Trump warns of toughest week ahead as global toll tops 65,000

Monday, April 6th, 2020 00:00 | By
Pope Francis celebrates Palm Sunday behind closed doors in St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican, yesterday. The pontiff live streamed his mass. Photo/AFP

Washington, Sunday

US President Donald Trump has warned Americans to brace for a “very horrendous” number of coronavirus deaths in the coming days, ahead of a rare speech by Queen Elizabeth II on Sunday night aimed at rallying hard-hit Britain.

Global deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic stood at 64,849 on Sunday, with Europe continuing to bear the brunt of the virus which has left roughly half the planet confined at home.

There are 1,204,782 confirmed cases across the globe since the virus first emerged in China late last year, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

There was, however, some encouraging news from Europe over the weekend.

Spain saw its third consecutive daily decline in the number of people dying from the pandemic as the country recorded 674 deaths on Sunday.

The health ministry said the number, the lowest in 10 days, brought total deaths to 12,418 since the pandemic hit Spain.

Worst-hit Italy also reported a decline in deaths at 681, bringing the total to 15,632. It was the lowest daily rise since March 23. The number of intensive care virus cases dropped for the first time.

In the US, Trump said the country was entering “a time that’s going to be very horrendous” with “some really bad numbers.”

“This will probably be the toughest week,” he said at the White House. “There will be a lot of deaths.”

At the same time, the president stressed the US, where infections have surpassed 300,000, cannot remain shut down forever.

“Mitigation does work but again, we’re not going to destroy our country,” he said.

New York state, the US epicenter, saw a record 630 deaths in a single day and Governor Andrew Cuomo warned the worst was yet to come. The state has recorded a total of 3,565 deaths.

Queen Elizabeth II was last night set to make a rare, “deeply personal” speech on Sunday to urge people to rise to the challenge posed by the coronavirus, and personally thank frontline healthcare workers.

Outdoor exercise in the UK could be banned if people ignore the rules on staying at home and social distancing, the country’s health secretary has warned.

At the Vatican, Pope Francis livestreamed his Palm Sunday Mass. St. Peter’s Square is usually packed by Catholic faithful for the occasion, but this year, it will be empty because of coronavirus.

Several Western countries including the US, Germany and France have in recent days encouraged the use of masks in public despite earlier saying that only carers needed to cover their faces.

The advice came after some studies suggested the virus can be spread through speaking and breathing, not just coughing and sneezing.

The World Health Organization is reviewing its guidance but has said it worries that masks could give “a false sense of security,” leading people to be more casual about hand washing and social distancing. -AFP

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