At present, there are 340,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide, with nearly 15,000 deaths and almost 100,000 people recovering from the disease.
Here are some of the latest developments, in different parts of the world.
So far, the numbers are small compared to other parts of the world, as it is at an earlier stage of the pandemic.
Brazil and Ecuador are the most affected in the region so far, with 25 and 14 deaths respectively.
- Ecuador introduced a curfew at the weekend, keeping people off the streets from 19:00 to 05:00 local time
- Brazil‘s President Bolsonaro has been at odds with his country’s regional authorities, telling CNN Brasil he disagrees with their decision to close businesses. He called São Paulo Governor João Doria a “lunatic” for imposing a 15-day shutdown. One of the president’s major influencers, US-based former astrologer Olavo de Carvalho, has been criticised for broadcasting a message online saying the virus is a hoax and there has not been one death from it
- El Salvador has introduced a strict new curfew and is detaining those who don’t comply. The justice minister says 327 arrests were made up until 22:30 Sunday night.
- Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has ruled out any curfew or troop deployments, saying they would be too authoritarian. However, in Mexico City, the mayor is closing museums, gyms, bars, theatres and more, from Monday until 19 April. Shopping malls and restaurants will stay open, and gatherings are being limited to 50 people
Europe is at the centre of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Austria: The number of confirmed cases rose to 3,611 on Monday, the health ministry announced – jumping by 367 in a day
- Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel announced on Sunday a ban on all gatherings of more than two people who aren’t family. It comes days after police in the state of Bavaria shut down a number of public “corona parties”, organised by young people on social media.
- France: At least 674 people have died of the virus in France, including a 67-year-old doctor on Sunday. The national parliament has passed a law declaring a two month health emergency. Authorities in France have issued thousands of fines, and have deployed drones to enforce the strict lockdown rules, to prevent people going out and contracting or infecting others with COVID-19.
- Italy: Officials announced the deaths of 651 people in Italy, Europe’s worst-hit country, on Sunday – a drop of about a fifth from the record 793 deaths the day before. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has tightened restrictions, closing down all businesses deemed non-essential. Around 100 categories of companies can stay open, ranging from food production to chemicals, energy to paper, car parts to the manufacturing of coffins. Also, Italians are also now banned from leaving their own town to travel within the country
- Netherlands: The government announced a ban on all flights from Spain for two weeks on Saturday, unless they are carrying Dutch nationals or medical supplies
- Russia: The number of confirmed cases is now increasing on a familiar trajectory and is highest in Russia’s capital, Moscow, at 262. Moscow’s mayor has ordered those over-65-years and anyone with serious health conditions to stay at home, and stated they should only go to work if their role was absolutely vital and only go outside to the chemist’s or to get food.
- Spain: The death toll in Spain has reached 2,182, the government has announced, after 462 people passed away in the past 24 hours.
- United Kingdom: The government is considering tightening up restrictions and regulations on social distancing, to reduce risk of persons contracting and infecting others with COVID-19. 281 people with the virus have died in the UK, with 5,683 cases in total
Countries in the Middle East continue to wrestle with the virus, and many are further escalating their responses.
- Saudi Arabia, which has the most cases in the Gulf outside of Iran, will introduce a three-week curfew from 19:00 to 06:00, starting Monday night
- Syria has confirmed its first case – a 20-year-old woman whom the health ministry says came into the country from abroad
- The world’s busiest airport, Dubai International, will effectively shut down from 25 March when the United Arab Emirates suspends all passenger and transit flights
- The Palestinian territory in the Gaza Strip, which is run by Hamas, confirms its first two cases of Covid-19 in two men who had returned from Pakistan via Egypt. It comes amid dire warnings of an outbreak in one of the world’s most densely populated areas where the health system is in peril
- Iraq imposes a total lockdown until Saturday as the number of cases and the death toll there grow
- Iran‘s president dismisses as “one of the biggest lies in history” a US offer to help it fight the virus, and urges Washington to lift sanctions instead
- South Korea has reported the lowest number of new coronavirus cases since infection rates peaked four weeks ago, fuelling hope Asia’s worst outbreak outside China may be abating. The country recorded 64 new cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours, taking the total to 8,961 with 111 deaths. But health officials warn against complacency, saying the country still faces a long war against the infection.
- Hong Kong is banning all visitors coming to the city. The city’s leader Carrie Lam said in a news conference that all foreigners would be banned for the next 14 days. The new measures will kick in on Wednesday. In addition, all bars, pubs and entertainment venues in Hong Kong have been asked to shut.
- Indonesia‘s capital Jakarta – a city of more than 10 million people – began implementing shut down measures on Monday. The city’s governor had on Friday declared a state of emergency, announcing that public entertainment spaces like bars, cinemas and restaurants would be shut on Monday until 2 April. Public transport operators are also limiting their services – with operating hours cut down in a bid to reduce passenger numbers.
- Authorities in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province have ordered a 15-day lockdown in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus. Sindh accounts for 352 of the country’s 799 people who have so far tested positive. Of these, 130 cases are located in Karachi – the country’s largest business and industrial hub with a population of 15 million. All public parks, main markets and public transport have been ordered to shut, though medical and grocery stores will remain open during certain hours while journalists and newspaper hawkers have been allowed free movement to counter what a government official called “the spread of fake news.”
- India: The capital Delhi currently is in complete lockdown. Popular markets that are usually crowded with shoppers are deserted, with businesses and shops, except grocery stores and pharmacies, shut. The roads, generally teeming with vehicles, are nearly empty with only emergency staff out and about.
The number of known infections in Africa lags behind most other continents but is increasing rapidly. Some countries have reported a jump in infections, including Ethiopia, Tanzania and Nigeria. At present, Africa has had more than 1,000 coronavirus cases confirmed by the Centre for Disease Control.
- Burkina Faso: There are 75 confirmed cases of the virus in Burkina Faso, four of whom have died. Meanwhile, the US Ambassador to that country—Andrew Young—has tested positive for coronavirus. He made the announcement in a tweet, noting that the embassy has taken measures to quarantine him and others affected.
- Ethiopia: The first batch of medical equipment donated by Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, the co-founder of the online store Alibaba, to help fight coronavirus in Africa, arrived in Ethiopia on Sunday. Included in the consignment to be distributed throughout Africa: 1.1 million testing kits, 6 million masks and 60,000 protective suits.
- Ghana: Ghana reported three new cases of coronavirus on Sunday, bringing to 24 the total number of confirmed infections in the country. The patients include 17 Ghanaians and foreign nationals from Norway, China, France and the UK. They are in isolation and are receiving treatment. The country’s only confirmed death was a Lebanese patient who died on Saturday. He had an underlying health condition. Ghana has shut all its borders starting midnight on Sunday to curb the spread of the virus. The health ministry is mobilising new and retired health workers to help combat the disease. Ghana has tested 315 suspected cases of Covid-19 and more than 500 contacts have been identified and are being tracked.
- Nigeria: The Nigerian Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has announced the country’s first death from coronavirus. In a tweet, NCDC said the victim was a 67-year-old man who returned to the country following a medical procedure in the UK. He had underlying medical conditions and was undergoing chemotherapy. The NCDC also has issued another warning about spreading false information. In an official statement it noted that “voice notes, broadcasts and images are being shared on Whatsapp and other platforms with FAKE NEWS… These messages are developed with the intent to cause fear and panic… Please disregard messages that are not signed by official sources…”
- DR Congo: The Democratic Republic of Congo’s second largest city, Lubumbashi, is in lockdown after two people tested positive for coronavirus, the governor announced. The two Congolese people tested positive after they arrived in Lubumbashi on a Congo Airways flight—which had 77 persons on it—from the capital Kinshasa on Sunday afternoon. In addition, the entire province of Haut-Katanga would be on lockdown for 48 hours.
- Rwanda: The country has imposed some of the strictest measures in sub-Saharan Africa, including the closure of all borders and a ban on people travelling inside the country. Rwanda has so far confirmed 19 cases, the highest in the East African region. The restrictions will be in force for an initial two-week period and are subject to review, according to a statement by the prime minister’s office.
- Tanzania: President John Magufuli (a devout Catholic) has said gatherings in churches and mosques have not been banned yet because that’s where “there is true healing.” The East African nation has closed all schools, colleges and universities and suspended all sporting events for at least 30 days after the country confirmed its first case of the coronavirus. Public gatherings have also been banned. The government there has warned that ‘action will be taken’ against people who joke or spread misinformation about the virus, although it is not clear what this would entail. Tanzania has recorded 12 cases of coronavirus infection, including eight affecting its nationals.
- Tunisia: The total number of coronavirus cases in Tunisia has risen to 75, following the announcement of 15 new cases on Sunday. The island of Djerba has been classified by health officials as a “cluster area” following a confirmed case there with no known contact with a recent traveller. Thus far, three people have died of the coronavirus.
- Uganda: The authorities in Uganda are trying to track down 84 passengers who were on an Ethiopian Airlines flight with a man who tested positive for coronavirus. They have called on the travellers to come forward for screening. They had been let go and told to self-isolate. Meanwhile, at least two priests have been arrested in Uganda for conducting masses despite a ban on religious and other gatherings due to the coronavirus. Uganda confirmed its first case of coronavirus on Saturday.