There were 6,05,010 cases of infection with 27,982 deaths in 183 countries and territories
ITALY has logged a shocking spike in its already staggering coronavirus death toll, with officials warning the peak of the crisis was still days away, as global infection rate surges relentlessly upwards. More than 6,00,000 cases of the new coronavirus have been officially recorded around the world since the outbreak of the epidemic, according to an AFP tally at 1045 GMT on Saturday. There were 6,05,010 cases of infection with 27,982 deaths in 183 countries and territories.
The United States had 1,04,837 cases of which 1,711 were fatal. Italy had the highest number of deaths at 9,134 and a total of 86,498 cases. The death toll in Spain surged over 5,600 on Saturday after a record 832 people died in 24 hours, and the number of infections soared over 72,000. China, the epicentre of the outbreak, had 81,394 cases and 3,295 deaths.
The figures represent only a fraction of the number of infections as many countries only carry out tests on suspected cases if they are hospitalised. With more than 300,000 people infected in Europe alone, the disease shows few signs of slowing, and has already cast the world into a recession, economists say. In the US, which now has more than 104,000 COVID-19 patients, President Donald Trump invoked wartime powers Friday to force a private company to make medical equipment, as the country’s overburdened healthcare system struggles to cope. “Today’s action will help ensure the quick production of ventilators that will save American lives,” Trump said as he issued the order to auto giant General Motors. With 60 per cent of the country in lockdown, and infections skyrocketing, Trump also signed the largest stimulus package in US history, worth USD 2 trillion.
It came as Italy recorded almost 1,000 deaths from the virus on Friday -- the worst one-day toll anywhere since the pandemic began. One coronavirus sufferer, a cardiologist from Rome who has since recovered, recalled his hellish experience at a hospital in the capital. “The treatment for the oxygen therapy is painful, looking for the radial artery is difficult. Desperate other patients were crying out, ‘enough, enough’,” he told AFP. In one bright spot, infection rates in Italy continued their recent downward trend. But the head of the national health institute Silvio Brusaferro said the country was not out of the woods yet, predicting “we could peak in the next few days”. Spain too said its rate of new infections appeared to be slowing -- despite also reporting its deadliest day. Europe has suffered the brunt of the coronavirus crisis in recent weeks, with millions across the continent on lockdown and the streets of Paris, Rome and Madrid eerily empty. In Britain, the two men leading the country’s fight against the coronavirus -- Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Health Secretary Matt Hancock -- both announced Friday they had tested positive for COVID-19.
US announces $174 mn aid to 64 countries
THE United States on Friday announced USD 174 million financial assistance to 64 countries including USD 2.9 million to India to help them fight the coronavirus pandemic. This is in addition to $100 million aid announced by the US in February. The newly-announced assistance is part of a larger American global response package across multiple departments and agencies, including the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The funding is for 64 of the most at-risk countries facing the threat of the global pandemic.
The US State Department said it is providing USD 2.9 million to help the Indian Government prepare laboratory systems, activate case finding and event-based surveillance, and support technical experts for response and preparedness, and more. “This builds upon the foundation of more than USD 1.4 billion in health assistance out of the more than USD 2.8 billion in US assistance for India over the last 20 years,” the State Department said. According to United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick, the new assistance builds on the US’ record of global health leadership.