What you need to know about the coronavirus right now

·3 min read
FILE PHOTO: An employee measures the temperatures of travelers at the Tocumen International Airport during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Panama City
FILE PHOTO: An employee measures the temperatures of travelers at the Tocumen International Airport during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Panama City

(Reuters) - Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus right now:

40 MILLION CASES WORLDWIDE

Worldwide coronavirus cases crossed 40 million on Monday, according to a Reuters tally. Experts believe the true numbers of both cases and deaths are likely to be much higher, given deficiencies in testing and potential under-reporting by some countries.

The Reuters data shows the pace of the pandemic picking up. It took just 32 days to go from 30 million global cases to 40 million, compared with the 38 days it took to get from 20 million to 30 million and the 44 days between 10 million and 20 million.

The United States, India, and Brazil are the worst affected countries. COVID-19 cases in North, Central, and South America represent about 47% or nearly half of global cases. Record one-day increases in new infections were seen at the end of last week, with global coronavirus cases rising above 400,000 for the first time.

ITALY TAKES STEPS TO THWART RESURGENCE

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte gave mayors the power to shut public squares from 9 p.m. to halt gatherings as he announced a further package of measures on Sunday to try to halt a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases.

As daily cases in Italy hit a new record 11,705 on Sunday, Conte said the situation had become critical but his government has been determined to avoid a repeat of the lockdown imposed at the start of the crisis in March. Italy has the second-highest death toll in Europe after Britain, with 36,543 fatalities since the outbreak flared in February.

RUSSIAN CASES REACH RECORD HIGH

Russia's daily tally of coronavirus cases surged to a record high of 15,982 on Monday, including 5,376 in the capital Moscow, pushing the national case total to 1,415,316 since the pandemic began. Authorities reported 179 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the official death toll to 24,366.

MELBOURNE BREATHES EASIER

The Australian state of Victoria reported four new COVID-19 cases on Monday as people in Melbourne were granted more freedom to move about after a months-long lockdown, buoying hopes an outbreak in the city was nearing an end.

Case numbers were up from just two on Sunday, but extended a run of single-digit daily increases to almost a week and is well down from a peak of more than 700 cases in a single day in early August.

After more than 100 days in a strict lockdown that allowed only for two hours of outdoor activity a day, the 5 million people living in Victoria's capital will be able to spend as much time exercising outdoors as they wish.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

Coffee output in Peru, the world's fifth largest arabica coffee exporter, has tumbled 10% this year due to low prices and migrant labour shortages caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the head of the national coffee federation said.

British Airways' new chief executive appealed to the British and U.S. governments to back a pre-flight COVID-19 testing programme to restart transatlantic flights. The plan requires governments to agree to waive quarantines for tested passengers.

(Edited by Angus MacSwan)