Covid-19 wrap: UK PM Boris Johnson defends country's efforts to fight virus, global death toll climbs


Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis.

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has had to defend his efforts in dealing with the coronavirus.
  • The global death toll is 411 588.
  • WHO answers the question: How frequently do people without symptoms of Covid-19 pass the disease on to others.

Johnson defends UK's 'astonishing' virus effort

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday defended what he called Britain's "astonishing" efforts to tackle coronavirus, rejecting accusations that with Europe's worst death toll, his government has nothing to be proud of.

More than 40 000 people are confirmed to have died from Covid-19 in Britain's outbreak so far, although the figure rises to more than 50 000 when suspected cases are included.

On either measure, the toll is Europe's worst and the second highest in the world behind the United States.

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson leaves 10 Downing Street in central London.

"Last week, the prime minister said he was proud of the government's record," Keir Starmer, the leader of the main opposition Labour party, said in the House of Commons.

"But there's no pride in those figures, is there?"

Johnson said that "we mourn every one and we grieve for them and for their relatives and their friends" - adding however that it was too soon to make international comparisons.

Some experts have cautioned against global comparisons, as each country has different reporting methods and lag times - and the pandemic is far from over.


Covid-19 numbers wrap

The novel coronavirus has killed at least 411 588 people since the outbreak emerged in China last December, according to a tally from official sources compiled by AFP at 1100 GMT on Wednesday.

At least 7 254 140 cases of coronavirus have been registered in 196 countries and territories. Of these, at least 3 214 600 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 symptomatic or the most serious cases.

The United States is the worst-hit country with 112 006 deaths from 1 979 893 cases. At least 524 855 people have been declared recovered.

After the US, the hardest-hit countries are Britain with 40 883 deaths from 289 140 cases, Brazil with 38 406 deaths from 739 503 infections, Italy with 34 043 deaths from 235 561 cases, and France with 29 296 deaths from 191 394 cases.

China - excluding Hong Kong and Macau - has to date declared 4 634 deaths and 83 046 infections with 78 357 recoveries.

Europe overall has 185 130 deaths from 2 318 773 cases, the United States and Canada have 119 958 deaths from 2 076,546 infections, Latin America and the Caribbean 69 372 deaths from 1 411 279 cases, Asia 20 581 deaths from 734 260 cases, the Middle East 10 887 deaths from 501 180 cases, Africa 5 529 deaths from 203 457 cases, and Oceania 131 deaths from 8 648 cases.

As a result of corrections by national authorities or late publication of data, the figures updated over the past 24 hours may not correspond exactly to the previous day's tallies.


'We don’t actually have that answer yet,' WHO says on asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19

"We don’t actually have that answer yet:" a top World Health Organisation (WHO) official says it’s not known how frequently people without symptoms of Covid-19 pass the disease on to others – a day after appearing to suggest that such spread is "very rare."

- Euronews

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