Latest on the coronavirus: Worldwide deaths exceed 14,000
ANKARA - Reuters
Indonesian medical staff prepare a room for patients at the 2018 Asian Games athlete's village which has been converted into a hospital for COVID-19 coronavirus patients in Jakarta on March 23, 2020. (AFP Photo, Pool)
More countries imposed lockdown measures as coronavirus cases across the globe ballooned, led by a sharp rise in infections in Europe. Italy banned travel within the country, nearly one in three Americans were ordered to stay home and New Zealand said it will move to its highest alert level imposing self-isolation.
More than 337,500 people have been infected across the world and over 14,500 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
- Italy banned travel within the country on March 22 in yet another attempt to slow the coronavirus' spread, as data showed a further 651 people had died from the disease, lifting the number of fatalities to 5,476.
- Britain may need to impose curfews and travel restrictions to halt the spread of the coronavirus if people do not heed the government's advice on social distancing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned on March 22.
- Greece announced a lockdown on March 22, restricting movement from March 23 morning with only a few exceptions.
- The Spanish government sought to extend until April 11 a state of emergency that it has imposed to try to control Europe's second-worst outbreak of coronavirus. Spain's death toll jumped to over 1,700.
- Nearly 1 in 4 Americans were under orders to close up shop and stay at home on March 21. At least 23,941 cases of the virus have been reported in the United States and 306 people have died as of March 21 evening.
- The Canadian death toll from the outbreak jumped by more than 50 percent on March 22, and officials threatened to punish people refusing to take precautions to fight the spread of the virus.
- Panama health officials reported 68 new coronavirus cases on March 22, up 28 percent from the previous day, bringing the total number of infected persons in the Central American country to 313.
- Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has denied the country's healthcare system will collapse next month, contradicting his own health minister as the number of deaths in the country jumped 39 percent and confirmed cases topped 1,500.
- New Zealand said on March 23 it will move to its highest alert level imposing self-isolation, with all-non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut over the next 48 hours as the number of coronavirus cases more than double.
- Mainland China saw a drop in its daily tally of new coronavirus cases on March 22, reversing four straight days of gains, as the capital Beijing ramped up measures to contain the number of infections arriving from abroad.
- South Korea on March 23 reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since the peak so far on Feb. 29 and the extended downward trend in daily infections that has boosted hopes that Asia's largest outbreak outside China may be abating.
- Australia started shutting down pubs, clubs, gyms and houses of worship on March 23 after a jump in virus cases and after thousands disregarded social distancing advice and crowded beaches, bars and restaurants.
Middle East and Africa
- Saudi Arabia will impose a nationwide curfew starting on March 23 after reporting a jump of almost a quarter in coronavirus cases, while the United Arab Emirates will suspend all passenger and transit flights to and from the country.
- War-ravaged Syria on March 22 confirmed its first case of the coronavirus after weeks of rejecting opposition allegations that the disease had already reached a country with a wrecked health system.
- Iraq's government has extended a curfew on travel in and out of Baghdad until March 28 as part of strict measures to prevent the coronavirus from spreading, it said in a statement on March 22.
- Iran's death toll has reached 1,685 with 129 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry's spokesman told state TV on March 22, adding that the total number of infected people in Iran had reached 21,638.
- Fresh support announced by the Federal Reserve failed to lift Wall Street on March 23, after Europe and Asia had both been overwhelmed by the coronavirus pandemic and the growing number of national lockdowns that could push the global economy deep into recession.
- The Fed said it would backstop an unprecedented range of credit for households, small and major firms to offset the "severe disruptions" caused by the virus. Purchases of U.S. Treasury and mortgage-backed securities will also be expanded as much as needed.
- Partisan battles in the U.S. Senate stopped a $1 trillion-plus coronavirus response bill from advancing on March 22, but talks continued over Democrats' demands for more funding for medical care and state and local efforts to combat the pandemic.
- Airlines cancelled more flights on March 23 as Australia and New Zealand advised against non-essential domestic travel, the United Arab Emirates halted flights for two weeks and Singapore and Taiwan banned foreign transit passengers.
- India's biggest automaker Maruti Suzuki India and peers including Mahindra Mahindra, Mercedes-Benz, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) as well as Hyundai Motor Co said they will halt car production in the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.
- The impact of the coronavirus outbreak will put Europe into a recession but it should be transitory and the region should be back in positive GDP growth in the second semester, European Central Bank vice president Luis de Guindos said on March 22.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said for the first time on March 23 that the Tokyo Olympic Games may need to be postponed if the event cannot be held in its "complete form" due to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Multiple sports events have been cancelled or postponed.