Italy surpassed China on Thursday as the country with the most deaths from coronavirus as California, home to more than 39 million people, was placed under lockdown in the most drastic containment measure yet by a USA state.
"Unfortunately, even today the statistics aren't going in the right direction, neither in terms of new infections or in terms of deaths", Lombardy's president Attilio Fontana said in a press conference Friday, according to The Local.
France said more than 4,000 people were fined on the first day of its confinement and ministers branded those breaking the rules as "idiots".
With the number of coronavirus cases rapidly spreading outside China, mainly across Europe and the U.S., the Governor of California issued a state-wide stay at home order.
Italy's death toll from the coronavirus outbreak eclipsed China's on Thursday as the scourge extended its march around the world.
The World Health Organization warned, though, that the virus is spreading quickly in Africa, from about five countries a week and a half ago to 35 of the continent's 54 nations - an "extremely rapid evolution", said WHO Africa chief Dr Matshidiso Moeti.
"They are taking strong steps".
The United Kingdom Is Closed: Johnson Shutters Pubs and Restaurants
The Welsh Government said it was stepping up measures following "strong advice" to people not to attend pubs and other public places.
In Spain, the government on Thursday ordered the closure of all the country's hotels and promised to implement special measures in nursing homes after a surge in the country's coronavirus cases and deaths.
The developments came as countries impose ever-stricter border controls and lockdowns to keep people at home and keep away outsiders, hoping to slow the spread of the virus while preparing for an onslaught of sick patients.
China's death count was steady at 3,248, according to an AFP tally.
Greg Palkot reports from London on COVID-19's spread across Europe.
The shadow of the virus is lengthening across Africa and the Middle East too.
Italy has seen more than 1,500 fatalities from COVID-19 in the past three days alone.
In the United States, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress to pass a $1-trillion emergency stimulus package.