(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 based on official reporting by individual countries. Experts believe the true numbers of both cases and deaths are likely much higher, given deficiencies in testing and potential under-reporting by some countries.
The Reuters data shows the pace of the pandemic continues to pick 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 to 30 million and the 44 days between 10 and 20 million.
The United States, India, and Brazil remain the worst affected countries in the world. COVID-19 cases in North, Central, and South America represent about 47.27% 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.
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 Melbourne, Victoria’s capital, will be able to spend as much time exercising outdoors as they wish. State Premier Daniel Andrews set Nov. 1 as the date for the next stage of lifting restrictions, but said some could be eased earlier if cases remained low and had a known source.
UK scientific adviser says three-week lockdown needed
Britain needs to impose a three-week period of national lockdown restrictions immediately to stop cases of COVID-19 spiralling, government scientific adviser Jeremy Farrar said, adding that current regional measures would not be effective.
Farrar, who is director of the Wellcome Trust and a member of the government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, said the response needed to be immediate because putting it off would only worsen and lengthen the crisis, telling Sky News that the best time to have locked down was two to three weeks ago, but it wasn’t too late now.
Senior minister Michael Gove, however, said a two- or three- week national lockdown – named a “circuit breaker” by some – was not being considered. “The spread and the nature of the disease does not merit that approach at the moment,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
Living coronavirus can cause infection, China says
China’s disease control authority said on Saturday that contact with frozen food packaging contaminated by living new coronavirus could cause infection. The conclusion came as the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) detected and isolated living coronavirus on the outer packaging of frozen cod during efforts to trace the virus in an outbreak reported last week in the city of Qingdao, the agency said on its website.
The finding, a world first, suggests it is possible for the virus to be conveyed over long distances via frozen goods, it said.
The CDC said no instance had been found of any consumer contracting the virus by having contact with frozen food and the risk of this happening remained very low. Nonetheless it advised that workers who handle, process and sell frozen products should avoid direct skin contact with products that could possibly be polluted.
(Compiled by Karishma Singh; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)