Total number of confirmed coronavirus cases worldwide reaches two million

15 April 2020, 15:20

Worldwide coronavirus tests have now hit 2 million
Coronavirus cases around the world have now hit 2 million. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

The worldwide coronavirus pandemic has hit another grim milestone as the number of confirmed cases passed two million.

As of 3pm today the tally stood at 2,000,984 confirmed cases around the world.

The figures, which have been compiled by John Hopkins University, currently places the United States as the epicentre of the outbreak.

The country has so far seen almost 600,000 infections - representing more than a quarter of all cases.

The virus emerged in China at the end of 2019, and has been doubling its rate of infections every few weeks.

It has so far killed nearly 120,000 people worldwide.

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It took a month and a half for the first 100,000 cases to be detected.

The first million were recorded on 2 April, and it has taken less than two weeks for the second million to now be announced.

But despite the current tally, it is believed that that true number of infections is much higher.

The virus has managed to reach each corner of the globe so far, with only a select few countries not reporting official cases to the World Health Organisation.

More than 120,000 deaths have been recorded around the world, nearly 13,000 of them in the UK.

Donald Trump was being condemned around the world today after saying he was cutting off US payments to the World Health Organisation during the coronavirus pandemic, accusing the body of failing to do enough to stop the virus from spreading.

The US president claimed the outbreak could have been contained at its source and that lives could have been saved if the UN health agency had done a better job investigating early reports coming out of China.

European Union foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said the 27-nation EU "deeply" regrets the suspension of funds and added that the WHO is "needed more than ever" to combat the pandemic.

He called for measures to promote unity instead of division, and said: "Only by joining forces can we overcome this crisis that knows no borders."

The UK has the sixth highest number of confirmed cases, with 94,852, according to John Hopkins.

The US has 606,696, Spain 177,633, Italy 162, 488, Germany 132,321, and France 131,362.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said the country is "seriously concerned" about the US decision, telling reporters: "As the most authoritative and professional international institution in the field of global public health security, the WHO plays an irreplaceable role in responding to the global public health crisis."

Spokesman Zhao Lijian said the US move will "weaken the WHO's capabilities and undermine international co-operation in fighting the epidemic".

UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres responded to Mr Trump's announcement by saying now is not the time to end support, calling the WHO "absolutely critical" to the global effort to combat Covid-19.

Mr Guterres said the appropriate time for a review is "once we have finally turned the page on this pandemic".

German foreign minister Heiko Maas said: "Placing blame doesn't help. Strengthening the UN, in particular the underfunded WHO, is a better investment, for example to develop and distribute tests and vaccines."

They all spoke out after Mr Trump told a briefing on Tuesday: "The WHO failed in its basic duty and must be held accountable."