Europe remains hardest-hit by COVID-19

EYEAFRICA TV: London, UK: Europe is world’s hardest-hit region of COVID-19 with 759,661 confirmed cases, almost twice as many as in the Americas, according to data released by the World Health Organization(WHO) by 02:00 CEST, April 10.

Spain’s death toll surpassed 14,555 with a total of 146,690 confirmed cases.

But Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Thursday that the country is close to the beginning of a decline in its epidemic.

“The fire has started to come under control,” the Prime Minister told parliament before a vote on the extension of a state of emergency by another two weeks until April 26.

The pandemic has claimed 17,669 lives in locked-down Italy by Thursday, making it the country with highest death toll in the world.

The country now has 139,422 confirmed cases, second to Spain in Europe.

At a televised press conference, Civil Protection Department Chief Angelo Borrelli said that the pressure was decreasing on the national health system, especially on hospitals in the most affected regions, some northern and central areas of the country.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s cabinet was considering whether or not to extend for 14 more days to the current nationwide lock-down which expires on April 13, according to Ansa news agency, citing qualified sources.

The current situation in Germany has given “reason for cautious hope,” said German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Thursday after a cabinet meeting dedicated to the ongoing pandemic.

Germany now has 108,202 confirmed cases and 2,107 deaths by 02:00 CEST, April 10.

Merkel said the restrictions are sufficient for now, but stressed that it would be necessary to be “very, very careful” with relaxing the current restrictions.

German citizens have repeatedly been urged to obey the contact restrictions over the upcoming Easter holidays. The situation is still “fragile” and “we are not allowed to be careless now,” she said.

According to Merkel, the German government and the state ministers are scheduled to discuss the next steps in the pandemic, such as potential easing or extension of the restrictions next Wednesday.

France is also a little relieved as its ICU cases declined for the first time since the pandemic began.

Some 7,066 infected people needed intensive care on Thursday, 82 less compared with the day earlier, according to figures unveiled by Health General Director Jerome Salomon.

Salomon noted that even if some relief in emergency services was noteworthy, the epidemic will only drop when there are fewer patients in hospitals.

The confinement imposed since March 17 has begun to bear fruit, he said. “It’s absolutely essential to continue the lock-down. Stay at home. The first slowing seen is linked to your good respect of the confinement rules.”

On April 7, France entered its fourth week of nationwide confinement. Tough restrictions on people movement would likely be maintained for further two weeks to stem the virus spread.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Thursday evening was moved out of intensive care, but remained in hospital.

Britain’s lock-down is to continue as the country is heading toward one of its biggest holiday weekends of the year.

The fear was that a relaxation of the lock-down could risk seeing millions of people heading to seaside resorts and tourism hot spots during the four-day Easter holiday which starts Friday and lasts until Monday.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab urged people to stay at home during the holiday rather than hanging out. There had been speculations that the lock-down could have been made more stringent.

By 02:00 CEST, April 10, the UK had 60,737 confirmed cases and 7,097 deaths, according to the WHO.

The United States had the most confirmed cases of 395,030 in the world and 17,669 deaths by 02:00 CEST, April 10.

The U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Thursday announced a clinical trial of hydroxychloroquine, an antimalarial drug had begun to test its safety and effectiveness when being used for the treatment of COVID-19.

The first group of participants have enrolled in the trial at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Tennessee.

The death toll reached 4,000 in Iran on Thursday as the slowdown in infections continued.

Iran announced 117 new deaths, raising the total fatalities to 4,110, while the total number of confirmed cases surged to 66,220, up by 1,634 from a day ago.

The increase in the new cases has been declining for the ninth consecutive day since March 31.

The total confirmed cases in Turkey climbed to 38,226, while the death toll hit 812 by 02:00 CEST, April 10, according to the WHO.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Thursday announced 331 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 2,990.

UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention said in a statement that the new cases include people of many nationalities, and all are in stable conditions.

The number of recovered cases reached 268, according to the ministry.

The ministry also confirmed two more deaths, pushing the country’s death toll to 14.

The UAE was the first among the Gulf countries to report COVID-19 cases.

Japan’s health ministry and local governments said that 520 new daily COVID-19 infections were recorded, bringing the national total to 5,492, with Tokyo reporting a daily record of 191 infections for the second straight day.

The continued rise in cases across Japan and another recorded spike in Tokyo, came following Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declaring a state of emergency over the pandemic on Tuesday.

The emergency declaration covered the capital and six other major prefectures, including Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka.

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