The latest daily toll was smaller than Saturday's record 793 fatalities but still the second-highest registered during Italy's month-long crisis.

Cemetery workers and funeral agency workers in protective masks transport a coffin of a person who died from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), into a cemetery in Bergamo, Italy March 16, 2020.
Cemetery workers and funeral agency workers in protective masks transport a coffin of a person who died from coronavirus disease (COVID-19), into a cemetery in Bergamo, Italy March 16, 2020. (Reuters)

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Italy reports 651 more deaths

Italy's world-topping toll from the coronavirus pandemic approached 5,500 on Sunday after the Mediterranean country reported another 651 deaths.

The latest daily toll was smaller than Saturday's record 793 fatalities but still the second-highest registered during Italy's month-long crisis.

The number of new infections rose by 10.4 per cent to 59,138.

Italy's death toll now stands at 5,476.

Turkey reports nine more deaths

Turkey's death toll from coronavirus increased by nine to 30 on Sunday as the number of confirmed cases rose by 289 to 1,256, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said.

He said a total of 20,345 tests had been carried out.

France's death toll rises by 112

The number of people killed in France by the coronavirus outbreak has increased by another 112 to a total of 674, the top French health official said on Sunday.

The rise in the death toll was identical to that of the previous day. 

"The virus kills and it is continuing to kill," said top French health official Jerome Salomon as he announced the new numbers at a daily briefing.

Over 100 deaths in US in 24 hours

The novel coronavirus epidemic has claimed more than 100 lives in the past 24 hours in the United States, bringing the total to 389 deaths as of Sunday, according to an authoritative tally from Johns Hopkins University.

The states of New York (114 deaths), Washington (94 deaths) and California (28 deaths) have been the hardest hit by far. The virus has infected at least 30,000 people nationwide.

Merkel in quarantine after meeting virus-infected doctor

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will quarantine herself at home after being treated by a doctor who has since tested positive for the novel coronavirus, a government spokesman said on Sunday.

"The Chancellor has decided to quarantine herself at home. She will be tested regularly in the coming days... (and) fulfil her official business from home," Steffen Seibert said in a statement.

Spain's deaths surpass 1,700

Spain's death toll from coronavirus soared to 1,720 from 1,326 the day before, according to latest data from the Health Ministry.

The one-day rise in deaths of 394 was higher than the previous day's increase of 324. Spain is grappling with Europe's second-worst coronavirus outbreak.

The number of registered cases in the country rose to 28,572 from 24,926 announced on Saturday, the official data showed.

Of those, 2,575 people have been cured of the virus, while 1,785 are hospitalised in intensive care units.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said his government would ask parliament to extend for another 15 days until April 11 a state of emergency it imposed this month to try to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Greece to impose nationwide movement restrictions

Greece will impose movement restrictions nationwide from Monday to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said on Sunday. 

"I have given orders that all appropriate action be taken to enforce the ban on all unnecessary movement across the country," Mitsotakis said in a televised address to the nation.

Greece saw the largest single-day jump in confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday, a rise of 94 that brought the total to 624 with fatalities increasing to 15.

Algeria cases now at 201

Algeria has reported 62 new coronavirus cases, bringing to 201 the total number of people infected with the virus, the health ministry said on Sunday.

It said a total of 110 cases were recorded in the Blidaarea, south of the capital.

Turkish Airlines halts majority of int'l flights

Turkish Airlines will halt all its international flights as of March 27, except those to HongKong, Moscow, Ethiopia, New York and Washington, amid the coronavirus outbreak, its CEO said on Sunday.

"Although they will decrease, our domestic flights will continue," CEO Bilal Eksi wrote on Twitter.

Iraq extends country-wide lockdown 

Iraq on Sunday imposed a total nationwide lockdown until March 28 to fight the novel coronavirus, as the number of cases grew and the death toll climbed to 18.

Most of Iraq's 18 provinces had so far imposed their own local curfews but the new measures would include the whole of the country, according to the government's crisis cell.

Kosovo authorities report first death

An 82-year old man who died in hospital in Kosovo is the country's first victim of the coronavirus, the Kosovo Public Health Institute said in a statement.

"Patient already had chronic illness, cardio and pulmonary," the statement said.

Kosovo, a country of 2 million people, has registered 31cases of people infected with the coronavirus.

Australia orders widespread business closures 

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison ordered many venues, including pubs, casinos, gyms and cinemas, to close from midday Monday to combat coronavirus after many people appeared to disregard health warnings and congregated in large numbers in recent days.

After an initial relatively slow spread, the number of infections in Australia has risen quickly, climbing to 1,098 confirmed cases as of Sunday with seven deaths linked to the illness.

Restaurants, cafes and catering businesses will be restricted to delivery and take-away services, Morrison said. Schools will also remain open.

38 positive for coronavirus in NYC jails

New York City was hit by the nation’s largest coronavirus jail outbreak to date this week, with at least 38 people testing positive at the notorious Rikers Island complex and nearby facilities — more than half of them incarcerated men, the board that oversees the city's jail system said Saturday.

Another inmate, meanwhile, became the first in the country to test positive in a federal jail.

Spain to extend state of emergency

The Spanish government has decided to extend for another 15 days the 15-day state of emergency announced on March 14 to deal with the coronavirus pandemic, El Pais and El Mundo newspapers reported on Sunday.

Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez communicated the decision to regional leaders during a videoconference call, the reports said. 

The nationwide state of emergency bars people from all but essential outings.

The death toll from Europe's second-worst outbreak of the virus jumped to 1,326 from 1,002 the day before, according to Spanish Health Ministry data released on Saturday. 

The number of cases rose to 24,926 from 19,980. 

Iran reports 129 more deaths

Iran's death toll has reached1,685 with 129 deaths in the past 24 hours, the health ministry's spokesman told state TV on Sunday, adding that the total number of infected people in Iran had reached 21,638.

"There were 1,028 new confirmed infected cases in the past 24 hours ... and 7,913 people have recovered," said Kianush Jahanpur.

Iran is the Middle East's most affected country.

Malaysia reports 123 new cases

Malaysia reported 123 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 1,306 cases, with 10 deaths.

The health ministry said 34 of the new cases were linked to a religious gathering held late last month.

Malaysia has the highest number of cases in Southeast Asia.

Russian army to send help to Italy

The Russian military will start sending medical help to Italy from Sunday to help it battle the new coronavirus after receiving an order from President Vladimir Putin, Russia's Defence Ministry said in a statement.

Putin spoke to Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Saturday, the Kremlin said, adding that the Russian leader had offered his support and help in the form of mobile disinfection vehicles and specialists to aid the worst-hit Italian regions.

Italy recorded a jump in deaths from the coronavirus of almost 800 on Saturday, taking the toll in the world's hardest-hit country to almost 5,000.

Pakistan confirms fourth death

Pakistan's northwestern province Khyber Pakhtunkhwa confirmed its third death from Covid-19, raising the country's tally of coronavirus fatalities to four.

The South Asian country's total number of infections stands at 646. 

Indonesia confirms 64 new cases

Indonesia reported 64 new coronavirus cases and 10 new deaths, a health ministry official told reporters, bringing the total number to 514 and 48 respectively.

Nine coronavirus patients have recovered, health ministry spokesman, Achmad Yurianto said, bringing the total number of recoveries to 29.

Uzbekistan closes border

Uzbekistan is closing its borders for its citizens and will require residents to wear masks if they leave their residences.

An announcement from the country's commission to prevent the spread of the coronavirus said the borders will be closed on Monday to everyone except foreign citizens leaving the country and international cargo-haulers.

Beginning Wednesday, anyone not wearing a mask in a public place will be fined, the commission said.

Uzbekistan has recorded 42 cases of coronavirus infection. The country has land borders with Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan and Tajikistan.

Governments in Africa impose shutdowns

Rwanda imposed a nationwide shutdown and border controls to combat the coronavirus at the weekend in some of the strictest measures taken in Africa, as infections spread across the continent and authorities warn healthcare systems are ill-equipped to cope.

Governments from the Indian Ocean nation of Mauritius to Burkina Faso on the fringes of the Sahara have banned public gatherings, shuttered schools, churches, mosques and bars and closed their airports.

Africa has lagged behind the global curve for coronavirus infections and deaths, but in the past few days has seen a significant rise in cases.

The continent has now reported more than 1,100 infections – more than 1,000 of them in sub-Saharan Africa – as the World Health Organization expresses concern that poor sanitation, urban crowding and the lack of intensive-care units, equipment and trained staff could hamper any response.

Curfew in India

Hundreds of millions of Indians stayed indoors, heeding Prime Minister Narendra Modi's appeal to citizens to self-isolate as authorities battled to contain the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic.

Some migrant workers attempting to reach their home villages crowded a railway station in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh, defying the 14-hour “people's curfew” in the world's second-most populous country.

At least 324 people have been infected in India by the new coronavirus, including the first case in the largely impoverished eastern state of Bihar, according to health officials. 

Five people have died in the country from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Police struggled from a distance to control the crowds, who were waiting to be taken to their villages by buses and taxis that appeared unlikely to come.

Malaysia deploys army

Malaysia deployed the army to enforce a two-week curb on travel in a country that has the highest number of coronavirus cases in Southeast Asia, most of them linked to a mass religious gathering.

The country has so far reported nine deaths and 1,183 infections. 

Southeast Asia has recorded a total of more than 3,200 positive cases, with the other big centres being Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore and the Philippines.

The army was called in after some people continued to defy the restrictions that came into force on Wednesday, the defence minister said in a briefing after the deployment started at noon.

Afghanistan reports 10 new cases

Afghanistan reported 10 new cases of coronavirus as authorities restricted movement of civilians in the war-torn country, officials said.

Health minister Ferzoddin Feroz said 97 samples were tested in last 24 hours, 10 of them were positive.

The total number of positive cases rose to 34 on Sunday, he said adding two lawmakers were among the suspects and their samples have been sent for test.

"There is fear of a rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in the country, especially in Kabul with around 6 million people," he said.

Thailand reports 188 new cases

Thailand reported 188 new coronavirus infections, its largest daily increase, taking the total to 599 cases, a senior health official said.

The majority of the new infections are connected to a previous cluster of cases from a boxing stadium, Taweesin Wisanuyothin, a Public Health Ministry spokesman, told a news conference adding one patient had recovered.

"Most of the new cases were found in Bangkok and were among young people who continue to have social activities, which can lead to more infections," he said urging the public to stay home.

There has been one death in Thailand.

Sri Lanka police detain 291 violators of curfew

Sri Lanka police say they have detained 291 people for breaching a three-day curfew which has been imposed as part of strict measures designed to contain the spreading of the coronavirus in the Indian Ocean island nation.

Police said the detentions were made by police during patrols to ensure that people stay in their homes. The curfew was imposed on Friday and will end on Tuesday.

Some of them were arrested for boozing at a playground while some were loitering on streets during the curfew.

The government is urging people to stay at homes as the country's number of positive cases have risen to 77.

First two cases confirmed in Gaza

The first two cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Gaza, Palestinian health officials said.

Two Palestinians who had travelled from Pakistan and entered Gaza through Egypt had tested positive for the virus late on Saturday and have been in quarantine in Rafah, a town near the Egyptian border, since their arrival on Thursday, the Gaza health ministry said.

Colombia health ministry confirms first death

Colombia's health ministry late on Saturday [local time]confirmed the country's first death attributed to the coronavirus.

The deceased was a 58-year-old man who worked as a taxi driver in the coastal city of Cartagena, the country's health ministry said in a statement. 

US Vice President, his wife test negative 

US Vice President Pence Mike Pence and his wife have tested negative for coronavirus, his press office said late on Saturday [local time]. 

"Pleased to report that the COVID-19 test results came back negative for both Vice President @Mike_Pence and Second Lady @KarenPence," the vice president's press secretary Katie Miller tweeted. 

Earlier Pence had confirmed he would be tested for the virus after one of his office staffers contracted the illness.

Philippines reports 73 new cases

The Philippines reported 73 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 380, the health ministry said.

It also announced six more deaths related to coronavirus, bringing total fatalities to 25.

India launches curfew

India launched a 14-hour long curfew to limit the fast-spreading coronavirus epidemic in the country, where 315 people have so far been found to have contracted the disease.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in an address to the nation last week urged citizens to stay indoors from 0130 GMT to 1530 GMT - a move that he said would be a crucial test for a country to assess its abilities to fight the pandemic.

South Korea reports 98 new coronavirus cases, total 8,897

 South Korea reported 98 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing national infections to 8,897, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The daily tally showed a continued downward trend in new cases, despite a slight jump on Saturday.

China reports 46 new coronavirus cases, all but one imported

China reported 46 new cases of coronavirus, the fourth straight day of an increase, with all but one of those cases imported from overseas, according to the country's National Health Commission.

The new cases recorded on Saturday compared with 41 reported the previous day.

China has now recorded 81,054 coronavirus cases since the start of the outbreak, and 3,261 deaths, including six on Saturday.

Australian states to consider draconian measures to enforce social distancing

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that states and territories will consider draconian measures to enforce social distancing to combat the coronavirus.

The potential measures, which he said would be discussed later on Sunday, came after thousands of people flocked to Australia's beaches in recent days amid an unusually warm autumn spell.

Most of Sydney's main beaches, including Bondi Beach, were closed on Sunday.

Mexico confirms a total of 251 coronavirus cases, up 48 from prior day

Mexican health authorities said that there are 251 confirmed coronavirus cases in Mexico, 48 more cases than a day earlier.

Panama says two more people have died from coronavirus

Panama's health authorities said that two more people have died from coronavirus, bringing the total number of deaths in the Central American nation to three.

There are 245 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Panama as of Saturday, from 200 a day earlier, the national director of epidemiology Lourdes Moreno said. 

Source: TRTWorld and agencies