Virus ad­vances world­wide

Pretoria News - - WORLD - |

THE Covid-19 pan­demic ad­vanced yes­ter­day after the US and Europe re­ported soar­ing new cases, prompt­ing a scram­ble in some re­gions to set up ad­di­tional hos­pi­tal beds and re­plen­ish much-needed med­i­cal sup­plies.

Italy an­nounced its big­gest dayto-day in­crease of in­fec­tions, which rose by 6 600 with nearly 800 new fa­tal­i­ties. The coun­try’s to­tal death toll of more than 4825 has sur­passed the num­ber of deaths in China, where the first cases emerged late last year.

In the US, where mul­ti­ple states have or­dered res­i­dents to stay in­doors, New York Gover­nor An­drew Cuomo said the govern­ment was “lit­er­ally scour­ing the globe look­ing for med­i­cal sup­plies”. Health-care work­ers coun­try­wide sought do­na­tions of pro­tec­tive equip­ment. Staff at a Detroit hos­pi­tal be­gan cre­at­ing home-made face masks for work­ers.

Even ru­ral hospi­tals were strained as peo­ple in­creas­ingly felt the pan­demic clos­ing in. In Wash­ing­ton, ne­go­tia­tors from Congress and the White House re­sumed top-level talks on a bal­loon­ing $1 tril­lion-plus (R17 tril­lion) eco­nomic res­cue pack­age, urged by Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to strike a deal to steady a na­tion thor­oughly up­ended by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic.

Trump con­tin­ued to strike a con­fi­dent tone about the na­tion’s abil­ity to de­feat the pan­demic soon, even as health lead­ers na­tion­wide ac­knowl­edged that the US was nowhere near the peak for the out­break.

“We are go­ing to be cel­e­brat­ing a great victory in the not too dis­tant fu­ture,” he said.

The con­ta­gion is start­ing to be felt in US ci­ties far from ma­jor metropoli­tan ar­eas, in­clud­ing places that have re­sisted dras­tic shut­down mea­sures.

About 150 coun­tries now have con­firmed cases, and deaths have been re­ported in more than 30 Amer­i­can states. There are now more than 300 000 con­firmed cases world­wide, ac­cord­ing to a run­ning tally by Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity.

For most peo­ple, the new coro­n­avirus causes only mild or moder­ate symp­toms, such as fever and cough.

For some, es­pe­cially older adults and peo­ple with ex­ist­ing health prob­lems, it can cause more se­vere ill­ness, in­clud­ing pneu­mo­nia.

The vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple re­cover from the new virus. Ac­cord­ing to the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion, peo­ple with mild ill­ness re­cover in about two weeks, while those with more se­vere ill­ness may take three to six weeks.

In Italy, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties in the hard-hit north­ern re­gions have been plead­ing with the na­tional govern­ment to en­act stricter mea­sures.

Ital­ian Premier Giuseppe Conte told the na­tion he was tight­en­ing a lock­down and shut­ting down all pro­duc­tion fa­cil­i­ties ex­cept those pro­vid­ing es­sen­tial goods and ser­vices. He cau­tioned cit­i­zens to be calm and pa­tient, say­ing there was no al­ter­na­tive.

Rus­sia’s De­fence Min­istry said it was ready to fly mo­bile med­i­cal teams and dis­in­fec­tion equip­ment to Italy, and a plane de­liv­ered 100 tons of sup­plies from China to the Czech Repub­lic as part of a Nato pro­gramme.

Be­hind China and Italy, Spain now has the third-high­est num­ber of in­fec­tions world­wide, fol­lowed by the US.

Span­ish health au­thor­i­ties have ac­knowl­edged that some in­ten­sive care units in the hard­est-hit ar­eas are close to their limit.

The army was build­ing a field hos­pi­tal with 5 500 beds in a con­ven­tion cen­tre in Madrid, where ho­tels are be­ing turned into wards for pa­tients with­out se­ri­ous breath­ing prob­lems.

Colom­bia re­ported its first death from Covid-19 on Satur­day. The pa­tient was a taxi driver, 58, who had driven tourists from Italy, au­thor­i­ties said, adding that he had pre­vi­ous health is­sues, in­clud­ing di­a­betes.

Pres­i­dent Iván Duque has pro­hib­ited all non-res­i­dent for­eign­ers from en­ter­ing the coun­try and has de­creed a manda­tory quar­an­tine start­ing to­mor­row. Colom­bia has con­firmed 210 cases of the coro­n­avirus.

Lock­downs and cur­fews con­tinue across the globe in a bid to con­tain the spread of in­fec­tions be­fore health-care systems are over­whelmed.

| Reuters

WORK­ERS, in pro­tec­tive suits, spray dis­in­fec­tant on a road in a bid to pre­vent the spread of coro­n­avirus in Jakarta, In­done­sia, yes­ter­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.