On Sunday Health Minister of France said 120 people had now died from COVID-19 in the country, up from 91 on Saturday. Oliver Veran told France 2 television that the number of cases had risen to about 5,400, up from 4,449 on Saturday.
The German government has taken a decision to close Germany’s borders with Denmark, Austria, Switzerland, France and Luxembourg. The German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer said in a press conference in Berlin that the main reason for doing this from 8am on Monday morning, was to slow down the spread of the COVID-19, which was proving to be “fast and aggressive”.
On Sunday Pope Francis reported to have left Vatican City to pray in one of Rome’s cathedrals for victims of the coronavirus pandemic. Pope Francis 83 first visited Rome’s Santa Maria Maggiore basilica and then walked “on foot, as if on a pilgrimage” to the San Marcello al Corso church, the Vatican said in a statement.
The statement said Pope Francis selected the church because it holds a “miraculous crucifix which, in 1522, was carried in procession through the districts of the city” to mark the end of the Great Plague.
The pope prayed for “the end of the pandemic that affects Italy and the world, imploring for the healing of the many sick, and remembering the many victims,” the Vatican said.
Iraq has suspended all flights to and from Baghdad airport for a week as of Tuesday, the government said in a statement on Sunday. The government imposed a curfew in the capital Baghdad over the same period earlier in the day. At least 110 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed so far in Iraq, and 10 people have died.
The government has also imposed a curfew in the capital Baghdad as of 17 March until 24 March to prevent coronavirus from spreading, the state news agency said on Sunday.
At least 110 cases have been confirmed so far in Iraq, and 10 people have died. A number of schools in Scotland are closing from Monday due to coronavirus outbreaks. Scotland has 153 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to the latest figures. One person has died after testing positive.
South Africa has declared a national disaster and introduced a series of drastic measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak. In a televised address on Sunday, South African President Cyril Ramaphosa told South Africans that the greatest danger lay in “fear and ignorance”.
“Never before in the history of our democracy has South Africa faced such a severe situation,” Ramaphosa said, as he announced a package of travel bans and additional support to health services.
The current total of cases in the country now stands at over 60, with internal transmission of the virus becoming more common. A travel ban will be imposed on flights to and from Italy, Spain, Germany, UK, the US, South Korea, Iran and China from the 18th.
In an address to the nation, president Cyril Ramaphosa said South African citizens were being advised not to travel to any of those countries, and said any person who has done will be tested and put in self-isolation or quarantine. Any visitors who have been in one of the high-risk countries in the past 20 days will be denied a visa. Schools will also be closed from Wednesday
Any current visas will be cancelled, Ramaphosa said, and South Africans returning from high risk countries will be placed in self-quarantine. In addition, gatherings of more than 100 will be prohibited, schools shut from Wednesday until after Easter and South Africans asked not to travel by any means of public transport. This last measure – a request, not an order – will effectively immobilise the vast majority of the population who do not own a car.
Ramaphosa also described measures to ramp up medical provision – a major concern in a country with an under-resourced health service – and to protect business from the impact of the shutdown. Tourism is a major earner in South Africa, and significant numbers of jobs are likely to be lost. The flagging economy of South Africa is ill-placed to withstand further strain, with soaring unemployment, a weakening currency and key utilities crippled by debt.
Republic of Ireland
Forty new confirmed cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in the Republic of Ireland. The new cases include 23 males and 17 females. Twenty-five are associated with the east of the country, nine are associated with the west and six are associated with the south. There are now 169 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in the Republic and there have been two deaths.
As well as the rise in the death toll from from 1,441 to 1,809 on Sunday, Italian authorities also confirmed the number of infected in the country has risen by 2,853 to 20,603. Meanwhile the overall total of cases, including those recovered is 24,747.
The government’s official coronavirus death toll rose by 152 overnight to 288. The number infected rose by 2,000 new cases to 7,753.
On Sunday Luxembourg just like its neighbours France and Belgium closed bars and restaurants in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus epidemic. Prime Minister Xavier Bettel said that, from midnight, bars and restaurants would be closed but grocery shops, pharmacies and other essential businesses could remain open. He called on citizens to limit their movements to travelling to work, food shopping, medical appointments and visits to help the elderly. The over-65s – who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19 – were urged to stay at home to reduce the risk of infection.
“They must cancel their activities and limit what is not essential,” Bettel said after an emergency meeting of his government. Swimming pools, museums, sports centres, night clubs, libraries and cinemas are also to be closed to try to stop the transmission of the virus.
The tiny Grand Duchy has reported 77 cases of the virus and one death so far.
Source – Guardian