Coronavirus deaths surge past 13,000 as one billion confined to homes

Updated: Mar 23, 2020, 08:03 IST | Agencies | Rome

The pandemic has forced lockdowns in 35 countries, disrupting lives, travel as governments scramble to shut borders and unleash hundreds of billions in emergency measures

A nurse wearing protective mask and gear comforts another as they change shifts at the Cremona hospital, southeast of Milan in  Lombardy on Sunday. Pic/AFP
A nurse wearing protective mask and gear comforts another as they change shifts at the Cremona hospital, southeast of Milan in Lombardy on Sunday. Pic/AFP

Nearly one billion people around the world were confined to their homes on Sunday, as the Coronavirus death toll crossed 13,000 and factories were shut in worst-hit Italy after another single-day fatalities record.

The raging pandemic has forced lockdowns in 35 countries, disrupting lives, travel, and businesses as governments scramble to shut borders and unleash hundreds of billions in emergency measures to avoid a widespread virus-fuelled economic meltdown. More than 3,00,000 infections have been confirmed worldwide, with the situation increasingly grim in Italy where the death toll spiked to more than 4,800 — over a third of the global total.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a closure of all non-essential factories in a late-night TV address on Saturday.

A general view of the temporary hospital set up at a pavilion in Ifema convention and exhibition center in Madrid. Pic/AFP
A general view of the temporary hospital set up at a pavilion in Ifema convention and exhibition center in Madrid. Pic/AFP

The Mediterranean nation of 60 million is now the epicentre of the disease, which first emerged in central China late last year before marching out to the rest of the world.

Italy has now reported more deaths than mainland China and third-placed Iran combined, and it has a death rate of 8.6 per cent among confirmed COVID-19 infections — significantly higher than in most other countries.

Spain reported a 32 per cent spike in new deaths on Saturday, with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez warning that the nation needs to prepare for "very hard days ahead".

Fatalities in France jumped to 562 as police officials said helicopters and drones were being deployed to boost the government's attempts to keep people in their homes.

The pandemic has bludgeoned global stock markets, and the United States — the world's biggest economy - is preparing a huge emergency stimulus package that could top $1 trillion.

562
Total no. of fatalities in France

China reports first case after 3 days

China reported its first domestic COVID-19 case after a gap of three days, officials said on Sunday. China's National Health Commission (NHC) said that 46 new cases were reported on the mainland on Saturday, including one domestic infection transmitted by imported cases in Guangzhou.'

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