Amid the gloom, there is some good news from China. For the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak, China has reported no fresh domestic cases of the novel coronavirus, which is not only a significant moment in its fight against the disease but also gives hope to countries like Italy and Spain which are struggling to cope with the scale of the health emergency.
Though China did record 34 new cases on Thursday, all were people who had recently arrived into China from overseas. Hubei province, where the outbreak began, saw no new cases, domestic or otherwise, the health ministry said.
Wuhan in Hubei was once the epicentre of the pandemic, and during its worst phase in February, it was recording more than 200 deaths a day.
While China and South Korea have managed to contain the virus spread, the news is grim from Europe, the United States and parts of Asia.
Globally, around 220,000 people are now known to have been infected with the novel coronavirus, and more than 8,800 have died.
The most alarming reports are coming from Italy, which reported 475 deaths from COVID-19 in a 24-hour period on Wednesday, the highest single-day death rate for any one country since the outbreak began.
Governments across the world are scrambling to contain the spread of the virus, by shutting down shops, colleges and schools, limiting non-essential travel even within cities, closing down borders and banning mass gatherings of any sort.
Yet, the coronavirus curve is only going upwards in many places. In the US, cases shot up by more than 40 per cent in just 24 hours amid fears that the country could run out of ventilators and ICU beds in a few weeks. About 9,000 Americans have now tested positive for the coronavirus and 150 have died.