• Tuesday, May 26, 2020
  • Last Update : 01:19 am

What’s new with coronavirus?

  • Published at 11:30 pm March 13th, 2020
Hospital employees wearing a protection mask and gear tend to a patient coming in to be tested at a temporary emergency structure set up outside the accident and emergency department, where any new arrivals presenting suspect new coronavirus symptoms are being tested, at the Brescia hospital, Lombardy, on March 13, 2020 AFP

The worst affected countries are mainland China, with 3,176  deaths, Italy, 1,016 deaths, and 514 in Iran, the three countries with the highest death rates

Since the novel coronavirus first emerged in late December, more than 135,640 cases have been recorded in 122 countries and territories, killing 5,043 people, according to an AFP tally compiled at 1300 GMT on Friday based on official sources.

The worst affected countries are mainland China, with 3,176  deaths, Italy, 1,016 deaths, and 514 in Iran, the three countries with the highest death rates.

Here are some of the latest developments

Pakistan to shut borders, limit international flights over coronavirus -minister.

Pakistan will shut all land borders and limit international flights for 15 days to halt the spread of coronavirus, its foreign minister said on Friday.

The announcement came after a meeting of the national security council attended by civilian and military leadership.

"It has been decided that all borders will remain closed for 15 days," minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi told the local ARY and Dunya TV networks. "International flights will operate only out of Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad airports."

Pakistan borders China and Iran, both of which have been hit hard by the virus. It has reported 21 cases of the coronavirus but no deaths.

Canada's Trudeau to be in isolation after wife tests positive

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in isolation for two weeks after his wife, Sophie, tested positive for coronavirus on Thursday, and the outbreak prompted the province of Ontario to shutter schools to limit the spread.

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau recently returned from London and experienced flu-like symptoms, so she was tested for the coronavirus, the prime minister's office said earlier on Thursday. The test came back positive, it said in the evening.

"The Prime Minister is in good health with no symptoms. As a precautionary measure and following the advice of doctors, he will be in isolation for a planned period of 14 days," an official statement said. Sophie will be in quarantine for 14 days.

"The Prime Minister will continue to fully assume his duties and will address Canadians tomorrow."

Keep calm and carry on

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's government is facing an onslaught of domestic criticism over its coronavirus strategy, which has so far eschewed the social distancing measures - schools closures, public gathering bans and the like - which are now prevalent across much of continental Europe.

The British logic, based on the findings of behavioural research, is that timing is all: if you go too quickly with lockdowns, people get fed up and break them. Some commentators have compared the messaging to the stoic "Keep Calm and Carry On" posters that went up in the country in World War Two.

Yet that is not stopping many Brits from going down into lockdown mode themselves - witness evidence of stockpiling and emptier than usual roads and public transport.

Kuwait, Iraq, Singapore cancels Friday prayers

Kuwait's religious authorities asked Muslims to pray at home yesterday as Gulf Arab states stepped up measures to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.

Bahrain also ordered the release of hundreds of prisoners on Thursday, in one of the biggest pardons since the 2011 uprising against the monarchy, according to the Bahrain Institute for Rights and Democracy (BIRD) which linked the decision to efforts to contain the virus.

Iraq cancelled Friday prayers in the Shia holy city of Kerbala due to concerns about the coronavirus, a statement from the administration of the city's holy site said on Wednesday. Singapore also shut down all mosques from yesterday to Tuesday for cleaning and sanitizing after two congregants were thought to have been infected during an Islamic conference in neighbouring Malaysia.

India shuts malls in Mumbai, bars in Bengaluru

Two Indian states ordered the closure of public buildings, malls, cinemas and bars in several major cities on Friday, with Mumbai and Bengaluru subject to differing restrictions, after the country reported its first death from the coronavirus.

With just 74 confirmed cases of the virus and a single death, India, a country of 1.3 billion people, has so far fared better than elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America.

Pandemic shuts down Everest as Nepal suspends all permits: Nepal yesterday barred climbers from all mountains – including Everest – over the coronavirus pandemic, in a major blow to its tourism industry.

The Himalayan country, which has so far confirmed one coronavirus case, earns 4.4 million dollars a year from climbing permits while the losses to expedition organizers will be even higher.

Romanian government goes into quarantine

Romanian President Klaus Iohannis asked quarantined interim Prime Minister Ludovic Orban to form a new government on Friday that parliament could approve as early as Saturday, ending a political stalemate and focusing on the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier on Friday, Orban said he and his entire cabinet would quarantine themselves after coming into contact with a senator who was later confirmed to have the coronavirus.

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