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US records highest COVID-19 cases as global number crosses half a million mark

US records highest COVID-19 cases as global number crosses half a million mark

The United states on Thursday surpassed China (81,285) and Italy (80,589) after it reported over 16,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in a single day raising the total number of COVID-19 patients to 85,088, the highest for any country. US President Donald Trump attributed the spike in the confirmed cases of coronavirus to the large-scale testing of the deadly disease. "I think it's a tribute to our testing," he said, adding "no one knows what the numbers are in China".

The global number, meanwhile, has passed half a million mark, according to the latest figures on the Johns Hopkins University global dashboard. Cases stand at 510,108 and deaths at 22,993.

Trump discusses COVID-19 crisis with Xi

The leaders of China and the United States spoke over phone on Friday in an attempt to ease tensions building between the two countries over the coronavius pandemic. Soon after, Trump tweeted saying that both the countries are working closely over the issue.

Vice President Mike Pence had earlier said it is important for hospitals and labs testing the samples to report back to the Centre for Disease Control and Federal Emergency Management Agency so that the government has full visibility to provide the President with the best counsel.

At least 1,290 Americans have died due to coronavirus so far. Over 2,000 coronavirus cases were reportedly in a serious condition. The number of confirmed cases as well as the deaths due to COVID-19 are likely to increase substantially in the coming days.

Mainland China reported its first locally transmitted coronavirus case in three days and 54 new imported cases. The 55 new cases reported on Thursday was down from 67 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said in a statement on Friday. There are now 81,340 confirmed cases in mainland China. The death toll stands at 3,292 with five new deaths. Imported coronavirus cases, mostly Chinese nationals returning home, now pose the biggest concern for authorities. Shanghai reported the most new imported cases with 17, followed by 12 in Guangdong and four each in capital Beijing and nearby Tianjin. Shanghai is currently treating a total of 125 patients who entered the city from overseas, including 46 arriving from Britain and 27 from the United States. Hubei province, a region of some 60 million people where the virus first appeared late last year, reported zero new cases on Thursday – a day after lifting a lockdown and reopening its borders as the epidemic there eased.

Italy has reported 6,153 new coronavirus infections with total 80,539 cases, so far. Italy's Civil Protection Agency reported 662 deaths on Thursday, bringing the country's death toll to 8,165, which is the highest in the world. Italy has also become the first western developed nation to idle most of its industry to halt the spread of the coronavirus, in a potential cautionary tale for other governments, such as the Trump administration, that are resisting such drastic measures. After more than two weeks of a nationwide lockdown, the Italian government decided to expand the mandatory closure of nonessential commercial activities to heavy industry in the eurozone's third-largest economy, a major exporter of machinery, textiles and other goods. The move by Italy, which is leading the globe in virus deaths, is more in line with draconian measures taken by China than with declarations coming out of other democratic partners, who are at least a week or two behind Italy's rate of virus infections.

France records 365 deaths, highest in a day

France on Thursday reported that 365 people, including a 16-year-old girl, had died from the coronavirus over the last 24 hours, the country's highest daily toll. Top French health official Jerome Salomon told reporters that a total of 1,696 people had died in hospital in France from the virus, emphasising that the toll does not include those who died at home or at retirement homes. He said that 29,155 people had tested positive for the virus so far in France, adding that the real number of cases was likely far higher as testing was reserved for high-risk patients.

184 new cases in Middle East

In the Middle East, 184 new coronavirus cases were reported on Thursday in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Lebanon, Oman and Kuwait. The Saudi health ministry announced 112 new cases, pushing the total to 1,012. A third death was also reported. In Lebanon, health officials said 35 more patients had tested positive. There were 14 new cases in Bahrain, 10 in Oman, and 13 in Kuwait.

Meanwhile, the Democratic Republic of Congo capital Kinshasa will go into "total confinement" for four days from Saturday to help contain the spread of coronavirus. Governor Gentiny Ngobila on Thursday decreed intermittent four-day confinements over three week. The city will be on lockdown for four days followed by two days to allow residents to shop followed by another four-day lockdown, in a rotation continued for the three-week period.

Afghan returnees from Iran raise fears of another Wuhan

Afghanistan has already imported its epidemic. And each day it adds to it, as thousands more displaced Afghans continue to flow across the border from Iran, which has reported among the world's highest numbers of Covid-19 cases and deaths.The returnees, some surely infected with the coronavirus when in Iran, cluster shoulder to shoulder in massive crowds on both sides of the crossing. More than 115,000 Afghans returned from Iran just between March 8 and 21, according to the International Organization for Migration. The agency said that even if the border crossing were to be closed, Afghans who wanted to get home could easily find a way, given how porous the border is. The city of Herat, with 1.5 million people, is the epicenter of the virus in Afghanistan.

(Inputs and image from

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