Coronavirus world news update: Here’s what you need to know today
So far, the deadly coronavirus pandemic has killed over 14,000 people across the globe and infected over 300,000. Take a look at the grim situation and what measures the governments are adopting to stem the spread of the disease.
The novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases have ballooned in Europe, prompting more lockdown measures to try to slow the spread. In the US, there has seen a significant spike in coronavirus cases with the total confirmed infections jumping to nearly 34,000 while over 400 fatalities were recorded. Australia announced it was shutting a large array of businesses from Monday; in Canada death toll from the coronavirus outbreak jumped by more than 50 per cent, while New Zealand moved to its highest alert level imposing self-isolation.
DEATHS AND INFECTIONS
At least 339,000 people have contracted the novel coronavirus and over 14,700 have died across the globe, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
SITUATION IN EUROPE
In its latest desperate effort to halt the epidemic the Italian government has ordered that all businesses must close until April 3, with the exception of those essential to maintaining the country’s supply chain.
Italy -- now the epicentre of the global pandemic -- has banned any movement inside the country as the country’s death toll from the killer pandemic nears 5,500. Nearly 60,000 people across the country are confirmed to have the virus.
Italy surpassed China’s death toll last week despite having fewer confirmed infections and a far smaller population. More than 5,500 Italians are testing positive every day, with the average age of those dying 78.5.
Spain registered its worst figures so far after 394 people died in a single day, bringing the national total to 1,720. Now, the government is seeking to extend the state of emergency until April 11, a step that needs to be approved by Parliament. The measure introduced on March 14 bars people from all but essential outings.
"We're at war," Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez said, a day after warning that "the worst is yet to come".
In the UK, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said the country’s National Health Service (NHS) could be “overwhelmed” by the coronavirus like the Italian health system in just two weeks.
Pubs, clubs and gyms have already closed, but social media on Sunday was awash with pictures of people congregating in parks and food markets, apparently ignoring advice to stay two metres apart.
Parks in London are already closing down as authorities struggle to slow the advance of coronavirus through the population, the biggest public health crisis since the influenza pandemic of 1918. So far, 281 Britons have died from coronavirus.
In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel has quarantined herself. Before her move, the country expanded curbs on social interactions to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak, banning public gatherings of more than two people.
A doctor who vaccinated Merkel on Friday against pneumococcus, a pneumonia-causing bacteria, had tested positive for coronavirus. The Chancellor, 65, will be tested regularly in the next few days and work from home, her spokesman said.
Germany -- Europe's largest economy -- has so far confirmed 18,610 cases and 55 deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus.
France recorded 112 new deaths, taking the number of dead there to 674. The Netherlands and Greece also reported a surge in the number of deaths and cases.
Nearly one in three Americans was under orders on Sunday to stay home to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic as Ohio, Louisiana and Delaware became the latest states to enact broad restrictions, along with the city of Philadelphia.
The three states join New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey, home to 101 million Americans combined, as cases nationwide jumped to nearly 34,000, with more than 400 deaths, according to Worldometer, a website which compiles new cases of COVID-19.
In the US Senate, partisan disagreement blocked a massive coronavirus response bill from advancing, with Democrats saying the Republican measure focused too heavily on helping corporations. But Democratic Senate leader Chuck Schumer said he believed differences could be overcome in the next 24 hours.
The emergency economic aid proposal could be worth over $2 trillion, according to Larry Kudlow, a top economic adviser to President Donald Trump. It would include direct payments to Americans under a certain income threshold, $200 billion in loans to airlines and distressed industry sectors and $300 billion in forgivable bridge loans for small businesses.
Trump at a conference in the White House on Sunday identified New York, California and Washington as the three major coronavirus hot spots.
The Mayor of New York City -- the epicentre of the nation’s coronavirus epidemic -- has described the outbreak as the biggest domestic crisis since the Great Depression and called for the US military to mobilize to help keep the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed.
Bolivia’s interim government announced it would postpone presidential elections originally slated for May 3 and institute a mandatory countrywide quarantine for 14 days.
Brazil’s largest state Sao Paulo will essentially shut down for two weeks to help fight the coronavirus, its Governor has said, as President Jair Bolsonaro said again that “hysteria” over the outbreak could cause more harm than the virus itself.
In India, hundreds of millions of Indians stayed indoors on Sunday, heeding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s appeal to citizens to self-isolate. So far, more than 400 people in India contracted the disease and seven deaths have been reported due to the coronavirus, according to official data.
Mainland China saw a drop in its daily tally of new coronavirus cases, reversing four straight days of gains, as the capital Beijing ramped up measures to contain the number of infections arriving from abroad.
China had 39 new confirmed cases on Sunday, the National Health Commission said, down from 46 a day earlier. All of them involved travellers arriving from abroad, many of whom are Chinese students returning home.
The city of Beijing expanded measures to contain imported infections, diverting all international flights arriving from Monday to other airports in other cities, including Shanghai and as far west as Xian, where passengers will undergo virus screening.
Australia started shutting down pubs, clubs, gyms and houses of worship on Monday after a jump in coronavirus cases and after thousands disregarded social distancing advice and crowded beaches, bars and restaurants.
After an initial slow rate of infection, the number of Covid-19 cases in Australia has now surpassed 1,100 with the south-eastern states of Victoria and New South Wales recording the highest number of cases.
South Korea on Monday reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since the peak so far on February 29 and the extended downward trend in daily infections has boosted hopes that Asia's largest outbreak outside China may be abating.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said there were 64 new cases on Monday, taking the national tally to 8,961. The death toll rose by one to 110.
In Canada, the death toll from the coronavirus outbreak jumped by more than 50% on Sunday, and impatient officials threatened to punish people refusing to take precautions to fight the spread of the highly contagious illness.
The number of deaths from the respiratory disease rose to 20 by 6 p.m. (2200 GMT) on Sunday from 13 the previous day, Ottawa said, while the number of confirmed cases jumped to 1,430 from 1,099. There are coronavirus cases in all 10 Canadian provinces.
Canada has already closed its borders to all but essential travel and announced a C$27 billion ($19 billion) aid package for people and businesses most affected by the crisis. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said more measures would be needed.
New Zealand said on Monday it will move to its highest alert level imposing self-isolation, with all-non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut over the next 48 hours as the number of coronavirus cases more than double. The number of coronavirus cases in New Zealand shot up to 102, more than double since Friday, as the country reported 36 new infections. New Zealand has had no deaths.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
Iran’s death toll has reached 1,685 with 129 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry’s spokesman told state TV on Sunday, adding that the total number of infected people in Iran had reached 21,638.
Meanwhile, war-ravaged Syria on Sunday confirmed its first case of the coronavirus after weeks of rejecting opposition allegations that the disease had already reached a country with a wrecked health system and thousands of Iranian-backed militias and Shia pilgrims.
Damascus announced a ban on public transport on Sunday as it stepped up a lockdown introduced in recent days, including the closure of schools, parks, restaurants and various public institutions, as well as calling off army conscription.
Oman on Sunday banned public gatherings in the Gulf Arab state, limited staffing at state entities and shut currency exchange bureaus. Angola, Eritrea and Uganda confirmed their first cases of coronavirus, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across Africa.
Saudi Arabia is imposing a nationwide curfew starting on Monday after reporting a jump of almost a quarter in coronavirus cases, while the United Arab Emirates will suspend all passenger and transit flights to and from the country.
Saudi King Salman ordered a curfew - from 7 pm to 6 am for 21 days - to slow the spread of the coronavirus, state news agency SPA reported on Monday. The curfew will take effect on Monday evening.
The United Arab Emirates is closing all shopping malls and food (fish, meat and vegetable) markets for two weeks.
The new rule will come into force in 48 hours, and will be in place for two weeks -- but could be renewed, UAE authorities announced. The UAE currently has at least 150 coronavirus cases.