Coronavirus infections cross 100,000 as Europe sees spike in cases

Coronavirus infections continued to spread rapidly around the world – especially in emerging hot spots across Europe – officially crossing the 100,000 mark globally.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organisation (WHO) tamped down hopes that the outbreak may taper off with warmer weather in summer, saying the virus might continue to spread.

Yesterday, the number of coronavirus patients in Germany jumped to 717. The total is 10 times more than it was a week ago.

The death toll in Italy also rose to 197, with 49 people dying over the past 24 hours. The total number of cases climbed to 4,636. The government, which has ordered the closure of schools, universities and cinemas, was poised to announce sweeping measures, including extending quarantine areas.

As the number of cases globally crossed 102,000 in 94 countries, with more than 3,500 people confirmed dead, the WHO urged all countries to make containing the spread a top priority. Slowing down the epidemic will allow hospitals to prepare themselves and buy time for scientists to do research, said its director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday.

WHO’s head of emergencies programme, Dr Michael Ryan, said scientists did not know how the virus could react to different climatic conditions and had to assume it would have the capacity to spread. “It’s a false hope to say it will just disappear in the summer like influenza.” Some infectious disease experts had said that as viral respiratory diseases are seasonal, Covid-19 may peter out in the next few months.

China, the original epicentre of the disease, meanwhile showed signs of coming to grips with it. It reported 99 new confirmed cases for Friday, the first time the daily number of infections have fallen below 100 since Jan 20.

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