For many countries around the world, the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic is over.

People are returning to work, businesses are reopening and the list of reasons people are allowed to leave their home – and the number of people they're allowed to leave home with – is increasing.

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But for other nations, the uphill battle against the coronavirus outbreak is only just beginning. Case numbers are growing, the death toll is edging higher and the World Health Organisation has expressed concern after the greatest number of new global infections since the outbreak began was recorded in the past 24 hours.


"We still have a long way to go in this pandemic," WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters on Wednesday.

"We are very concerned about rising cases in low and middle-income countries."

Infection rates have been falling in Asia and much of Europe, but Brazil this week became the world's third worst-hit country with more than 330,000 confirmed cases despite limited testing.

It's now behind only the United States in the number of reported infections. Cases and deaths are also spiking in India, South Africa and Sweden.

Cases: 330,890
Deaths: 21,048

South America is beginning to feel the full force of the coronavirus pandemic. Infections have surged in recent days and some countries that had eased their lockdowns have put them firmly back in place.

But in Brazil – where on Tuesday, the daily death toll exceeded 1000 for the first time – President Jair Bolsonaro remains dismissive of the devastating impact of the virus and opposed to lockdowns.

The leader, often described as South America's Donald Trump, joined anti-lockdown supporters this week, embracing children and posing for photos – seemingly unbothered that 90 per cent of intensive care beds in Rio de Janeiro are now occupied and more than 21,000 Brazilians have died.

Woman who took Trump-approved coronavirus drug for 19 years still got Covid-19. VIDEO / WISN ABC

"We have to have the courage to face the virus. People are dying, they are! I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry," he said last week, demanding state governors lift virus measures he deemed unnecessary over a "little flu".

"But more will die, if the economy continues to be destroyed by those measures."

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, joins in a protest. Photo / AP
Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro, wearing a protective face mask as a precaution against the spread of the new coronavirus, joins in a protest. Photo / AP

State governor of Ceara, Camilo Santana, called the President's attitude towards the virus "an affront to the nation".

"It is unacceptable that in the face of this serious health crisis, the focus of the government is still on political and ideological discussions," he said.

Brazil's number of infections has overtaken Russia – making it second only to the US in its number of cases – and its outbreak is expected to accelerate until early next month. The Government's official Covid-19 advisory website

Cases: 20,125
Deaths: 397


At least 40,000 people could die with coronavirus in South Africa by the end of the year, scientists have warned.

A man reacts as a heath worker collects a sample for coronavirus testing during a screening and testing campaign in Johannesburg. Photo / AP
A man reacts as a heath worker collects a sample for coronavirus testing during a screening and testing campaign in Johannesburg. Photo / AP

The projections were made by the South African Covid-19 Modelling Consortium – a group of academics and health experts advising the government – after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that tough lockdown restrictions will be eased from next month.

Only 20,125 cases of coronavirus have been recorded and 397 deaths have been linked to the disease so far in the country of 57 million, but according to the report South Africa could experience a sharp rise in cases and deaths over coming months.

Under an "optimistic scenario", by late August the number of active cases would peak at almost 100,000, and the cumulative deaths by November would be 40,000.

A "pessimistic scenario" would see a peak of 120,000 active cases in August, and 45,000 deaths by November.

"The virus cannot be eliminated," an article for The Conversation reads.


"The message to South Africa must be clear: it is not going to be spared deaths from Covid-19."

The group of authors suggested South Africa plan to mitigate the effects of the pandemic – rather than rule the virus out completely – for at least two years, or until a vaccine becomes available.

Cases: 326,890
Deaths: 3249

As the coronavirus outbreak eases in Western Europe, cases are rising steadily in Russia in a crisis that has damaged President Vladimir Putin's standing and stirred suspicion that the true death toll in the country is being concealed.

Russia is now behind only the United States and Brazil in its number of reported infections. On Tuesday, new hot spots emerged around the nation – recording nearly 9300 new infections in 24 hours.

About half of Russia's 326,000 Covid-19 cases are in Moscow, yet authorities report only around 2900 have died from coronavirus in all of Russia, a figure some say is surely higher.


"I think it's safe to say that if you multiply the official death count by a factor of three, you will get a more or less true picture," Aleksei Raksha, an independent demographer in Moscow, told NPR.

"It's almost as if governors have declared no one's allowed to die from Covid-19."

The Moscow Health Department have said the way Russia is counting its coronavirus deaths is more accurate than other countries.

"We're not hiding anything," government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. "Cause of death is determined by an autopsy. It's specifically the autopsy that allows us to produce an accurate judgment, on the basis of which cause of death can differ."

Putin has brushed off the risk of a widespread outbreak, insisting his nation had "managed to contain a mass invasion and spread of the disease" and calling an end to lockdown measures.

Cases: 124,794
Deaths: 3726


Despite plans to resume domestic air travel on May 25, India has reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus infection, with 5611 new cases in 24 hours – signalling the coronavirus outbreak is yet to slow down.

Nearly 124,000 cases of the virus have been reported in the nation, and more than 3700 people have died. Experts predict that infections will peak in June or July – despite Prime Minister Narendra Modi shutting down the country on March 25.

State-run care facilities have become overwhelmed with coronavirus patients and authorities in Mumbai are looking to requisition thousands of private hospital beds.

The Australian Government say it's vital to know quickly if people have come in contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus. Video / Australian Government

Until beds become free, some virus patients are reportedly sleeping on the streets.

Despite the crisis in cities, the Indian government has insisted it is keeping the spread under control. But there are fears the start of the monsoon next month – and the spread of diseases like dengue fever – will add to the burden.

Cases: 32,809
Deaths: 3925


While other European nations shuttered businesses and ordered residents to stay inside, Sweden opted for a soft social distancing approach that generated worldwide attention.

Steering away from more draconian measures, they adopted a "principle of responsibility", allowing residents to continue going to bars, pubs, restaurants and workplaces and encouraging them to practise social distancing while doing so.

But data released this week revealed the country had recorded its deadliest month in 27 years, and over the seven-day period from May 13-20, it recorded the highest average coronavirus death rate in Europe – indicating it's now paying the price for its "soft" Covid-19 policy.

A woman reacts as she walks past portraits of St. Petersburg's medical workers who died from coronavirus infected during their work. Photo / AP
A woman reacts as she walks past portraits of St. Petersburg's medical workers who died from coronavirus infected during their work. Photo / AP

"We have to go back to December 1993 to find more dead during a single month," a population statistician at Statistics Sweden told AFP.

"Norway, Denmark and Iceland have managed to stabilise their situation, but in Sweden the situation is more alarming," Finnish interior minister Maria Ohisalo said.

In an appeal last week published by Stockholm newspaper Dagens Nyheter, 22 researchers accused the government and health authorities of aiming to achieve herd immunity without saying so, and called their policy dangerous and unrealistic.