March 16: Countries across the world continued closing borders, imposing strict entry and quarantine requirements and restricting large gatherings in efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, that has claimed more than 5000 lives.
According to Reuters, countries have shuttered museums, tourist attractions and sporting events to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission, with more than 138,000 people worldwide infected and more than 5,000 dead.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said that Europe has become the pandemic’s current epicenter after reporting more cases and deaths than the rest of world combined, apart from mainland China where the coronavirus originated last December.
According to media reports, Italy is the most affected country outside China.
Al Jazeera reported that the death toll in Italy has increased to 1809 as of Sunday evening while Iran is another country grappling with the disease. Iran has reported around 724 deaths, according to the Associated Press.
Meanwhile, Reuters reported that Saudi Arabia suspended all international flights for two weeks, starting from Sunday while Taiwan will require travelers from mainland Europe, Britain and Ireland to self-isolate for 14 days, while New Zealand implemented a similar measure for all those entering the country.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera, according to Reuters, announced a ban on public events with more than 500 people, joining countries like Australia where the ban will come into force on Monday.
Britain will reportedly introduce emergency laws this week to ban mass gatherings.
Manila, the capital of the Philippines, announced nighttime curfews and urged shopping malls to close for one month.
While infections continue to climb around the world, the number of new cases is falling in China.
Hubei, the epicenter of the coronavirus, has now seen new infections fall for nine straight days, according to Reuters.
“Travel bans have hammered airlines and travel companies worldwide, while financial markets have been hit by panic selling this week.”