Spain and Italy have demanded more support from their European neighbours as global deaths due to coronavirus soared above 30,000.
The two countries have been hit especially hard by the pandemic and alone account for more than half of the world’s death toll. There are more than 800 deaths a day in each country.
The Italian prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has called for a united European response to the crisis and said: ‘I will fight until the last drop of sweat, until the last gram of energy, to obtain a strong, vigorous, cohesive European response that involves all of the economic and social systems of the member states’.
Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez echoed Mr Conte, calling the crisis the biggest challenge the EU has ever faced. He said: ‘It is the most difficult moment for the EU since its foundation and it has to be ready to rise to the challenge.’
Spain, Italy, France and six other EU members have asked the union to share the burden of European debt to help fight the virus.
In the US, the authorities have urged millions in New York City to stop travelling in order to contain the spread of coronavirus.
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The pandemic has also reached rural areas, including Rocky Mountain ski havens and Midwestern towns.
The US now leads with the world with more than 120,000 reported cases, but there have been more deaths in five other countries: Italy, Spain, China, Iran and France.
Over 10,000 people have died from coronavirus in Italy.
According to the Johns Hopkins University tally, around 142,000 people globally have recovered from the virus so far.
On Monday, Russia closed its borders. Vietnam has now closed its restaurants and other businesses for two weeks and has already quarantined nearly 60,000 people who entered from virus-infected nations.
Meanwhile, Egypt has shut its beaches as cases in the Middle East surpassed 50,000.
Health officials around the world have been urging people to keep a social distance of two metres from others to slow the spread of the virus but a new report from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says that might not be enough.
It says a sneeze or cough from an infected person can expel microscopic virus droplets as far as seven or eight metres and those droplets can be suspended in the air for hours.
The researchers said they wanted to warn the public about ‘the distance, timescale and persistence over which this cloud and its pathological payload can travel’.
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