COVID-19: WHO: Global Pandemic: Tom Hanks, NBA, EU-US Travel!!

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


World Health Organization Declares Coronavirus a Pandemic

The World Health Organization just declared the novel coronavirus outbreak to be a pandemic

The novel coronavirus outbreak is the first pandemic caused by a coronavirus, WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Wednesday. 

"Describing the situation as a pandemic does not change WHOs assessment of the threat posed by this coronavirus. It doesnt change what WHO is doing, and it doesnt change what countries should do," he added.

Italy to close All Shops & Venues

Italy will close all restaurants, bars and shops across the country in an effort to curb the spread of coronavirus, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced on Wednesday.

Only pharmacies and supermarkets will be allowed to remain open, Conte added.

Restaurants will be allowed to be operational for food deliveries, but companies will be required to implement remote working for all jobs, except those that require physical presence, Conte added.

Meanwhile, Claudio Pedrazzini, member of Italian Chamber of Deputies, became the first person from the Italian parliament to test positive for the novel coronavirus, Italian media reported on Wednesday. Pedrazzini is from the region of Lombardy, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy. Pedrazzini said that besides having a mild fever, he's in good condition.

BREAKING: USA Suspends Travel From Europe

In an address to the nation Wednesday night, President Trump promised to deliver the "most aggressive and comprehensive effort to combat a virus" in modern history. The announcement included: A ban on travel from Europe for 30 days. The ban starts Friday at midnight, and does not apply to the United Kingdom.

BREAKING: NBA Suspends Season after Player Tests Positive

The NBA suspended its season after a player tested positive for the coronavirus, the league announced in a statement Wednesday. The test result was reported before the cancellation of Wednesday night's game between the Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. 

The player was not present at the game, the league said.

BREAKING: Tom Hanks Announces He and Rita Wilson Have Coronavirus

Tom Hanks announced Wednesday night that he and his wife Rita Wilson were diagnosed with coronavirus while traveling in Australia. 

First death in Ireland, Sweden, Indonesia & Belgium

Ireland has had its first death related to coronavirus, the government said in a statement on Wednesday.

Sweden announced its first coronavirus-related death on Wednesday afternoon. The elderly patient was treated in the intensive care unit of the Karolinska Institute just outside of Stockholm.

Belgium: A 90-year-old passed away in a Brussels hospital, Health Minister Maggie De Block said in comments reported by Belga news agency.

Indonesia:  A 53-year-old woman has died from coronavirus in Indonesia, the country's first recorded death from the virus.

China Customs Releases New Health Declaration Requirements 

On March 11, according to the website of the General Administration of Customs, the fourth edition of the "Entry / Exit Health Declaration Form of the People's Republic of China" has been officially launched since March 3. To know more about this and how expats can fill the new form online; view today's 4th news slot in this official account. 

New Restrictions

Kuwait will halt all commercial flights to and from the Gulf Arab state starting on Friday until further notice, with the exception of cargo flights.

Lebanon will halt all flights and other travel to and from Italy, South Korea, China, and Iran. 

Russia has decided to suspend most flights to and from Italy, Germany, France and Spain, starting from Friday.

Guatemala will ban the entry of European citizens.

Hungary has banned inbound travel from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China for non-Hungarians. The ban on travel will come into effect immediately,

Merkel: Virus Will Infect Up to 70 percent of Germans

German Chancellor Angela Merkel cited expert estimates that up to 70 percent of the population could be infected by the coronavirus. "You have to understand that if the virus is there, and the population has no immunity yet to this virus, there are no vaccines and no therapy so far, a high percentage - experts say 60 to 70 percent - of the population will be infected," Merkel said at a news conference in Berlin.

Dow Tumbles into a bear market

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 1,467 points, or 5.9%. The 30-stock average closed more than 20% below the record highs set last month. A 20% decline is considered a bear market on Wall Street. However, most investors dont recognize it officially until the index does it on a closing basis. The Dow did so on Wednesday, whereas the S&P 500 is just above that closing threshold.  

The S&P 500 is more than 19% from its closing record and ended the day 4.9% lower. The Nasdaq Composite fell 4.7% and was also about 19% below its all-time high. Imbert

Up to 150 Million Americans are Expected to Contract the Coronavirus, Congressional Doctor Says

Dr. Brian Monahan, the attending physician of Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court, said he expects 70 million to 150 million people in the United States will become infected with COVID-19, NBC News reported, citing two sources. Monahan made the comments to Senate staff during a closed-door meeting Tuesday afternoon, according to NBC News. The meeting did not include senators and was for administrative office staff and personnel from both parties, NBC News reported. 

Beijing to Screen Arrivals from Overseas


Beijing will set up a settlement point in suburb Shunyi, which will operate 24 hours, to screen overseas arrivals, and coordinate with other provinces and municipalities to conduct escort work as part of COVID-19 epidemic control efforts.

Those from non COVID-19-stricken countries and regions who come to Beijing need to undertake 14-day mandatory quarantine. Those on short-term business trips need to stay at designated hotels and take nucleic acid tests: Beijing authority. 

The capital city reported six new imported novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases on Tuesday, local health authorities said Wednesday. Five of the confirmed cases are from Italy, and one is from the United States, according to the Beijing Municipal Health Commission.

Two New Technologies Kill COVID-19 Virus 

The research team of Hong Kong University of Science and Technology has developed an anti-bactericidal coating that can kill coronavirus of COVID-19 and other viruses, and it has been used in over local 70 kindergartens, primary and secondary schools, elderly homes. The coating can also be applied in other venues including shopping malls, school buses, churches and sports training facilities.

Read more here:

Meanwhile in Hong Kong; researchers developed air purifier technology that can kill the COVID-19 virus

The household system, which is available on the retail market and costs up to HK$3,000, uses a multilevel antimicrobial filter covered with a specific type of biocide that can be released slowly and continuously. Meanwhile, a non-stick coating prevents bacteria growth, which allows each filter to be used for up to two years, compared with other filters which last up to six months.

India Suspends All Tourist Visas

India will suspend all tourist visas to stop the spread of novel coronavirus, according to a statement from the government today. 

"All existing visas, except diplomatic, official, UN/ international organizations, employment, project visas, stand suspended till 15th April 2020," the government's Press Information Bureau said in the statement. 

Yunnan Offers up to 10,000 Yuan Reward for Reporting Wild Animals Consumption


Yunnan Province issued a notice offering financial rewards of up to 10,000 Yuan for reporting illegal hunt, trade or consumption of wild animals. 

Lufthansa airline cancels 23,000 flights in April

Lufthansa has canceled 23,000 short-, medium- and long-haul flights between March 29 and April 24 because of coronavirus. The German airline says the cancellations will mainly impact flights in Europe, Asia and the Middle East. It is warning that further cancellations are expected in the coming weeks.

Panama Orders Temporary Closure of all Schools 

Panama's government has ordered the temporary closure of all schools, public and private, due to coronavirus concerns, the health minister said.

Denmark Shuts Schools and Universities

Denmark will close all schools, universities and daycare facilities in the coming days to curb the spread of coronavirus, the country's prime minister said. In addition, all employees in the public sector with non-critical jobs are to be sent home starting Friday, Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said at a news conference.

Iran's VP Eshaq Jahangiri stricken by coronavirus

Iran's senior vice president and two other cabinet members have the new coronavirus, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

Thailand Cancels All Visas on Arrival

Thailand will stop issuing visas on arrival for visitors from all countries that were previously eligible for them and will also cancel visa exemptions for visitors from South Korea, Italy and Hong Kong.

GLAAD Media Awards canceled

The GLAAD Media Awards have been canceled because of concerns over coronavirus.

24 US States Declared a State of Emergency

Arizona, New Mexico, Louisiana, Arkansas and Washington, DC, all made their declarations on Tuesday, March 11.

Here is a breakdown of when the other states made their declarations:

Michigan  March 10

Vermont  March 10

North Carolina  March 10

Massachusetts  March 10

Colorado  March 10

Ohio  March 9

Illinois  March 9

Rhode island  March 9

New Jersey  March 9

Oregon  March 8

New York  March 7

Pennsylvania  March 6

Utah  March 6

Kentucky  March 6

Indiana  March 6

Hawaii  March 5

Maryland  March 5

California  March 4

Florida  March 1

Italian Football Player Tests Positive

Football player Daniele Rugani who plays for the Italian team Juventus, which is based in the northern city of Turin, has tested positive for coronavirus, the club said in a statement on Wednesday.

20% of Students Across the World are Out of School

The United Nations estimates that the coronavirus crisis is now impacting close to 363 million students worldwide. Schools and colleges across the globe have closed some moving to online only classes to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.


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