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Coronavirus toll slows worldwide, nears 162,000


April 19 (UPI) — The death toll from the coronavirus continues to slow as nations make plans to reopen businesses and other activities.

After reporting double-digit increases for several weeks, nations worldwide are reporting single digits of just a few percentage points.

On Saturday, 5,909 deaths were reported, which is a 6 percent gain from the previous day, according to tracking by In addition, cases increased 81,903 to 2.3 million for a 4.1 percent increase.

Through Saturday, all of the nations in the top 10 for deaths had less than a 6.1 percent increase. The United States tops the list with more than 39,068 deaths.

In all, nearly 162,000 had died from the outbreak so far Sunday as European, Asian and Oceania counties reported data Sunday.

Spain reported 410 new deaths from coronavirus in the last 24 hours for a total of 20,453 — the third highest in the world behind the United States and Italy — and a 1.1percent increase. That’s the lowest increase since 391 on March 22.

Fernando Simón, Spain’s director of health emergencies, said at a briefing the numbers reflected a “substantial reduction of infections.”

On Saturday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he would ask parliament for a third 15-day extension of the lockdown through May 9. The lockdown was imposed March 14.

Last week some sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, opened though most people were only allowed to leave their homes for essential outings.

On Sunday, Britain reported 596 deaths for a total of 16,060, which is fifth in the world, and a 3.9 percent increase. On Saturday the kingdom reported the second-most deaths in the world, 888, second only to the United States with 1,867. The increase of 6 percent Saturday was the highest of the nations in the top 10 for deaths.

Britain’s Department of Health and Social Care reported Sunday that 15,944 have tested positive out of 372,967.

The Sunday Times described how Britain “sleepwalked into disaster” over 38 days beginning on Jan. 3. The government has been criticized for shortages of personal protective equipment and a slow start to testing.

Cabinet minister Michael Gove described the newspaper article as “off beam” and “out of context” though he acknowledged Prime Minister Boris Johnson hadn’t covered five Cabinet meetings though they were led by the secretary of state.

Among other nations reporting data Sunday, Belgium announced 230 additional deaths for a total of 5,683 for a 4.2 percent increase.

Belgium moved into sixth place, rising ahead of Iran and China on Sunday.

No. 7 Iran added 87 people to its list of dead for a total of 5,118. That’s a 1.7 percent increase.

China, the original epicenter of the virus and the world’s most populous country with 1.4 billion people, on Sunday reported no additional deaths and 16 new cases. Its death toll stands at 4,632, including announcing on Friday 1,290 additional deaths that had not been previously counted in Wuhan, where is stands at 3,869.

The breakout spread to Italy where the first death was reported on Feb. 21. On Saturday, 482 deaths were announced, the lowest since 431 on April 12. The rate of increase was 2.1 percent for a total of 23,227.

The government has established a $435 million food voucher fund and $4.8 billion to local mayors.

Mafia clans are already taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in southern Italy, senior anti-mafia officials and researchers have told CNN.

Europe had 3,050 additional deaths Saturday, including 642 more in No. 4 France for a 3.4 percent increase to 19,323.

No. 8 Germany reported nine additional deaths for a total of 4,547 after 183 announced Saturday and 300 on Friday.

On Monday, smaller stores will be allowed to reopen after a month-long lockdown. Though retailers have lost $33 billion in sales, including bankruptcy, Prime Minister Angela Merkel has been praised for handling the crisis.

In Asia, only 335 additional deaths were reported Saturday and 192 on Sunday for a total of 14,401. Those nations include the Middle East.

In the Far East, South Korea reported two deaths and only eight cases. But 16 more people who had recovered from coronavirus and were released from quarantine have tested positive again for the infection, according to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all, 8,042 had been listed as recovered. South Korea has implemented a widespread testing program.

On Saturday, Japan reported 32 additional deaths, which ties a record, for a total of 222. In addition, 509 more cases were reported for a total of 10,296.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has extended the state of emergency from seven prefectures to the entire country.

India, the world’s second most populous country with 1.35 billion people, reported no deaths and 521 cases to reach 16,365. India’s lockdown, which initially was for 21 days, has been extended to May 3.

Singapore reported 942 new confirmed cases of coronavirus — the highest daily jump so far — and 596 more Sunday for a total of 6,588. All but 14 of the cases were Singapore citizens or permanent residents with the rest migrant workers living in dormitories, according to the city-state’s Ministry of Health. The death count stands at 11.

In South American, Brazil accounts for 2,361 of the 3,653 deaths, including an additional 220 deaths announced Saturday.

On Friday, Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro fired his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who had backed social distancing. Bolsonaro has previously downplayed coronavirus as nothing more than a “little flu.” He has discussed plans to “gradually open up” the nation’s economy with incoming minister Nelson Teich.

In Africa, 62 deaths were announced for a total of 1,082, led by Algeria with 367 and 224 in Egypt.

In Oceania, 70 deaths have been reported in Australia with no new deaths announced Sunday, and 12 in New Zealand, with one more fatality.

Beaches in some parts of Sydney’s eastern suburbs will reopen Monday.

In North America, all but about 2,000 deaths are in the United States. On Saturday, Canada reported 160 additional fatalities for a total of 1,470 and Mexico had 60 more for a total of 546.

Canada and the U.S. will extend restrictions on their shared border to most travelers for 30 days, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. The changes began in March.

And on Friday, President Donald Trump spoke with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico. They discussed the need to maintain restrictions on land border crossings for non-essential reasons “while ensuring cross-border activities that are critical to commerce, health security, supply security, and other essential industries remain unimpeded,” according to a White House readout.


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