Switzerland on Saturday recorded the number of cases of the new coronavirus in the country pass 20,000, as number of deaths due pandemic swelled past 500.

According to the health ministry, 20,201 people in Switzerland had tested positive for COVID-19 as of Saturday morning — nearly 1,000 more than a day earlier.

The small Alpine country of some 8.5 million people is one of the worst hit compared to population size, now counting 236 registered infections per 100,000 people.

At the same time, an additional 76 people died over the past 24 hours, bringing Switzerland’s death toll in the pandemic to 540, the health ministry further added.

“We have not yet reached the peak,” health ministry official Daniel Koch told AFP.

The high incidence in Switzerland could in part be linked to the fact that it is among the countries that have administered most tests per capita.

Since the first case surfaced in the country on February 24, more than 150,000 tests have been administered with around 15 percent coming up positive.

In the past 24 hours, the country has conducted nearly 7,000 tests, including 975 that were positive, the health ministry said.

Switzerland has unblocked some $60 billion to buffer the harsh blow to its economy from the pandemic and the measures taken to halt the spread of the virus.

As many as 951,901 cases of coronavirus infection have been recorded around the world and at least 48,284 people have died, according to the latest information compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier, it has been reported, Switzerland comes fifth behind China. Only South Korea, Italy, Iran and China have higher infection rates than Switzerland. Places like Hong Kong and Singapore now have far lower rates of infection than Switzerland.

Meanwhile, the United States which has reported highest number of coronavirus patients is going to face its ‘toughest’ two weeks as President Donald Trump said he would be deploying thousands of military personnel to states to support them.

Italy, one of the worst hit countries, has lost 15,362 people to the virus, according to Johns Hopkins University figures.

China, where the virus originated from, reported 30 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, up from 19 a day earlier as the number of cases involving travellers from abroad as well as local transmissions increased.

(With inputs from inputs)