The UK recorded its highest daily rise in the number of patients dying from coronavirus with 938 deaths recorded in UK hospitals in 24 hours.
The United Kingdom is entering what scientists say is the deadliest phase of the outbreak, with deaths expected to continue to rise over the Easter weekend.
As of 9am 8 April, 282,074 tests have concluded, with 14,682 tests on 7 April.— Department of Health and Social Care (@DHSCgovuk) April 8, 2020
232,708 people have been tested of which 60,733 tested positive.
As of 5pm on 7 April, of those hospitalised in the UK who tested positive for coronavirus, 7,097 have sadly died. pic.twitter.com/bWOBsyrrrs
Ministers are to discuss a review of the UK's coronavirus lockdown to consider whether restrictions on people's movements should be extended.
The government's emergency Cobra committee will look at evidence from scientists on the impact of measures brought in two-and-a-half weeks ago.
It comes as Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a third night in intensive care with the virus.
Johnson "continues to make steady progress" but remains in intensive care at St Thomas' Hospital in London, according to the latest update from Downing Street on Wednesday night.
He was taken to hospital on Sunday evening after self-isolating with coronavirus symptoms and admitted to intensive care a day later.
China seeks to contain 'silent carriers' of coronavirus
China has released new measures to try and prevent asymptomatic "silent carriers" of coronavirus from causing a second wave of infections, as the country reported another modest rise in new confirmed cases.
Mainland China reported 63 new confirmed cases, up from 62 a day earlier, the National Health Commission said. Of those, 61 were travellers arriving from overseas, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in China to 81,865.
While new infections have fallen from their peak in February after China locked down several cities and imposed strict travel restrictions, authorities have called for continued vigilance amid fears of a fresh wave of infections.
Aside from curbing an influx of infected travellers from abroad, China's other concern is managing asymptomatic people, or virus carriers who exhibit no clinical symptoms such as a fever or a cough.
China reported 56 new asymptomatic cases on Wednesday, bringing the total number of such cases to 657 since data for such infections were published daily from April 1.
It comes as restrictions on outbound movement of people from Wuhan, capital of central Hubei province and epicentre of the outbreak in China, were lifted after a virtual lockdown of more than two months.
Speed of US coronavirus deaths shock doctors as New York toll hits new high
The number of known coronavirus infections in New York state alone approached 150,000 today, even as authorities warned that the official death tally may understate the true number because it omits those who have perished at home.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who ordered flags flown at half-staff across New York in memory of the victims, said 779 people had died in the past day in his state.
New Jersey reported 275 had died there. Both totals exceeded one-day records from just a day earlier.
Doctors and nurses say elderly patients and those with underlying health conditions are not the only ones who appear relatively well one moment and at death's door the next. It happens to the young and healthy, too.
Patients "look fine, feel fine, then you turn around and they're unresponsive," said Diana Torres, a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, the center of the nation's worst outbreak. "I'm paranoid, scared to walk out of their room."
Nearly 430,000 cases of Covid-19 were confirmed in the United States as of Wednesday afternoon (local time), including more than 14,700 deaths. For the second straight day the virus killed at least 1900 in a 24-hour period.
New York is one of 42 states where governors have issued "stay-at-home" orders and closed all non-essential workplaces.
US deaths due to coronavirus topped 14,700, the second highest reported number in the world behind Italy, according to a Reuters tally. New York state accounts for over a third of the US total.
New measures in Gulf countries as cases increase
Saudi Arabia placed its capital Riyadh and other big cities, as well as the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, under a 24-hour curfew.
Entry to or exit from those areas will not be allowed, except for vital workers. Ridents are allowed to leave their homes for medical or food needs inside their residential area at certain times.
Saudi Arabia reported four more deaths from the virus on Monday, bringing the total death toll there to 38.
Countries of the six-member Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have recorded almost 8000 cases of infection and 60 deaths.
In Kuwait, the government announced a full lockdown on two densely-populated districts and extended a public holiday by two weeks until April 26 as precautionary measures against the coronavirus.
The Gulf Arab country has recorded 665 cases of the new coronavirus and one death so far.
It declared a two-week public holiday from March 12 except for entities providing essential services, which has since been extended.
The United Arab Emirates reported 277 new coronavirus cases, its biggest daily jump, and one new death. Dubai has also sealed off a densely populated neighbourhood where many blue-collar workers live.
In total, the UAE has recorded 2076 coronavirus cases and 11 deaths. A ministry of health spokeswoman said the rise in case numbers in recent days was due to increased numbers of tests being carried out.
Cats can catch the coronavirus, study finds
Cats can become infected with the new coronavirus but dogs appear not to be vulnerable, according to a study published on the journal Science's website.
The study found that ferrets can also become infected with SARS-CoV-2, the scientific term for the virus that causes the Covid-19 disease.
Dogs, chickens, pigs and ducks are not likely to catch the virus, however, the researchers found. They also found cats can infect each other via respiratory droplets.
The study, based on research conducted in China in January and February, was aimed at identifying which animals are vulnerable to the virus so they can be used to test experimental vaccines to fight the pandemic.
"Surveillance for SARS-CoV-2 in cats should be considered as an adjunct to elimination of COVID-19 in humans," the authors wrote.
The World Health Organization said it is working with its partners to look more closely at the role of pets in the health crisis.
Based on the evidence so far, WHO epidemiologist Maria Van Kerkhove told a news conference: "We don't believe that they are playing a role in transmission but we think that they may be able to be infected from an infected person."
The WHO's top emergencies expert Mike Ryan asked people not to retaliate against animals over the outbreak.
"They're beings in their own right and they deserve to be treated with kindness and respect. They are victims like the rest of us," he said.
SARS-CoV-2 is believed to have spread from bats to humans. Except for a few reported infections in cats and dogs, there has not been strong evidence that pets can be carriers.
A tiger at the Bronx Zoo in New York City who developed a dry cough and loss of appetite after contact with an infected zookeeper tested positive for the coronavirus.
-Reuters / BBC