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Fresh lockdowns, record deaths: Latest global coronavirus developments

Across continents and despite vaccine push, nations are suffering hard under latest wave of pandemic

Aerial view of Santiago in lockdown, on March 27, 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic (MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP)
Aerial view of Santiago in lockdown, on March 27, 2021, amid the COVID-19 pandemic (MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP)

PARIS — The novel coronavirus has killed at least 2,768,431 people worldwide since the outbreak emerged in China in December 2019, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP.

The United States is the worst-affected country with 548,089 deaths followed by Brazil with 307,112 fatalities, Mexico with 200,862, India with 161,240 and Britain with 126,515 deaths.

These figures are based on daily tolls provided by health authorities in each country and exclude later re-evaluations by statistical organizations, as has happened in Russia, Spain and Britain.

Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis around the world:

New restrictions in Belgium, Poland

Poland shut kindergartens, sports facilities and more non-essential shops and Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki urged Poles to spend Easter at home with their immediate families, but stopped short of announcing restrictions on movement and a full lockdown.

People take part in a ‘March for Freedom’ on March 20, 2021 in Warsaw, to protest against COVID-19 restrictions amid a near-record spike of coronavirus cases (JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP)

Belgium limited access to non-medical services such as hairdressers for four weeks, and customers can only visit stores selling “non-essential” items such as clothing and books by appointment.

Next week, the last before Easter, only primary schools will remain open.

Manila in lockdown

The Philippines announced that more than 24 million people in and around Manila will go into lockdown next week.

The tougher restrictions in the country’s economic heartland — which accounts for about a fifth of the population — come as more contagious variants of the virus fuel a resurgence in cases.

Chile wrestles with rising infections

Chile, a world leader in coronavirus vaccinations where nearly one in three people have received a first dose, put more than 80 percent of its population of 19 million in lockdown.

With new virus variants, believed to be more contagious, spreading across the continent, cases have been soaring in Chile despite its vaccination drive.

View of an empty avenue on March 27, 2021, in Santiago, during a lockdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic (MARTIN BERNETTI / AFP)

Kenya shuts schools, lockdowns Nairobi

Kenya placed Nairobi and nearby counties under partial lockdown and closed schools and bars in those areas as a deadly third wave of Covid-19 gripped the country.

New record daily death toll in Brazil

Brazil set a new daily death toll record of 3,650 on Friday, the health ministry said, as the pandemic spins out of control in Latin America’s largest economy.

Record new infections in Argentina

Argentina registered nearly 13,000 new infections, the highest number in more than two months as the government suspended flights arriving from Brazil, Chile and Mexico.

People over 80 years-old wait to be inoculated with the Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19 while Charles Chaplin’s movies are projected at the Lumiere movie theater in Rosario, Santa Fe province, Argentina, on March 26, 2021. (Marcelo Manera / AFP)

Yemen overwhelmed

Doctors Without Borders warned that the number of critical patients was rising across war-wracked Yemen, urging assistance from donor countries and specialized groups

France toughens border checks

French authorities stepped up checks at airports and motorways to enforce a ban on movement between 19 different regions, including Paris, where the situation was described as “critical.”

Musicians give an outdoor classical music concert outside the Odeon Theatre in central Paris on March 27, 2021 (STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

British PM sticks to plans to ease lockdown

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to stick with his planned unwinding of a coronavirus lockdown, relishing the prospect of a pint and a haircut even as scientists warned of new variants.

Wales became the first UK nation to lift restrictions, with up to six people allowed to meet outside from Saturday, a measure to be adopted in England on Monday.

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