Coronavirus is creating havoc across the world. Check out the latest updates here
The World Health Organization has called on countries to make “containment their highest priority”.
The killer coronavirus outbreak is spiralling with each passing day. So far it has spread to more than 90 countries, killed over 3,400 people and infected more than 100,000 across the world. The economic damage has intensified, with business districts starting to empty and stock markets continuing to nose dive.
The World Health Organization has called on countries to make “containment their highest priority”. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus has said that governments should spare no effort to find, test, isolate and care for every case, and to trace every contact.
In the US, the death toll rose to 17 on Friday, with more than 330 cases confirmed across the country. President Donald Trump has signed a $8.3 billion emergency spending bill to deal with the virus, despite insisting that it “will go away”.
Twenty-one people aboard a cruise ship that was barred from docking in San Francisco tested positive for coronavirus, US officials have said.
Vice President Mike Pence, recently appointed as the US government's point man on the outbreak, said the cruise ship Grand Princess will be brought to an unspecified non-commercial port where all 2,400 some passengers and 1,100 crew members will now be tested.
"Those that need to be quarantined, will be quarantined. Those that require additional medical attention will receive it," Pence told reporters at the White House.
The US has admitted that they don't have enough coronavirus test kits, as the number of cases in the country continues to grow. Pence said they would not be able to meet the target of delivering one million test kits this week. He added the kits would be available by the end of next week.
The US President has admitted that the virus "might have an impact" on the economy, but added that everything was "going to work out". Cases have now been reported in more than half of the 50 US states.
In many affected countries, people were being asked to stay home from work, schools were closed, large gatherings and sports and music events were cancelled, stores were cleared of staples like toiletries and water, and face masks became a common sight.
The death toll in Iran from the virus jumped to 124, as more than 1,000 new cases were diagnosed over 24 hours. A spokesman for Iran’s Health Ministry said the authorities had confirmed 4,747 cases of the virus. While he did not elaborate on the threat to use force, the spokesman acknowledged that the virus was present in all of Iran’s 31 provinces.
In Italy, Europe’s worst-affected country, the death toll rose by 46 to 197, and the number of confirmed cases increased by 778 to 4,636.
The Vatican reported its first case, a patient in its health services, worsening the prospects of the virus having already spread further in the Italian capital, since most employees in the walled city-state live in Rome, and those who live in the Vatican frequently go in and out to the city that surrounds it.
In France, where cases rose by 190 to 613, and deaths by two to nine, President Emmanuel Macron urged people to limit visits to elderly people. The UK, meanwhile, reported what is believed to be its second death, and the Netherlands its first.
The first confirmed cases were also reported in Costa Rica, Colombia, Cameroon, Togo, Serbia and Bhutan.
South Korea on Saturday reported 174 additional cases from late Friday, taking the national tally to 6,767. Mainland China, where the outbreak started, reported 99 new confirmed cases but about a quarter of them came from outside the country, data showed.
About 3.4% of confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, have died, far above seasonal flu's fatality rate of under 1%, the WHO said this week.
Supply Chains Broken
Moves by some major economies, including the United States, to cut interest rates and pledge funds to fight the epidemic have done little to allay fears about the spread of the disease and the economic fallout. Supply chains have been crippled around the world.
"There's concern that while there has been a response from the Fed, given the nature of the problem, is this something the central bank can really help with?" said John Davies, G10 rates strategist at Standard Chartered Bank in London.
In New York, JPMorgan divided its team between central locations and a secondary site in New Jersey, while Goldman Sachs sent some traders to nearby secondary offices in Greenwich, Connecticut, and Jersey City.
Bank of America Corp is splitting its trading force from Monday and sending 100 New York-based staff to nearby Stamford, Connecticut, sources familiar with the matter said.
In London, Europe's financial capital, the Canary Wharf district was unusually quiet. S&P Global's large office stood empty after the company sent its 1,200 staff home, and HSBC asked around 100 people to work from home after a worker tested positive for the illness.
The South by Southwest music and tech festival in Austin, Texas, and two music festivals in Florida were cancelled over concerns about events that bring crowds of people into close proximity.
Saudi Arabia will suspend public attendance at all sports events starting Saturday, the Ministry of Sports said.
The UN said it had cancelled some meetings in Bonn, Germany, and elsewhere planned in the run-up to a crucial UN climate summit to be held in Scotland in November.