Coronavirus latest: US overtakes Italy as death toll now highest in the world
US deaths due to the coronavirus surpassed 19,600 on Saturday, the highest reported number in the world, according to a Reuters tally, although there are signs the pandemic might be nearing a peak.
Italy has the second most reported deaths at 19,468 and Spain is in third place with 16,353. The United States has five times the population of Italy and nearly seven times the population of Spain.
Confirmed Covid-19 cases
The United States has seen its highest death tolls to date in the epidemic with roughly 2,000 deaths a day reported for the last four days in a row.
The global death toll now stands at more than 104,000.
Here are the latest developments:
Johnson making ‘good progress’ as UK death toll nears 10,000
Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson was making “very good progress” on Saturday in his recovery in hospital from coronavirus, officials said, as the number of deaths in Britain from the disease approached the grim milestone of 10,000.
The 55-year-old leader was spending his second full day out of intensive care at London’s St Thomas’ Hospital, where he has been able to take short walks between periods of rest, according to Downing Street.
“The Prime Minister continues to make very good progress,” a No. 10 spokeswoman said in a short statement.
News of his improvement contrasted with the latest official statistics showing Britain recorded nearly 1,000 daily COVID-19 deaths for the second consecutive day – one of the worst rates globally.
The health ministry announced another 917 coronavirus hospital patients had died in the latest 24-hour period, down from the toll on Friday but still the country’s second highest yet.
France’s coronavirus death toll rises to 13,832
France’s death toll from the new coronavirus outbreak rose to 13,832 on Saturday, but the number of patients in intensive care fell for the third day in a row, raising hopes that a nationwide lockdown is curbing the spread of the disease.
The number of people in intensive care units fell to 6,883 from 7,004 a day before, it added.
The health ministry said that 353 people had died in hospitals and 290 in nursing homes.
On Friday the death toll had jumped by 987 as nursing home deaths increased.
The number of confirmed and suspected infections so far in France, taking into account nursing home figures, stood at 118,479 as of Saturday, according to Reuters calculations based on the new data issued by the ministry.
Kremlin defends WHO against Trump criticism
Russia has defended the World Health Organisation (WHO) against recent criticism by US President Donald Trump, arguing that the UN body is contributing significantly to the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week, Trump said the WHO “really blew” its response to the virus by focusing too much on China and giving the United States bad advice at the beginning of the outbreak. In a tweet, he also said Washington would take a “good look” at its WHO funding.
The WHO “is now doing a lot to curb the pandemic,” Russian President Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told state television on Saturday, according to the TASS news agency.
New York City to keep schools closed
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Saturday that public schools in the city would remain closed to the end of the school year as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage, but the state’s governor later said the decision was up to him.
“There is nothing easy about this decision,” the mayor said at a morning news conference, before adding that “it clearly will help us save lives.”
But hours later, Governor Andrew Cuomo insisted that the authority to make such a call was his.
“You can’t make a decision just within New York City without coordinating that decision with the whole metropolitan region, because it all works together,” Cuomo said.
The governor said he understood de Blasio’s position, “which is he wants to close them until June, and we may do that, but we’re going to do it in a coordinated sense with the other localities.”
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