COVID-19 has now spread to 210 countries and territories around the world, with the killer virus continuing to claim lives at an alarming rate. This comes as the UK announced a further 980 new deaths from coronavirus – the most in a 24-hour period since the outbreak began. Britain now has the seventh highest death toll in the world at 8,958 – behind the US, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and China.
There are now more than 1.6 million coronavirus cases around the world, with the horrific pandemic showing little sign of slowing.
In the UK, a further 5,195 new infections were announced on Friday, sending the total surging beyond 70,000.
The total number of deaths from coronavirus in the US topped 17,000 on Friday.
There were 777 new deaths in New York state alone – down slightly from 797 on Thursday.
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COVID-19 has infected more than 161,000 people in New York and killed 7,000.
Governor Andrew Cuomo said there had been 290 people admitted to hospital over the latest 24-hour period – up from 200 a day earlier.
But the number coronavirus patients in intensive care units across the state dropped.
He said there were 17 fewer patients in the state’s intensive care units on Thursday than a day prior, a decrease in that figure “for the first time since we started this journey.”
READ MORE: Coronavirus map LIVE: Record UK deaths as 980 die in 24hrs
The rate of increase has dropped to four percent – down from 20 percent two weeks ago.
Deaths from COVID-19 in Italy rose by 570 on Friday, down from 610 the day before, while the number of new cases also slowed to 3,951 from a previous 4,204.
The Civil Protection Agency said the total death toll since the outbreak came to light on February 21 now stands at 18,849 – the highest in the world.
But the World Health Organization (WHO) warned countries to be cautious about lifting lockdown measures aimed at containing the spread of coronavirus.
Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference said the WHO would like to see an easing, but warned at the same time “lifting restrictions could lead to a deadly resurgence”.
He said there had been a “welcome slowing” of epidemics in some European countries, such as Italy, Germany, Spain and France, but there an “alarming acceleration” in other countries, including community transmission in 16 countries of Africa.
The latest warning comes as Boris Johnson – the first leader of a global superpower to test positive for coronavirus – continues his recovery in hospital.
The UK Prime Minister left intensive care at St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Thursday evening after three nights, and is now recovering from coronavirus on a hospital ward.