Italy coronavirus toll tops 4,000

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The grim toll of coronavirus deaths in Italy, the world’s worst-hit nation, surged past 4,000 on Friday as New York and other US states joined California in ordering a lockdown to try to bring the pandemic under control.

While new infections were being detected around the planet, there was a glimmer of hope in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began in December, with no new cases reported.

As Italy reeled from its worst single-day toll with more than 600 deaths, worldwide fatalities swept past 11,000, with the number of infected people topping 258,000, according to an AFP tally.

Governments and central banks continued meanwhile to throw huge sums of money into the economic battle, hoping that a deep global recession could somehow be dodged.