Italy has become the new epicentre of the crisis with at least 3,405 people dead after the virus claimed 427 victims in a 24 hour period.
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That takes the European country’s death toll above that of mainland China where 3,132 people have passed away from COVID-19.
The deadly outbreak started late last year in Wuhan, Hubei Province, but has quickly infested every continent except barren Antartica.
In Europe, Spain is in total lockdown after their death toll hit 1,002 – climbing by 235 deaths in the past day – while France has followed suit after 371 people died.
However, the UK government has refrained from a full lockdown with people free to travel into work and socialise in bars and cafes.
Currently 137 people have died from coronavirus in Britain although that number is expected to surge in the coming days and weeks.
This comes as it emerged that countries believed to have turned the coronavirus tide were facing a second wave of infections.
China, South Korea, Japan and Singapore were preparing to ease restrictions as numbers of new cases slowed.
But they were rowing back as new pockets of infection, involving sufferers returning from abroad, flared up.
China has reportedly had no new domestic cases but 34 new infections among those who recently returned home.
The national death toll in the country stands at over 3,000 – according to the Communist regime.
Cleaning staff from a newly operative field hospital in Cremona, near Milan. Italy is now the new epicentre of the outbreakCredit: AFP Italy’s death toll has surged past China – where the outbreak started
Chinese leaders ordered massive lockdowns which left millions confined to their homes for up to six weeks in a state of mass quarantine.
Professor David Heymann, of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine said the harsh measures had succeeded in stopping spread to other regions.
But he added: “The concern is what will happen after they end these measures.”
Elsewhere in the region, Singapore reported 47 new cases, of which 33 were imported.
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Japan also reported three new cases on Wednesday as the worst-affected Hokkaido region, with 154 cases, eased its state of emergency for the first time since late February.
The reappearance of the bug came despite claims by Japanese officials that there had been “no surge of infected patients that led to the collapse of the medical environment”.
South Korea saw a jump of 152 new cases yesterday with many of those believed to have been imported, centering on a nursing home in Daegu, where 74 patients tested positive.
Italy passes China’s coronavirus death toll as killer virus grips Europe
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