Spain's death toll has surpassed China's and the country's hospitals have been badly hit. (Handout photo: Comunidad de Madrid )
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the global number of reported cases of COVID-19 rose to 465,915, with 21,031 confirmed deaths as of 5:06 am (BJT) on Friday. WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned: "Almost half a million people have already been infected, and more than 20,000 have lost their lives. The pandemic is accelerating at an exponential rate.”
Current status (data as of 9:30 am BJT, March 27):
The United States has surpassed China to become the country with the most COVID-19 cases in the world. The nationwide tally grew over 10,000 cases in less than five hours. Health workers in New York City are increasingly concerned about the ravages of the illness in their own ranks, and that the lack of testing and protective gear is making it not a matter of if they get it, but when.
The Chinese mainland reported 55 new confirmed COVID-19 cases by the end of Thursday, 54 of which were imported from abroad. Infections originating overseas became a top concern as the total number of imported cases rose to 595. Chinese foreign ministry on Thursday announced a temporary suspension of entry by foreign nationals holding valid Chinese visas or residence permits.
Italy became the first Western developed nation to idle most of its industry to halt the spread of the coronavirus, which has claimed over 8,000 lives in the eurozone’s third-largest economy.
The British government decided it will offer self-employed people 80 percent of wages for at least three months, up to 2,500 pounds ($3,034 US) a month, a move to help them get through the challenging time amid the coronavirus outbreak.
Canada opposes a plan by the US to send troops to its northern frontier to catch border jumpers who may be carrying COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said.