Live Updates: Middle East, rest of the world grapple with rising cases

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08:24 pm

Italy: 4207 new cases and 475 new deaths

4207 new cases and 475 new deaths in Italy. 1084 new recoveries were also reported today.


05:48 pm

Singapore to implement 14-day mandatory quarantine

The Singaporean government has announced that all travelers entering the country will have to undergo a mandatory 14-day home quarantine starting Saturday.

In a press release issued on Wednesday, the Ministry of Health said that “Stay at Home Notices” will be issued to all inbound travelers, the notice requires all visitors to remain in their place of residence for 14 days after entering Singapore.

The notice also requires visitors to provide proof of the place where they will serve the 14-day home quarantine. The Ministry of Health added that rules banning entry for travelers who have been in France, Germany, Italy, Iran, the Republic of Korea and Spain will continue to be enforced.

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The Ministry of Health also announced that all Singaporeans “are advised to defer all travel abroad with immediate effect” to further reduce the risk of further importation of the novel coronavirus.


05:18 pm

Libya will impose a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m

The parallel administration controlling eastern Libya will impose a curfew from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m., excluding security and emergency personnel, to stop any spread of the coronavirus, its interior ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.

Libya has not yet confirmed any cases of the virus, but both its internationally recognized government in Tripoli and the rival parallel administration in Benghazi have imposed tight restrictions on travel over the crisis.


05:01 pm

China to send 100,000 testing kits to the Philippines

China is sending 100,000 coronavirus test kits (10,000 N95 masks; 10,000 PPEs; 100,000 surgical masks)  and other essential medical supplies to the Philippines to assist the country “in fighting the epidemic,” according to Philippines Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

The announcement came after Locsin spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

The Chinese Embassy in Manila said that the they have been “closely coordinating with the Department of Health to ensure a speedy receiving of the aforesaid donations so as to contribute to the Philippine Government’s efforts in fighting the epidemic and benefit the Filipinos as soon as possible.”

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The numbers: The Philippines currently has 202 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus including 17 deaths.


04:46 pm

Nigeria bans entry for people from 13 countries

The government of Nigeria is restricting entry into the country for travelers from countries with more than 1,000 cases of novel coronavirus domestically, the presidential task force announced on its Twitter account.

The restriction will apply to travelers from China, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Japan, France, Germany, the United States, Norway, UK, Netherlands and Switzerland.

The federal government of Nigeria has also suspended the issuance of visa on arrival to travelers from these countries. All travelers returning from these countries prior to the restriction will be in supervised self-isolation, monitored by NCDC and Port Health Services.

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 The restriction will take effect starting on March 20 and will be in place until further notice.


04:12 pm

First death in sub-Saharan Africa reported

Burkina Faso has announced its first death from coronavirus, which is also the first known fatality in sub-Saharan Africa, according to AFP Africa.


04:07 pm

Baby tests positive for Covid-19 in Norfolk, UK

A baby has tested positive for Covid-19 at the James Paget University hospital in Gorleston in Norfolk, the trust has said.

Two other positive cases have been identified at the hospital and all three were already being treated in isolation.

A hospital spokesman said: “An extensive ‘contact tracing’ exercise is now under way by Public Health England to trace anyone who might have had close (face-to-face) contact.

“Close contacts will be given health advice about symptoms and what to do if they become unwell in the 14 days after they had contact with the confirmed case.”

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03:52 pm

Bangladesh reports first death

Bangladesh has reported its first death from the novel coronavirus while 14 patients are infected with the disease across the country, according to officials.

The Institute of Epidemiology, Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Director Dr Meerjady Sabrina Flora told reporters at a press briefing in Dhaka today, tbs news reported.

“The elderly victim was suffering from many old age complications and came into contact with a returnee from abroad,” she added.

Flora also said four new coronavirus patients, including one female and three male, were identified in the country in the last 24 hours.

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03:29 pm

Global coronavirus deaths top 8,000

The number of people who have died from the coronavirus globally has exceeded 8,000, while the number of infections has soared past 200,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

These are the worst-affected countries by deaths, according to Johns Hopkins:

  • China (Hubei): 3,122
  • Italy: 2,503
  • Iran: 988
  • Spain: 558
  • France: deaths
  • South Korea, 84
  • UK: 71 deaths
  • US: 55 deaths
  • Netherlands: 43
  • Japan: 29

And these are the most affected by cases, according to Johns Hopkins:


03:20 pm

Oman Central Bank to Provide Extra Liquidity

Oman’s central bank is preparing to provide some 8 billion Omani rials ($20.8 billion) in extra liquidity to banks as one of several measures aimed at supporting the economy, state TV reported, as coronavirus fears escalate in the Gulf region.


03:11 pm

276 Indians Tested Positive

A total of 276 Indians have tested positive for coronavirus overseas to date, an Indian government minister said. The vast majority, 255, tested positive in Iran, with others in the United Arab Emirates, Italy, Kuwait, Sri Lanka, Rwanda and Hong Kong, V. Muraleedharan, minister of state for external affairs, said in a written reply to a question in India’s parliament.


02:53 pm

Death Toll in Iran Escalates

The coronavirus death toll in Iran has reached 1,135, with 147 fatalities in the past 24 hours. Iran’s number of infected people from coronavirus also climbed to 17,361, state TV reported.


02:52 pm

Indonesia Announces New Cases

Indonesia announced on Wednesday 55 new coronavirus cases, taking the total to 227 in the Southeast Asian nation and marking the biggest daily rise in positive cases. Achmad Yurianto, a health ministry official, also told a news conference that the number of deaths from the disease rose to 19, with deaths recorded in seven different provinces, while 11 patients had recovered.


02:47 pm

Bahrain: Latest update



02:43 pm

Oman College of Health Sciences will cancel online studies

Oman College of Health Sciences will cancel online studies during the suspension period, a senior administrator said. “Based on the directives of the higher management at the Oman College of Health Sciences, it is decided to cancel remote study through electronic teaching aids during the suspension period, as the school year will be rescheduled and the remainder of the second semester will be moved beyond the study suspension period,” the college administration said in a statement.

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02:35 pm

Global number of confirmed cases reaches 200,000

The number of coronavirus cases around the world has tipped over the 200,000 mark, according to the John Hopkins University global dashboard.


02:27 pm

Dubai Takes Precaution by Suspending Permits

Dubai’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has suspended the issuance of all permits for business events, covering conferences, exhibitions and meetings, across the emirate until March 31 as a precaution against the spread of coronavirus.


02:05 pm

Toyota closes European factories


02:03 pm

UAE and Bahrain have topped the number of people tested

The UAE and Bahrain have topped the number of people tested for the coronavirus with a combined total of 19,165 per one million individuals, UAE state news agency WAM reported on Tuesday.


01:57 pm

Cases in South Africa has Risen

South Africa has confirmed that the number of Covid-19 cases in the country has risen by 23 to 85, the health ministry said late on Tuesday night. Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize said there have been eight cases of local transmission.


01:40 pm

Malaysia begins first day of restrictions

Today, Malaysia begins its first day of travel restrictions and business closures.

These new measures, which are in effect until March 31, include prohibiting all Malaysian nationals from traveling abroad and all foreigners from entering the country.

Mass closures: The measures also include a ban on social, religious and educational gatherings. Only essential businesses like prisons and food supply operations are allowed to stay open; restaurants can still operate, but aren’t allowed to serve food on premises, and must instead offer only delivery or takeaway.

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There is no curfew in place yet and people can still leave their houses — but it’s “not advised” to take their families out, Bernama reported, citing government and national security officials.


01:34 pm

UK supermarkets seek to control panic buying

UK supermarkets are widening the range of items subject to per-customer limits and shrinking their opening hours to try and contain panic buying.


01:23 pm

Vietnam Halts Visa Issuance to Foreigners


01:19 pm

Oman: New restrictions state only nationals may enter the Sultanate

Oman restricted entry to the country only to Omanis. Nationals are not allowed to leave the Sultanate either. Assembling in public areas is prohibited, gatherings suspended and tourist sites are closed, including beaches, parks and popular outdoor picnic areas. Mosques and other places of worship will close. Shops and markets will also close, apart from those providing food, consumer items, clinics and pharmacies. Sports facilities and salons will be shut down. Restaurants and cafes will only be allowed to offer delivery services.

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01:16 pm

First dog found with coronavirus has died

The first dog in the world to be found with the coronavirus died, according to Hong Kong’s animal welfare authority.

The 17-year-old Pomeranian, which belonged to a now-recovered Covid-19 patient, had been under mandatory quarantine at a government facility since February 26, and returned home last Saturday. The dog had repeatedly been tested during its quarantine – it was not until the two tests – carried out on March 12 and 13 – proved the dog’s samples were negative that the department allowed it to leave the centre and return home. However, the owner, a 60-year-old woman, was confirmed to be infected and have been in close contact with the dog.

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The department said the genetic make-up of the virus found in the dog and its human contacts were very similar. The gene sequence results indicate that the virus likely spread from the infected person and subsequently infected the dog.


01:04 pm

Volkswagen and Jaguar Land Rover extend central Europe shutdowns


12:48 pm

Philippines declares a “state of calamity” for 6 months

The Philippines has been placed under a “state of calamity” for six months due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the state news agency, Philippines News Agency (PNA).

The declaration will open up an emergency fund to central and local governments to help fight the virus.

It will also allow the government to call in support from all law enforcement agencies, including the Armed Forces, “as may be necessary,” said the PNA report.

The Philippines now has reported 187 confirmed cases and 14 deaths due to the coronavirus.

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12:25 pm

Updates From Indian Subcontinent

Pakistan’s prime minister has urged calm after its tally of coronavirus cases rose to 245, while Sri Lanka sealed itself off and shut its stock market on Wednesday, fueling fears that South Asian countries are struggling to stem the pandemic.

Pakistan’s prime minister Imran Khan, in a late Tuesday address to the nation, urged citizens to remain calm and not rush to get tested. He mentions that even developed countries like the U.S. doesn’t have the resources to test everyone who comes, adding that only those with intense symptoms should go to hospital. He concluded by assuring the citizens that there is no need to worry, and together, they will fight this as a nation.

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The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in the Indian subcontinent rose overnight to 482 as authorities across the region imposed travel restrictions to block the fast spreading disease that has infected nearly 200,000 people worldwide and killed nearly 8,000 people.
There are fears that inadequate health facilities will be overwhelmed in many parts of the poor, crowded region.



12:02 pm

The US now has 6,135 cases and more than 110 deaths

The US has reported at least 6,135 cases and 112 deaths, according to CNN’s tally.

70 cases are repatriated citizens, like those evacuated from China or from the Princess Diamond cruise ship. 6,065 cases were detected and tested in the United States.

These cases, which include presumptive positive cases, are now coming from all 50 states across the country. West Virginia, the last uninfected state, confirmed its first case today.

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112 people have died nationwide so far.

New York is the worst affected state, with more than 1,600 cases so far. Washington isn’t far behind, with more than 1,000 cases. California follows with close to 600 cases.

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11:55 am

First Death in Turkey as Cases Soar to 98

Turkey has announced its first death from the coronavirus, as the country also reports 51 new cases of the disease, reaching a total of 98.

Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca told reporters during a press conference late on Tuesday that the victim was an 89-year-old.

Turkey has already passed strict measures to stop the spread of the virus, including closing down schools, universities, mosques, and barring flights from more than a dozen different countries.


11:41 am

West Bengal reports first positive case of coronavirus

An 18-year-old man, who recently returned from England on Sunday, tested positive for novel coronavirus, making it the first confirmed case in West Bengal, a senior official of the state government said. He started showing symptoms of COVID-19 since morning, following which he was admitted to the isolation ward of the Beliaghata ID hospital here, they added.


11:33 am

Hong Kong managed to contain the virus

After months on the frontline of the coronavirus pandemic, Hong Kong increasingly looks like a model for how to handle it.

Despite having numerous transport links with mainland China, where the first cases were detected, through intense efforts, including having millions work at home and exercising social distancing, Hong Kong has kept its number of cases comparatively low.

To date, Hong Kong, which is home to more than 7 million people, has fewer than 170 cases and four deaths. But now, fears are growing of a potential second wave of cases – imported from outside the territory.

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Some who left the city early in the outbreak are starting to return, while others are being forced to . Many countries which attract large numbers of Hong Kong students are closing universities and going into lockdown, raising concerns they will bring the coronavirus back with them.

On Tuesday, the city’s government issued a red notice for all foreign countries, requiring anyone arriving from overseas to undergo a 14-day home quarantine.


11:14 am

Taiwan bans entry for most foreign nationals

Taiwan is banning most foreign nationals from entering the country in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, announced the island’s Epidemic Central Command Center today.

All foreign nationals, except for those with resident, diplomatic or business credentials or others with special permission, will not be allowed to enter Taiwan, officials at a news conference announced.

They added that travelers coming to the island will be subjected to a mandatory 14-day home quarantine.

The restrictions will go into effect tomorrow local time.

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10:53 am

Coronavirus cases rise to 212 in Pakistan

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Pakistan sharply rose to 212 on Tuesday. The Sindh province is the worst-hit with 172 cases, followed by 15 in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, 10 in Balochistan, 8 in Punjab, 5 in Gilgit-Baltistan and 2 in Islamabad, officials said.


10:39 am

African Nations Championship 2020 Postponed

The African Nations Championship 2020 soccer tournament scheduled for April in Cameroon has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak, the African Football Federation said in a statement.


10:08 am

Vietnam Reports New Cases

Vietnam reported new case of coronavirus, which is linked to Malaysia’s mosque event, taking country’s tally to 67.


10:04 am

Kyrgyzstan Confirms First Three Cases

Kyrgyzstan has confirmed its first three coronavirus cases, healthcare minister Kosmosbek Cholponbayev said on Wednesday. Three Kyrgyz nationals tested positive after arriving from Saudi Arabia, he told a briefing.


09:57 am

Bahrain: Latest updates


09:56 am

Morocco: New Infections

Morocco’s Ministry of Health said there are 6 new infections with COVID-19, bringing the total number to 44.


09:37 am


UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention recorded 15 new cases, bringing the total to 113.


09:27 am

Egypt Record New Coronavirus Cases

Egypt’s Ministry of Health recorded 30 new coronavirus cases and two new deaths, which brings tolls to 196 patients and 6 deaths. So far, 26 people have recovered.


09:22 am

CNN Philippines goes off air after coronavirus case confirmed

CNN affiliate CNN Philippines is temporarily off-air at least for 24 hours, after learning a confirmed coronavirus patient had visited a building within the office complex they occupy.

CNN Philippines says the entire office complex in Metro Manila will be disinfected. The coronavirus patient had visited another tenant in the same building complex.

Several CNN Philippines staff members had been working from home already and they will continue to provide news through its website and social media platforms, said the network.

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09:06 am

South Korea’s Vice Health Minister is in self-quarantine

South Korea’s Vice Health Minister Kim Ganglip is in self-quarantine, after attending a government meeting last week with another participant who tested positive today.

The infected attendee is the president of Bundang Jesaeng Hospital in Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province, where cluster transmissions have been reported at a church and a hospital.

Other government officials and participants at the meeting, which took place last Friday, are also in self-quarantine.


08:50 am

Sri Lanka suspends all incoming flights for two weeks

Sri Lanka has suspended all flights arriving into the country for two weeks, effective midnight today for two weeks, said Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa in a statement on Twitter.

Yesterday, the government also declared a three day public holiday to slow the spread of coronavirus, across all public and private entities except essential services.

“Please support the effort by staying home & practice social distancing,” Rajapaksa said in an earlier tweet announcing the holiday.

Sri Lanka currently has 44 confirmed cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.


08:35 am

Saudi Arabia suspends work in private sectors

Saudi Arabia has suspended all work in private sectors for 15 days as part of the country’s efforts to contain the coronavirus, state-run news agency SPA reported today.

The kingdom ordered activation of “remote working procedures except for vital sectors and sensitive infrastructure sectors such as electricity, water, and communications,” said SPA, citing the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia banned Muslims from conducting five daily prayers and Friday prayers inside mosques as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of coronavirus, according to SPA.

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Saudi Arabia currently has 171 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.




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