Global cases of coronavirus have passed the one million mark, with the total number of deaths over 50,000 according to data from worldometers. However the real number of cases and deaths is almost certain to be higher.

It comes as Italy, Spain and the UK approach the peak of their infection curve, with warnings the US is on track to become the next Italy.
Meanwhile WHO experts will review the organisation's guidelines on who should be wearing face masks following the release of a new study.

Open air morgue reveals scale of coronavirus in London

An enormous convention centre converted into a 5000 bed hospital and an open air morgue in a city park are due to receive their first patients this week, revealing the epic scale of London's virus problem.

Fences, portacabins and temporary flooring has been put down in the Manor Flats area of Newham, East London to hold the bodies of those who have died from coronavirus in the city.

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A general view of a makeshift morgue being built on Wanstead Flats in London. Photo / Getty Images
A general view of a makeshift morgue being built on Wanstead Flats in London. Photo / Getty Images

Local residents received a letter from the Mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz, saying it will "act as a holding point before a respectful and dignified cremation or burial can take place to send a loved one on their final journey."

"Sadly relatives will not be able to visit the site," she wrote, while funerals will have to take place under social distancing guidelines.

Mourners are also advised to ensure they don't take part in any rituals that bring them into contact with the body as there is a "small but real risk of transmission from the body of a deceased person."

A world map of the countries infected by the coronavirus. Photo / Supplied
A world map of the countries infected by the coronavirus. Photo / Supplied

Those with the virus will also be unable to donate their organs, the UK's Human Tissue Authority has confirmed.

Wild animals are free to roam around the empty streets of the world. Video / Twitter / Andrew Stuart

Italian deaths could be twice as high – study

A study revealing the hidden toll of coronavirus at the epicentre of Italy's outbreak has revealed the real death toll could be double official figures.

A study by Bergamo newspaper L'Eco di Bergamo with the InTwig data analysis agency puts the number of virus deaths last month at 4,500, compared with the official toll of 2,060, in the province of 1.1 million people.

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Italy has recorded 110,000 cases of the disease with more than 13,000 deaths.
Mayors have warned that the official numbers fail to take into account the many people dying at home or in rest homes who have never been tested for the virus.
Under current policies, only those who arrive at hospitals manifesting strong symptoms are tested.

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The Lombardy region has been home to 40 per cent of Italian cases and more than half its deaths, with Bergamo the hardest hit region. Italy has recorded the most deaths of any country so far, and will remain in lockdown until April 13.

Mask debate rages

The WHO will review whether more people should be wearing face masks after a new study called current guidelines into question.

An advisory panel led by Prof David Heymann – a former director at the organisation – told the BBC "the WHO is opening up its discussion again looking at the new evidence to see whether or not there should be a change in the way it's recommending masks should be used."

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It comes after a US study found coughs and sneezes can travel around 7-8 metres – far further than the current 1-2 metres required under WHO and US CDC guidelines.

"These distances are based on estimates of range that have not considered the possible presence of a high-momentum cloud carrying the droplets long distances," the MIT study found.

Nearly 1000 people die in Spain in 24 hours

Spain has seen another record day in virus-related deaths, with 950 people dying in the last 24 hours according to health ministry figures.

Spanish officials believe the growth of the contagion is waning and the total number of deaths is just over 10,000. Overnight, new cases rose by nearly eight per cent to just over 110,000.

However that figure is a reduction from the 20 per cent daily average growth that was recorded until March 25 to less than 12 per cent after a national lockdown went into effect.


The government has acknowledged that the real number of infections could be much higher because Spain only has the capacity of doing between 15,000 to 20,000 tests per day.