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The global death toll since the virus first emerged in December has soared past 23,000, 15,500 of them in Europe, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Centre.
More than 523,000 declared cases have been registered in 182 countries and territories of which at least 268,191 are in Europe, the worst-hit continent.
The countries with the most deaths are Italy with 8,215 out of 80,589 declared infections, Spain with 4,145 deaths out of 56,197 cases, mainland China with 3,287 deaths out of 81,782 cases, Iran with 2,234 deaths out of 29,406 cases, and France with 1,696 fatalities out of 29,551 cases.
London: health ‘tsunami’
Health officials warn of a “tsunami” of COVID-19 patients in London, Britain’s epicenter of the virus. According to an official from the state-run National Health Service there has been an “explosion of demand” in the capital.
With a call for a lockdown being little respected, according to the latest figures, more than 500 patients have died and a total of 11,000 cases have now been confirmed in Britain.
Spain second-worst hit
Spain has become the second-worst hit country in the world, after Italy, in terms of deaths, as its coronavirus toll surged above 4,000 Thursday.
The number of cases has doubled in four days, despite a general confinement decreed on March 14.
In France, where the virus is also picking up speed with 360 deaths in hospital in 24 hours, officials report that a 16-year-old girl had died, a rare case of a severe coronavirus case in the young.
Mass tests in Germany
Germany is testing up to 500,000 people a week, a virologist said, adding that early detection has been key in keeping the country’s death rate relatively low, at less than 200.
China cuts off from world
China will drastically cut its international flight routes and bar entry to returning foreigners based in the country to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The country has not reported any new domestic Covid-19 infections for two consecutive days but officials have raised concerns about the number of imported cases.
US unemployment soars
Some 3.3 million people in the US filed unemployment claims last week – the highest number ever recorded.
The US Senate unanimously approved the nation’s largest-ever rescue package, a $2 trillion lifeline to suffering Americans, depleted hospitals and an economy ravaged by the pandemic. More than 1,000 have died in the country.
G20 commits $5 trillion
Leaders from the G20 most industrialized nations promised $5 trillion to stave off global economic collapse from the coronavirus, during crisis talks by video link.
International ratings agency S&P Global warned the Covid-19 pandemic will push Britain and the euro area into recession this year, with their economies expected to shrink by as much as 2%.
– AFP and Johns Hopkins University