(Reuters) – France and Spain joined Italy in imposing lockdowns on tens of millions of people, Australia ordered self-isolation of arriving foreigners and other countries extended entry bans as the world sought to contain the spreading coronavirus.
Several countries imposed bans on mass gathering, shuttered sporting, cultural and religious events, while medical experts urged people to practice “social distancing” to curb the spread.
– Globally more than 162,000 are infected and over 6,000 have died. Mainland China had 16 new confirmed cases on Sunday, down from 20 a day earlier. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in China so far to 80,860.
– For interactive graphic tracking global spread: open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser
– U.S. President Donald Trump tested negative for the coronavirus, his doctor said on Saturday, as the U.S. president extended his country’s travel ban to Britain and Ireland.
– With limited testing available, U.S. officials have recorded nearly 3,000 cases and 65 deaths, up from 58 on Saturday.
– A U.S. sailor aboard a warship ship tested positive for the coronavirus for the first time, the U.S. Navy said on Sunday.
– Amid chaos at airports, Americans were urged to hunker down and face new realities. Washington suspended travel from certain European countries for 30 days beginning at midnight on Friday.
– U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Sunday the cost of a coronavirus aid package will likely be “significant but not huge.”
– Mnuchin said expected to have a better idea of the price tag this week and added he also planned to talk to lawmakers about critical aid to airlines, as well as the hotel and cruise ship industries.
– Guatemala logged its first fatality from coronavirus on Sunday as nations in South and Central America ramped up measures to contain the infection, with Panama banning entry of non-resident foreigners and Honduras closing its borders to passenger traffic for a week.
– Colombia will block entry to travelers who are not residents or citizens and will close schools and universities from Monday. Colombian citizens and foreign residents who arrive from March 16 will be required to perform an obligatory 14-day period of self isolation.
– Argentina published a decree establishing a 30-day ban on entry to non-residents who have traveled 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 recorded 368 more deaths from the coronavirus outbreak on Sunday, its biggest one day rise. The country has recorded a total of 24,747 cases and 1,809 deaths by Sunday – a rise of 368 or 25% in the death toll in just 24 hours.
– France is preparing an order that would put its inhabitants under partial lockdown to combat the epidemic.
– The Czech Republic tightened restrictions on Monday to combat the outbreak, banning people from moving around except for work, shopping and some other limited activities until March 24.
– Belgium’s caretaker government received emergency powers to tackle the coronavirus crisis on Sunday after opposition parties gave it their backing.
– Austria announced major restrictions on movement in public places on Sunday, banning gatherings of more than five persons and urging Austrians to self-isolate, as well as putting further limits on who can enter the country.
– Slovenia will shut down its air traffic from Tuesday in an attempt to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
– Spain’s official coronavirus death toll rose by 152 overnight to 288 on Sunday. The number infected rose by 2,000 new cases to 7,753.
– The Netherlands will close all schools, cafes, restaurants and sport clubs nationwide, the government decided on Sunday, its most far-reaching moves yet on the epidemic.
– Britain will isolate older people “within weeks” and force into quarantine anyone diagnosed with coronavirus, the government said as it stepped up measures that have so far been less stringent than elsewhere in Europe.
– Germany urged people returning from Italy, Switzerland and Austria to self-isolate for up to two weeks.
– Pope Francis’ Holy Week and Easter services, which normally draw tens of thousands of people, will be held without the public attending because of the coronavirus outbreak, a step believed to be unprecedented in modern times.
– China has tightened checks on international travelers at Beijing airport and said it will centrally quarantine all arrivals at its capital, after new imported coronavirus cases surpassed locally transmitted infections for a second day.
– South Korea reported 74 new coronavirus infections on Monday, bringing the country’s total to 8,236.
– Japan’s health ministry said it has identified 15 clusters of coronavirus infections around the country. The biggest cluster was in the Osaka area, with more than 50 infections centered around a music venue.
– Australia will impose 14-day self-isolation on international travelers arriving from midnight Sunday and ban cruise ships from foreign ports for 30 days, mirroring restrictions in nearby New Zealand aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.
– Australia’s capital and the country’s second most populous state declared states of emergency on Monday, while large, non-essential gatherings were banned in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus after the national death toll rose to five. Australia has recorded nearly 300 cases of coronavirus.
– The Philippines recorded four additional coronavirus deaths and 29 new cases, bringing the domestic tally of infections to 140, as authorities placed the entire capital Manila under “community quarantine” for about a month beginning Sunday.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
– Jordan confirmed 12 new cases of the coronavirus on Sunday, as the central bank announced measures to help troubled businesses and a tourism sector hit hard by the impact of the crisis.
– Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial was delayed on Sunday for two months, until May, due to the coronavirus.
– President Michel Aoun declared a medical state of emergency in Lebanon on Sunday and called on people to work from home as the country steps up measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
– Gulf Arab states expanded measures, with the United Arab Emirates shuttering several public venues including parks and the Abu Dhabi bourse trading hall, as infections continued to spread in the region.
– With panic buying on Main Street and fear-driven sell-offs on Wall Street, the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near zero on Sunday in another emergency move to help shore up the U.S. economy amid the rapidly escalating coronavirus pandemic.
– Stock markets and the dollar were roiled on Monday after the Federal Reserve slashed interest rates in an emergency move and its major peers offered cheap U.S. dollars to break a logjam in global lending markets.
– The United States’ biggest banks will stop buying back their own shares, and will instead use that capital to lend to individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus, an industry trade group said on Sunday.
– European Union finance ministers plan to agree on Monday on a coordinated economic response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the European Commission forecasting the effects of the virus could push the EU into a recession.
– Manufacturing in Britain weakened sharply in early 2020 even before concerns about the coronavirus crisis escalated, adding urgency to the need for a trade deal with the European Union.
– South Korea’s finance ministry on Monday pledged to take swift and stern stabilization measures to prevent herd-like behavior in currency market, and to supply liquidity if needed as the economy comes under pressure due to the coronavirus outbreak.
– With one of Wall Street’s wildest weeks in recent memory now in the history books, investors braced for more uncertainty and big market swings ahead.
– New home prices in China stalled for the first time in nearly five years in February, according to Reuters calculations.
– More major retailers said on Sunday they would shut stores in the United States to limit the spread of the coronavirus, including Nike, Under Armour, and Lululemon Athletica.
– Saudi Aramco said it plans to cut capital spending in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, and also posted a plunge in profit for last year, missing forecasts in its first earnings announcement as a listed company.
– Most major Middle Eastern stock markets closed lower on Sunday amid fears of economic fallout from coronavirus precautions, with Egypt falling the most and Saudi Aramco slipping after it missed profit forecasts.
– Airlines called on the British government to help ensure their survival during the coronavirus crisis on Sunday after the U.S. extended restrictions on European travelers to include Britain.
– Britain’s food retailers appealed to shoppers to stop panic buying, saying purchasing more than they need would mean others will be left without.
– The Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games flame handover in Athens next week will be done in an empty stadium amid the coronavirus outbreak, Greece’s Olympic Committee said on Sunday.
– A European qualifying event for this year’s Tokyo Olympic boxing tournament will be closed to spectators from Monday.
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