Coronavirus: Spain’s death toll tops 9,000, UN warns pandemic is ‘world’s worst crisis’ since WW2

Coronavirus: Spain’s death toll tops 9,000, UN warns pandemic is ‘world’s worst crisis’ since WW2

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Spain’s death toll due to the coronavirus has now topped 9,000, the country’s health authorities said on Wednesday.

Another 864 people died in the latest 24 hour period, another record for Europe’s worst affected nation after Italy.

The total number of infections rose above 100,000, an increase of over 7,700 from the previous day. The overall figure now stands at 102,136.

However, the statistics also show that the daily rise in the number of fatalities is continuing to decline. Wednesday’s number represents an increase on the overall total of just over 10% in 24 hours, compared to some 27% a week ago.

More patients are also recovering. The figures show 22,647 people in Spain have been cured, around 20% of the overall number of cases.

The UK on Wednesday revealed 563 deaths, bring the death toll in the country to 2,352. It also revealed that 152,979 people had been tested for coronavirus.

The latest statistics follow stark warnings from both the head of the United Nations and the American president.

The UN’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the world faced a global crisis on a scale not seen since the organisation’s creation after the Second World War.

Donald Trump meanwhile abandoned predictions of an early resolution to the crisis, urging Americans to heed official guidelines as “a matter of life and death”.

The latest from Europe

  • This year’s Edinburgh festivals have become the latest big events to be cancelled because of the pandemic. Both international festival and fringe festival organisers confirmed the news.
  • The Netherlands has extended its lockdown period until April 28. The country has now reported over 1,000 deaths.
  • Poland is bringing in new measures restricting movement, including closing non-essential businesses. Children under-18 can only go outside accompanied by an adult.
  • Turkey is sending a plane load of medical supplies to Italy and Spain, Turkish media report.
  • Belgium reported on Tuesday the death of a 12-year-old girl from the virus, while the UK said a 13-year-old boy from London had also died.
  • EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen warned that emergency measures must not compromise Europe’s “fundamental principles and values”.
  • It came the day after Hungary’s parliament approved sweeping new powers for Viktor Orban’s government. France and Belgium have also boosted executive powers.
  • France’s daily COVID-19 death toll doubled in a week, Tuesday’s figures revealed. 359,000 fines have been imposed and 5.8 million security checks carried out during the first fortnight of the lockdown, the French interior minister says.
  • Italy’s daily death toll also topped 800 again but authorities are cautiously talking of reaching a plateau in the number of cases.

‘Worst crisis’ since World War Two, UN warns

The head of the United Nations warned late on Tuesday that the global coronavirus is the worst crisis the world has faced since World War II.

Antonio Guterres spoke as the UN launched a report on the social and economic damage caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The new coronavirus disease is attacking societies at their core, claiming lives and people’s livelihoods,” the UN Secretary General said. “COVID-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations.”

“We are facing a global health crisis unlike any in the 75-year history of the United Nations — one that is killing people, spreading human suffering, and upending people’s lives,” the report said.

‘Help the poorest and most vulnerable’

Commenting on the UN report, Antonio Guterres called for “coordinated, decisive, inclusive and innovative” action from the world’s richer nations to help “the poorest and most vulnerable people and countries”.

Otherwise the world would “face the nightmare of the disease spreading like wildfire in the global South with millions of deaths and the prospect of the disease re-emerging where it was previously suppressed”, he said.

The UN chief called for countries to implement policies that support health and unemployment insurance, social protection, while also boosting businesses to prevent bankruptcies and job losses.

Trump’s about-turn

Meanwhile U.S. President Donald Trump has warned Americans to brace for a “hell of a bad two weeks” ahead as the White House projected there could be between 100,000 and 240,000 deaths in the U.S. from the pandemic. However, it said such figures were not inevitable.

Trump said following official guidelines was a “matter of life and death” for Americans and predicted the country would soon see a “light at the end of the tunnel”.

So far the pandemic has killed more than 3,500 Americans and infected 170,000 more.

The US president’s comments came after he announced on Sunday an extension to April 30 of the social distancing guidelines. Americans are advised to stop large gatherings and work from home.

It was an abrupt reversal for Donald Trump, who said earlier he wanted the country back to normal by Easter on April 12, and wanted to see Americans “pack the pews” for Easter Sunday church services.

He also rejected those who compared the new coronavirus to the flu — despite having repeatedly done so himself.

The president played down concerns from New York’s Andrew Cuomo and other governors that state hospitals don’t have enough ventilators. Trump said the federal government had a stockpile of 10,000 ventilators and planned to distribute them as needed.__EuroNews

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