- Germany reported its fifth COVID-19 death on Thursday.
- The European Central Bank urged governments to take bold measures to stave off an economic crisis.
- US President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban targeting European nationals.
- China’s National Health Commission said the peak of the coronavirus has passed in the country.
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
15:14 The Bavarian health ministry reported the death of an 80-year-old man, making him the fifth coronavirus-related death in Germany. The ministry said he had underlying health issues.
14:59 Bavarian Minister President Markus Söder said businesses should take proactive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He warned that the epidemic could have severe consequences for Bavaria’s economy.
14:36 The leader of Spain’s hotels federation, CEHAT, described the coronavirus epidemic as a natural disaster on the country’s tourism sector.
“A tsunami has arrived,” CEHAT Secretary General Ramon Estalella. “A meteorite has fallen on us and we have to see how we survive.” He urged the Spanish government to take bold measures to avoid businesses going into bankruptcy or mass layoffs.
14:21 Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his government is introducing new measures across the Netherlands due to untraceable cases of coronavirus.
14:17 The German benchmark DAX index fell by more than 10% after a statement from the European Central Bank (ECB) failed to calm investors in Europe.
14:15 Trading has resumed on Wall Street after the session was halted when the S&P 500 dropped 7% within the first minutes.
13:48 Princess Cruises said it would suspend global operations for 60 days. Multiple Princess vessels were hit by coronavirus outbreaks, triggering quarantine operations on board.
13:40 European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the coronavirus epidemic is a “major shock” that will have a “significant impact” in Europe.
“Even if ultimately temporary by nature, it will have a significant impact on economic activity,” said Lagarde. “An ambitious and coordinated fiscal policy response is required to support businesses and workers at risk.”
13:38 US General Frank McKenzie, who serves as commander of Central Command, said Iran is under-reporting the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Iran is one of the hardest hit countries outside of China.
The Italian government has deployed the military to ensure public safety and compliance with nationwide travel restrictions
13:27 The European Space Agency and Russa’s Roscosmos said they would delay the launch of a Mars-bound rover, citing an “exacerbation of the epidemiological situation in Europe,” leaving its experts “practically no possibility to proceed with travels to partner industries.”
12:57 The European Central Bank (ECB) announced new stimulus measures to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus by keeping liquidity flowing, including loans to banks and a bond-buying scheme.
12:35 Spain’s health ministry reported Thursday that the number of COVID-19 cases rose to 2,968, up from 2,140 on Wednesday. The death toll in Spain nearly doubled in 24 hours from 47 to 84 deaths.
12:17 Polish officials confirmed Poland’s first COVID-19 death in the western city of Poznan. The city’s deputy mayor said the victim was a 57-year-old woman.
12:07 Ireland said it will close all schools and cultural institutions until March 29. Norway also announced it will close all schools.
11:54 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for everyone in Germany to take action in stopping the spread of COVID-19.
“We need to change our everyday lives, not gradually, but now,” said Steinmeier in Berlin, while asking people to avoid large public gatherings like parties, sporting events and concerts. “Self-restriction today will save lives tomorrow,” he said.
“This epidemic is a challenge for Germany that we can and will overcome with our well-functioning public health system,” he added.
11:47 World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that COVID-19 is a “a controllable pandemic” if countries take appropriate measures. He urged countries to “double down” in their fight against the outbreak.
“Describing this as a pandemic does not mean that countries should give up. The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous,” Ghebreyesus said in Geneva.
Read more: What you need to know about the coronavirus
11:17 German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has postponed a conference to select a new party leader to follow Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. The conference had been scheduled for April 25 in Berlin.
11:03 A fourth person has died of COVID-19 in Germany. Health officials in Stuttgart reported a 67-year-old man died in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. It is the first death outside of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state where the majority of cases have been.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in Germany currently stands at 2,078.
10:45 The European Union said it disapproved of the US decision to impose a ban on travel from countries in Europe’s Schengen zone, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel said in a statement.
“The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to improve a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation,” the statement said,
The pair of EU leaders added that the bloc is taking “strong” measures to limit the spread of the virus.
10:33 The Spanish government said in a statement that it will hold all meetings via video conference starting Thursday after a minister tested positive for coronavirus. All ministers will now undergo screening for the virus, the statement added.
10:10 EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet that the EU is working on a coordinated effort to “tackle the impact” of the coronavirus.
10:03 Austria reported its first coronavirus death on Thursday. Health officials said a 69-year-old man died in the capital, Vienna.
09:05 Iran has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $5 billion worth of emergency funding, Reuters news agency reported.
Iran has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the Middle East, with over 10,000 total cases and 429 deaths. Two weeks ago, the number of cases in Iran was below 250.
08:52 South Africa’s health ministry Thursday confirmed the country’s first locally transmitted COVID-19 case. Officials said a 32-year-old man contracted the disease after coming into contact with a Chinese businessman.
08:34 US public health experts have said the country is currently ill-equipped to fight an epidemic, according to DW’s Washington correspondent Stefan Simons. The US currently lacks a sufficient number of hospital beds and coronavirus testing kits, Simons told DW News.
“The US has not tested significantly compared to Europe, and other countries.”
08:05 For the first time since mid-2016, the DAX, Germany’s main index of 30 blue-chip stocks, fell below 10,000 points. The index opened Thursday at 9,854 points — 5.5% lower than Wednesday’s closing. London’s stock market, the FTSE 100, fell 5.2 % in early trading — its lowest point since February 2016.
08:00 Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said the Czech Republic would start introducing border controls on the German and Austrian borders starting Friday at midnight. Border crossing outside of 11 official crossing points will be forbidden.
07:51 Kazakhstan is suspending all public events and closing schools and colleges, the central Asian country’s authorities said Thursday.
07:30 China’s National Health Commission said Thursday that the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the country has passed as the number of new infections continues to drop.
On Thursday, China reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since daily reporting on infections began seven weeks ago.
Mainland China declared 11 new coronavirus deaths and 15 new cases on March 11, down from 22 deaths and 24 new cases on March 10.
06:51 Following Trump’s EU travel ban announcement, European Council President Charles Michel said in a tweet Thursday the EU would “assess the situation” and “economic disruption must be avoided.”
06:15 Stock markets in Asia tumbled again on Thursday following US President Trump’s announcement of restriction on travel from 26 European countries.
Here’s a look at have major indices fared: Tokyo ended down 4.4%, while Sydney lost 7.4% in the ASX 200’s worst day since 2008. Hong Kong fell 3.5% in the afternoon while Shanghai was off 1.6%. Seoul, Singapore and Jakarta each lost more than 3%, while Mumbai dropped more than 7% and Bangkok more than 8%.
05:00 The final victim was recovered from the rubble of the coronavirus quarantine hotel which collapsed in east China, authorities said, bringing the total death toll to 29.
04:34 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is due to be tested for coronavirus after exposure to coronavirus patients, his spokesman said on Thursday, as top government officials began to self-quarantine.
04:28 Greece has reported its first coronavirus death, in a 66-year-old man who had underlying health issues. The man had returned from a religious pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt at the end of February. There were 99 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Greece by late Wednesday.
04:25 China’s Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, will allow industrial production to resume in some parts of the province and ease travel restrictions in those regions accordingly.
Health officials wearing face masks check the body temperature of policewomen before a rally in Bangkok on March 1
04:20 Confused about coronavirus conspiracy theories? This isn’t the first time diseases and disinformation have crossed paths. Read about other examples from history here.
04:05 The Tokyo city government said Thursday that canceling the 2020 Olympic Games would be “unthinkable.”
“There is no change to the government stance that we will make preparations for the Tokyo Olympics as planned, while coordinating closely with the International Olympic Committee,” said a government spokesman.
03:45 A member of France’s parliament representing French Polynesia is the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the South Pacific, officials said Wednesday. Maina Saga began feeling ill on Monday, two days after returning to the French Pacific territory from France, the territory’s president Edouard Fritch said.
On February 26, Saga met with French Culture Minister Franck Riester, who was later confirmed to have coronavirus.
03:26 Thailand’s Health Ministry has reported 11 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 70. All of the new patients had socialized and shared drinks, health officials said, adding that a tourist from Hong Kong had been the source of the infection. “The Hong Kong tourist came alone and already went back. The 11 infected are all Thai,” said Sopon Iamsirithawon, director-general of the Communicable Diseases Department.
It marked the biggest jump in cases for weeks in Thailand, which was one of the first countries outside China to report infections.
03:23 US Democrats unveiled legislation to give aid to people affected by the outbreak. House Democratic leaders intend to hold a debate and vote on the measure as early as Thursday. It includes additional funding for food and nutrition programs, expanded unemployment insurance and paid sick days for workers, according to the bill’s text.
03:21 New York City has canceled its St. Patrick’s Day parade. It would have been the 259th annual parade, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
03:09 The US State Department has advised US citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to coronavirus.
03:05 South Korea reported 114 new cases of coronavirus and six more deaths, resuming a relative decline in new cases after a spike the day before. The new cases bring the country’s total to 7,869, with 66 deaths, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.
An official wearing a mask and a traditional guard uniform stands at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea
02:59 South America’s soccer body CONMEBOL is asking FIFA to suspend the beginning of World Cup qualifiers scheduled for the end of March, due to coronavirus fears. The letter said the outbreak could affect South American national teams that have members in Europe for they could be put in quarantine, which would stop them from playing.
02:37 China’s aviation regulator said that the number of flights in the country rose to 40% of levels seen before coronavirus-related curbs were implemented.
02:33 US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement that he plans to issue a notice in the next 48 hours that would require US passengers who have been in Schengen Area countries to travel through selected airports with enhanced screening.
Travel restrictions announced on Wednesday by Trump ban most foreign nationals who have traveled to the areas over the past 14 days from entering the US, the DHS said. The restrictions, meant to combat the spread of coronavirus, do not apply to legal permanent residents of the US, nor does it generally apply to immediate family members of American citizens, according to the statement.
Wolf also tweeted the elements of the initiative.
02:23 The organizer of the Bucharest Pride celebration in Romania said that the event would be delayed by at least three months due to coronavirus. The event typically attracts about 10,000 people and was postponed from May 23 until August or September.
02:14 Guyana confirmed its first case in a Guyanese woman who died after returning to the South American country last week from the United States. The 52-year-old woman sought medical care after arriving in Guyana on March 5 and died Wednesday morning, a statement issued by President David Granger said.
Earlier tests diagnosed her with uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension, but more tests on Wednesday afternoon after she died confirmed she had coronavirus
02:05 Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency in the US capital as the number of identified cases reached 10. “We’re not in a vacuum. Our country is experiencing this and our world is experiencing this,” he told a news conference.
01:59 The classification of coronavirus as a pandemic will have an impact on discussions about the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics but, for now, cancelation is unthinkable, Kyodo News quoted Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike as saying on Thursday.
Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said that there is no change in planning for the 2020 Olympics, set to start in July, and there is also no need to declare a state of emergency in Japan due to the coronavirus outbreak.
A woman wearing a mask walks near the Olympics’ mark in Odaiba, Tokyo
01:39 The NBA announced it will suspend the season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Govert tested positive for coronavirus. The move came shortly after the majority of the league’s owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.
01:20 Tom Hanks has announced that he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, have both tested positive for coronavirus in Australia. He said that he and Wilson, who are both 63, were tested in Australia, where he is working on a film after they felt tired and achy with slight fevers.
“To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus and were found to be positive,” Hanks said in a tweet.
01:15 US President Donald Trump has suspended all travel from EU countries except the United Kingdom for 30 days. He said the restrictions were “strong but necessary.”
“To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days,” he said. The new rules will be effective from midnight on Friday. He also urged Congress to pass tax relief measures. “I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief. Hopefully, they will consider this very strongly,” he said.
00:53 Cuba has confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus, according to its state broadcaster. The patients are Italians who had traveled to the country on Monday.
00:40 Mainland China declared 11 new coronavirus deaths and 15 new cases on March 11, down from 22 deaths and 24 new cases on March 10. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 80,793.
00:24 Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned its citizens and residents from traveling to European Union states, according to Saudi state television.
00:09 US President Donald Trump is considering implementing travel restrictions and a mandatory quarantine for travelers returning from European countries. He is set to address the nation about potential restrictions on television at 21:00 EST (1:00 UTC).
Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted, “We must beat it as quickly and safely as possible.”
23:52 Australia announced an A$17.6 billion ($11.4 billion) (€10.11 billion) spending plan to curb the economic impact of coronavirus and avert the country’s first recession in 29 years. The spending plan is equivalent to about 1.2% of the country’s GDP.
23:44 El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele has imposed a 21-day nationwide quarantine, meaning that no foreigner will be able to enter the country unless they are a resident or a diplomat. The country currently has no confirmed cases.
Members of El Salvador’s Health Ministry spray sanitizer at the San Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in San Salvador city
23:20 “Bottom line, it’s going to get worse,” said Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The statement comes as Trump is scheduled to address the nation from the White House on the government’s response to the outbreak.
wmr,lc/sms (dpa, Reuters, AP)
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