US could become next coronavirus epicentre, WHO warns as global death toll surpass 18,000
Confirmed cases across the United States have exceeded 50,860, with 653 deaths and 360 recovering from the COVID-19 illness
GENEVA – The World Health Organisation said on Tuesday that the United States could become the global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic that has caused a global lockdown amid an unprecedented wave of fear and panic among the human race.
In Geneva, WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris told reporters there had been a “very large acceleration” in infections in the United States.
Her statement comes as confirmed cases across the United States exceeded 50,860, with 653 deaths and 360 recovering from the illness.
The coronavirus COVID-19 is affecting 195 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan).
More than 18,000 people have died and over 410,000 infected by the disease as it spreads rapidly to new territories. The epicentre of the outbreak has now shifted from China to Europe, which is recording a rapid rise in new cases every day. A total of 107,200 people have also recovered from the mysterious illness.
Over the previous 24 hours, 85 percent of new cases were in Europe and the United States, and of those, 40 percent were in the United States.
Of the top 10 countries by case numbers, Italy has reported the highest fatality rate, at around 10%, which at least partly reflects its older population. The fatality rate globally - the ratio of deaths to confirmed infections - is around 4.3%, though national figures can vary widely according to how much testing is done.
Britain, believed by experts to be about two weeks behind Italy in the outbreak cycle, on Tuesday began curbs on movement without precedent in peacetime after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the country to stay at home.
Meanwhile China’s Hubei province, the original center of the outbreak, will lift curbs on people leaving the area, but other regions will tighten controls as new cases double due to imported infections.
The provincial capital Wuhan, which has been in total lockdown since Jan. 23, will lift its travel restrictions on April 8.
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