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Global coronavirus virus cases top 1 million, death toll surpasses 53,000

AFP/New York
Filed on April 3, 2020 | Last updated on April 3, 2020 at 06.17 am
coronavirus deaths, covid19 in uae

(Reuters)

Spain and Britain saw record numbers of new deaths in a 24-hour period - 950 and 569 respectively.

More than 1 million people have been reported infected by the novel coronavirus across the world and 53,007 have died as the United States reported the highest daily death toll of any country so far.

Despite more than half the planet living in some form of lockdown, the virus is continuing to spread rapidly, and to claim lives at an alarming pace, with the US, Spain and Britain all seeing their worst days yet.

The economic cost of the pandemic is getting starker by the day, with new figures showing that an extra 6.65 million Americans signed on for unemployment benefit last week, taking to 10 million the number of people who lost their jobs in the last two weeks of March.

And economists warned it was going to get worse.

Slowdown in Spain

Europe has been at the center of the crisis for weeks, but there have been signs that the epidemic could be approaching its peak there.

Spain and Britain saw record numbers of new deaths in a 24-hour period - 950 and 569 respectively.

Italy and Spain together account for almost half of the global death toll, but experts say the number of new infections in both countries is continuing to slow.

"The data show the curve has stabilized" and the epidemic has entered a "slowdown" phase, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said.

The virus has chiefly affected the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions, but recent cases of deaths among teenagers and even of a six-week-old baby have highlighted the dangers for people of all ages.

"The very notion that 'COVID-19 only affects older people' is factually wrong," said Hans Kluge of the World Health Organization on Thursday.

Severe cases have been reported among teens and young adults, with some requiring intensive care and several deaths, he said.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed to "massively increase testing" as his health minister said the aim was 100,000 tests a day within weeks.

Johnson, who has himself tested positive for COVID-19, has come in for criticism for his government's failure to provide widespread screening, particularly for frontline health workers.

In Russia, President Vladimir Putin extended paid non-working days until the end of April as the number of confirmed cases jumped by more than a quarter to 3,500.

Most of the Russian population is on lockdown, while Thailand became the latest country to impose strict measures with the introduction of a curfew from Friday.


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