Coronavirus: Spain overtakes China in COVID-19 deaths, rises to second worldwide

NEWS 25.03.2020 15:09
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Source: REUTERS/SUSANA VERA

Spain has recorded 3,434 deaths from coronavirus, the health ministry announced Wednesday – making it the country with the second-highest death toll in the world.

That’s an increase of over 27 percent on Tuesday’s figures. The country now has 47,610 cases in total. 

In China, where the outbreak began, 3,281 people have died, according to its National Health Commission.

Italy has the highest death toll in the world at 6,820, according to figures from Johns Hopkins University. The country has more confirmed cases than the Chinese province of Hubei, the original epicenter of the pandemic. Rome announced strict new punishments to try and clamp down on the outbreak, including possible jail time for people who have the virus and violate quarantine.

A top Spanish health official, Fernando Simon, said on Wednesday that he expects the number of Covid-19 cases to continue increasing in the coming days, despite having said earlier this week that he expected infections to peak soon.

Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) President Luis Rubiales has offered the country’s health service access to the national team’s hotel as well as some of its staff to help cope with its coronavirus crisis.

He also said that the national team’s hotel – Hotel Residencia Ciudad Del Fútbol, located in Las Rozas, Madrid – would also be at the disposal of the authorities as a hospital for health workers to stay in.

Italy now has more confirmed cases than the Chinese province of Hubei, the original epicenter of the pandemic. Rome announced strict new punishments to try and clamp down on the outbreak, including possible jail time for people who have the virus and violate quarantine.

Head of German diseases control and prevention agency says “we are at the beginning of the epidemic”

The President of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute, the national agency for disease control and prevention, has warned that the coronavirus epidemic is just starting in the country.

“We are at the beginning of the epidemic and the number is growing,” Lothar Wieler said.

Addressing the comparatively low death rate in Germany, Wieler said “We don’t know why this is the case but there are several factors playing into it.”

There was widespread testing in Germany and many mildly ill people were detected, he said. And there hasn’t been a large number of old people who have fallen sick so far.

But Wieler warned that it is completely “open ended how this epidemic will develop,” and added that the death death toll will rise in Germany.

UN launches $2 billion humanitarian response plan

The United Nations has launched its $2 billion Global Humanitarian Response Plan in the fight against coronavirus in the world’s poorest countries.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres outlined the plan saying it will be coordinated by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, along with existing appeals from the World Health Organization and other UN partners.

“Properly funded, it will save many lives and arm humanitarian agencies and NGO’s with laboratory supplies for testing, and with medical equipment to treat the sick while protecting health care workers,” Guterres said.

“COVID-19 is menacing the whole of humanity – and so the whole of humanity must fight back. Individual country responses are not going to be enough. Wealthy countries with strong health systems are buckling under the pressure,” he added.

Guterres said now is the time to help protect countries who are already in the midst of humanitarian crises, like conflicts, natural disaster and climate change, “We must come to the aid of the ultra-vulnerable – millions upon millions of people who are least able to protect themselves.”

“This is a matter of basic human solidarity. It is also crucial for combatting the virus,” Guterres said.