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India infections top 7m as Trump gets back on campaign trail

New Delhi

INDIA'S coronavirus cases surged past seven million on Sunday as US President Donald Trump got back on the campaign trail just nine days after announcing he had contracted Covid-19.

Governments across the globe are struggling to keep up with a sharp rise in infections and manage growing public frustration over new restrictions as the pandemic enters a second deadly wave.

Since it emerged in China late last year, it has killed more than one million worldwide, infected nearly 37 million and forced millions more out of work as the pandemic batters the global economy.

Indian health ministry data on Sunday showed a rise of almost 75,000 cases, taking the total to 7.05 million - second only to the US which has recorded 7.67 million infections.

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But experts say the true number may be much higher, with testing rates in the country of 1.3 billion people - home to some of the planet's most crowded cities - much lower than elsewhere in the world.

The new figures come a day after Mr Trump rallied hundreds of supporters at the White House, jumping back on the campaign trail nine days after being stopped in his tracks by a disease his doctor says he is no longer at risk of spreading.

"I am feeling great!" Mr Trump declared as he stepped out to a White House balcony on Saturday - tugging off his mask to address the crowd.

Most of them were masked under their red "Make America Great Again" hats, but with little social distancing.

Mr Trump's doctor issued a statement saying he was fit for a "safe return to public engagement".

His appearance set the stage for a full-fledged campaign rally on Monday in Florida - followed immediately by two more in battleground Pennsylvania on Tuesday and Iowa on Wednesday ahead of the November 3 election.

European Union members meanwhile are expected to agree on Tuesday on a set of common criteria for assessing virus risks on which travel restrictions are based, according to a French minister. "This could be harmonised at a European level," Clement Beaune, junior minister for European affairs, said on Sunday on France Info radio. The accord could come on Tuesday at a ministerial meeting in Luxembourg.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who himself spent time in hospital for the virus in April, is to outline a new three-tier lockdown system on Monday. AFP, BLOOMBERG

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