Deaths from coronaviruses reach 500,000 worldwide as China imposes local lockdown and Seoul plans further action amid peak

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The death toll of Covid-19 has left half a million dead, while South Korea and China appear to be fighting a second epidemic of the virus.

Respiratory diseases caused by the new coronavirus have been particularly dangerous for the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, although other adults and children are also among the 501,000 deaths and 10.1 million cases reported.

As the overall death rate has flattened in recent weeks, health experts have expressed concern about the record number of new cases in countries like the United States, Brazil, as well as new outbreaks in some parts of Asia.

More than 4,700 people die every 24 hours from Covid-19-related illness, on an average from June 1 to 27.

This equates to 196 people per hour, or one person every 18 seconds.

Girl raises fist in the air outside Minneapolis premier neighborhood during a pride march June 28, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Getty Images)

This comes as California ordered the closure of some bars on Sunday, the first major setback in efforts to reopen the economy in the most populous US state, as new cases of coronavirus reach record levels day after day in all the countries.

Governor Gavin Newsom’s order to close bars in Los Angeles and six other counties followed steps by Texas and Florida to close all their bars on Friday. Public health officials in California and across the United States have identified bars as the riskiest non-essential businesses currently open.

Drinking alcohol reduces inhibitions, which reduces mask use and social estrangement, warn health officials. Noisy bar patrons often cry out, which spreads the droplets more widely.

Meanwhile, South Korea, which has been one of the most effective countries in suppressing the spread of Covid-19, has reported 42 new cases as infections rose steadily in the greater capital region, forcing authorities to consider stricter social restrictions.

Figures released by the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday brought the number of cases to 12,757, including 282 deaths.

Twenty-four of the new cases have been reported in the capital Seoul and neighboring metropolitan areas, which have been at the center of a viral resurgence since late May.

Hairstylist cuts client’s hair on a street in the midst of a recent Covid-19 outbreak in Beijing (AFP via Getty Images)

At least 12 of the new cases were linked to international arrivals, as the virus continues to strengthen its hold elsewhere in the world.

South Korea reported hundreds of new cases a day in late February and early March following a heavy surge surrounding the southeastern city of Daegu, where the majority of infections were linked to a single ecclesial congregation with thousands of members.

But if health officials have used aggressive testing and contact tracing to contain the epidemic in this region, they have a much harder time tracking recent transmissions in the Seoul metropolitan area, where about half of the 51 million live inhabitants of the country.

China has imposed a strict lockdown in Anxin County, Heibi, near Beijing, after a new wave of cases. Anxin is 90 miles south of Beijing and the foreclosure affects 400,000 people.

There have been 18 cases in Anxin since the recent outbreak in a Beijing meat market two weeks ago. The national capital has registered 311 new cases since mid-June.

The number of cases is also increasing rapidly in Latin America, surpassing those diagnosed in Europe on Sunday, making the region the second most affected by the pandemic, after North America.

People wearing face masks to protect themselves from the spread of the new coronavirus cross a road in Seoul (AP)

Texas has experienced an outbreak of cases after allowing businesses to reopen after the US national foreclosure and has begun reimposing restrictions.

Vice President Mike Pence and Texas Governor Greg Abbott have both recognized the rapid increase in the number of coronavirus cases in the state in recent weeks after Abbott began allowing companies to reopen early may.

“Covid 19 has taken a very fast and very dangerous turn in Texas in the past few weeks,” said Abbott, who again closed limited bars and restaurants on Friday, one day after Texas reported a number record of 5.996 confirmed positive tests.

Governor Abbott has also banned elective surgery in the state’s largest counties.

Pence praised Abbott for his decisions to both reopen the state and then cancel plans to reopen it. He also encouraged the wearing of face covers to slow the spread of the virus.

“Wear a mask, wherever indicated or wherever you are unable to practice the type of social distancing that would prevent the spread of the coronavirus,” said Mr. Pence, who, along with Mr. Abbott, wore a facial mask upon entry. and left the room, removing them while talking to reporters.

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