The global coronavirus death toll has now exceeded 10,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.
The US university – which has been compiling its data since the outbreak was first detected late last year – says the number of confirmed cases is fast approaching 250,000.
The majority of deaths from the virus have been recorded in Italy, which surpassed the death toll in China – where Covid-19 was first detected – on Thursday.
Italy, with 60 million citizens, has recorded 3,405 deaths, exceeding the 3,248 in China, a country with a population with more than 20 times larger. Italy’s caseload of 41,000 is more than half of China’s as well and more than 15% of the global total.
More than 86,000 people have recovered from the virus, mostly in China, but the pace of recovery is much slower than the spread.
It takes around two weeks or so for people with mild cases of the virus to recover but it can be up to six weeks for those that turn serious, according to the World Health Organisation.
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Countries continue to impose ever-stricter border controls and lockdowns to keep people at home and keep away outsiders, hoping to slow the spread of the virus while preparing for an onslaught of sick patients.
World leaders have warned of ‘record’ economic pain as the coronavirus pandemic worsens. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a looming global recession ‘perhaps of record dimensions’.
Iran accused the United States of helping to spread the virus by retaining sanctions that prevent it importing desperately needed medicine and medical equipment. Iran’s 1,200 deaths are exceeded only by those in Italy and China, and fears remain that it is under-reporting the scale of its outbreak.
Iran’s UN Mission said the sanctions, imposed over the country’s nuclear programme, were making it virtually impossible for the country to import what it needs to fight the virus.
In California, Governor Gavin Newsom said that if strong action was not taken, 56% of the state’s 40 million residents could contract the virus over the next eight weeks.
The US Army has prepared mobile military hospitals for deployment in major cities, and motorists waited in long queues for nurses to swab their nostrils at new US drive-through testing sites on Thursday.
In the UK, the government has been criticised as slow to react to the virus, but has drawn up legislation giving itself new powers to detain people who refuse coronavirus tests and to restrict gatherings.
The Bill is expected to be approved by Parliament next week.
Yesterday Boris Johnson told the country he is ‘absolutely confident’ that the UK can ‘turn the tide’ of the coronavirus outbreak in 12 weeks.
The Prime Minister said that with ‘determined, collective action and scientific progress’ the Covid-19 disease could be ‘sent packing’ by the summer.
Members of the public must listen to advice to keep up social distancing and stay at home if ill or someone in the household has symptoms, he said.
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