The world’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic has been ramped up as Lebanon announced plans to temporarily close its borders, Israel’s president was tested for coronavirus and the US Federal Reserve slashed interest rates for the second time in a fortnight.
Italy’s death toll has seen a huge rise in the number of deaths from the virus. On Saturday it stood at 1,441 people, but the latest figures put it at 1,809.
Most cases in the region of Lombardy, Italy’s worst affected region, have been in small towns in areas like Bergamo and Brescia, but there have been fears of a major spread into Milan, which could overwhelm hospitals.
‘The big challenge will be to see how far we can succeed in keeping Milan, the metropolitan area, away from a mass phenomenon with the disease,’ said Massimo Galli, head of the infectious diseases unit at Milan’s Sacco hospital.
Italy remains Europe’s worst-hit country for the spread of coronavirus, while Kenya became the first east African country to be hit by the fatal disease earlier this week. Case numbers and death rates continue to rise around the globe as countries introduce new measures to stop the disease spreading
Gilets Jaunes protesters ignored advice and protested in the French capital on Saturday. There were clashes between 70 of the Yellow vests and police. Tear gas was dispersed to use rioters from the streets of Paris
Self isolating Italians in the Garbatella district of Rome have been keeping each other busy with flash mobs. Neighbours hold lights, candles and mobile flashlights at their windows and balconies in a sign of solidarity
This elderly woman was pictured shopping for food in Tel Aviv, Israel, today. President Benjamin Netanyahu has encouraged the public not to go to their workplaces unless absolutely necessary. President Netanyahu’s office today confirmed he had been tested and given the all-clear for coronavirus
A homeless man is disinfected in Tehran today as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus. Homeless men and women were disinfected and their body temperatures were checked when they arrived at a shelter in the Iranian capital today
Beirut’s waterfront promenade, along the Mediterranean Sea, is mostly empty after municipal policemen ordered people to leave. Policemen could be seen patrolling the waterfront today telling people to leave. From Wednesday the country will temporarily close its airport, borders, and ports, it announced today
Days after being given the all-clear, Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro greeted supporters in front of the Planalto Palace, Brasilia today. He took selfies and shook hands without wearing a mask or any protective gear
Countries in Africa are preparing for the knock-on effect the disease will have on their economies. Morocco’s King Mohammed VI ordered the creation of a 10billion dirham ($1billion) fund to upgrade his country’s health infrastructure and support vulnerable economic sectors, the royal cabinet said on Sunday.
The country, which has 28 confirmed coronavirus cases, has closed schools and cancelled all events where more than 50 people were due to attend.
South African president Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of emergency on Sunday after 61 people were revealed to be infected.
In a live television broadcast after a special cabinet meeting, Ramaphosa said the outbreak, first detected on March 5, could have a significant and ‘potentially lasting’ impact on a struggling economy, which is already in recession.
Measures to be taken include travel bans to countries such as Italy, Germany, China and the United States. The government will also prohibit gatherings of more than 100 people and cancel large events and celebrations, he said.
Central banks in Egypt and Saudi Arabia on Sunday said they were ready to intervene if necessary.
The state of Victoria in Australia has declared its own state of emergency. It will be effective from midday on Monday and last for four weeks.
“It is likely that the state of emergency will be extended and will be in place for as long as it needs to be,” the state’s Premier Daniel Andrews told reporters in Melbourne.
Australia imposed a 14-day self-isolation on international travellers arriving from midnight Sunday and banned cruise ships from foreign ports for 30 days as it intensified its efforts to contain the contagion.
In a similar approach, Lebanon will temporarily shut its airports, borders, and ports from Wednesday until March 29, the country’s information minister said on Sunday.
Thousands of Phillipin police, backed by the army and coast guard, have started sealing off Quezon city. A trooper can be seen checking a man’s temperature before he enters the metropolis earlier today
The Vietnam government has ordered the public, including visiting tourists, to wear face masks when out on the streets. Tourists here are pictured out in Hanoi today. Vietnam has 57 cases of coronavirus with no deaths in the country
Bars and clubs such as this one in Hanoi, Vietnam, have been ordered to close by the country’s government. Similar action has been taken in other countries from Costa Rica to Ireland
Staff at Rabat, Morocco’s wholesale vegetable market carried out a deep clean today. Authorities in the north African country have started to clean up and sterilise markets as part of measures to contain the spread of coronavirus
Stranded European pasengers at Marrakesh Airport await special flights to take them home from Morocco today. Morocco said it had decided to suspend all international commercial flights ‘until further notice’
The country, which borders Syria and Israel, will also close all non-essential public institutions and ask that most private companies suspend work and people remain in their homes except for ‘extreme necessity’.
In neighbouring Israel, it has been revealed today that prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not contracted coronavirus.
Netanyahu was asymptomatic before undergoing the test, which was also administered to officials working close to him, his office said in a statement today.
In Vietnam, all arrivals from coronavirus-hit areas are being tested and placed in compulsory quarantine.
Vietnamese people, and visiting foreigners, are required to wear face masks in public places.
Schools remained shut nationwide. Cinemas, clubs and bars, massage parlours, karaoke shops and online game centres in urban cities are required to close until the end of March.
Players for Brazillian football side Gremio wore face masks as they walked onto the field at the Arena do Gremio stadium in Porto Alegre today. The match was played behind closed doors like many others around the world today, including Besiktas v Galatasary in Turkey
Thousands of people gathered on Ipanema beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, today, while the government announced new measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak
Laboratory specialists in Kenya don protective gear on Sunday, before visiting the ward for quarantined people who came in contact with the country’s first Covid-19 patient. A 27-year-old woman became the first known case of coronavirus in east Africa when the country announced her diagnosis on Friday, she had returned to the country from the United States, via London
A similar approach has been taken in Costa Rica, which today ordered all bars and discos close to stop the disease spreading.
The Dominican Republic and Haiti announced they will stop taking flights from Europe from tomorrow (Monday).
Further south in Brazil, the country’s president Jair Bolsonaro took selfies with supporters while thousands of protestors gathered in major cities on Sunday, just days after he had called for a suspension of the demonstrations due to the spreading coronavirus.
Bolsonaro appeared to shrug off the advice of medical experts suggesting he remain isolated after several members of his delegation to Florida recently tested positive for the virus. The president tested negative for the virus, as did U.S. President Donald Trump.
Today the U.S. Federal Reserve cut interest rates for the second time in less than two weeks in another emergency move to help shore up the U.S. economy amid the rapidly escalating global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, the central bank said it was cutting rates by to a target range of 0% to 0.25%.
‘The effects of the coronavirus will weigh on economic activity in the near term and pose risks to the economic outlook. In light of these developments, the Committee decided to lower the target range,’ the Fed said in a statement.
Thousands of Muslims returning to Turkey from a pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia have been taken into quarantine today.
The country only has six cases of coronavirus, but has ramped up measures to halt it spreading by closing schools and universities, holding sports events without spectators and halting flights to many countries.
In its latest move, the Turkish Interior Ministry announced on Sunday that bars and nightclubs will be closed from Monday to reduce the risk of coronavirus spreading.