Europe coronavirus toll tops 30,000 as UN warns of worst crisis since WWII

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With Italy and Spain bearing the brunt of the crisis in Europe, the death toll in the US is now more than 4,000 — higher than the declared number of fatalities in China. — Courtesy photo

PARIS: More than 30,000 people in Europe have died from the coronavirus pandemic so far, according to news reports on Tuesday.

The number of confirmed cases around the world is now nearing 860,000, with more than 42,000 deaths.

With Italy and Spain bearing the brunt of the crisis in Europe, the death toll in the US is now more than 4,000 — higher than the declared number of fatalities in China.

On Wednesday, Spain recorded another 864 deaths related to coronavirus, the highest in one day,

More than 9,000 people have died in Spain, which is second only to Italy in fatalities caused by the virus.

Confirmed cases in the country have passed 100,000, but numbers show the infection rate continues to fall.

Spain has been in lockdown for over two weeks, with further restrictions on movement introduced two days ago. But health services in the hardest-hit areas, including Madrid and Catalonia, are still struggling, with shortages of medical equipment a particular problem.

Italy is the worst-hit country in Europe. The number of infections has reached 105,792, including 12,428 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The southern European nation has been in lockdown since early March. The Italian health minister said on Wednesday the lockdown measures will be extended until April 13.

Meanwhile in a warning, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said the current coronavirus outbreak is the biggest challenge for the world since World War II.

He said it could bring a recession "that probably has no parallel in the recent past".

His warning comes amid dire predictions about the possible economic impact of measures imposed to fight the virus.

Speaking at the UN headquarters in New York at the launch of a report on the potential socioeconomic impact of the outbreak, Guterres said: "The new coronavirus disease is attacking societies at their core, claiming lives and people's livelihoods".

"Covid-19 is the greatest test that we have faced together since the formation of the United Nations," he said, calling for "an immediate coordinated health response to suppress transmission and end the pandemic".


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