The worldwide number of fatalities from the novel coronavirus rose to 63,437 on Saturday, according to a tally compiled by AFP at 1900 GMT from official sources.
More than 1,169,210 declared cases have been registered in 190 countries and territories since the epidemic first emerged in China in December. Of these cases, at least 219,000 are now considered recovered.
The tallies, using data collected by AFP offices from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.
Many countries are only testing cases that require hospitalisation.
A total of 5,964 new deaths and 86,745 cases have been reported since a count compiled at 1900 GMT on Friday.
The United States registered the highest number of new deaths (1,399) followed by France (1,053) and Spain (809).
Italy, which recorded its first coronavirus death at the end of February, has 15,362 fatalities, with 124,632 infections and 20,996 people recovered.
Spain recorded 11,744 fatalities and 124,736 infections, followed by the United States with 8,098 deaths and 297,575 cases — the highest in the world.
France has reported 7,560 deaths and 89,953 infections, followed by Britain (4,313 deaths and 41,903 cases).
China — excluding Hong Kong and Macau — has to date declared 3,326 deaths and 81,639 cases, with 76,755 recoveries.
Since Friday at 1900 GMT, Angola, Georgia, Kuwait, Liberia and Suriname announced their first deaths from the virus.
Europe has listed 627,127 cases and 46,033 deaths to date, the US and Canada together have 311,447 cases with 8,342 deaths, Asia 116,129 cases and 4,137 deaths, the Middle East 71,739 cases and 3,623 deaths, Latin America and the Caribbean 28,166 cases with 891 deaths, Africa 8,129 cases with 375 deaths and Oceania 6,480 cases with 36 deaths.
Meanwhile, Britain on Saturday reported a record 708 daily deaths from COVID-19, including a five-year-old child, who is thought to be the country’s youngest victim.
The health ministry said 4,313 people who tested positive for the virus in the hospital had died as of 1600 GMT Friday while there were 41,903 confirmed cases as of 0800 GMT Saturday, up 3,735.
The toll has been steadily increasing by more than 500 deaths a day this week and the country is bracing for an expected peak in the next week to 10 days.
A total of 637 of the latest deaths were in England, the National Health Service (NHS) said.
“Patients were aged between five years and 104 years old. 40 of the 637 patients (aged between 48 and 93 years old) had no known underlying health condition,” it said in a statement.
The NHS said it would not be giving further information about the five-year-old patient at the request of the family.
A 13-year-old boy from London, Ismail Mohamed Abdulwahab, died last week, days after testing positive for COVID-19. His family said he had no underlying illnesses.
Senior minister Michael Gove told a daily briefing that the teenager’s mother and siblings were now showing symptoms.
The overall death toll now included seven healthcare professionals, he added.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who is in self-isolation after developing mild symptoms of the disease, ordered a three-week lockdown of the country on March 23 to try to cut infections.
But there has been concern that warmer weather forecast for this weekend could tempt people from their homes to green spaces and public parks.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock has warned against any relaxation in social distancing, saying: “If we do, people will die.”
– ‘Things Will Plateau’ –
Imperial College London epidemiologist Neil Ferguson, who is advising the government, told BBC radio on Saturday a peak was expected around the Easter weekend.
“We still think things will plateau but we’ll be at quite high levels of infection for weeks and weeks rather than seeing quite a rapid decline as the type seen in China,” he said.
But he said that was dependent on people staying at home. If that happened, it could lead to less stringent measures in place “at least by the end of May”, he added.
The announcement of another record rise in deaths came after 13 residents at a care home in Glasgow died in one week in a suspected outbreak of coronavirus.
The Burlington Court Care Home said those who died had underlying medical conditions and two staff members were being treated for COVID-19.
Tests for coronavirus are currently carried out on the most serious cases that require hospital treatment, suggesting the true extent of confirmed cases and deaths is an under-estimate.
The government announced that up to 4,000 low-risk prisoners near the end of their sentence could be released from jails in England and Wales to try to stop the spread of COVID-19.
A total of 88 prisoners and 15 prison staff have tested positive for the virus, and there is concern it could spread rapidly because of shared cells and overcrowding.
The justice ministry said those released would be electronically tagged and temporarily released on licence in stages. High-risk offenders will not be considered for early release.
The national medical director for NHS England, Stephen Powis, condemned vandals who attacked new 5G mobile phone network masts, after discredited claims it helped spread the virus.
Powis called the theory “absolute and utter rubbish” and said he was “absolutely outraged (and) disgusted” that vital infrastructure had been targeted during a national emergency.
“The reality is that the mobile phone networks are absolutely critical to all of us, particularly in a time when we’re asking people to stay at home and not to see relatives and friends.
“But in particular they are also the phone networks that are used by our emergency services and our health workers,” he added.