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Odishatv Bureau

The coronavirus pandemic has hit the world like never before. Here are some updates on the COVID-19 cases and death toll from around the world on Thursday.

Global COVID-19 cases top 7.3 mn: Johns Hopkins University

The global number of COVID-19 cases has increased to over 7.3 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 416,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As of Thursday morning, the overall number of cases stood at 7,357,011, while the death toll increased to 416,084, the University's Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed in its latest update.

The US continues with the world's highest number of confirmed cases and deaths at 1,999,552 and 112,895, respectively, according to the CSSE.

In terms of cases, Brazil comes in second place with 772,416 infections.

This was followed by Russia (493,023), the UK (291,588), India (276,583), Spain (242,280), Italy (235,763), Peru (207,794), France (192,068), Germany (186,522), Iran (177,938), Turkey (173,036), Chile (148,456), Mexico (129,184), Pakistan (113,702) and Saudi Arabia (112,288), the CSSE figures showed.

Regarding fatalities, the UK continues in the second position after the US with 41,213 COVID-19 deaths, which also accounts for the highest number of fatalities in Europe.

The other countries with over 10,000 deaths are Brazil (39,680), Italy (34,114), France (29,322), Spain (27,136) and Mexico (15,357).

France's COVID-19 death toll rises to 29,319

Another 23 patients with the COVID-19 in France died in the past 24 hours, taking the country's death toll to 29,319 since March 1, the Health Ministry said.

Patients hospitalized dropped by 283 to 11,678, confirming the downward trend since early April. Some 933 remained in intensive care, down by 22. The number of confirmed cases increased by 545 to 155,136, said the ministry in a statement on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

"Nearly a month after the start of de-confinement, all of the epidemiological indicators are at satisfactory levels throughout the metropolitan territory and do not indicate an epidemic resurgence," the ministry said.

It urged people to keep vigilant and continue to respect barrier gestures and physical distancing because the virus is still circulating in many regions.

France, one of the European countries worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic, declared a state of health emergency on March 24. In May, the government decided to extend it until July 10.

No new COVID-19 deaths in Spain but cases on rise

The Spanish Ministry of Health, Consumer Affairs and Social Welfare reported no new deaths from COVID-19 for a third straight day, while the number of new cases continued to edge up.

According to the ministry, a total of 27,136 people in Spain have died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus till Wednesday. The figure has remained unchanged since Sunday, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ministry also informed that 40 people lost their lives to the virus in the past seven days, with eight of Spain's 17 Autonomous Communities reporting no deaths in the period. The seven-day death toll is down from the 50 it reported on Tuesday.

Wednesday, however, continued to see a rise in the number of new cases detected by PCR tests, which discover if the coronavirus is active in the body. The ministry registered 167 new infections, compared with Tuesday's 84 and Monday's 48.

As of Wednesday, Spain has registered a total of 242,280 infections.

Italy's COVID-19 death toll up by 71 to 34,114

Italy reported a further 71 COVID-19 deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing the death toll since the pandemic began in the country to 34,114, the Civil Protection Department said.

The total number of active infections has decreased to 31,710, down by 1,162 compared to Tuesday, it said in its daily bulletin on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Of these active infections, 249 are in intensive care (down from 263 on Tuesday) and 4,320 are hospitalized with symptoms (down from 4,581 in the past 24 hours). The remaining 27,141, or almost 86 per cent, are isolated at home because they are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms.

Meanwhile, another 1,293 COVID-19 patients have recovered, bringing the total number of recoveries to 169,939.

The overall number of COVID-19 cases combining infections, fatalities and recoveries rose to 235,763 over the past 24 hours, an increase of 202 cases from Tuesday.

Iraq records 1,146 new COVID-19 cases, tally touches 15,414

The Iraqi Health Ministry confirmed 1,146 new cases of COVID-19, raising the total number to 15,414 in the country.

It said on Wednesday that 34 more people died from the coronavirus during the day, bringing the death toll to 426, while 6,214 patients have recovered, Xinhua news agency reported.

The new cases were detected after 7,835 testing kits were used across the country during the past 24 hours, out of 330,526 tests carried out since the outbreak of the disease in Iraq.

China has been helping Iraq with the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

From March 7 to April 26, a Chinese team of seven medical experts spent 50 days in Iraq to help contain the disease, during which they helped build a PCR lab and an advanced CT scanner in Baghdad. China also sent three batches of medical aid to Iraq.

US to conduct key studies on three possible COVID-19 vaccines: Fauci

The US government will fund and conduct key studies on three experimental coronavirus vaccines, said the nation's top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci.

"The coronavirus vaccine effort is progressing very well and we expect more than one candidate vaccine to be in advanced clinical testing by early summer," Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN on Wednesday.

"This is good news for the overall coronavirus vaccine effort," he said, reported Xinhua news agency.

Phase 3 trials, which typically involve tens of thousands of people and measure whether a vaccine is safe and effective, will begin with one by Moderna in July, then an Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in August and one by Johnson & Johnson in September, according to the CNN report.

Fauci said the funding decision came from the Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the National Institutes of Health and other agencies.

He said that the testing plans still track with the timeline that he has suggested in the past: a vaccine at scale by the end of the year or early next year.

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