Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic- Global updates
The rapid spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) has affected 159 countries and territories around the world and 1 international conveyance (the Diamond Princess cruise ship harbored in Yokohama, Japan) as of March 19th 2020. While the outbreak originated in China, the bulk of confirmed cases and fatalities are currently beyond its borders.
Based on statistics published by John Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, as of March 18th, 220,691 Coronavirus cases were confirmed in 159 countries, 8957 deaths, and 84,161 recovered. The five worst-affected countries are China, Italy, Iran, Spain and Germany, with 81,154 confirmed cases and 3,249 deaths were reported in China, 35,713 confirmed cases and 2,978 deaths were reported in Italy. In Iran, there are 13,361 confirmed cases and 1,135 deaths, and in Spain 15,014 confirmed cases and 640 deaths. And Germany comes in fifth place with 13,093 confirmed cases and 31 deaths.
There is considerable variation in how many people are being tested for coronavirus around the world. South Korea has been carrying out more tests per capita than any other country, with nearly 20,000 people tested every day. On the other hand, as of March 16th, Coronavirus testing levels in the US are the lowest per capita. Test-kit shortages in the US have hampered health authorities' ability to get a clear sense of how many citizens were infected earlier.
Many affected countries pledged to ramp up Coronavirus testing and make it more accessible in the last few days, especially after the World Health Organization (WHO) urged all countries to test every suspected case of the virus. However, with the rapid acceleration of cases and the death toll worldwide, and the pandemic wreaking havoc on retail and tech supply chains and the global shipping industry, governments are struggling with containment measures; countries around the world are taking different measures at different timings in bid to prevent the spread of the virus further.
In general, measures taken by affected countries include restrictions on movement and banning gatherings of 10 or more people. Many countries also temporarily closed its schools, universities, sports facilities, shopping malls, as well as tourist and religious sites as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) further. Most international conferences and major events were also halted. Countries have also imposed a variety of travel restrictions, the measures range from suspending international flights and banning travelers from impacted countries, to requiring citizens or foreign nationals to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
United States of America
The US has introduced restrictions on 26 European countries (the Schengen Area), preventing anyone (except US citizens) from entering the country if they've been in the Schengen Area in the past 14 days, and is now extending this ban to include the UK and Republic of Ireland. US citizens are allowed to return home but must fly into 13 designated airports and undergo enhanced entry screening and possibly Coronavirus testing.
Argentina has closed its borders to noncitizens and nonresidents until April 1st. On March 13th, Bolivia suspended all flights to and from Europe until further notice. Furthermore, Paraguay canceled flights from Asuncion to Madrid, which is the only direct route into Europe, for the rest of March.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced on March 16th on Twitter the suspension of all nonessential travel to the European Union for 30 days. Exemptions include family members of European nationals, diplomats, "essential staff" that are addressing the coronavirus spread, and people transporting goods.
Foreign nationals who have been to China, Iran, South Korea, or Italy are not allowed to enter Australia. Australian citizens are exempt, but they will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days upon returning home.
People traveling to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangdong province, and Sichuan province will be quarantined for 14 days in a Chinese facility if they have recently visited countries with "severe outbreaks" such as South Korea, Japan, Iran, and Italy.
The country has suspended all existing visas until April 15th. In addition, as of March 16th, travelers from the European Union, the European Free Trade Association, Turkey, China, and the UK are banned from entering India. Officials added Afghanistan, Philippines, and Malaysia to the list of banned countries on March 17th.
Foreign nationals with a Chinese passport issued by Hubei or the Zhejiang provinces and those who have visited Iran, Italy, San Marino, or South Korea in the last 14 days are banned from entering the country.
Travelers who have been in the US in the past 14 days will be subject to self-quarantine upon arriving in Thailand. Additionally, travelers from Iran, Italy, China, Korea, Hong Kong and Macao must submit proof to their airline at check-in that they tested negative for Coronavirus prior to traveling to Thailand. They must also show proof of a health insurance policy with coverage of at least $100,000.
As of March 15th, all international flights to and from Saudi Arabia are suspended for 14 days.
Jordan has emptied hotels to quarantine travelers in Amman and the Dead Sea on March 16th, and banned international travelers from entry, and imposed a nationwide curfew, which resulted in the arrest of approximately 400 people who violated the curfew.
The country has imposed a travel ban on foreign nationals from "high-risk countries" including the United States, Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, the United Kingdom and China starting March 18th until further notice.
The Ministry of Health in Kenya announced on Twitter on March 15th that the country is banning all travelers from all countries that have reported coronavirus cases.
On March 16th, the Moroccan government announced the suspension of all international travel in and out of Morocco.
Measures taken by countries to slow the spread of the virus — such as closing borders and imposing restrictions on movement — have already negatively and drastically impacted the global economy. The UN’s trade and development agency, UNCTAD, announced on March 16th, that apart from the tragic human consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, the economic uncertainty it has sparked will likely cost the global economy $1 trillion in 2020. However, more severe measures are expected to be taken in bid to slow down and possibly stop the spread of Coronavirus in the upcoming weeks, leading to sharp market corrections and triggering fears of a global recession.
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