Coronavirus: Latest updates from across the world

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Covid-19 has infected hundreds of thousands of people across the globe.

Here are the latest updates:

– IRAN

Iran has reported another 127 coronavirus-related deaths, bringing its toll to 1,812 amid 23,049 confirmed cases.

Iran is battling the worst outbreak in the Middle East, and has faced criticism for not imposing stricter quarantine measures early on. It is also suffering under severe American sanctions imposed after President Donald Trump withdrew the US from Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

(PA Graphics)
(PA Graphics)

Read on...

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– SWITZERLAND

The World Health Organisation (WHO) said criminals are increasingly posing as WHO officials in an effort to swipe information or money from people during the coronavirus crisis.

Spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said that they are using “multiple impersonation approaches” such as fraudulent phone calls and phishing on email and through social media.

The UN health agency said it is working to confirm and debunk such attempts and alert local authorities. It has set up a website to help people prevent fraud during the coronavirus outbreak.

“Always take time to think about a request for your personal information, and whether the request is appropriate,” the WHO said.

– CHINA

China’s foreign ministry said the US is “completely wasting the precious time” Beijing had won in attacking the global coronavirus outbreak that originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said at a daily briefing that the US has attempted to “discredit others and look for a scapegoat to shift its responsibilities”.

He added that the US should “stop politicising the epidemic, stop stigmatising and defaming China and other countries”.

A man wearing a face mask walks through a quiet retail district in Beijing
A man wearing a face mask walks through a quiet retail district in Beijing (Ng Han Guan/AP)

China’s health ministry said Wuhan has now gone five consecutive days without a new infection, showing the effectiveness of draconian travel restrictions that are slowly being relaxed around the country.

At the same time, China is stepping up measures to prevent the virus from being brought back from overseas, requiring international flights into Beijing to first stop at airports outside the capital for inspection.

– ALBANIA

Albania has reported three more deaths related to the coronavirus. The country did not report a single case until two weeks ago, and had said that it expected a surge in cases this week.

Albania is in a lockdown, with all borders closed, and schools, cafes, restaurants, gyms, and public and private transport shut. All shops except for groceries and pharmacies are also closed.

– POLAND

Polish police said they have carried out inspections of nearly 80,000 people subjected to forced quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic and found 318 cases of people violating the quarantine.

A chain secures the gates to Warsaw’s popular Lazienki Park
A chain secures the gates to Warsaw’s popular Lazienki Park (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

The Polish government has enacted increasingly firm measures in order to slow the spread of Covid-19. Last week the government increased penalties for quarantine non-compliance. The authorities also extended an initial two-week closure of all schools in the country for an additional two weeks, lasting through Easter.

Additionally, they introduced a phone app to track those in home quarantine.

So far, Poland, with a population of 38 million people, has 649 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and seven deaths.

– UNITED STATES

The US Secret Service said an employee has tested positive for the coronavirus.

The agency said in a statement that it will continue to monitor the employee’s condition. The employee is in quarantine.

The agency said it determined after an assessment that the employee has had no contact with other employees or anyone the agency is responsible for protecting for nearly three weeks.

The Secret Service provides security protection for president Donald Trump and his family, among other high-ranking US officials.

– SRI LANKA

Sri Lanka’s government has banned non-essential travel across the Indian Ocean island nation, in the latest measure to contain the spread of coronavirus.

The government is allowing the transport of rice and other essential items.

Also, a statement from the president’s office said the government has banned the transporting of tourists. Tourism is a major income source for the country.

– NEW ZEALAND

Office workers have been hauling computers and plants to their cars and shoppers are stripping shelves of coffee, flour and toilet paper before New Zealand starts a four-week lockdown.

“I know it will feel daunting,” said prime minister Jacinda Ardern, but she said the move was meant to save lives.

People must stay home and all non-essential businesses and activities cease when the lockdown begins on Wednesday night.

The decision came as health officials announced another 36 confirmed cases of Covid-19, bringing the total to 102. Most were tied to travel overseas, but crucially, two of the cases could not be traced and officials believe they are evidence of a local outbreak.

New Zealand, which has a population of five million, already has closed its borders to all but citizens and residents.

New Zealand also considers itself a gateway to South Pacific island nations that would be devastated if the virus took hold there, given their isolation and poor health systems. Only a handful of virus cases have been identified so far in the South Pacific, including two in Fiji and one in Papua New Guinea.

– PAKISTAN

Authorities in southern Pakistan have begun a two-week complete lockdown, as the number of positive coronavirus tests jumped to 799 across the country.

Murad Ali Shah, the chief minister in the southern Sindh province, has imposed a ban on the movement of people, saying the measure was aimed at saving lives.

However, prime minister Imran Khan has avoided a nationwide lockdown, but he urged people to stay at home voluntarily.

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