As another day of battle between the coronavirus COVID-19 and humanity came to an end, the total number of cases across 184 nations reached 1,447,412 and the death toll stood at 91,783 at 11.45 pm (IST) on Thursday.
The US continues to record the highest number of cases at 3,63,851, followed by Spain at 152,446, Italy at 143,626, Germany at 114,257, and France at 83,080. So far, Italy has witnessed the highest death toll across all the nations at 18,279, followed by the US at 15,774, Spain at 15,238, France at 10,887 and the UK at 7,111.
France on Thursday reported its first fall in the number of patients in intensive care suffering from COVID-19 since the coronavirus epidemic began, with 82 fewer people in intensive care units compared with the day earlier. There are now 7,066 patients in intensive care, top French health official Jerome Salomon told reporters, adding that the total combined death toll in hospitals and nursing homes had now risen to 12,210. Urging people to keep on observing a nationwide lockdown, he said: "Thanks to these measures, we are in the process of putting the brakes on the epidemic."
The Italian government is planning to extend its lockdown to contain the country`s COVID-19 outbreak until May 3, two trade union sources told Reuters on Thursday after meeting ministers. The lockdown, closing most Italian businesses and preventing people leaving their homes for all but essential needs, has been in place since March 9 and was due to end on April 13.
However, the union sources and an industry source said the closure of all industries not essential to the supply chain could be slightly eased before the end of April, with a few factory sites allowed to reopen if health conditions permit. Data from the Civil Protection Agency earlier on Thursday showed that deaths from the coronavirus and new infections both accelerated over the past 24 hours compared with the day before.
Deaths from the COVID-19 epidemic in Italy rose by 610 on Thursday, up from 542 the day before, and the number of new cases also came in higher at 4,204 from a previous 3,836. The daily tally of cases was the highest since April 5 and comes as a disappointment to a country in lockdown since March 9, anxious for clear signs that the illness is in retreat.
Spain`s prime minister warned on Thursday that nationwide confinement would likely last until May even though he said the worst should soon be over and the death toll slowed from one of the world`s most devastating outbreaks of the coronavirus. Speaking to a near-empty parliament as more than 300 lawmakers participated remotely, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said latest data showed Spain was close to the start of a decline in the epidemic. "The fire starts to come under control," he said.