COVID-19 death toll nears three million as India, Brazil, others witness surge

The global coronavirus death toll will cross the three million mark on Saturday, even as countries administer vaccines to combat the killer virus.

The virus emerged back in late 2019 in central China and the ensuing pandemic has infected more than 100 million people, leaving billions more under crippling lockdowns and ravaging the global economy.

In the wake of a spike in infections, India’s capital New Delhi went into a weekend lockdown Saturday as the world’s second-most populous nation faces more than 200,000 fresh daily cases and families clamouring for drugs and hospital beds.

In Japan, rising virus cases has elicited speculations that the Olympic Games — postponed last year due to the pandemic — could be cancelled.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, in his first meeting with US President Joe Biden, said his government was listening to experts and doing its “utmost” to prepare for the Tokyo games in July.

Coronavirus preparations are being made for another global sporting showcase — the World Cup in Qatar next year.

The Gulf kingdom is in talks with coronavirus vaccine makers to ensure all fans attending the 2022 World Cup in the country have been vaccinated, its foreign minister said Friday.

In Brazil, the country with the third-highest death toll in the world, night shifts have been added to several cemeteries as diggers work around the clock to bury the dead.

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