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Coronavirus deaths top 10,000 worldwide as lockdown measures tighten further

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The U.S. warned Americans to avoid all international travel and told citizens abroad to return now or face an “indefinite” absence, and California’s governor asked all 40 million residents to stay home, to try to slow the new coronavirus pandemic toll that on Friday surpassed 10,000 people worldwide.

Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began, offered a ray of hope with no new infections reported for a second day in a row and only 39 cases reported nationwide — all of them brought from the outside, the government said.

In a measure of how the fortunes of East and West have shifted, a Chinese Red Cross official heading an aid delegation to Milan castigated Italians for failing to take their national lockdown seriously. Sun Shuopeng said he was shocked to see so many people walking around, using public transportation and eating out in hotels.

“Right now we need to stop all economic activity, and we need to stop the mobility of people,” he said. “All people should be staying at home in quarantine.”

But globally, governments are trying to balance the need to lock down residents with the need to keep food, medicine and other essentials flowing.

French President Emmanuel Macron urged employees to keep working in supermarkets, production sites and other necessary businesses amid stringent restrictions of movement.

“We need to keep the country running”, Macron said.

Italy surpassed China in deaths from the outbreak, and Iran’s official toll was rising quickly as well amid fears it is underreporting the scale of the pandemic.

Iran accused the United States of helping spread the virus by retaining sanctions that prevent it importing desperately needed medicine and medical equipment.

In other words, while the U.S. is trying to curb the virus internally, it is helping the spread of the virus externally,” Iran’s U.N. mission said in a statement.

Worldwide, the death toll from COVID-19 passed 10,000 and infections exceeded 244,000, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally. Italy, with 60 million citizens, has recorded 3,405 deaths, exceeding the 3,248 in China, a country with a population over 20 times larger.

Though the illness is mild in most people, the elderly are particularly susceptible to serious symptoms. Italy has the world’s second-oldest population, and the vast majority of its dead — 87% — were over 70.

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