The total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases hit the 1 million mark on Thursday, according to tallies by both the AFP news agency and Johns Hopkins University in the US. Over 51,000 people have died worldwide from the virus.
The novel coronavirus outbreak was first recorded in December 2019, in the city of Wuhan in China's central Hubei province. The number of infected people in Wuhan skyrocketed, prompting a lockdown by the government. The virus then quickly spread abroad, hitting nearly every country.
On March 11, the World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a pandemic. Two weeks later, the US became the most-affected nation, surpassing China. In Europe, Italy, Spain, Germany and France were hit the hardest, with each having more than 40,000 cases.
By April 1, close to half the world’s population – most of North America, Europe and India – had been ordered to stay at home, in hopes of slowing or stopping the spread of the contagion.
In many places, the rapidly-spreading virus has overwhelmed local healthcare systems. Doctors have struggled with shortages of hospital space and medical equipment, including testing kits and protective gear.
China said it had turned the tide on the spread of Covid-19 by late March, as the number of new domestic cases decreased significantly, prompting officials to gradually ease travel restrictions in Hubei.
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