Here’s what you need to know in today’s coronavirus news
Countries across the world have imposed stringent new measures to limit social contact in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus. Take a look:
France, Germany and Spain have joined Italy in imposing lockdowns on tens of millions of people. Australia has ordered self-isolation of arriving foreigners and other countries have extended entry bans as the world struggles to contain the spreading novel coronavirus.
Several countries have imposed bans on mass gatherings, shuttered sporting, cultural and religious events, while medical experts urged people to practice “social distancing” to curb the spread.
The coronavirus pandemic has infected more than 181,500 people and killed over 7,100 worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources.
In the US, President Donald Trump has said that Americans should not gather in groups of more than 10 people and avoid restaurants over the next 15 days, saying the country was facing "an invisible enemy" that is "so contagious". The cases in the country have passed 4,400, with at least 86 deaths.
Several US states have pleaded with the Trump administration to coordinate a national response, saying patchwork measures enacted by state and local authorities were insufficient.
Guatemala logged its first fatality on Sunday as nations in South and Central America ramped up, with Panama banning entry of non-resident foreigners and Honduras closing its borders to passenger traffic for a week.
Argentina published a decree establishing a 30-day ban on entry to non-residents who have travelled to a country highly affected by coronavirus in the last 14 days.
Mexico warned the outbreak could last all year as it began rolling out tougher measures to contain the spread, calling for an end to large gatherings and extending Easter school holidays.
Italy -- the worst-affected nation outside China (where the virus originated) -- has more than 20,000 cases and has suffered more than 2,150 deaths, according to the BBC. China sent a flight to Milan, Italy to pick up citizens and overseas students, state-run CCTV reported on Monday.
Last week, the WHO said Europe was now the "epicentre" of the virus and urged governments to act aggressively to control the spread of Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.
Spain said a state of emergency will have to be extended beyond an initial 15-day period, and that it was considering closing borders. Only Spanish citizens, residents and special cases will be allowed in the country.
The Czech Republic sealed off several towns on Monday and banned people from moving around except for work, shopping and some limited activities until March 24.
Greece is shutting all shops, bars, chemists and petrol stations and putting all arrivals from abroad into quarantine for 14 days.
Poland suspended all domestic flights, following similar moves on international air and rail travel.
Georgia has banned all foreigners from entering the country, while Ukraine's capital Kyiv will shut restaurants, cafes and bars from Tuesday and has restricted movement to other towns. Serbia has declared a state of emergency
Britain said it will isolate older people “within weeks” and force into quarantine anyone diagnosed with coronavirus, as it stepped up measures that have so far been less stringent than elsewhere in Europe.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said everyone in the UK should avoid "non-essential" travel and contact with others to curb coronavirus - as the country's death toll hit 55. More than 1,500 people have tested positive for the virus in the UK - but the actual number of cases is estimated to be between 35,000 and 50,000, says the BBC.
The UK government has urged people to avoid gatherings and crowded places such as pubs, clubs and theatres. It said that everyone should work from home if they can and that all "unnecessary" visits to friends and relatives in care homes should cease.
Earlier, WHO head Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the governments were not doing enough to combat the pandemic, and urged them to step up their testing programmes.
"You can't fight a fire blindfolded and we can't stop this pandemic if we don't know who is infected," he said at a news conference in Geneva. "We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test."
Germany urged people returning from Italy, Switzerland and Austria to self-isolate for up to two weeks. Most non-grocery shops and venues have been ordered to shut in the country. The country now has close to 7,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus, and 14 deaths.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has also banned religious services and told people to cancel any domestic or foreign holiday travel. Schools across the country have already been shut.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron has announced an enforced lockdown, a step similar to curbs imposed by Italy and Spain, saying: "We're in a health war". France has so far registered more than 6,000 infections and 148 deaths.
Macron ordered people to stay at home and only go out for essential duties. He said the previous measures, including the closing of schools, cafes and non-essential shops, had proved insufficient.
The restrictions will be in place for at least 15 days, Macron added, vowing to punish any infringement. The government later said more than 100,000 officers would be deployed nationwide to enforce the lockdown.
Mainland China reported a drop in new cases on Sunday, but major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai continued to wrestle with cases of infections from travellers arriving from abroad.
South Korea reported 74 new coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the country’s total to 8,236.
Thailand plans to close down schools, bars, movie theatres, cockfighting arenas as well as postpone next month’s Thai New Year holiday, officials said on Monday.
Malaysia’s new government announced on Monday a $230 million coronavirus stimulus package.
The Philippines’ President on Monday said the country’s main island of Luzon would be under home quarantine until April 12 and told the public to heed the orders of police and soldiers, or be arrested.
Australia’s capital and the country’s second most populous state declared states of emergency on Monday, while large, non-essential gatherings were banned. Australia has recorded nearly 300 cases of coronavirus.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
Saudi Arabia closed public spaces on Sunday and announced a pause in most government operations while Qatar and Oman imposed entry restrictions.
Bahrain, where nearly 1,000 people have tested positive, reported the first fatality in the Gulf Arab states.
China on Monday urged the United States to immediately lift sanctions on Iran, the worst-affected country in the Middle East with 853 deaths and 14,991 infected. Iranian cleric Ayatollah Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani has died after being infected by the coronavirus, state news agency IRNA said. He was a high-ranking clergyman and one of the 88 members of the Assembly of Experts, a key government body of top clergymen which determines Iran’s Supreme Leader.
Kenyan authorities raided a shop on Monday that was allegedly selling fake coronavirus testing kits, as the WHO confirmed at least 327 cases on the continent.
Stock markets and oil prices continued to nose-dive after the second emergency cut in US interest rates in as many weeks — effectively to zero — and supportive measures from all corners failed to quell coronavirus fears.
The European Union will go through a recession this year due to the impact of the coronavirus, EU internal market Commissioner Thierry Breton said on Monday.
China’s industrial output contracted at the sharpest pace in 30 years in the first two months of the year, data showed on Monday.
The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games flame handover in Athens next week will be performed in an empty stadium, Greece’s Olympic Committee said on Sunday.
China tentatively plans to reschedule its annual parliament gathering to late April or early May, sources told Reuters.
Pope Francis’ Holy Week and Easter services will be held without the public attending.