March 15 (UPI) — The number of worldwide coronavirus deaths passed 6,000 Sunday as virtually all new cases and fatalities have moved from the epicenter mainland China to other nations, including Italy and Iran.
More than half of the 162,687 confirmed covid-19 cases and 6,417 deaths are now outside mainland China, according a running total by Johns Hopkins.
Since originally concentrating in China, the outbreak has grown into a pandemic as declared by the World Health Organization on Wednesday.
Around the globe, the disease has forced the closure of schools, businesses, sporting events, entertainment and travel, including by air and cruise ships. Stock markets have tumbled. And where stores have been open, there has been a run on staples and supplies, including cleaning products.
After the first case was identified in mainland China in early January, the daily death reports skyrocketed into the hundreds and the cases in the thousands but they have dropped down tremendously.
Ten new deaths in mainland China were announced Sunday by the China Health Commission.
China has 80,844 cases, including only 20 new ones. That leaves 81,843 elsewhere.
The death toll stands at 3,199 in mainland China with 3,218 elsewhere.
A total of 66,911 patients have recovered and been discharged from Chinese hospitals, said the NHC. Most new cases are imported from other countries. World, 75,620 have recovered.
After weeks of a lockdown, domestic travel is resuming, including reopening of highways.
The second-largest cluster is in Italy with 1,809 deaths and 24,747 cases, an increase of 368 fatalities and 3,590 cases in one day, Italy announced Sunday.
For the past week, the entire nation has been under lockdown, which began in northern Italy, including Milan, where the outbreak is concentrated.
With nothing much to do in Italy, many residents have resorted to song.
In a video showing a dimly lit and deserted street, men and women sing “Il Canto della Verbena” (“The Song of Verbena”) — a traditional patriotic folk song.
No other country reported deaths in the thousands.
Iran has reported 724 deaths and 13,938 cases, including 1,209 new cases and 113 deaths Saturday.
Iran has ordered shrines to close in the holy city of Qom, where the country’s coronavirus outbreak is thought to have begun.
Other high numbers in Europe through Saturday are in Spain (7,798 cases, 289 deaths), Germany (5,485 cases, 11 deaths) and France (4,511 cases, 91 deaths), according to a Johns Hopkins tally through early Sunday morning. Spain’s death total one day earlier was 196. And Germany’s cases climbed from 4,585.
The United States is eighth in number of cases with 3,244, as well as 62 deaths, including 40 in Washington state, mainly at a nursing home near Seattle.
South Korea reported 76 new coronavirus cases Sunday for a total of 8,162 confirmed cases, according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The numbers have grown with hundreds of thousands of people being tested — far more than any other nation.
There have been 75 deaths for a .90 percent mortality rate.
Most of the cases have been linked to a call center in Seoul in the southern city of Daegu, where the outbreak has been concentrated.
Japan, however, reported the largest single-day increase in cases: 64 new ones, bringing the nationwide tally to 832 and 24 deaths, according to Japan’s Health Ministry. Another 697 cases are associated with the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was off Yokohama, near Tokyo, under quarantine for weeks.
In other developments:
Britain: The Foreign Office said Sunday that it was advising against “all but essential travel to the USA” in light of the travel restrictions placed by the U.S. government on visitors from Britain. The kingdom was initially excluded from travel restrictions introduced, but U.S. Vice President Mike Pence announced Saturday that all travel from Britain and Ireland will also be suspended effective midnight Monday.
France: Prime Minister Édouard Philippe announced that starting at midnight Saturday all places that are not essential to French living including restaurants, cafes, cinemas and clubs, will be closed.
Israel: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal trial, which was scheduled to start on Tuesday, has been delayed until the end of May.
Vatican: The public will not be able to attend the Vatican’s Easter masses and public Holy Week events that include Thursday’s traditional washing of the feet, Friday’s “Way of the Cross” at the Colosseum, and Easter Sunday masses on April 12. The cancellations also affect Palm Sunday events on April 5.
Spain: Doña Begoña Gómez, the wife of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez, tested positive. They are in good condition and are following health officials’ preventative measures. The nation joined Italy in ordering a nationwide lockdown, banning people from leaving home, except for buying essential supplies and medicines, or for work.