300,000 Sick Worldwide With COVID-19, Beijing Diverts All Planes

Source: StraitsTimes, CNBC

The number of people who have tested positive for the deadly coronavirus, or COVID-19, has topped 300,000 as the pandemic continues to spread around the world, with the situation in the U.S., Italy and Spain deteriorating.

At least 303,180 people have tested positive for the virus worldwide as of Saturday at 5:13 pm ET, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The number of cases in the U.S. has surged to at least 24,148, making it one of the worst hit countries in the world.

Italy saw its worst day so far, with 793 confirmed deaths and 6,557 confirmed cases, according to the Associated Press. The country has a total of 53,578 cases and at least 4,825 deaths, the most fatalities of any country.

Spain, meanwhile, lost more than 300 people to the virus in one day, bringing its death toll to at least 1,375. The total number of confirmed cases in the country now stands at 25,374.

Beijing Diverts All Flights

China on Sunday (March 22) reported 46 new cases of the coronavirus, the fourth straight day with an increase, with all but one of those imported from overseas, and further stepped up measures to intercept cases from abroad as the outbreak worsens globally.

While China has drastically reduced the number of reported domestically transmitted cases the one reported on Sunday was the first in four days it is seeing a steady rise in imported cases, mostly from Chinese people returning from abroad.

In a sign of how seriously China is taking the threat of imported cases, all international flights due to arrive in Beijing starting Monday will first land at another airport, where passengers will undergo virus screening, government agencies said on Sunday, in an expansion of existing measures.

International flights that were scheduled to arrive in the capital will land instead at one of 12 airports

Passengers who clear screening will then be permitted to reboard the plane, which will then fly to Beijing, the regulator said.

Separately, Shanghai and Guangzhou both announced that all arriving international passengers will undergo an RNA test to screen for the  coronavirus, expanding a programme  that previously only applied to those coming from heavily-hit countries.