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Odishatv Bureau

The novel coronavirus pandemic has brought countries around the world to a standstill. Here are the latest updates on the COVID-19 crisis from around the globe on Thursday.

Italy's COVID-19 death toll rises to 29,684

A further 369 COVID-19 patients had died in the past 24 hours in Italy, bringing the country's death toll to 29,684, out of total infection cases of 214,457, according to fresh figures.

The country's Civil Protection Department registered 91,528 active infections on Wednesday, down sharply from 98,467 a day earlier. The day also saw 8,014 additional recoveries, bringing that total to 93,245 -- higher than the active infections for the first time since the pandemic struck the northern Lombardy region in late February, Xinhua news agency reported.

Yet, the Civil Protection specified, "such a high number of patients cured and discharged (in the day) is due to an update on data from the Lombardy region that also refers to the past days."

Of those infected, 1,333 are in intensive care, down by 94 compared to Tuesday, and 15,769 are hospitalized in normal wards, down by 501. The rest, or 81 per cent of those who tested positive, is in isolation at home.

As Italians faced their third day of a partial return to normality -- after the lockdown was eased on May 4, the European Union (EU) authorities warned the Italian economy might contract more than other big European countries due to the impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

France's coronavirus death toll nears 26,000

France's death toll from the novel coronavirus rose to 25,809, the world's fifth-highest behind the United States, Britain, Italy and Spain, according to figures released by the French Health Ministry.

On a daily basis, the tally grew by 278, slower than Tuesday's 330 and Monday's 306, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

The number of patients in hospitals fell by 792 to 23,983. The same downward trend was reported in intensive care units where 3,147 patients required life support, down by 283 for the 29th day in a row.

From May 11, France will start to slowly ease confinement to guarantee people safety and inject dynamism into a plunging economy. Schools will gradually reopen.

546 new COVID-19 cases reported in UAE

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced 546 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total confirmed cases in the country to 15,738.

UAE's Ministry of Health and Prevention on Wednesday said in a statement the new cases include many nationalities. All are in a stable condition and receiving medical treatment, Xinhua news agency reported.

The ministry said that 206 more patients have made full recovery from the virus, taking the tally of the UAE's recoveries to 3,359.

It also confirmed 11 more deaths, pushing the country's death toll to 157. The UAE was the first among the Gulf countries to report COVID-19 case.

UK's confirmed COVID-19 death toll tops 30,000

Another 649 COVID-19 patients have died, bringing the total coronavirus-related death toll in Britain to 30,076, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government Robert Jenrick said.

The figures include deaths in all settings, including hospitals, care homes and the wider community, Xinhua news agency reported on Wednesday.

Chairing the Downing Street daily briefing, Jenrick told reporters that 69,463 tests were carried out Tuesday, with a total of 201,101 people having tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Britain.

The latest figures came one day after Britain overtook Italy as the worst-hit country in Europe by the virus.

Coronavirus 'worse attack' than Pearl Harbor: Trump

US President Donald Trump has described the coronavirus pandemic as the "worst attack" ever on the United States, pointing the finger at China.

Trump said the pandemic had hit the US harder than the Japanese bombing of Pearl Harbor in World War Two, or the 9/11 attacks two decades ago, the BBC reported.

His administration is weighing punitive actions against China over its early handling of the virus outbreak. Beijing said the US wants to distract from its own handling of the pandemic.

Since emerging in China at the end of last year, the coronavirus is confirmed to have infected 1.2 million Americans, killing nearly 73,000.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office of the White House, Trump said: "We went through the worst attack we've ever had on our country, this is worst attack we've ever had.

"This is worse than Pearl Harbor, this is worse than the World Trade Center. There's never been an attack like this. And it should have never happened. Could've been stopped at the source. Could've been stopped in China. It should've been stopped right at the source. And it wasn't."

Asked later by a reporter if he viewed the pandemic as an actual act of war, Mr Trump suggested it was the pandemic that is America's enemy, rather than China.

"I view the invisible enemy [coronavirus] as a war," he said. "I don't like how it got here, because it could have been stopped, but no, I view the invisible enemy like a war."

The deepening rift between Washington and Beijing was underscored by comments during a White House briefing later on Wednesday.

WHO chief warns of risk of returning to lockdown

As more and more countries consider how to ease the so-called lockdown restrictions, World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that the exit measures should be done extremely carefully.

"The risk of returning to lockdown remains very real if countries do not manage the transition extremely carefully and in a phased approach," he said at an online press conference from Geneva on Wednesday, Xinhua news agency reported.

He reiterated six criteria which WHO recommends countries to consider, including strong surveillance, to isolate, test and treat every case and trace every contact, sufficient preventive measures in workplaces and schools and full cooperation of the public in the post-lockdown "new norm."

According to the WHO chief, more than 3.5 million cases of COVID-19 and almost 250,000 deaths have now been reported to WHO, and since the beginning of April, an average of around 80,000 new cases have been reported every day.

"These are not just numbers -- every single case is a mother, a father, a son, a daughter, a brother, sister or friend," Tedros said.


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