Italy restricts people’s movement in at least 15 provinces as global Covid-19 scare grows

A picture shows the deserted Piazza Duomo in Milan, Italy. (Photo courtesy: NYT)

(, Mar08’20) – As mainland China continued to report ever declining daily numbers of new confirmed cases and deaths from the Covid-19 epidemic, the spread of and fatality from the novel coronavirus in other countries continue to be a matter of serious and ever growing concern. A total of 21,114 confirmed cases have been reported by 93 countries and regions outside China as of 10:00 CET Mar 7, an increase of 3,633 infections from the previous day, according to the daily situation report released by the World Health Organization (WHO) Mar 7 evening. The global totals are 105,610 confirmed infections and 3,598 deaths as of Mar 8 at 5:00 PM Hong Kong time, according to data compiled by

India reported five more positive cases on Mar 8, all from one district in the state of Kerala, taking the country’s total to 39. Three of them, a couple in their fifties and their 24-year old son, had taken a flight from Italy to India on Feb 29 while the other two were their relatives. Kerala was also the state from which the first three cases in the country occurred, with the patients being returnee-students from Wuhan, the epicenter in China of the epidemic’s national and global spread.

South Korea continued to report the highest number of infections outside mainland China at 7,134 with 50 deaths as of Mar 8 at 5:00 PM Hong Kong time.

Italy reported the highest number of deaths outside mainland China at 233 with 5,883 confirmed infections, making it the worst affected country in Europe. In a bid to halt the rapid spread of the virus, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has on Mar 8 signed a decree after midnight that imposes restrictions to the movement of people in the region of Lombardy and in at least 15 provinces. The measures will be in place until Apr 3.

Iran continued to figure among the three worst affected countries outside mainland China with 5,823 infections and 145 deaths.

The Diamond Princess cruise ship was reported to have 696 confirmed cases and 8 deaths so far.

Other countries and territories with confirmed cases and deaths as of Mar 8 at 5:00 PM Hong Kong time included France (949, 16), Japan, (454, 6), Spain (374, 8), Switzerland (181, 1), the United States (213, 19), the United Kingdom (206, 2), the Netherlands (188, 1-unchanged), Hong Kong (113, 2), Australia (74, 3), Thailand (48, 1), Taiwan (45, 1-unchanged), Iraq (44, 2), San Marino (24, 1), the Philippines (5, 1-unchanged), and Argentina (2, 1).

Countries and regions with 10 or more confirmed infections, but no death, as of Mar 8 at 5:00 PM Hong Kong time included Germany (795), Belgium (169), Sweden (140), Singapore (138-unchanged), Norway (113), Austria (104), Malaysia (93-unchanged), Bahrain (77), Greece (66), Kuwait (58-unchanged), Canada (57), Egypt (48), Iceland (45), the UAE (45-unchanged), India (31-since risen to 39), Israel (25), Denmark (23),  Lebanon (22), Grand Princess cruise ship off San Francisco (21-unchanged), Ireland (18), Vietnam (18-unchanged), Algeria (17-unchanged), Oman (16-unchanged), Ecuador (14), Brazil (13), Portugal (13), Czech Republic (12-unchanged), Croatia (11), Qatar (11) Macao (10-unchanged), and Estonia (10).

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In mainland China, the National Health Commission (NHC) has reported falls in the relevant figures, citing 44 new confirmed cases and 27 deaths as of Mar 7 night, taking the total confirmed cases to 80,695 (including 20,533 still being treated, 57,065 discharged after recovery, and 3,097 deaths).

The new confirmed cases included 41 from Hubei Province which also accounted for all the 27 latest deaths.

Mainland China also reported 84 new suspected cases, taking the total to 458.

The number of severe cases was stated to have decreased by 225 to 5,264.

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While a vaccine against the virus is stated to be at least a year away from being available, China has expressed optimism that a Coronavirus vaccine could be ready for ’emergency use in April.

“According to our estimates, we are hopeful that in April some of the vaccines will enter clinical research or be of use in emergency situations,” Mar 7 quoted Zheng Zhongwei, director of China’s National Health Commission’s Science and Technology Development Center, as saying.

Zheng has not elaborated on the condition under which the vaccine could be used on humans.

In the USA, the report quoted Dr Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, as saying at a recent White House briefing that the whole process of approving an effective vaccine was going to take at least a year.

This was despite the fact that in a record-breaking pace, Massachusetts-based biotechnology company Moderna was reported to have shipped its vaccine last month to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to begin human testing.


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