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The global death toll due to COVID-19 passed 150,000 as daily death tolls continued to be in the hundreds for many of the worst affected countries in Europe.
According to data published by the Coronavirus Resource Center at the US Johns Hopkins University, the number of deaths worldwide stood at 156,064 on Saturday afternoon (CET).
In Spain the overall number of deaths rose above 20,000 on Saturday, according to latest health authority figures. But the daily figure of 565 was slightly down on the previous 24 hours. Nearly 40% of all coronavirus hospital patients have now been discharged after recovering.
The UK announced an additional 888 deaths in 24 hours on Saturday, as the total number of people killed by the virus topped 15,000. Russia reported another record daily jump in the number of cases.
There have also now been more than 1,000 deaths in African countries with Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa the worst hit by the pandemic.
"In the past week there has been a 51% increase in the number of reported cases in my own continent Africa and a 60% increase in the number of reported deaths," World Health Organisation director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Friday.
"With the current challenge of obtaining testing kits, it's likely that the real numbers are higher than reported."
"With WHO support, most countries in Africa have the capacity to test for COVID-19, but there are still significant gaps to access to testing kits," Dr Tedros added.
Many European countries are looking towards a "new normal" with Italy and France recording decreases in hospitalisations, a sign of improvement in both countries.
New figures from Germany on Saturday showed another 3,609 cases compared to the previous day. The previous day the German government announced the epidemic was "under control" in the country, thanking people for staying home and doctors, nurses, and other workers for working to help others.
Germany has a low death toll compared to other badly hit European countries.
"We can now say that this succeeded... the infection rate has decreased significantly," said health minister Jens Spahn.
Here are the latest coronavirus updates:
UK announces task force to speed up hunt for coronavirus vaccine
UK says it is now able to carry out 38,000 coronavirus tests a day - it's aiming to hit 100,000 by the end of April.
View Friday's developments as they happened in the blog below.
World Health Organisation says Chinese case increase was to 'leave no case undocumented'
New figures from China showed there have been nearly 1,300 extra deaths in Wuhan. The announcement came after criticism from Western leaders questioning the accuracy of the confirmed cases and death toll in China.
"This was done as an attempt to leave no case undocumented," said Dr Maria Van Kerkhove, the technical lead for the World Health Organisation's health emergencies programme.
"The discrepancies in these cases were due to a number of factors," she added, stating that some people had died at home and that there were delays in reporting and filling out forms.
She said it was a challenge in an outbreak to record numbers and she would "anticipate that many countries" will be in a "similar situation".
The Chinese government, meanwhile, has denied any "cover-up" over official casualty figures, after the sudden increase in the number of deaths was revealed.
Global death toll passes 150,000
There are at least 1,000 deaths in African countries with Algeria, Egypt, Morocco and South Africa the worst hit by the pandemic.
"In the past week there has been a 51% increase in the number of reported cases in my own continent Africa and a 60% increase in the number of reported deaths," said World Health Organisation director general Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Friday.
"With the current challenge of obtaining testing kits, it's likely that the real numbers are higher than reported".
Trump urges people to "Liberate" states controlled by opposition party politicians
US President Donald Trump tweeted for supporters to "LIBERATE" three states that are all led by Democratic governors.
His tweets appeared to be in support of protests against stay-at-home orders aimed at controlling the coronavirus.
The tweets come a day after the US government released guidelines for relaxing restrictions in states, a process that will be led by state governors.
France records 761 additional deaths in 24 hours
There were 761 deaths in 24 hours in France, director general of health Jérôme Salomon said at a press conference.
This brings the total number of deaths in the country to 18,681.
There were an additional 243 people admitted to intensive care units in France, a decrease from the number of people admitted the day prior.
"We are seeing the reduction of the rhythm and speed of the epidemic. This is linked to the effort of French people. The message is a bit strange, but [after the lockdown measures] French people will continue to be responsible for stalling the virus [through their actions]," Salomon said.
Hospitalisations continue to decrease in Italy
Meanwhile, there were 575 new deaths and 3,493 new cases of the virus.
There have been a total of 172,434 cases in Italy and 22,745 deaths since the beginning of the crisis.
WHO concerned about fragile states being affected by Covid-19
There is one confirmed case in Yemen and at least 38 cases in Syria.
"We are concerned, we are alert but we are also aware that these populations face many more difficulties than COVID-19," Dr Ryan said, including famine and other diseases.
Don't compare countries as they are all in different stages of their epidemics, WHO says
Ryan added that governments will have to be "prudent" in how they lift lockdown measures to make sure they can "find" the virus through contacts and quarantining contacts.
He said all countries in Europe should eventually be phasing out measures only in ways that are gradual and prudent.
One World: Together at Home concert takes centre stage at WHO briefing
Joined by Global Citizen's Hugh Evans and singer Lady Gaga, Dr Tedros said that the fund already had $150 million from more than 245,000 individuals and groups.
"We call it one world together at home, it is a love letter to our doctors, a love letter to our nurses and other health care professionals" and other workers in groceries and transport, Lady Gaga said.
The concert will be streamed on several international networks and social media on Saturday night.
Five tests will have to be met before lockdown can be lifted, UK business secretary says
Alok Sharma said that the lockdown measures would stay in place until five tests were satisfied at the UK government's daily press conference.
- they can provide "sufficient critical care" to patients
- there is a sustained fall in the daily death rate
- they need to have reliable data showing that the rate of infection is decreasing
- they need to be confident that they have "testing capacity" and personal protective equipment supply to address the pandemic
- they also need to be confident that adjustments to the measures will not risk a second peak of the virus.