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Italy virus toll tops 4,000, New York joins California in lockdown

Update: March, 21/2020 - 09:38

 

Medical staff stand outside a coronavirus screening tent in Brooklyn, New York. — AFP/VNA Photo

NEW YORK — 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 globe, the World Health Organisation said the central Chinese city of Wuhan, where the pandemic began in December, offered a glimmer of "hope for the rest of the world", with no fresh 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.

US President Donald Trump applauded decisions by the governors of New York and California to order residents to stay home but said he did not think a nationwide lockdown was needed.

"Those are really two hotbeds," Trump said.

"I don't think we'll ever find (a US-wide lockdown) necessary," he said, adding that the United States was "winning" the war against the virus.

Shortly after Trump spoke, the governor of Illinois ordered residents of the midwestern state to stay at home and the governor of Connecticut did the same.

The stay-at-home orders put the three most populous cities in the United States -- New York, Los Angeles and Chicago -- und