More than 590,000 declared cases have been registered in 183 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 132,440 are now considered recovered. Friday was the deadliest day after the deadly virus outbreak as 2,871 more patients died of the disease.
The tallies, using data collected from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), likely reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.
Many countries are now only testing cases that require hospitalisation. Italy, which recorded its first coronavirus death in February, has to date declared 8,165 fatalities, with 80,539 infections and 9,362 people recovered. Like Italy, Spain also has more fatalities than China with 4,858, as well as having 64,059 infections.
China, excluding Hong Kong and Macau has to date declared 3,292 deaths and 81,340 cases, with 74,588 recoveries. The country declared 55 new cases and five new fatalities since Thursday. The other worst-hit countries are Iran with 2,378 fatalities and 32,332 cases, and France with 1,696 deaths and 29,155 cases.
The United States has the highest number of infected people with 85,991 diagnosed cases and 1,296 deaths. Cases there have more than doubled in four days, from 41,511 on Monday, making it the country with the fastest progression rate.
Since 1900 GMT Thursday, Honduras, Venezuela, Nicaragua and Uzbekistan have announced their first deaths. Saint Kitts and Nevis has announced its first case.
By continent, Europe has listed 292,246 cases and 16,925 deaths to date, Asia 101,935 cases and 3,682 deaths, the Middle East 38,896 cases and 2,437 deaths, the US and Canada together 89,400 cases with 1,332 deaths, Latin America and the Caribbean 10,056 cases with 182 deaths, Africa 3,340 cases with 91 deaths and Oceania 3,491 cases with 14 deaths.
Meanwhile, Italy’s coronavirus epidemic could peak in the next few days, experts said Friday, but regional authorities warned the crisis was far from over, as four more frontline doctors died.
The National Health Institute (ISS) cautiously suggested lockdown measures to curb the spread of the disease — which has claimed over 8,100 lives and infected some 80,000 people — may soon bear fruit.
“I want to be clear on one point. We have not peaked yet,” the institute´s head Silvio Brusaferro said. “There are signs of a slowdown, which makes us believe that we are close, we could peak in the next few days.”
But virologist Fabrizio Pregliasco warned that would not translate into a go-ahead to ease lockdown measures. The slight slowing in case numbers “should strengthen our desire to continue. We must not drop our guard.”
And Brusaferro said any lifting of strict measures would have to be done with extreme caution. Meanwhile, the two men leading Britain´s fight against the coronavirus — Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his Health Secretary Matt Hancock — both announced they had tested positive for COVID-19.
Johnson said he began feeling unwell on Thursday and was tested on the personal advice of England´s chief medical officer with whom he has also been working closely alongside.
The news came as the government said a total of 14,579 cases have so far been confirmed in Britain, while the number of deaths has risen by almost 200 to 759.
Johnson, 55, announced the diagnosis in a video message on his 10 Downing Street Twitter account: “Over the last 24 hours I have developed mild symptoms and tested positive for coronavirus.
“I am now self-isolating, but I will continue to lead the government´s response via video-conference as we fight this virus,” he said.
“Be in no doubt that I can continue thanks to the wizardry of modern technology to communicate with all my top team to lead the national fightback against coronavirus.”
Johnson´s test was carried out in No 10 by NHS staff, his spokesman told reporters, as questions were asked whether other senior ministers could be affected.
The premier would self-isolate for seven days and work from the flat above 11 Downing Street, where he lives.
“He had a couple of mild symptoms in relation to a cough and a temperature. From the moment he had symptoms he took steps to make sure that he was not in close contact with anyone.” Downing Street said Johnson was “continuing to do all of the same functions” as before his diagnosis.
There was no comment on the health of Johnson´s partner, Carrie Symonds, who is in self-isolation after announcing earlier this month she was pregnant with the couple´s first child. But the spokesman said it had been a “significant period of time” since Johnson met Queen Elizabeth II, 93.
She has been with her 98-year-old husband, Prince Philip at Windsor Castle, west of London, since March 19, as a precaution. Johnson, who in early March insisted the virus would not stop him shaking hands, was pictured speaking to queen by telephone instead of meeting her in person for a weekly audience.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said the monarch last saw Johnson in person on March 11.
“Her Majesty the Queen remains in good health… and is following all the appropriate advice with regard to her welfare,” he added. Earlier this week, Prince Charles, the queen´s eldest son and heir, tested positive for the virus and is recovering in Scotland.