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Panic buying and rising deaths as effects of coronavirus reverberate around the world


Screening for the virus is carried out in Carolina, Puerto Rico (AP)

Screening for the virus is carried out in Carolina, Puerto Rico (AP)

Screening for the virus is carried out in Carolina, Puerto Rico (AP)

As coronavirus cases ballooned in Europe, several countries imposed or planned new restrictions to curb the spread. Britain told panic buyers to calm down, and California and three other US states directed tens of millions of people to stay at home.

Last night the total number of coronavirus cases globally stood at 305,179. There have been 12,988 recorded deaths, while 94,677 people have recovered. Of the 197,514 patients currently infected, some 188,135 (95pc) are in a "mild condition" while 9,379 (5pc) are either "serious" or "critical".

British authorities yesterday told people panic buying and hoarding food to calm down, pointing to a video on social media showing an exhausted nurse driven to tears by finding shelves bare after her shift. Meanwhile, the British government said it would pay an 80pc share of private sector wage bills to discourage bosses from firing staff. The UK saw 56 new deaths yesterday, with case numbers rising by 1,035 to 5,018.

On the Continent, Italy imposed further draconian restrictions on public life as the death toll leapt by 793 to 4,825 - more than 3,000 of the deaths have been in the Lombardy region. Over 53,500 people have been diagnosed with the virus in the country, up more than 6,500 in a day. Italy also reported that the death rate for men is double that for women.

Spain said it would turn a Madrid conference centre into a giant military hospital, as Europe's second-worst outbreak claimed another 285 lives. In France, another 112 new deaths were reported, taking the death total to 562.

Germany's caseload rise 10pc to 22,084. Berlin may enforce a nationwide curfew if the country's 83 million people fail to keep their distance from each other this weekend. Germany is readying an emergency budget worth more than €150bn to shore up jobs and businesses at risk from the impact of the outbreak.

In the US, New Jersey's governor is expected to follow four other states - California, New York, Illinois and Connecticut - in demanding that millions of Americans close up shop and stay home to slow the spread of infection. The total number of known US cases has climbed past 24,116 in a surge that health officials attributed in large part to an increase in diagnostic testing. More than 288 Americans have died. Economically, the coronavirus stimulus package being negotiated by the US Senate would be worth more than $2 trillion - about 10pc of GDP.

China has reported a record rise in imported coronavirus cases as students and expatriates returned home from the US and EU, sparking fears of a second wave of infections just as the country recovers from the initial outbreak. All 41 of the new confirmed cases in China were imported from overseas, the country's National Health Commission said.

Iran's death toll rose yesterday by more than 100 to 1,556, and the total number of people officially reported infected now exceeds 20,000.

Markets everywhere retreated last Friday after investors who had welcomed the week's fiscal measures ran for cover. The US said it will send a special energy envoy to Saudi Arabia to work with the kingdom on stabilising the global oil market

African cases of the coronavirus have topped 1,000 and at least 40 of Africa's 54 countries are now affected. However, many commentators have speculated that the seeming slow onset of the coronavirus on the Indian sub-continent and in sub-Saharan Africa is in fact rapid, and may perhaps be obscured by poor testing regimes.

Sunday Independent