World News

New lockdowns, emergency states & deaths: Coronavirus keeps impacting lives

Around the globe, the outbreak of the new coronavirus continues to impact the lives of people, forcing governments to take measures unprecedented in peacetime.

As of Tuesday, the total number of infected people across the world reached 418,000, and the deaths 18,600, according to new data collected by the Johns Hopkins University.

India locks down entire population of 1.33 billion

In an extraordinary measure on Tuesday, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi ordered his country’s population of 1.33 billion to stay inside their homes for 21 days, starting Wednesday.

“There will be a total ban of coming out of your home,” Modi said in a televised speech, warning that “many families will be destroyed forever” if the country didn’t seriously tackle its coronavirus outbreak in the next three weeks.

India, the world’s second most populous country and fifth biggest economy, has so far reported 519 cases of COVID-19, and 10 deaths, according to its Ministry of Health.

The government has also closed international borders to most travelers coming from Europe.

It was not clear how the Indian people would be able to buy food and other essentials during the three weeks of the total lockdown — especially in a society where countless millions of people live in packed urban areas with poor sanitation and public healthcare.

New Zealand declares national emergency

New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern declared a state of national emergency on Wednesday, saying the country would go on lockdown for four weeks.

“From midnight tonight, we bunker down for four weeks to try and stop the virus in its tracks, to break the chain,” Ardern told parliament.

“Make no mistake, this will get worse before it gets better,” she said. “We will have a lag and cases will increase for the next week or so. Then we’ll begin to know how successful we have been.”

The total confirmed infections in New Zealand surged to 205 after 50 new cases were reported on Wednesday.

Under the restrictions, all non-essential services, restaurants, bars, cafes, gyms, cinemas, pools, museums, libraries, playgrounds, and any other place where the public would congregate will be closed.

The prime minister warned that the restrictions would be strictly enforced.

Australia restricts gatherings

In neighboring Australia, officials announced new restrictions late Tuesday to limit the number of people at weddings to five and at funerals to 10.

More non-essential businesses will also be closed.

South Korea tightens border checks for US travelers

South Korea said it would tighten border checks for travelers from the United States by Friday amid the rise of imported coronavirus cases in America.

The South, which reported a decline in locally transmitted infections, also imposed strict border checks on visitors from Europe, China, Italy, and Iran.

The restrictions require the travelers to sign up to a smartphone application that tracks potential symptoms.

A two-week mandatory quarantine for all long-term arrivals from Europe also took effect last Thursday.

As of Wednesday morning, the number of new cases in the country jumped by 100, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It also reported six new deaths.

Italy’s death toll jumps again

Fatalities in Italy once again jumped by 743 on Tuesday, bringing the total death toll in the country to 6,820.

The last fatality figure in Italy had been 793, the highest one-day tally anywhere in the world.

Italy now has a total of 69,176 infected patients.

The latest data has dashed hopes that the epidemic was easing after two weeks of a lockdown in the country.

China has more imported cases

China, where the disease first emerged last year and spread to the rest of the world, reported 47 new cases on Tuesday.

China’s National Health Commission (NHC), which also reported four deaths, said all the new infections had been imported from abroad.

That brings China’s total infections to 81,218, and its fatalities to 3,281.

Meanwhile, Chinese media reported that President Xi Jinping would take part in a videoconference of leaders from the Group of 20 major economies on Thursday.

UN urges G20 to adopt wartime plan

United Nations (UN) Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged leaders of the world’s 20 major industrialized nations, the G20, to adopt a wartime plan to tackle the health crisis.

In a letter to the G20 leaders, Guterres said member states had to create conditions and mobilize the resources necessary to ensure that developing countries would have equal opportunities to respond to this crisis.

He warned that “anything short of this commitment would lead to a pandemic of apocalyptic proportions affecting us all.”

The countries of G20 account for 85 percent of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), according to Guterres.

Libya confirms first case

Elsewhere in the world, Libya confirmed its first case on Tuesday, raising concerns that an outbreak could overwhelm the healthcare of the war-ravaged country.

COVID-19 reaches Myanmar through US, UK

Myanmar also reported its first two cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday.

The two men had recently traveled to the United States and the United Kingdom.

“Investigation is ongoing on history of people who have been in contact with these two patients,” Myanmar’s Health Ministry said.

The South Asian country, which shares a long border with China, closed its land borders last week and banned mass gatherings.

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