Europe sees ray of hope | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, April 05, 2020 / LAST MODIFIED: 01:55 AM, April 05, 2020

Europe sees ray of hope

Drop in cases in European hotspots indicate pandemic might have peaked

China pauses in memory of victims and 'martyrs'

Americans told to wear masks

UK COVID-19 deaths climb by new high of 708

* Spain to extend lockdown until April 25

Americans yesterday came to grips with recommendations to wear masks against the coronavirus, while Spain added to hopes that Europe could be turning a corner in the pandemic with a second daily drop in deaths.

China meanwhile came to a standstill as the nation where the virus first appeared held three minutes of silence to mourn the patients and medical staff killed by the outbreak.

Since COVID-19 emerged late last year, more than 1.1 million people have fallen ill. More than 60,000 people have died.

China, where over 3,000 people have died from the virus, appears to be over the worst of its outbreak and there are signs of normality returning.

But large swathes of the world remain in crisis mode.

Europe accounts for the lion's share of virus fatalities, but America logged another rise in its death toll to bring the total to just over 7,100.

President Donald Trump's administration on Friday suggested widespread use of simple masks or scarves might help slow the spread.

In Europe, Italy and Spain continue to bear the brunt of a pandemic that has kept millions of citizens confined to their homes, closed schools and businesses and overwhelmed healthcare systems.

But official figures suggested unprecedented measures to restrict people's movements were working and that the peak may have hit on the continent.

Spain, which is under a near-total lockdown, on Saturday recorded a second successive daily fall in coronavirus-related deaths with 809 fatalities. The total number of deaths in the country now stands at 11,744, second only to Italy. The number of new Spanish cases also slowed at 7,026, taking the total to 124,736.

Despite the gains, Spain extended the country's lockdown until April 25.

Italy reported late Friday that the daily rise of officially registered infections dropped to a new low of just four percent, while the number of people who had fully recovered was rising.

In Germany, where the death toll rose again yesterday, Chancellor Angela Merkel said figures showing the virus's spread was slowing "give us a little bit of hope".

But she nevertheless warned citizens not to expect a loosening of the restrictions anytime soon.

German authorities joined the US and other countries in encouraging citizens to wear self-made masks in public, prompting a flurry of online tutorials and debate about how to maximise protection.


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