Coronavirus global death toll hits 15,000 as more than a BILLION go into lockdown to stop the spread

MORE than 15,000 people have died from the coronavirus globally as a billion are set be on lockdown.

Health officials have been scrambling to slow the spread of the killer bug as the number of cases around the world have surpassed 343,000.

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It comes Spain's death toll has topped 2,000 after 462 people died in 24 hours.

The Spanish government has issued a lockdown for some 46 million people who are only allowed to leave their homes for essential work, food shopping, medical reasons or to walk the dog.

Disturbing images from a Spanish hospital have also shown coronavirus patients lying on floors coughing and spluttering.

The shocking pictures were taken in the Infanta Leonor Hospital and the Severo Ochoa de Leganes Hospital in Madrid, reports El Mundo.

The images show coughing patients using oxygen masks on the floor as medical staff wait nearby.

On social media, videos from inside the hospitals have been shared widely with users urging others to self-isolate and follow social distancing guidelines.

Italy is the hardest hit country in Europe as the government announced it was extending its lockdown.

More than 59,000 people are infected with the virus and 5,476 people have died.

The World Health Organization has said Europe was now the "epicentre" of the global coronavirus pandemic.

Of the 10 worst-hit countries in the world, six are in Europe.

In the UK, Boris Johnson ordered pubs, restaurants, theatres, cinemas and gyms to shut their doors on Friday night to slow the accelerating spread of the deadly virus.

The PM warned: "We are only a matter of weeks – two or three – behind Italy. The Italians have a superb health care system. And yet their doctors and nurses have been completely overwhelmed by the demand.

"The Italian death toll is already in the thousands and climbing. Unless we act together, unless we make the heroic and collective national effort to slow the spread – then it is all too likely that our own NHS will be similarly overwhelmed."

Mr Johnson called on people to join a "heroic and collective national effort" and follow social distancing advice.

While the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are the hardest hit by the deadly bug, the World Health Organisation warned young and healthy people were also vulnerable.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said: "Today I have a message for young people: you are not invincible. This virus could put you in hospital for weeks…or even kill you.

"Even if you don't get sick, the choices you make about where you go could be the difference between life and death for someone else."

On Saturday China, where the virus originated, reported no new local infections for a third straight day and the WHO said that offered a glimmer of "hope for the rest of the world."

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