Worldwide coronavirus toll passes 30,000
March 28 2020 11:42 PM
French Minister for Solidarity and Health Olivier Veran March looks on during a news conference in P
French Minister for Solidarity and Health Olivier Veran March looks on during a news conference in Paris, France on Saturday, on the eleventh day of a strict nationwide confinement seeking to halt the spread of Covid-19.

Agencies Washington/New York/Paris

*21,334 of the deaths in Europe
*Trump mulls New York lockdown
*Toughest weeks ahead: French PM

More than 30,000 people have died worldwide in the coronavirus pandemic, two-thirds of them in Europe, according to a tally at 1900 GMT Saturday.

In total, 30,003 lives have been lost with 21,334 of those in Europe where Italy has the highest number of fatalities with 10,023 deaths, followed by Spain with 5,690, the tally based on official information sources found.

President Donald Trump said Saturday he might prohibit travel in and out of the New York area to limit the spread of the coronavirus from its US epicentre, as healthcare workers in the hard-hit region said they did not have enough masks and medical equipment.

With the number of known cases soaring past 115,000, the highest tally in the world, Trump said he might impose a quarantine on New York, New Jersey and parts of Connecticut to protect other states that have yet to bear the brunt.

"They're having problems down in Florida. A lot of New Yorkers are going down. We don't want that," Trump told reporters.

Since the virus first appeared in the United States in late January, Trump has vacillated between playing down the risks of infection and urging Americans to take steps to slow its spread. He also appeared to soften his previous comments calling for the US economy to be reopened by mid-April."We'll see what happens," he said.

The next two weeks will be the toughest yet in the fight against coronavirus in France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe warned as his government raced to add intensive care beds and source protective gear.

The outbreak initially took hold in eastern France, where hospitals have become overwhelmed, and has been spreading west. Doctors in the greater Paris region have warned their intensive care units will be full by the end of the weekend.

"We are fighting a battle that will take time," Philippe said in a televised address. "The first two weeks of April will be harder than the two we have just lived through."

To free up intensive care beds in worst-hit areas, the army and emergency workers were this weekend stepping up the transfer of patients to less-affected regions, using a military helicopter and a specially-adapted TGV train.

By Saturday, the coronavirus had claimed 2,314 lives in France, with more than 37,575 confirmed cases, according to official figures.





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