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Italy bans all internal travel to stop virus spread: Live updates – THE SVG ONLINE

Italy bans all internal travel to stop virus spread: Live updates

Italy moved to stop all travel within the country, in a further escalation of its attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, a month after announcing its first death from the disease.

Italy’s travel ban was announced as all non-essential businesses including car, clothing and furniture makers were ordered to close and a further 651 people died from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.

Italy has recorded a death toll higher than China, where the virus first appeared late last year.

Domenico Arcuri, head of the government’s coronavirus relief effort, told state broadcaster RAI that Italy was “at war” with the virus

“All wars are won in two ways, with one’s own army and with the help of ones’ own allies,” he said.

Other countries are also stepping up their efforts to control the disease, urging people to stay at home.

Spain, the second-worst affected country in Europe, plans to extend a state of emergency until April 11, after recording more than 1,700 deaths.

“We are at war,” Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez told a news briefing, calling on Europe to launch an enormous, coordinated public investment programme like the post World War II Marshall Plan.


Globally, more than 14,500 people have now died from COVID-19. An estimated 98,000 of the 336,000 people who have been diagnosed with the disease across the world have recovered, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the pandemic.

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here are the latest updates:

Monday, March 23

03:55 GMT – US coronavirus package held up in Senate

The United States $1 trillion-plus coronavirus response bill has been held up by partisan battles in the Senate, but talks continued over Democrats’ demands for more funding for medical care and state and local efforts to combat the pandemic.

The measure faltered after it failed to get the necessary 60 votes in the 100-member chamber to clear a procedural hurdle after days of negotiations.

You can find out more about what’s going on here.

03:35 GMT – New Zealand to go into self-isolation

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says the country will move into its highest alert level, with all-non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut over the next 48 hours.

The move means bars, cafes, restaurants and cinemas will be shut. Supermarkets and pharmacies will remain open, Ardern said, adding that the country was well supplied.

All schools will be closed from Tuesday, she said.

New Zealand is now preparing to go into self isolation,” Ardern told a news conference.

03:25 GMT – The communities where social distancing and self isolation are impossible

The idea of “social distancing” and “self-isolation” is next to impossible for 44-year-old Bangkok resident Maliwan Kamdaeng; one of 100,000 people living in Khong Toey, the city’s largest slum community.

Like many people in the settlement, Maliwan lives with her extended family in a modest house of wood and metal sheets squeezed together along narrow alleyways. You can find out more about her concerns in this story by Caleb Quinley.

03:15 GMT – SIngapore Airlines grounds fleet

Singapore Airlines will cut capacity by 96 percent and ground almost all of its fleet, after the coronavirus prompted Singapore to close its borders.

The carrier says the outbreak is the “greatest challenge” it has ever faced.

Singapore announced on Sunday it would close its borders to short-term visitors and transiting passengers, after reporting a number of imported cases. You can find out more on the latest situation in Singapore in this report from Tom Benner.

03:05 GMT – Jailed Harvey Weinstein found to have coronavirus  

Harvey Weinstein, the former movie producer jailed for sexual assault and rape, has tested positive for the coronavirus, according to an official at the prison officers union. 

Michael Powers, president of the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association, says the 68-year-old has been placed in isolation, but expressed concern for prison officers who do not have proper protective equipment. Several staff have been quarantined.

02:50 GMT – More cases of imported coronavirus found in China

Mainland China continues to see more cases of coronavirus being imported from abroad, and is ramping up control measures to cope. 

The National Health Commission says there were 39 new confirmed cases on Sunday, down from 46 a day earlier. All involved travellers arriving from abroad.

With 10 new imported cases, Beijing is expanding measures to contain imported infections, with all international flights now directed away from the capital to other cities, including Shanghai.

China Beijing

Flights are being diverted away from Beijing in order to curb the number of imported cases of coronavirus in the capital [Thomas Peter/Reuters]

Shanghai and Guangzhou have said all arriving international passengers will undergo tests to screen for the coronavirus, expanding a programme that previously only applied to those coming from heavily-affected countries.

Shanghai also reported 10 new cases on Sunday.

02:45 GMT – Hopes grow South Korea outbreak is easing

South Korea has reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since a peak on February 29 and a downward trend in daily infections is raising hopes the outbreak might be easing.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said there were 64 new cases on Monday, taking the total to 8,961. The death toll rose by one to 110.

The new numbers marked the 12th day in a row the country has posted new infections of around 100 or less, compared with 909 cases recorded on the last day of February.

In contrast, 257 patients were released from hospitals where they had been isolated for treatment, the KCDC said. 

02:40 GMT – Canada says won’t participate in Games, Australia says planning for postponement

With the fate of the Tokyo Olympics in the balance, Canada has said it will not send a team to any summer games, while Australia has said it is preparing for a postponement until next summer.

“The AOC (Australian Olympic Committee) believes our athletes now need to prioritise their own health and of those around them, and to be able to return to the families, in discussion with their National Federations,” the AOC said in a statement.

Canada earlier announced it would not send its team to the Olympics and Paralympics in the summer of 2020, and called for a postponement.

“While we recognize the inherent complexities around a postponement, nothing is more important than the health and safety of our athletes and the world community,” it said in a statement.

We’ll have more on the story later.

00:15 GMT – Postponing Olympics may become an ‘option’ – Abe

Speculation continues over the fate of the Olympic Games, which are due to take place in Japan in July,

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has told parliament that postponing the games may become an option if holding the event in “complete form” becomes impossible.

He said cancellation was not an option.

Tokyo Olympics Japan

Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (left) has said the Tokyo Olympics could be postponed, but will not be cancelled [File: Issei Kato/Reuters]

00:10 GMT – New Zealand cases rise; opposition puts campaign on hold

New Zealand has reported an additional 36 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with two of them related to community transmission its Director-General of Health Dr Ashley Bloomfield, told the media on Monday. 

Shortly after the numbers were released the opposition announced it was suspending its campaign for elections that are due to take place in September.

New Zealand now has 102 cases.

00:00 GMT – British scientists to track spread of virus

UK scientists are to track the spread of the new coronavirus and watch for emerging mutations by using gene sequencing to analyse the strains causing thousands of COVID-19 infections across the country, the government said on Monday.

Researchers will collect data from samples from infected patients in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, the government said in a statement.

Scientists will then map out and analyse the full genetic codes of the COVID-19 samples.

“Genomic sequencing will help us understand COVID-19 and its spread. It can also help guide treatments in the future and see the impact of interventions,” Patrick Vallance, the government’s chief scientific adviser, said in the statement. 

To read all the latest updates from yesterday (March 22) please clikc here.


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