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Coronavirus deaths top 100,000; WHO warns of outbreak in Africa

By
Don Jacobson
Homeless South Africans wait for coronavirus testing at a temporary shelter site in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday. Photo by Nic Bothma/EPA-EFE
Homeless South Africans wait for coronavirus testing at a temporary shelter site in Cape Town, South Africa, Thursday. Photo by Nic Bothma/EPA-EFE

April 10 (UPI) -- Rural Africa is becoming the latest area of concern in the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said in its update Friday as the global death toll surpassed 100,000.

While welcoming an apparent slowdown the spread of COVID-19 in most of the heavily affected European nations, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the disease is quickly spreading in poorer and more remote areas of Africa where deep poverty and lack of health resources will likely produce "severe hardship."

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"We've seen an alarming acceleration in other countries [outside of Europe]," he said. "I want to take a moment to highlight Africa, where we are seeing the spread of the coronavirus to rural areas.

"We are now seeing clusters of cases and community spread in more than 16 countries."

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The warning about Africa came as the global death toll from coronavirus surpassed 100,000, according to experts at Johns Hopkins University. Their world total includes 1.6 million cases and more than 368,000 recoveries.

In Spain, the daily death toll was 605 Friday -- the lowest since March 24. Deaths there steadily fell this week from a peak of 950 reported deaths on April 2. All told, nearly 16,000 have died in Spain, health officials said.

Many Spanish workers are scheduled to return to work on Monday following the Easter holiday.

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In Italy, officials said the number of patients in intensive care fell for a seventh straight day to around 3,500.

Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Italian National Institute of Health, said the trends are positive. Italy's overall death toll is about 18,000.

"The curve clearly shows us a situation of decrease and that is a positive sign, but it must not make us let our guard down," Brusaferro said.

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Also Friday, Britain saw its greatest daily death toll, almost 1,000, since the start of the pandemic.

"We never forget that behind this number, behind each one is a name, a loss, and a family that will never be the same again," said British Health Minister Matt Hancock.

Officials said Friday Prime Minister Boris Johnson is up and walking at a London hospital. He spent three nights in intensive care this week.

Scenes from a pandemic: World copes with COVID-19

A health worker with the Israeli national emergency service, Magen David Adam, wears protective gear while taking swabs to test for COVID-19 at a drive-through testing center in East Jerusalem on August 26. Photo by Debbie Hill/UPI | License Photo

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