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COVID-19 deaths in Italy overtake China

COVID-19 deaths in Italy overtake China
A patient in a biocontainment unit is carried on a stretcher from an ambulance at the Columbus Covid 2 Hospital in Rome.
By Nagaland Post | Publish Date: 3/20/2020 9:13:27 AM IST

Los Angeles, Mar 20 (AFP): Italy has surpassed China as the country with the most deaths from coronavirus as California, home to more than 39 million people, was placed under lockdown in the most drastic containment measure yet by a US state.

China on Friday reported no new domestic cases for the second day since the virus appeared in the central city of Wuhan in December, before spreading worldwide. While there was a glimmer of hope in China, several nations tightened their borders and imposed lockdowns, trapping tens of millions of people in their homes.

And the UN chief warned “millions” could die if the virus spreads unchecked around the globe.

World leaders also unleashed nearly a trillion dollars to prop up the teetering global economy, only to see the once-in-a-century pandemic seemingly spiral further out of control.

The death toll soared in Europe as Italy announced another 427 fatalities on Thursday, taking its total to 3,405, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.

China has officially reported 3,245 deaths from the virus, which can cause respiratory failure, particularly in the elderly.

France reported 108 more deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number to 372. Globally, the death toll from the virus has risen to over 9,800 with more than 232,650 cases in 158 countries and territories, according to the AFP tally.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday of the virus’s potentially devastating effects.

“If we let the virus spread like wildfire -- especially in the most vulnerable regions of the world -- it would kill millions of people,” Guterres said.

The number of infections and deaths in the rest of the world has surpassed those in China, which appears to have staunched the virus with strict measures including a complete quarantine of Wuhan since January.

As the toll surged in Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the national lockdown, which has been copied around Europe, would be prolonged to April 3.

France also mooted extending its two-week lockdown ordered this week by President Emmanuel Macron, as the interior minister blasted “idiots” who flout home confinement rules and put others at risk.

World paying big price: Trump

The world is “paying a big price” for China hiding the initial information on the deadly coronavirus, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, ramping up his charges that Beijing is responsible for the current global public health crisis due to the pandemic. 

“It would have been much better if we had known about this a number of months earlier. It could have been contained to that one area in China where it started,” Trump told reporters at a White House press conference.

“The world is paying a big price for what they (China) did and the world is paying a very big price for not letting them (information about coronavirus) come out,” Trump said. 

The president was responding to a question on a critical tweet by his National Security Council (NSC) against the Chinese government. 

The NSC had tweeted that the Chinese Communist Party suppressed initial reports on the coronavirus and punished doctors, causing Chinese and international experts to miss critical opportunities to prevent a global pandemic. “Everybody knows that. We all know that. As far as believing what they’re putting out now I hope it’s true. Who knows but I hope it’s true. I really do,” Trump said.

“If people would have known about it, it could have been stopped in place. It could have been stopped right where it came from China, if we would have known about it, if they would have known about it. But now the whole world almost is inflicted with this horrible virus and it’s too bad,” he said.


-Tags:#COVID-19

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