In this article, we highlight some of the coronavirus-related news from the weekend of March 21–22, 2020.
To date, more than 340,000 people worldwide have contracted SARS-CoV-2, which is the virus that causes COVID-19. Of these, more than 14,000 have died and almost 100,000 have now recovered.
In this short feature, we provide a snapshot of the global situation, with brief updates from selected countries.
United States: Curtailing movement
The U.S. has now reported 35,000 cases of COVID-19 and 471 associated deaths. New York City alone accounts for around 5% of all cases globally.
On Saturday, the U.S. government advised nearly 1 in 4 people to stay at home. California, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, and New Jersey are now applying strict rules regarding travel. Other states are also urging people to avoid large gatherings.
In Washington, politicians are preparing to inject $1 trillion into the U.S. economy.
China: No new locally transmitted infections
On Sunday, mainland China reported 39 new cases of COVID-19. This is the first drop in numbers after 4 days of increases. All of Sunday’s new cases were in travelers returning from other countries.
The Chinese government is extending their measures to contain and minimize imported infections, screening all passengers who arrive.
Italy: Cases surpass those of China
Italy has now reported more than 5,400 deaths, compared with China’s 3,100. On Sunday, Italy banned travel within the country. They also halted nonessential business activity, such as the motor, clothing, and furniture industries.
On Sunday, however, Italy reported 651 deaths, which is down from Saturday’s 793. Officials hope that this might be a sign that the outbreak is plateauing in the country.
United Kingdom: Government threatens restrictions
The United Kingdom has now reported over 5,700 cases and 281 deaths. Prime Minister Boris Johnson has threatened to impose curfews and travel restrictions if people do not adhere to the government’s social distancing recommendations.
Currently, around 12% of adult critical care beds in U.K. hospitals are occupied by people with COVID-19.
Australia: Beaches closed
As cases in Australia reach 1,676, the government is closing bars, clubs, gyms, and places of worship. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has told citizens to prepare for a shutdown that might last 6 months.
Officials have closed some beaches and told cafes and restaurants that they can offer a takeout service only. Morrison is also planning new measures to enforce social distancing.
Indonesia: Doctors receive bonuses
To date, Indonesia has 579 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 49 deaths — predominantly in the capital, Jakarta.
The government has closed public entertainment venues such as cinemas in Jakarta, which is Southeast Asia’s biggest city. Police officers are poised to disperse large gatherings. Officials are also urging people to work from home if possible.
Indonesia’s president, Joko Widod, has also announced that doctors and medical staff will receive bonuses in the regions of Indonesia that have declared an emergency.
New Zealand: Cases double
Since Friday, New Zealand’s number of reported cases has doubled to 102. To prevent further spread, the country is preparing to impose self-isolation, and schools are closing.
Cafes, museums, pools, cinemas, libraries, playgrounds, and other nonessential businesses are to close. Also, the country recently closed its borders to nonresidents.
India: Prime Minister concerned
To date, India has reported 425 cases and eight deaths. Officials are concerned that an influx of COVID-19 cases could swamp an already struggling health service.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people to stay at home but is concerned that not everyone is taking the threat seriously.
Taiwan: Majority of cases imported
So far, Taiwan has reported 195 cases. Over the weekend, there were 26 new cases — 25 of which were introduced by travelers from the U.S., the Netherlands, Spain, France, Switzerland, and the U.K.
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