Health March 18, 2020
Global cases of COVID-19 exceed 200,000

By Sarah Cartledge - World Healthcare Journal

The COVID-19 pandemic has now infected at least 200,000 people worldwide, and the virus is estimated to have caused 8,000 deaths worldwide.

Johns Hopkins University reported the rise in cases this morning after public health authorities across the globe released their updated statistics on the virus.

This development comes as governments across the world are rapidly attempting to ensure the safety of their citizens through new legislation, more aggressive public safety measures, and border closures.

  • In Europe, all Schengen Area member states have approved a plan proposed by the European Commission to close all external borders to non-essential travel for a month.

  • British holidaymakers have been urged to return from holiday in Spain, as the second worst affected nation in Europe announced it would close all its hotels and resorts by next week to cope with the spread of the virus.

  • The death toll in Italy continues to rise, with 475 new deaths reported today – the worst day yet since the epidemic began.

  • The number of COVID-19 cases in South Asia has resurged, with public health officials fearing that “imported infections” from Europe may be the reason for the increase in cases as people flee the new centre of the pandemic.

  • The US and Canada have agreed to close their border to non-essential traffic; however President Donald Trump assured citizens that trade would not be affected between the two nations. The US border with Mexico currently remains open, and the Trump Administration confirmed that they would be using stricter measures to stop migrants illegally crossing the border.

  • Iran continues to be severely affected by the pandemic, with a 15 per cent rise in deaths today to 1,135 total fatalities – the worst day the country has seen yet.

Government action 

Many governments around the world have dramatically increased their clampdowns on public interaction, and many have signalled that even more extreme measures could be taken if the pandemic worsens. Schools are due to be closed from Friday in the UK, and there are suggestions that London (which is estimated to be three weeks ahead of the nation in the virus trajectory) could be subject to further closures or even shutdown.

Economic measures 

Saudi Arabia is currently in talks with members of the G20 to convene an “extraordinary” session for preparing a common strategy to tackle the challenge posed by Covid-19 and lessen the economic impact that it has on the world economy.

In the UKChancellor Rishi Sunak announced a £350bn fund to aid UK businesses tand stem economic impact from recently announced social distancing measures. In the US, the Trump Administration is currently in fast-tracked negotiations with Congress to pass an estimated $1 trillion package to support the economy and provide relief to citizens.

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