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Coronavirus HIGHLIGHTS: Pandemic is ‘accelerating’, trajectory of outbreak can be changed, says WHO

Coronavirus: Nepal on Monday closed its borders with India and China to curb the spreading of coronavirus infection in the country.

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: March 24, 2020 10:09:07 am
coronavirus, coronavirus global updates, coronavirus live, coronavirus China, coronavirus Italy, Italy shutdown coronavirus, coronavirus Italy shutdown, coronavirus China shutdown, World news, Indian Express Italy is slowing industrial production nationwide. (File Photo)

Coronavirus (COVID-19) HIGHLIGHTS: Iran has reported another 127 coronavirus deaths, bringing its death toll to 1,812 amid 23,049 confirmed cases Monday. With this, the total number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic have topped 15,000 across the globe. Italy is the hardest-hit country with 5,476 deaths, followed by China where the virus first emerged last year with 3,270, and Spain with 2,182.

Nepal on Monday closed its borders with India and China to curb the spreading of coronavirus infection in the country. “The government took the decision to seal both the southern and the northern borders as the entire South Asia and South East Asia are heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. There is a greater risk of the disease spreading into Nepal due to cross-border human movement,” said Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada.

With cases continuing to rise, many countries have ordered a partial or complete lockdown, bringing daily life and businesses to a grinding halt.

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As coronavirus cases in Italy soar, the country is under lockdown. Read HIGHLIGHTS here

22:00 (IST)23 Mar 2020
COVID-19 pandemic 'accelerating': WHO chief

According to AFP, the new coronavirus pandemic is clearly "accelerating", the World Health Organisation warned on Monday, but said it was still possible to "change the trajectory" of the outbreak.

19:24 (IST)23 Mar 2020
South Africa infections grow by 402 overnight

South Africa's coronavirus cases jumped to 402 on Monday. That is an increase of 128 cases from the day before as it is the country with the most cases in Africa. South African President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to speak to the nation about the growing threat and many expect him to announce new restrictive measures to try to slow the spread of the disease. More than half of South Africa's total cases are in the Gauteng province, which include Johannesburg and Pretoria. (AP)

18:25 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Bangladesh declares 10-days of holiday to curb coronavirus spread

Bangladesh on Monday declared a 10-day nationwide holiday from March 26 and called out the Army to enforce social distancing to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic which has claimed over 15,000 lives globally. All government and private offices will be closed from March 26 to April 4. Bangladesh has reported 33 coronavirus cases so far. (PTI)

17:11 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Global death toll from coronavirus crosses 15,000

According to AFP, the total number of deaths from the coronavirus pandemic have topped 15,000 across the globe. The majority of deaths being from Europe with 9,197 fatalities. Italy is the hardest-hit country with 5,476 deaths, followed by China where the virus first emerged last year with 3,270, and Spain with 2,182.

16:42 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Hunt for medical gear to fight virus becomes all-consuming in US and Europe

The hunt for ventilators and other medical supplies consumed the US and Europe on Monday, as new coronavirus infections soared and political paralysis stalled efforts for a quick aid package from Congress. Asian markets and US futures sank as more governments tightened restrictions to fight the pandemic. Fears grew that densely crowded New York could become one of the world's biggest coronavirus hot spots, prompting cancelations of everything from play dates to picnics in the park to pickup basketball games. (AP)

16:32 (IST)23 Mar 2020
'Little upset with China' over coronavirus info sharing: Trump

US President Donald Trump has said he is "a little upset" with China over its late sharing of information on the outbreak of the deadly coronavirus and refusing to accept a visit by American medical experts to the country "out of pride".

"They should have told us about this," Trump told reporters at a press conference in the White House on Sunday during a briefing on his administration's coronavirus response.

"I'm a little upset with China. I'll be honest with you, because as much as I like (Chinese) President Xi (Jinping) and as much as I respect and admire the country," he said.

There are now 31,057 confirmed cases across the US, with 390 deaths. New York state has become the epicentre of the outbreak in the US and accounts for almost half of the country's cases.

16:03 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Iran reports 127 more virus deaths; toll now 1,812

Iran has reported another 127 coronavirus deaths, bringing its death toll to 1,812 amid 23,049 confirmed cases Monday, AP reported. Iran is battling the worst outbreak in the Middle East, and has faced widespread criticism for not imposing stricter quarantine measures early on.  It is also suffering under severe American sanctions imposed after President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. 

15:55 (IST)23 Mar 2020
More than 1 billion people worldwide told to stay home over coronavirus

According to AFP, more than 1 billion people worldwide have been told to stay home over coronavirus.

15:39 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Air Canada lays off 5,000, France tries to save food supply

Air Canada is laying off more than 5,000 flight attendants, a union official says, as the country's largest airline cuts routes amid plunging demand due to the coronavirus. The Montreal-based carrier is laying off about 3,600 employees, plus 1,549 flight attendants at its low-cost subsidiary Rouge, according to Wesley Lesosky, head of the Air Canada component of the Canadian Union of Public Employees. The layoffs will take effect by April and affect roughly 60% of flight attendants, Lesosky said. Air Canada says it will suspend most of its international and U.S. flights by March 31. The carrier says employees will be returned to active duty status once flights resume. While France President Emmanuel Macron urged employees to keep working in French supermarkets and some other businesses deemed essential amid a spreading shutdown imposed to fight the coronavirus. (AP)

15:23 (IST)23 Mar 2020
US Secret Service employee tests positive

The US Secret Service says an employee has tested positive for the coronavirus. The agency said in a statement early Monday that it will continue to monitor the employee's condition. The employee is in quarantine. The agency says it determined after an assessment that the employee has had no contact with other employees or anyone the agency is responsible for protecting for nearly three weeks. The Secret Service provides security protection for President Donald Trump and his family, among other high-ranking US officials. (AP)

15:15 (IST)23 Mar 2020
China slams US for 'scapegoating' over virus

China's foreign ministry says the U.S. is "completely wasting the precious time" Beijing had won in attacking the global coronavirus outbreak that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan. Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing Monday that the U.S. has attempted to “discredit others and look for a scapegoat to shift its responsibilities.” He added that the U.S. should “stop politicizing the epidemic, stop stigmatizing and defaming China and other countries.” China's health ministry says Wuhan has now gone five consecutive days without a new infection, showing the effectiveness of draconian travel restrictions that are slowly being relaxed around the country. At the same time, China is stepping up measures to prevent the virus from being brought back from overseas, requiring international flights into Beijing to first stop at airports outside the capital for inspection. (AP)

14:01 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Philippines coronavirus infections rise to 462

The Philippines' health ministry reported on Monday 82 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total in the Southeast Asian nation to 462, while deaths remain at 33. Health Secretary Francisco Duque said earlier on Monday that confirmed cases would rise as the country secures more test kits. (Reuters)

13:57 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Sri Lanka bans non-essential travel across the island nation

Sri Lanka's government has banned non-essential travel across the Indian Ocean island nation, in the latest measure to contain the spreading of the coronavirus. The government is allowing the transport of rice and other essential items. Also on Monday, a statement from the president's office said the government has banned the transporting of tourists. Tourism is a major income source for the country. Sri Lanka has confirmed 82 coronavirus cases. (AP)

13:32 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Nepal seals borders with India, China

The Nepal government has closed its borders with India and China for a week starting Monday, in a bid to prevent a possible outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the Himalayan nation. Although the cross-border human movement is halted till midnight of March 29, supply of goods from the countries will continue as usual, Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada told a press conference on Sunday night. "The government took the decision to seal both the southern and the northern borders as the entire South Asia and South East Asia are heavily affected by the coronavirus pandemic. There is a greater risk of the disease spreading into Nepal due to cross-border human movement," Khatiwada said. Nepal, which shares an 1,800-km open border with India, has total 37 motorable land entry points with it, while with China it has four such entry points. The government's decision to seal the border with India and China came following its decision to suspend all international flights to and from Nepal effective from March 22 to March 31 as a precautionary measure to control the spread of COVID-19. (PTI)

13:04 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Nepal imposes partial lockdown

Nepal has imposed a partial lockdown with the suspension of international flights, long-distance transport services and closure of education institutes. (PTI)

12:42 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Britain brings in army to get protective kit to health workers

Britain said it was ramping up its provision of protective equipment to healthcare workers fighting the spread of coronavirus, and bringing in the army to help with deliveries, after struggling to get enough supply to hospitals.The distribution and delivery of millions of items of personal protective equipment (PPE) including masks will now be carried out by the army who will drive trucks throughout the day and night, health minister Matt Hancock said in a statement.Millions more items have been provided to hospitals, ambulance trust, GP practices, care homes and other health services in the last few days, he added, after complaints emerged from medical staff that they did not have enough kit.The authorities have released protective kit from the national stockpile reserved for pandemic influenza, said the joint statement from the department of health and National Health Service on Monday. (Reuters)

12:02 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Malaysia says may extend movement curbs, to add stimulus

Malaysia's prime minister said on Monday the government may consider extending movement restrictions by up to two weeks, and will announce more economic stimulus to soften the blow from the coronavirus outbreak and weak oil prices.Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin said the national security council will meet on March 30 to decide on what to do after the current curbs on movement and businesses expire at the end of the month.The government is also expected to unveil an expanded stimulus package on the same day, Muhyiddin said. (Reuters)

12:01 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Taiwan reports 26 new cases of coronavirus, total now 195

Taiwan's government announced 26 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number to 195.All but one of the new cases was imported, in people with travel histories to the United States, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Switzerland and Britain, the government said in a statement. (Reuters)

10:56 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Thailand's Feb tourist arrivals slump 42.8% y/y on virus outbreak

Tourist arrivals in Thailand sank 42.78% in February from a year earlier after a 2.46% rise in the previous month, due to the coronavirus outbreak, tourism ministry data showed on Monday.A total of 2.06 million tourists in February spent about 103.7 billion baht ($3.14 billion), down 43.9% from a year earlier.Visitor numbers from China, Thailand's biggest source of tourists, tumbled 84.92% from a year earlier.Tourism is a key driver of Thai growth, with foreign tourist receipts making up 11% of gross domestic product last year. (Reuters)

10:32 (IST)23 Mar 2020
Trillion-dollar US economic rescue package crashes in Senate

A trillion-dollar Senate proposal to rescue the reeling US economy crashed to defeat Sunday after receiving zero support from Democrats, and with five Republicans absent from the chamber because of virus-related quarantines. Democrats said the Republican plan failed to sufficiently protect millions of American workers or shore up the critically under-equipped health care system during the coronavirus crisis. The bill proposed an estimated $1.7 trillion or more in funding to cushion the blow for American families and thousands of shuttered or suffering businesses. Despite intense negotiations between Republicans, Democrats and President Donald Trump's administration, the roll call was 47-47, far short of the 60 votes needed to advance. (AFP)

Italy first moved to prevent the virus from arriving in the country by signing an order on January 31 shutting down flights to and from China. A day earlier, authorities confirmed that a pair of tourists from Wuhan had tested positive in Rome. Both have since recovered.

But it wasn't until February 21 that the first case of locally transmitted COVID-19 was confirmed, in the town of Codogno, southeast of Milan. The town and 10 others, with a total population of 50,000, were immediately isolated.

On Sunday, Rome Police Chief Franco Gabrielli said 80 people had been cited a day earlier -- including for shopping 10 kilometers (six miles) from home, travelling 15 kilometers to a doctor's appointment and claiming medical reasons for being out for a walk but lacking a doctor's certification.