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Sharmili Mallick

Washington: The global coronavirus cases surged over 68.8 million, while the deaths have risen to more than 1.56 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Thursday, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 68,822,212 and 1,567,706, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world's highest number of cases and deaths at 15,379,574 and 289,283, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 9,735,850, while the country's death toll soared to 141,360.

The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (6,728,452), Russia (2,518,551), France (2,377,913), the UK (1,771,544), Italy (1,770,149), Spain (1,712,101), Argentina (1,475,222), Colombia (1,392,133), Germany (1,242,253), Mexico (1,193,255), Poland (1,088,346) and Iran (1,072,620), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 178,995.

The countries with a death toll above 20,000 are Mexico (110,874), the UK (62,663), Italy (61,739), France (56,752), Iran (51,212), Spain (47,019), Russia (44,220), Argentina (40,222), Colombia (38,308), Peru (36,401), South Africa (22,574), Poland (21,160) and Germany (20,251).

Over 5K new Covid cases push Argentina's tally to 1,475,222

Argentina has reported 5,303 fresh Covid-19 cases, pushing the country's tally to 1,475,222, the Ministry of Health said.

Health officials said that 213 more patients died on Wednesday, taking the toll to 40,222.

As many as 1,311,488 more patients have recovered, Xinhua reported.

Buenos Aires province has registered a total of 631,466 infections, or 42.8 per cent of the national total.

Nicolas Kreplak, the province's Deputy Minister of Health, called on residents to "avoid meetings in closed spaces" and maintain social distancing.

Covid-19 cases breach 300,000 mark in Sweden

Covid-19 infections in Sweden topped 300,000 mark after another 7,061 cases were added, according to the data from the Public Health Agency.

The total cases in the Nordic country now stand at 304,793, with 7,296 fatalities, the data showed.

Currently, there are 261 Covid-19 patients in intensive care units (ICUs) -- 83 of them in Stockholm, nearing the full capacity of the capital's Covid-19 ICUs for the first time since the pandemic broke out, according to the city's health and medical care director Bjorn Eriksson.

France's reopening plan in doubt as Covid cases surge

France has reported 14,595 fresh Covid-19 cases, casting into doubt the government's plan to relax lockdown by mid-December, health authorities data showed.

France's cumulative number of coronavirus cases has risen to 2,324,216, including 56,648 deaths, up by 296, Xinhua news agency reported.

A total of 25,558 patients are receiving treatment in hospitals, representing a one-day fall of 356. Of those hospitalized, 3,041 need life support, down by 47 from Tuesday.

On November 28, France started the first phase of its three-stage reopening strategy, with all non-essential shops resuming their activities under strict health protocol. Stores must respect the rule of one client for every 8 square meters of shop floor, put in place one-way circulation and ventilate their premises.

The second phase is scheduled for December 15 if the number of daily Covid-19 cases falls to 5,000 per day and fewer than 3,000 patients in intensive care units are reported daily.

The number of daily cases has stagnated at between 10,000 and 14,000 in recent days, suggesting the government may delay the de-confinement to avoid a third epidemic wave after year-end festivities.

"The question ... is to what extent this health situation should invite us to reconsider a number of things that had been planned for December 15," the government spokesperson Gabriel Attal told CNews television Wednesday.

"If we must modify this second phase, then of course we will do it," he said, warning that a risk of a third wave exists.

(Edited By IANS)

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