Half of humanity being asked to isolate themselves at home to fight the spread of Covid-19

Half of the world’s population is being told to stay home in an effort to slow down the coronavirus pandemic, according to a staggering new tally, as the virus continues to hit countries worldwide and crumbles their economies.

More than 3.9 billion people across the globe have been ordered or asked to remain at home except in emergencies and to obtain essential supplies.

AFP’s database estimates that curfews and/or confinements have been ordered in more than 90 countries or territories in order to battle the spread of the coronavirus. Thailand’s announcement of a curfew — which goes into effect on Friday — crossed the 50 percent threshold, with over half of the world’s population now being told to isolate themselves to curb the spread of the virus.

Confirmed cases of Covid-19 jumped to over 950,000 on Thursday, with 48,000 now dead as a result of the virus. Over 200,000 have recovered.

Spain announced 950 fatalities in just 24 hours, with its death tally now standing at 10,003, making the country Europe’s second worst-hit after Italy, which has over 100,000 cases and 13,000 deaths and is currently under lockdown. Though health officials say the “curve has stabilized” in Spain, limited testing in the country suggests there could be many more undiscovered cases.

In the US — which now has over 200,000 confirmed cases and 5,000 deaths — 38 states, 48 counties, 14 cities, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are being told to stay home. This means over two thirds of the US’ population are now under stay-at-home orders.

Jobless claims have hit a record 10 million within the US — with 6.6 million people filing for the week ending on March 28 — as the virus continues to shut down industries and leave people out of work.

Though more cases and deaths are foreseen around the world — US officials say the “apex” of its own cases will be in mid-April — researchers have argued lockdown orders can have a strong effect on the spread of the virus. According to a paper published this week in the journal Science, China’s lockdown of Wuhan — which is believed to be ground zero for the virus — prevented cases of the disease from skyrocketing.

“Our analysis suggests that without the Wuhan travel ban and the national emergency response, there would have been more than 700,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases outside of Wuhan by that date,” Oxford fellow Christopher Dye said in the paper.

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Author: Kit Daniels

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