- India’s number of coronavirus cases now at more than 4 million.
- ‘Freedom Day’ protesters denounce lockdown measures in Melbourne.
- WHO not expecting widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 until mid-2021.
- Quebec City police not pressing charges after outbreak traced to karoake night.
- Church events in Toronto, Vaughan, Ont., linked to outbreak of cases.
India’s coronavirus cases crossed 4 million on Saturday, leading the world in new infections and closing in on Brazil’s total as the second-highest in the world.
The 86,432 cases added in the past 24 hours pushed India’s total to 4,023,179. Brazil has confirmed 4,091,801 infections while the U.S. has 6,200,186 people infected, according to Johns Hopkins University.
India’s health ministry on Saturday also reported 1,089 deaths for a total of 69,561.
Initially, the virus ravaged India’s sprawling and often densely populated cities. It has since stretched to almost every state in India, spreading through villages and smaller cities where access to health care is crippled.
Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with a limited health-care system, has recorded 253,175 cases and 3,762 deaths.
In rural Maharashtra, the worst-affected state with 863,062 cases and 25,964 deaths, doctors said measures like wearing masks and washing hands had now largely been abandoned.
“There is a behavioral fatigue now setting in,” said Dr. S.P. Kalantri, the director of a hospital in the village of Sevagram.
He said that the past few weeks had driven home the point that the virus had moved from India’s cities to its villages.
“The worst is yet to come,” said Kalantri. “There is no light at the end of the tunnel.”
The new tally comes a day after the World Health Organization said it’s not expecting widespread vaccinations against COVID-19 until the middle of next year.
WATCH | Infectious diseases specialist cautions against rushing vaccine development:
There are at least 176 potential vaccines at various stages of research around the world, but just eight of them are in the final stage of human clinical trials, or Phase 3. Dr. Margaret Harris of the WHO said this part of the process can’t be rushed.
“This Phase 3 must take longer because we need to see how truly protective the vaccine is, and we also need to see how safe it is,” she said, adding that all data from trials must be shared and compared.
What’s happening with coronavirus in Canada
As of 6:45 p.m. ET on Friday, Canada had 131,124 confirmed and presumptive coronavirus cases. Provinces and territories listed 115,926 of those as recovered or resolved. A CBC News tally of deaths based on provincial reports, regional health information and CBC’s reporting stood at 9,181.
Quebec City police have closed an investigation into a COVID-19 outbreak traced to a karaoke night at a local bar and have decided not to press charges.
Investigators met with several dozen Bar Kirouac patrons and the establishment’s owner to remind them of public-health rules.
At least two Bar Kirouac patrons who underwent COVID screening decided to go out on the town as they awaited their results, according to multiple reports. In both cases they came back positive.
Police confirmed late Friday they are investigating a possible outbreak at another Quebec City watering hole, La Souche.
Four positive COVID tests have been recorded among bar patrons, and public health authorities are urging anyone who has visited the establishment since Aug. 23 to get screened for the disease.
WATCH | Advice on indoor fall gatherings:
Public health units in Toronto and York regions are warning of a COVID-19 outbreak linked to two church events held in the Greater Toronto Area last month.
They say the Miracle Arena for All Nations events took place on Aug. 16 at the church’s two locations — 20 Milvan Dr. in Toronto and 10800 Weston Rd. in Vaughan.
A total of 15 people from across the Greater Toronto Area have since tested positive, all of whom can be tracked to the events.
Anyone who attended these gatherings, or other events related to this church, is advised to monitor themselves for COVID-19 symptoms until Sept. 18, according to a news release issued by the two public health units Friday evening.
Here’s what’s happening around the world
According to the tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, the global total of confirmed coronavirus cases is now more than 26.6 million. More than 875,000 people have died while 17.7 million have recovered.
In Australia, protesters against a COVID-19 lockdown defied police in the country’s hotspot on Saturday, prompting 15 arrests, even as the state of Victoria continued its gradual improvement in stemming new cases due to the nearly five weeks of restrictions.
Around 200 protesters in the state capital Melbourne rallied with chants of “freedom” and “human rights matter,” surrounded by police.
One of the arrests was for assaulting police, while others were arrested or fined for breaching health restrictions, Victoria police said in a statement.
“It is not safe, it is not smart, it is not lawful. In fact, it is absolutely selfish for people to be out there protesting,” state Premier Daniel Andrews told a news conference.
Victoria reported 76 new COVID-19 infections and 11 deaths on Saturday. Andrews is due to outline plans on Sunday for easing Melbourne’s Stage 4 restrictions, which shut large parts of the economy, required everyone to stay home except for essential business and imposed a nighttime curfew.
Victoria’s new cases were below 100 most days this week, down from a peak of 725 new infections on Aug. 5, but remain higher than health officials had hoped five weeks into a six-week lockdown.
WATCH | Australian PM pitches travel bubble with New Zealand:
The number of people infected with the coronavirus has continued to surge in the Czech Republic, surpassing 700 for the first time.
The country’s health ministry says the day-to-day increase reached a record of 798 new confirmed cases on Friday.
The announcement comes after the country registered over 600 cases the previous two days, also records at the time.
Health authorities have already imposed new restrictive measures in the Czech capital, reacting to the spike. Starting on Wednesday, it is mandatory again to wear face masks in stores and shopping malls. At the same time, bars, restaurants and nightclubs have to be closed from midnight to 6 a.m.
The Czech Republic has had 27,249 cases, including 429 deaths.
In the United States, President Donald Trump is urging Americans to “remain vigilant” about the coronavirus over the Labour Day weekend.
Trump said at a White House briefing Friday that “we need everybody to be careful” and to “apply common sense” in their interactions with one another.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said this week that several Midwestern states that have seen jumps in coronavirus caseloads should be especially vigilant during the holiday weekend. They are North Dakota, South Dakota, Arkansas, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana and Missouri.
Past increases in cases of COVID-19 have followed the Memorial Day and Fourth of July holidays.
Trump is eager to put the pandemic in the past, but he tells Americans to “let’s just try to get through this one weekend.”