Wednesday, 15 April, 2020

Global COVID-19 cases near 2mn mark, deaths close to 120K

At least 1,920,918 COVID-19 infections have been confirmed worldwide, and 119,686 people have died so far, with the United States leading all nations in both the number of cases and the death toll, followed by major Western European countries.

Latest data collected by the US-based Johns Hopkins University showed that the United States by far leads the 214 countries and territories affected by the viral pandemic, with 582,580 cases as of Monday, followed by Spain, Italy, France, Germany, and Britain in that order.

More than 71,000 new cases of infection with the new coronavirus and 5,319 more deaths from the disease were reported worldwide within the past 24 hours, as many countries discussed plans to loosen lockdown measures despite concerns about the likelihood of fresh outbreaks.

The following are the latest development about the global pandemic in the past day:

France, Britain mark major death toll surge

The French public health authority on Monday reported a new surge of COVID-19 deaths, namely 574 fatalities.

France has now recorded 14,967 deaths, and 136,779 people remain infected in the country.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday declared plans to extend a virtual lockdown to curb the outbreak until May 11, insisting that progress had been made in the battle against the highly contagious disease.

The British death toll, meanwhile, surpassed 11,329 on Monday, marking the fifth highest worldwide, and a senior scientific adviser to the UK government warned that the country faces the risk of becoming the worst-hit in all of Europe.

Italy’s daily deaths hike, Spain’s slows

Coronavirus-linked deaths surged in Italy by 566 on Monday, from 431 a day earlier, though new infections markedly dropped from Sunday’s 4,092 to 3,153 — the lowest since April 7.

Italy’s total death toll since the pandemic surfaced in the country nearly two months ago now stands at 20,465, the second highest in the world after that of the US.

Elsewhere in Europe, Spain’s government allowed some businesses to re-open on Monday as the country’s death rate from the outbreak slowed.

While some businesses, including construction and manufacturing, were allowed to restart, Spanish Health Minister Salvador Illa said the country otherwise remained in lockdown, with shops, restaurants, and public spaces remaining shut until at least April 26.

Russia may deploy army

Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Monday that his county might need to deploy military forces to enforce a lockdown, warning that the outbreak was getting worse after the number of confirmed cases surged by a record daily sum.

Putin’s remarks came after Russia reported 2,558 new cases on Monday, bringing the overall tally nationwide to 18,328, with 18 infected people dying overnight and pushing the death toll to 148.

The Russian president further criticized what he described as sloppiness in some regions that had allowed local outbreaks to gain a foothold, urging regional leaders to make use of what he said was a three to four-week lag with Moscow, the epicenter of the Russian outbreak.

However, the number of deaths in Russia remains much lower for now compared to most countries in Western Europe and the United States.

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