Coronavirus COVID-19: Half of humanity now on lockdown as 90 countries call for confinement

More than 3.9 billion people, or half of the world’s population, have now been asked or ordered to stay at home by their governments to prevent the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

Data from an AFP database collated compulsory or recommended confinements, curfews and quarantines in more than 90 countries or territories.

Due to the introduction of a curfew in Thailand (effective from Friday), the threshold of 50% of humanity will be reached.

Meanwhile, the number of dead in Spain from coronavirus has now risen above 10,000, according to the latest health authority figures published on Thursday.

It’s a new record for the country, with 950 deaths in the last 24 hours. The total number of deaths stands at 10,003, with a total of 110,238 confirmed cases in Europe’s worst affected nation after Italy.

However, the infection rate appeared to ease. Health authorities say contagion in Spain has dropped from a daily average of 20% until March 25 to less than 12% after that date, more than 10 days after Spaniards were ordered to stay home.

But the government has acknowledged that the real number of infections could be much higher due to limited testing.

The figures also show that more people are recovering. The total now stands at 26,743 in Spain — up from 22,647 the previous day. That number represents more than 20% of the overall number of cases.

Unemployment soars

Spain also reported catastrophic unemployment figures on Thursday, evidence of the devastating effect the pandemic is having on the economy. Jobless numbers rose by over 300,000 in March, the highest increase on record, Euronews’ Spanish service reports.

The number of people out of work has risen far more sharply than happened during the financial crisis of 2008, Spanish media say.

The European Union has designed a new programme to raise up to €100 billion to tackle surging unemployment brought on by the pandemic.

The aim of the scheme, called SURE, is to provide financial assistance to the 27 member states via loans from the EU. “Only the strongest of responses will do,” European Commission president Ursula Von der Leyen said in Brussels on Thursday.

In the US new Labor Department figures showed that more than 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week — doubling a record high set just a week earlier.

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