Coronavirus Pandemic: Global Death Toll Breaches 20,000-Mark, 13,581 of All Fatalities in Europe
Coronavirus Outbreak (Photo Credits: IANS)

Paris, March 25: The coronavirus pandemic has killed more than 20,000 people worldwide, most of them in Europe, according to an AFP tally at 1700 GMT Wednesday using official figures. A total of 20,334 deaths were reported, of which 13,581 were in Europe. With 7,503 deaths, Italy is the most affected country ahead of Spain with 3,434 and China with 3,281, the country where the initial outbreak occurred. Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister Carmen Calvo Tested Positive for Coronavirus, Says Report.

Italy's coronavirus infections rate slowed for a fourth successive day Wednesday as further evidence emerged that a painful long lockdown against the pandemic was finally working.

But Thursday's data also showed a sudden jump in deaths in regions with big cities such as Naples in the south and the capital Rome in the centre of the country. Health officials reported 683 fatalities across the nation of 60 million -- largely in line with the numbers over the past four days.

Italy has now officially recorded a world-leading 7,503 deaths alongside 74,386 COVID-19 infections. The overall rise in daily deaths among confirmed COVID-19 cases slowed to 10 percent. The figure was the smallest since February 27. The daily infection rate fell to a record low of 7.5 percent.

The World Health Organization's deputy director Ranieri Guerra appeared encouraged. "The slowdown in the (infections) growth rate is extremely positive," he told Italy's Capital radio.

The government-run National Research Council said that 57 out of Italy's 107 provinces have already hit their peak of the virus spread. The numbers are improving "and the containment measures are delivering the desired effect, even if we are in the initial phase of the slowdown," the research council said.

Italy's data are being watched by global policymaker as they weigh the potential health benefits of imposing national lockdowns against their damaging economic side effects.

"The next 3-5 days are key to seeing if Italy's lockdown measures are having an impact and if the US will diverge or follow the Italian trajectory," the Morgan Stanley investment bank wrote on Tuesday. "We do note, however, that the number of mortalities has slowed from an exponential increase since the lock down began," the bank said.