Virus torments US, Europe as global case count crosses 400k
Italy records 743 deaths, Spain 514 in just 24 hours; US registers stunning one-day rise in cases by 10,000 as global Covid-19 figures race past another grim milestone.Updated: Mar 25, 2020 13:55 IST
While Italy and Spain recorded huge spikes in deaths from Covid-19 on Tuesday, the US witnessed a staggering 10,000 new cases and more than 130 deaths in just one day.
The coronavirus pandemic, which has now infected more than 400,000 people worldwide and killed more than 18,000 people, has clearly tightened its grip across the Atlantic - both in the US as well as across the European continent.
With more than 600 fatalities in all, the US is now among the top six worst-hit nations in terms of death toll.
Italy reported 743 deaths, surging to break a two-day trend, while Spanish authorities recorded a further 514 deaths, the worst for a single day, as the country struggled to contain the outbreak despite strict rules that are keeping people in their homes. The daily toll on Tuesday was the second highest recorded in Italy.
There’s no sign yet of the pandemic peaking, and different countries are at varying stages of trying to cope with the sheer influx of patients to hospitals and the effects on economies as a result of keeping people indoors.
The French and German governments are looking at further measures to keep companies afloat and pump money into the system once the virus risk eases, on top of aid already committed.
Italy passed China last week to become the epicentre of Covid-19, yet the focus on Tuesday was on Spain, where fatalities increased to 2,696 from 2,182 the day before. The number of confirmed cases rose to just shy of 40,000.
Spain is already in the second week of a lockdown set to continue until April 11, with severe restrictions on mobility, as police patrol the streets and the army helps to move patients.
Italy’s government may now impose fines of up to 3,000 euros ($3,260) for violations of the lockdown. A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday is expected to approve the fines, and give police powers to seize vehicles of anyone caught violating the restrictions, according to people familiar with the matter.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel is evaluating an additional stimulus programme to help revive the economy.
The pandemic has reached Ecuador’s Galapagos Islands, a Unesco World Heritage site, an official source said. Four people contracted the disease.
The four permanent residents of the archipelago had returned to the islands from the port of Guayaquil with more than half of its near 1,000 confirmed cases.