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Poonam Singh

Washington: The total number of global covid-19 cases has surpassed 74.8 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.66 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

The University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 74,875,300 and 1,660,132, respectively, in its latest update on Friday.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 17,192,376 and 310,424, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 9,956,557, while the country's death toll soared to 144,451.

The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (7,110,434), Russia (2,736,727), France (2,483,524), Turkey (1,955,680), the UK (1,954,268), Italy (1,906,377), Spain (1,785,421), Argentina (1,524,372), Colombia (1,468,795), Germany (1,438,438), Mexico (1,277,499), Poland (1,171,854) and Iran (1,138,530), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 184,827.

The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (115,769), Italy (67,220), the UK (66,150), France (59,733), Iran (53,095), Spain (48,777), Russia (48,568), Argentina (41,534), Colombia (39,787), Peru (36,858), Germany (24,611), Poland (24,345) and South Africa (24,011).

US Covid deaths top 310,000: Johns Hopkins University

US Covid-19 deaths surpassed 310,000 on Thursday, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University.

With the national case count topping 17.1 million, the death toll across the US amounted to 310,095 as of 5.26 p.m. local time (2226 GMT), according to the CSSE data, Xinhua news agency reported.

New York State registered 36,052 fatalities, at the top of the US state-level death toll list. Texas recorded the second most deaths, which stood at 24,932. The states of California, Florida and New Jersey all confirmed more than 18,000 deaths, the CSSE tally showed.

States with more than 10,000 fatalities also include Illinois, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Massachusetts and Georgia.

The US remains the nation hit the worst by the pandemic, with the world's highest caseload and death toll, accounting for more than 18 per cent of the global deaths.

US Covid-19 deaths soared above 300,000 on December 14, and added 10,000 in just three days.

On Wednesday, the country reported 3,656 deaths, the highest single-day rise in death toll since the pandemic began, according to data compiled by the university.

Meanwhile, US daily cases surged to 247,403 on Wednesday, the largest number of new cases the country has ever seen in one day, the CSSE chart showed.

Canada continues to record soaring Covid-19 cases

Covid-19 cases continued to rise in Canada as 486,393 new infections and 13,865 deaths were recorded on Thursday, the media reported.

Ontario, Canada's most populous province, reported 2,432 new cases of Covid-19 on Thursday, the highest number of cases recorded in a single day since the start of the pandemic in the country, Xinhua reported.

Thursday marked the third straight day in which the province logged more than 2,000 cases of the novel coronavirus.

The Ontario Hospital Association called for a four-week lockdown in every public health unit where there is an infection rate of 40 per 100,000 people or higher.

There are 75,885 active cases across the country with a daily average of 6,614 new cases reported in the past seven days, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada on Thursday.

UK records another 35,383 Covid cases, 532 deaths

Another 35,383 people in Britain have tested positive for Covid-19, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases in the country to 1,948,660, according to official figures released on Thursday.

In a statement, the British government said on its website that the number of new cases reported on Thursday includes around 11,000 previously unreported cases for Wales as a result of system maintenance, Xinhua reported.

The coronavirus-related deaths in Britain rose by 532 to 66,052, the data showed.

The figures came as Britons are being urged to keep their gatherings during Christmas to a minimum this year to avoid spreading coronavirus.

In a joint statement, the British government, along with the devolved Scottish government and Welsh government, warned that a "smaller Christmas is a safer Christmas, and a shorter Christmas is a safer Christmas."

Despite a surge in coronavirus cases, the British government has maintained its previous decision to relax restriction rules for Christmas, between December 23 to 27, allowing up to three households to get together in homes and places of worship in England.

In Wales, only two households plus an additional single person who lives alone will be allowed to meet during the five-day period. In Scotland, people are being urged to only meet on one of the five days.

Sydney Covid-19 cluster grows to 28, border curbs reintroduced

A new coronavirus cluster in Sydney grew to 28 cases on Friday, prompting authorities to reintroduce domestic border restrictions for hotspot areas in the Australian city.

The cluster was reported earlier this week on the city's Northern Beaches, and local residents were asked to stay home for the next three days if possible, reports Xinhua news agency.

Genomic testing revealed the strain of virus originated overseas, most likely in the US.

However, it was not known how it spread into Australia.

New South Wales (NSW) Premier Gladys Berejiklian called on all residents of the state capital to abide by officials' advice, saying she was confident the outbreak could be contained in time for Christmas if protocols were followed.

"We do have the potential to get on top of it, but it does require hard work on the behalf of all of us," Berejiklian said at a briefing here on Friday.

The new cases also prompted other Australian states to tighten their border restrictions, reintroducing mandatory quarantine periods on arrivals from areas deemed high risk.

New restrictions were applied to those travelling from the Northern Beaches to other parts of the country, requiring them to get tested and self-isolate if they had been in the area since December 11.

(With IANS Inputs)

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