New York: More than a quarter of a million people have died from the novel coronavirus worldwide, with over 85% of them in Europe and the United States, according to an AFP tally of official figures.

At 22.30 GMT on Monday (2.30 am Tuesday, UAE), the US had recorded 68,689 virus deaths, the most for any single country, while Europe was the hardest-hit continent with 1,45,023 confirmed fatalities.

Since it emerged in China in December, COVID-19 has infected more than 3.5 million people and devastated economies across the globe.

The virus death toll in the US was followed by those in Italy (29,079), the United Kingdom (28,734), Spain (25,428) and France (25,201).

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France on Monday announced that more than 25,000 people had died in the country due to the coronavirus epidemic, after a new jump in the daily death toll.

The health ministry said 25,201 people were now confirmed to have died from the virus in the country in hospitals and nursing homes. Over the last 24 hours, 306 people died from COVID-19, more than double the figure of 135 from the day earlier.

There have been more than 1.5 million confirmed coronavirus infections in Europe, but many countries are testing only the most serious cases. 

The tallies, using data collected by AFP from national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO), are widely considered likely to reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections. 

With agency inputs