Israel Prepares to Convert Hotels to Quarantine Sites
Israel is preparing to open four hotels across the country as quarantines sites for confirmed cases of coronavirus, Minister of Defense Naftali Bennett announced Monday night. The hotels will be used to treat people exhibiting mild symptoms of the virus.
The first two hotels in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are expected to be ready for use as quarantine sites by Tuesday, the head of Israel’s Home Front Command told reporters in a conference call. The other two hotels — one in the north of the country and one in the south — will be ready by the end of the week, the Defense Minister said.
Each hotel is expected to hold up to 500 patients but capacity could be increased up to 2,000 in each hotel if necessary, Maj. Gen. Tamir Yadai told reporters.
WHO proposes temporary travel ban to the European Union.
US has more than 4,000 Confirmed Cases
There are at least 4,008 cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States, according to the state and local health agencies, governments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
There are 70 cases from repatriated citizens, per the CDC. According to CNN Health’s tally of US cases detected and tested through US public health systems, there are 3,938 cases in 49 states, the District of Columbia and US territories, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 4,008.
West Virginia remains the only US state without any confirmed cases.
At least 70 people have died.
Italy’s Death Toll Rises
The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has risen in the last 24 hours by 349 to 2,158, an increase of 19.3 per cent, the Civil Protection Agency said on Monday.
The total number of cases in Italy, the European country hardest hit by the virus, rose to 27,980 from a previous 24,747, up 13 per cent, the slowest rate of increase since the contagion first came to light on Feb. 21.
Iran Closed 4 Key Shiite Pilgrimage Sites
Iran on Monday closed four key Shiite pilgrimage sites to stop a coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 850 people out of nearly 15,000 cases recorded in the Islamic republic.
The holy shrines of Imam Reza in Mashhad, Fatima Masumeh in Qom and Shah Abdol-Azim in Tehran were shut until further notice “upon the orders of the anti-coronavirus headquarters and the health minister,” state television said.
India Set to Close Taj Mahal
India will close the iconic Taj Mahal to visitors from Tuesday as part of measures to try and combat the coronavirus pandemic, the tourism ministry said on Monday.
“All ticketed monuments and all other museums have been directed to be closed until March 31,” Tourism Minister Prahlad Patel tweeted late Monday.
Turkey Closes Cafes and Gyms
Turkey announced new measures to contain the spread of coronavirus that go into effect at midnight on Monday.
According to the Turkish Interior Ministry, these public places will be closed for an unspecified period of time:
- Theaters, concert halls, wedding halls, music halls, taverns, cafeterias, game halls, beer halls, cafes, coffee parlors, tea parlors, hookah bars, Internet cafes, gaming cafes, all indoor playgrounds, tea gardens, amusement parks, pools, saunas, gyms, spas, sports complexes and massage parlors.
Jordan Cases Rises
The number of cases in Jordan has risen to 18.
New Cases in Qatar
Qatar has announced 38 new cases in the country.
Bahrain Gulf Air Suspends Several Flights
Bahrain’s flag carrier Gulf Air said it will temporarily reduce its network and suspend flights to several destinations.
Malaysia Will Shut its borders to Travelers
Malaysia will shut its borders to travelers, restrict internal movement, close schools and universities and order most businesses to shut after its number of corona virus cases climbed on Monday to the highest in Southeast Asia.
Egypt suspends all flight for 2 weeks
Egypt will suspend all flights in Egyptian airports starting Thursday to stop the spread of coronavirus, state media reported.
Most of the countries in the Middle East have partially or fully suspended flights over the past week.
Egypt heavily relies on tourism for its economy. In February alone, 900,000 tourists visited Egypt, according to Egyptian tourism minister Khaled Al Anany.
The Egyptian government has already suspended schools and universities for two weeks, according to state media.
South Africa revokes 10,000 visas to China, Iran
South Africa will revoke nearly 10,000 visas issued this year to people from China and Iran, and visas will now be required for other high-risk countries that had been visa-free, including Italy and the United States.
Passengers removed from flight in India
All passengers were taken off a flight scheduled to depart from the Indian state of Kerala for Dubai on Sunday morning after officials learnt that a UK national who had tested positive for the coronavirus was on board, an Emirates spokesperson said.
The UK citizen had been touring Munnar, a hill station in the southern Indian state, and was under surveillance after testing positive for the coronavirus, the spokesperson said.
He and his wife were a part of a group of 19 British tourists who were also among the 290 passengers removed from the flight at Cochin International Airport in Kochi.
They are currently under quarantine in hospital.
Drive-through testing sites spring up across America
A federal pilot program to implement drive-up testing sites will be operational by midweek, according to a news release.
New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell said in a statement that the city would participate in the program.
Drive-through testing sites are also in the works in Broward County, Florida to help respond to the high number of Covid-19 cases there, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a news conference on Sunday.
Two US ER doctors in critical condition with coronavirus
Two emergency doctors in the US are in a critical condition after they were infected with the coronavirus, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP).
One doctor is in his 40s in the state of Washington, the second is a 70-year-old from New Jersey.
The physician in Paterson, NJ, leads his institution’s emergency preparedness and was admitted to the hospital several days ago with upper respiratory problems. He remains in isolation in its intensive care unit.
Turkey Suspends Mass Prayers
Turkey has suspended mass prayers in mosques due to coronavirus fears, the country’s religious affairs head said.
Jordan Impose Mandatory Quarantine
Jordan has announced that it will impose mandatory quarantine on arrivals for 14 days.
Kuwait’s Ministry of Health Confirmed New Cases
Kuwait’s Ministry of Health confirmed 11 new cases of COVID-19 which were detected in the past 24 hours. Meanwhile, 564 people were released from quarantine after testing negative for the coronavirus, the ministry added.
Tokyo 2020 “Flame Of Recovery” Tour Scaled Down
Tokyo 2020’s “Flame Of Recovery” tour has been reduced in size due to the coronavirus outbreak, relay organisers confirmed on Monday.
The six-day tour, which takes the Olympic flame to parts of Japan devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, is set to begin on Friday. Organizers said that “the main displays of the Olympic Flame will be staged largely as planned” but that the welcoming event on Friday and various ceremonies have been canceled.
The “Flame Of Recovery Tour” is a precursor to the official Olympic Torch Relay, which is scheduled to begin in Fukushima on March 26 and visit all 47 Japanese prefectures.
Thailand Corona Virus Tally
A health official in Thailand said that 33 new coronavirus cases have been recorded, bringing the tally to 147.
Kuwait Health Ministry Quarantines Residents
Kuwait’s health ministry quarantines residents of a whole building after confirming some of them have been in contact with a coronavirus patient.
Spain Registers New COVID-19 Infections
Spain has registered nearly 1,000 new COVID-19 infections over the past 24 hours, raising the total number of cases to 8,744, the health ministry said.
Malaysia Reported 125 New Coronavirus Cases
Malaysia reported 125 new coronavirus cases, with most linked to a religious gathering attended by around 16,000 people. The new cases bring the total tally to 553 in the country, which remains the worst affected in Southeast Asia.
Kuwait Central Bank Cut its Discount Rate
Kuwait’s central bank cut its discount rate by 100 basis points to 1.5 percent from 2.5 percent, part of a series of precautionary measures “for the consequences of the outbreak of the coronavirus.”
Iran: Death Toll Reach 853
Iran’s death toll from coronavirus reached 853 with 129 new deaths and 1,053 confirmed new cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours.
Morocco Will Close its Entertainment Venues
Morocco will close eateries, cinemas, theatres, sports, public clubs, baths, and other entertainment venues starting from today over coronavirus fears, the Interior Ministry said.
Markets, and shops selling necessary goods as well as restaurants offering a delivery service are exempt, the ministry said in a statement.
Morocco, which confirmed 29 coronavirus cases, including one death and one recovery, suspended all international flights, closed schools and banned gatherings of more than 50 people.
A woman in India fled coronavirus testing
Police in India have opened a case against a man for misleading health officials about the whereabouts of his daughter who tested positive for coronavirus.
The man in the northern city of Agra was booked for “unlawfully or negligently spreading a disease that is dangerous to life,” according to police officials.
His daughter, whose husband had tested positive for coronavirus on March 12, evaded testing in the southern city of Bengaluru and fled to her parents home in Agra.
When health authorities began reaching out to close contacts of the husband, the woman’s father said she had already left the city for New Delhi. Later police discovered the woman was still in Agra and has since tested positive for coronavirus, according to Prabhu N. Singh, the city’s district magistrate.
A case was registered against the father for “a malignant act likely to spread infection of disease.”
The woman’s husband arrived in India from Greece on March 6, according to B. Sriramulu, Minister of Health and Family Welfare for Karnataka state.
Philippines Impose Home Quarantine
The Philippines imposed strict home quarantine measures and a halt on work and transport across its main island of Luzon, putting half of the population on lockdown in an aggressive bid to quell rising cases of coronavirus.
The government would with immediate effect compel people to remain in their homes and reliant on deliveries of food and medical supplies, while transport and work would be suspended except for essential services, Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said.
Egypt Report New Cases of Coronavirus
Egypt’s Ministry of Health and Population recorded 16 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 126.
The ministry reported only two deaths and 26 recoveries.
Jordan: Coronavirus Report
Jordan’s health ministry reported that the coronavirus cases toll has risen to 12, 5 nationals, 6 French and an Iraqi lady.
Another Jordanian man has recovered from coronavirus and was discharged on Friday, the ministry added.
High-ranking Iranian Cleric Dies
Iranian cleric Ayatollah Hashem Bathaie Golpayegani has died after being infected by the coronavirus, state news agency IRNA said today.
He was a high-ranking clergyman and one of the 88 members of the Assembly of Experts, a key government body of top clergymen which determines Iran’s Supreme Leader.
Golpayegani was hospitalized in Qom on Saturday.
Several political and religious figures have been infected by the coronavirus in Iran. Some have died, including newly-elected female politician Fatemeh Rahbar.
Iran has recorded nearly 14,000 infections and 724 deaths from the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization.
Germany closes its borders with several neighbors
As of this morning, Germany has shut its borders with Austria, Switzerland, France, Luxembourg and Denmark, as the coronavirus spreads across Europe.
Anyone wishing to enter from those countries after 3 a.m. ET Monday will need a good reason to do so, German interior minister Horst Seehofer said in Berlin Sunday.
Goods and commuters will be exempt from the ban, he said.
Oil and gas conference in US postponed
The largest oil and gas conference which draws tens of thousands of visitors each year from around the world, including India, has been postponed in Houston due to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the organisers have announced. The organisers of the Offshore Technology Conference (OTC), the largest Oil and gas conference in Houston, announced that the event has been postponed to the third quarter of 2020. The group is working to confirm new dates for the event in August or September, according to a statement the event organisers.
Bahrain records first death in Gulf region
The Ministry of Health has announced the death of a 65-year-old female Bahraini national who was suffering from underlying and chronic health problems, and was registered as an active case of Coronavirus (COVID-19). Read More…
Pakistan’s coronavirus tally rises to 94
Forty one new cases of the novel coronavirus surfaced in Pakistan, bringing the total number of COVID-19 infections in the country to 94 on Monday, an official said. As of Sunday, the country reported 53 coronavirus cases.
Rwanda’s first coronavirus patient is an Indian
Rwanda’s first coronavirus case is an Indian who travelled there from Mumbai, health officials confirmed on Saturday. The country’s health ministry, in a statement, said that the Indian citizen arrived in Rwanda from Mumbai on March 8.
Oman has suspended treatment services for non-urgent and routine medical cases, whose delay does not directly affect patients’ health, until further notice.
Latest updates in Asia
Fears of imported infections: As cases blow up in Europe and North America, fear is growing in Asia of the possibility of a second wave of infections from imported cases. Millions of people have lived under lockdown restrictions in China and elsewhere for months, and as life starts to return to normal, many are concerned that imported cases will undo those sacrifices.
China: The country where the pandemic began reported 16 new cases of coronavirus on Monday, 12 of which were imported. Beijing has introduced strict new quarantine measures — all overseas travelers arriving in the capital will be sent to quarantine facilities for 14 days at their own cost.
What’s happening in Wuhan: The city where the novel coronavirus was first identified, still faces a “severe” epidemic as there are locally transmitted cases in the city. While numbers have slowed to single digits, there is still a risk of community infection.
South Korea: Infections in South Korea continue to slow but the government has warned people to keep their guard up against further outbreaks. All European travelers will need to go through temperature checks, a medical survey, and monitor their temperature daily.
Japan: Some 37 new infections and two deaths were reported in Japan on Monday, bringing the total cases to 1,526 with 31 deaths. On Saturday, Japan saw its biggest one-day jump, with 64 cases.
Restrictions: Singapore announced it will impose a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine for new visitors traveling from several East Asian countries, Switzerland and the UK. Hong Kong has urged its citizens to avoid all non-essential travel to Ireland, the UK and US. Starting Monday, Brunei is restricting all citizens and residents from leaving the country, except in certain circumstances such as to receive urgent medical care.
Cases jump in Southeast Asia: Thailand on Sunday confirmed 32 new cases of coronavirus, the largest increase over a 24-hour period in the country, bringing the total to 114 cases. And Malaysia announced 190 new cases on Sunday, bringing its total number to 428. Most of the new infections in Malaysia were linked to a religious rally that thousands attended near the capital Kuala Lumpur.
First person to begin Covid-19 vaccine trial in US, government official says
A clinical trial to test a coronavirus vaccine on human subjects will begin next week, according to a US official.
The first participant will receive the experimental vaccine on Monday in order to test for any potential side effects — but they will not be infected with the virus itself.
Wuhan health officials say novel coronavirus still “severe,”
Wuhan, the Chinese city where the novel coronavirus was first identified, is still facing a “severe” epidemic, amid a continuation of locally transmitted cases, the city’s municipal health commission said in a press conference Sunday.
Wuhan, which is home to an estimated 11 million people, has been on lockdown since January 23. It is considered to be the epicenter of the global pandemic.
“Although the number of new (daily) cases in Wuhan remains in the single digits, there are still cases in the community,” Zheng Yun, deputy director of Wuhan municipal health commission, said.
He added that there is still a risk of community infection, as some recent patients are believed to have contracted the virus in their neighborhoods, citing an epidemiological investigation.
Zheng reminded citizens who are relaxing vigilance to maintain cautious and avoid going out as much as possible.
Michigan confirms 20 new cases of coronavirus
A Detroit woman with no history of international travel or confirmed contact with an infected patient is one of 20 new cases of coronavirus reported in Michigan Sunday.
The new cases bring the statewide total to 53, according to a news release from state officials.
James Bond actor Olga Kurylenko tests positive
Ukrainian-born actor-model Olga Kurylenko has revealed that she has tested positive for the novel coronavirus. The actor, best known for starring in 2008’s James Bond film “Quantum of Solace” and 2013’s sci-fi movie “Oblivion”, took to Instagram on Sunday to share her diagnosis. Kurylenko, 40, said she had been ill for “almost a week”. “Locked up at home after having tested positive for Coronavirus,” she wrote alongside a photo showing a view through a window.
Disney announces closure of all stores and hotels in North America
All Disney stores in North America will close from March 17, Disney Parks, Experiences and Products announced in a statement on Twitter early Monday.
In addition, all Disney-owned and operated locations at Downtown Disney in Anaheim and Disney Springs in Orlando will be closed on March 17.
Saudi Arabia suspends shipping services with 50 countries
The General Authority of Ports suspended shipping services, excluding cargo, between the Kingdom and several countries as part of the precautionary measures to stem the spread of coronavirus. The authority also imposed a number of preventive measures binding on ships coming to the Kingdom.
Sydney Climate Summit Postponed
First US Navy sailor tests positive for virus aboard ship
A sailor serving aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer received a presumptive positive coronavirus test, the first case of a sailor aboard a Navy ship, according to a US Navy news release.
Personnel that the individual immediately identified having close contact with have been notified and are in self-isolation at their residences, the release said.
Oman bans entry of all non-Omanis
Oman has banned the entry of all non-Omanis via all land, sea and airports and checkpoints, except citizens of GCC states. It also imposed quarantine on all passengers arriving in the country via all land, sea and airports and checkpoints, including Omanis.
The sultanate’ COVID-19 Supreme Committee also decided to close all parks and public play areas and suspended Friday prayers and social gatherings including wedding parties and funeral ceremonies. The decisions take effect from Tuesday, March 17.
Turkey: 12 new cases identified
Turkey identified 12 new cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total to 18, Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said on Monday, marking the highest daily rise since the country announced its first case last week. Koca said two of the new cases were related to the first case reported in the country, seven had travelled from Europe and three from the United States. Bars and nightclubs will be temporarily closed as of Monday, the country’s Interior Ministry said.
South Korea tightens restrictions on European travelers
The number of new coronavirus infections in South Korea is continuing to slow but the government has warned people to keep their guard up against further outbreaks.
Kim Ganglip, deputy head of the country’s Central Disaster Relief Headquarters, said at a briefing today that the next two to three weeks were a “critical period” in the battle against the pandemic.
To avoid further contamination, South Korea announced today that it has expanded special immigration measures for people arriving from all of Europe.
All European travelers will be required to go through temperature checks, a medical survey, and download an app so their temperature can be monitored daily.
All travelers are also required to submit their reachable phone numbers upon arrival.
Bahrain: Incoming Flights Reduced, Visa On-Arrival Suspended
Bahrain has announced a reduction in the number of incoming flights to the country as well as the suspension of visas on-arrival across all entry points, until further notice, effective 3:00a.m. on Wednesday, March 18. Read more…
Bahamas confirms first case of coronavirus
Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis announced the country’s first confirmed case of coronavirus, according to a tweet from his office Sunday.
Saudi Arabia Takes Action
The government has partially shut shopping malls, banned eating and drinking inside restaurants and cafes, and closed public spaces. Apart from Saudi nationals, passengers who have transited through or have been in Bahrain, China, Taiwan, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Italy, Kenya, South Korea, Kuwait, Lebanon, Macau, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Turkey or the United Arab Emirates in the past 14 days are not allowed to enter.
First Participant in Vaccine Trial given Dose
A novel corona virus vaccine trial in the US has now given a dose to its first participant, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases announced Monday.
The study aims to enroll a total of 45 healthy adults over a six-week time frame. Each participant will receive two injections about a month apart in varying doses.
The study, which is a Phase I trial, is meant to establish that the vaccine is safe and induces a desired response from participants’ immune systems. Proving that the vaccine is effective in preventing COVID-19 infection, however, will require follow-up studies involving many more participants, which will take many more months, experts say.