Italy has overtaken China as the nation with the most deaths from coronavirus.
Another 427 people in Italy died in just 24 hours, taking the country’s death toll to 3,405. Some 3,245 people have died in China since the virus first emerged there late last year. The gruesome milestone is being blamed on a perfect storm of Italy’s elderly population, its overwhelmed healthcare system, and the delayed lockdown of the outbreak’s epicentre in Lombardy.
In complete contrast, China today recorded no new cases of Covid-19 in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province – the source of the global outbreak.
The dramatic development shows just how much the outbreak has pivoted towards Europe, with the Chinese authorities reporting that all 34 new cases across the entire country today were from foreign travellers.
Elsewhere around the world, more borders have shut, leaving some to wonder how they will get back home.
In the Pacific, Australia and New Zealand banned tourists, allowing only citizens and residents to return, while Fiji reported its first case, a worrying development in a region with poor healthcare.
The US and Canada both closed their borders to all but essential travel and US President Donald Trump said he plans to assert extraordinary powers to immediately turn back to Mexico anyone who crosses over the southern border illegally.
Russia, Mexico and Northern Ireland each reported their first death from the virus. The virus has infected more than 218,000 people worldwide and killed over 8,800.
The United Nations warned the crisis could lead to the loss of nearly 25 million jobs around the world. More than 84,000 people overall have recovered from the virus, which causes only mild or moderate symptoms such as fever and cough in most cases.
Severe illness is more likely in the elderly and those with existing health problems.