British PM fights the virus in intensive care as deaths worldwide rise


London (AFP)

Prime Minister Boris Johnson fought the coronavirus in intensive care on Tuesday as the death toll in the United States and Europe hit new heights after the pandemic swept the world.

Johnson, 55, entered intensive care when his condition worsened 10 days after his diagnosis. A senior cabinet minister said that Johnson received oxygen but was not put on ventilator.

His case highlighted the global reach of COVID-19, which has put more than half the planet in a form of foreclosure, upset societies and destroyed economies around the world.

The relentless march of the disease across the planet has claimed the lives of more than 75,000 people in more than 1.3 million confirmed cases, with warnings that much worse is yet to come.

The daily death toll in Spain rose to 743 on Tuesday after France recorded a new wave of 833 deaths on Monday and Italy saw its death toll rise after days of fall.

And the United States – which has by far the largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the world – has recorded 1,150 deaths in 24 hours, said Johns Hopkins University.

– “Fighting a fierce enemy” –

There were glimmers of hope in the daily regime of murder statistics, however.

In China, where the virus first appeared at the end of last year, no new deaths have been reported for the first time, just one day before it plans to lift the travel brakes at the Wuhan epicenter. .

In New York State, the US epicenter of the crisis, the rate of death toll growth appears to be slowing, although state governor Andrew Cuomo warned that “now is not the time to be lax ”.

“New York is fighting back. We have an invisible enemy. We have a fierce enemy. But this city is fighting back with everything we have, ”said Mayor Bill de Blasio.

– “Like September 11” –

But amid fears of a second wave in Asia, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a month-long state of emergency in Tokyo and six other parts of the country.

Singapore’s usually busy business district has remained silent as most workplaces have closed to stem the spread amid a new city-state outbreak.

The virus is stretching medical facilities to the limit and the World Health Organization has warned that there is a global shortage of six million nurses.

People around the world have been forced to improvise due to lack of supplies, with bodies wrapped in cardboard coffins in Ecuador and a mosque turned into a makeshift mask factory in Iran.

New York’s funeral directors are so overworked that a city official has raised the possibility of performing temporary burials in a public park.

“Trenches will be dug for 10 coffins in a row. This will be done in a dignified, orderly and temporary manner. But it will be difficult for the NYers to take, “tweeted Mark Levine.

New York funeral director Pat Marmo said he had three times the body size than usual.

“It’s almost like September 11, which lasts for days and days and days,” he said.

As hospitals overflow, the cathedral church of Saint John the Divine in Manhattan is being converted to accommodate at least 200 patients under its stained glass windows.

“In previous centuries, cathedrals were still used in this way, as during the plague. So it’s not outside the experience of being a cathedral, it’s just new to us, ”cathedral dean Clifton Daniel told The New York Times.

– “Coronabonds” –

Governments around the world are scrambling to put in place bailouts to stem the economic damage from an effective shutdown of world trade, as fears of a devastating recession loom.

Japan has promised a $ 1 trillion stimulus package, almost twice the size of the measures taken during the 2008 financial crisis and a whopping 20% ​​of GDP in the world’s third largest economy.

With ink barely dry on a $ 2 trillion congressional economic rescue program, President Donald Trump said he was in favor of another massive spending program, again about $ 2 trillion. dollars, but this time targeting infrastructure projects.

“We have built the largest economy in the world. I will do it a second time, ”he said.

EU finance ministers are expected to reach an agreement to use the € 410 billion euro bailout fund to fight the virus, but the bloc remains divided over debt pooling to issue bonds. “Coronabonds”.

But France has warned that it is headed for its worst recession since World War II and German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the European Union is facing its “biggest test” since its founding in 1957.

Oxford Economics analysts said the pandemic “could trigger one of the worst annual GDP declines in the last 100 years,” with millions of jobs being lost worldwide.

The stock markets have chosen to see the glass half full so far this week, with the Dow Jones index rising 1600 points on Monday as traders saw hope that the pandemic would peak.

Markets were up in Tokyo, Hong Kong and Shanghai and the London market was up 3% in opening deals.

But far from the multi-billion dollar packages and Wall Street fluctuations, the coronavirus affects millions of ordinary people who are trying to make ends meet.

On a generally busy wharf in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, the 23-year-old fishmonger Galaye Sarr said that his products were normally exported to Italy but that the trade had dried up.

“The boats have been docked for a long time, all because of the coronavirus. And even if they go fishing, we cannot sell it, “he told AFP.

“We are still trying to keep going, hoping that one day God will get rid of the curse. “

strawberries-mm / txw


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