Coronavirus: Mexico death toll overtakes UK to become world's third highest

A worker sprays disinfectant solution inside the coffin of a person who died from suspected Covid-19 in Mexico City. Credit: AP

Mexico now has the third highest coronavirus death toll in the world, rising higher than the UK's for the first time.

Covid-19 deaths in the country have risen to just over 46,600.

Mexico is behind Brazil and the United States, where more than 91,000 deaths and 151,000 deaths have been recorded respectively.

Mexican health officials on Friday reported 688 new deaths, which puts the country just ahead of the UK - which has more than 46,100 - according to the tally by Johns Hopkins University.

A man is tested for Covid-19 in Mexico. Credit: AP

In the US there are fear a hurricane bearing down on the East Coast could threaten to complicate efforts to contain the virus.

Hurricane Isaias' imminent arrival has forced the closure of some outdoor testing sites in the country.

It comes as the state of Florida reached a new daily high in deaths, and other states in the path of the storm prepared emergency shelters that comply with social-distancing measures.

Healthcare workers file nasal swab tests at a drive-thru testing site in Miami. Credit: AP

What is the Covid-19 situation elsewhere around the world?

Some countries are seeing hopeful signs in their bids to stem the outbreak. China has reported a more than 50% drop in newly confirmed Covid-19 cases.

It's a possible indication that its latest major outbreak in the north-western region of Xinjiang may have run its course.

In Hong Kong, however, infections continue to surge.

The semi-autonomous region reported more than 100 new cases as of Saturday - among the population of 7.5 million. Officials have reimposed dining restrictions and face covering requirements.

(PA Graphics) Credit: PA Graphics

Japan's capital Tokyo saw its third day straight of record case numbers on Saturday, according to the metropolitan government.

Nationwide, Japan’s daily count of cases totalled a record 1,579 people on Friday. The growing number of cases has alarmed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as well as other regional leaders.

Vietnam, up until this point a success story of the pandemic, is struggling to control an outbreak spreading in its most famous beach resort.

A third person died there of coronavirus complications, officials said on Saturday, a day after it recorded its first-ever death.

People wait in line for a Covid-19 test in Hanoi, Vietnam Credit: Hau Dinh/AP

The region had gone 99 days with no local cases but has now become a hot spot with more than 100 cases in the past week.

Thousands of visitors had been in the city for summer holidays and are now being tested in Hanoi and elsewhere.

Twelve additional cases were confirmed on Saturday, all linked to Da Nang Hospital.

Officials tightened security and set up more checkpoints to prevent people from leaving or entering the city, which has been in lockdown since Tuesday.

Covid-19 patients are sprayed with disinfectant in Vietnam. Credit: AP

In South Korea, prosecutors arrested the elderly leader of a secretive religious sect linked to more than 5,200 of the country’s approximately 14,300 confirmed cases.

He has denied charges of hiding members and under-reporting gatherings to avoid broader quarantines.

Elsewhere the global pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of this year's Muslim pilgrimage to Mecca. As few as 1,000 pilgrims already residing in Saudi Arabia have taken part, down from 2.5 million last year.

The Saudi Health Ministry said there have been no cases of Covid-19 among this year’s pilgrims. All were tested, their movements monitored with electronic wristbands and required to be quarantined before and after.

Pilgrims walk around the Kabba at the Grand Mosque, in the Muslim holy city of Mecca. Credit: AP

Meanwhile, India recorded its steepest spike of 57,118 new cases in the past 24 hours, taking its coronavirus caseload close to 1.7 million.

The month of July alone accounted for nearly 1.1 million infections in the country.

The country’s Civil Aviation Ministry delayed resumption of international flights by another month until August 31. But it will continue to allow several international carriers from the United States, Europe and the Middle East to operate special flights to evacuate stranded nationals.

Health workers wait to test passengers at the Roissy Charles de Gaulle airport, outside Paris Credit: Thibault Camus/AP

In France, travellers entering from 16 countries where coronavirus is circulating widely now must undergo virus tests upon arrival at airports and ports.

The country is not permitting general travel to and from the countries, which include the United States and Brazil.

The testing requirement therefore only applies to people entering under limited circumstances, including French citizens who live in these countries.

Those who test positive as of Saturday must quarantine for 14 days.