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Stunned World Grapples With 'Once-in-100-year' Coronavirus Battle

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Military Emergencies Unit (UME) are pictured after their deployment in the northern Spanish city of Burgos, on March 16, 2020
Military Emergencies Unit (UME) are pictured after their deployment in the northern Spanish city of Burgos, on March 16, 2020Credit: Photo by CESAR MANSO / STR / AFP

Hundreds of millions of people worldwide were adjusting on Wednesday to once-in-a-generation measures to battle the coronavirus crisis that is not only killing the old and vulnerable but also threatening prolonged economic misery.

The fast-spreading disease that jumped from animals to humans in China has now infected about 200,000 people and caused nearly 8,500 deaths in 164 nations, triggering emergency lockdowns and injections of cash unseen since World War Two.

"This is a once-in-a-hundred-year type event," said Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, warning the crisis could last six months as his nation became the latest to restrict gatherings and overseas travel.

"Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world," he added, as his government prepared for a potentially exponential rise after only six deaths so far.

There was particular alarm in Italy, which has experienced an unusually high death rate - 2,503 from 31,506 cases - and was drafting thousands of student doctors into service before final exams to help an overwhelmed health service.

Around the world, rich and poor alike saw lives turned upside-down as events were cancelled, shops stripped, workplaces emptied, streets deserted, schools shut and travel at a minimum.

Here is a look at how the virus continues to spread across the globe:

Tracking China’s novel coronavirusCredit: Reuters

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