WASHINGTON (APP): The United States now has the third highest number of confirmed coronavirus cases after China and Italy, as the global infection figures surpassed the 300,000 mark on Sunday. Statistics collected by various monitoring agencies in Washington showed that by Sunday afternoon, the United States had a total of 38,138 confirmed cases, including 13,931 new ones. Total critical cases also rose to 708 while 396 people have already died of this fatal respiratory disease, including 94 new deaths. Globally, coronavirus had infected 319,675 by Sunday afternoon and caused 13,699 deaths. The respiratory virus, known officially as Covid-19, has reached every state in America since emerging in the Chinese city of Wuhan in December. It has also reached every continent except Antarctica. Physicians appearing on various US television channels warned that the total number of infected people could be much higher as people with mild symptoms do not report their illness. The physicians also said they could not over-emphasize the need for people to stay at home and wash their hands several times a day. They argued that these two precautionary measures could help prevent the disease from spreading further. The World Health Organisation (WHO), which is leading the global fight against this deadly virus, says that almost 80 percent patients recover without external help. But the virus they carry can infect the sick and the elderly who are among the most vulnerable. In the United States, the federal government has advised states to decide when to order people to stay at home, offering to provide them financial and administrative support if they do. So far, New York, California, Illinois and Oregon have issued stay-at-home orders. The virus scare has affected more than 70 million people in the United States and more than a billion across the globe. In each of the 50 US states, tens of thousands of people have taken advantage of the option to stay at home. The US Congress is working on a trillion-dollar package to give $3,000 dollars to a family of four if they opt to stay. Daily wage earners, who are among the worst affected by the Covid-19 outbreak, will be the first to receive this assistance. Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on Sunday the coronavirus outbreak was “accelerating”, as fears grew that the crisis in Britain was following the same path as the one devastating Italy. Johnson said the health service could be “overwhelmed” as health department figures showed that 233 people died from Covid-19 in the UK, with the number of those testing positive for the virus standing at 5,018. Britain’s death toll now mirrors the figure that Rome declared just over two weeks ago, on March 7, before Italy became the world’s most affected country. On Sunday, Italy said that 4,825 people had died from the virus there, a third of the world’s total. The UK figure rose by at least 10 on Sunday, with announcements of further deaths in Scotland and Wales. An updated UK-wide figure was expected later. “The numbers are very stark, and they are accelerating,” Johnson said in a statement ahead of a planned press briefing later in the day. “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.” Johnson’s warning came amid calls for police to enforce warnings to people to socially distance from each other. On Friday, Downing Street announced stronger measures to combat the spread, including the closing of bars, pubs and restaurants. Ministers have outlined emergency legislation to give police, public health and immigration officers extra powers to contain the outbreak, expected to come into force this week. Reports over the weekend of Britons flocking to cafes, beaches, parks and bars fuelled expectations that extra powers being imposed were now inevitable. In London, the worst affected city, Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC police could have to enforce social distancing. “If it is the case that people continue to act in a way that’s leading to this disease spreading, then those sorts of things will have to be considered.” Scotland’s first minister Nicola Sturgeon, at a Sunday press briefing, criticised pubs which opened over the weekend despite being warned not to, claiming they “put lives at risk”. “Close now. We’ll have emergency powers within days to force you to close and we will use these powers if we have to,” she said. There were also signs of a political fallout. Downing Street denied a “highly defamatory” Sunday Times newspaper story that Johnson’s chief adviser, Dominic Cummings, had initially argued against strict measures to contain the virus, in an argument summed up as “if that means some pensioners die, too bad”. Mounting concerns came as authorities in the UK told 1.5 million people most at risk to stay at home for 12 weeks. The government advised vulnerable people such as those with bone or blood cancers to shield themselves from the virus, by confining themselves at home. “People should stay at home, protect our NHS and save lives,” said Housing secretary Robert Jenrick. He said the government would get protective gear to NHS staff on the frontline “as soon as possible” amid fears the virus could be spreading due to a lack of equipment for medics. In a further sign of growing concern, environmental and heritage charity the National Trust said it would close all of its parks and gardens.