Global coronavirus death toll tops 250,000

The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic topped 250,000 on Tuesday, according to the John Hopkins University virus tracker.

The US accounts for nearly 70,000 of those deaths while the UK’s toll rose by 288 to 28,734 on Monday.

Across Europe and the US, around 145,000 have died after contracting the virus – accounting for 85% of global deaths, according to AFP.

More than 3.5 million cases have been confirmed since the outbreak.

The spike comes as millions in Italy, the European epicentre of the outbreak, returned to work for the first time in months as one of the longest lockdown’s on the continent begins to wind down.

Italians had been under lockdown since March. Credit: AP

The UK Government, meanwhile, is expected to outline a plan towards relaxing restrictions, with Boris Johnson set to offer more detail on Sunday.

A potentially key part of those plans could be a new coronavirus contact-tracing app undergoing trials in the Isle of Wight.

The app is intended to alert users when they have come into contact with someone who has coronavirus symptoms and should seek a Covid-19 test.

NHS and council staff on the Isle of Wight are being urged to download the Covid-19 smartphone app from Tuesday with the rest of the island’s population invited to follow from Thursday.

If the tests are successful it could be rolled out across the country within weeks as ministers seek to shape a strategy to allow some economic activity to resume.

Last month, Bahrain – which is fifth in the world for testing rates – launched a dedicated tracking app for confirmed cases, with those isolating required to wear tamper-proof bracelets monitoring their location. A quarter of the country has now downloaded the ‘BeAware’ app, which automatically alerts users if they come into contact with an active case.

Other initiatives include converting public buses into mobile testing units and distributing care packages including food and other supplies to citizens in the UK and US. Across the Middle East, a series of measures have been put into place including bans on tourists as well as lockdowns in expat havens Dubai and Saudi Arabia.

All nations have suspended the majority of passenger flights to combat the spread. Bahrain's response has involved keeping open shops and other essential facilities while increasing public testing.

Australia has also rolled out a tracking app as it begins to reopen parts of its economy.

Coronavirus: Everything you need to know