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Coronavirus: Global death toll passes 110,000 as Italy records lowest daily deaths since March

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Virus Outbreak Italy Easter
Virus Outbreak Italy Easter   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino
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The global death toll for coronavirus has passed 110,000 with 1.8 million confirmed cases worldwide.

There were some signs for hope over the weekend as Italy recorded 431 deaths in a day due to COVID-19, the country's lowest daily death toll since March 19.

Italy has had 156,363 confirmed cases of the virus. Nearly 20,000 people have died.

Spain announced that 619 people had died from coronavirus between Saturday and Sunday, an increase of almost 100 people over the same period 24 hours earlier.

France, however, confirmed that fewer patients entered its intensive care units for treatment for COVID-19 ahead of a speech by President Emmanuel Macron in which he is expected to extend the country’s month-long coronavirus lockdown.

France is the fourth-worst affected country globally after the U.S., Italy and Spain with over 95,000 cases and 14,393 deaths as of Sunday.

In the UK, meanwhile, the death toll passed 10,000 as the country recorded 737 deaths in a day. Last week, the UK recorded the highest daily death toll in Europe and some say it could become the most impacted country in Europe.

Boris Johnson, the British prime minister, was released from hospital this weekend after contracting COVID-19. He has since said that he owes his life to medical staff.

Read more: Boris Johnson, just out of hospital, implores British to stay home to beat coronavirus

The U.S. meanwhile passed Italy in the number of deaths from coronavirus, recording more than 20,000 fatalities and more than half a million confirmed cases.

The increase in Spain will be a blow after the country reported its lowest daily death count in three weeks on Saturday after 510 people died from the virus.

In her first Easter message to the British people, Queen Elizabeth II said that the virus “would not overcome us” and urged Britons to keep apart and “keep others safe”.

Meanwhile in Asia, South Korea reported just 32 additional coronavirus cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 10,512. The government of North Korea still claims to have not had a single case of the virus as yet, a claim that is disputed by experts.

From Venezuela to Vanuatu, almost half the world’s population remains locked down to avoid the spread of the virus, which has infected 1.8 million people worldwide and killed over 108,000. The worst infection rate has been seen in the U.S., where 529,951 have the virus.

On Sunday, AP reported that the White House had approved the production of 39 million N95 medical masks over the next 30 days.

Turkish interior minister quits over coronavirus pandemic

Suleyman Soylu resigned on Sunday due to a coronavirus curfew announcement that sparked panic in Turkey.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account, Soylu said: “Responsibility for implementing the weekend curfew decision, which was aimed at preventing the epidemic, belongs entirely to me.”

The lockdown of 31 cities had been announced just two hours before taking effect.

As crowds rushed to buy supplies, the government was criticised for the ill-timed lockdown.

Soylu, who was appointed interior minister in August 2016, said his “countless experiences should not have led to such scenes.”

Turkey reported 4,789 more virus cases for a total of 56,956, including 1,198 deaths, as of Sunday.

Health workers 'must not be sacrificed'

On Saturday, UK health secretary Matt Hancock's announced that 19 NHS workers had died after testing positive for COVID-19.

Dr Mike Ryan, who is the director of WHO’s health emergencies programme, stressed that building a health workforce took "a long time" and "should be protected."

WHO director-general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said he was “particularly concerned” about the large number of infections reported among health workers -- in some countries up to 10% of health workers are being infected with COVID-19.

“This is an alarming trend. When health workers are at risk, we’re all at risk,” Dr Tedros said.