Though the tally kept by Johns Hopkins records one million confirmed cases, the actual number is thought to be much higher.
It took a month and a half for the first 100,000 cases to be registered, but one million was reached after a doubling in cases over the past week.
Nearly a quarter of cases have been registered in the US, while Europe accounts for around half.
On April 2, Spain said 950 people had died in the previous 24 hours – thought to be the highest number of deaths of any country in one day.
The number of confirmed Spanish cases rose from 102,136 on April 1 to 110,238 – an 8% rise that is similar to the rate recorded in previous days. Spanish authorities believe the virus is now peaking and say they expect to see a drop in figures in the days ahead.
Spain is the second-worst hit nation in terms of deaths. It has also lost nearly 900,000 jobs.
The travel ban will affect all
non-EU nationals from visiting the bloc, except long-term residents, family
members of EU nationals and diplomats, cross-border and healthcare workers, and
people transporting goods.
Free travel is a cherished principle
within the European border-free Schengen area. However, in recent days many
countries have unilaterally imposed full or partial border shutdowns in a bid
to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
This prompted the EU Commission to
propose that the bloc act in a more unified fashion and restrict entry to the
union as a whole, at the urging of French President Emmanuel Macron.
The measures were agreed in a video-summit between EU leaders on March 17
and will now have to be implemented by member states.
EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said at a press conference: “They said they will immediately do
“This is good, so that we have a
unanimous and united approach [where] the external borders are concerned.”
The UK and the Republic of Ireland – which is part of the EU but not Schengen – will be invited to join the measure.
Italy is now facing its biggest crisis since World War Two. The government
has pledged to spend €25 billion ($28 billion) to tackle it – three times more
than it estimated it would need just a week ago. The economy is now expected to
slide into deep recession.
However, the foreign minister sounded a note of optimism, with a message to
the international community that “Italy will make it and Europe will make
it – I’m sure”.
He offered to share the experience and knowledge that the Italian government
had built up since the outbreak began with any country that needed it.
Italy has now seen 1,016 deaths, amid a total number 15,113 infections.
Civil protection officials say 1,258 have recovered, although the number of cases
has gone up by 2,651 since March 11. Italy is the world’s worst-hit country
Countries across the world have grounded flights to Italy or banned entry to
Italians or anyone travelling from Italy. Austria and Slovenia are placing
restrictions on their borders with Italy.
Italian nationals living in other countries have also reported individual
acts of hostility towards them, deplored by the foreign minister as
“unacceptable discrimination”, prompting “interventions”
from his government.
A handful of politicians here have been infected with the virus or are in
preventative self-isolation, including the leader of the Democratic Party, part
of the governing coalition.
Italian authorities say it could take two weeks for the impact of the
restrictions to be seen on the coronavirus outbreak nationwide, which is still
surging in towns and cities outside the initial red zone.
It is placing exceptional strain on Italy’s healthcare system – one of the
best in Europe.
The government has named a new commissioner to deal with the virus, Domenico Arcuri. He will co-ordinate the program to resupply hospitals with equipment they urgently need.
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