BRUSSELS, March 30 (Xinhua) -- The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Europe kept swelling, with the region's total approaching 400,000 and that of Italy exceeding 100,000 as of Monday.
According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 693,224 COVID-19 cases and 33,106 deaths have been reported globally as of 10:00 a.m. CET Monday, of which, 393,285 cases and 23,966 deaths were registered in Europe.
Following Italy, Spain, the second-worst affected country on the continent, reported in the day a cumulative caseload of over 85,000, making it the third country worldwide overtaking China in overall cases.
ITALY CASELOAD TOPS 100,000
In Italy, the hardest-hit country in Europe, the cumulative number of cases reached 101,739, while the death toll rose to 11,591.
By topping 100,000, Italy reported the second most cumulative number cases in the world, just after the United States.
On the same day, the country, however, registered the highest daily increase in the number of COVID-19 patient recoveries, which grew by 1,590 cases in 24 hours to 14,620.
At geographical level, the worst-hit Lombardy region also seemed to be seeing a timid light at the end of the tunnel. "The increase in the number of infections keeps slowing down ... with 1,154 new positive cases compared to yesterday, when we had 1,592 more cases," said Lombardy's Welfare Councillor Giulio.
Also on Monday, Italian health minister Roberto Speranza said the nationwide lockdown in place since March 10 would be extended until "at least" April 12, nine days beyond its original deadline.
SPAIN CASELOAD OVERTAKES CHINA'S
With 6,549 new COVID-19 cases reported in the past 24 hours, Spain's total number has climbed to 85,195, the country's health authorities said Monday. This makes it the second European country, after Italy, to overtake China in total number of coronavirus infections.
Meanwhile, the country reported 812 deaths during the period, fewer than the 838 deaths on Sunday and 832 on Saturday. The total death toll in the country has now risen to 7,340.
However, authorities said the number of new cases is considerably lower than the 8,189 new cases registered on Saturday and the 7,871 on Friday.
Monday also saw the first day since the Spanish government's approval of a decree to close all but "essential" economic activity until April 9.
ELSEWHERE IN EUROPE
Germany, the third most affected European country, reported a total of 57,298 cases as of Monday. The number doubled in one week, as the country tallied 22,672 confirmed cases last Monday.
The German Council of Economic Experts (GCEE), the advisory council of the German government, predicted that the country's gross domestic product (GDP) growth would shrink to minus 2.8 percent in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In neighboring France, a total of 40,174 positive cases have been confirmed, of which, 2,606 died in the last 24 hours. In Britain, the cumulative caseload crossed the 20,000 mark on Monday, reaching 22,141.
With 15,475 confirmed cases, Switzerland, one of the world's most attractive tourism destinations, may suffer 6.4 billion CHF (6.67 billion U.S. dollars) drop in tourism turnover in 2020 due to the pandemic, according to a new study. The Swiss government has declared plans to provide 42 billion CHF for economic relief during the pandemic.