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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - WASHINGTON — More than a million people across the world are reported to have contracted coronavirus infection so far, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University on Thursday.
The reported cases doubled in a week as the virus spreads across Europe and North America and establishes a toehold in Africa.
Nearly 53,000 people have died and more than 210,000 have recovered, according to the US university's figures.
Nearly a quarter of cases have been registered in the United States, while Europe accounts for around half.
The world knew almost nothing about the virus in December, when reports of a new coronavirus started to surface in Wuhan, China. Since then, it has spread to nearly every country in the world, disrupting daily life for millions under lockdown measures meant to curb the virus’ rapid spread.
“Over the past five weeks, we have witnessed a near exponential growth in the number of new cases, reaching almost every country, territory and area,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at a news briefing at the organization’s Geneva headquarters on Wednesday.
Governments have promised trillions of dollars in a desperate effort to limit the damage.
Still, the virus has continued its ferocious global assault, with at least 1 million detected cases. But experts suspect that number seriously underestimates the spread, with many asymptomatic cases and delays in widespread testing. The Australian medical chief estimated that the true number was between 5 million and 10 million. — Agencies
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