Cases surge in Sweden, US, Russia, India

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Health authorities have urged caution after a surge in coronavirus cases in countries including Sweden, Russia, the United States and India.

The number of Swedes needing intensive care as a result of COVID-19 infection increased 9 per cent compared to last week as the country grapples with a third wave of the virus, health officials said on Tuesday.

Sweden, which has shunned lockdowns throughout the pandemic, registered 16,427 new coronavirus cases since Friday, up from the 14,063 cases during the corresponding period last week.

A total of 1552 coronavirus patients were being treated in hospitals, with about 300 admitted to intensive care units during the period - an increase of 9 per cent compared to last week.

"The pressure on the healthcare has been high for a long time now," Taha Alexandersson, an official at the National Board of Health and Welfare, told a news conference.

"The increased spread indicates it will increase even more."

Earlier on Tuesday the Health Agency recommended the government postpone a plan to ease some restrictions, such raising the limit on the number of visitors to amusement parks, concerts and football matches.

The country of 10 million inhabitants registered 28 new deaths, taking the total to 13,430.

Sweden's death rate per capita is many times higher than that of its Nordic neighbours' but lower than in most European countries that opted for lockdowns.

Meanwhile, a Russian health official said on Tuesday a third wave of coronavirus infections was also emerging in the country.

President Vladimir Putin said last week he expected Russia to reach herd immunity and lift pandemic-related restrictions by the end of the northern summer.

Some regions have already begun easing some curbs.

"Unfortunately, the incidence rate and the progression of the disease allow us to speak of a third wave of coronavirus infections," TASS news agency quoted Deputy Health Minister Tatiana Semyonova as saying.

A three-week-high of 70,265 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Monday, taking the country's total to 30,331,798.

This is higher than the seven-day average of 65,382.

Johns Hopkins University data indicated 685 new deaths were reported in the US on the same day, which is lower than the weekly average of 995.

India's COVID-19 situation is turning from "bad to worse," a senior government official said on Tuesday, as infections surge across several of the country's states.

"Remember if the cases are more, they will eventually overwhelm the system," senior health official Vinod Kumar Paul told a news conference.

"We are facing an increasingly severe and intense situation, more so surely in some districts. But the whole country is potentially at risk," Paul said.

More than 68,000 new COVID-19 cases were reported across India on Monday, the highest in a single day in five months.

More than 56,000 new cases were reported on Tuesday morning and 270 deaths.

Dutch health authorities said on Tuesday that new coronavirus cases in the country have increased for a seventh consecutive week.

New cases climbed by 13 per cent to 51,866, the National Institute for Health (RIVM) said in its weekly review, the highest level since early January.

More cases were seen in every age category but there was only a 5 per cent increase in cases in people above the age of 80, which the RIVM attributed to the country's vaccine roll-out.