News Coronavirus Global coronavirus infections top 1 million

Global coronavirus infections top 1 million

Coronavirus has quickly spread around the world to infect more than 1 million people. Photo: Getty
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Global coronavirus cases have topped one million as the pandemic explodes in the US and the death toll continues to climb in Italy and Spain, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

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 about 55 days and the first 500,000 in 76 days. Cases doubled to one million in 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 5 per cent of all reported cases, with countries including Britain, the US and Spain reporting a spike in fatalities in recent days.

About 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 8 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.

World Bank issues emergency funds

The World Bank said it was prepared to spend up to $US160 billion ($262 billion ) in the next 15 months to combat the pandemic as it approved an initial sum in emergency money.

The board of executive directors approved the first $US1.9 billion ($3.1 billion) for coronavirus response operations in 25 countries.

The World Bank also said it was moving quickly on projects in 40 other countries, and was working to redeploy resources in existing World Bank financed projects.

India, the third-largest economy in Asia, will receive $US1 billion ($A1.6 billion) to support better screening for the virus, contact tracing and laboratory diagnostics; pay for personal protective equipment; and set up new isolation wards for those infected.

World Bank group president David Malpass said the bank was moving quickly to strengthen the ability of developing countries to respond to the fast-spreading virus.

“The poorest and most vulnerable countries will likely be hit the hardest, and our teams around the world remain focused on country-level and regional solutions to address the ongoing crisis,” Mr Malpass said.

The money approved on Thursday included $US200 million ($A328 million) for Pakistan, $US100 million ($164 million) for Afghanistan and $US82.6 million ($135.4 million) for Ethiopia, the bank said.

The bank said it was also helping countries obtain urgently needed medical supplies by asking suppliers on behalf of governments.