Latest on the coronavirus: Wuhan reports no new infections for first time
ANKARA - Reuters
In this March 17, 2020 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, medical workers use a bronchoscope to treat a coronavirus patient at the Huoshenshan field hospital in Wuhan in central China's Hubei Province. (Xinhua via AP)
Beijing saw a record number of imported coronavirus cases, data released on March 19 showed, as new local transmissions in China fell to zero, putting more pressure on the capital to screen out infected passengers and isolate suspected cases.
The figures showed that for the first day since the virus took hold late last year in Hubei province's capital of Wuhan that China has recorded no locally transmitted cases.
The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China stands at 80,928, with the overall death toll at 3,245 as of the end of March 18, up by eight from the previous day.
Deaths and infections
- The virus has infected more than 212,000 people across the world and the death toll has exceeded 8,700 in 164 nations.
- All 50 states in the United States have reported cases and the total number of known U.S. infections closing in on 8,000. The U.S. death toll has climbed to at least 151.
- The United States and Canada closed their shared border to "non-essential traffic" on March 18 to curb transmission of the coronavirus.
- More than 60,000 homeless people could become ill with the coronavirus in California over the next eight weeks, badly straining the healthcare system.
- Mexico registered its first death from coronavirus on March 18.
- Canada has decided to provide an $18.6 billion aid package directly to affected families and businesses.
- Chile declared a 90-day state of catastrophe on March 18.
- Brazilian retail, transport and manufacturing were hammered, and the government stopped accepting Venezuelan refugees at the border.
- Peru's President Martin Vizcarra restricted overnight movement across the country.
- Venezuela is concerned the coronavirus could spread like a fast-moving fire through the country's notoriously overcrowded and unsanitary prisons.
- Italy reported 475 new deaths on March 18, the largest increase in numerical terms since the outbreak first came to light on Feb. 21. The total number of confirmed cases grew by 4,207 to 35,713.
- The number of coronavirus cases in Germany climbed by 2,801 or roughly a third in a single day, public health institute RKI said on March 19. The total increased to 10,999 cases while 20 patients died, the public institute said on its website.
- French health authorities reported 89 new deaths from coronavirus on March 18, taking the total to 264 or an increase of almost 51 percent.
- Russian media have deployed a "significant disinformation campaign" to sow panic in the West, according to a European Union document seen by Reuters.
- Poland will receive more than 10,000 test kits and tens of thousands of other protective items from China.
- Belgium imposed a lockdown from midday (1100 GMT) on March 18 until April 5.
- Switzerland has extended border controls and suspended the issue of Schengen and national visas for three months.
- Ukraine, where a lawmaker tested positive, has imposed a state of emergency in the region around the capital Kiev.
- Croatia will close cinemas, restaurants and bars and shops but will allow food stores, pharmacies and petrol stations to function.
- President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan advised Turks on March 18 not to leave home unless necessary for three weeks and to minimise social contact until the threat of the coronavirus recedes, but did not tell them to stay away from work.
- Beijing recorded 21 new cases of infections from abroad on March 18, mostly people travelling from Spain and Britain. The Beijing infections accounted for the bulk of the 34 new imported cases in mainland China. The total number of confirmed cases in mainland China stands at 80,928, with the overall death toll at 3,245 as of the end of March 18, up by eight from the previous day. In Hubei, there were eight new deaths, with Wuhan accounting for six of them.The Hubei province will transfer all arrivals from abroad to a central quarantine facility for 14 days.
- Russia on March 19 reported its first coronavirus-related death, an unnamed 79-year-old woman in Moscow with underlying health issues who died from pneumonia after testing positive for the virus. Russia, which has temporarily barred entry to foreigners and imposed an array of flight restrictions, has reported 147 coronavirus cases so far, less than many other European countries.
- Taiwan said it would ban entry for most foreigners as its tally rose by 23 to 100 on March 18, most of them imported.
- Thousands of Muslim pilgrims from across Asia gathered at Gowa in Indonesia, just two weeks after a similar event in Malaysia caused more than 500 infections.
- Indonesia needs to immediately widen its testing for coronavirus to ensure detection of more infections, President Joko Widodo said on March 19. On March 18, the Southeast Asian nation saw its biggest daily jump of 55 infections, for a total of 227 cases.
- Indonesia's death toll jumped on March 18 from five to 19 and Malaysia warned of "a tsunami" of cases if people did not follow new restrictions as infections surged across Southeast Asia.
- Vietnam's capital, Hanoi, has advised its residents to self-isolate at home until at least the end of March. The country has confirmed 76 cases of the virus, ten of which emerged on March 18.
- In India, where 147 cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed, authorities on March 17 cancelled nearly two dozen long distance train services. A total of 276 Indians have tested positive for coronavirus overseas and 255 of them are currently in Iran.
- Bangladesh confirmed its first fatality from the disease on March 18, while its total tally of confirmed cases rose to 14.
- Pakistan on March 18 confirmed its first two deaths from coronavirus as the total number of infected patients in the country climbed to 260.
- Sri Lanka, which has recorded 51 coronavirus cases, said it would ban all incoming flights for two weeks from March 18.
- Australia said on March 19 all non-citizens and non-residents would be banned from entering the country from 9 pm (1000 GMT) on March 20. The country has recorded around 600 coronavirus infections and six deaths.
- New Zealand closed its borders to all foreigners from midnight on March 19. It has confirmed 28 cases of the coronavirus so far.
Middle East and Africa
- The World Health Organization said the Middle East states need urgently to offer more information about cases.
- Iran's death toll from the coronavirus climbed to 1,135 on March 18 with 147 new deaths in the past 24 hours, while the total number of infected people across the country has reached 17,361.
- The United Arab Emirates said it would bar foreign visitors while Saudi Arabia suspended most work in its private sector.
- Djibouti and Zambia confirmed their first cases on March 18.
- Morocco asked its citizens not to leave their homes except to buy essential goods, seek medical treatment or go to work.
- The dollar surged and everything else was blown away on March 19 as emergency central bank measures in Europe, the United States and Australia failed to halt a fresh wave of panic selling.
- Crude oil traders from West Africa to the U.S. Gulf Coast are offering cargoes at deep discounts, desperately trying to attract buyers as global supplies swell and demand plunges.
- Australia's central bank and government announced support packages on March 19 that will pump around A$100 billion ($56 billion) into the economy.
- The coronavirus pandemic could destroy up to 25 million jobs around the world if governments do not act fast, the International Labour Organization said.
- Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler will shut down their U.S. plants, bowing to pressure from the union representing about 150,000 hourly workers at those facilities, industry officials said.
- Nigeria's central bank will inject 1 trillion naira ($3.27 billion) into local manufacturing and import substitution to stimulate the economy.
- The Mexican central bank said it would carry out a currency auction worth $2 billion later in the day, after the peso reached historic lows.
- Colombia will spend 14.8 trillion pesos ($3.65 billion) on emergency measures, but will not take on debt to finance the spending.
- Italy is preparing to defend strategically important companies from foreign takeovers at a time when buyers could take advantage of collapsing share prices.
- Banks borrowed more than $15 billion from the Bank of England's U.S. dollar repo operations on March 18, the largest sum since the financial crisis.
- South Korean President Moon Jae-in on March 19 pledged 50 trillion won ($39 billion) in emergency financing for small businesses and other stimulus measures.
- The Eurovision song contest, one of the world's largest television events, will not take place this year.
- Britain's Glastonbury Festival, the largest greenfield music festival in the world, has been cancelled.
- Formula One teams must close for three weeks by the end of April, in a move that will allow races to be rescheduled during the European summer.
- Doubts are mounting around the world that the Olympics can proceed as planned amid the coronavirus pandemic, but Tokyo Games and Japanese government officials insist the event will go ahead as scheduled.