MARCH 20, 2020
ITALY has surpassed China as the country with the most deaths from the virus, with the 427 fatalities yesterday bringing the total to 3,405. To date China, where the virus was first discovered in December in Wuhan, has reported 3,245 deaths .
Responding to the soaring number of deaths, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the national lockdown, which has been emulated by other European countries, will be extended to April 3.
Today, for the second day in a row, China announced no new domestic cases while France reported another 108 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing its total fatalities to 372.
The authorities are considering whether to extend its two-week lockdown.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country could only turn the tide on Covid-19 if the people heed advice to avoid social contact.
Dozens of London Underground stations were closed while all schools in the country have stopped classes.
In the United States, almost 40 million people in California have been placed under a strict lockdown, the toughest imposed so far in the country.
President Donald Trump said health authorities were fast-tracking anti-malarial drugs to treat Covid-19.
He also hit out at China for allegedly not informing the world earlier when the outbreak started.
UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres yesterday warned 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,” he said.
The global death toll has surpassed 9,800, with more than 232,650 cases in 158 countries and territories.
In South America, Argentinian president Alberto Fernandez announced a preventative and compulsory lockdown from Friday to March 31, while Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro state will close its famed beaches as well as restaurants and bars for 15 days.
In Africa, schools in Lagos, Nigeria, were closed while Burkina Faso confirmed the first death in sub-Saharan Africa, while Russia yesterday announced its first death and Fiji its first case.