Global coronavirus death toll passes 200,000
More than half the fatalities have been reported in the US, Spain and Italy
Global deaths linked to the coronavirus passed 200,000 on Saturday, while confirmed cases of the virus are expected to hit 3 million in coming days, according to a Reuters tally.
More than half of the fatalities have been reported by the United States, Spain and Italy.
The first death linked to the disease was reported on Jan 10 in Wuhan, China. It took 91 days for the death toll to pass 100,000 and a further 16 days to reach 200,000, according to the Reuters tally of official reports from governments.
By comparison, there are an estimated 400,000 deaths annually from malaria, one of the world's most deadly infectious diseases.
The US had reported more than 53,500 deaths as of Saturday, while Italy, Spain and France have reported between 22,000 and 26,000 fatalities each.
Of the top 20 most severely affected countries, Belgium has reported the highest number of fatalities per capita, with six deaths per 10,000 people, compared with 4.9 in Spain and 1.6 in the US.
Asia and Latin America have each reported more than 7,000 deaths, while the Middle East has reported upwards of 8,800. The current toll in Africa is around 1,350.
The global death toll has continued to grow at a rate of 3-4 per cent per day over the past 10 days, though that rate has slowed since the beginning of the month.
The true number of fatalities is expected to be higher as many countries have not included deaths recorded in nursing homes and other locations outside hospitals.
Britain's death toll passed the milestone of 20,000 on Saturday, with Home Secretary Priti Patel describing it as "a deeply tragic and moving moment".
Health department figures showed a further 813 people had died in hospital after contracting Covid-19, pushing the official number of fatalities to 20,319.
The medical director of England's National Health Service, Stephen Powis and the UK's chief scientific adviser, Sir Patrick Vallance, had earlier said that keeping the number of fatalities fewer than 20,000 would be "a good outcome".
"The nation today will be deeply moved by the figures of the number of people who have died," Ms Patel said during the daily Downing Street briefing.
"Every death is a tragedy... This is a deeply tragic and moving moment."
Saturday's toll was an increase on the 684 deaths reported the previous day and comes after the government claimed the virus had hit its peak.
The UK government has been under pressure to relax social distancing rules since the country went into lockdown on March 23, but Ms Patel said ministers would not yet give a date for any relaxation in the regulations.
"We've made a great deal of progress, but actually we're not out of the woods yet, we really are not," she said.
The lockdown was extended on April 16 and is due for review on May 7. - REUTERS, AFP