US death toll from coronavirus passes 1,000

Deaths caused by the coronavirus in the US surpassed 1,000 on Wednesday night, according to Johns Hopkins University.

The country recorded 1,031 fatalities, up from 827 earlier in the day, according to the university’s coronavirus tracker.

The US has the third-highest number of confirmed cases — at 68,572. Only China, where the virus first appeared last December, and Italy have reported more.

New York has been hit especially hard by the illness, with nearly 33,000 cases as of Wednesday night, the majority of which are in New York City.

The city on Wednesday reported 81 deaths in an eight-hour span, raising the total to 280.

Globally, the virus has killed more than 21,000 people.

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UK coronavirus death toll jumps to 422 after 88 more die in biggest one-day rise so far with 8,077 infected – The Sun

THE UK coronavirus death toll today hit 422 while cases climbed to 8,077 as the country went into lockdown.

Deaths jumped by 88 in just 24 hours, the biggest daily increase yet.

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The number of cases across the UK climbed by 1,427 from 6,650 – hitting 8,077 in just 24 hours.

The devastating death toll comes after Boris Johnson last night ordered a mass lockdown – closing all non-essential shops, banning gatherings of more than two people and insisting families stay behind closed doors.

All travel on roads, trains and buses was also banned unless it’s essential to get to work.

Brits were also ordered not to meet up with friends and to go out to buy food or to exercise just once a day.

Anyone who flouts the new crackdown will face fines of up to £1,000 or even arrest when cops are given emergency powers.

The draconian measures which will change every aspect of Brits' lives included:

  • All gatherings of more than two people in public were forbidden – meaning a ban on all social events, including weddings and baptisms
  • Tens of thousands of non-essential shops were ordered to close
  • Communal play and exercise areas inside parks will also be shut down, but not parks themselves
  • Places of worship such as churches and mosques must also shut, except to host for funerals
  • Travel on roads, trains and buses was also banned, unless it’s essential to get to work.

In a special broadcast on all main TV channels , the PM branded coronavirus  “the biggest threat this country has faced for decades”.

Online shopping and deliveries are continuing despite the lockdown of non-essential UK shops.

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Millions of parents have now become unpaid teachers as the first week of UK school closures came into effect.

But some exhausted mums and dads failed to keep their excited offspring in check — leaving them in awe of the real classroom heroes.

All kids' playgrounds across the UK will be shut int the lockdown, but parks will stay open.

There will be no road or rail closures, to allow key workers to get to and from work.

And Brits are still allowed to go to work if they cannot work at home, but only if they can stay two metres apart from each other during it.

That means construction sites won’t yet have to close, and delivery services can continue.

Shops that can stay open are supermarkets, pharmacies, vets, pet shops, hardware stores, retail shops in hospitals, newsagents, petrol stations, banks, post offices, laundrettes and undertakers.

All others must close, including clothes shops and electronics stores.

 

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Italian virus death toll nears China’s as Wuhan reports no new local cases

Rome: The Chinese city where the coronavirus first emerged reported no new homegrown cases on Thursday, local time, while the death toll in Italy was poised to overtake China's in a stark illustration of how the crisis has pivoted toward Europe and the US.

The outbreak spread to at least one European head of state, 62-year-old Prince Albert II of the tiny principality of Monaco. The palace announced that he had tested positive for the virus but was continuing to work from his office and was being treated by doctors from Princess Grace Hospital, named after his American actress mother.

Italian police process passengers leaving from a train station in Milan.Credit:Getty Images

In the US, Congress rushed to pass a $US1 trillion ($1.7 trillion) emergency package to shore up the sinking economy and help households pull through the crisis, with the first of two possible rounds of relief cheques consisting of payments of $US1,000 per adult and $US500 for each child.

The worldwide death toll crept toward 10,000 as the total number of infections topped 220,000, including nearly 85,000 people who have recovered.

French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe pleaded with people to keep their distance from one another to avoid spreading the virus, even as the crisis pushed them to seek comfort.

"When you love someone, you should avoid taking them in your arms," he said in Parliament. "It's counter-intuitive, and it's painful. The psychological consequences, the way we are living, are very disturbing – but it's what we must do."

Italy, a country of 60 million, registered 2978 deaths on Wednesday after 475 more people died. Italy was likely to overtake China's 3,249 dead – in a land of 1.4 billion – upon the release of Thursday's figures.

The American death toll rose to 149, primarily elderly people.

Health authorities have cited a variety of reasons for Italy's high toll, key among them its large population of elderly people, who are particularly susceptible to serious complications from the virus. Italy has the world's second-oldest population, and the vast majority of its dead – 87 per cent – were over 70.



Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit, a virologist at Germany's Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, said Italy's high death rate could be explained in part by the almost total breakdown of the health system in some areas.

"That's what happens when the health system collapses," he said.

On a visit to the northern city of Milan, the head of a Chinese Red Cross delegation helping advise Italy said he was shocked to see so many people walking around, using public transportation and eating out.

Sun Shuopeng said Wuhan saw infections peak only after a month of a strictly enforced lockdown.

"Right now we need to stop all economic activity and we need to stop the mobility of people," he said. "All people should be staying at home in quarantine."

Aside from the elderly and the sick, most people have mild or moderate symptoms, like a fever or cough, and most recover in a matter of weeks.

Spain has been the hardest-hit European country after Italy, and in Madrid a four-star hotel began operating as a makeshift hospital for coronavirus patients.

The director of the group that runs the Ayre GH Colon hotel tweeted: "365 rooms more to help win the war." The Madrid Hotel Business Association said it has placed 40 hotels with room for 9000 people at the service of the Madrid region, which has near half of Spain's 17,000 or so cases.

In London, home to almost 9 million, the government urged people to stay off public transportation as authorities considered imposing tougher travel restrictions.

The British supermarket chain Sainsbury's reserved the first hour of shopping for vulnerable customers, one of many such efforts around the world.

Jim Gibson, 72, of London, said he found most of his groceries there in a "relatively trauma-free" experience. But he fretted that he hadn't been able to get the medicine he needed for his wife and himself, and expressed concerns that Britain's government had been too slow in ramping up testing.

"You can't go on ignoring World Health Organisation guidelines – if they're wrong, who the hell is right?" he said. "Let's have no shilly-shallying."

Michel Barnier, the European Union's chief negotiator for its future relationship with Britain after Brexit, said he had been infected with the coronavirus.

"For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together," the 69-year-old Barnier tweeted.

Thursday marked the first time since January 20 that the Chinese city of Wuhan showed no new locally transmitted cases, a rare glimmer of hope and perhaps a lesson in the strict measures needed to contain the virus.

Wuhan, which has been under a strict lockdown since January, once was the place where thousands lay sick or dying in hurriedly constructed hospitals. But Chinese authorities said all 34 new cases recorded over the previous day had come from abroad.

"Today, we have seen the dawn after so many days of hard effort," said Jiao Yahui, a senior inspector at the National Health Commission.

European stock markets were up only slightly after losses in Asia despite a massive €750 billion stimulus package announced overnight by the European Central Bank.

Wall Street was calm in early trading by the standards of the past few days, when traders – weighing the increasing likelihood of a recession against the huge economic support pledged by global authorities – have caused wild swings.

With wide swaths of the US economy grinding to a halt, the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surged by 70,000 last week, more than economists expected.

The US Federal Reserve unveiled measures to support money-market funds and borrowing as investors worldwide rush to build up dollars and cash.

Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, along with Honda and Toyota, announced on Wednesday that they would close all of their factories in the US, Canada and Mexico. The shutdown of Detroit's Big Three alone will idle about 150,000 workers.

More borders closed, leaving tens of thousands of tourists wondering how they would get home. In the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand shut out tourists, while Fiji reported its first virus case, a worrying development in a region with poor healthcare.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei planned to pardon 10,000 more prisoners – including an unknown number of political detainees – to combat the virus. The country, where more than 1100 people have already died, previously freed 85,000 prisoners on temporary leave.

In Austria, the province of Tyrol put 279 municipalities under quarantine because of a large number of infections, barring people from leaving towns or villages except to go to work.

AP

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Italy’s coronavirus death toll jumps 57% in a day, outpacing South Korea’s

Amsterdam: Italy has overtaken South Korea as the world's second-worst coronavirus-hit country, as Europe struggles to contain the worsening outbreak and questions grow over whether the true number of infections could be far higher than reported.

A day after approving a draconian plan to quarantine 16 million people in the country's north, the Italian government on Sunday announced the death toll had surged 57 per cent in just 24 hours to reach 366.

A tourist wearing a mask takes a photo at the Colosseum in Rome.Credit:AP

Europe's already sluggish economy threatens to fall into recession as the outbreak takes hold. The European Central Bank will meet this week and is expected to slice official interest rates into negative territory as well as unveil plans to inject liquidity into struggling firms.

Forty six countries in Europe have reported at least one case of COVID-19 and more than a dozen are dealing with over 100 cases.

In Italy, thousands of residents and tourists scrambled to get trains, buses and flights out of the heavily affected Lombardy region after a draft plan to seal off a vast stretch of the country's north was leaked before the government could approve and announce the emergency measure.

The lockdown affects roughly a quarter of Italy's population including Milan, the nation's financial capital, and Venice, which draws anywhere up to 30 million tourists a year.

The rules will be in place until April 3 and are designed to replicate the wholesale quarantining of provinces in China that the World Health Organisation has credited with slowing down the virus.

The measures place restrictions of entering, leaving or moving around inside the affected area, call for the suspension of sporting matches unless they can be held without crowds and demand the closure ski resorts, churches, museums, schools, swimming pools, gyms and theatres.

Bars and restaurants can only open from 6am to 6pm but risk mandatory closure unless they keep customers at least on metre apart from each other.

Coronavirus health checks take place before the Serie A match between Udinese Calcio and ACF Fiorentina at Stadio Friuli in Udine, Italy.Credit:Getty

    The death toll in the Lombardy alone grew overnight from 154 to 257.

    On the reported figures, Italy's mortality rate in Italy stands at nearly 5 per cent – far higher than the rate in South Korea and China.

    South Korea and China have conducted a greater number of tests, suggesting the higher mortality rate in Italy might point to a much larger number of infections than has been actually reported.

    Italy changed its policy during the early stages of the outbreak to only test people who show symptoms.

    Austrian chancellor Sebastian Kurz said it was only a matter of time before other European nations replicated some or all of Italy's drastic measures.

    "It will be important to decide which steps to take when," he said. "You can close schools for one or two weeks and this is urgently necessary in Italy. It will happen in other European countries. The decisive question is when to do it."

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    Coronavirus death toll in Italy jumps to 197 as number of infected rises to 4,600 – The Sun

    ITALY'S death toll has jumped by 49 to 197 as cases leap to 4,636 according to Italian officials.

    The number of infected victims has skyrocketed from 3,858 to 4,636.

    More to follow…

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