It marked the first time the procession, commemorating the last hours in Jesus’s life, was not held at Rome’s ancient Colosseum since the tradition was introduced in 1964. It came as Italy, Europe’s hardest hit country, saw its number of deaths, which had been dropping since Monday, suddenly rise to 619 yesterday, up from 570 on Friday. The country’s lockdown has been extended to May 3.
Yesterday, the US death toll overtook Italy’s as figures suggested numbers will shortly exceed 20,000. ‘We’ve apex but out the It is also the first country in the world to record more than 2,000 deaths in a single day, with 2,028 on Friday.
Latest figures show that Covid-19 has infected more than 506,000 Americans. Health experts in the US have revised their initial estimates of as many as 82,000 deaths by August and now believe the toll will hit 60,000 or fewer.
But there has been a glimmer of hope across Europe, after Spain recorded its lowest death toll in 19 days with 510 new deaths, the third day numbers have fallen. The virus has killed 16,353 Spaniards and 4,830 new cases were reported, taking the total to 161,852.
From tomorrow, 10 million face masks will be handed out at major rail and subway stations as factory and construction workers are allowed to go back to work. Amid concerns, Interior Minister Fernando Grande-Marlaska sought to downplay the change in the lockdown rules.
Pope Francis cut a lonely figure during the Easter service
St. Peter’s Square was empty as citizens remain in lockdown
He said: “We are still in the confinement phase. We haven’t begun any relaxation.” A month-long national lockdown has helped Spain slow the daily increase in the numbers of infected people from more than 20 per cent two weeks ago to just three per cent.
Meanwhile, in New York City, schools will remain closed until at least September, it was announced. The city, along with its surrounding areas, accounts for more than half of all US cases.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said social distancing strategies had worked, but the city couldn’t risk a resurgence of the virus. He said: “This is a heartbreaking decision because our students are such brilliant, hardworking kids. It’s a lost opportunity we can’t get back.” hit the aren’t woods’ “
New York State reported 783 new deaths in the past 24 hours, the fifth consecutive day the toll was more than 700 a day, bringing its total to 8,627. Governor Andrew Cuomo tweeted: “We believe we have hit the apex – and the apex is a plateau.
“We are not out of the woods. We are still seeing new hospitalisations and new infections. But it is stabilising. Social distancing is working. We must keep it up.”
Yesterday, 112 Australians and New Zealanders were repatriated from the cruise ship Greg Mortimer, stranded in Montevideo, Uruguay, since March 27.
But five Britons, along with Americans and other nationals, were told they had to wait for negative test results before they could fly home. Of the 217 people on board, nearly 60 per cent had tested positive.
In China, where the pandemic began, the government reported just three deaths and 46 additional cases and has said there have been 3,339 deaths and 81,953 infections.
The number of new daily cases has declined dramatically, allowing the government to reopen factories and shops. But a new poll found 55 per cent of Britons blame China for the spread of Covid-19.
Last night, China expert Matthew Henderson, of the Henry Jackson Society think tank, said: “This is an extremely significant poll. “China has lost the trust of the world in its capacity to manage an appalling event, which it should have known how to deal with from its precious experience with Sars.
Celebrants walk in St. Peter’s Square during the Via Crucis torchlight procession
Travellers were repatriated from the cruise ship Greg Mortimer
A passenger wearing a protective suit and face mask in Wuhan
“Britain has become dangerously dependent on Chinese trade, investment and funding over the past two decades. We now find ourselves vulnerable to harm in all of these areas.”
Gun sales in the US have reached an all-time high since the pandemic hit, figures released by the FBI reveal. The bureau conducted 3.7 million background checks during March, the highest total since its national instant check system was introduced in 1998.
This is a fast-track process using FBI criminal and intelligence computer databases that can take as little as 30 seconds to grant or deny gun licence applications. Last month’s figure topped the previous high of 3.3 million set in December 2015 following a deadly mass shooting in San Bernardino, California.
This means civilians in the US now own more than 393 million guns between them, according to the latest statistics. The new record was set despite some states ordering gun stores to close during the lockdown.
Andrew Arulanandam, of the National Rifle Association, said: “People are worried, with law enforcement stretched to the maximum and now responding to only selected calls.”