Coronavirus: Confirmed global cases pass one million

In Summary

•On Thursday, Spain said 950 people had died in the previous 24 hours - thought to be the highest number of deaths of any country in one day.

Medical staff carry a box at Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
Medical staff carry a box at Jinyintan hospital, where the patients with pneumonia caused by the new strain of coronavirus are being treated, in Wuhan, Hubei province, China.
Image: REUTERS

More than a million cases of coronavirus have been registered globally, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University - another grim milestone as the world grapples with the spreading pandemic.

More than 51,000 people have died and more than 208,000 have recovered, according to the university's figures.

The US accounts for the most cases; Italy the highest death toll.

The disease, Covid-19, first emerged in central China three months ago.

Though the tally kept by Johns Hopkins records one million confirmed cases, the actual number is thought to be much higher.

On Thursday, Spain said 950 people had died in the previous 24 hours - thought to be the highest number of deaths of any country in one day.

How did we get here?

At the end of December, 34-year-old ophthalmologist Dr Li Wenliang tried to send a message to other medics warning them about a new virus in Wuhan, in China's Hubei Province.

He was later visited by the police accused of scaremongering.

On 3 January we wrote our first news report about a "mystery virus" in Wuhan. At the time, 44 cases had been confirmed, 11 of which were considered severe. There had been no deaths yet, but many feared we would see a repeat of the 2003 Sars outbreak that killed 774 people. By 18 January the confirmed number of cases had risen to around 60 - but experts estimated the real figure was closer to 1,700.

Just two days later, as millions of people prepared to travel for the lunar new year, the number of cases more than tripled to more than 200 and the virus was detected in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen.