Coronavirus live updates: Japan declares state of emergency over outbreak

Samara Heisz/iStock(NEW YORK) — A global pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now killed at least 10,993 people in the United States.

The United States is among the the hardest-hit countries with more than 368,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new respiratory virus, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Worldwide, more than 1.35 million people have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and over 75,000 of them have died since the virus emerged in China back in December. The actual numbers are believed to be much higher due to testing shortages, many unreported cases and suspicions that some governments are hiding the scope of their nations’ outbreaks.

Italy still has the world’s highest death toll — over 16,500.

Here’s how the story is developing Tuesday. All times Eastern:

7:09 a.m.: France has not yet peaked, health minister warns

The number of patients hospitalized in intensive care for the novel coronavirus in France has been steadily decreasing for the past five days. But French Health Minister Olivier Veran warned Tuesday that the country has not yet reached the peak of its outbreak.

“We are still in a worsening phase of the pandemic,” Véran told French broadcaster BFM TV, adding that the nationwide lockdown would last as long as necessary.

Almost 99,000 people across France have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and nearly 9,000 of them have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.

Close to 30,000 patients infected with the novel coronavirus are currently hospitalized, according to the French health ministry.

6:25 a.m.: Positive cases top 10,000 in Africa

At least 10,075 people across Africa have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to figures released Tuesday by the Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

So far, 487 people diagnosed with COVID-19 have died.

The Northern Africa region has, by far, the largest cluster of cases on the continent, with 4,485 confirmed infections. However, with 1,686 positive cases, South Africa now has the highest national total, surpassing that of both Algeria and Egypt, according to the Africa CDC.

5:05 a.m.: Japan declares state of emergency for seven prefectures

Japan on Tuesday declared a month-long state of emergency for Tokyo and six other prefectures to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced the order in a brief televised statement, saying the country’s outbreak was threatening to gravely impact people’s lives and the economy.

The declaration, effective through May 6, empowers governors of the prefectures of Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka to take more preventative measures, such as requesting citizens to stay home, calling for businesses to close as well as shuttering schools and other public facilities. Supermarkets and other essential businesses are allowed to remain open.

However, the declaration is not expected to lead to drastic urban lockdowns like the ones seen in Europe as Japan’s post-World War II constitution limits the central government’s powers.

At least 3,906 people in Japan have been diagnosed with COVID-19 and 92 of them have died, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University. The Japanese government has admitted that infection routes cannot be traced in an increasing number of cases.

3:30 a.m.: China reports no new deaths for first time since January

China on Tuesday reported zero new deaths from the novel coronavirus over the past 24 hours.

China’s National Health Commission recorded 32 new cases of confirmed infections across the mainland, all of which were imported from abroad, as well as 30 new asymptomatic cases. However, it’s the first time the country has reported no new deaths since the commission began publishing daily figures in late January.

Meanwhile, Hong Kong has seen its number of confirmed infections more than double in recent weeks. The Chinese special administrative region on Tuesday reported 1,331 new cases in the past 24 hours, according to the National Health Commission.

The very first cases of COVID-19 were detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December before the disease spread around the globe.

Since then, a total of 81,740 people on the Chinese mainland have been diagnosed with the disease and 3,331 of them have died, according to the National Health Commission.

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