.A man wearing a face mask takes a photo from a passengers ferry sailing the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge in Venice on March 18, 2020, during the country’s lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis. AFP/Andrea Pattaro / Mariette Le Roux (Agence France-Presse)
The novel coronavirus pandemic has infected 207,860 people across the globe and killed more than 8,600 since the virus first emerged in central Chinese city of Wuhan late last year
Globally, the death toll from the virus has risen to over 9,800 with more than 232,650 cases in 158 countries and territories, according to the AFP tally.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned Thursday of the virus’ potentially devastating effects.
“If we let the virus spread like wildfire — especially in the most vulnerable regions of the world — it would kill millions of people,” Guterres said.
World leaders also unleashed nearly a trillion dollars to prop up the teetering global economy, only to see the once-in-a-century pandemic seemingly spiral further out of control.
The number of infections and deaths in the rest of the world has surpassed those in China, which appears to have staunched the virus with strict measures including a complete quarantine of Wuhan since January.
With countries paralysed by the pandemic and stock markets imploding, policymakers this week unleashed a wave of measures to shore up the global economy.
The European Central Bank announced a 750-billion-euro bond-buying scheme, dubbed the “big bazooka.”
European stocks staged a rebound on the stimulus news, although Asian markets took another beating.
The battle is only just beginning across the rest of the world, with the shadow of the virus lengthening across Africa.
The EU closed its borders to outsiders and in many countries bars, restaurants and most shops have closed their doors until further notice.
The virus also continues to hit cultural events such as the Cannes film festival, which has been postponed from May until at least late June.
ROME- Italy overtakes China with most virus deaths
A man wearing a face mask takes a photo from a passengers ferry sailing the Grand Canal near the Rialto Bridge in Venice on March 18, 2020, during the country’s lockdown within the new coronavirus crisis.
AFP/Andrea Pattaro / Mariette Le Roux (Agence France-Presse)
PARIS, France — Italy surpassed China on Thursday as the country with the most deaths from coronavirus as the UN chief warned “millions” could die if it spreads unchecked around the globe.
The death toll soared in Europe as Italy announced another 427 fatalities on Thursday, taking its total to 3,405, according to a tally compiled by AFP from official sources.
As the toll surged in Italy, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said the national lockdown, which has been copied around Europe, would be prolonged to April 3, shattering hopes of a quick end to the crisis.
– Emergency stimulus –
France reported 108 more deaths over the last 24 hours, bringing the total number to 372.
France mooted extending its two-week lockdown ordered this week by President Emmanuel Macron, as the interior minister blasted “idiots” who flout home confinement rules and put others at risk.
And in sports Greece handed over the Olympic flame to Tokyo 2020 organisers at a closed-door ceremony, while English football extended its shutdown until at least April 30.
MANACO- Monaco’s Prince Albert II tests positive for COVID-19
This file photo taken on July 10, 2019 shows Prince Albert II of Monaco attending a match at the 2019 Wimbledon Championships at The All England Lawn Tennis Club in Wimbledon, southwest London. Monaco’s Prince Albert II has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the principality said in a statement on March 19, 2020, adding there were “no concerns for his health.”
MONACO — Prince Albert II of Monaco has tested positive for the new coronavirus, the principality said in a statement Thursday, adding there were “no concerns for his health.”
The announcement came three days after Monaco’s prime minister, Serge Telle, announced that he too had caught COVID-19.
Monaco has said all public spaces will be closed to the public starting at midnight on Saturday, including its emblematic casinos catering to the global jet-set, as it joins the ranks of nations locking down in a bid to stem the outbreak.
It said Wednesday that nine cases of infection had been detected since the first was announced on February 28.
Albert is head of the House of Grimaldi that rules Monaco, the world’s second-smallest country and a haven for the rich and famous because of its low taxes.
The 62-year-old prince is the son of Prince Rainier III and Grace, Princess of Monaco, formerly Grace Kelly, the Hollywood star./ Agence France-Presse
Russia reported its first death and even the Pacific nation of Fiji said it had its first case.
In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the country could “turn the tide” on coronavirus within 12 weeks — but only if people heed advice to avoid social contact.
The disease continued to hit high-profile figures with EU Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier and Monaco’s Prince Albert II among those testing positive.
Britain closed dozens of London Underground stations and shut down schools.
BEIJING/SHANGHAI China sees zero local coronavirus cases for second day, hits new record on imported cases
BEIJING/SHANGHAI (REUTERS, AFP) – China’s coronavirus infections from abroad hit a new daily record while infected travellers reached an unprecedented number of Chinese provinces, pressuring the authorities to hold the bar high on already tough customs rules and public-health protocols.
Mainland China had 39 new confirmed cases on Thursday, the country’s National Health Commission (NHC) said, all of which were imported cases. There were no locally transmitted cases for a second day.
Of the new imported infections, 14 were in Guangdong, eight in Shanghai and six in Beijing, the health authority said on Friday (March 20).
China for its part reported no new domestic cases for the first time since the virus appeared in the central city of Wuhan in December, before spreading worldwide.
While there was a glimmer of hope in China, several nations tightened their borders and imposed lockdowns, trapping tens of millions of people in their homes.
BRUNEI- COVID-19 cases in Brunei rise to 73Minister of Health Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Mohd Isham bin Haji Jaafar during the press conference. PHOTO: JAMES KON
Brunei Darussalam yesterday recorded five new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 73 individuals tested positive for the disease./ James Kon
READ MORE: https://borneobulletin.com.bn/covid-19-cases-in-brunei-rise-to-73-2/
Information can be obtained from the Ministry of Health website at moh.gov.bn or contact the Health Advice Line at 148.
JAKARTA- Thousands of Muslim pilgrims ignore virus risk to gather in Indonesia
JAKARTA/KUALA LUMPUR (REUTERS) – Thousands of Muslim pilgrims from across Asia gathered in Indonesia on Wednesday (March 18), despite fears that their meeting could fuel the spread of a coronavirus, just two weeks after a similar event in Malaysia caused more than 500 infections.
Promotional material for the Indonesian gathering reviewed by Reuters read, “The pleasure of living in this world is only a little, compared to the afterlife.”
Indonesia to suspend visa-free and visa-on-arrival arrangements for one month to curb spread of coronavirus
JAKARTA – Indonesia will suspend its visa-free and visa-on-arrival arrangements for one month, starting Friday (March 20), as part of its attempts to contain the coronavirus outbreak in the world’s fourth most populous nation.
MANILA, Philippines — A total of 217 cases of novel coronavirus infection have now been detected in the Philippines as of midday Thursday, logged 15 additional, no new death, with the toll still standing at 17.
DOH chief goes on self-quarantine as deaths hit 17
Health Secretary Francisco Duque began a 14-day self-quarantine on Wednesday, the Department of Health confirmed Thursday, as the number of COVID-19 cases climbed to 217 with 15 new cases, while deaths remained at 17 and recoveries rose to eight./ by Macon Ramos-Araneta and Rio N. Araja, Randy Caluag, Maricel V. Cruz
READ MORE: https://manilastandard.net/news/top-stories/320055/doh-chief-goes-on-self-quarantine-as-deaths-hit-17.html
The House is also proposing a legislative measure that will finance a comprehensive economic stimulus package that will mitigate the effects of COVID-19 specifically on tourism and the informal sector as well as to the micro, small and medium enterprises, Cayetano said.
SINGAPORE- 32 new Covid-19 cases in S’pore, including 24 imported cases involving residents and long-term pass holders
SINGAPORE – The Republic has confirmed 32 new coronavirus patients, including 24 imported cases, the Ministry of Health (MOH) said on Thursday (March 19).
All of the imported cases were returning residents and long-term pass holders, with the bulk having travelled to Europe – currently the epicentre of the virus. Most patients who visited Europe were in Britain – 13 patients – while the others had visited countries like Switzerland and France.
With 32 new cases on Thursday, the total number of infected patients here now stands at 345. Of these, 159 are imported cases and the remaining 186 cases are locally transmitted cases.
Thailand has had one death in the outbreak, with 43 patients having recovered and gone home, while 278 are still in hospital.
HÀ NỘI – Strengthening the prevention of COVID-19 for the elderly.
Doctors from Sài Gòn Eyes Hospital provide free eye tests for the elderly in HCM City. — VNA/VNS Photo
HÀ NỘI — The Steering Committee for COVID-19 Prevention and Control has asked provinces and cities nationwide to strengthen the prevention of COVID-19 for the elderly on Thursday.
The People’s Committees of provinces and cities are requested to urgently direct relevant agencies take specific measures to strengthen prevention of the COVID-19 epidemic for the elderly, people with underlying diseases and other high risk groups.
READ MORE: https://vietnamnews.vn/society/653842/strengthening-the-prevention-of-covid-19-for-the-elderly.html
> A study by the National Geriatrics Hospital showed that the average number of disease among the elderly is 2.6 and for people over 80 years old, this figure is 6.8. — VNS
DHAKA (AFP) – A massive coronavirus prayer session with tens of thousands of devotees sparked an outcry in Bangladesh on Wednesday (March 18) as the South Asian nation reported its first death from the global pandemic.
The number of positive cases in the country of 168 million people stands at 14, although some medical experts fear not enough tests are being conducted.
SYDNEY- Australia hunts 2,700 cruise passengers over coronavirus fears
SYDNEY (AFP) – Australia issued an urgent call for 2,700 cruise ship passengers who disembarked in central Sydney to isolate themselves and contact the authorities on Friday (March 20), after four travellers tested positive for Covid-19.
Operator Princess Cruises did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Countries are taking increasingly drastic steps to stem infections, with Australia and New Zealand banning non-residents from arriving, and India imposing a one-day nationwide curfew.
SEOUL- South Korea, with a population of a fifth that size, is doing more than 15,000 tests a day.
LOS ANGELES, California- California’s 40 million residents ordered to stay home as coronavirus fallout deepens in America
WASHINGTON – California’s 40 million residents were ordered to stay home except for essential trips beginning Thursday night (March 19), the most drastic action taken to date to contain the coronavirus pandemic in the United States.
President Donald Trump said meanwhile that the United States is fast-tracking antimalarial drugs for use as a treatment and lashed out at China for not informing the world earlier about the original outbreak.
Trump, who has come under fire for his response to the crisis, charged Thursday that the world was paying for China’s lack of transparency about the outbreak there.
“It could have been contained to that one area of China where it started. And certainly the world is paying a big price for what they did,” he said.
Trump said US authorities were fast-tracking antimalarials chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine for use as a coronavirus treatment, making them available “almost immediately.”
The drugs are synthetic forms of quinine, which is found in the bark of cinchona trees of Latin America and has been used to treat malaria for centuries.
– Emergency stimulus –
In the United States, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress to pass a $1-trillion emergency stimulus package.
Wall Street finished higher Thursday following a volatile session as investors weighed the government stimulus measures against some of the first data pointing to a sharp US economic slowdown.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.0 percent to 20,087.40, after swinging more than 1,200 points during the day.
The United States has so far shied away from the sweeping restrictions used in China and many European countries, although the streets of many of its major cities have emptied as local curbs come into effect.
The United States warned against international travel due to the pandemic and advised citizens to come home if possible.
Upgrading its travel alert to the highest possible level, the State Department said Americans who do not return “should be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”
“Stimulus spending of this magnitude is not only warranted, but indispensable,” wrote analytics firm Oxford Economics. “Though it may still be insufficient to address the widespread economic losses, and further measures can’t be ruled out.”
It was the latest twist of the knife by the pandemic, which has disrupted travel, kept people in their homes and out of work amid drastic measures taken to halt it.