Latest on the coronavirus: Death toll passes 7,400

Latest on the coronavirus: Death toll passes 7,400

ANKARA - Reuters
Latest on the coronavirus: Death toll passes 7,400

A Chinese family covered with plastic bags as a precautionary measure against the new coronavirus walk at the departure level of Manila's International Airport, Philippines on March 18, 2020. (AP Photo)

The world's richest nations prepared more costly measures on March 17 to combat the global fallout of the coronavirus that has infected tens of thousands of people, triggered social restrictions unseen since World War Two and sent economies spinning toward recession.

Deaths, infections

  • Worldwide cases crossed 187,000, while the death toll was more than 7,400; there have now been more cases and deaths outside mainland China than inside.


  • The Trump administration on March 17 pursued a $850 billion stimulus package and mulled sending Americans $1,000 checks within two weeks.
  • Canada said it would provide financial support to people affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Brazil on March 17 reported its first coronavirus death and said tests were underway on four other possible COVID-19 fatalities.
  • Tango classes, shows, and milongas have been suspended in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires for at least 15 days.
  • Mexico's Supreme Court said it will suspend its regular court activities from March 18 to April 19.
  • Chile may postpone a referendum on a new constitution scheduled for April 26. 
  • Colombia declared a state of emergency on March 17 as the country steps up measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, including ordering the elderly to stay home until the end of May.


  • Italy's prime minister said the coronavirus was causing a "socio-economic tsunami" as European leaders agreed to seal off external borders.
  • France put its 67 million people under lockdown on March 17, in an unprecedented act during peacetime, and said it was ready to nationalise big companies suffering financial turmoil.
  • Belgium will impose a lockdown from midday (1100 GMT) on March 18 until April 5 to restrict the movement of people.
  • Spain announced a massive 200 billion euros package to help companies and protect workers and other vulnerable groups. 
  • Germany is setting aside 50 million euros ($56 million) to repatriate German tourists stranded around the world.
  • Britain launched a new lending scheme to provide short-term bridging finance for large businesses.
  • Turkey confirmed its first death related to the coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases more than doubled to 98.


  • China has authorised clinical trials on its first vaccine developed to combat the coronavirus. 
  • South Korea reported 84 cases on March 17, its third day in a row with fewer than 100 new infections.
  • Taiwan asked people on March 17 not to travel abroad, as it announced its first double-digit rise in cases, all imported from overseas.
  • Kazakhstan reported 14 new cases on March 17, raising the total to 27. 
  • Mongolia reported three new cases among citizens repatriated from South Korea and Germany.
  • Thailand plans to close schools, bars, movie theatres, cockfighting arenas as well as postpone next month's Thai New Year holiday.
  • Cambodia reported 12 new cases on March 17, doubling its tally to 24.
  • Vietnam has confirmed an additional case of coronavirus linked to a mosque event in Malaysia on March 18, bringing its total number of cases to 67. It will suspend the issue of new visas for all foreign nationals. 
  • Malaysia went into a two-week partial lockdown on March 18 after coronavirus infections in the country spiked to the highest in Southeast Asia.
  • Georgia will ban minibuses and restrict services of gyms and swimming pools from March 18.
  • Kyrgyzstan, which has no reported cases, banned entry to all foreigners.
  • Australia declared a "human biosecurity emergency" and said the country's citizens should abandon all overseas travel because of the coronavirus epidemic. It also banned the public from the national sports institute in Canberra to reduce the risk of athletes contracting the coronavirus in the runup to the Tokyo Olympics.

Middle East and Africa

  • Saudi Arabia said its mosques would no longer receive worshippers for daily prayers or Friday congregations.
  • Iran, with death toll of 853 and 14,991 cases, has temporarily freed about 85,000 prisoners, including political ones. 
  • Oman closed all tourist sites and banned gatherings in public places including beaches and parks.
  • Jordan's king approved a law that gives the government sweeping powers to enforce a state of emergency. 
  • Egypt on March 17 reported two more coronavirus deaths, bringing the country's total to six. 

Economic fallout 

  • Gold, the dollar and global equity markets rose on March 17 after the Federal Reserve said it would buy short-term corporate debt directly from companies.
  • Boeing and other U.S. aviation companies are seeking billions of dollars in aid as they battle to survive a plunge in demand.
  • Goldman Sachs said on March 17 that China's economy will likely shrink 9 percent in the first quarter.
  • European airlines demanded urgent tax relief to avoid multiple bankruptcies.
  • Australia's central bank reiterated it stood ready to ease policy further, adding to speculation of aggressive stimulus this week.
  • Malaysia postponed a meeting of finance and central bank officials from APEC countries scheduled to start on March 17.
  • The virus is threatening project schedules in the U.S. solar industry, according to a report on March 17.
  • The Philippine Stock Exchange closed indefinitely on March 17 while currency and bond trading were suspended. 


  • A summit between China and the European Union has been postponed, the European Commission said on March 17. 
  • Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on March 17 that G7 leaders had agreed to support a "complete" Olympics.
  • The Euro 2020 soccer Championship was postponed for a year.
  • The PGA Championship scheduled for May 14-17 has been postponed.
  • The Kentucky Derby, the first jewel in North American horse racing's Triple Crown, will be postponed to September from May due to the coronavirus.