Picture used for illustration.
New Zealand on Friday had all but eradicated the coronavirus from its shores with just one person in the nation of 5 million known to be still infected, but developments elsewhere were generally grim, with India reporting another record increase in cases and Pakistan a record number of deaths.
In the U.S., the latest figures from the U.S. Labor Department bring to 41 million the running total of Americans who have filed for unemployment benefits since the coronavirus shutdowns took hold in mid-March.
In New Zealand, health authorities have not found any new virus cases for a week. Of the 1,504 people who were infected, 22 have died and all but one of the rest have now recovered. The nation's borders remain closed and staying virus-free when they eventually reopen poses a big challenge.
Most cases in India are concentrated around its largest cities, including Mumbai and New Delhi, but cases have been increasing in some of the poorest eastern states as migrant workers who lost jobs in the cities return to their native villages.
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Pakistan on Friday reported 57 deaths, its highest single-day increase since the outbreak began. That increased the overall death toll to more than 1,300 and the number of cases to over 64,000.
In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte decided to ease a lockdown in the capital to a more relaxed quarantine on Monday after more than two months of strictures enforced by the police and military. Infections spiked in Manila recently, and Duterte warned that the pandemic is not over and the quarantine was in place around the country.
The overall number of Americans currently drawing jobless benefits dropped for the first time since the crisis began, from 25 million to 21 million. And first-time applications for unemployment benefits have fallen for eight straight weeks, as states gradually let stores, restaurants and other businesses reopen and the auto industry starts up factories again.
"That is the kind of economic destruction you cannot quickly put back in the bottle,” said Adam Ozimek, chief economist at Upwork.
The U.S. unemployment rate was 14.7% in April, a level not seen since the Depression, and many economists expect it will be near 20% in May.
Other looming storm clouds: Economists say the sharp loss of tax revenue is likely to force public-sector layoffs. And cuts beyond the initially hit industries such as restaurants and stores are a sign of spreading, potentially lasting damage. Economists say double-digit unemployment could persist through 2021.
A number of European countries have strong safety-net programs that are underwriting the wages of millions of workers and keeping them on the payroll instead of adding them to the ranks of the unemployed. But the economic damage is mounting there, too.
Worldwide, the virus has infected more than 5.8 million people and killed about 360,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University. The true dimensions of the disaster are widely believed to be significantly greater, with experts saying many victims died without ever being tested.
India launched Unlock 1 on Monday, ending nearly 70 days of a national lockdown over the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the national total of infected people rose by 9,983 as of Monday morning, hitting 256,611.
The country has posted the highest single-day caseload in the world since early August, and lags behind only the United States, which has 6.7 million cases in terms of total infections.
COVID-19 cases are mounting in India at the rate of 90,000 to 100,000 daily. This is the highest number of daily new cases globally, in any country. With 5.6 million infections, India will exceed the US’s 6.9 million cases,
Residents in areas under Russian control reported earlier this month that they had been handed a Russian passport, which is necessary for basic bureaucratic procedures.
Sheikh Hamdan said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, places the highest priority on ensuring the wellbeing of senior citizens.
The Dubai search and rescue teams freed the trapped child, according to Lieutenant Colonel Abdullah Bishoh, head of the Land Rescue Department, in the General Department of Transport and Rescue in Dubai Police.
According to new semi-official statistics, total cigarette sales in Egypt during the past nine months amounted to about 55 billion Egyptian pounds ($1.7 billion), with an increase of 4 billion pounds over the same period in 2022.