The death toll from the new coronovirus has surpassed 5,000 in Europe – the new epicenter of the pandemic – as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise across the continent.
According to an AFP tally based on official data at 1100 GMT Friday, Europe has registered 1,034 new cases in just 24 hours, for a total of 110,568 infections.
The latest figures bring the total number of deaths across the continent to 5,168. Most of the deaths have been reported in Italy, which is now the hardest hit country in the world with 3,405 fatalities.
Meanwhile, China where the pathogen first emerged in December last year, has recorded 3,245 deaths from the virus.
Spain’s death toll from the coronavirus epidemic soared Friday to 1,002 from 767 on the previous day, with the number of registered cases in the country rising to 19,980 on Friday up from 17,147 on Thursday.
Portugal has 1,020 confirmed cases of the virus, with six reported deaths, far below other southern European countries such as Italy and Spain.
Belgium has recorded 16 new deaths related to the coronavirus, for a total of 37 in the country, the biggest daily rise since the beginning of the epidemic.
The country added 462 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, bringing the total number of infected in the country to 2257.
Swiss health authorities said the number of coronavirus cases in Switzerland and Liechtenstein has risen by 952 within a day to 4,840 people, with 43 people reported to have died from the disease.
Meanwhile, Germany’s biggest state of Bavaria became the country’s first to order a lockdown. Germany has so far reported close to 7,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus infection, with 14 fatalities.
France has reported 12,612 confirmed cases of the illness and 450 deaths as the country has ordered a lockdown aimed at containing the outbreak.
The new virus, a respiratory disease known as COVID-19, emerged in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei Province late last year.
More than 240,000 people have now been confirmed with the coronavirus globally, of which at least 85,000 have recovered, while more than 9,800 have died, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Europe the epicenter of the pandemic after the continent started reporting more daily cases than China did at the peak of its outbreak.
The European Commission has also announced plans to enact the full closure of borders across the 27-member European Union (EU) as part of efforts to contain the now-global coronavirus pandemic in Europe.
This came after a spokeswoman of the European Commission said that the first case of the coronavirus had been detected among staff at the commission.
According to an EU official, a woman, who had returned from Italy, the gateway of the coronavirus to Europe and the worst-hit country after China, was infected with the virus.
The European Commission, the 27-nations bloc’s executive arm, has a staff of around 32,000.
Separately in the UK, as of 9am on Friday, a further 39 people, who tested positive for the coronavirus, died, bringing the total number to 177, and according to NHS England, 17 out of the 39 deaths were in London.
This comes as in Scotland, individual fatality toll doubled overnight with Northern Ireland confirming its first victim of the life-threatening infection.
There are nearly 3,983 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the UK, with the majority of them coming from London – the epicenter of Britain’s crisis, according to Evening Standard.
Latin American countries step up coronavirus restrictions
Latin American countries continue to ramp up measures to contain the virus outbreak with more than 30 deaths from the COVID-19 disease and total cases soaring over 3,000.
Cuba and Bolivia announced on Friday they were closing their borders while Brazil drastically slashed its growth projections for 2020 over the coronavirus pandemic.
As of Friday, at least 11 people have died from the virus, Brazil’s Health Ministry said, up from seven on Thursday, and more than 900 people are now infected across the Latin American country.
The far-right government of President Jair Bolsonaro issued a decree restricting entry of foreign visitors from certain countries, including China, but exempted the United States, where the number coronavirus cases are on a sharp rise.
Those banned include citizens of the European Union, Japan, Australia, Malaysia and South Korea.
Bolsonaro also restricted entry at land borders with Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru, Colombia, Suriname, Guyana and French Guiana.
Brazilian president’s son Eduardo Bolsonaro, a 35-year-old lawmaker, has joined Washington in blaming China for the pandemic. He accused Beijing of concealing information about the spread of the disease.
However, President Bolsonaro said there are no problems between the governments of Brazil and China, adding that he may contact the Chinese government for assistance in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colombia to hold 19-day quarantine to fight coronavirus
Colombia has decided to enter a nationwide quarantine in an attempt to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
On Friday, Colombian President Ivan Duque said the country will enter a nationwide quarantine from Tuesday night which will last for 19 days.
Duque said the action, which will include strict restrictions on citizens’ movements outside the home, was necessary to fight the disease.
“In the coming weeks we have the opportunity to collectively take away the virus’ speed,” Duque said.
The South American country has 158 confirmed cases of the virus but so far no deaths related to the virus have been reported.
Africa’s coronavirus numbers rise
Sub-Saharan Africa has recorded its second coronavirus death on Friday as infections rose in South Africa, where the government warned bluntly of a long haul in the fight against the disease.
Despite stringent restrictions ranging from flight bans to school closures, countries south of the Sahara have recorded two deaths in three days, and the case tally on Friday had more than tripled in the space of a week.
The central African state of Gabon announced its first fatality from coronavirus — a 50-year-old man, whose death followed that of a 62-year-old woman in Burkina Faso on Wednesday. Both had diabetes.
The total of known cases across all of Africa stands at more than 900 and is rising fast after lagging other continents. Madagascar, with three, and Zimbabwe, with one, recorded their first cases on Friday.
Health experts have issued loud warnings, for most African countries are desperately short of intensive-care units, equipment and trained staff. The Sahel state of Mali has just a single respirator.
Thailand reports 89 new coronavirus cases
Thailand has reported its largest daily increase in coronavirus infections, with 89 new cases taking the national tally to 411.
Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a Public Health Ministry spokesman, said on Saturday the new cases were linked to earlier infections from a boxing match, an entertainment complex and a religious gathering in neighboring Malaysia.
Of those infected, 366 are currently being treated, while 44 have recovered.
Thailand has reported one death in the outbreak.
Singapore reports two deaths from coronavirus
Singapore has reported two deaths related to the coronavirus, marking the first fatalities in the city-state’s widely praised battle against the infection.
On Saturday, Singapore’s Health Ministry said a 75-year-old Singaporean woman and a 64-year-old Indonesian man died on Saturday morning.
Both cases had a history of heart disease.
Singapore has confirmed 385 cases of the infection and had so far managed to avoid any fatalities since the outbreak began in the city-state in late January.
As of Friday, 131 cases of Singapore’s total had fully recovered from the infection.
Japan coronavirus infections cross 1,000
Japan has recorded 1,016 cases of domestically transmitted cases of the coronavirus as of Saturday.
The tally rises to 1,728 if 712 cases of infections from a cruise ship moored near Tokyo last month are included, according to Japan’s public broadcaster NHK.
South Korea reports 147 new coronavirus cases
South Korea has reported 147 new coronavirus infections on Saturday, holding to its downward trend in daily infections from a peak in February.
The new cases bring the country’s total to 8,799. The cumulative number of deaths from the virus also rose to 102. South Korea has seen a downward trend in new cases from the peak of 909 cases reported on Feb. 29.
China’s imported coronavius cases jump
China has reported a record rise in imported coronavirus cases on Friday as expatriates returned home from the United States and Europe, sparking fears of a second wave of infections just as the country recovers from the initial outbreak.
All 41 of the new confirmed cases in China were imported from abroad, the country’s National Health Commission said on Saturday, bringing the total number of such cases to 269.
The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China stood at 81,008 at the end of Friday, the health authority said. The death toll was 3,255, up by seven, a much slower rate than at the height of the crisis.