Close to one billion across the world stay home to tackle virus pandemic
New York: Close to one billion people worldwide were confined to their homes on Saturday as the global coronavirus death toll shot past 11,000 and US states rolled out lockdown measures already imposed across swathes of Europe.
The virus death toll surged past 11,000 worldwide, with 4,000 alone in worst-hit Italy where the daily number of fatalities has shot up relentlessly over the past week.
An estimated 900 million people are now confined to their homes in 35 countries around the world — including 600 million hemmed in by obligatory government lockdown orders — according to an AFP tally.
While the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are the hardest hit by the virus, the World Health Organization warned that young people were also vulnerable.
“Today I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks — or even kill you,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said.
“Even if you don’t get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else.”
China on Saturday reported no new local infections for a third straight day, and the WHO said the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the virus emerged late last year, offered a glimmer of “hope for the rest of the world”.
Italy reported its worst single day death toll Friday, adding another 627 fatalities and taking its reported total to 4,032 despite efforts to stem the spread.
The nation of 60 million now accounts for 36 percent of the world’s coronavirus deaths and its death rate of 8.6 percent among confirmed infections is significantly higher than in most other countries.