Coronavirus: Latest from around the world - Friday, April 3

As of Friday morning (NZ time), the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic had killed 50,500 people and infected a confirmed 986,000.

But there is growing evidence infection and death counts in a number of countries have been underestimated across Europe. 

Europe

United Kingdom

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to ramp up coronavirus testing as the UK's death toll rose 24 percent to near 3000.

As of the morning of April 2, a total of 163,194 people have been tested of which 33,718 returned positive results, the health ministry says.

"Of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 2921 have sadly died," the health ministry said on Thursday.

Johnson's government has faced criticism for being slower than some European countries to roll out mass checks for frontline health workers and the rest of the population.

Britain initially took a restrained approach to the outbreak but changed tack after modelling showed a quarter of a million people in the country could die.

Italy

Italy, the hardest-hit country so far, has added another 760 dead to its coronavirus death toll. It's now had a confirmed 13,915 deaths and 115,242 confirmed infections.

There are new reports however the death toll has been vastly undercounted, with deaths in rest homes not being added to the official count.

France

Five hundred and seventy people have died in nursing homes in France's eastern region during the coronavirus outbreak, suggesting the national death toll linked to the illness could be far higher than thought.

France on Wednesday became the fourth country to register 4000 coronavirus deaths, but that figure covers only hospitals.

Fatalities in nursing homes have surged in recent days, with dozens of deaths reported across the country. Officials have held back on directly linking the deaths to the coronavirus given the age and health condition of many who have died.

"As of March 31, 411 nursing homes have been affected by COVID-19 out of 620 in the region," The Grand Est Public Health Authority said in a statement. "Five hundred and seventy people have died in total."

Spain

Deaths in Spain have topped 10,000, with 950 recorded deaths in a single day.

Greece

Greece has quarantined a migrant camp after 23 asylum seekers tested positive for the coronavirus, authorities said on Thursday, its first such facility to be hit since the outbreak of the disease.

Tests were conducted after a 19-year-old female migrant living in the camp in central Greece was found infected after giving birth at an Athens hospital last week. She was the first recorded case among thousands of asylum seekers living in overcrowded camps across Greece.

None of the confirmed cases showed any symptoms, the ministry said, adding that it was continuing its tests.

Greece recorded its first coronavirus case at the end of February. It has reported 1425 cases and 53 deaths, excluding the cases on the ferry.

Turkey

Europe's largest city, Istanbul, is running out of time to impose a lockdown and arrest a surge in coronavirus cases as some 2 million people are still venturing daily into the streets, Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu warned on Thursday (April 2).

The number of corona cases in Turkey has surged above 15,000 in less than three weeks. With 60 percent of those cases in Istanbul, the city is crucial to fighting the pandemic, Imamoglu told Reuters in an interview.

Americas

United States

The coronavirus pandemic triggered a record 6.6 million jobless claims in a week and killed nearly 1000 Americans in a single day, the latest data show, as the crisis led officials to order more than 80 percent of the US population to stay home.

As if 10 million Americans losing their jobs in two weeks were not enough, the US death toll soared by 950 on Wednesday to a total of more than 5374, marking the third day in a row of record increases.

Another 26,000 Americans tested positive for the coronavirus, increasing confirmed US cases 228,000, double that of Italy, with the second most,.

Canada

Canada now has more than 10,000 coronavirus cases and the death toll has jumped 21 percent from a day earlier to 127, according to data posted by the country's public health agency on Thursday.

It said the number of cases had risen to 10,132 from 9,017 on Wednesday, at which point 105 people had died.

The agency said it was particularly concerned by the spread of the coronavirus in seniors' residences. 

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the WHO. Photo credit: Getty

Asia

Singapore

So far only four people have died, but the city-state's containment measures are showing signs of strain.

On Wednesday, Singapore reported its biggest daily jump in coronavirus cases, up 74 to 1,000 infections.

More than 70 percent of those were domestic as opposed to imported, and many were unlinked to previous cases, a gauge of how far the disease is spreading in the community.

Indonesia

Indonesia needs to perform "massive" testing to reveal the full spread of the coronavirus and ensure that people who travel home during the approaching Muslim holiday isolate themselves, the governor of the archipelago's most populous province says.

Indonesia's coronavirus death toll rose to 170 on Thursday as the world's fourth-most populous nation passed South Korea as the country with the highest number of recorded fatalities in Asia after China.

The country has confirmed 1790 infections, while 7193 tests have been performed out of a population more than 261 million of as of Thursday, far fewer than many smaller neighbours.

India

India has reported its biggest single-day increase in coronavirus cases as officials race to track down some 9000 people exposed to the country's biggest infection cluster during a Muslim missionary group's gathering in the capital last month.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has placed the world's second most populous nation under a three-week lockdown until mid-April, and so far the number of coronavirus cases lags hard hit countries like the United States, Italy and Spain.

As of Wednesday 50 people had died, but there are fears the death toll would explode if the contagion reaches epidemic proportions among India's 1.3 billion people.

The number of cases jumped by more than half to 1965 on Wednesday, fuelled by infections among people who either attended prayers and lectures at the Tablighi Jamaat's headquarters in a packed densely-packed Delhi neighbourhood or came into contact with them later.

China

China, where the coronavirus outbreak first erupted in December, has logged fewer new infections, but measures restricting movement across the country have tightened in some places due to fear of imported cases.

China had 35 new cases of the disease on April 1, all of which were imported, the National Health Commission said on Thursday.

Middle East and Africa

Iran

Streets and shops were closed across the Iranian capital of Tehran on Thursday (April 2) as the death toll in the country hit 3,160.

Iran announced on Thursday its death toll had reached 3,136, with 124 deaths in the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV, adding that the country had 50,468 cases of infection.

At a meeting broadcast live, Rouhani said tackling coronavirus may take many months.

Iraq

Iraq has thousands of confirmed COVID-19 cases, many times more than the 772 it is has publicly reported, according to three doctors closely involved in the testing process, a health ministry official and a senior political official.

The ministry said in its latest daily statement on Thursday that the total recorded confirmed cases for Iraq were 772, with 54 deaths.

But the three doctors, who work in pharmaceutical teams helping test suspected COVID-19 cases in Baghdad, each said that confirmed cases of the disease, based on discussions among fellow medics who see daily results, were between about 3,000 and 9,000 although they each gave different estimates.

Israel/Palestine

A rising death toll in the coronavirus crisis is forcing a change in Jewish and Muslim burial and mourning traditions in the Holy Land.

In Israel, Jewish dead are normally laid to rest in a cloth smock and shroud, without a coffin. Now, the bodies of coronavirus victims are taken for ritual washing - performed in full protective gear - wrapped in impermeable plastic.

Israel has reported 29 coronavirus deaths so far. The Palestinians have confirmed one fatality so far.

Reuters / Newshub.

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