COVID-19: Pandemic Accelerating; '100,000 Cases in 4 Days': WHO

Source: People's Daily, Xinhua, CGTN, China Daily, Global Times, CBS, iFeng, Baidu, Global  News Agencies, Majdi


Italy deaths rise by 602 for the day

The death toll in Italy has risen by 602 to a total of 6,078. 

Meanwhile, the numbers of cases in the country, one of the worst-hit in the world, rose to 63,928 from 59,138. 

Italy's National Health Service said Monday that 4,824 health care workers in the country have contracted the new coronavirus.  That represents 9% of all coronavirus infections in Italy, more than double the figure reported in China.  As of Monday, 19 Italian doctors have died with the disease.

On Saturday, the daily reported deaths reached a high since the outbreak began of 793. On Sunday, there were 651 reported deaths. 

WHO Warns: "Pandemic is Accelerating"

The World Health Organization on Monday said the pandemic is accelerating. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director-general of WHO, said it took 67 days from the first case to reach 100,000 cases, 11 days for the second 100,000 cases and four days for the next 100,000 cases.

But he said that "we are not helpless bystanders. We can change the trajectory of this pandemic."

2020 Olympics Postponed, IOC Member Says

Olympics Tokyo 2020 Games will be postponed, says IOC member 

The International Olympic Committee has decided to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Games because of the coronavirus pandemic, IOC member Dick Pound has said.

Major sporting nations Australia and Canada had already withdrawn on Monday as organisers came under global pressure to postpone the event for the first time in its 124-year modern history. Switzerland, Iran also  joined the call for postponement. 

"On the basis of the information the IOC has, postponement has been decided," Pound said in the USA Today newspaper. "The parameters going forward have not been determined, but the Games are not going to start on July 24, that much I know."

Pound told Reuters news agency that a one-year postponement looked like the best solution. This would mean the Games, which had been scheduled for July 24-Aug. 9, are likely to be held in the summer of 2021.

A Rush of Local News

China to ban entry for foreigners who not meet requirements

China's National Immigration Administration said on Monday that foreigners who do not meet the entry requirements, do not truthfully answer the inspectors' questions, do not truthfully fill in information or do not go through the required procedures will not be allowed to enter the country.

Chinas National Health Commission said there were 78 new confirmed cases, of which 74 were imported. Another seven people died, all of them in Hubei province. 

Beijing reported 31 imported COVID-19 cases and one local case that was infected by an imported case from abroad.

Shanghai reported 9 imported COVID-19 cases and one local newly confirmed case which was infected by imported case on Monday. The one is a Shanghai resident and had close contacts with an imported case when visiting Guangdong. The case becomes the second local newly confirmed case that was infected by an imported case in China, after another one reported in Guangdong.

After five days of zero new cases, central China's Hubei Province reported one new COVID-19 case on Monday. 

Huangshi City in Hubei Province, one of the worst-hit areas by the novel coronavirus, has become the first city in the province to resume normal life, according to a notice issued Sunday night by the local disease prevention and control department. Starting Monday, all forms of personal and public transportation, which have been strictly restricted for the past two months, have resumed, and most businesses are allowed to reopen to the public.

A Rush of News

New Zealand is preparing for a complete lockdown from Thursday. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has tested negative for coronavirus, her spokesman has said.

The West African states of Senegal and Ivory Coast have each declared a state of emergency. 

Cyprus announces lockdown until April 13, saying the movement of people will be banned until then unless absolutely necessary.

Algeria will impose a curfew to combat the coronavirus in the capital Algiers from 7 pm to 7 am and a full lockdown in the town of Blida, centre of the worst outbreak in the country, with both measures starting on Tuesday and lasting for 10 days. 

Sudan will impose a nationwide curfew every night starting on Tuesday, beginning at 8 pm (1800 GMT) and lasting until 6 am. 

The United Arab Emirates has told all its students studying abroad to return home within 48 hours as a precautionary measure due to coronavirus fears, state news agency WAM reported.

EU finance ministers have agreed to suspend the bloc's stringent rules on running public deficits, a historic first that allows crisis-struck governments to spend freely to tackle the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.  

The Czech Republic has extended an order closing most shops and restaurants and limiting people's movement until April 1. 

Denmark will extend until April 13 a nationwide lockdown that has closed schools and restaurants and kept most public sector workers at home.

IndiaAll domestic flights will stop from Tuesday midnight, India's federal government announced.

Uzbekistan will lock down its capital city Tashkent from March 24.

Hong Kong bans all non-resident arrivals. 

Saudi Arabia's King Salman announced a nationwide dusk-to-dawn curfew from Monday in a bid to limit the spread of the new coronavirus. The curfew - from 7pm to 6am - will be imposed for 21 days. 

At least three doctors have died in the Philippines where thousands of medics bravely worked to treat patients despite a lack of protective gear, officials said.

Harvey Weinstein, the former movie producer jailed for sexual assault and rape, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an official at the prison officers union.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced Monday that Japan will require all visitors from the United States to be quarantined for 14 days. That includes Japanese and Americans and is effective Thursday through the end of April.

Nigeria is closing its land borders for four weeks to prevent the spread of coronavirus, President Muhammadu Buharis spokesperson said Monday.

Countries Confirming First Case/death

Zimbabwe has recorded the first death, the patient is a 30-year-old man who had recently travelled abroad and had a pre-existing condition.

Nigeria reported its first death a 67 year old male who returned home following medical treatment in UK. He had underlying medical conditions. 

Montenegro records first death. A 65-year old man died shortly after his arrival at a hospital in the capital Podgorica on Sunday night.

Myanmar has reported their first two coronavirus cases. Authorities say they are imported cases from the U.S. and the UK.

UK PM: "You must stay at home"

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has ordered all residents to stay home and for non-essential businesses to close for at least three weeks.  "I must give the British people a very simple instruction: You must stay at home," Johnson said in an address to the nation.

People are only allowed to leave their homes for shopping for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day, any medical need, and traveling to and from work "but only where this is absolutely necessary and cannot be done from home".

Johnson said police will enforce the rules with "fines and dispersing gatherings". 

He also ordered all non-essential shops to close and said gatherings of more than two people are banned, except for funerals.  

Meanwhile, Monday the number of people who have died from COVID-19 in England has risen by 46, bringing the death toll 303, according to the National Health Service. 

"We are strongly urging UK travellers overseas to return home now where and while there are still commercial routes to do so," foreign minister Dominic Raab said in a statement. 

France to Tighten Lockdown

France is to tighten its lockdown imposed to battle the coronavirus, strictly limiting physical exercise and closing most open-air markets. 

Philippe told TF1 TV in a live interview that he would later sign a decree banning from Tuesday physical exercise such as jogging more than one kilometre (0.6 miles) from a person's place of residence and also halting open-air markets, although local authorities could request exemptions in exceptional cases.

Meanwhile, French health authorities have reported 186 new deaths from coronavirus, taking the total to 860 or an increase of 28 percent, with the toll rising more sharply than the last three days as the country is about to enter its second week of lockdown.

During a press conference, Health Minister Olivier Veran added the number of cases had risen to 19,856, which is a rise of about 20 percent in 24 hours.

South Africa 21-day Lockdown from Midnight Thursday

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has said that the government would impose a nationwide 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

In an address to the nation, Ramaphosa said the army would be deployed to assist the police during the lockdown. South Africans will still be able to leave their homes to buy food, seek medical care and collect social grants, Ramaphosa added.

US Records 550 Deaths, Cases Over 43,600

There are more than 43,600 cases across the U.S., and more than 550 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University. 

The US states are starting to adopt lockdown measures similar to China. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis on Monday said he will issue an executive order to require anyone traveling from New York and New Jersey to self-quarantine for 14 days. There are over than 190 daily flights from New York to Florida.

Elsewhere in the US; three staff members at facilities that care for unaccompanied migrant children in U.S. custody, as well as one foster parent, have now tested positive for the coronavirus, federal officials said Monday. The three work at two different facilities in New York. 

Medical personnel take medical samples from patients at a 'drive-thru' coronavirus testing lab set up by local community centre in West Palm Beach, Florida [Chandan Khanna/AFP]

Switzerland cases rise by 956 to 8,060

Swiss health authorities reported 956 more coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of people tested positive in Switzerland and Liechtenstein to 8,060.

The number of deaths rose by six from Sunday to 66, the Federal Office of Public Health said.

Brazil Stadiums to Turn Into Field Hospitals

An aerial view of Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil [Buda Mendes/Getty Images]

Brazil's top football clubs are handing over their stadiums to health authorities to turn them into field hospitals and clinics to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

With football in the country suspended until further notice, more than half of the 20 teams in Brazil's Series A have given up their stadiums as authorities in densely populated Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro seek to expand hospital capacity to deal with the crisis.

Current South American champions Flamengo also confirmed it is giving control of their famous Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro to health authorities.

"In this grim moment, I wanted to invite our great Red and Black nation to renew hope and work for better days. Let us take care of our elders, help those who need it most," club president Rodolfo Landim wrote in a message to supporters.

Germany Reports Early Progress with new infection rate "flattening off slightly"

The drastic measures imposed in Germany to slow the spread of the new coronavirus have begun to have an effect. While the number of new cases continues to rise, the head of the country's public health agency says the rate of increase is slowing.

"We are seeing signs that the exponential growth curve is flattening off slightly," Lothar Wieler, President of the Robert Koch Institute, said Monday. He cautioned that he would only be able to confirm the positive trend with more data by mid-week, but said: "I am optimistic that the measures are already having an effect, which is very early because they have only been in place for a week."

US Develops Self-Collect CoronaVirus Swabs

Vials and swabs sit in bins at a coronavirus testing center in Newton, Massachusetts, on March 18. Adam Glanzman/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence said the Food and Drug Administration has approved self-collected samples for Covid-19 testing, which he said would reduce the strain on medical supplies and professionals.

Im pleased to report that self-collected swabs can now be collected in clinics and drive-through testing sites, Pence said.

Trudeau tells Canadians: "Enough is enough. Go home and stay home."

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, speaking from his home in Ottawa on Monday, had a message for Canadians who choose to ignore social distancing advice: "Enough is enough. Go home and stay home." 

Trudeau reiterated the need for self-distancing, saying, "If you choose to ignore that advice, if you choose to get together with people or go to crowded places, you are not just putting yourself at risk, you are putting others at risk too."

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