Canada

Today’s coronavirus news: U.S. sets infection record; deaths near 224,000; Poland’s president tests positive for COVID-19; India’s overall case tally moves past 7.8M

The latest coronavirus news from Canada and around the world Saturday. This file will be updated throughout the day. Web links to longer stories if available.

India has reported 53,370 new coronavirus cases in the past 24 hours, taking the overall tally past 7.8 million.

The Health Ministry on Saturday also reported 650 deaths, driving the country’s toll to 117,956.

The highest number of new infections is coming from Maharashtra, Kerala and Karnataka states. They’re also reporting the maximum number of daily recoveries.

Last month, India hit a peak of nearly 100,000 cases in a single day, but since then daily infections have fallen by about half and deaths by about a third, even as testing has remained consistent.

Slovakia is adopting new strict limits on movement amid a record surge in coronavirus infections.

The number of new confirmed cases in one day reached 2,890 on Friday in the country of 5.4 million, the Health Ministry says, a record high. The EU nation has had over 40,800 confirmed cases and 159 virus-related deaths.

Starting on Saturday, people are allowed to travel only to work, buy food and medicine in the nearest stores, see a doctor, get tested for coronavirus or attend a funeral. They can walk a dog within 100 metres (yards) of their home and if they go to a park, it must be in their county.

On Friday, Slovak authorities started a plan to test almost the entire population for coronavirus.

The trials will be carried out until Sunday in the four hardest-hit counties. The antigen tests will then continue in the rest of the country.

Coronavirus infections in the Czech Republic have hit a record high, soaring to over 15,000 in one day for the first time.

The Health Ministry says the day-to-day increase of confirmed cases in the hard-hit country reached 15,252 on Friday. The previous record of 14,968 was set on Wednesday.

The record surge has continued for last two months despite tight restrictions, including limits on movement, closing stores, schools and restaurants and banning sports competitions and gatherings of more than two people. Face masks are obligatory outdoors and in cars.

The number of COVID-19 patients in the hospital has surpassed 5,000 for the first time, putting the health system under pressure.

Poland’s President Andrzej Duda has tested positive for the coronavirus, but is feeling well, his spokesman said Saturday.

The spokesman, Blazej Spychalski, said on Twitter that the 48-year-old conservative leader was tested the day before and his result was positive. He said the president is in isolation.

“The president feels good,” Spychalski said. “We are in constant contact with the relevant medical services.”

Duda’s diagnosis comes amid a huge surge in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 and virus-related deaths in Poland, a nation that saw only very low infection rates in the spring.

The fast spread of the virus is pushing the country’s strained health system to the breaking point. Doctors say patients are now dying not only from COVID-19, but from other illnesses that overwhelmed hospitals are not able to treat.

6 a.m.: The U.S. coronavirus caseload has reached record heights with more than 83,000 infections reported in a single day, the latest ominous sign of the disease’s grip on the nation, as states from Connecticut to the Rocky Mountain West reel under the surge.

The U.S. death toll, meanwhile, has grown to 223,995, according to the COVID-19 Dashboard published by Johns Hopkins University. The total U.S. caseload reported on the site Friday was 83,757, topping the 77,362 cases reported on July 16.

The impact is being felt in every section of the country — a lockdown starting Friday at the Oglala Sioux Tribe’s reservation in South Dakota, a plea by a Florida health official for a halt to children’s birthday parties, dire warnings from Utah’s governor, and an increasingly desperate situation at a hospital in northern Idaho, which is running out of space for patients and considering airlifts to Seattle or Portland, Oregon.

“We’ve essentially shut down an entire floor of our hospital. We’ve had to double rooms. We’ve bought more hospital beds,” said Dr. Robert Scoggins, a pulmonologist at the Kootenai Health hospital in Coeur d’Alene. “Our hospital is not built for a pandemic.”

Mexico’s northern border state of Chihuahua returned to the highest level of alert and lockdown Friday after coronavirus cases jumped there and hospitals began to fill up.

The Chihuahua state government declared the return to the “red” level of alert Friday, which closes down most non-essential services and encourages people to stay at home.

The Health Department said the state’s hospital beds were now 69% occupied, and that only about 23% of intensive care beds were open. The department said steps were being taken to expand hospital facilities.

The department also said that three other northern states — Durango, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon — were at risk of returning to maximum alert unless infections were brought under control.

Nationwide, 19 of Mexico’s 32 states will be at high alert starting Monday, 11 will be at medium alert and one state was considered at moderate risk level.

Mexico as a whole has seen 880,775 test-confirmed cases, up 6,604 from the previous day’s count, and 88,312 confirmed deaths, up by 418. Mexico has an extremely low testing rate, and if those who were suspected of having the disease but didn’t get a test are included, the case estimate rises to just over one million, and deaths amount to over 100,000.

Read more of Friday’s COVID-19 coverage here.

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