Coronavirus figures marked a grim world milestone

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The global death toll from coronavirus has passed 200,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Coronavirus pandemic last updated, April 27, 2020, 06:45 GMT

The grim milestone in the progress of the pandemic was announced on Saturday night, hours after Spain and Belgium became the latest countries to reveal plans to partially lift their lockdowns.

It came on a day the UK was confirmed as the fifth country to record 20,000 deaths meaning it now accounts for 10 per cent of the worldwide total.

The US has the highest toll, with over 53,000, followed by Italy, Spain and France. However, the actual death toll is likely to be much higher.

Many nations only report daily figures for hospital deaths and analysis of excess deaths in the UK suggests that its true figure may already be over 40,000.

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More than 100 days have passed since the first death was reported in Wuhan, China, on 10 January. It took 91 days for the global death toll to pass 100,000 and a further 16 days to reach 200,000.

The worldwide total of confirmed cases is heading rapidly towards 3 million.

No new deaths have been reported in China for the last 10 days, while the number of new cases in the country has fallen to single figures.

The lockdown in Wuhan lasted three months before it was lifted on 8 April, and so far there is little sign of a second wave and the Chinese government maintains strict restrictions on travel from overseas.

The World Health Organisation has cautioned other countries not to ease restrictions too early.

The US states of Georgia, Oklahoma and Alaska have already begun loosening lockdown orders on businesses, while many Americans flocked to beaches on Saturday as one Florida county expanded access and California experienced a heatwave. India has also begun to reopen local stores although shopping malls remain closed and hundreds are still in quarantine.

From Sunday, Spain is to allow children aged under 14 to leave their homes for the first time since the state of emergency was declared on 14 March.

They will be allowed one hour of supervised outdoor activity per day between 9am and 9pm, staying within 1km of their home. Adults can accompany up to three children.

Prime minister Pedro Sanchez also announced that people will be allowed out to exercise alone from 2 May if the number of deaths and cases in Spain continues to fall. People living together will be permitted to take short walks together.

Belgium has also announced plans to allow all shops to open from 11 May, with schools reopening the following week.

Italy and France are set to announce their plans to ease their lockdowns next week, with the French parliament to vote on the measures on Tuesday.

In Sri Lanka, however, the lockdown was tightened after a surge of 46 new infections on Friday, the highest increase in a day. The new curfew remains in effect until Monday.

And Norway has extended its ban on events with more than 500 participants until at least 1 September.

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