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Coronavirus latest update, April 3: Over a million infected worldwide, death toll crosses 50,000

Coronavirus latest update, April 3: Over a million infected worldwide, death toll crosses 50,000

Coronavirus Latest Updates: At least one million people across 188 countries have been infected since the Covid-19 outbreak and over 51,000 people have died, according to figures collected by Johns Hopkins University. US has seen by far the most cases, with at least 234,462, while Italy and Spain have also passed the 100,000 mark. Next is Germany, which has reported at least 84,264 cases, and then China, where the outbreak began, which researchers say has seen at least 82,432 cases.

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx said incoming infection data suggested that not enough Americans are abiding by guidelines in the national "call to action" to stem the spread of the virus.

The coronavirus outbreak has thrown 10 million Americans out of work in just two weeks in the swiftest, most stunning collapse the US job market has ever witnessed, and the public health crisis deepened in New York City, where a funeral home in a hard-hit neighborhood had 185 bodies stacked up Thursday – more than triple normal capacity. The dire news of a record-shattering 6.6 million new unemployment claims, on top of last week's unprecedented 3.3 million, came as economists warned unemployment could reach levels not seen since the Depression.

As the situation worsens in US, President Donald Trump is considering intervening to stop the release of some prisoners amid the coronavirus pandemic. Correctional facilities in states such as California, Michigan and Pennsylvania have begun releasing certain inmates as the prisons face a shortage of medical supplies. Trump said Thursday that "we don't like it." The president added that "we're looking to see if I have the right to stop it in some cases." He did not elaborate what measures, or under what legal authority, he would take to stop or reverse the releases.

In other related news in the country, Trump tested negative for the novel coronavirus for a second time and is "healthy" and not displaying any symptoms for the deadly disease, the White House physician has said. The president previously tested negative for the virus in mid-March after coming into contact with two persons who had tested positive. Trump's second test comes as States across the US continue to hand down strict measures to slow down the spread of the COVID-19. America wrestles with the coronavirus pandemic that the White House has warned could kill up to 2,00,000 people during the next fortnight.

Administration officials say the United States' infection and death rate from the virus is akin to what hard-hit Italy is facing. Italy has a population of about 60 million and has recorded nearly 14,000 deaths and 115,000 infections. The United States, with a population of about 327 million, has recorded more than 5,800 deaths and more than 240,000 infections. White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr Deborah Birx noted that Spain, Italy, France, and Germany have begun "to bend their curves." But she says Americans will need to do a better job abiding by social distancing guidelines issued by the White House so the US can do the same. The White House issued its social distancing guidelines on March 16. Americans were advised to work from home when possible, cancel onsite learning and frequently wash hands.

With the coronavirus marching swiftly across the world and nations imposing strict travel restrictions to slow its spread, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) has announced that its health workers cannot continue their mass immunisation drives — and warned this risks a resurgence of the poliovirus. "We're devastated by the fact that we have to stop the activities for a disease that we were working so hard to eradicate," the World Health Organization's Michel Zaffran, who heads GPEI, told AFP on Thursday. He added that the organisation had "never" been forced to halt the programme in this way before. There are only two nations remaining where the wild version of the poliovirus continues to spread — Pakistan and Afghanistan — but a strain that has mutated from the vaccine itself has also caused outbreaks in several nations in Africa.

France reports 471 more coronavirus hospital deaths, toll tops 4,500

France reported 471 more deaths in hospital from COVID-19, bringing the country's official toll from the coronavirus epidemic to 4,503. The French figures include only those who died in hospital and not those who died at home or in old people's homes. However top health official Jerome Salomon told reporters for the first time that an initial count had shown 884 people had died in old people's homes since the epidemic began.

If combined with the hospital toll, this would mean at least 5,387 people have died from COVID-19 in France since the outbreak began. The daily death toll from hospitals was slightly down from the 509 deaths reported on Wednesday. Some 26,000 people are hospitalised in France with 6,399 in intensive care, 382 more than the day earlier but an increase that has also slowed over this week. France has been in lockdown since March 17 in a bid to slow the spread of the epidemic, with only essential trips allowed outside that have to be justified with a signed piece of paper.

South Korea has reported 86 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its caseload above 10,000. South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday said about half of the new cases came from the densely populous Seoul metropolitan area, where infections linked to international arrivals have been rising. South Korea has been enforcing two-week quarantines on all passengers arriving from overseas since Wednesday to stem a rise in imported infections.

Meanwhile, North Korea said only around 500 people remain under coronavirus quarantine in the country after authorities in recent weeks released thousands of others who supposedly had no symptoms. The North's official Korean Central News Agency said Friday the country will continue to strengthen its anti-virus campaign amid the global spread of COVID-19.

The impoverished country has not publicly confirmed a single case of the COVID-19 illness, but state media has described anti-virus efforts as a matter of "national existence." It has banned foreign tourists, shut down nearly all cross-border traffic with China, intensified screening at entry points and mobilized health workers to monitor residents and isolate those with symptoms

Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh at high risk

Aid workers are bracing for a possible outbreak of the coronavirus in one of the world's largest refugee camps in Bangladesh, with officials warning that containing the disease among more than 1 million tightly packed Rohingya Muslims will be a daunting task. With about 40,000 people per square kilometer (103,600 per square mile) living in plastic shacks side by side, which is more than 40 times the average density of Bangladesh, the refugees are dangerously exposed to the virus. Each shack is barely 10 square meters (107 square feet) and many are overcrowded with up to 12 people. There have been no reported cases of infection in the camps yet, but officials remain concerned. The UN is not doing any testing for the virus but sends any suspected cases to a government hospital. Bangladesh has reported six deaths and 54 cases of COVID-19 amid concerns that the virus could spread in the South Asian country through Bangladeshis who have returned from Italy and other places struggling with the disease.

(Inputs and image from theindianexpress.com)

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