The World Health Organization warned Friday that coronavirus deaths could more than double to two million if infection-fighting measures are not kept up, as European countries tightened the screws faced with mounting cases.
Global deaths had reached 985,707 according to an AFP tally around 1800 GMT Friday, from more than 32.3 million cases.
“One million is a terrible number and we need to reflect on that before we start considering a second million,” the WHO’s emergencies director Michael Ryan told reporters when asked how much higher deaths could mount.
But he added: “Are we prepared collectively to do what it takes to avoid that number?
“If we don’t take those actions… yes, we will be looking at that number and sadly much higher.”
The WHO warning came as Spanish officials expanded a lockdown in and around Madrid on Friday to cover one million people.
Madrid’s health authority said new rules largely banning tens of thousands from leaving their districts — in addition to the 850,000 already living under similar restrictions — would be enforced from Monday.