Covid-19 wrap: Global death toll passes 165 000, Spain daily deaths drop below 400 for first time

2020-04-20 14:48

Keeping you up to date on the latest novel coronavirus (Covid-19) news from around the world.

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Coronavirus toll at 11:00 (GMT) Monday

Paris – The worldwide death toll from the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic rose to 165 216 on Monday, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 11:00 (GMT).

More than 2 403 410 declared cases have been registered in 193 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 537 700 are now considered recovered.

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.

In the United States, now the worst-hit country, the death toll stood at 40 683 with 759 786 infections. At least 70 980 patients have recovered. Italy is the next most affected country with 23 660 deaths and 178 972 confirmed infections.

 - AFP

Spain daily virus death toll drops under 400

Madrid – A total of 399 people died of Covid-19 in Spain over the past 24 hours, down from 410 a day earlier, the government said on Monday.

The latest figures also showed the number of cases soaring to 200 210 in Spain, which has suffered the third-highest number of virus deaths in the world after the United States and Italy.

"Today for the first time we've fallen under 400 deaths, although it's only a little lower (than Sunday), these figures give us hope," said Fernando Simon, the health ministry's emergencies coordinator. "These are very encouraging figures."

 - AFP

Police clash with residents in Paris suburbs amid lockdown

Paris – Police fought running battles overnight in Paris's low-income northern suburbs with residents alleging heavy-handedness by officers enforcing France's strict coronavirus lockdown.

Residents burned trash and cars and shot fireworks at police, who responded with rubber bullets and tear gas in the suburbs of Villeneuve-la-Garenne and Aulnay-sous-Bois, witnesses and police said on Monday.

The tensions were ignited in the early hours of Saturday when a motorcyclist was injured during a police check in Villeneuve-la-Garenne, prompting about 50 angry bystanders to gather. A police statement said the group targeted officers with "projectiles" in a near two-hour standoff.

The motorcyclist, 30, was hospitalised with a broken leg and had to undergo surgery after he had crashed into the open door of a police car. Residents allege the door was opened deliberately so that the rider would smash into it.

 - AFP

UN seeks $90m for Mideast children as virus deepens poverty

Amman – The UN children's agency on Monday appealed for $92.4 million in new funds for the Middle East and North Africa to help combat the effects of coronavirus on already poverty-stricken areas.

"The region has the biggest number of children in need in the world due to ongoing conflicts and wars," said Ted Chaiban, Unicef director for the Middle East and North Africa, in a statement.

The combination of a lack of "or inadequate basic services, years of conflict, poverty, deprivation and now Covid-19 are hitting vulnerable children the most, making their hard lives simply unbearable," he added.

Nearly 25 million children across the region are in need, including many who are refugees and internally displaced, the statement said.

 - AFP

Schools to re-open in China's virus outbreak epicentre

Final-year high school students in the province at the epicentre of China's virus outbreak will return to classrooms from 6 May, officials said – the latest easing of restrictions as the country's domestic outbreak is brought under control.

Schools have been closed in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province since January, when lockdown measures were brought in to try and contain the spread of the virus.

 - AFP

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