President Donald Trump has ordered thousands of emergency hospital beds set up at American coronavirus hotspots, declaring: “We’re at war, in a true sense we’re at war.”
He spoke on Sunday evening when his trillion-dollar economic aid program collapsed and pandemic deaths soared in the United States and around the world.
A deadly prison riot in Columbia triggered by concerns over the virus highlighted the deepening sense of global panic as unprecedented government containment efforts failed.
The death toll from the virus has surged to more than 14,700 on Sunday, according to a Worldometers tally, with Europe the epicentre but the situation worsening from Pacific islands to Africa and the United States.
More than a third of Americans are under various forms of lockdown, including in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles, but the number of infections in the United States has continued to climb.
Highlighting the desperation inside the world’s biggest economy, the mayor of New York said his city was just 10 days away from running out of ventilators.
And a trillion-dollar Senate proposal to revive the US economy crashed Sunday after receiving zero support from Democrats, further traumatising investors who are watching stock markets implode worldwide.
Markets in Asia began Monday in the red as they absorbed the failed US stimulus effort and the barrage of other bad news from across the world over the weekend.
“This is the biggest economic shock our nation has faced in generations,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said as he warned the pandemic could lead to a crisis akin to the 1930s Great Depression.
In Europe, Greece imposed a national lockdown and Germany banned gatherings of more than two people.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel went into quarantine at home after being treated by a doctor who had since tested positive for the virus.
Italy’s world-worst toll from the pandemic approached 5,500 with another 651 deaths reported on Sunday, a day after it surpassed China with the highest number of fatalities.
Police patrolled the deserted streets of Rome, while checks were carried out on Italian beaches after local officials complained people were defying isolation orders by catching some time in the sun.
In his weekly prayer, streamed online to avoid attracting crowds, the Pope urged all Italians to follow isolation measures “for the good of us all.”