Spain, US death toll surges as global cases hit 487,648

Friday, March 27th, 2020 00:00 |
A nurse wearing protective gear comforts a colleague. Photo/AFP

Madrid, Thursday

The coronavirus death toll in Spain surged to 4,089 after 655 people died within 24 hours, the health ministry said on Thursday.

It was a 19 percent increase on figures released Wednesday by the authorities in Spain, which has the world’s second highest death toll from the disease after Italy.

The global figures stood at 87,648 infections and 22,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The United States registered 1,050 COVID-19 deaths as the country confirmed more than 69,000 cases.

The true number of infected people is believed to be far higher, meaning the real death rate would be lower.

The US Senate passed a sweeping $2 trillion measure to aid workers, businesses, and the healthcare system.

The bill as taken back to the lower house for approval. The economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus pandemic sparked an explosion of Americans filing for unemployment benefits, surging to 3.3 million last week—the highest number ever recorded, the Labour Department said Thursday.

Italy recorded more than 680 deaths in the last 24 hours as concerns grew that the disease was spreading more towards the south of the country.

Italy has seen more fatalities than any other country, with latest figures showing that 7,503 people have died from the infection in barely a month.

In Spain, which has 56,188 confirmed cases, Madrid remains the worst affected area, with close to a third of cases.

But Catalonia has also seen a steep rise, reporting 11,592 confirmed infections.

Late Wednesday, Spain extended its national state of emergency until April 12 in a bid to halt the spread of the virus.

Despite a national lockdown imposed on March 14, which parliament on Thursday agreed to extend, both deaths and infections have continued to mount, with officials warning this week would be particularly bad.

Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, whose wife is infected with the virus, has said this is the country’s most difficult moment since its 1936-39 civil war.

And in America, the World Health Organization warned the US could become the new epicentre for the pandemic after a “very large acceleration” in cases in recent days.

New York is by far the state worst affected but infections stretch right across the country.

In the UK, London hospitals are overwhelmed by Covid-19 patients, state-run National Health Service said Thursday.

China, where the deadly virus was first reported, is set to drastically cut its international flight routes to blunt the number of imported cases, the civil aviation authority said.

Flights out of China will be capped at just one route a week to each country, with international airlines also permitted only one route. -AFP and Agencies

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