Thursday, April 2, 2020 11:22:03 PM
News Desk :
The global death toll from the coronavirus jumped to 50,254 on Thursday.
The virus so far infected 981,289 people in 203 countries and territories around the world and recovered 206,272, according to worldometer.
Italy's daily death toll from coronavirus on Wednesday was the lowest for six days, authorities said, but the overall number of new infections grew and the government extended a national lockdown until at least the middle of April.
The Civil Protection Agency said 727 people had died over the last 24 hours, down from 837 the day before, bringing total fatalities from the world's deadliest outbreak of the viral pandemic to 13,155.
Italy accounts for around 30% of all global deaths from the highly infectious respiratory illness, and two new studies suggested its true death toll could be significantly higher.
New cases rose by almost 4,800 on Wednesday, a sharper spike than in the previous two days, bringing total infections since the outbreak came to light on Feb. 21 to more than 110,500.
A national lockdown in place since March 9 was due to expire on Friday, but Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the restrictions would remain in place until at least April 13.
"If we stopped respecting the rules, if we decided to relax these rules, all the sacrifices would be in vain," he told a news conference late on Wednesday. He added the government would start softening the measures only with the approval of its scientific advisors, without setting an exact date.
In the wealthy northern region of Lombardy, the epicentre of the outbreak, the daily tally of new infections jumped 50% compared with the day before, reversing a recent downtrend.
The daily death toll in the region also grew, and a study suggested the number of fatalities is far higher than officially registered.
In the hardest-hit area around the city of Bergamo, some 4,500 people died of coronavirus in March, according to data analysis firm InTwig, while only 2,060 were included in the data provided by the Civil Protection Agency.
Most of the elderly victims died in their homes or in old peoples' homes and, because they never made it to hospital, were never tested for the virus, according to the study based on data from doctors and overseen by a professor at Bergamo University.
Separate data from national statistics office ISTAT showed deaths in the north of Italy doubled in the first three weeks of March compared with the average during the same period between 2015 and 2019, reflecting the onset of coronavirus.
In Bergamo, fatalities more than quadrupled, while they increased between two- and three-fold in several other Lombardy cities. In some small towns at the heart of the outbreak they were up 10-fold this year compared with 2019.
With Italy's economy on its knees due to the lockdown, a survey of purchasing managers showed manufacturing activity fell in March at its sharpest rate for 11 years, and Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri said this year would see a steep recession.
He told Il Fatto Quotidiano newspaper a forecast by employers' lobby Confindustria that gross domestic product would shrink by 6% was "realistic". Gualtieri promised a new stimulus package this month would be significantly larger than the one of 25 billion euros ($27.27 billion) adopted in March.
Spain's death toll from coronavirus surpassed the 10,000 threshold after a record 950 people died overnight, the country's Health Ministry said on Thursday.
The number of cases registered rose to by about 8% from Wednesday to 110,238, the ministry said. The proportional daily increases have been slowing down in the past few days.
The total death toll reached 10,003, rising by just over 10%, about the same rate as the previous day.
Over 6,000 people were in intensive care, the data showed.
The death toll from the coronavirus pandemic in the US has gone above 5,000, while confirmed cases worldwide are close to reaching one million.
There were 884 deaths in the US in 24 hours, a new record, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has tracked virus figures globally.
The latest victims include a six-week-old baby. More than 216,000 are now infected, the world's highest figure.
Reserves of protective equipment and medical supplies are almost exhausted.
This has left the federal government and individual US states competing for safety gear, while the unprecedented demand has led to profiteering, officials in the Department for Homeland Security were quoted by the Washington Post as saying.
The Trump administration says it can acquire adequate supplies, and has $16bn (£13bn) available to do so. State and local officials have complained about insufficient protective equipment such as masks and gowns as well as ventilators, needed to help keep patients breathing.
Meanwhile, US Vice-President Mike Pence warned the US appeared to be on a similar trajectory as Italy where the death toll has exceeded 13,000 - the worst in the world.
The number of confirmed infections across the US rose by more than 25,000 in one day. The worst-hit place is New York City, where nearly 47,500 people have tested positive and more than 1,300 have died.
Officials say as many as 240,000 people could die in the US from Covid-19 - the disease caused by the virus - even with the mitigation measures in place. In Connecticut, a six-week-old baby has died from coronavirus, believed to be America's youngest victim of the virus so far.
Queens, New York City's second-most populous borough, has the highest number of confirmed cases and deaths. The area is home to a large population of low-income workers employed by the service sector who live in close proximity, and social-distancing guidelines are hard to enforce.
"While we are practising as a city, social distancing, you may have multiple families living in a very small apartment. And so it's easy to understand why there's a lot of transmission of Covid occurring," said Dr Mitchell Katz, head of New York City Health + Hospitals.
The city needed 2.1 million surgical masks, 100,000 surgical gowns and 400 ventilators, among other items, by Sunday, said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has warned that April would be worse than March as the outbreak gathered pace. He said the goal was to triple the number of hospital beds, to 65,000.
"This will be an epic process through the month of April. It's herculean, but I believe it can be reached," he said on Twitter.
Sobering pictures from the city have shown bodies being loaded onto refrigerated mortuary lorries outside hospitals.
Other clusters are flaring up in places like Detroit. In New Orleans, Ellis Marsalis Jr, a jazz pianist, teacher and father of musicians Branford and Wynton Marsalis, became the latest high-profile figure to die from complications caused by Covid-19. He was 85.
Marsalis spent most of his career in his native New Orleans, and released more than 15 albums. "Ellis Marsalis was a legend. He was the prototype of what we mean when we talk about New Orleans jazz," said Mayor LaToya Cantrell.
Florida, Georgia and Mississippi have become the latest US states to issue lockdown orders. More than 75% of the country's population are now under orders to stay at home.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis softened his stance banning two cruise ships hit with coronavirus from docking in the state. He had been adamant that the ships should not land passengers at Fort Lauderdale, but now said the decision was up to the local authorities.
A staunch ally of President Trump, the governor faced pressure from the president on Wednesday to relent. He said he had understood the passengers were all foreigners, mainly Canadians and British, and did not realise that US citizens were also aboard.
Iran reported 124 additional fatalities due to the novel coronavirus on Thursday, pushing the death toll in the country to 3,160, a health official said.
Iran's state TV reported Kianoush Jahanpour, a spokesman for the Health Ministry, as saying that 2,875 more people tested positive for COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total infections to 50,468.
He said 16,711 people infected with the virus recovered so far and been discharged from hospitals, while 3,956 patients are in critical condition.
After first appearing in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December, the virus has spread to at least 180 countries and regions.
The global death toll from the virus has hit over 47,500 with nearly 942,000 confirmed cases and almost 196,000 recoveries, according to the U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.
The number of people with coronavirus who have died in Britain rose by 563 to a total 2,352 by 1600 GMT on March 31, the government said on Wednesday.
It said there were 29,474 confirmed cases of the virus at as 0800 GMT on Wednesday, up from 25,150 the day before.
Indonesia's coronavirus death toll rose to 170 on Thursday as the world's fourth most populous nation passed South Korea as the country with the highest number of recorded fatalities in Asia after China.
Indonesia reported a further 13 deaths and 113 new cases, taking its total number of infections to 1,790. South Korea has reported 169 deaths and 9,976 infections, according to the latest figures released there.
The data comes amid alarm expressed by some medical experts and officials that President Joko Widodo's government has been slow to bring in measures similar to those in other countries to curb the spread of the virus. Indonesia only reported its first case of the virus one month ago, but epidemiologists say a relatively low level of testing means the number of cases appears to have been vastly underreported.
A model from the Centre for Mathematical Modelling of Infectious Diseases at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine would put the true number of infections in Indonesia at between 22,000 and 37,000.
A model from the Future of Humanity Institute at the University of Oxford estimated the number as close to 80,000. Faced by fears that an annual exodus for the Muslim Ramadan holiday would accelerate the outbreak across the archipelago, Indonesia announced on Thursday it would give cash to poor families to encourage them not to leave the capital, Jakarta. Each year, tens of millions of people in the world's largest Muslim-majority nation return to their hometowns or villages after the Islamic fasting month, an exodus known locally as 'mudik', which this year is scheduled to fall in late May.
The measures announced by the government fall short of the ban on mudik that some medical experts had sought. "What we're doing is providing an additional programme to limit the dispersal of mudik travellers," Social Affairs Minister Juliari Batubara said after a cabinet meeting.
Officials said Indonesians would not be banned from travelling, but would be required to undergo medical checks if they wanted to join mudik this year.
President Widodo told a cabinet meeting he was also considering the creation of an additional national holiday to encourage Indonesians to take leave later in the year.
The central government has resisted widespread lockdowns such as those in neighbours such as the Philippines or Malaysia, but on Wednesday it freed regions to impose restrictions such as shutting schools and limiting religious events at a local level.
But Jakarta governor Anies Baswedan has said more aggressive restrictions are required to stem the spread of virus, including tighter controls on movement in the capital and its surroundings.
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