Record deaths in Spain, US as Covid-19 cases hit million

Friday, April 3rd, 2020 00:00 |
Paramedics disinfect a stretcher. Photo/AFP

Madrid, Thursday

Confirmed coronavirus cases approached a million around the world on Thursday as Europe reeled from the pandemic and the US prepared for what President Donald Trump warned would be “horrific” days ahead.

The virus claimed thousands more lives in its relentless march across the globe, including nearly more than 1,000 deaths in the US and some 950 in Spain in a 24-hour period, according to a Johns Hopkins University database.

The deaths occur despite more than half of the planet being subjected to some form of lockdown. 

The virus continued to wreak havoc on the global economy, with Spain reporting its biggest monthly increase in jobless claims on record.

In the US, the number of people filing new claims for unemployment benefit surged to a record 6.65 million Thursday.

 The actual figure is believed to be even higher as many people have reported jammed phone lines and difficulties with filing their claims online.

Since emerging in China in nearly a million people—including at least 500,000 in Europe—and claimed more than 48,320 lives across the globe.

World Health Organization head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said there had been a “near exponential growth” in new cases over the past five weeks and a doubling of deaths in the past week alone. 

Downward trend

Britain and France both reported their highest daily death tolls on Wednesday, but infection rates in Italy and Spain—the two countries hardest hit— were slowing. 

Spain suffered a record 950 deaths in 24 hours, bringing the total number of fatalities to 10,003.

The number of confirmed cases in the country passed the 110,000 mark, the government said, although the rates of both new infections and deaths continued a downward trend.

In the US, some 216,722 confirmed cases while its death toll surpassed saw its death toll surpassed 5,000 as at Thursday. 

Among the latest US fatalities was a six-week-old baby who was taken to a Connecticut hospital late last week.

More than three-quarters of Americans are under lockdown, including tens of thousands of prisoners, who were told Wednesday they would be confined to their cells for two weeks.

US President Donald Trump cast doubt on the accuracy of official Chinese figures on its coronavirus outbreak after US lawmakers, citing an intelligence report, accused Beijing of a cover-up.

“How do we know” if they are accurate, Trump asked at a press conference. “Their numbers seem to be a little bit on the light side.”

In the UK, British Airways is expected to announce it will suspend around 36,000 staff.

The airline, which grounded much of its fleet due to the coronavirus crisis, has been negotiating with the Unite union for more than a week.

Putin on Thursday extended non-working period to end of April in measure against coronavirus.  -AFP and BBC

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