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China accused of hiding coronavirus data from WHO: Live updates | News

  • At least two US senators have accused China of hiding data from the World Health Organization that could have altered the course of the coronavirus outbreak, even as a Chinese official denied delays in sharing information and said the government acted openly and transparently.

  • The malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine – which President Donald Trump took to try to prevent COVID-19, proved ineffective for that purpose in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease, according to a study published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

  • Spanish legislators have voted to extend the state of emergency a final time through to June 21. It is the sixth time the measure has been renewed, meaning the restrictions will remain in force, although they have been eased since the start of the lockdown in mid-March.

  • Around 6.4 million coronavirus cases have been confirmed around the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. More than 383,000 people have died, including some 107,000 in the US. More than 2.7 million have recovered from the disease.

Here are the latest updates:

Thursday, June 4

01:03 GMT – 9-month-old among new fatalities of coronavirus in US

A 9-month-old who tested positive for COVID-19 was among eight more people whose deaths were related to the coronavirus in the US state of Kentucky, Governor Andy Beshear has announced.

The latest deaths raised the statewide death toll to 450 since the pandemic began. There are more than 107,000 fatalities across the US.

In announcing the infant’s death, Beshear said: “Far too often, people think that it’s something that only happens to medically compromised seniors. This is a reminder of how deadly this virus can be. How precious all of our lives are.”

00:20 GMT – China reports new COVID-19 cases

Coronavirus - China

Students wearing masks to curb the spread the new coronavirus leave after the end of a school day in Beijing on Wednesday [Ng Han Guan/AP]

China reported on Thursday one new coronavirus case and four new asymptomatic COVID-19 cases as of the end of June 3, according to Reuters news agency quoting the health commission.

The National Health Commission said all five of the cases were imported, involving travellers from overseas. For June 2, China reported one confirmed case and 4 asymptomatic cases.

China does not count asymptomatic patients, those who are infected with the coronavirus but do not exhibit symptoms, as confirmed cases. The total number of infections in China stands at 83,022. The death toll remained unchanged at 4,634.

00:05 GMT – Report raises coronavirus concerns about China, WHO; Beijing denies

At least two US senators said that China hid data from the World Health Organization (WHO) that could have altered the course of the coronavirus outbreak, even as a Chinese official denied delays in sharing information and said the government acted openly and transparently.

They were referring to an Associated Press investigation published this week that found China stalled on providing critical coronavirus information to WHO, which expressed considerable frustration in private even as it praised the country in public. Politicians said the report raised key questions, and public health experts said it shed light on a story that has become highly politicised.

At a press briefing on Wednesday, Zhao Lijian, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, called the AP report “seriously inconsistent with the facts”. He read off a timeline of events that did not contradict the AP’s findings and added that China had always maintained “close and good communication and cooperation with WHO.”

00:01 GMT – Malaria drug fails to prevent COVID-19 in a rigorous study

A malaria drug US President Donald Trump took to try to prevent COVID-19 proved ineffective in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease, AP news agency reported.

Results published by the New England Journal of Medicine show that hydroxychloroquine was no better than placebo pills at preventing illness from the coronavirus. The drug did not seem to cause serious harm, though – about 40 percent on it had side effects, mostly mild stomach problems.

“We were disappointed. We would have liked for this to work,” said the study leader, Dr David Boulware, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Minnesota. “But our objective was to answer the question and to conduct a high-quality study,” because the evidence on the drug so far has been inconclusive, he said.


Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Read all the updates from yesterday (June 3) here.

Al Jazeera and news agencies

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Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

Rev. Nicolás Sánchez is seen on his iPhone used to livestream Easter Vigil Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in North Hollywood, Calif., which was closed under the state’s coronavirus lockdown order.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

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Rev. Nicolás Sánchez is seen on his iPhone used to livestream Easter Vigil Mass at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church in North Hollywood, Calif., which was closed under the state’s coronavirus lockdown order.

Damian Dovarganes/AP

California churches, mosques, synagogues and other places of worship can reopen, the California Department of Public Health announced on Monday. Additionally, in-store retailers are allowed to resume business throughout the state.

The changes are part of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s latest round of modifications to the state’s stay-at-home order that is intended to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The new guidelines for “places of worship and providers of religious services and cultural ceremonies” stipulate religious centers must limit attendance to 100 persons or 25% of the building’s capacity, whichever is lower.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom says places of worship can resume in-person services pending county approval. Attendance will be limited to fewer than 100 or 25% of the building’s capacity, whichever is lower.

Eric Risberg/AP

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California Gov. Gavin Newsom says places of worship can resume in-person services pending county approval. Attendance will be limited to fewer than 100 or 25% of the building’s capacity, whichever is lower.

Eric Risberg/AP

The guidelines recommend against passing collection plates and baskets or sharing other communal religious objects, and urge worshipers to refrain from singing or performing group recitations because of the “increased likelihood for transmission from contaminated exhaled droplets.”

The state also requires religious leaders to ensure more than six feet of physical distancing among congregants.

“Congregants engaging in singing, particularly in the choir, and group recitation, should wear face coverings at all times and when possible, these activities should be conducted outside with greater than 6-foot distancing,” state the CDPH guidelines.

Reopenings must be approved by each county’s public health department before going into effect. Additionally, county officials can add their own rules and restrictions. The state will reevaluate the guidelines after 21 days.

Worship services were temporarily halted and non-essential retail stores have been closed throughout most of the state since March 19, under Newsom’s initial order, though some rural counties received permission to begin partial reopening earlier this month.

Now, the CDPH has cleared the way for stores across the state to begin making sales again. The state’s retail guidelines do not require but “strongly” recommend employee screenings, face coverings and social distancing.

Friday, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld Newsom’s order banning in-person religious services in a challenge brought by South Bay Pentecostal Church. The church filed an appeal with the U.S. Supreme Court Sunday.

President Trump has called on places of worship to reopen and has said he will “override” governors who refuse to do so, though it’s not clear he has such authority.

Some of California’s largest counties, including Los Angeles and several in the San Francisco Bay Area, have yet to approve the reopening of either worship services or in-store retail.

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China reports two new coronavirus cases: Live updates | China News

  • The United States government was slow to understand how fast coronavirus was spreading from Europe, which accelerated outbreaks across the country, says Dr Anne Schuchat, the number-two official at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • In Venezuela, more than 40 people died during a riot about coronavirus-related restrictions on family visits, while prisoners at a Brazilian jail held guards hostage for several hours in protest to the suspension of all visits.

  • Worldwide, the number of confirmed infections stands above 3.35 million, with nearly 239,000 deaths and approximately 1.05 million recoveries.

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) reiterated the coronavirus is believed to be “natural in origin”, responding to a claim by US President Donald Trump that he had seen evidence that indicated the virus emerged from a virology institute in Wuhan, China.

Here are the latest updates:

Sunday, May 3

06:35 GMT – S Korea to further ease physical distancing rules

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the country will further relax physical distancing rules starting on May 6.

The government “will allow businesses to resume at facilities in phases that had remained closed up until now, and also allow gatherings and events to take place assuming they follow disinfection guidelines”, he told a televised meeting of government officials.

06:10 GMT – Philippines temporarily bars incoming flights

Incoming passenger flights are barred from entering the Philippines for one week to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“This decision is meant to decongest our quarantine facilities to protect our people by preventing the further spread of COVID-19 and also ensure that our overseas Filipino workers are well taken care of when they arrive from abroad”, officials said in a statement.

Some 20,000 repatriated Filipinos are undergoing mandatory quarantine in the capital, Manila, officials said. Entry to the country is closed to all except repatriated Filipinos.

As of Sunday, the country has reported 8,928 infections and 603 deaths.

05:30 GMT – Thailand reports lowest number of cases, as some restrictions ease

Marking its lowest number since early March, Thailand reported three new coronavirus cases and no new deaths as it started easing restrictions on some business and aspects of life.

The country allowed businesses such as restaurants, hair salons and outdoor markets to reopen as long as physical distancing was maintained and temperature checks carried out.

So far, there have been a total of 2,966 infections and 54 deaths.

Hairdressers wear face shields and masks as they tend to customers at a barbershop in Bangkok on May 3, 2020, after it reopened due to an easing of measures to combat the spread

Hairdressers wear face shields and masks as they tend to customers at a barbershop in Bangkok after it reopened due to an easing of measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 [Lillian Suwanrumpha/AFP]

04:51 GMT – World ‘needs a robust airline system for COVID-19 recovery’

Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of Airline Ratings, has said a lot more needs to be done to assist airlines with their recovery

“Across the globe, we’ve all got to make concessions. This is all costing us money. At the same time, whether we are supporting our local airline or our favourite local restaurant with takeaways – everybody needs help, and the airlines are no different. Because the airlines are losing half of their revenue for 2020, and some of the bailouts are absolutely massive,” he told Al Jazeera.

“In certain jurisdictions, it has been enough. For instance in the Middle East – some of the countries there have stepped up significantly, like Qatar. In other jurisdictions, they haven’t. In Australia, the federal government hasn’t supported its two airlines. So coming out of COVID-19, you’re going to get some airlines that are very well looked after and other ones that are not.”

He added: “A lot more needs to be done because aviation is the fabric of the economy of the world and we need a robust airline system to help with this recovery … Certainly, we want to preserve as many of these airlines as we possibly can for the highly competitive market that we want post-COVID-19.”

03:56 GMT – UK made contingency plan for Johnson’s death as he battled COVID-19

Boris Johnson, the prime minister of the United Kingdom, has said the British government made contingency plans for his death as his condition deteriorated while he battled COVID-19 last month in intensive care.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper on Sunday, Johnson said he was given “litres and litres of oxygen” to keep him alive. 

“They had a strategy to deal with a ‘death of Stalin’-type scenario,” Johnson told The Sun. “It was a tough old moment, I won’t deny it.”

03:05 GMT – Roche gets US FDA approval for antibody test

Roche Holding AG said received emergency use approval from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an antibody test to help determine if people have ever been infected with the coronavirus.

The Swiss drugmaker said its antibody test, Elecsys Anti-SARS-CoV-2, has a specificity greater than 99.8 percent and can help assess patients’ immune response to the new coronavirus, officially known as SARS-Cov-2.

02:36 GMT – South Korea reports 13 new cases 

Health authorities in South Korea reported 13 new coronavirus cases, of which 10 were imported. 

The country reported fewer than 15 cases for more than two weeks, and authorities say they plan to loosen social distancing rules this week. Details of the so-called “everyday life quarantine” are expected later today, according to the official Yonhap news agency. 

02:17 GMT – Rise in virus cases in crowded Indian jails prompts concerns

The spread of the coronavirus in India’s notoriously crowded prisons prompted authorities to impose jail lockdowns and release thousands of pretrial detainees on parole, as health experts worry the cramped facilities are serving as breeding grounds for the disease.

“It is a terrifying situation. If measures aren’t taken soon, then things can become extremely difficult,” Madhurima Dhanuka, head of the Prison Reforms Program for the Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative, told the Associated Press news agency.

Although there are no official numbers on how many inmates have been infected by the virus, India’s correction facilities are slowly recording more infections and have temporarily banned visitors.

On Thursday, authorities locked down Nagpur Central Jail in coastal Maharashtra, among the Indian states worst hit by the pandemic. It was the eighth prison in Maharashtra to be locked down. The move came after 19 inmates in Indore Central Jail in central Madhya Pradesh state tested positive for the virus on Tuesday.

Indian prisons are highly overcrowded. According to the latest data by the National Crimes Record Bureau in 2018, India has some 450,000 prisoners, exceeding the country’s official prison capacity by about 17 percent.

Prisons in New Delhi and neighbouring Uttar Pradesh state have the highest occupancy rates, at more than 50 percent above capacity.

Making matters worse, “the health facilities in prisons are not up to the mark,” said Dhanuka.

02:06 GMT – China reports two new coronavirus cases

China reported two new coronavirus cases for May 2, up from one the day before, according to data from the National Health Commission.

One case was imported and the other is local. This compared with one imported case and no domestic transmissions on May 1. The NHC also reported 12 asymptomatic cases for May 2, down from 20 the day before.

The number of confirmed cases in China has reached 82,877. With no new deaths reported, the death toll remains at 4,633.

01:46 GMT – Hundreds in US state of Oregon protest stay-at-home order

Hundreds opposed to Oregon’s stay-at-home order demonstrated in the city of Salem as health officials announced five additional deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus

Most of the protesters did not wear face masks, but they waved American flags and Trump campaign signs in the rain. Other signs read, “Reopen Oregon” and “Let me earn a living”.

A group of healthcare workers demonstrated at the top of the Capitol steps, urging a phased plan to ease the state’s social distancing requirements. Most of the other protesters ignored them.

Oregon protest

A woman holds a sign saying Open Oregon on the steps of the state capitol at the ReOpen Oregon Rally on May 2, 2020, in Salem, Oregon [Terray Sylvester/Getty Images/AFP]

01:04 GMT – Pelosi, McConnell decline coronavirus tests for US Congress

The top Republican and Democrat in Congress said they are respectfully declining an offer of quick COVID-19 tests offered by the Trump administration.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, normally fierce political rivals, say Congress is “grateful” for the offer, but “wants to keep directing resources to the front-line facilities where they can do the most good the most quickly”.

The US’s 100 senators, many of whom are advanced in age, will return to Washington, DC on Monday following a recess that was prolonged due to the pandemic.

00:54 GMT – Yemen’s Houthi rebels call for more test kits

Taha al-Mutawakel, the Houthi public health minister, urged the United Nations to increase the number of testing kits for COVID-19. 

“We are sending this appeal given the global situation of coronavirus, the ongoing assault against our country, the embargo on our country, and because the amount of the PCR tests which the World Health Organization has sent to us is very little and is about to run out,” he told reporters in Sanaa on Saturday.

00:26 GMT – UN calls for probe into Venezuela prison riot that left 46 dead

The UN’s Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights has called for an investigation into a prison riot in western Venezuela that left 46 people dead and 75 injured.

The OHCHR said on Twitter it is “gravely concerned” about the incident on Friday at the Los Llanos penitentiary in Portuguesa state. The South American country’s prisons are infamous for extreme levels of violence and poor conditions.

“We urge the authorities to conduct a thorough investigation, tackle overcrowding, and guarantee basic rights,” the office said.

The riot came shortly after prison officials barred inmates’ family members from bringing them food, a measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within prisons.

00:12 GMT – Guards freed after prison riot at Brazil’s Manaus

Prison authorities in Brazil said 10 guards and five inmates suffered non-critical injuries following an uprising at a prison in Manaus, a state capital in the Amazon rainforest.

The inmates held seven guards hostage for more than five hours, but the situation was brought under control, according to the state’s public security secretariat.

Relatives of inmates said the prisoners at Puraquequara prison were protesting the suspension of all family visits and poor conditions at the lockup amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. I’m Zaheena Rasheed in Male, Maldives, with all the latest updates. 

You can find all the key developments from yesterday, March 2, here. 

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Ramadan prayers in Saudi to be held at home: Live Updates | News

  • Saudi Arabia has announced Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr prayers will take place at home amid the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The Chinese city of Wuhan has raised its number of coronavirus fatalities by 1,290 to 3,869, most of China’s total. That brings the total fatalities nationwide to at least 4,642.
  • The number of people who have caught the disease, also known as COVID-19, has now reached 2,152,000 worldwide, with nearly 145,000 deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University tally.

Here are the latest updates:

Friday, April 17

14:05 GMT – Can the IMF overcome roadblocks to give aid to Iran? 

Iran entered the coronavirus crisis with a crippled economy that has left it ill-equipped to battle the disease and poorly positioned to eventually rebound from the pandemic’s myriad ravages.

Deprived of financial resources due to relentless rounds of US economic sanctions, Tehran did something in March it had not done in over a half a century: go cap in hand to the International Monetary Fund to request a $5bn emergency loan to fight COVID-19.

But asking is not getting. And even if the IMF is inclined to step up with an aid package, there is a massive obstacle to overcome. The US is the Fund’s biggest shareholder and can use its heft to obstruct financial assistance to Iran.

Read more here. 

China’s GDP shrinks for first time in recorded history (3:30)

14:00 GMT – ‘Life now is so difficult’: Food prices rocket amid DRC lockdown 

Swarms of black flies cover a festering slab of meat on Patrick Bwira’s stall in Goma’s sprawling Virunga market. Business for the 21-year-old butcher has dried up dramatically as a lockdown imposed in the city due to the coronavirus pandemic has ramped up pressure on the economy and seen food prices rocket.

“It’s very difficult,” said Bwira. “For now, I only just scrape enough money to eat. But no more than that – I can’t afford to do anything else in my life.”

For Bwira, the wholesale price for a small cut of beef has risen by a third, up to 8,000 Congolese francs ($4.66), all but wiping out his meagre daily earnings.

“I can’t go on like this,” he said.

Read more here. 

13:50 GMT – Netherlands coronavirus cases rise to 30,449 

The Netherlands has reported 1,235 new coronavirus cases, bringing its total number of infections to 30,449, the Dutch Institute for Public Health said. 

Meanwhile, the death toll rose by 144 to 3,459. 

13:40 GMT – UK’s coronavirus death toll reaches 14,576, total cases 13,729 

Britain’s death toll from the coronavirus has reached 14,576, up from 13,729 the previous day, the health ministry said. 

“341,551 people have been tested of which 108,692 tested positive,” it added. 

12:45 GMT – Qatar reports 560 coronavirus cases in past 24 hours

Qatar has reported 560 new COVID-19 cases, taking its total number to 4663, with 49 people recovering in one day.

No new deaths were reported.

Qatar stats

Qatar has 4663 coronavirus cases to date [MoPH]

12:30 GMT – Pakistanis gather for Friday prayers defying coronavirus advisory

A lack of consensus between religious leaders and the Pakistani government has seen Friday congregational prayers still being held at some mosques across the country, in defiance of government guidelines on social distancing amidst the coronavirus outbreak.

In the capital, Islamabad, hundreds gathered at the Red Mosque, led by hardline religious leader Abdul Aziz, to offer prayers, standing shoulder-to-shoulder and filling the mosque’s main hall to capacity.

Read more here.

12:12 GMT – The Scottish Muslim couple winning hearts amid coronavirus crisis

A Muslim couple, who own a grocery store in Falkirk, Scotland, has donated 3,000 masks and delivered more than 1,000 food parcels to people vulnerable to the coronavirus, winning praise from their community.

Dozens of NHS workers have died of COVID-19 and although the UK government downplays any correlation between the shortages of personal protective equipment (PPE) and the deaths, healthcare workers across the country are struggling to cope

Read more here.

12:00 GMT – Papua New Guinea premier tested for coronavirus

Papua New Guinea’s prime minister is in self-isolation and has been tested for COVID-19 after possibly coming into contact with an infected person.

The precautions were taken after a staffer at the country’s main coronavirus emergency center, which premier James Marape recently visited, tested positive for COVID-19, according to ABC News.

The report said all workers at the National Operations Center, as well as people who visited the facility over the past week, including Marape, the country’s police minister and several journalists, are being tested for COVID-19.

11:45 GMT – Saudi grand mufti: Ramadan night, Eid prayers to be done at home amid coronavirus

Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz Al al-Sheikh, the highest religious authority in the country, said that Muslim prayers during Ramadan and for the subsequent Eid al-Fitr feast should be performed at home if the coronavirus outbreak continues, Saudi’s Okaz newspaper reported.

“Ramadan’s Taraweeh (evening) prayer can be performed at home if it cannot be performed at mosques due to the preventive measures taken to fight the spread of coronavirus,” he said in response to a question, adding that same applies for Eid prayers, according to the paper.

10:35 GMT – Spain’s daily death toll from coronavirus rises to 585 on Friday

Spain’s overnight death toll from coronavirus rose to 585, up from 551 on Thursday but still far off figures of over 900 registered during the peak of the outbreak in early April.

It was unclear why the difference in the government’s death toll from Thursday and Friday did not reflect the overnight death rate.

The number of overall coronavirus cases rose to 188,068 on Friday from 182,816 on Thursday, a 2.9 percent increase.

10:06 GMT – Virus outbreak at Philippine jail fuels calls for prisoner releases

Eighteen guards and inmates at a jam-packed Philippine prison have tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said Friday, heightening fears of a rapid spread of the illness inside the country’s jails.

Another 30 prisoners were showing symptoms inside the Quezon City Jail in the capital Manila – a facility so crowded that inmates take turns sleeping on staircases and in open-air basketball courts.

The outbreak has fuelled calls from rights groups for the early release of prisoners charged with non-violent offences as well as the sick and elderly in an effort to ease congestion and lower the risk of transmission.

The Philippines has a steadily rising number of confirmed coronavirus cases, with 5,878 infections and 387 deaths to date.

09:45 GMT – Eastern Europeans flown in for ‘vital’ jobs on UK, German farms

Seasonal workers from Romania were flown into the United Kingdom on a special charter flight on Thursday evening to help fill a shortage of workers to pick fruits and vegetables on the country’s farms.

A flight from Bucharest, operated by Air Charter Service (ACS), touched down at Stansted Airport near London at around 5pm, carrying 150 people from Romania, Glenn Phillips from ACS tells Al Jazeera. Workers were then taken by bus to farms in the Midlands and the South East.

Read more here.

09:10 GMT – Africa coronavirus cases could hit 10 million in six months: WHO

Coronavirus cases in Africa could surge from just thousands now to 10 million within three to six months, according to provisional modelling, a regional World Health Organization (WHO) official said.

But Michel Yao, head of emergency operations for WHO Africa, said on Thursday it was a tentative projection that could change. He noted worst-case predictions for the Ebola outbreak had not come true because people changed their behaviour in time.

Read more here.


08:50 GMT – Russia registers new record number of COVID-19 cases

Russia announced a new record number of coronavirus cases as well as deaths caused by the infection.

A total of 4,069 new cases were confirmed, bringing the tally to 32,007, the country’s emergency team said in a statement.

The death toll rose to 273, as 41 people died over the last 24 hours, the statement said.

08:20 GMT – Germany’s coronavirus outbreak ‘manageable again’ – health minister

The coronavirus outbreak in Germany has become manageable again as the number of patients who have made a recovery has been higher than the number of new infections every day this week, Health Minister Jens Spahn said.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday Germany would take small steps out of lockdown with the partial reopening of shops next week and schools from May 4.

“The outbreak has – as of today – become controllable and manageable again,” Spahn told a news conference, adding that the health care system had “at no time been overwhelmed so far”.

Coronavirus precautions in Germany

Earlier, Spahn said a coronavirus contact-tracing app will be ready for Germans to download and use on their smartphones in three to four weeks [File: Abdulhamid Hosbas/Anadolu]

07:40 GMT – Pope prays for pregnant women during pandemic

Pope Francis asked the faithful to pray for pregnant women as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Speaking to an audience of a few priests and nuns at morning mass in his residence at the Vatican, the pope said “I would like us to pray for women who are expecting a baby”, to give them “courage to carry these children” in a world that “will certainly be a different world”.

The pope has been conducting all his events within the Vatican walls as the pandemic continues to spread around the globe.

06:45 GMT – London mayor calls for compulsory face masks on transport

London Mayor Sadiq Khan called on the British government to make face masks compulsory for people travelling around the capital or shopping.

The mayor said evidence from around the world showed that face coverings help stop the spread of the virus.

New York has ordered residents to wear masks or substitute face coverings when in any public situation that may not allow them to be at least six feet away from others.

“In those circumstances where its not possible for us to keep our social distance, think of public transport usage, think of when you’re in a shop, we should be using non-medical facial coverings like bandandas, like scarves, like reusable masks,” Khan told the BBC.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan

The UK’s distancing guidelines do not mention face masks, but Khan said that should change [File: Jack Taylor/Getty]

06:23 GMT – Saudi Arabia faces coronavirus crisis from position of strength: Minister

Saudi Arabia is facing the current global crisis from a position of strength, given its strong financial position and reserves, and relatively low government debt, its finance minister said.

Mohammed al-Jadaan said in the virtual meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee, held on Thursday, that the Saudi government’s priorities are necessary resources for its healthcare system, as well as financial and economic support to those affected while taking into account the re-prioritisation of spending under the current circumstances, Saudi state news agency SPA reported.

US state governors to decide on easing lockdowns

Hello, this is Usaid Siddiqui taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia.


05:32 GMT – Pakistan gets $1.5bn loan from IMF

The International Monetary Fund has given Pakistan $1.5bn in emergency financing to help absorb some of the devastating economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The government has been handing out roughly $70 to more than 10 million families hit hardest by the lockdown.

Pakistan has 7,025 confirmed coronavirus cases, including 135 deaths, an increase of 11 in the last 24 hours.


The government of Pakistan has been handing out roughly $70 to more than 10 million hardest-hit families [BK Bangash/AP]

05:01 GMT – New cases in South Korea down for fifth day

South Korea has reported 22 new cases of the coronavirus, the fifth day in a row its daily jump was in the 20s, with no fresh cases reported in the hardest-hit city of Daegu, where infections have waned in past weeks.

South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also said on Friday that its national totals have reached 10,635 cases, with 230 reported deaths.

04:28 GMT – Myanmar to release 25,000 prisoners

Myanmar will release almost 25,000 prisoners in an amnesty to mark the traditional New Year, the president’s office said on Friday, as the government also grapples with the spread of the coronavirus.

President Win Myint said 24,896 people jailed across the country, including 87 foreigners, would be freed unconditionally “to bring delights to the citizens of Myanmar and taking into consideration humanitarian concerns”

Concerns have been raised about the spread of the virus among prisoners in Myanmar jails.

04:00 GMT – China arrests hoarders of face masks

Chinese police have arrested 42 people for hoarding and driving up the price of the cloth material used to make face masks, as well as illegally producing shoddy and inferior material for resale.

The Ministry of Public Security said in a statement Friday that a nationwide taskforce had been formed to crack down on crimes related to the production of masks.

The statement said raids in the southern industrial hub of Guangdong and three other provinces in early and mid-March resulted in the breaking of 20 cases and the seizure of material worth almost $5m.

China has become a major exporter of masks and the raw material for making them, and sought to tighten quality standards following complaints from some countries about inferior products.

Masks - China

China’s Ministry of Public Security said a nationwide taskforce had formed to crack down on crimes related to the production of masks [Andy Wong/AP]

03:50 GMT – Singapore reports 728 new coronavirus cases

Singapore has reported 728 new coronavirus cases, a record daily high for a second straight day that was broadly expected amid increased testing in dormitories housing foreign workers.

The health ministry said foreign workers accounted for 90 percent of the new cases, with five new clusters reported in the crowded dormitories housing up to 20 men in each room with shared facilities. It said the sharp rise in cases pushed total infections past the 4,000 mark to 4,427.

03:05 GMT – UN warns coronavirus putting children in jeopardy

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is warning that coronavirus is putting many of the world’s children “in jeopardy”, is urging families everywhere and leaders at all levels to “protect our children”.

Guterres said “children have so far been largely spared from the most severe symptoms of the disease.”

But with a global recession gathering pace, he said: “There could be hundreds of thousands additional child deaths in 2020.”

Coronavirus - Brazil

Manicurist Leticia Machado, 31, poses for a photo with 4 of her 7 children at her home in Rio de Janeiro during the coronavirus lockdown [Silvia Izquierdo/AP]

02:55 GMT – China reports more imported coronavirus cases

China’s National Health Commission reported 26 new coronavirus cases on Friday, including 15 coming from abroad.

Beijing made the announcement as the country’s bureau of statistics said the COVID-19 pandemic has been the most difficult public health emergency since the establishment of the People’s Republic of China in 1949.

The news also comes as the government announced that the country’s economy has shrunk 6.8 percent during the first quarter of 2020 – the first ever economic contraction since 1976.

02:40 GMT – Australia may keep some coronavirus restrictions for a year

Australian public life could be constrained for another year because of the coronavirus pandemic, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Friday, as the country’s most populous state mulled sending children to school in shifts.

Morrison said some measures, like a rule requiring people to stand at least 1.5 metres apart, would likely remain for several months, given there was no guarantee a vaccine would be developed in that time.

“Social distancing is something we should get very used to,” Morrison told radio station 3AW. “It could be a year, but I’m not speculating about that.”

02:06 GMT – Japanese cabinet official tests positive for coronavirus

Japan’s cabinet announced on Friday that another official had tested positive for the coronavirus, the third case among officials at the cabinet office.

The infected cabinet official, who is in his 50s, works at the cabinet’s council for science, technology and innovation, but had no close contact with ministers around when he developed symptoms from April 10, an official at the cabinet office said. He was confirmed with the virus on April 16.

Two officials who worked with the man, and were within two metres, are staying at home but have not yet been tested, based on cabinet policy, according to the cabinet office.

As of Thursday, there were an estimated 9,000 infections in Japan and nearly 200 deaths.


01:40 GMT – Xi, Putin discuss coronavirus response of China and Russia

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, have spoken over the phone to discuss their countries’ latest response to the pandemic, state-own Xinhua news agency reported on Friday.

According to the report, Xi and Putin rejected the “politicisation of the pandemic”, which first emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Xi was quoted as saying that Beijing is “confident” that under Putin’s leadership, Russia will “stem the spread” of the disease. It has been reported in recent days that several Chinese nationals who returned to their country through the Russian border had tested positive for the coronavirus.

01:28 GMT – Guatemala: 44 deportees from US positive of coronavirus

At least 44 of the 76 Guatemalans deported on one flight from the US this week have tested positive for coronavirus, a Guatemalan government official with knowledge of the situation said, amid rising rejection of deportees due to virus fears.

Later, Guatemala Minister of Foreign Affairs Pedro Brolo told AP news agency that the government had again suspended deportation flights. He did not explain why, but said the move was temporary.

Guatemala - coronavirus

At least 76 Guatemalan citizens who were deported from the US arrived in the capital on Monday [Moises Castillo/AP]

00:32 GMT – Trudeau says Canada’s restrictions with US to remain

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced that the country’s border restrictions with the US will remain in place “for a significant amount of time” as the two countries fight the coronavirus outbreak.

Washington and Ottawa agreed last month to clamp down on non-essential travel while allowing trade to continue across their lengthy shared frontier.

“As we move forward, there will be special thought given to this relationship. But at the same time we know that there is a significant amount of time, still, before we can talk about loosening such restrictions,” Trudeau told a daily briefing.

00:21 GMT – Balkan states agree to coordinate coronavirus response

Health ministers of the Western Balkan countries have agreed to facilitate any joint action in the fight against the coronavirus, according to the Kosovo Health Ministry.

A statement on Thursday said Kosovar Health Minister Arben Vitia had telephone calls with his colleagues in the region in which they agreed that “transport routes for goods, health personnel and medical equipment remain free.”

All countries are in lockdown, with only goods able to cross borders.

COVID-19 has infected 8,801 people and killed 233 in the six Western Balkan countries.


Hello, I’m Ted Regencia in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. You can find all the updates from yesterday, April 16, here.

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Coronavirus Live Updates : NPR

The city skyline of downtown Buffalo, N.Y. on October 21, 2012.

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The city skyline of downtown Buffalo, N.Y. on October 21, 2012.

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The nation’s counties say they are facing major challenges meeting the demands of the coronavirus pandemic. Local governments are seeing a steep rise in the number of people seeking help from programs like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

“On a daily basis, we’re seeing ten times as many applications as we normally would,” says Mark Polancarz, a county executive in the Buffalo, N.Y. area. Counties eventually are reimbursed for the payments, but that process is largely on hold while offices are shut down and county employees are forced to work from home. “The counties are on the frontlines having to provide that right up front…and we don’t have the revenue sources that normally would cover that.”

With the pandemic, Teryn Zmuda, an economist with the National Association of Counties says, “Budgets and the financial viability of our counties is being hit hard at the local level.” Counties rely mostly on sales and property taxes for their revenue. Both are likely to take a big hit from the economic downturn that’s resulted from the pandemic.

Counties and states stand to receive some $150 billion in federal aid from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress. Matt Chase, the National Association of Counties’ executive director says, “The biggest challenge we have is the way the law was written. We cannot be reimbursed for lost revenue.” At a time when counties have growing expenses, they’re facing significant declines in revenue that make responding to the pandemic even more difficult.

In the Chicago area, Cook County board president Toni Preckwinkle says her county has a reserve fund that can cover at least two months of expenses. “But clearly, when the economy falls off a cliff, even people who have the recommended reserves are challenged,” she says. “Crunch time for us I think is May.” Her staff is working on new budget projections that may leave the county with some tough choices.

Another major concern for local governments is the uncertainty of the municipal bond market. Soaring interest rates on bonds have dramatically driven up costs for counties and largely shut them out from the market at a time when they need access to credit. Faced with increased expenses and less cash on hand, counties are looking to the Treasury Department and Federal Reserve for help. Congress has made available $454 billion that could be used to shore up the municipal bond market. NACO director Chase says he’s not sure how much support is needed. “We would like it be…big enough to signal to investors that the tax-exempt municipal market is safe and is a wise investment.”

Counties are also caught in a dilemma about what to do about elections. As seen this week in Wisconsin, holding elections during a pandemic brings many challenges. In a call with county executives last week, Chase says elections topped their list of concerns. Especially in rural counties he says, there are two issues. The first is finding suitable poll locations. “We often use nursing homes, schools and community halls that may be shut down.” The second problem is finding people to staff the polls. “These volunteers are often 65 years or older, often in their seventies. And they are telling our counties right now, ‘If you hold the election, we will not show up.'” As a result, counties are delaying elections where possible and increasingly studying using mail in ballots.

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UN chief says coronavirus ‘worst crisis’ since WWII: Live updates | News

The United Nations chief has warned the coronavirus pandemic presents the world with its “worst crisis” since World War II, with the number of dead in the United States now higher than in China and hard-hit countries in Europe reporting their highest number of deaths in a single day.

The US announced some 800 deaths on Tuesday – bringing the total to more than 3,700. It also has the most confirmed cases. China has reported 3,282 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus. 

Spain, the United Kingdom, France and Italy each reported their largest single-day increase in deaths since the start of the pandemic. Some 12,428 people have died from the disease in Italy, the world’s most seriously affected country.


Around the world, nearly 857,000 people have been diagnosed with the virus and at least 178,000 have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University. More than 42,000 people have died.

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the latest updates.

Wednesday, April 1 

04:35 GMT – Cluster of infections among medics at hospital in northern Mexico

Some 29 doctors and nurses at a hospital in northern Mexico have been diagnosed with coronavirus, according to a report from Reuters, citing the regional health department.

The outbreak at the government-owned IMSS General Hospital in Monclova in the northern border state of Coahuila is thought to have started when a doctor picked up the virus from a patient at his private practice.

04:30 GMT – Germany reports 5,453 additional cases

Germany’s Robert Koch Institute says the country confirmed an additional 5,453 cases of coronavirus with a further 149 deaths.

The country now has a total of 67,366 cases and 732 fatalities.

04:20 GMT – Taiwan to donate 10 million masks to countries most in need, share expertise

Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen says the country will donate masks and other vital medical supplies to its allies and countries hardest-hit by the coronavirus, and collaborate on developing treatments and vaccines. 

The masks will go to the US, the hardest-hit European countries and Taiwan’s formal diplomatic allies, according to Foreign Minister Joseph Wu.

“Taiwan can help and Taiwan is helping,” he said.

Tsai also said Taiwan is spending the equivalent of $35 billion on measures to support its export-led economy through the crisis.

04:00 GMT – Japan to do ‘whatever is needed’ to control coronavirus

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters the government would do “whatever is needed” to control the coronavirus, as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe prepared to chair a meeting of his coronavirus task force on Wednesday evening.

Japan Abe

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe answers a question in the upper house of parliament in Tokyo [Kyodo via Reuters]

Japan has reported some 2,200 cases and 66 deaths. New virus infections in Tokyo rose to a daily record of 78 on Tuesday, for a total of more than 500. Schools have been closed since March 2 and expectations are growing the shutdown will be extended.

03:45 GMT – Reporters Without Borders tracking impact of virus on journalism

Reporters without Borders (RSF) has launched its ‘Tracker 19’ tool to document state censorship, deliberate disinformation and their effect on people’s right to reliable news and information during a global pandemic.

Among its most recent entries are Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s attacks on the media, restrictions on the right to inform in Thailand and Turkmenistan’s decision to ban the word ‘coronavirus’.

03:35 GMT – Malaysia tightens lockdown in ‘second phase’

Malaysia is tightening its lockdown, as the so-called Movement Control Order that was originally to have come to an end on March 31 enters its “second phase”.

The Home Ministry says for the next two weeks, public transport will operated only for selected hours in the morning and evening, while private vehicles (including e-hailing services) will be banned from the roads between 10pm (14:00 GMT) and 6am (22:00 GMT).

Malaysia checkpoint

Malaysia has deployed the military to help enforce a nationwide stay-at-home order that remains in force until April 14 [Fazry Ismail/EPA]

02:40 GMT – Taiwan asks people to wear masks when using public transport

Everyone using public transport in Taiwan will need to wear masks from today while people with fevers will not be allowed into stations or airports.

Taiwan has been widely praised for its efforts to curb the virus’ spread on the island. Al Jazeera’s Erin Hale wrote earlier on Taiwan’s approach as well as the difficulties it faces because of its exclusion from the WHO. 

02:20 GMT – US medical stockpile nearly out of protective gear

The US government’s emergency stockpile of medical equipment is nearly run out of protective gear.

Masks, respirators, gloves, gowns and face shields are all in short supply, two officials at the Department of Homeland Security told Reuters.

02:15 GMT – China data delayed; asymptomatic cases to be reported

China’s National Health Commission has yet to release its daily update on coronavirus cases, with asymptomatic cases expected to be added to the tally.

We’ll bring you the numbers once they’re announced.

China Wuhan

People queue to enter a supermarket in Wuhan as life slowly returns to normal [Aly Song/Reuters]

02:00 GMT – Two staff at overseas missions die in US State Dept’s first coronavirus deaths 

Two locally-employed staff at US foreign missions – one in Indonesia and one in the Democratic Republic of Congo – have died of the coronavirus, the State Department said on Tuesday, its first pandemic-related losses among staff.

01:35 GMT – Hong Kong says pet cat tests positive for coronavirus

Hong Kong’s Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department has revealed that a cat has tested positive for the coronavirus – the third pet to do so in the territory.

The short-haired cat was sent for quarantine when its owner tested positive for COVID-19. The animal does not have any sisgns, the department said in a statement on Tuesday. 

Earlier two dogs tested weak positive or positive during repeated tests for the virus.
Hong Kong is urging that pet cats, dogs and other mammals should be quarantined if anyone in the household is confirmed with COVID-19.

00:30 GMT – ‘The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America’

US President Donald Trump has just shared on Twitter his ‘Coronavirus Guidelines for America’ after warning the country faced a “very painful” two weeks as it confronts the virus.

The recommendations advise the elderly and those with underlying health conditions to stay at home and urge those feeling sick to stay at home and seek medical attention.

20:50 GMT Tuesday – UN chief: ‘COVID-19 worst crisis since WWII’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has warned the coronavirus pandemic is the most serious crisis facing the world since World War II, threatening people in every country and carrying the risk of “enhanced instability, enhanced unrest, and enhanced conflict.”

The UN chief was speaking at the launch of a report on the socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19.

Read all the updates from yesterday (March 31) here.

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Coronavirus live updates: GAP, Kohl’s, Macy’s to furlough workers

A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of more than 36,900 people across the globe.

The new respiratory virus, which causes an illness known officially as COVID-19, has rapidly spread to every continent except Antarctica since first emerging in China in December. There are now more than 775,000 diagnosed cases of COVID-19, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Over 164,000 of those patients have recovered from the disease.

With more than 159,000 diagnosed COVID-19 cases, the United States has by far the highest national tally in the world. At least 2,945 people have died in the U.S.

Today’s biggest developments:

  • GAP, Kohl’s, Macy’s to furlough workers
  • FDA gives anti-malaria drugs emergency approval to treat COVID-19
  • Tokyo Olympics will open in July 2021
  • Navy hospital ship arrives in New York
  • Pastor arrested for holding services despite ‘safer at home’ order
  • Here’s how the news is developing today. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

    11:21 p.m.: At least 5 dead from coronavirus in Mass. veterans’ home

    The mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, said the city is grief-stricken following the death of 11 residents of a local veteran’s home.

    Officials said that at least five residents of the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke had died from COVID-19 and that authorities were still waiting for test results from five more of the deceased.

    Eleven other residents of the Western Massachusetts facility have also been diagnosed with the virus.

    The Department of Health and Human Services announced it had placed the home’s superintendent on administrative leave following the deaths.

    “To the families who have lost a loved one, know that all of Holyoke shares your grief,” said Mayor Alex Morse, who ordered that flags in the city be lowered to half mast in honor of those who died.

    9:38 p.m.: Cuomo calls for “rolling” approach to fighting pandemic

    New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling on health care workers from beyond New York to help his state through its fight against the coronavirus, so New York will be able to reciprocate.

    “[The virus] will happen at different times across the country, and if we’re really smart, we address it in a rolling apex as I call it,” Cuomo told “World News Tonight” anchor David Muir during the “20/20“ special, “America Rising: Fighting the Pandemic.” “When a community really has an intense need, let’s all go help that community. They get past it, and then we move on to the next.”

    “New York happens to be the first one — we are the tip of the spear, and I hope people help us,” the governor said. “I’m asking other health care professionals from across the country: Come help New York, and we will reciprocate and will be there to help you when you need help.”

    Cuomo said that based on data from “four or five modelers,” the apex of the virus in New York is expected to arrive “anywhere from about one week for the apex, some people saying another 21 days.”

    “Every model however, shows it well over the capacity of the health care system,” he added.

    8:13 p.m.: More than 100 detainees test positive in Cook County Jail

    Administrators at Cook County Jail in Illinois said that 134 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19.

    The number is more than triple the 38 detainees who tested positive on Friday. So far, only nine detainees have tested negative, according to the Cook County Sheriff’s office.

    Twenty sheriff’s office staff members have also tested positive, according to administrators.

    7:07 p.m.: New York City deaths near 1,000

    New York City’s Health Department released new figures about its growing COVID-19 cases showing that 914 have died from the virus.

    This was a jump of 124 coronavirus fatalities from a Health Department report issued earlier in the day.

    Overall, the city has 38,087 confirmed cases, the Health Department said.

    6:40 p.m.: First U.S. military member dies from disease

    The Pentagon announced that a New Jersey Army National Guardsman passed away from COVID-19 complications, marking the first death of an active U.S. military member.

    The unidentified guardsman was diagnosed with the virus on March 19 and had been hospitalized since March 21, according to the Pentagon.

    “This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said in a statement.

    6:13 p.m.: NYPD loses fourth officer to COVID-19

    The NYPD announced that it has lost its fourth member to the coronavirus.

    School Safety Agent Sabrina Jefferson was a 26-year veteran who was stationed in Queens, according to the NYPD. There are 824 uniformed members and 106 civilian members tested positive for COVID-19, the department said.

    The police are awaiting the test results from Senior Police Administrative Aide Gwendolyn King, who died on Monday.

    6:04 p.m.: President says national stay at home order ‘pretty unlikely’

    President Trump said his administration has mulled a national stay-at-home order, but added, “it’s pretty unlikely I would think at this time,” during his daily coronavirus briefing at the White House.

    The president said he would defer such decisions to individual governors.

    “Staying at home with respect to what we’re talking about doesn’t bother me at all,” he said. “People should be staying at home. That’s what we want.”

    Also at the briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he would anticipate the virus coming back in the fall, but noted that the world may be better equipped to handle it.

    He cited the ongoing lab work to develop a treatment, and the search for a vaccine to give the public better protection against the virus.

    “If you come back in the fall, it will be a totally different ball game of what happened when we first got hit with it in the beginning of this year,” he said.

    5:45 p.m.: Dozens of Marines test positive at boot camp

    Between 35 to 40 Marine recruits and staff members tested positive for COVID-19 at its Recruit Depot Parris Island in South Carolina, a defense official told ABC News.

    The Marine Corps said it would suspend sending recruits to that boot camp, which is the service’s largest camp in the East Coast.

    “Recruit training for individuals already at the Depot will continue as planned, with continued emphasis on personal and environmental cleanliness and social distancing,” the Marine Corps said in a statement

    The Marine Corps will continue to send recruits to its West Coast boot camp, but they are receiving a decreased number “to ensure that there is enough space to provide social distancing and adequate staff to safely screen and evaluate incoming recruits,” according to a Marine representative.

    4:48 p.m.: GAP, Kohl’s, Macy’s to furlough workers

    The GAP is the latest retail giant to announce it will furlough most of its North American employees.

    Company officials said the move comes as sales from its clothing stores have dropped due to the pandemic.

    The chain said it would continue provide its employees with their benefits during the furlough period, which will last until stores reopen. Sonia Syngal, the president and CEO of Gap Inc., said that corporate leaders will be taking a pay cut as well.

    “We are doing everything we can to provide support during this time, and we are intensely focused on welcoming back our store teams and customers as soon as we are able,” she said in a statement.

    Kohl’s also announced that it would furlough store and store distribution center associates, as well as some corporate office associates as its locations remain closed. Those employees will still receive benefits during the store closures, according to the company.

    Earlier in the day, Macy’s announced it would furlough the majority of its workforce starting this week.

    Nordstrom said last week it was furloughing a portion of its corporate staff, and the company that operates DSW Designer Shoe Warehouse said it was furloughing 80% of its workers, according to the Associated Press.

    3:45 p.m.: Renowned doctor dies from coronavirus

    Dr. James Goodrich, a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and director of the Division of Pediatric Neurosurgery at New York City’s Montefiore Medical Center, died of COVID-19 complications on Monday, according to the medical center.

    Goodrich specialized in children with complex neurological conditions and created an approach for separating twins who are fused at the brain and skull, according to the medical center, where he worked for three decades.

    In 2016, he famously led a team of doctors in a 27-hour-long procedure to separate 13-month-old twin boys.

    Goodrich was not only a “pioneer” in his field, but also “a humble and truly caring man” remembered for baking holiday cookies and delivering them to the Children’s Hospital nurses each year, Montefiore Medical Center officials said in a statement.

    “Dr. Goodrich was a beacon of our institution and he will be truly missed,” Montefiore Medicine CEO Dr. Philip Ozuah said in a statement. “His expertise and ability were second only to his kind heart and manner.”

    “Dr. Goodrich was admired by his Montefiore Einstein colleagues and adored by his patients and Montefiore Einstein will not be the same without his presence,” Ozuah said.

    Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.

    3:25 p.m.: Pastor arrested for holding services despite safer at home order

    A Florida pastor has been arrested after he allegedly held two large services on Sunday despite a safer at home order issued in the state.

    Tampa-area pastor Rodney Howard-Browne “intentionally and repeatedly chose to disregard the order set in place by our president, our governor, the CDC, and the Hillsborough County Emergency Policy Group,” Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said at a news conference Monday.

    He was arrested on a charge of unlawful assembly in violation of a public health emergency order.

    Chronister said the pastor’s “reckless disregard for human life put hundreds” of congregants and thousands of residents at risk.

    Since Friday, the sheriff’s office was in contact with The River at Tampa Bay Church and received an anonymous tip that Howard-Browne refused the request to stop large gatherings, the sheriff said.

    Officers went to the church to speak with Howard-Browne, but according to the sheriff, the pastor would not speak with them. Attorneys for the church told the sheriff’s office that they refused to cancel services, according to Chronister.

    The church could have opted for livestream services, but instead disobeyed the safer at home order and even provided bus transportation for parishioners, the sheriff said.

    Howard-Browne told congregants Sunday, “I know they’re trying to beat me up about having the church operational, but we are not a nonessential service.”

    2 p.m.: Maryland governor worried pandemic will soon escalate in DC area

    Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is warning that medical experts say the coronavirus pandemic could escalate within two weeks in the Washington, D.C., Virginia and Maryland region, where it could resemble the current level of cases in New York City.

    Hogan issued a “stay-at-home” executive order on Monday that directs state residents to stay at home unless they have an essential job, need to leave buy food or medicine, or get medical attention. 

    The governor warned that violators would be charged with a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and/or a fine up to $5,000.

    He also said that residents should not travel out of state unless absolutely necessary.

    Maryland has now surpassed 1,400 cases of COVID-19.

    Stay-at-home orders were also issued Monday in Virginia and Washington, D.C.

    D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s office said “any individual who willfully violates the stay-at-home order may be guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction, subject to a fine not exceeding $5,000, imprisonment for not more than 90 days, or both.”

    1:30 p.m.: Over 1,000 dead in New York state

    At least 1,218 have died from coronavirus in New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

    “We’ve lost over 1,000 New Yorkers. To me we’re beyond staggering already,” Cuomo said. “The only point now is do everything you can to save every life possible.”

    Only one county in New York state has no diagnosed COVID-19 cases, Cuomo said.

    Over 66,000 people have tested positive in the state, including 9,500 patients in hospitals, Cuomo said. Of those in hospitals, 2,300 people are in intensive care units.

    Over 4,200 people have been hospitalized and discharged, he said.

    In New York City, over 36,000 have tested positive and at least 790 people have died.

    New York City still has too much density, Cuomo said, threatening to close down playgrounds if people do not stay inside or maintain effective social distancing while going outside for fresh air.

    12:40 p.m.: Cruise lines extend suspensions

    After the coronavirus outbreak quarantined thousands of passengers on massive cruise liners, Carnival Cruise Line said Monday it will continue to suspend operations in North America through May 11.

    Holland America, a subsidiary of Carnival, said it will extend its suspension of global ship operations through May 14.

    Royal Caribbean has currently suspended global operations through May 11 and Princess Cruse Line has suspended trips until at least May 10.

    Norwegian Cruise Line currently plans to lift its suspension on April 12.

    12:26 p.m.: Italy now has over 100,000 reported cases

    Italy — by far the hardest-hit when it comes to fatalities — has now reached 101,739 total coronavirus cases, according to the country’s Civil Protection Agency.

    As of Monday, 11,591 people in Italy have died, officials said

    But Italy — which went on a country-wide lockdown on March 9 — is seeing some positive news as the total number of active infected patients rose by only 2.2% over the last 24 hours. There were 1,648 new cases in the last day, as opposed to 3,815 from the day before. 

    Also, the number of patients reported as having recovered from the illness as of Monday is the highest daily total reported so far with 1,590 no longer infected. 

    11:50 a.m.: USNS Comfort arrives in New York 

    The USNS Comfort hospital ship arrived in the harbor of hard-hit New York City Monday morning.

    The ship will treat non-coronavirus patients on board to try to lighten the burden on the city’s hospitals where doctors are focusing on combating the pandemic.

    At least 776 people have died in New York City.

    New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the ship’s arrival a “major moment in this long battle.”

    “Our nation has heard our plea for help,” he said. “There could not be a better example of all of America pulling for New York City than the arrival of the USNS Comfort.

    The mayor called the ship a “big boost” in the city’s need to triple hospital bed capacity by May.

    To all New Yorkers, the mayor said, “we are not alone. Our nation is helping us in our hour of need.”

    As the death toll climbs in New York, the mayor warned, “the toughest weeks are still ahead.”

    Another hospital ship, the USNS Mercy, has opened for business in the port of Los Angeles, where it’ll be treating non-coronavirus patients on board.

    At least 37 people have died in Los Angeles County.

    What to know about the novel coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and worldwide: coronavirus map
  • 8:21 a.m.: Tokyo Olympics will open in July 2021

    The opening ceremony of the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo has been rescheduled for July 23, 2021, Japanese organizers announced Monday.

    The closing ceremony will now be held on Aug. 8, 2021.

    The Paralympics were rescheduled to open on Aug. 24, 2021, and close on Sept. 5, 2021, organizers said.

    The Tokyo Games were originally slated to kick off this summer on July 24, but the International Olympic Committee and Japanese organizers announced last week that the event would be postponed until 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    8:05 a.m.: ‘Urgent action’ needed to counter major threat to life in conflict zones, ICRC warns

    The International Committee of the Red Cross warned Monday that it will be nearly impossible to fight the novel coronavirus in countries already devastated by conflict, unless a concerted response by governments and humanitarian organizations is launched immediately.

    “Our fear is that unless urgent action is taken to curb the spread of the virus, it will devastate some of the world’s most vulnerable communities,” Peter Maurer, president of the International Committee of the Red Cross, said in a statement.

    Governments around the world have implemented social distancing guidelines and other measures in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, but physical distancing is not possible in displacement camps and prisons. Health systems in conflict-torn regions such as Afghanistan, northeast Nigeria, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen are not prepared to handle a flood of COVID-19 cases without a surge in support. It’s also difficult to trace and isolate suspected cases when people are fleeing their homes due to violence, as warfare carries on despite the pandemic.

    “Our work helping victims of conflict is still needed even amid an increased response to the virus. This work is made extra difficult because of the scale of this current pandemic, and the necessary and vital measures countries are now taking to contain it, such as movement restrictions of people and goods,” Maurer said. “To avoid a catastrophe, governments and other armed actors in conflict theaters must facilitate the work of humanitarians as a priority. Viruses know no borders: this is a global problem which will only be solved by global action.”

    7:19 a.m.: ‘We will lose more people,’ Dr. Fauci warns

    The United States can expect to see more fatalities from the coronavirus pandemic, even if the nationwide social distancing guidelines are extended, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

    “Even if these guidelines are extended, we will lose more people. Exactly how many more we would lose is uncertain, depending upon the efficiency of the mitigation methods,” Fauci told ABC News Chief Anchor George Stephanopoulos in an interview Monday on “Good Morning America.”

    The 15-day guidelines were set to expire Monday. But President Donald Trump announced during a press conference Sunday that he had decided to extend the guidelines for another 30 days, after suggesting over the past week that he wanted to relax them reopen the country for business by Easter.

    “None of us felt that 15 days was adequate,” Fauci said, adding that they had “intensive conversations” with Trump and that they ultimately “convinced him.”

    “To pull back the mitigation methods before you reach the peak and turned the corner I think really would have been imprudent because that would have merely regenerated the spike to go up,” Fauci said. “If we prematurely did it, it would likely rebound and that’s one thing you do not want to happen.”

    Fauci said they think “April might do it” but it’s possible the guidelines will have to be extended even further.

    When asked about the clinical trials on potential therapeutics to treat COVID-19, Fauci said he hopes by late spring or early summer they’ll “get a signal in one of those drugs to see whether it works or not.”

    “And if it does, we’ll widely distribute it,” he added. “And if it doesn’t, we’ll just get it off the shelf, get it off the table, because it wont be useable.”

    Fauci said a vaccine will take longer.

    “We’re in the phase one trial. We went into it as quickly as we possibly could, the fastest ever,” he said. ” But still the process at rocket speed takes about a year to a year and a half. So if we cycle with this outbreak and it comes back next fall and winter, we might have the early components of a vaccine ready to counter that outbreak likely next winter.”

    6:23 a.m.: Nearly 200 aboard Florida-bound cruise report flu-like symptoms

    At least 189 people aboard a Holland America Line cruise ship are suffering flu-like symptoms, a cruise line spokesperson told ABC News.

    Four people have died aboard the MS Zaandam, Holland America Line announced Friday. At least two people tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Thursday, according to the cruise line.

    The MS Zaandam set out from Buenos Aires for a South America cruise on March 7, with 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board. The voyage was supposed to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21 but the vessel has remained at sea since the Chilean government refused it permission to dock and disembark.

    The ship began passing through the the Panama Canal late Sunday night after being moored off the coast of Panama for several days. The country’s government wouldn’t allow the ship to disembark passengers. The ship exited the canal on Monday morning.

    In a video message from Holland America Line president Orlando Ashford, which was broadcast to MS Zaandam passengers on Sunday, he apologized that the cruise “turned out to not be the exact the vacation that you initially signed up for,” calling it a “safety and a humanitarian effort.”

    Holland America Line on Friday announced plans to move “healthy” people from the MS Zaandam to another one of its ships, the MS Rotterdam. Ashford said he wanted to dispel the myth of a healthy ship versus a sick one, explaining that the intention is for the two cruises to work in tandem so that they can reduce the workload on each vessel, “create maximum flexibility” and move passengers that have been stuck self-isolating in inside cabins for a week to cabins that have access to light and fresh air.

    Holland America Line previously said the MS Zaandam would travel to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, and dock at Port Everglades after transiting through the Panama Canal. But in Sunday’s video message, Ashford told passengers to self-isolate on both the MS Zaandam and the MS Rotterdam “while we figure out where it is that we’re going to take you.”

    In a statement to ABC News on Sunday night, the U.S. Coast Guard said: “We are aware of the Zaandam and Rotterdam situations and are monitoring them. The Coast Guard is a member of, and coordinating with, the Port Everglades Unified Command on this situation. Further action may be taken if or when either ship crosses the Panama Canal into our area of responsibility.”

    5:11 a.m.: EasyJet grounds all flights due to pandemic

    EasyJet, one of Europe’s largest airlines, said it has grounded all aircraft due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    “As a result of the unprecedented travel restrictions imposed by governments in response to the coronavirus pandemic and the implementation of national lockdowns across many European countries, EasyJet has, today, fully grounded its entire fleet of aircraft,” the airline said in a statement Monday morning. “At this stage there can be no certainty of the date for restarting commercial flights. We will continuously evaluate the situation based on regulations and demand, and will update the market when we have a view.”

    In recent days, the British budget carrier has helped repatriate more than 45,000 people on over 650 rescue flights. The last of those rescue flights were operated on Sunday.

    “We will continue to work with government bodies to operate additional rescue flights as requested,” the airline added.

    3:00 a.m.: FDA gives anti-malaria drugs emergency approval to treat COVID-19

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has issued a limited emergency-use authorization for two antimalarial drugs to treat those infected with the novel coronavirus.

    In a statement released Sunday night, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced it had received 30 million doses of hydroxychloroquine sulfate and one million doses of hloroquine phosphate donated to a national stockpile of potentially life-saving pharmaceuticals and medical supplies. Hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine, which are oral prescription drugs used primarily to prevent and treat malaria, are both being investigated as potential therapeutics for COVID-19.

    The statement noted that the FDA had issued an emergency-use authorization to allow both donated drugs “to be distributed and prescribed by doctors to hospitalized teen and adult patients with COVID-19, as appropriate, when a clinical trial is not available or feasible.”

    Federal agencies, such as the National Institutes of Health and the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, are working together to plan clinical trials.

    ABC New’s Gio Benitez, Clark Bentson, Dee Carden, Mina Kaji, Aaron Katersky, Amanda Maile, Elizabeth McLaughlin, Kelly McCarthy and Phoebe Natanson contributed to this report.

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    Italy reports 368 coronavirus deaths in 24 hours: Latest updates | News

    Italy on Sunday reported 368 new deaths from the coronavirus outbreak as the country’s death toll hit 1,809 while the number of positive cases rose to 24,747 from 21,157 on Saturday, the country’s civil protection authority said.

    Governments around the world have stepped up restrictions on the movement of their citizens to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has killed nearly 5,800 people with over 153,000 infected globally, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).


    Spain became the second European country to impose a nationwide lockdown after 2,000 new cases were confirmed and the number of reported deaths doubled.

    Iran announced more than 100 people have died in the past 24 hours, with the confirmed cases nearing 14,000. Tehran said its fight against coronavirus is being severely hampered by US sanctions.

    In the Philippines, the capital Manila has been sealed off, with its 12 million residents told to avoid travel for a month. Schools in the city have been closed and large events banned.

    In the United States, increased screening measures for people returning from Europe have caused chaos at airports.

    Here are the latest updates:

    Sunday, March 15

    20:15 GMT – Dutch queue for cannabis as coronavirus closes cafes

    Cannabis smokers queued up outside Dutch “coffee shops” after the government ordered their closure to beat the coronavirus outbreak.

    Customers lined up in their dozens as they tried to beat a deadline for the closure of the marijuana cafes and stockpile weed supplies for what could be weeks of lockdown.

    Can coronavirus be contained in conflict zones?

    19:55 GMT – Restaurants, health clubs to close in Qatar

    All health clubs such as spas and restaurants in hotels in Qatar will be effectively closed, the Qatar National Tourism Council announced in statement.

    The statement said: “Closure of all restaurants in the hotel establishments except for providing room services, catering services outside the hotel establishment, and takeaway services.”

    19:44 GMT – Iran reports 113 new virus deaths as containment concerns mount

    The official leading Iran’s response to the new coronavirus acknowledged on Sunday the pandemic could overwhelm health facilities in his country, which is battling the worst outbreak in the Middle East while under heavy US sanctions.

    Iran’s health ministry reported another 113 deaths, bringing the country’s total death toll to 724 with nearly 14,000 confirmed cases. It was the biggest single-day jump in fatalities since the virus was first reported in the country.

    Read more here.

    19:30 GMT – Qatar suspends entry of non-Qataris in moves to shield 

    Qatar said it would ban non-Qataris from entering the country for two weeks as of Wednesday and announced measures to support the economy including providing 75 billion riyals ($20.5 billion) in financial incentives to the private sector.

    The government will also instruct state funds to increase their investment in the local bourse by 10 billion riyals and the central bank will provide additional liquidity to banks and encourage them to provide a six-month grace period on loan payments and private sector obligations.

    The government said it would ban inbound flights, with the exception of cargo and transit flights, starting Wednesday night for 14 days as part of measures to contain the spread of the infection. The entry ban does not apply to Qatari citizens.

    18:51 GMT – Ukraine Railways to halt international trains from March 17

    State-run Ukrainian railways company Ukrzaliznytsia will suspend all international passenger trains from March 17 in an attempt to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the company said.

    The Ukrainian government announced said on Friday that it was banning all international passenger flights and foreign citizens from entering the country until April 3.

    18:05 GMT – US tries to lure German firm working on virus vaccine: Report

    Berlin is trying to stop Washington from persuading a German company seeking a coronavirus vaccine to move its research to the United States, prompting German politicians to insist no country should have a monopoly on any future vaccine.

    German government sources told Reuters news agency on Sunday that the US administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac.

    Read more here.

    17:55 GMT – Coronavirus in Gulf states: No warm greetings, no mosque prayers

    No shisha sessions, deserted streets, mosques and shopping malls, drones in the sky broadcasting public health warnings – the new coronavirus has turned life upside down in the Gulf societies.

    More than 870 cases of COVID-19 have been recorded so far across the six nations of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), but so far no deaths related to the virus have been reported.

    Read more here.

    17:50 GMT – Irish government asks all pubs to close until March 29

    The Irish government called for all bars in the country to close until March 29 to help curb the spread of coronavirus.

    “The government is now calling on all public houses and bars (including hotel bars) to close from this evening until at least March 29,” the government said in a statement.

    17:24 GMT – Italy coronavirus deaths rise 25 percent to 1,809

    Italy recorded 368 new deaths from the COVID-19 outbreak as the total rose to 1,809 from 1,441 a day earlier, the country’s civil protection authority said.

    The number of positive cases rose to 24,747 from 21,157 a day earlier as Europe’s worst outbreak of the deadly virus continued to expand.

    16:58 GMT – Qatar coronavirus cases rise to 401

    The Qatar Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) announced 64 new confirmed cases of coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) in the gulf nation, taking the total number of cases to 401.

    So far 7,950 people have been tested for Covid-19 in Qatar, while four people have reportedly recovered, according to MoPH.

    Doha skyline, Qatar [Sorin/ Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

     Nearly 8,000 people have been tested in Qatar for COVID-19 [Sorin/ Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

    16:18 GMT – Kenya blocks entry as virus cases, closes schools

    Kenya unveiled a series of strict measures to curb coronavirus on Sunday, blocking entry to the country to all except citizens and residents and shutting schools as the number of confirmed cases rose to three.

    In an address to the nation President Uhuru Kenyatta said two people who had come into contact with a 27-year-old Kenyan patient “have tested positive” and been moved into an isolation faclity.

    “The government is suspending travel for all persons coming into Kenya from any country with reported Coronavirus cases,” he said. The restrictions excluded Kenyan citizens and foreigners with valid resident permits.

    In addition to these measure, from Monday, all primary and secondary schools are to close, with boarding schools and universities to shut by the end of the week. All companies have been urged to allow employees to work from home.

    16:15 GMT – Coronavirus deaths in Britain jump by 14 to total 35

    The number of deaths of Britons with coronavirus jumped by 14 in the last 24 hours to 35, while the number of people diagnosed rose by 20 percent to 1,372, health authorities said.

    The British government said earlier it would step up its response to the crisis, including isolating older people “in the coming weeks”.

    Britain has to date taken less stringent steps to slow the virus than elsewhere in Europe.

    US extends coronavirus travel ban to UK, Ireland

    15:54 GMT – Pakistan coronavirus cases rise to 52 – health official

    The State Minister of Health of Pakistan Zafar Mirza confirmed that the total number of cases now stand at 52. 

    We’ve increased our diagnostic capacity, and are now able to carry out #coronavirus test in 13 labs across the country,” he added.

    15:50 GMT – Dutch schools to close as coronavirus spreads – broadcaster NOS

    The Dutch government has announced to close all schools as it steps up measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, national broadcaster NOS reported.

    NOS said the measure was decided on during crisis meetings and would be revealed later at a government news conference.

    15:40 GMT – Germany tries to stop US from luring away firm seeking vaccine

    Berlin is trying to stop Washington from persuading a German company seeking a coronavirus vaccine to move its research to the United States, prompting German politicians to insist no country should have a monopoly on any future vaccine.

    German government sources told Reuter that the US administration was looking into how it could gain access to a potential vaccine being developed by a German firm, CureVac.

    Earlier, the Welt am Sonntag German newspaper reported that US President Donald Trump had offered funds to lure CureVac to the United States, and the German government was making counter-offers to tempt it to stay.

    There was no comment immediately available from the U.S. embassy in Berlin when contacted by Reuters over the report.

    15:21 GMT – South Asian nations discuss ways to tackle virus outbreak

    Leaders of South Asian countries discussed ways to cooperate in tackling the spread of the new coronavirus in the region with India offering to contribute to an emergency fund.

    Over video conference, the leaders from the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) were able to discuss their plans.

    The group includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. These countries together are home to about a fifth of the world’s population.

    14:15 GMT – Morocco government suspends all international flights

    Morocco suspended all international passenger flights to and from its airports as a protective measure against the spread of coronavirus, the foreign ministry said.

    Morocco has confirmed 28 coronavirus cases, including one death and one recovery.

    14:00 GMT – Most Malaysia coronavirus cases linked to Islamic gathering

    Malaysia said more than half the country’s 428 coronavirus cases were linked to an international Islamic gathering held last month.

    The Southeast Asian nation announced a spike of 190 new infections over the weekend, mostly linked to a global Islamic event attended by almost 20,000 people.

    “Of the 428 cases, 243 are participants from the religious event in Sri Petaling mosque,” Noor Hisham Abdullah, director-general of the health ministry, told AFP news agency.

    Authorities said participants at the gathering from February 27 to March 1 came from Bangladesh, Brunei, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. About 14,500 of the participants were Malaysian.

    Coronavirus: Italians under lockdown sing from balconies

    14:00 GMT – Chaos at US airports amid medical screenings

    Chaos gripped important US airports as citizens returning from coronavirus-hit European countries overwhelmed authorities attempting to process the surge.

    Frustrated passengers complained of hours-long lines, crowded and unsanitary conditions and general disarray in the system for screening people for symptoms of the virus.

    The United States on Saturday extended the ban on travel from Europe, South Korea and China to the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    13:57 GMT – Hungary government confirms first death from coronavirus

    Hungary’s government communication centre confirmed the central European nation’s first official victim of the new coronavirus, state news agency MTI reported.

    A 75 year-old Hungarian national died shortly after being hospitalised with severe pneumonia and a suspected coronavirus infection.

    Hungary has 32 confirmed coronavirus cases and 159 people in quarantine, according to government data. The government closed all schools and introduced restrictions on public gathering this week.

    13:50 GMT – Six more cases confirmed in Jordan

    Jordan confirmed six new coronavirus cases, among them four are French tourists and two Jordanians, one of whom had recently returned from the United Kingdom.

    All six people who tested positive were admitted to Prince Hamzah Hospital for treatment.

    Previously, Jordan had reported just one case in a man who has since recovered.

    Abdel Razzaq al-Khashman, manager of Prince Hamzah Hospital, described the condition of the French tourists as ranging from “good to moderate”.

    13:40 GMT – Equatorial Guinea reports first case

    Equatorial Guinea has reported its first case of coronavirus, a 42-year-old woman who flew back to the capital Malabo from Spain on March 13, the health ministry said in a statement. 

    13:30 GMT – Spain reports 2,000 new cases, more than 100 deaths

    Spain reported about 2,000 new coronavirus cases and more than 100 deaths over the last 24 hours.

    The new figures raise Spain’s number of COVID-19 infections to 7,753 – and its death toll to 288 – after the government imposed a near-total nationwide lockdown, banning people from leaving home except to go to work, get medical care or buy food.

    This is Usaid Siddiqui taking over from my colleague Tamila Varshalomidze.

    12:48 GMT – Key Shia tomb closed for pilgrims in Iran’s Mashhad

    The tomb of Imam Reza in Iran’s 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.          

    12:32 GMT – UK advises against all but essential travel to US

    The UK 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 coronavirus infection, which will include the UK and Ireland from 03:59 GMT on March 17.

    12:21 GMT – Italian architect of Barcelona stadium dies

    Vittorio Gregotti, an Italian architect who designed the 1992 Barcelona Summer Olympics stadium, died at the age of 92 after catching the novel coronavirus, Italian media said.

    Gregotti died of pneumonia after being taken to a hospital in Milan having contracted COVID-19, the AGI news agency and the Corriere della Sera newspaper reported.

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

    12:16 GMT – Brunei bars residents from leaving as cases reach 50

    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 10 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total tally to 50.

    12:14 GMT – Greece bans all links with Albania, North Macedonia

    Greece said it would ban road and sea routes, as well as flights to Albania, North Macedonia. It has also decided to ban 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 neighbouring country.

    Coronavirus: Moving to virtual learning exposes deep divide

    12:12 GMT – Nike to close all stores in US, many other countries

    Nike Inc is closing all of its stores in the US 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 16 to 27, 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-19 pandemic, CNBC added.

    12:09 GMT – Turkey sets up quarantine locations for pilgrims

    Turkey has set up quarantine locations for more than 10,300 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 14 days in an effort to combat the coronavirus.

    12:03 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 14,” the health ministry said in a statement. “Those whose tests are positive will get immediate treatment while the rest will be quarantined for 14 days.”

    In a separate statement, the ministry said people, including foreigners, were required to wear face masks in public places.

    Colombia closes border with Venezuela over coronavirus

    11:03 GMT – Austria’s Tyrol orders weeklong lockdown

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

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

    10:50 GMT – Iran’s death toll reaches 724

    Iran’s death toll from the new coronavirus has reached 724, with 113 new deaths in the past 24 hours, an Iranian health official said, adding that 13,938 people have been infected across the country.

    “In the past 24 hours, 1,209 new cases have been confirmed … with 113 deaths in the past 24 hours, the death toll has reached 724,” Alireza Vahabzadeh, an adviser to Iran’s health minister, tweeted.

    10:47 GMT – Afghanistan confirms 5 new cases, total 16

    The Afghan health authorities announced that the number of COVID-19 infections in the country has risen to 16.

    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.

    10:28 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.

    10:25 GMT – Your coronavirus emergency kit: Preparation, symptoms, tips

    How to prepare or deal with COVID-19 as well as survive a virus-related lockdown.

    Read more here.

    INTERACTIVE: Coronavirus COVID-19 symptoms explainer

    10:18 GMT – Mayor of an Italian town dies from coronavirus

    Giorgio Valoti, the 70-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 Twitter: “A life spent for his own community […] we will miss you.”

    09:35 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-19.

    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.

    09:33 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 (03:07)

    09:30 GMT – Philippines reports 3 more coronavirus deaths, 29 new cases

    The Philippines recorded another three coronavirus deaths and 29 new cases, bringing the domestic tally of infections to 140 and the death toll to 11, as authorities placed the entire capital Manila under “community quarantine” for about a month beginning on Sunday.

    The latest deaths include an 83-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.

    09:25 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.

    09:13 GMT – Malaysia reports 190 new coronavirus cases

    Malaysia reported 190 new cases of coronavirus, most linked to a religious event at a mosque that was attended by more than 10,000 people from several countries.

    The new cases bring the total number of infections in the country to 428, the health ministry said in a statement.

    09:08 GMT – Kuwait confirms eight new cases

    The Kuwaiti Health Ministry announced it registered eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 112 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.

    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

    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]

    09:00 GMT – Republic of Congo reports first coronavirus case

    The Republic of the Congo has reported its first case of coronavirus, a 50-year-old French-Congolese man who arrived on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Paris on March 1, the government said in a statement.

    08:45 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.

    08:40 GMT – India’s coronavirus cases at 107 as Modi plans regional response

    India reported that the number of coronavirus infections had risen to 107, an increase of 23 from the day before, with a western state home to the country’s financial capital the worst hit.

    Data from India’s federal health ministry showed that there were now 31 confirmed coronavirus cases in Maharashtra state, where local authorities have closed down schools, colleges and shopping centres 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 authorised to speak to media.

    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

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

    07:50 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 12, 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.”

    07:02 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.

    Israel’s Justice Ministry said the trial, due to open on March 17 with the reading of an indictment against Israel’s longest-serving leader in three corruption cases, would begin on May 24 “due to developments related to the spread of the coronavirus”.

    Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing.

    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

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

    07:00 GMT – Indonesia reports 21 new coronavirus cases

    Indonesia reported 21 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 117, CNN Indonesia reported, citing health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.

    Of the new cases, 19 were detected in Jakarta and two in the Central Java province, Yurianto reportedly said.

    06:55 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 59.

    The other countries those infected had travelled 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 20 people have recovered and have been discharged from hospital. The other cases are all in a stable condition.

    06:50 GMT – Thailand reports 32 new cases, brings total to 114

    Thailand reported 32 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total infections in the Southeast Asian country to 114, health officials said.

    It was the biggest 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.

    06:00 GMT

    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:

    Australia has said it will require everyone arriving from overseas to go into quarantine for 14 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.

    Passengers are transferred to a hospital from a state shelter where passengers suspected of been infected with Coronavirus are quarantined as a preventive measure in the face of the global COVID-19 co

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

    05:50 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’s constitution to tackle any outbreak.

    The measures include a restriction on free movement and assembly for a period of 30 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.

    05:45 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 34 million.

    05:30 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 2,600 passengers and 1,100 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-19 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.

    Golden Princess

    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

    05:15 GMT – Tycoon who criticised 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’s 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 12.

    “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. 

    04:30 GMT – Philippines sealing off Manila to all domestic travellers

    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 12 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 doesn’t 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.

    03:40 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 14 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 (13:00 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 committing an offence,” Morrison said.

    03:35 GMT – Japan cases rise to 780

    Japan’s Health Ministry has announced 64 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 780. The country also has 697 other cases from a cruise ship that was stranded in the country.

    The ministry said the death toll has risen to 29, including seven former cruise ship passengers.

    The new cases come from 13 prefectures, including Hokkaido, Tokyo and Osaka.

    03:30 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 90 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.

    02:50 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.

    02:25 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 ($9,260).

    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 50 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 unlabelled, but are thought to have come from Southeast Asia.

    02:20 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 20, and last for 30 days instead of 15, Moctezuma said.


    People in Mexico have been stocking up on basic supplies since more cases were announced. [Henry Romero/Reuters]

    Other measures include additional education on hygiene and sanitation.

    “We don’t want that students leave for vacation and all stick together,” Moctezuma said during a news conference, adding that students should avoid close contacts with others. “We want this to be preventative isolation.”

    On Saturday, Mexico had 41 confirmed coronavirus cases, from 26 on Friday and 15 the day before that.

    02:10 GMT – Wife of Spain’s prime minister confirmed to have coronavirus

    Begona Gomez – the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez – was diagnosed with coronavirus shortly after her husband announced sweeping new measures designed to keep people off the streets and contain the spread of the virus.

    As Al Jazeera’s Graham Keeley writes from Barcelona, the restrictions are something of a shock in a country where life is lived outside in bars, restaurants or on the beaches.

    01:30 GMT – Korea cases continue to slow

    South Korea reported 76 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its morning update on the country’s coronavirus outbreak, down from 107 on Saturday.

    The country now has 8,162 confirmed cases of the virus, with 75 deaths.

    01:15 GMT – China imported cases exceed local infections for second time

    China recorded more imported cases of coronavirus than locally originated ones for a second time on Saturday, according to data released by the National Health Commission (NHC) on Sunday.

    Mainland China had 20 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on March 14, up from 11 cases a day earlier. Of Saturday’s cases, 16 involved travellers entering China from overseas, it said.

    The remaining four cases were recorded in the city of Wuhan. Saturday also marked the 10th consecutive day in which Hubei province recorded zero new infections outside Wuhan, its provincial capital.

    China coronavirus

    A man wearing a protective mask stands at a fence surrounding Beijing Capital International Airport. The country is now seeing more imported cases than ones that have originated locally. [Thomas Peter/Reuters]

    Of the 16 imported cases, five were found in the capital Beijing and three in Shanghai. The provinces of Zhejiang, Gansu and Guangdong respectively reported four, three and one cases.

    00:30 GMT – Australia ‘national’ cabinet to meet on Sunday on coronavirus

    Australia’s new national cabinet is set to meet on Sunday, as the country’s cases of coronavirus topped 250, to discuss its response to the outbreak.

    The national cabinet, which includes federal, state and territory leaders, will hold its first meeting via teleconference on Sunday.

    The government has already advised against non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday.

    The meeting is expected to discuss whether schools should be closed and border controls further tightened to contain COVID-19.

    “We are, rightly, keeping all options on the table, whether it’s in relation to travel or whether it’s in relation to schools. The schools’ question will be very much guided by the medical advice,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told ABC television.

    “One of the things that they have talked about is not moving too early on something like that.”

    00:15 GMT – US president tests negative for coronavirus

    US President Donald Trump was tested for the coronavirus and the result was negative.

    Read more here.

    00:00 GMT – Iranians ignoring calls to stay home, Qom shrines ordered shut

    Iran has ordered the closure of religious shrines in the holy city of Qom, where the country’s coronavirus outbreak is thought to have begun.

    It is also urging people to limit their movements and stay off the streets and has announced all construction work in the capital, Tehran will stop.

    Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi, who is in Iran, says there is much scepticism about the government’s response.

    “Certainly, [the closures] are better later than never,” he said. “But critics will say it’s too little, too late, the damage has already been done, the virus has already spread throughout the country from Qom.”

    Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

    I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

    It is the morning of March 15.

    A summary of the latest developments:

    You can read all the latest updates from yesterday (March 14) here.

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    Coronavirus live updates: Trump says he took test; travel ban extended to UK, Ireland

    Several hours after President Donald Trump declared the novel coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, the House of Representatives passed a bipartisan aid package to help ease the economic pain of COVID-19.

    There are at least 2,174 confirmed cases in the U.S. and 49 coronavirus-related deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University and ABC News reporting.

    Globally, there are at least 145,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 5,400 deaths.

    Tune into ABC News Live at noon ET every weekday for the latest news, context and analysis on the novel coronavirus, with resources from the full ABC News team.

    Today’s biggest developments:

    Trump says he took test

  • US travel ban extended to UK, Ireland
  • House passes COVID-19 stimulus package
  • Apple closing all stores outside of China
  • US death toll rises to 49
  • Here’s the latest on the developing situation. All times Eastern. Please refresh this page for updates.

    3:38 p.m. Berlin closes restaurants, pubs

    The Berlin Senate decided that all public and non-public events in the city are prohibited for 50 participants or more.

    Restaurants, bars, theaters, museums, places of prostitution and similar places of entertainment will be shut down until further notice.

    There are exceptions: Restaurants that prepare food on site can remain open, but they’ll be required to keep the tables 1.5 meters, about 5 feet, apart.

    For public and non-public events with up to 50 persons, organizers must keep an attendance list with everyone’s name, postal address and telephone number. The list must be kept for at least four weeks and must be handed over in full at the request of the public health department.

    3:35 p.m. Preventive measures announced in Israel

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced new measures to stop the spread of COVID-19, including the closing down of numerous public spaces until further notice.

    Restaurants, bars, theaters and gyms will shutter on Sunday. Supermarkets, pharmacies, gas stations and banks will remain open.

    Netanyahu said that gatherings of 10 people or fewer will still be allowed.

    After announcing on Friday that schools and universities would be closed indefinitely, he said kindergarten classes will now also be closed.

    3:26 p.m. Macy’s employee tests positive

    A part-time employee at Macy’s Herald Square location in New York City has tested positive, the company said in a statement.

    “This colleague has NOT been in the store for the last two weeks and has NOT been in direct contact with colleagues or customers since experiencing symptoms,” the company said.

    Macy’s said it doesn’t believe there’s a risk to colleagues or customers and that all stores “are operating with enhanced cleaning standards.”

    3:18 p.m. Trudeau’s wife ‘doing very well’

    Trump tweeted that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Sophie, is “doing very well” after testing positive.

    3:06 p.m. RNC Chairwoman tested after experiencing flu-like symptoms

    Ronna McDaniel, chairwoman of the Republican National Committee, is being tested after experiencing a fever and flu-like symptoms, according to an RNC spokesman.

    McDaniel, the niece of Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, went to a hospital and was tested for flu and strep. Both tests came back negative, said the spokesman, Michael Ahrens, who added that everyone who’d been in contact with McDaniel is being notified.

    She and her family are quarantining at home.

    2:55 p.m. Restaurants, cafes closed in France

    French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced at a press conference the decision to close all places that receive the public and are “not essential to the continuity of the life of the nation”.

    This includes restaurants, cafes and cinemas, all of which will be closed until further notice.

    Places of worship will remain open, but religious gatherings will be postponed. Public transportation will continue, and municipal elections are still scheduled for Sunday.

    1:46 p.m. Archdiocese of New York cancels masses

    The Archdiocese of New York has canceled masses beginning this weekend. No time frame was given for when they’d resume.

    The decision follows Dutchess County announcing that gatherings of more than 20 people are prohibited, according to a statement from the Archdiocese.

    Churches, however, will remain open for private prayer and a private Mass will be livestreamed on the St. Patrick’s Cathedral website.

    “Let us pray for all who are sick, as well as doctors, nurses, caregivers and all those working hard to combat the disease,” said Timothy Cardinal Dolan, archbishop of New York. “We should also remember those whose lives have been otherwise disrupted, especially anyone who has lost income from a loss of work during this difficult time.”

    1:24 p.m. Death toll in Italy rises

    There have been 175 deaths in Italy over the last 24 hours, raising the total to 1,441.

    The number of positive cases has now reached 17,750 and more than 109,000 tests have been issued, according to local authorities.

    1:14 p.m. Pompeo ‘in good health’

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is “is in good health” and following the advice of physicians, a department spokesperson said, after he was potentially exposed to the virus on a recent trip to Ethiopia.

    It’s unclear whether Pompeo took a test for COVID-19. The spokesperson also said that all State Department travel is permitted only if “mission critical,” and senior agency officials must approve all travel.

    State Department personnel in Washington and overseas are also now permitted to telework and use “other workplace flexibilities,” like rotational schedules and virtual meetings, according to the spokesperson — joining other federal agencies in implementing contingency plans for its nearly 76,000 employees.

    12:39 p.m. Trump says he got tested

    Trump said on Saturday that he has taken a COVID-19 test and is awaiting the results.

    Trump, who said on Friday he’d “most likely get tested,” said he’s unsure when his results will come back.

    His temperature was taken, and he said it was “totally normal.”

    On Friday, Trump said he’d “most likely” get tested.

    12:33 p.m. Travel ban extended to UK and Ireland

    The U.S. travel ban currently in place for parts of Europe has been extended to the UK and Ireland, Vice President Mike Pence confirmed.

    The president said on Friday he was considering adding the U.K.

    Trump announced last week a ban on some travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days. The area Trump restricted is known as the Schengen zone and is made up of 26 countries including Italy, Spain, France and Germany.

    12:23 p.m. Press member turned away from White House briefing

    A member of the press was turned away from a White House briefing because his temperature was too high.

    Several photographers and reporters, including an ABC News reporter, saw him turned away outside the briefing room doors. That man, who declined to disclose his name or media outlet, was led away from the premises.

    Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary, Katie Miller, later tweeted: “According to the White House Medical Unit, the temperature was taken three times over a 15 minute period – all three registered above the @CDCgov 100.4 guidelines.”

    12:15 p.m. Google appears to downplay Trump’s statement on website

    Google said it was in the “early stages” of developing a tool to help testing, contradicting President Donald Trump’s announcement yesterday that “it’s going to be very quickly done.”

    Verily, which was previously Google Life Sciences, did not provide details on the tool, only saying there was a plan to test it in the Bay Area “with the hope of expanding more broadly over time.”

    It struck a much different tone than Trump’s address Friday, in which he thanked Google for “helping to develop a website. It’s going to be very quickly done, unlike websites of the past, to determine whether a test is warranted and to facilitate testing at a nearby convenient location.”

    11:46 a.m. State of emergency declared in Georgia

    Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a public health state of emergency.

    The governor said the declaration will help health and emergency management officials across the state by “deploying all available resources for the mitigation and treatment of COVID-19.”

    “Over the past few weeks, our state has been facing an unprecedented public health threat with the spread of novel coronavirus,” Kemp said. “In only a matter of days, communities within the metro-Atlanta area and North Georgia have seen several cases, including hospitalizations, where the source of infection is unknown.”

    There are at least 66 cases in the state, according to the Georgia Department of Public Health.

    11:34 a.m. CVS announces strategy

    CVS said it is working on conducting tests in the parking lots of selected stores.

    The announcement comes a day after Trump said private sector companies, including CVS, would be involved in addressing the crisis.

    The company said although details are still being worked out, customers inside the store would not be affected by the tests.

    “Individuals being tested will not have to leave their cars,” CVS said in a statement. “We look forward to sharing more details as they become available.”

    11:12 a.m. 2 large grocery store chains to close early

    Publix and Harris Teeter grocery stores announced they will close early, starting this weekend.

    All Publix Super Markets are adjusting store and pharmacy hours, shutting down at 8 p.m. starting Saturday until further notice, according to a company statement. Harris Teeter stores will close at 9 p.m. until further notice, beginning Sunday, according to a statement posted to Twitter.

    Both grocers said closing earlier gives them more time to sanitize stores.

    11:07 a.m. ‘Priority calls’ only for Colorado police

    Police in Aurora, Colorado, will only respond to “priority calls” for service amid the pandemic, the department said in a Facebook post.

    A priority call is defined as “any situation where there is a crime in a progress,” according to the statement.

    “We are taking these measures in an abundance of caution for your safety as well as the safety of our officers,” the department said. “Police Officers frequently are in contact with many citizens, and we want to minimize the potential of our daily interactions from causing an exposure risk to you.”

    Citizens are encouraged to use the department’s online reporting system, which can be found here.

    11:02 a.m. House Republican says Trump should be tested

    Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., said it “should go without saying” that Trump should be tested for novel coronavirus.

    10:17 a.m. Cuomo announces 1st death in New York

    An 82-year-old woman has died in a New York City hospital after arriving March 3. She had an underlying respiratory illness, emphysema, for which she was been previously hospitalized. There are now 524 cases of COVID-19 in New York state.

    9:45 a.m. Bolsonaro will isolate for a week, get tested again

    Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s press office has confirmed that he will self-isolate for a week, after which he will seek another test.

    This comes after four members of his delegation during last weekend’s trip to meet Trump at Mar-a-Lago now have tested positive for COVID-19. Bolsonaro on Friday denied Brazilian press reports that he too, had tested positive, calling it “fake news.” His office still won’t say whether he’s tested positive. His next test is scheduled for Friday.

    9:44 a.m. Obituaries fill Italian newspaper

    The obituary section is making up most of Saturday’s edition of the Bergamo Eco. The section is 10 full pages.

    The tradition in Bergamo, an Italian city northeast of Milan, is to still put death notices in the paper and posters on the street. The population of Bergamo is roughly 120,000.

    9:28 a.m. Iran closes 2 major shrines for pilgrims

    Iran closed the holy shrine of Fatima Masoumeh in Qom and the great mosque of Jamkaran, also close to Qom, after over three weeks of the first coronavirus infection reported. The shrine of Imam Reza in Mashhad is also to be closed for three days.

    The shrines closed amid controversy between health officials and religious conservatives over the closings.

    5:41 a.m. Pentagon restricts domestic travel for service members

    New travel restrictions approved Friday by the Department of Defense limit all domestic travel for service members, their families and DoD civilians.

    The new rule, an attempt to help stop the spread of the coronavirus, goes into effect on Monday and will last through May 11.

    Even service members who have orders to move to new assignments or bases in the U.S. will not be allowed to move while the restrictions are in place, according to the DoD.

    The Pentagon also announced, effective midnight Sunday, that it’s restricting who enters the Pentagon. All tours, unofficial visits and all international visits have ended.

    Additionally, any military member or civilian employee who has carried out recent foreign travel will not be allowed into the building until they have completed 14 days back in the U.S.

    3:04 a.m. Apple closing all stores outside China

    Apple CEO Tom Cook announced early Saturday morning that all of his company’s stores outside of greater China would close until March 27.

    “The global spread of COVID-19 is affecting every one of us,” Cook said in a statement. “At Apple, we are people first, and we do what we do with the belief that technology can change lives and the hope that it can be a valuable tool in a moment like this.”

    In an effort to combat the spread of coronavirus and treat those who are sick, Cook said Apple has donated $15 million.

    “There is no mistaking the challenge of this moment,” Cook said. “… As President Lincoln said in a time of great adversity: ‘The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew.'”

    1:24 a.m. House passes stimulus package

    With a 363 to 40 vote, the House of Representatives passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act shortly before 1 a.m. Saturday.

    The bill, which is an economic aid package designed to help ease the financial pain of the COVID-19 pandemic, will be considered by the Senate on Monday.

    “Senators will need to carefully review the version just passed by the House,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said in a statement Saturday. “But I believe the vast majority of Senators in both parties will agree we should act swiftly to secure relief for American workers, families, and small businesses.”

    The cost of the bill is unknown, however, the bill includes $1 billion for National Disaster Medical System to reimburse people without health insurance, $82 million for Defense beneficiaries, $64 million for Indian Health Service and $60 million for veterans.

    “This Bill will follow my direction for free CoronaVirus tests, and paid sick leave for our impacted American workers,” Trump tweeted Monday prior to the vote. “I have directed the Secretary of the Treasury and the Secretary of Labor to issue regulations that will provide flexibility so that in no way will Small Businesses be hurt.”

    12:21 a.m. Trump physician says quarantine, COVID-19 test ‘not currently indicated’ for president

    Despite coming into contact with multiple people who have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, Trump’s physician said late Friday night that a home quarantine or COVID-19 test are “not currently indicated.”

    Last week while hosting the Brazilian delegation at Mar-a-Lago, Trump came in close contact with at least two people who later tested positive for the virus, according to Trump physician Dr. Sean Conley.

    One person only had a brief interaction with the president — a handshake and photograph — and began to show symptoms three days after the interaction. The other shared a table with the president, but Conley said that person was symptom-free until Friday. Both interactions are defined as “low risk” for transmission, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

    “Given the president himself remains without symptoms, testing for COIVD-19 is not currently indicated,” Conley wrote Friday. “I will continue to closely monitor and care for the president.”

    What to know about coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the US and worldwide: coronavirus map
  • ABC News’ Ben Gittleson, John Santucci, Katherine Faulders, John Parkinson, Luis Martinez, Clayton Sandell, Benjamin Siegel, Phoebe Natanson, Ibtissem Guenfoud, Bruno Nota, Sarah Hucal and Jason Volack contributed to this report.

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    Coronavirus outbreak ‘getting bigger’: All the latest updates | News

    Hopes that the coronavirus would be contained to China have vanished as the first case in sub-Saharan Africa was announced in Nigeria and stock markets took a pounding amid fears of a global recession.

    In China – the epicentre of the deadly disease – the National Health Commission reported on Friday at least 44 new coronavirus deaths, bringing to 2,788 the number of fatalities nationwide.

    Coronavirus has killed more than 2,800 people and infected more than 83,000 worldwide.


    Here are the latest updates:

    Friday, February 28

    19:00 GMT – Italy coronavirus death toll rises to 21, positive cases 888

    A civil protection official in Italy said that four more people have died from coronavirus, bringing the total to 21, while the number of those testing positive for the illness jumped to 888 from 650 the day before. Of those infect, 46 are said to have recovered. 

    Northern Italy’s Lombardy region said it will ask the government to maintain for at least another week the containment measures already implemented against the outbreak. 

    18:20 GMT – Pakistan re-opens border with Iran 

    Pakistan re-opened its border with neighbouring Iran, allowing hundreds of its stranded citizens to return home.

    “We have reopened the border to allow our citizens to enter [the country] in batches,” Liaquat Shahwani, a spokesperson for the government of southwestern Balochistan province that borders Iran was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.

    Those who have touched the virus-hit areas in Iran are being quarantined until they are declared clear.”

    18:00 GMT – EU health ministers to hold extraordinary meeting

    European Union health ministers will hold an extraordinary meeting on March 6 to discuss the coronavirus outbreak, an EU official said.

    EU health ministers held a first extraordinary meeting earlier in February on the epidemic, where they decided to coordinate their response to the outbreak.

    17:50 GMT – More US coronavirus cases likely

    White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow said the number of additional coronavirus cases in the US is likely to increase but that does not mean they will “skyrocket” in North America.

    Kudlow, in an interview with Fox Business Network, added that while there are not currently US supply chain problems that does not mean they will not surface.

    17:40 GMT – Countries not ready to take same measures as China: WHO

    The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a report that much of the global community is not yet ready to implement the types of measures that have contained the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak in China.

    “These are the only measures that are currently proven to interrupt or minimize transmission chains in humans,” the report said.

    “Fundamental to these measures is extremely proactive surveillance to immediately detect cases, very rapid diagnosis and immediate case isolation, rigorous tracking and quarantine of close contacts, and an exceptionally high degree of population understanding and acceptance of these measures.”

    17:30 GMT – Corona virus unlikely to vanish next year: US health official 

    Anthony Fauci, head of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious diseases, said the coronavirus is unlikely to disappear next year and that many more cases should be expected in the US.

    Fauci told lawmakers in a closed-door meeting that the US currently does not have enough coronavirus testing resources. 

    Coronavirus: Scientists in the US race to find a vaccine (2:04)

    16:55 GMT – Coronavirus risk is at very high global level: WHO chief 

    World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the risk of spread and impact of the coronavirus is now ‘very high’ at a global level. 

    Ghebreyesus told reporters in Geneva the 329 cases reported in China over the past 24 hours made it the lowest there in more than a month. 

    16:50 GMT – Coronavirus increases economic risks: Swiss National Bank 

    The Swiss National Bank said in a statement that the widening coronavirus outbreak has increased economic risks which would have negative consequences for Switzerland and increase the attraction of the safe-haven franc. 

    “The coronavirus has increased the economic risks. If the international environment were to deteriorate, this would have consequences for Switzerland as a small, open economy,” the central bank said in a statement. 

    16:30 GMT – Pompeo says US ready to help Iran with coronavirus 

    US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his country offered to help Iran in its efforts to combat the coronavirus outbreak which has killed 34 people and raised questions about Tehran’s willingness to share information. 

    Pompeo told a House Foreign Affairs Committee said authorities in the Islamic Republic were poorly equipped to deal with the health crisis. 

    Heavy economic sanctions imposed by President Donald Trump have made it difficult for the country’s health sector to import vital medical equipment and pharmaceutical products.

    16:15 GMT – British man on board Diamond Princess dies 

    Japan’s Kyodo news agency said a British man who was on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship has passed away after being infected by the coronavirus. 

    The British national’s death, the first of a foreign passenger, brought the death toll aboard the ship to six. 

    16:00 GMT – Two more cases confirmed in Romania 

    Nelu Tataru, Romania’s deputy health ministry, said two more cases of coronavirus have been confirmed, raising the total number of patients to three. 

    “They are a 45-year-old man from the county of Maramures and a 38-year-old woman from (the western city of) Timisoara,” Tataru told reporters, adding that they had both recently returned from Italy. 

    15:40 GMT – France: Companies can declare ‘force majeure’

    French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire announced that companies can declare ‘force majeure’ when dealing with small-to-medium sized enterprises. 

    “We are going to consider the coronavirus as a case of force majeure,” Le Maire told reporters, referring to instances where parties to a contract are unable to meet their obligations due to external circumstances. 

    Coronavirus in Latin America: Health officials on alert (2:36)

    15:30 GMT – Kenya High Court orders flights from China suspended 

    Kenya’s High Court has ordered flights from China temporarily suspended, following a petition by the Law Society of Kenya. 

    “I find that unless conservatory orders sought are granted Kenyans will continue to be exposed to the deadly disease coronavirus,” Judge James Makau said. 

    15:20 GMT – Almost 60 confirmed cases in Germany 

    A spokesperson for the German health ministry said nearly 60 people had tested positive for the coronavirus, adding that the number included those who recovered. 

    “At the moment in Germany, we have almost 60 but it’s a very dynamic situation, as we keep saying.” 

    14:50 GMT – Coronavirus outbreak ‘getting bigger’ after Nigeria case: WHO 

    The World Health Organization (WHO) warned that the coronavirus outbreak is getting bigger after Nigeria diagnosed the first case in sub-Saharan Africa, reiterating that the virus could reach “most, if not, all countries”. 

    Christian Lindmeier, a spokesperson for WHO, told a new conference in Geneva that the agency was investigating the possibility of patients getting re-infected. 

    “But in general a person who had coronavirus infection would be immune for at least a while,” he added. 

    14:30 GMT – Brussels Airlines to reduce flights to northern Italy by 30 percent 

    Brussels Airlines, a Lufthansa subsidiary, said it was cutting flights to northern Italy, including routes to Milan, Venice and Rome, by 30 percent for 12 days starting March 2. 

    “Because of the rapidly declining demand in air travel within Europe, Brussels Airlines has taken the decision to reduce flight frequencies on a number of routes in order to limit the negative economic impact on its business,” it said in a statement.

    14:20 GMT – Prefecture in northern Japan declares state of emergency over coronavirus 

    Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost prefecture, declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus outbreak, asking that residents avoid going outdoors during the weekend. 

    “Hokkaido has been doing everything it can to contain the virus but the crisis is deepening,” said Governor Naomichi Suzuki in a televised news conference, adding that the state of emergency would go on until March 19.

    13:50 GMT – Israel confirms fourth case of coronavirus

    Israel’s health ministry confirmed its fourth case of coronavirus in a person which it said had been in close contact with a man who tested positive after returning from a trip to Italy. 

    “Another coronavirus patient who was in close personal contact with the patient who returned from Italy was diagnosed with a positive result and transferred to isolation,” the health ministry said in a statement. 

    Two Israeli passengers had last week tested positive and were put in quarantine after traveling on the Diamond Princess, a virus-stricken cruise ship. 

    13:40 GMT – First case in France’s Nice

    Authorities in the southern French city of Nice have confirmed a first case of the deadly coronavirus in a woman who had recently returned from Milan. 

    “I have been informed of a first case of coronavirus diagnosed this morning at the Nice hospital,” wrote Mayor Christian Estrosi on Twitter. 

    This is Ramy Allahoum in Doha taking over from Usaid Siddiqui

    Here’s a quick summary of the latest developments:

    Thirty-four people have been confirmed dead in Iran with a total of 388 people infected.

    Wales identified its first case and two new cases were found in England, taking the total tally  in the UK to 19.

    12:40 GMT – Two Abu Dhabi hotels under quarantine after guests diagnosed

    Guests at two hotels in the United Arab Emirates’ capital Abu Dhabi have been placed under quarantine after interacting with two Italians diagnosed with coronavirus, state news agency WAM reported.

    Other people who also interacted with the two Italians on Yas island have been isolated at home, the agency said, citing the health department of Abu Dhabi.

    The Italians individuals were diagnosed with the disease on Thursday.

    11:50 GMT – More guests leave Canary Islands hotel

    Three small groups of guests left a Tenerife hotel in minibuses on its fourth day of quarantine over the coronavirus.

    At least two people could be seen leaving in an ambulance, but around 700 holidaymakers remained in the compound. It was not clear where they were being taken or whether those in the ambulance had any symptoms of the virus.

    The regional government of Canary Islands cleared 130 guests on Thursday to leave the hotel, after it was  placed on lockdown when four cases of the coronavirus were detected there.

    Coronavirus in Pakistan: Panic buying of masks leading to shortages

    11:17 GMT – Second case confirmed in Georgia

    Georgia confirmed its second case of the coronavirus, according to the director of National Center for Disease Control and Public Health.

    Amiran Gamkrelidze said the new case arrived from Italy. The first case reported in Georgia was on February 26.

    10:56 GMT – One more confirmed case in Thailand, total now 41

    Thailand recorded one new case bringing the total in the South East Asian country to 41.

    According to the health ministry, the case is of a 25-year-old Thai national and tour guide who recently returned from South Korea.

    10:45 GMT – Death toll in Iran rises to 34 – health ministry

    Thirty-four people have been confirmed dead in Iran because of the coronavirus, a health ministry spokesman said.

    The number of people diagnosed with the disease now stands at 388, 143 more than Thursday – from different parts of the country had tested positive for the virus, Kianush Jahanpur told reporters.

    10:15 GMT – Second case confirmed in Netherlands – health authorities

    A second case of COVID-19 has been confirmed in the Netherlands, health officials said

    This latest case was reported in Amsterdam, the Dutch capital, while the first case, identified on Thursday, was confirmed in the southern city of Tilburg.

    Both individuals had recently travelled in Northern Italy.

    Coronavirus outbreak: Death toll rises to 17 in northern Italy

    10:10 GMT – Nigeria’s first case travelled through Lagos before detection – minister

    Nigeria’s first confirmed case was not detected at airport, and travelled through Lagos before he became ill and went to a hospital, the country’s health minister said.

    The Italian man, who authorities said arrived in Nigeria from Milan on the evening of February 24, did not have symptoms when the plane landed.

    Authorities are now working to “meet and observe” all those who were on the flight with him, and are also identifying all the people he met and places he visited in Lagos, a city of some 20 million people.

    09:50 GMT – First case in Wales reported, UK tally now 19

    The United Kingdom is now reporting 19 confirmed cases of the coronavirus after Wales identified its first case and two new cases were found in England, health authorities said on Friday.

    “The total number of UK cases is 19,” the health ministry said.

    09:45 GMT – Pope cancels more official appointments over cold

    Pope Francis was working from home, and cancelled postponed his official appointments, the Vatican said, a day after cancelling a scheduled appearance at mass because of “a mild ailment”.

    Francis had appeared earlier in the week to be suffering from a cold, seen blowing his nose and coughing during the Ash Wednesday service.

    While the Pope, 83, celebrated morning mass, and greeted participants at the end, he cleared his schedule of everything apart from meetings at the Saint Martha’s guest house at the Vatican where he resides, chief press officer Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

    Pope Francis speaks at a conference hosted by the Vatican on economic solidarity, at the Vatican

     Francis had appeared to be suffering from a cold earlier in the week [File: Remo Casilli/Reuters]

    09.40 GMT – Switzerland suspends all major events to combat virus

    The Swiss government has suspended all events in the country involving more than 1,000 participants until mid-March in a bid to stop the novel virus

    “Large-scale events involving more than 1,000 people are to be banned. The ban comes into immediate effect and will apply at least until 15 March,” the government said in a statement after the country registered 15 cases.

    “In the case of public or private events at which fewer than 1,000 people would gather, event organisers must carry out a risk assessment in conjunction with the competent cantonal authorities to decide whether or not the event can be held”, the statement read.

    09:16 GMT – Online virus game in China removed: developer

    A popular game that allows players to create a virus and spread it worldwide has been pulled from Apple’s App Store in China, its developer said, as the country battles a real-life epidemic.

    Users based in China could not download “Plague Inc” on Friday after the cyberspace watchdog ordered its removal over “illegal” content, UK-based Ndemic Creations said.

    Ndemic said it was not clear if the decision was linked to the deadly new coronavirus outbreak, which began in central China in December. “We have a huge amount of respect for our Chinese players and are devastated that they are no longer able to access and play Plague Inc,” Ndemic said.

    08:43 GMT – Russia restricts Iran, South Korea travellers over virus

    Moscow has announced new restrictions on people travelling to Russia from Iran and South Korea, two countries hit hardest by the outbreak of the new coronavirus.

    Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin in statement announced a temporary suspension of visas for Iranians travelling to Russia for employment, tourism, education and transit purposes.

    A separate decree imposed restrictions on travel to Russia from South Korea, with exceptions including members of official delegations.

    Is the spread of coronavirus out of control?

    08:26 GMT – Recovered patients found not to be infectious – official

    Recovered coronavirus patients who were discharged from hospitalization but later tested positive again have been found not to be infectious, an official at China’s National Health Commission (NHC) said.

    A hospital administration official, Guo Yanhong, told reporters at a daily press conference that there is a need to deepen the understanding of the new coronavirus, while improving health tracking and management of patients who recovered.

    08:00 GMT – Two South Africans test positive on cruise ship

    A pair of South Africans working on the Diamond Princess cruise ship have tested positive for COVID-19, the South African health ministry said.

    “On 25 February 2020, we were informed by the Japanese authorities that two of these South Africans tested positive for COVID-19,” the ministry said in a statement.

    “They are currently being treated in Japan and the latest reports indicate that they are currently asymptomatic,” the statement said.

    07:40 GMT – Mongolian President under quarantine: state media

    Mongolia President Khaltmaagiin Battulga and his accompanying staff who travelled to China on Thursday have been placed under quarantine, according to Mongolian state media outlet Montsame. 

    Battulga was the first foreign leader to visit China amid the Coronavirus outbreak.

    In January, Mongolia shut its borders with China, to prevent the spread of the virus. So far no cases of coronavirus have been reported in Mongolia.

    mongolia president and Xi

    Mongolia’s President Khaltmaagiin Battulga, left, poses with Chinese President Xi Jinping for a photo during a meeting on Thursday at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing [Liu Bin/Xinhua/AP]

    07:30 GMT – Qatar evacuates citizens from Iran

    All Qatari citizens have been evacuated from Iran and arrived in Doha, the Government Communications Office (GCO) confirmed in a press release.

    All individuals will be quarantined in a hotel facility for 14 days, where they will be provided with all necessities and taken care of, the GCO said.

    07:20 GMT – Belarus announces first case of coronavirus – TASS

    Belarus has reported the first case of coronavirus infection in the country, according to Russian news agency TASS,

    “We would like to inform you that February 27 tests conducted at the Republican Scientific and Practical Center of epidemiology and microbiology showed the presence of coronavirus 2019-nCoV in one of the students from Iran,” TASS quoted the Belarussian Ministry of Healthcare.

    06:50 GMT – WHO: ‘Pandemic potential’ as infections spread globablly

    World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said all nations should prepare themselves for potential pandemic, as nations aside from China now accout for three-quarters of new infections.

    “This virus has pandemic potential,” Tedros revealed in Geneva. About 12 countries reported their first virus cases in past 24 hours.

    According to WHO, outside China the virus has spread to a further 46 countries, where about 3,700 cases and 57 deaths have been reported so far.

    WHO news conference on the novel coronavirus (COVID-2019)

    The WHO director said this was “not a time of fear” but time to take action to save lives [ File: Denis Balibouse/Reuters]



    I’ll be handing over this page shortly to my colleague Usaid Siddiqui in Doha.

    Here’s a quick summary of the latest developments:

    Nigeria becomes the first sub-Saharan country to confirm a coronavirus case, while several Asian and European countries, as well as New Zealand, also confirm their first infections.

    Meanwhile,it’s becoming increasingly clear the virus will take a large toll on the global economy, as the markets have their worst week since 2008.

    06:15 GMT – Kyrgyzstan resident in Japan tested positive for virus

    A Kyrgyz citizen staying in Japan has tested positive for coronavirus and will be hospitalised there until full recovery, Kyrgyz deputy foreign minister Nurlan Abdrakhmanov said.

    The man was one of the crew of the Diamond Princess cruise ship berthed in Japan’s port of Yokohama. Kyrgyzstan has reported no coronavuris cases on its own territory.

    06:05 GMT – New Zealand reports first virus patient; case linked to Iran

    New Zealand health officials said the country had its first coronavirus case, a person in their 60s who recently returned from Iran.

    The person was being treated at the Auckland City Hospital and members of their household had also been isolated as a precaution.

    Authorities said the patient arrived on an Emirates flight that landed in Auckland on Wednesday. They said anybody on the flight who had any concerns should contact health experts.

    05:35 GMT – Stock markets take a pounding worldwide

    Stock markets around the world have plummeted as it has become increasingly clear the virus will take a huge toll on the global economy.

    Stock markets in Asia plunged again in opening trade on Friday morning, tracking huge losses in the United States and Europe.The Dow shed nearly 1,200 points, or 4.4 percent, on Thursday, taking its losses for the week to more than 11 percent.

    “There was more coronavirus carnage on the markets,” Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said.”One of the worst weeks in recent memory and terrifyingly, it’s not over yet. Friday is a tricky proposition.”

    Share prices were on track for the worst week since the global financial crisis in 2008.

    California reports first ‘unknown’ coronavirus case

    05:15 GMT – Coronavirus fear touches off a global run on face masks

    Fear of the spreading coronavirus has led to a global run on sales of face masks despite medical experts’ advice that most people who aren’t sick don’t need to wear them.

    Many businesses are sold out, while others are limiting how many a customer can buy. Amazon is policing its site, trying to make sure sellers don’t gouge panicked buyers.

    Ordinary people trying to protect themselves from the outbreak are not the only ones encountering shortages. Some health care professionals are seeing them as well.

    05:10 GMT – Virus detected in sub-Saharan Africa, global stocks tank

    Nigeria reported the first new coronavirus case in sub-Saharan Africa on Friday, as global stock markets tanked on deepening fears of a pandemic and the World Health Organization warned against the “fatal mistake” of complacency.

    On Friday, Nigeria reported its first case: an Italian man who returned to densely populated Lagos early this week. Cases had previously been reported in Egypt and Algeria, but not in the sub-Saharan region.

    The low number of cases across Africa, which has close economic ties with China, has puzzled health specialists and raised questions about authorities’ capabilities to detect the virus.

    Commissioner Akin Abayomi said the man was transferred to Lagos State Biosecurity Facilities for isolation and testing. The patient was clinically stable with no serious symptoms and was being managed at the Infectious Disease Hospital in Yaba, Lagos.

    03:58 GMT – Lithuania confirms first case of coronavirus

    Lithuania’s government reported the country’s first confirmed case of coronavirus in a woman who returned this week from a visit to Italy’s northern city of Verona.

    Italy is the European nation worst hit by the virus, with its death toll at 17, while the numbers of those testing positive for the illness increased by more than 200, to 350.

    In a statement, the Lithuanian government said the stricken woman had been isolated in hospital in the northern town of Siauliai.She has been under observation since and is showing only slight symptoms.

    The woman, aged 39, was attending a conference with colleagues in Italy before flying to the southern city of Kaunas, Health Minister Aurelijus Veryga said.

    03:40 GMT – K-pop group BTS cancel concerts over coronavirus scare

    K-pop megastars BTS on Friday cancelled four Seoul concerts due in April as the number of novel coronavirus cases in South Korea passed 2,000.

    The seven-piece boy band – currently one of the biggest acts in the world – had scheduled four gigs at the capital’s Olympic Stadium to promote their new album, Map of the Soul: 7.

    More than 200,000 fans were expected to attend, their agency Big Hit Entertainment said in a statement, with “a number of global production companies and a large group of expert international crew” also involved.

    03:30 GMT – New Zealand limits entry of travellers from Iran

    New Zealand said on Friday that it was placing temporary restrictions on incoming travellers from Iran as a precautionary measure to protect against the coronavirus outbreak.

    “This means people will not be able to travel from Iran to New Zealand and anyone who has been in Iran in the last 14 days will need to self-isolate,” Health Minister David Clark said in a statement.

    The death toll in Iran from coronavirus had risen to 26, by far the highest number outside China.

    01:56 GMT – Tokyo Disneyland to close through mid-March on coronavirus concerns

    Tokyo Disneyland will be closed starting on Saturday through to March 15 amid an outbreak of coronavirus infections in Japan, operator Oriental Land Co Ltd said on Friday.

    Both Tokyo Disneyland and DisneySea will be affected, the company said.

    Is the spread of coronavirus out of control?

    The move comes after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for all schools to close to stop the coronavirus from spreading. The government has also urged that big gatherings and sports events be scrapped or curtailed for two weeks.

    01:01 GMT – South Korea reports 256 new coronavirus cases, total 2,022 – KCDC

    South Korea reported 256 new coronavirus cases on Friday, bringing the total number of infected in the country to 2,022, the Korea Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention said.

    Of the new cases, 182 were in the southeastern city of Daegu, the location of a church at the centre of South Korea’s outbreak, the KCDC said in a statement.

    The death toll from the virus stood at 13, unchanged from the day earlier.

    The coronavirus, which originated in China, has rapidly spread to more than 40 other countries and territories.


    A worker disinfects journalists visiting the Mengniu dairy factory in Beijing on Thursday [Ng Han Guan/AP]

    00:02 GMT – Coronavirus risk to Americans low, but can change: US health secretary

    The risk to American people from coronavirus is low, but that could change, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said on Thursday.

    “We have really been able to keep the risk to the Americans low right now so that everyday Americans don’t need to be worried, but that can change and that’s why it’s important for all of us to prepare,” Azar said at a White House event with President Donald Trump.

    23:48 GMT – Thursday – US grants sanctions waiver for humanitarian trade to Iran

    The US on Thursday granted a licence to allow for certain humanitarian trade transactions with Iran’s sanctioned central bank, a move it said was in step with the formalisation of a Swiss humanitarian trade channel.

    The newly created channel, which the US Treasury Department said became fully operational on Thursday as it granted the licence, would allow for companies to send food, medicine and other critical supplies to Iran.

    This comes as Iran is grappling with a rapidly increasing number of coronavirus cases which have already killed at least two dozen people.

    Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus from our bureau in Kuala Lumpur – Ted Regencia

    Click here to read updates from Thursday, February 27.

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