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Coronavirus deaths slow worldwide, pass 165,000 as restrictions ease

By Allen Cone
1/3
Coronavirus deaths slow worldwide, pass 165,000 as restrictions ease
A stroller crosses a deserted road in Cordoba, Andalusia, Spain, on Sunday. Photo by EPA-EFE/Salas

April 19 (UPI) -- The death toll from the coronavirus continues to slow as nations make plans to reopen businesses and other activities.

After reporting double-digit increases for several weeks, nations worldwide are announcing rises of just a few percentage points daily.

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In all, more than 165,000 have died from the outbreak, according to tracking by worldometers.info. The increased death rate is 3.1 percent with nearly 5,000 additional deaths. The United States tops the list with 40,575 deaths, which is around one-quarter of the global total.

Cases increased 75,804 to 2.4 million for a 3.1 percent increase.

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Spain reported 410 new deaths from the coronavirus in the last 24 hours for a total of 20,453 -- the third highest in the world behind the United States and Italy -- and a 2 percent increase. That's the lowest increase since 391 deaths were reported on March 22.

Fernando Simón, Spain's director of health emergencies, said at a briefing the numbers reflected a "substantial reduction of infections."

On Saturday, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said he would ask parliament for a third 15-day extension of the lockdown through May 9. The lockdown was imposed on March 14.

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Last week, some sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, reopened though most people were only allowed to leave their homes for essential outings.

Italy's rate has also been declining since the first death was reported on Feb. 21 and the nation rose to No. 1 in the world until being surpassed by the United States. On Sunday, 433 deaths were reported -- the lowest since 431 on April 12 -- after 482 more on Saturday.

The rate of increase was 1.9 percent for a total of 23,660 Sunday.

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The Italian government has established a $435 million food voucher fund and $4.8 billion to local mayors.

Mafia clans are already taking advantage of the coronavirus pandemic, especially in southern Italy, senior anti-mafia officials and researchers have told CNN.

On Sunday, Britain reported the most deaths in Europe -- 596 -- for a total of 16,060, which is fifth in the world, and a 3.9 percent increase. On Saturday the kingdom reported the second-most deaths in the world, 888, second only to the United States with 1,867.

Britain's Department of Health and Social Care reported Sunday that 15,944 have tested positive out of 372,967.

The Sunday Times described how Britain "sleepwalked into disaster" over 38 days beginning on Jan. 3. The government has been criticized for shortages of personal protective equipment and a slow start to testing.

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Cabinet minister Michael Gove described the newspaper article as "off beam" and "out of context" though he acknowledged Prime Minister Boris Johnson hadn't covered five Cabinet meetings though they were led by the secretary of state.

No. 4 France reported 395 additional deaths Sunday -- a 2 percent rise -- to 19,718. That's the fewest deaths since 292 on March 29.

Belgium moved into sixth place, rising ahead of Iran and China on Sunday, with 230 additional deaths for a total of 5,683 for a 4.2 percent increase.

No. 7 Iran added 87 people to its list of dead for a total of 5,118. That's a 1.7 percent increase.

China, the original epicenter of the virus and the world's most populous country with 1.4 billion people, on Sunday reported no additional deaths and 16 new cases. Its death toll stands at 4,632, including announcing on Friday 1,290 additional deaths that had not been previously counted in Wuhan, where the tally stands at 3,869.

No. 8 Germany reported 104 additional deaths by Sunday for a total of 4,642 after 186 announced Saturday.

On Monday, smaller stores will be allowed to reopen after a month-long lockdown. Though retailers have lost $33 billion in sales, including bankruptcy, Prime Minister Angela Merkel has been praised for her handling of the crisis.

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Russia ranks 27th in deaths with 361 but is sixth in cases with 42,853, including 6,060 new infections, second behind the United States with 25,844

In Asia, only 385 additional deaths were reported Sunday for a total of 14,786. Those nations include the Middle East.

In the Far East, South Korea reported two deaths and only eight cases. But 16 more people who had recovered from coronavirus and were released from quarantine have tested positive again for the infection, according to South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all, 8,042 had been listed as recovered. South Korea has implemented a widespread testing program.

On Sunday, Japan reported 14 deaths after 32 more Saturday, tying a daily record, for a total of 236. In addition, 501 more cases were reported for a total of 10,797.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has extended the state of emergency from seven prefectures to the entire country.

India, the world's second-most populous country with 1.35 billion people, reported no deaths and 521 cases to reach 16,365 infections. India's lockdown, which initially was for 21 days, has been extended to May 3.

Singapore reported 942 new confirmed cases of coronavirus -- the highest daily jump so far -- and 596 more Sunday for a total of 6,588. All but 14 of the cases were Singapore citizens or permanent residents with the rest migrant workers living in dormitories, according to the city-state's Ministry of Health. The death count stands at 11.

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Turkey, which is 12th in deaths with 2,017, had the fifth most additional cases (3,977 to climb to 86,306).

In South America, Brazil accounts for 2,462 of the 3,849 deaths, including an additional 101 deaths Sunday -- less than half the number of 220 reported Saturday.

On Friday, Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro fired his health minister, Luiz Henrique Mandetta, who had backed social distancing. Bolsonaro has previously downplayed coronavirus as nothing more than a "little flu." He has discussed plans to "gradually open up" the nation's economy with incoming minister Nelson Teich.

In Africa, 43 deaths were announced for a total of 1,125 Sunday, led by Algeria with 375 and 239 in Egypt.

In Oceania, 71 deaths have been reported in Australia with one new death announced Sunday, and 12 in New Zealand, with one more fatality.

Beaches in some parts of Sydney's eastern suburbs will reopen Monday.

In North America, all but about 2,500 of the deaths are in the United States. On Sunday, Canada reported 117 additional fatalities for a total of 1,587 and Mexico had 104 more for a total of 650.

Canada and the U.S. will extend restrictions on their shared border to most travelers for 30 days, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said. The changes began in March.

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And on Friday, President Donald Trump spoke with President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of Mexico. They discussed the need to maintain restrictions on land border crossings for non-essential reasons "while ensuring cross-border activities that are critical to commerce, health security, supply security, and other essential industries remain unimpeded," according to a White House readout.

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