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FLAGS were lowered to half-mast and church bells tolled across Spain today as the nation declared official mourning over the growing number of victims of coronavirus.
Three-quarters of a million people around the world have become infected and over 35,000 have died, according to a running count kept by Johns Hopkins University in the United States.
Madrid announced more than 800 more deaths, bringing the country’s total to 7,300. Six of its 17 regions are now occupying all available intensive-care beds as builders race to construct new field hospitals.
But 15 per cent of the 85,195 official cases of Covid-19 in the country – the world’s third-highest infection tally after the US (140,000) and Italy (97,689) – are medical workers, creating further problems in containing the disease.
Italy reported 756 new deaths, confirming a trend since Friday of deaths dropping by about 10 per cent a day. The country has lost more people to coronavirus than any other so far – more than 11,000 – but lung specialist Dr Luca Richeldi said he hoped the downward trend showed it was turning a corner.
“We are saving lives by staying at home, by maintaining social distance, by travelling less and by closing schools,” he said.
In the US, President Donald Trump extended social-distancing measures for a month as the number of coronavirus dead surpassed 1,000 in its hardest-hit city, New York. Experts said Detroit and New Orleans were showing signs that the virus would soon “take off” there.
Though China – with over four times the population of the US – managed to cap deaths at under 4,000 with a strict lockdown that at its height saw 700 million people ordered to stay at home, Mr Trump declared on Sunday night that the US would have done “a very good job” if it managed to lose less than 100,000 lives to the virus.
Russia appeared to expect to be hit next, announcing a lockdown in Moscow. The capital so far accounts for 1,200 of the country’s 1,800 confirmed cases.
In Africa, Zimbabwe announced it was also going into lockdown.
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