Confirmed coronavirus infections are now in excess of 600,000 worldwide with new cases stacking up quickly in Europe and the United States.
Officials are poised for a long drawn battle against the pandemic.
A tally by John Hopkins University yesterday showed more than 607,000 cases and over 28,000 deaths.
The U.S. now leads the world in reported infections — with more than 104,000 cases — five countries exceed its roughly 1,700 deaths: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.
“We cannot completely prevent infections at this stage, but we can and must in the immediate future achieve fewer new infections per day, a slower spread,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is in quarantine at home after her doctor tested positive for the virus, told her compatriots in an audio message.
“That will decide whether our health system can stand up to the virus.”
The virus already has put health systems in Italy, Spain and France under extreme strain. Lockdowns of varying severity have been introduced across Europe, nearly emptying streets in normally bustling cities, including Paris where drone photos showed the city’s landmarks eerily deserted.
Spain reported the most daily coronavirus deaths yet, signaling that lockdowns in Europe is unlikely to be lifted anytime soon.
After Italy reported its deadliest day on Friday, another 832 patients died in Spain between Friday and yesterday, the Health Ministry in Madrid said.
Almost 15,000 coronavirus victims — more than half the world’s total —have died in both Spain and Italy which are in almost total lockdown except for essential errands such as buying food and medicine.
“We’re getting to the peak,” Fernando Simon, a Spanish health ministry spokesman, told reporters. “In some parts of the country, we’re probably already over it. But we need to be cautious since we’re talking about preliminary data.”
Doctors, nurses and ambulance drivers in its worst-hit regions in the country are working nonstop and falling ill at an alarming rate.
More than 9,000 health workers in the country have been infected.
“We are completely overwhelmed,” said paramedic Pablo Rojo at Barcelona’s Dos de Maig hospital.
“Seven or eight (patients transported today) and all with COVID-19. … And the average age is decreasing. They’re not 80 years old anymore, they are now 30 and 40 years old.”
“Sometimes you become a bit paranoid, you don’t know any more when you pick up the phone if you have cleaned your hands, if you’ve sanitized them or not. You touch your face with your hands,” Rojo said.
Britain’s coronavirus death toll went up by 260 to 1,019 yesterday.
Across the country a total of 120,776 coronavirus tests have taken place, and a whopping 17,089 have come back positive for Covid-19.
The deadly virus is continuing to spread across the country at an exponential rate – it took just 13 days for the number of deaths to go from one to more than 100.
And it has only taken a further 10 days for the total to go from 100 to more than 1,000.
Overall, the number of confirmed cases in the UK is 17,089. And just one week ago, the total paled in comparison at 5,018.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is already having to lead the response to the pandemic from Downing Street after he was diagnosed with the disease.
He has been accused of failing to follow his own social distancing rules after Health Secretary Matt Hancock tested positive and England’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty began self-isolating with symptoms.
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