CORONAVIRUS has now killed more people in Europe than in Asia as the number of people infected around the world hit 200,000 today.
The deadly outbreak has now also claimed more than 8,000 lives across the globe.
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The grim milestone comes just 12 days after the number of confirmed cases reached 100,000 – meaning it has doubled in less than two weeks.
The shocking figures include more than 60,000 infected and 3,421 dead in Europe, which has become the disease’s new epicentre.
And the European death toll has now leapfrogged Asia – where the pandemic began – with its 3,384 dead, France24 reports.
In Italy, infections jumped to 31,506 on Tuesday. With 2,503 deaths, Italy accounts for nearly a third of the global death toll.
Spain, the fourth-most infected country, saw its cases rise by more than 2,000 in one day to 13,716.
EUROPE ON LOCKDOWN
Governments are now taking drastic measures to slow the spread, including lockdowns and travel restrictions.
And there was chaos at borders across the EU after countries reintroduced checks across the previously passport-free Schengen Area.
Dramatic pictures show queues of lorries and cars tailed back nearly 40 miles at the frontier between Poland and Lithuania.
Janina Stukiene, who was stuck in the traffic with her husband and son, said: “We are all desperate, cold and sleepless here for a third day.
“We just want to go home.”
Similar traffic jams were visible on the borders with Germany and the Czech Republic.
The virus is also now present in every US state after West Virginia reported its first infection.
In far-flung Hawaii, the governor encouraged travellers to postpone their island vacations for at least the next 30 days, while the governor of Nevada – home to Las Vegas – ordered a month-long closure of the state’s casinos.
Increasingly worried about the economic fallout of the global shutdown, the US, Britain and the Netherlands announced rescue packages totalling hundreds of billions.
And longtime International Monetary Fund critic Venezuela came cap-in-hand to beg the institution for a £4.2billion loan.
GLOBAL RECESSION FEARS
Major Asian stock markets fell back Wednesday after early gains when Wall Street jumped on Donald Trump’s promise of aid.
Many are now warning the deadly virus could spark a full-on global recession.
In Thailand, Bangkok’s notorious red light districts were due to go dark Wednesday after a government order closing bars, schools, movie theatres and many other venues.
Even tourists on Ecuador’s iconic Galapagos Islands 620 miles off the South American mainland have been affected.
Canadian Jessy Lamontaine and her family were stuck on the island when flights were suspended and they missed the last plane out.
CORONAVIRUS CRISIS – BE IN THE KNOW
She said: “I was in tears this morning. I couldn’t get any answers from the airline.
“I had no money and didn’t know whether I was going to keep my job.”
So far, 81,000 people have recovered from the virus, mostly in China.
The virus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, for most people, but severe illness is more likely in the elderly and people with existing health problems.