Italy has extended its closure until April 13, but has had its lowest death rate in more than a week, reinforcing indications that the coronavirus epidemic there and in Spain may reach a tray.
“Experts say we are on the right track and that the drastic measures we have taken are starting to pay off,” said Health Minister Roberto Speranza. However, he warned that it would be “unforgivable to assume that this was a final defeat” for Covid-19 and that it would be “a long battle”.
The Italian civil protection authority announced on Wednesday that the country’s count – already the highest in the world – had climbed from 727 deaths to 13,155, and that the number of confirmed infections, including deaths, recovered cases and the current cases had increased by 4,782, holding total to 110,574.
But the daily increase in the number of deaths fell sharply from the figure of 837 on Tuesday, and the 2,937 new active cases represented an increase of 3.8% – more than the previous day, but confirming a downward trend. Two weeks ago, infections increased three to four times that rate.
“The curve tells us that we are at a plateau,” said Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Higher Institute of Health (ISS) in Italy, earlier on Wednesday. “This does not mean that we have reached the summit and that it is finished, but that we have to start the descent … by applying the measures in force.”
According to Johns Hopkins University tracker, the pandemic has infected more than 870,000 people worldwide and killed more than 43,000 people. Almost half of the world’s population lives in some form of requested or compulsory detention.
While China, where the epidemic originated, continues to report virtually no internal transmission, a report by US intelligence services to the White House suggested that Beijing was underreporting the total number of cases and deaths the country suffered.
Three anonymous security officials told Bloomberg the secret report alleged that China’s communication of virus data was intentionally incomplete, and two said the report concluded that China’s figures were wrong . Deborah Birx, the State Department immunologist advising the White House, said Tuesday that she thought “probably we are missing a significant amount of data now that what we see has happened to Italy and what has arrived in Spain “.
Spain, which crossed the 100,000 confirmed Wednesday threshold and reported another record single-day death toll of 864, is now following a pattern similar to that of Italy, officials said on Wednesday. were beginning to see a “change in trend”. Both countries have the highest number of deaths in the world in the pandemic.
Between March 15 and 25, new cases in Spain increased by 20% per day. As of March 25, this rate fell to 12% and below. María José Sierra, of the Spanish center for health emergencies, said the latest figures indicated that the increase in the number of new cases was continuing to stabilize.
“Generally speaking, we can say that the increase in the number of cases yesterday, which was around 8%, tells us that we are continuing in the stabilization phase of the pandemic,” said Sierra during a press conference.
In the United States, meanwhile, deaths from coronavirus have surpassed 1,000 in New York, authorities have warned that the worst has not yet come, while officials in Florida are stuck in a dead end with two cruise ships smoking towards the coast.
In California, the number of people transported to hospital has almost doubled in the past four days and the number of intensive care patients has tripled. Deaths in the United States, which have surpassed those in China, could reach 240,000, according to the White House, Donald Trump warning that the country should expect “two, very painful weeks”.
In other developments:
France reported 509 deaths on Wednesday, its highest daily number since the start of the epidemic, bringing the toll to 4,032. The number of confirmed cases increased by 4,861 to 56,989.
A specially adapted TGV evacuated 36 patients from Paris to Brittany. France has 5,565 patients with coronavirus in intensive care and Grand Paris is approaching its capacity.
South Korea has received requests for help from 121 countries for coronavirus testing, its foreign ministry said.
The heads of three global agencies have warned of the risk of a global food shortage if the authorities do not properly manage the crisis.
Vladimir Putin performs his tasks remotely after meeting a doctor who has since been diagnosed with the virus while Moscow was deploying an application and scanable barcodes to check if people were following the isolation rules.
Saudi Arabia urged Muslims to wait before planning the pilgrimage until the pandemic is clearer.
Japan, which has reported 2,200 confirmed cases and 66 deaths, remains on the brink of a state of emergency as the rate of infections increases, officials said.
The death toll in Iran has reached 3,036, with 47,593 confirmed infections.
As equipment shortages continue to hamper Europe’s response to the pandemic, France, which on Tuesday announced 499 new deaths, its largest increase since the start of the pandemic, said it would invest 4 billion euros (3.5 billion pounds) in “strategic” health products, including masks and respirators, with the aim of making the country “fully and completely self-sufficient” by the end of this year.
“We must now produce in France, on our territory,” said President Emmanuel Macron. “Certain products and materials are of strategic importance and we need Europe to be independent to reduce our dependence. The day after the epidemic will not be like the day before; we must rebuild our national and European sovereignty. “