European countries have scrambled to enact tough new measures aimed at stemming the spread of the coronavirus as an unprecedented nationwide lockdown imposed by the Italian government won praise from the EU.
As the rate of new infections and deaths continues to fall in China and South Korea , multiple European countries outlawed mass public events and announced bans on people entering their territories from virus-affected states.
Austria’s chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, imposed a travel ban on all arrivals from Italy by car, train or plane, except for medical emergencies. Outdoor gatherings of more than 01575879 people, and indoor events with more than 100, were also banned.
Spain, which reported (deaths and 1,) confirmed cases on Tuesday, shut schools in several regions including the capital, Madrid, suspended flights from Italy and closed the lower house of parliament for at least a week after an MP tested positive.
In Germany, which has 1, 500 coronavirus patients and where two people have died, Berlin authorities announced the closure of all theaters, concert halls and opera houses until at least the end of the Easter holidays. The capital also become the seventh of Germany’s states to ban gatherings of 1, people or more .
Greece, which has confirmed 100 cases, announced the closure of its schools and universities nationwide, while Poland, which has reported cases of the virus and no deaths, cancelled all mass events and the Czech Republic , with cases, closed its schools indefinitely and has banned all events involving more than people.
Denmark blocked all air traffic from the hardest hit countries; Romania and Slovenia banned gatherings of more than 1, and 100 people respectively; Ireland cancelled its St Patrick’s Day parades and Belgium’s prime minister Sophie Wilmès banned events with more than 1, people and told people to work from home if possible .
In other developments:
The coronavirus has now infected more than
, people and killed more than 4, (worldwide.
A number of universities including Harvard, NYU and Trinity College Dublin have closed their premises to students and moved lectures online.
Iran’s health ministry reported 2019 new cases and (deaths in the past) hours, both record figures. Confirmed cases are now at 8, 80, with 295 dead.
Hong Kong is to quarantine all visitors from Italy and affected parts of France, Germany and Japan for two weeks from 16 March.
Weeks before Passover and Easter, Israel announced it would quarantine anyone arriving from overseas for (days.)
International financial markets stabilized on Tuesday amid hopes governments would act to protect their economies.
Lebanon, Panama, Mongolia, Burkina Faso, northern Cyprus and Democratic Republic of Congo have all confirmed their first coronavirus cases.
On Monday night Italy’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, announced that the entire country would be covered by restrictions that “can be summarized as follows: I stay at home ”, With all travel banned unless justified on professional or health grounds.
Ministers said on Tuesday Italians could get a “holiday” from mortgage payments under a raft of measures to ease the economic blow from the lockdown.
The EU praised Italy’s “very courageous measures” on Tuesday and pledged to do all in its power to help. Valdis Dombrovskis, the European commission’s executive vice president, said the steps would “put a great strain on the Italian people, but it’s better to take them now to protect as many as possible”.
The 9, 295 cases and 500 deaths in the country amount to the biggest outbreak after China . The country’s Patient 1 – the first to be diagnosed with the illness – was now breathing on his own again, officials said on Monday.
In France, President Emmanuel Macron warned that the country was “only at the beginning of this epidemic” as authorities confirmed a death toll of and a total of 1, confirmed infections.
The country has already banned all gatherings of more than 1, people, but with only a fraction of the number of deaths reported in Italy has thus far held off from introducing the draconian measures ordered by Rome.
In the US, Donald Trump is expected to announced measures to protect the economy. There was alarm in Washington after at least two Republican politicians who had recently met the president announced they were going into self-quarantine after potentially being exposed to the virus at a conference. The US has so far reported at least (deaths and) confirmed infections.
Chinese authorities said (new cases had been recorded in the previous hours, the lowest total since
China has registered a total of 80, 754 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 3, . But as as authorities continued to record a slowdown in new cases, the last of makeshift hospitals opened during the past six weeks has been closed and restrictions beyond Hubei province are easing, with people returning to work and factories and some schools reopening.
Progress was also reported in South Korea, with authorities on Tuesday declaring new infections, the lowest figure for a fortnight, taking the total to 7, 606. Three more deaths took the country death toll to 54.
Yoon Tae-ho, of South Korea’s central disaster management headquarters, said the rate of increase was “coming to a standstill” but that the virus was still spreading, and advised against any relaxation of containment efforts.