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Coronavirus cases double to one million in eight days

World

Global coronavirus cases have topped one million, with Spain recording another 950 deaths overnight to hit its biggest daily total yet.

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The virus has killed more than 51,000 globally with the largest number of deaths in Italy, followed by Spain and the US.

The first 100,000 cases were reported in around 55 days and the first 500,000 in 76 days. Cases doubled to one million within the past eight days.

Total cases reported by Thursday grew 10 per cent from a day earlier, the first time the rate has hit double digits since the virus took hold outside China.

There are 117 countries and territories that have reported above 100 cases, 50 with outbreaks of more than 1000 and seven that have reported 50,000 or more COVID-19 cases, mainly in Europe.

The global fatality rate is now above five per cent of all reported cases, with countries including the UK, the US and Spain reporting a spike in fatalities over recent days.

Around 22 per cent of total cases have been reported by the US, while Italy and Spain have each reported 11 per cent of global cases.

China, where the virus emerged in December, has reported eight per cent of total cases globally as the epicentre of the pandemic moved to Europe and the US.

Europe together accounts for more than half of cases and more than 70 per cent of deaths linked to the virus, as countries in southern Europe with higher older age demographics have been hit particularly hard.

Italy’s death toll has risen by 760 over the last 24 hours to 13,915, slightly up on a day earlier.

The number of new cases was steady, growing by 4668 to 115,242.

Indonesia’s coronavirus death toll rose to 170 as the world’s fourth-most populous nation passed South Korea as the country with the highest number of recorded fatalities in Asia after China.

The country has confirmed 1790 infections, while 7193 tests have been performed out of a population more than 261 million of as of Thursday – far fewer than many smaller neighbours.

India has reported its biggest single-day increase in coronavirus cases as officials race to track down some 9000 people exposed to the country’s biggest infection cluster during a Muslim missionary group’s gathering in the capital last month.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has placed the world’s second most populous nation under a three-week lockdown until mid-April.

As of Wednesday 50 people had died, but there are fears the death toll would explode if the contagion reaches epidemic proportions among India’s 1.3 billion people.

Britain aims to massively increase its testing to 100,000 a day, up from the current 10,000.

Britain initially took a restrained approach to the outbreak but Prime Minister Boris Johnson changed tack and imposed stringent social distancing measures after modelling showed a quarter of a million people in the country could die.

The UK has 2921 coronavirus deaths and 33,718 confirmed cases.

The government’s current worst-case scenario envisages a death toll of 50,000 if self-isolation is not fully adhered to, but the country is not on course for a toll of that scale, a source familiar with emergency government discussions said.

-with AAP

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