Grim milestone as global confirmed COVID-19 cases top one million

The coronarivus disease has killed over 51,000 globally, with the largest number of deaths in Italy, Spain and the US.

The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world has exceeded one million, with the pandemic rampaging most quickly in the United States and the death toll continuing to rise in Italy and Spain.

As of Thursday, at least 1,002,159 confirmed cases of the rapidly spreading virus that emerged in China late last year have been recorded worldwide, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University in the US.

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More than 51,000 people have died, and almost 209,000 have recovered. The largest number of deaths have been reported in Italy, followed by Spain and the US.

The first 100,000 cases of COVID-19, the highly infectious respiratory disease caused by the new virus, were reported in around 55 days, and the first 500,000 in 76 days. Cases doubled to one million within the past eight days.

Total cases reported by Thursday grew 10 percent from a day earlier, the first time the rate has hit double digits since the virus took hold outside China.

Dubbed SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most patients. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death.

The global fatality rate is now more than five percent of all reported cases, with countries including the United Kingdom, the US and Spain reporting a spike in fatalities over recent days.

Around 22 percent of total cases have been reported by the US, while Italy and Spain have each reported 11 percent of global cases.

China has reported eight percent of total cases globally as the epicentre of the pandemic moved to Europe and the US.

Europe together accounts for more than half of cases and more than 70 percent of deaths linked to the virus, as countries in southern Europe with higher older-age demographics have been hit particularly hard.

People living in informal settlements and refugee camps around the world are especially vulnerable to the pandemic.

In an exclusive interview with Al Jazeera last week, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the UN is pleading for $2bn in international humanitarian aid to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in poorer countries.

Guterres said the COVID-19 disease was threatening the whole of humanity and “the only war necessary today is the war against the coronavirus”.

On March 11, the World Health Organization had declared the outbreak of the new coronavirus a pandemic and called on countries to “take urgent and aggressive action”.


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