habits, preferring to either buy online or buy nothing at all, according to a recent study carried out by EAE Business School in Spain.

Pablo Contreras, marketing consultant and professor at EAE, told Xinhua that Black Friday's special offers have not lost their appeal, but it is clear that face-to-face channels, such as high street stores, shopping centers or department stores will see fewer benefits this year than companies that offer their products online, the Xinhua news agency reported.

According to the study, 49 percent of people in Spain now visit shopping centers less than before the Covid-19 pandemic, with 44 percent now shopping more online.

This means this Black Friday is expected to generate a 30 percent increase in home deliveries with around 150 million packages expected to be delivered, compared with about 110 million deliveries in 2019.

(With IANS Inputs)

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