- Over 114,00 cases of coronavirus, or COVID-19, have been confirmed worldwide
- Italy has imposed travel restrictions on the entire country to stop the spread of the disease
- Two leading German research institutes have predicted that the country will fall into a recession this year
Read more: What you need to know about the coronavirus
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
06:30 Cyprus confirmed its first cases of the COVID-19 (coronavirus SARS-CoV-2). The country was the last in the EU with no confirmed cases. A 64-year-old doctor who had recently returned from the UK was one of two individuals to test positive on the island.
05:45 Austria “urgently advised” citizens to return home from Italy. Health authorities there announced a lockdown targeting the north of the country where the virus has hit hardest.
05:15 Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, for the first time since the since the crisis erupted in January — a sign that Beijing believes its control measures are paying off.
State media showed Xi, wearing a mask, speaking via video-link to medical workers and patients at one of the field hospitals set up in the city.
Xi’s visit comes as China reported a tumble in new infection cases. The National Health Commission reported just 19 new infections on Monday, down from 40 the day before.
Xi’s visit to Wuhan is seen as a sign from Beijing that it has the virus under control
04:40 The coronavirus outbreak has not yet reached its peak in Germany and further restrictions to everyday life can be expected, German Health Minister Jens Spahn has said.
“The primary goal is to slow the outbreak,” he wrote in a guest post for the German tabloid Bild published late Monday.
Earlier Monday, Germany had reported its first two deaths from coronavirus.
04:29 Canada has reported its first coronavirus death. Health officials in the westernmost province of British Colombia said the victim was a man who had been living at an elderly care facility.
04:15 Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, where the coronavirus outbreak originated, on Tuesday, his first visit to the city since the epidemic began at the end of last year.
The unannounced visit signals that officials believe the outbreak has been brought under control. China reported only 19 news cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the lowest figure since the country started sharing data on January 21.
03:55 American rock group Pearl Jam is postponing the first leg of their North American spring tour due to coronavirus concerns.
“The levels of risk to our audience and their communities is simply too high for our comfort level,” a statement signed by the band released Tuesday said.
“It certainly hasn’t helped that there’s been no clear messages from our government regarding people’s safety and our ability to go to work,” the statement continued. “Having no examples of our national health department’s ability to get ahead of this, we have no reason to believe that it will be under control in the coming weeks ahead.”
The band hails from Washington, the US state currently most affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.
03:50 China’s Hubei province — the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak — is considering allowing people in low- or medium-risk areas to start traveling. At a meeting between province authorities, officials discussed implementing the use of a “health code,” a mobile-based monitoring tool, to facilitate travel in the region.
03:20 In light of the coronavirus outbreak, the chairman of Germany’s free market-liberal Free Democrats (FDP) has said it should be easier for people to work from home.
“Many people currently prefer to work from home out of fear of infection,” said FDP chairman Christian Lindner. “There should be a right to work from home…The public sector as an employer should lead the way and actively offer its employees opportunities to work from home.”
03:08 The president of the Ifo Institute for Economic Research, a Munich-based institution, said a coronavirus-related recession in Germany could be “unavoidable.”
“There are some indications that a recession is imminent,” Ifo president Clemens Fuest told German daily Augsburger Allgemeine. ”Unfortunately, many virologists are saying the outbreak could subside in the summer, but return in the fall. In that case, a recession would be unavoidable.”
02:50 Japan’s government has approved a draft of a “state of emergency” bill that, if approved by parliament, would allow Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to impose drastic measures to fight the spread of coronavirus. The bill would include measures that allow authorities to keep people inside and to seize buildings to use them as hospitals.
A top government spokesman said the country had not yet reached such a point.
02:36 After reporting its first case of coronavirus today, Mongolia put its cities on lockdown.
“The capital Ulaanbaatar and all province centers are quarantined until March 16 to curb the outbreak,” Deputy Prime Minister Enkhtuvshin Ulziisaikhan said at a press conference.
02:20 Austria’s foreign ministry has called on any citizens currently in Italy — the European country the worst hit by the COVID-19 outbreak — to return home.
“Austrian travelers are strongly advised to return to Austria,” a statement on the ministry’s website read.
All of Italy is currently affected by a travel lockdown that forbids its citizens from leaving the country.
02:08 South Korea, one of the countries most affected by the outbreak, reported fewer than 150 new daily cases for the first time in two weeks. On Monday, the country confirmed a total of 131 new cases.
01:55 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has called the coronavirus threat “overstated.”
“In my opinion, that virus’s destructive power is overstated. Maybe it is even potentially being exaggerated for political reasons,” Bolsonaro said.
The far-right leader said that the recent fall of the world markets “basically has to do with the price of oil, which sank 30 percent, and with the coronavirus issue, too.”
01:45 The Central American nation of Panama has confirmed its first case of coronavirus.
01:26 A nursing home in Seattle, Washington at the center of the outbreak in the US has reported 31 more confirmed cases. Since February 19, 26 of the home’s 120 patients have died. Autopsies have confirmed that at least 13 of the deaths were due to coronavirus.
01:23 For the third day in a row, China has reported no new local coronavirus transmissions.
01:20 South Korea has reported 35 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the national total to 7,513.
01:12 Mongolia has confirmed its first case of coronavirus — a French national working in the country.
00:22 In mainland China, where the outbreak began, 80,754 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus thus far. Nearly 60,000 have already recovered. Nine new cases were confirmed on the mainland on Monday, compared to 40 the day before.
00:12 The head of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) expects coronavirus to bring on a recession in Germany this year.
“It’s probable that Germany will experience a recession this year — employment is going to suffer visibly,” the institute’s chief economic forecaster Claus Michelsen told German daily Berliner Morgenpost.
kp/rc (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)
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