Three European Union nations and the United Kingdom have recorded their single-day highest death toll from the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), which causes the COVID-19 disease, on March 15.
A spike in coronavirus cases took place in Italy, Spain, France and the UK over the weekend, as the epicenter of the virus shifted from mainland China to Europe.
Italy recorded 368 deaths on March 15, bringing the death toll to 1,809. Confirmed cases of the coronavirus increased from 21,157 to 24,747 from a day earlier.
By Sunday, 92% or 18,931 cases reported mild symptoms, while the remaining 8% or 1,672 cases were in critical or serious condition. Since the start of the outbreak, 2,335 patients have recovered from the coronavirus in the country.
Italy has been placed on lockdown since March 9, which includes the closing of schools and the cancellation of public gatherings and events.
Spain recorded 97 deaths from the coronavirus on March 15, bringing the total to 288 on Sunday.
The country of some 47 million citizens is going into lockdown, as Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez told the public on March 14 to stay home unless for grocery shopping, hospital or emergencies. The first lady of Spain, Begoña Gómez, has also tested positive for the coronavirus.
France also saw its single-day record of coronavirus cases with 36 deaths on March 15, bringing the total deaths to 127.
Prime Minister Édouard Philippe ordered for all restaurants, bars and cinemas to be shut and called for citizens to cut back on non-essential movements, on March 14.
Philippe has also asked the public to employ social distancing. “We must avoid gathering as much as possible, limit friendly and family gatherings, use public transport only for work, and only if physical presence is essential, go out only for essential shopping, a little exercise or vote,” Phillipe tweeted.
Fourteen people died from the coronavirus in the UK on March 15 and on the same day 251 new cases were recorded.
According to an exclusive by The Guardian, Public Health England (PHE) estimates that close to eight million people could potentially be hospitalized. The documents obtained by the publication also reveal that the coronavirus pandemic in the UK could last until the spring of 2021.
The UK has decided to adopt a controversial “herd immunity” strategy to manage the outbreak.
Have a tip or story? Get in touch with our reporters here!