Italy closing down all but most essential services as it tries to control the coronavirus, as global pandemic deepens.
Italy ordered all but the most essential of businesses to close until April 3, tightening a lockdown against the coronavirus, after nearly 800 people died from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, on Saturday.
“It is the most difficult crisis in our post-war period,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a video posted to Facebook. “Only production activities deemed vital for national production will be allowed.”
Conte did not go into detail on the proposals which are expected to come into force via an emergency decree on Sunday.
Italy recorded 793 deaths on Saturday, with France and Spain and Germany also reporting steep rises in confirmed cases and fatalities.
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Nearly 13,000 people around the world have now died from the disease, according to data collected by the Johns Hopkins University in the United States. More than 304,500 people have been diagnosed with the infection, while nearly 92,000 have recovered.
I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur with Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic. Here are all the latest updates:
Sunday, March 22
01:30 GMT – South Korea reports 98 new cases of coronavirus
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 98 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the national total to 8,897.
01:20 GMT – Wuhan reports fourth day without new coronavirus case
Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged late last year, says it had no new cases of coronavirus on Saturday, marking the fourth straight day without a new infection.
China itself reported 46 new confirmed cases, all but one of them imported from overseas.
It also said six people died from COVID-19.
#Wuhan reports ZERO new #COVID19 infection for consecutive 4 days. 46 new COVID-19 cases are reported in Chinese mainland, with 45 imported cases. pic.twitter.com/OFgwXqeyuJ
01:00 GMT – Australia to consider ‘draconian measures’ to enforce social distancing
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says states and territories will consider draconian measures to enforce social distancing after thousands of people thronged the country’s beaches amid unusually warm weather.
Most of Sydney’s main beaches, including Bondi Beach, were closed on Sunday.
“The measures that we will be considering tonight means that state premiers and chief ministers may have to take far more draconian measures to enforce social distancing,” Morrison said in Canberra.
00:15 GMT – Conte says Italy will further tighten lockdown to tackle virus
Italy has ordered that all but the most essential of businesses must close until April 3.
“It is the most difficult crisis in our post-war period,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a video posted on Facebook, adding “only production activities deemed vital for national production will be allowed.”
Conte did not go into detail on which businesses would have to close under the order which is expected to come into effect through an emergency decree on Sunday.
Supermarkets, pharmacies, postal and banking services will remain open and essential public services, including transport, will be ensured.
“We are slowing down the country’s production engine but we are not stopping it,” Conte said.
00:00 GMT – UK urges more vulnerable to ‘stay at home’
Some 1.5 million people identified by the United Kingdom’s National Health Service (NHS) as being at higher risk of severe illness if they contract coronavirus are being urged to stay at home to protect themselves.
The people include those who have received organ transplants, those living with severe respiratory conditions or specific cancers, and some receiving certain types of drug treatments.
They will be contacted by their doctor strongly advising them to stay at home for a period of at least 12 weeks.
Read all the latest updates from yesterday (March 21) here.
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