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Coronavirus global updates today: WHO warns young people ‘not invincible’; Iran reports 123 deaths today

Coronavirus global updates today: The death toll in Italy has leapt by 627 to 4,032, an increase of 18.4 per cent-- by far the largest daily rise in absolute terms since the contagion emerged a month go.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: March 22, 2020 8:47:28 pm
Coronavirus global updates today: Medical staff walk at the Samaritan’s Purse field hospital that is being set up in Cremona, northern Italy, Friday, March 20, 2020.

Coronavirus global updates today: Nearly 275,500 novel coronavirus infections and over 11,000 deaths have been reported in 163 countries and territories. The death toll in Italy leapt by 627 to 4,032 on Friday as the country surpassed China at the worst-hit by the virus.  

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In Iran, 123 people died in 24 hours on Saturday taking the toll to 1,556. Spain has also been witnessing a sharp increase in the death toll. However, even as the toll and number of cases continue to grow in European countries, limited testing suggests that the “real number” could be much higher. Reports from Italy, Spain and other countries suggest that the capacity for testing is yet to catch up with the suspected cases.

China reporting no new cases is a hope: WHO

China reported no domestically transmitted coronavirus cases for the third consecutive day Saturday even as seven more fatalities were confirmed, taking the death toll in the country to 3,255.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said the fact that China, which is the epicentre of the outbreak, has reported no new cases gives hope to the rest of the world battling the pandemic. “Wuhan provides hope for the rest of the world that even the most severe situation can be turned around,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a virtual news conference in Geneva.

“Of course, we must exercise caution; the situation can reverse. But the experience of cities and countries that have pushed back this coronavirus gives hope and courage to the rest of the world,” he added.

A nun wearing a mask and gloves stands at the Istituto Figlie di San Camillo (Institute of Daughters of St. Camillo) in Grottaferrata, near Rome, Friday, March 20, 2020.

However, the United States has slammed China for the “delay” in sharing information with its technical experts on the virus.

Read | As coronavirus looms, a hospital begins sterilizing masks for reuse

“We need to know immediately. The world is entitled to know. The Chinese government was the first to know of this risk to the world, and that puts a special obligation to make sure that data gets to our scientists, our professionals,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at a White House news conference.

While the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are the hardest hit by the virus, WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that young people were also vulnerable. “Today I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks — or even kill you,” Tedros said. “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.”

US cases jump to 18,000 — an addition of 10,000 is 50 hours

A total of 230 people have died in the US due to the fast-spreading coronavirus, while the number of confirmed cases has jumped to over 18,000 — an increase of over 10,000 in less than 50 hours.

A patient is wheeled into a newly opened COVID-19 hospital wing in Rome, March 19, 2020.  (Nadia Shira Cohen/The New York Times)

Meanwhile, an individual in Vice-President Mike Pence’s office has tested positive for the coronavirus, but neither President Donald Trump nor Pence have had close contact with the patient, Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller said in a statement. Miller said Pence’s office was notified on Friday evening about the positive test. “Further contact tracing is being conducted in accordance with CDC guidelines,” she said.

Pence is leading the White House task force formed to combat the outbreak.

US imposes unprecedented curbs impacting over 75 million

New York state, Illinois and Connecticut have followed California in directing tens of millions of people to stay at home in the most sweeping US social-distancing measures imposed to curb transmission of the coronavirus.

The unprecedented restrictions, impacting more than 75 million people, or nearly a quarter of the US population, order most workplaces to close and require residents to remain inside except for trips to grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations and other “essential businesses.”

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy said he planned to issue similar directives within the next 24 hours.

An employee of Korea Rail Road Corporation checks the temperature of a woman’s wrist at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Saturday, March 21, 2020.

147 new coronavirus cases in South Korea

South Korea was for a brief period experiencing a downward trend in new cases from a peak of 909 cases reported on February 29.. In the last two days, the cases have increase — 87 were reported Friday and 147 Saturday, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This brings the country’s total infections to 8,799. At least 102 people have died in the country.

Seen at high risk, Syria takes steps against Covid-19

Syria, already shattered by nine years of war, has banned entry for foreigners arriving from many countries hit by the coronavirus as part of widening measures to combat the epidemic. Although the government says it has yet to document any infections, Syria is seen at high risk.

“We have vulnerable populations in camps, refugees, slum areas at the outskirts of large urban centres,” the WHO’s representative Nima Saeed Abid told Reuters. “If we take the scenarios in China or even in Iran, we are expecting we may have large number of cases and we are preparing accordingly.”

A homeless man sits in a tent in Sacramento, Calif., Friday, March 20, 2020.

Pakistan asks people to self-quarantine for 45 days

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked people to go into self-quarantine for at least 45 days as the country reported its third coronavirus death and 481 confirmed cases. The third death was reported in Pakistan’s biggest city Karachi, the capital of the Southern Sindh province, which has reported the highest number of coronavirus cases in the country.

19-day lockdown in Colombia over COVID-19 fears

Colombia will enter a nationwide quarantine from Tuesday night, President Ivan Duque said late on Friday, the most drastic measure implemented so far by the South American country as it seeks to prevent the spread of the fast-spreading coronavirus.

The quarantine will last for 19 days. The capital Bogota began holding a 4-day quarantine drill on Friday. The country has 158 confirmed cases of the virus.

India cases rise to 258

And in India, the number of coronavirus cases rose to 258 on Saturday. The country will observe Janata curfew on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm. Many states have shut down all non essential businesses. India will start testing everyone with acute respiratory issues.

Here’s a quick coronavirus guide for you to stay updated: Who all should be tested for Covid-19 and when? | How should you quarantine yourself? | How often (and how) should you clean your home? | What is the Janata Curfew announced by PM Modi? | Who are restricted from coming to India, and from when? | How long can the virus live on surfaces or in air around you? | Still more Coronavirus Q&A Explained news here

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