Italy has logged a shocking spike in its already staggering COVID-19 death toll, with officials warning the peak of the crisis was still days away, as the global infection rate surges relentlessly upward.
With more than 300,000 people infected in Europe alone, the disease shows few signs of slowing.
Italy recorded 969 deaths from the virus on Friday — the worst one-day toll anywhere since the pandemic began.
One COVID-19 patient, a cardiologist from Rome who has since recovered, recalled his experience at a hospital in the Italian capital.
“The treatment for the oxygen therapy is painful, looking for the radial artery is difficult. Desperate other patients were crying out: ‘Enough, enough,’” he said.
In one bright spot, infection rates in Italy continued their downward trend.
Spain, too, said its rate of new infections was slowing, despite also reporting its deadliest day.
The death toll in Spain yesterday surged to more than 5,600 after a record 832 people died in 24 hours, and the number of infections soared to more than 72,000, the government said.
Other countries across the world were bracing for the virus’ full impact, with Agence France-Presse tallies showing more than 26,000 deaths globally.
The WHO’s regional director for Africa said that the continent faced a “dramatic evolution” of the pandemic, as South Africa also began life under lockdown and reported its first virus death.
As Europe and the US struggle to contain the pandemic, aid groups have warned that the death toll could be in the millions in low-income countries and war zones, such as Syria and Yemen, where hygiene conditions are already dire and healthcare systems are in tatters.
“Refugees, families displaced from their homes, and those living in crisis will be hit the hardest by this outbreak,” the International Rescue Committee said.
GOOD SIGN: After reporting no domestic cases for 44 days, Chen Shih-chung said event rules would be relaxed, but people should still practice social distancing or wear masks The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced that its main strategy would now be to maintain strict border controls, but that it would start relaxing domestic regulations from Sunday next week. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that there were no new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections yesterday, and a total of 416 infected patients have been removed from isolation after treatment. While confirmed cases continued to increase globally, reaching more than 5.5 million yesterday, there have been no domestic cases in Taiwan for 44 consecutive days, he said. Infection control measures would continue to
EXCESS: The CECC needs to determine the number of masks it needs to requisition before making a decision this week on allowing manufacturers to export the surplus Taiwan is planning to lift a ban on surgical mask exports on Monday next week, Deputy Minister of Health and Welfare Hsueh Jui-yuan (薛瑞元) said yesterday, as the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) reported no new cases of COVID-19 infection. Once the CECC has confirmed the volume of masks it needs to requisition, it would finalize the plan to allow mask exports, likely later in the week, said Hsueh, who heads the center’s medical response division. Taiwan instituted a mask rationing system in February, at the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak. As the supply of masks is now sufficient to meet basic consumer
Hong Kong police yesterday cast a dragnet around the territory’s Legislative Council, firing pepper-ball rounds and arresting hundreds as they stamped down on protests against a bill banning insults to the Chinese national anthem. The latest unrest comes days after China announced separate plans to impose a sweeping national security law on Hong Kong following last year’s huge pro-democracy rallies. That move has prompted US President Donald Trump to warn that Hong Kong might lose its status as a global financial center if the territory’s freedoms and vaunted judicial independence are swept aside. Yesterday’s protests were sparked by a debate over a new
China yesterday threatened countermeasures against the US if it was punished for plans to impose a sedition law on Hong Kong, which the territory’s security chief hailed as a new tool that would defeat “terrorism.” Beijing plans to pass a new security law for Hong Kong that bans treason, subversion and sedition after months of massive, often-violent pro-democracy protests last year. However, many Hong Kongers, business groups and Western nations fear the proposal could be a death blow to the territory’s treasured freedoms and thousands took to the streets on Sunday, despite a ban on mass gatherings introduced to combat the COVID-19