22 / March / 2020 : 08-59

Coronavirus: Italy announces 793 new deaths in another grim daily record

Italy's tally of coronavirus cases and deaths keeps rising, with new day-to-day highs: it announced 793 dead and 6,557 new cases on Saturday, breaking its own grim record of 627 deaths on Friday.

The country has now passed China as the worst-hit by COVID-19.

As of Saturday, the coronavirus COVID-19 has killed 12,592 people worldwide, the majority in Europe (7,199) and Asia (3,459), the AFP reported.

Germany and Switzerland announced on Saturday they will open hospitals to patients from the neighbouring region of eastern France, which is struggling with a surge of infections from the virus.

Twelve French patients are to be welcomed in German hospitals in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg while six others will go to hospitals in three Swiss "cantons" near the French border, the Haut-Rhin authorities in Alsace, France announced on Saturday.

France has started to build field hospitals in its eastern region of Alsace, after hospitals in cities Mulhouse and Colmar were overwhelmed with coronavirus cases earlier this week.

On Saturday, France announced that 112 died in one day, reaching a total of 562 deaths and 6,172 cases in hospital.

Spain announced 1,326 deaths of coronavirus including 283 new deaths on Saturday, a 32% increase from Friday.

To prevent the spread of the virus, Boris Johnson announced on Friday the UK would be closing bars, restaurants, cinemas and theatres.

The United Arab Emirates announced its first two deaths on Friday, while Tunisia said it would go on lockdown from Sunday and Colombia on Tuesday.

Over 12,000 deaths have now been recorded around the world, according to AFP.

Spain, the second most-affected country in Europe, became just the fourth country in the world after China, Italy and Iran.

In France, the total death toll from the coronavirus crisis has reached 562 (from 450 on Friday, with 78 new deaths).

Madrid recorded 200 new deaths on Friday, taking the country's toll beyond 1,000.

Also on Friday, the World Health Organization said Wuhan - the source of the disease - said the province provided hope for the rest of the world.

Thursday was the first day it had not recorded a new case of COVID-19 since the outbreak at the end of last year.

WHO: "Every day, COVID-19 seems to reach a new and tragic milestone"

The Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday that "a new and tragic milestone" is reached daily in the coronavirus global pandemic, adding: "Every loss of life is a tragedy."

Ghebreyesus said there are "more than 210,000" reported coronavirus cases and that "more than 9,000 people" have died of the virus.

Speaking at a media briefing, Ghebreyesus also said it was important to celebrate successes, such as the decline of the pandemic in China's Wuhan, where it started: "Yesterday, Wuhan reported no new cases for the first time since the outbreak started", he said.

"Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world, that even the most severe situation can be turned around", Ghebreyesus added.

The WHO Director-General called for solidarity and warned young people about the dangerous effects the virus can have on their health, despite their youth.

"You are not invincible", he said, addressing young people around the world. "This virus could put you in hospital for weeks, or even kill you. Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else."

Cash plan from European Central Bank

The crisis in Europe drove the European Central Bank (ECB) to launch a €750 billion plan to calm markets and help the Eurozone economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Europe's unprecedented emergency money plan will allow them to buy government debt to counter the economic impact of the outbreak. Markets have taken historic plunges as the outbreak has spread throughout the world.

The plan announced overnight was significantly more money than the €120 billion package that the bank announced last week.

"Extraordinary times require extraordinary action. There are no limits to our commitment to the euro. We are determined to use the full potential of our tools, within our mandate," said president of the ECB, Christine Lagarde.

The 27 member governing council released the plans around midnight in Europe on Thursday after long talks.

They said they were prepared to increase the money programme "by as much as necessary and for as long as needed".

Airlines have appealed for emergency funding with the International Air Transport Association (IATA) describing the public health emergency as a "catastrophe for economies and for aviation".

The statement called for governments in Africa and the Middle East to unlock $200 billion (€186 billion) in aid because of a decrease in demand and cancelled routes.

Lombardy calls in the army

The unprecedented surge in fatalities in Italy on Friday brought the death toll to 4,032. The number of reported cases now stands at more than 47,000 in the country.

Lombardy, the northern region home to Milan, continues to pay the heaviest price, with 381 new deaths recorded on Friday.

The region's President, Attilio Fontana, said during a press conference that his request for soldiers to patrol Milan to ensure the lockdown is properly observed had been granted by Rome. He added that the 114 troops deployed "is still too little, but it is positive".

The head of the country's Civil Protection Angelo Borrelli said however that "there are no difficulties in intensive care", explaining that there were now 8,000 ICU beds across the country when there were just over 5,000 before the crisis erupted.

He added that 679 tents had also been set up to serve as triage areas and facilitate the work of health professionals.

Bavarian lockdown

Bavaria became the first of Germany's 16 states to introduce a lockdown on Friday although the federal government has for now eschewed from doing so, calling on its citizens to exercise restraint instead and stay at home as much as possible.

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Published on 22 / March / 2020 : 08-59
Published by Vigen Kirakosyan

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