Medical staff in a protective suit treats a patient suffering from coronavirus in Cremona, Italy. File/Reuters
The US warned of many more coronavirus deaths in the days ahead as the global pandemic muted traditional observances from family grave-cleaning ceremonies in China to Palm Sunday for many Christians.
Italy and Spain, the two hardest-hit European nations, expressed hope that the crisis was peaking in their countries, though Italian officials said the emergency is far from over as infections have plateaued but not started to decline.
A chaotic scramble for desperately needed medical equipment and protective gear engulfed the United States, prompting intense squabbling between the states and federal government at a moment the nation is facing one of its gravest emergencies.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo praised China for facilitating a shipment of 1,000 ventilators, as President Donald Trump said states are making inflated requests for supplies and suggested he had a hand in the shipment. Cuomo acknowledged asking the White House and others for help negotiating the ventilators.
"We have given the governor of New York more than anybody has ever been given in a long time,” Trump told reporters in Washington.
Trump warned Saturday that the country could be headed into its toughest weeks, but also said he’s eager to get it reopened and its stalled economy back on track.
"There will be a lot of death, unfortunately,” the American president said in a somber start to his daily briefing on the pandemic. "There will be death.”
The number of confirmed infections topped 1.2 million globally, and the death toll neared 65,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tracker. The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms such as fever and cough in most patients, who recover within a few weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness such as pneumonia and death.
The number of people infected in the US has soared to more than 300,000 as the fatalities climbed past 8,400. Many of the victims are in New York City, but the outbreak is deepening elsewhere too. More than 400 people have died in Louisiana, where state authorities have been sprinting to find ventilators. Michigan has more than 14,000 infections and 500 deaths, mainly in Detroit.
New infections have slowed in Italy, with 4,805 new cases registered Saturday to bring its official count to 124,632. The death toll, the highest in the world, rose to 15,362.
Trump, who has reacted angrily to criticism of his administration's response to the worst epidemic in a century, has become increasingly hostile towards the WHO. The Geneva-based organisation had promoted China's "disinformation" about the virus that likely led to a wider outbreak than otherwise would have occurred, Trump said.
The European Union (EU) on Wednesday set out plans for a phased restart of travel this summer, hoping to save millions of tourism jobs threatened by the coronavirus pandemic across the Europe, the world's top holiday destination.
In a fight against the novel coronavirus, researchers have found that medication for high blood pressure could improve COVID-19 survival rates and reduce the severity of the infection.
The authorities said, “We strongly encourage everyone to rely solely on our official channels for accurate information to avoid unnecessary worry.”
Hundreds of people fled the upmarket Siam Paragon mall in the heart of the Thai capital as shots rang out around 4:30 pm (0930 GMT), witnesses told AFP.
Nepal's National Earthquake Monitoring & Research Center said the epicenter for both quakes, with initial magnitudes measuring at 5.3 followed by 6.3, was Bajhang district in northwest Nepal, close to the Indian border.
The Authority said via X platform, “In recent hours, attempts to steal people's WhatsApp accounts have drastically increased, whereby fraudsters send messages through WhatsApp from names of people known to the recipient asking him/her to click on a link to join a group