Italy records lowest coronavirus death toll for a week

There are more than 1.4 million confirmed cases of coronavirus in 184 countries and at least 85,000 people have died.

More than half of all the confirmed cases have been in Europe, with Spain and Italy worst affected. However, the United States now has more than twice as many confirmed cases as any other single country.

This series of maps and charts tracks the spread of the virus since it emerged in China in December last year.

How many deaths and recoveries have there been?

The virus is spreading rapidly in many countries and the death toll is still climbing – but the majority of people are recovering from the infection. The country with the highest number of cases is the US, according to figures collated by Johns Hopkins University. With over 400,000 confirmed cases, it has close to five times the official number recorded in China.

China’s official death toll from the outbreak is just over 3,300 – but the US, Italy, Spain and France have each recorded more than 10,000 deaths. On Tuesday, China reported no new deaths for the first time since it began publishing figures. Critics of the Chinese government, however, have questioned whether the country’s official numbers can be trusted.

How confirmed cases of coronavirus have spread

China has now lifted many of the stringent measures it took to bring the disease under control. On Wednesday, authorities eased travel restrictions in Wuhan, the city where the outbreak began in late 2019. South Korea, where a major outbreak began in February, has also seen the number of new cases fall in recent weeks. Governments across the world have halted flights, locked down towns and cities and urged people to stay at home.

Europe still struggling – but signs of hope?

European countries have seen steep rises in cases and deaths, but slowing infection rates are raising hopes that strict social distancing measures are curbing the spread of the virus.

Italy has the highest toll of any single country in the world, with more than 17,000 deaths so far.

Spain has reported more than 14,000 deaths – the second highest of any country. There are now nearly 150,000 confirmed cases in Spain, but data shows the rate of new cases is falling. The Spanish government, which declared a state of emergency on 14 March, has suggested some restrictions, including keeping non-essential workers at home, could be lifted after Easter.

In Italy, there are cautious hopes that the country has turned a corner, with data in recent days suggesting that the infection rate is slowing. There have now been fewer than 600 deaths recorded in the country for three of the last four days. The majority of deaths have occurred in the northern Lombardy region, which contains the city of Milan. Hospitals there were reportedly at breaking point and retired doctors and nurses were asked to return to work.

On Tuesday, France became the fourth country to pass 10,000 deaths with the virus, following Italy, Spain and the US. More than 30,000 people are currently hospitalised in France, with around 7,100 in intensive care, according to the country’s health ministry.

In the UK, there have been more than 60,000 confirmed cases and more than 7,000 deaths. The country’s first emergency field hospital, built in London’s ExCel Centre, was opened last week. The NHS Nightingale hospital, as it has been called, has space for 4,000 intensive care beds. Others are planned across the UK.

In Spain and the UK, deaths grew rapidly at first, doubling faster than every two days. That rate of increase has now slowed to doubling between every second and third day. Italy’s death rate has also slowed, while that of the US is continuing in roughly a straight line, doubling about every three days at present.

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