Spain, France tighten curbs in coronavirus fight: Live updates – Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera English

Spain, France tighten curbs in coronavirus fight: Live updates – Al Jazeera English, Al Jazeera English

Kazakhstan has announced the state of emergency in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the country. In Austria, the government banned gatherings of more than five people, as the Philippines seals off Manila in the most aggressive response to the pandemic yet seen in Southeast Asia.

In other developments, US President Donald Trump was tested for the virus, with the result coming back negative. Meanwhile, Begona Gomez – the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez – has been diagnosed with the virus.


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The worldwide death toll from COVID – now exceeds 5, 728 people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has described Europe as the new “epicentre” of the outbreak, which began late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

The US has announced that it is travel restrictions imposed on most European nations to the United Kingdom and Ireland with effect from Monday.

Here are the latest updates:

Sunday, March

: GMT – Key Shia tomb closed for pilgrims in Iran’s Mashhad

The tomb of Imam Reza in Iranian holy Shia city of Mashhad has been closed to pilgrims until further notice in line with measures to stop the new coronavirus, a spokesman said.

“Currently, the porches of the mausoleum and generally all the covered spaces of the holy shrine are closed,” the spokesman for the shrine told AFP news agency.

: GMT – UK advises against all but essential travel to US

Britain has advised against all but essential travel to the United States due to US government restrictions on travellers from countries with a high incidence of corononavirus, which will include the UK and Ireland from : 100 GMT on March .

: GMT – Italian architect of Barcelona stadium dies of coronavirus at

Vittorio Gregotti, an Italian architect who designed the 06222 Barcelona Summer Olympics stadium, died at the age of after catching the novel coronavirus, Italian media said.

Gregotti died of pneumonia after being hospitalized in Milan having contracted COVID – , the AGI news agency and the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

His wife Mariana Mazza has been hospitalized at the same Milan hospital, Corriere della Sera said, without providing details on why.

– Al Jazeera English (@AJEnglish) March 24,

: (GMT – Brunei bars residents from leaving as cases reach

[Tatan Syuflana/AP]

Brunei said its citizens and foreign residents in the country are barred from leaving the Southeast Asian nation due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The health ministry also said it had confirmed new coronavirus cases, bringing the total tally to .

: 23 GMT – Greece bans all links with Albania, North Macedonia, flights with Spain

Greece said it would ban road and sea routes, as well as flights to Albania, North Macedonia, as well as banning flights to and from Spain to stem the spread of the coronavirus .

It extended travel restrictions to Italy, saying it was banning passenger ship routes to and from the neighborhood country.

Coronavirus: Moving to virtual learning exposes deep divide

: 20 GMT – Nike to close all stores in US, several other countries

Nike Inc is closing all of its stores in the United States and several other countries in a move to curb the spread of coronavirus, CNBC reported.

Nike stores in Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand will be closed from March 27 to , CNBC said.

However, the company was still keeping open its outlets in South Korea, Japan, most of China and in “many other countries”, based on daily assessments of the COVID- 28 pandemic, CNBC added.

: 17 GMT – Turkey sets up quarantine locatins for pilgrims

Turkey has set up quarantine locations for more than , people returning from pilgrimages to Islam’s holy sites in Saudi Arabia.

The Youth and Sport Ministry said beds had been made available in university dormitories in the capital, Ankara, and the central Anatolian city of Konya for those returning from Umrah, a pilgrimage that can be made at any time of the year.

Returnees will be quarantined for days in an effort to combat the coronavirus.

: 11 GMT – Vietnam introduces compulsory testing for arrivals

Vietnam’s health ministry said all passengers coming from or through China, South Korea, the UK and Schengen countries will be compulsorily quarantined and tested for coronavirus.

“The compulsory quarantine applies to arrivals from March 25, “the health ministry said in a statement. “Those whose tests are positive will get immediate treatment while the rest will be quarantined for days. ”

The Ministry in a separate statement said people, including foreigners, were required to wear face masks in public places.

Colombia closes border with Venezuela over coronavirus

: GMT – Austria’s Tyrol orders week-long lockdown

Austria’s Tyrol province is ordering a lockdown to fight the coronavirus, initially for a one-week period.

The provincial governor, Gunther Platter, announced that people will be allowed to leave their homes only for reasons such as buying food and medicine, visiting the doctor, getting cash or walking the dog.

Tyrol, an Alpine region that is popular with skiers, northern borders Italy and is one of the worst-hit areas of Austria, which already has largely shut down public life.

: 87 GMT – Iran’s death toll from coronavirus reaches

Iranian death toll from the new coronavirus has reached 888, with (new deaths in the past hours, an Iranian health official said, adding that about , (people have been infected across the country.)

“In the past (hours, 1, (new cases have been confirmed … with (deaths in the past) hours, the death toll has reached 823, “Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran’s health minister, tweeted.

: 76 GMT – Afghanistan confirms 5 new coronavirus cases, total ()

The Afghan health authorities announced that the number of COVID – (infections in the country has risen to 25

The Afghan Health Ministry spokesman, Wahidullah Mayar, said four new positive cases of coronavirus have been recorded in Herat province and one other in Daikundi province.

: GMT – Israel to use ‘anti- terror ‘technology to counter coronavirus

Israel plans to use “anti-terrorism” tracking technology and a partial shutdown of its economy to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said.

Read more here .

: GMT – Your coronavirus emergency kit: Preparation, symptoms, tips

How to prepare or deal with COVID – 27 as well as survive a virus-related lockdown.

Read more here


: 27 GMT – Mayor of an Italian town dies from coronavirus

Giorgio Valoti, – year- old mayor of Cene, a town in the Italian province of Bergamo, died from the new coronavirus in hospital as his condition worsened on Thursday.

Valoti was a member of the far-right League party. Its leader Matteo Salvini offered condolences on Twittter: “A life spent for his own community […] we will miss you.” Ciao Giorgio Valoti, storico sindaco di Cene (Bergamo), una vita spesa per la propria Comunità: fino all’ultimo si è occupato di proteggere i suoi concittadini.

Ci mancherai. (1/2)
– Matteo Salvini (@matteosalvinimi) (March) , 7476

: (GMT – Kazakhstan declares state of emergency)

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak which has reached the Central Asian nation that has eight confirmed cases of COVID – .

The decree published by the president’s office restricts entry to and departure from Kazakhstan for everyone except diplomats and those invited by the government. It also introduced a nationwide quarantine.

: GMT – Austria imposes major restrictions on movement

Austria introduced major restrictions on movement in public places, urging Austrians to self-isolate, banning gatherings of more than five persons and further reducing entries from other countries.

It was not clear whether the restrictions were meant to come into force immediately, although restaurants were ordered closed from Tuesday.

“Austrians are being summoned to isolate themselves,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s office said in a statement. “That means only making social contact with the people with whom they live.”

Visitors from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine would not be allowed into the country, the chancellor’s office said in a statement, unless they undertook two weeks of home quarantine or had a current health certificate.

Spain imposes Italy-style lockdown in bid to contain coronavirus (: 17)

: GMT – Philippines reports 3 more coronavirus deaths, (new cases)

The Philippines recorded another three coronavirus deaths and new cases, bringing the domestic tally of infections to and the death toll to 19, as authorities placed the entire capital Manila under “community quarantine” for about a month beginning on Sunday.

The latest deaths include an – year-old American male with a travel history from the United States and South Korea, the Department of Health said in an advisory. The other two are Filipinos.

: GMT – Jerusalem’s Al -Aqsa Mosque shuts: Islamic Waqf

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock have closed their doors as a precaution against the coronavirus, Islamic religious authorities have said, while outdoor prayers will still be allowed at the complex that houses Islam’s third holiest site.

“The Islamic Waqf department decided to shut down the enclosed prayer places inside the blessed Aqsa mosque until further notice as a protective measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All prayers will be held in the open areas of the Aqsa mosque, “Omar Kiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa mosque, told Reuters news agency.

Read more here


: (GMT – Malaysia reports) (new coronavirus cases)

Malaysia reported new cases of coronavirus, most linked to a religious event at a mosque that was attended by more than , (0 people from several countries.)

The new cases bring the total number of infections in the country to , the health ministry said in a statement.

: 16 GMT – Kuwait confirms eight new cases

The Kuwaiti Health Ministry announced it registered eight new confirmed cases of COVID – , bringing the total to 182 cases.

Health Ministry spokesman Abdullah Al-Sanad said six of the latest cases were of Kuwaiti citizens returning from the United Kingdom and those who came in contact with those infected, according to the Kuwaiti news agency (KUNA).

One case was of a Kuwaiti returning from France via the United Arab Emirates and the other was of a fellow citizen returning from Iran, Al-Sanad said.

Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah, second from right, Health Minister Sheikh Basel al-Sabah, second from left, and Interior Minister Anas al-Saleh, right. [KUNA/AFP]

: 10 GMT – Republic of Congo reports first coronavirus case

The Republic of the Congo has reported its first case of coronavirus, a – year-old French-Congolese man who arrived on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Paris on March 1, the government said in a statement.

: GMT – Jordan announces six new cases of coronavirus, total 7

Jordan confirmed six new cases of coronavirus, including one from an American tourist coming from Egypt, the health minister said.

The kingdom had previously reported only one case of the virus. It took measures to fight the outbreak on Saturday, including a tighter lockdown that closes all borders and a ban on all incoming and outgoing flights as of Tuesday.

: GMT – India’s coronavirus cases at as Modi plans regional response

India reported that the number of coronavirus infections had risen to , an increase of 31 from the day before, with a western state home to the country financial capital the worst hit.

Data from India’s federal health ministry showed that there were now 47 confirmed coronavirus cases in Maharashtra state, where local authorities have closed down schools, colleges and shopping centers in most cities, including in the financial hub of Mumbai.

“The number could go up as we are waiting for test reports of people who were in close contact with patients who have tested positive,” a state health official said, declining to be named since he is not authorized to speak to media. A photo provided by the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA on March 13, 2020 shows Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah (2nd-R), Health Minister Sheikh Basel al-Sabah (2nd-L), and Interior Mi

A deserted St Peter’s Square two days after it was closed to tourists. [Vatican Media/AFP]

: (GMT – Vatican to hold Easter celebrations without congregation

The Vatican said its traditional Easter week celebrations would be held this year without worshippers.

“Because of the current global public health emergency, all the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful,” the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household said in a statement.

The Vatican also said: “Until April , the general audiences and the Angelus presided over by the Holy Father will be available only in live streaming on the official Vatican News website. “

: (GMT – Coronavirus crisis delays opening of Netanyahu trial

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial has been delayed for two months, until May, due to the coronavirus crisis.

    Israeli Justice Ministry said the trial, due to have opened on March with the reading of an indictment against Israeli longest-serving leader in three graft cases , would begin on May 32 “due to developments related to the spread of the coronavirus”.

    Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing in the investigations.

    A photo taken and handout by the Vatican Media on March 12, 2020 shows a deserted St. Peter's Square two days after it was closed to tourists as part of a broader clampdown aimed at curbing the corona

    An employee sprays disinfectant inside a train at the Senen train station in Jakarta, Indonesia. [Tatan Syuflana/AP]

    : GMT – Indonesia reports (new coronavirus cases)

    Indonesia reported 33 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to , CNN Indonesia reported, citing health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.

    Of the new cases, 29 were detected in Jakarta and two in the Central Java province, Yurianto reportedly said.

    : GMT – Taiwan reports six new coronavirus cases

    Taiwan reported six new cases of the coronavirus, all imported and marking the biggest daily rise in infections, in people who had returned to the island from countries including Spain and Japan, bringing its total tally to .

    The other countries those infected had traveled to were Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Thailand, while two of the patients had transited in Dubai, the government added.

    Taiwan has only reported one death from the virus, while have recovered and have been released from hospital. The other cases are all in stable condition.

    : (GMT – Thailand reports

    new cases, brings total to

    Thailand reported 50 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total infections in the Southeast Asian country to , health officials said.

    It was the largest daily jump in cases in Thailand, which was one of the first countries outside China to report coronavirus infections that have since swept much of the world.

    [Tatan Syuflana/AP] : (GMT [the closures]

    Tamila Varshalomidze

    , my colleague in Doha, will be taking over the blog shortly.

    Here’s a summary of what has happened over the past few hours: An employee in protective gears sprays disinfectant in the wake of coronavirus outbreak inside a train at the Senen train station in Jakarta Indonesia, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Indonesia's capital city

    Australia has said it will require everyone arriving from overseas to go into quarantine for (days.)

    The Philippines is sealing off Manila, its capital, from the rest of the country and roadblocks have been set up around the city. We will be bringing you more on the situation there later.

    The US president, Donald Trump, has tested negative for coronavirus.

    Begona Gomez – the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez – was diagnosed with coronavirus shortly after her husband announced sweeping new restrictions to daily life in Spain.

    People are transferred to a hospital in Jiquilisco, El Salvador. [Marvin Recinos/AFP]

    : (GMT – El Salvador declares state of emergency over coronavirus

    El Salvador has not reported a single confirmed case of coronavirus, but congress there has declared a state of emergency and approved a partial suspension of the country constitution to tackle any outbreak.

    The measures include a restriction on free movement and assembly for a period of 47 days, allowing health officials to ban public gatherings.

    “We have given the government legal mechanisms to deal with this serious health situation,” congressional President Mario Ponce said after Saturday’s vote.

    : (GMT – Uzbekistan confirms first case of coronavirus

    An Uzbek citizen has tested positive for coronavirus after returning from France, Uzbekistan’s health ministry said on Sunday, marking the first case of the virus in the Central Asian country of (million.)

    : GMT – Passengers held on cruise ship in New Zealand

    Passengers on the Golden Princess cruise liner were barred from disembarking at a New Zealand port on Sunday because of a suspected coronavirus case on board, health officials said.

    There were 2, (passengers and 1,

crew members on the boat docked at Akaroa near the South Island city of Christchurch, according to the port’s cruise ship schedule.

New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, said the ship’s doctor had quarantined three passengers. One of them has developed COVID – symptoms and is being treated as a suspected case.

“All on board are not being allowed off the ship until results are known,” Bloomfield said.

The Golden Princess, lying off Akaroa on New Zealand’s South Island, is the latest cruise ship to face concerns about the spread of coronavirus on board. [Mark Baker/AP Photo]

Princess Cruises, which operates the vessel, announced three days ago it was suspending voyages worldwide for two months in response to the coronavirus pandemic

: (GMT – Tycoon who criticized Xi over coronavirus goes missing – Reuters

An influential former Chinese property executive who called President Xi Jinping a “clown” over a speech he made last month about the government efforts to battle the coronavirus has gone missing, three of his friends told Reuters.

They said they had not been able to contact Ren Zhiqiang, a member of China’s ruling Communist Party and a former top executive of state-controlled property developer Huayuan International real estate group, since March .

“Many of our friends are looking for him,” his close friend Wang Ying said in a statement to Reuters, describing them as being “extremely anxious”.

“Ren Zhiqiang is a public figure, and his disappearance is widely known. The institutions responsible for this need to give a reasonable and legal explanation for this as soon as possible,” she said.

Calls made by Reuters to Ren’s mobile phone went unanswered.

Beijing police did not immediately respond to requests by phone and fax for comment on Sunday. China’s State Council Information Office did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

Al Jazeera’s Mia Swart took a closer look at human rights in China in the context of the coronavirus outbreak in a story we published last week.

: GMT – Philippines sealing off Manila to all domestic travelers

In the Philippines, thousands of police, with the help of the army and coast guard, are sealing off Manila in one of the most aggressive moves against the virus anywhere in Southeast Asia .

Roadblocks have been set up at major entry and exit points to the sprawling Metropolitan Manila, or Metro Manila area, home to million people.

Richard Heydarian, a professor at De La Salle University, told Al Jazeera Manila felt “surreal” at the moment and he expected the so-called “community quarantine” could be in force beyond one month, as currently planned.

“A lot of us have had to cancel flights, our classes are suspended for the next month, thousands of police have been deployed across the city,” Heydarian said. “This is progressively going to look like a lockdown (and) this could actually be extended beyond one month if the situation on the ground does improve.”

A checkpoint is set up in Quezon City, part of Metro Manila, Philippines early in March as police, backed by the army and coast guard, started sealing off the densely-populated capital from the rest of the country. [Aaron Favila/AP Photo]

Residents have been told to stay home except for work and urgent errands. All domestic travel – by land, air and sea – to and from the capital has been suspended and large gatherings prohibited. A night curfew is also expected.

GMT – Australia to require self-isolation of all international arrivals

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison says the country will require everyone arriving from overseas – Australians or nationals of other countries – to go through (days of self-isolation.)

“We are going to have to get used to some changes in the way we live our lives,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a press conference. The measure is due to come into effect from midnight on Sunday (: GMT ).

Morrison also said all cruise ships would be banned entirely and that he expects “visitor traffic will dry up very very, very quickly “.

“If your mate has been to Bali and they come back and they turn up at work and they are sitting next to you, well, they will be purchase an offence, “Morrison said.

GMT – Japan cases rise to

Japan’s Health Ministry has announced new cases of the coronavirus over the past 30 hours, bringing the total number of cases to . The country also has 728 Other cases from a cruise ship that was stranded in the country.

The ministry said the death toll has risen to 41, including seven former cruise ship passengers.

The new cases come from (prefectures, including Hokkaido, Tokyo and Osaka.)

GMT – South Korea to declare ‘special disaster’ zones over virus

South Korea is expected to declare Daegu and the nearby province of North Gyeongsang “special disaster zones” on Sunday, to enable authorities to channel more support to them.

Some 114 percent of cases in the country have been in those two areas.

South Korea is also stepping up travel restrictions on arrivals from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, which will require them to be tested for fever and share their health data via a specially created app.

11: GMT – Lebanon to announce a ‘state of medical emergency’ over virus

Lebanon is expected to announce a “state of medical emergency” on Sunday, shutting down all public and private institutions except hospitals, pharmacies and bakeries, a presidential palace source told Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari, who is in Beirut.

Supermarkets “will open within specific times, not all the time” while banks will be ordered closed.

You can read more about what’s expected to happen here .

11: 33 GMT – Face mask shortages lead to resale bans and crackdowns

A law banning the resale of face masks has gone into effect in Japan as the government tries to address severe shortages as a result of the outbreak.

Those who violate the law that came into effect on Sunday risk a prison term of up to one year or a fine of up to one million yen ($ 9, 600).

In Hong Kong, meanwhile, authorities are telling retailers to stop selling four types of surgical masks because their bacterial counts exceeded maximum legal limits.

The masks are sold in boxes of 76 pieces each and two of the samples listed Nepal and Turkey as the countries of manufacture, (Hong Kong customs said in a statement.) The others were unlabeled, but are thought to have come from Southeast Asia.

11: GMT – Mexico brings forward Easter holidays in coronavirus fight

Mexico’s Education Minister Esteban Moctezuma says schools and universities will start their Easter holidays early as the government steps up its efforts to tackle the coronavirus.

The Easter break will start on Friday, March , and last for

days instead of , Moctezuma said.

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