Countries across the world are taking measures to halt the spread of coronavirus. It has infected hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.
Here are the latest updates:
Italy is on track to surpass China in the number of coronavirus-related deaths, a gruesome milestone that is being attributed to the country’s large elderly population, its overwhelmed healthcare system and the delayed imposition of complete lockdown measures across the epicentre, Lombardy.
Italy registered 2,978 deaths on Wednesday after another 475 people died. Given Italy has been averaging more than 350 deaths since March 15, it is likely to overtake China’s total of 3,249 dead this week.
UN and Italian health authorities have cited a variety of reasons for Italy’s high toll, key among them its large elderly population, who are particularly susceptible to developing serious complications from the virus. Italy has the world’s second oldest population after Japan, and the vast majority of Italy’s dead — 87% — were older than 70.
In addition, virtually all of Italy’s dead had one or more underlying medical condition, such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension or renal insufficiency.
Thousands of people attended an ordination ceremony for a Catholic bishop on the Indonesian island of Flores despite calls from authorities to avoid mass gatherings to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Images of the ordination ceremony posted on social media showed people inside the Ruteng cathedral seated next to each other and not complying with social distancing measures.
A priest who attended the ceremony estimated that about 4,000 people gathered inside and around the church.
Sebastian Rida, a Catholic resident of Ruteng who witnessed the ceremony, said officers from the local health agency asked people to use masks and hand sanitisers, but not everyone did.
Indonesia has 309 confirmed cases of the virus and 25 deaths.
Russia has reported its first coronavirus-related death, a 79-year-old woman who died in hospital in Moscow.
Health officials said she was hospitalised last week and suffered from a variety of chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and heart disease.
Russia has registered 147 cases of the coronavirus. The authorities have taken a variety of measures to slow the spread of the disease, such as closing the borders for foreigners and testing of everyone returning from countries affected by the pandemic.
Starting from next week, all schools will be closed. The government has repeatedly urged Russians to stay home and limit all contacts.
Today we met virtually with business leaders convened by @wef. My colleagues & I encouraged the private sector to help speed the #COVID19 response by committing specific expertise. We also hope they will contribute through the Solidarity Response Fund https://t.co/mRCMYYtASW. pic.twitter.com/QYt6lF44DR
— Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus (@DrTedros) March 18, 2020
Pakistani authorities have closed shrines of Sufi saints in the capital and elsewhere and visits to museums, archaeological and tourist sites were banned as cases of coronavirus jumped to 301, mostly in pilgrims returning from Iran.
Two people who had returned from Saudi Arabia and Dubai became Pakistan’s first victims when they died on Wednesday.
It spread panic among those who were not taking infections seriously.
Pakistani authorities on Thursday were planning to quarantine hundreds of pilgrims who returned from Iran. These pilgrims will be kept at isolated buildings in central Pakistan for two weeks.
Pakistan has already shut schools.
The Dutch government is limiting entry to the country for 30 days from Thursday evening in its latest effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
The entry ban covers all non-essential travel into the country for visitors from outside the European Union, the United Kingdom and countries that are part of Europe’s passport-free travel zone known as Schengen.
Exceptions also will be made for travelLers with residence permits for the Netherlands and people in “vital” occupations such as health workers.
As of Wednesday, the Netherlands had recorded 58 coronavirus-related deaths in the outbreak and 2,051 positive tests.
Australia is banning incoming passengers who are not citizens, permanent residents or direct family members of residents.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said 80% of cases of coronavirus detected in Australia have been people infected overseas or by direct contact with someone who had been infected overseas. Overseas arrivals are currently expected to self-isolate for 14 days.
– NEW ZEALAND
New Zealand is closing its border to people who are not citizens or residents from Friday.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she had become increasingly concerned that visitors to New Zealand have not been properly isolating themselves for 14 days as required. There are a few exceptions, including children and partners of residents.
Mexico’s health department has confirmed the country’s first death related to coronavirus.
The department wrote on Twitter that the person began showing symptoms on March 9 and had diabetes.
Mexico has 118 confirmed cases of infection and officials expect the numbers to rapidly increase in the coming weeks.
Authorities have been urging people to keep their distance in social situations and schools have halted classes.