By Agence France-Presse
California’s 40 million people were under lockdown on Friday in the most drastic quarantine efforts by a US state to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus, as the global toll surged with Italy surpassing China as the country with the most deaths from the pandemic.
The United States was fast-tracking antimalarial drugs for use as a virus treatment, President Donald Trump said, as he lashed out at China for not informing the world earlier about the original outbreak.
China reported a second day with no new domestic cases since the virus appeared in the central city of Wuhan in December, before spreading worldwide.
While there was a glimmer of hope in China, more countries tightened their borders and imposed lockdowns as the UN chief warned “millions” could die if the virus spread unchecked around the globe.
The death toll soared in Europe as Italy announced another 427 fatalities on Thursday, taking its total to 3,405, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.
China has officially reported 3,248 deaths from the virus, which can cause respiratory failure, particularly in the elderly.
Globally, the death toll from the virus has risen to almost 10,000 with more than 232,000 cases in 158 countries and territories, according to the AFP tally.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday of the virus’s potentially devastating effect.
“If we let the virus spread like wildfire — especially in the most vulnerable regions of the world — it would kill millions of people,” Guterres said.