Italy under total lockdown as WHO calls threat of Covid-19 pandemic very real

Rome’s Spanish Steps were virtually deserted on Tuesday after a decree ordered all of Italy to be on lockdown in a move aimed at containing the coronavirus. (Photo courtesy: Reuters)

(, Mar10’20) – Following sharp increases in both confirmed cases and deaths, Italy has become the country worst affected by the Covid-19 epidemic outside mainland China as the World Health Organization (WHO) still struggles to refrain from declaring the rampaging infection, now spreading in around half the number of nations and territories and all the populated continents of the world, a pandemic.

Now that the coronavirus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real, China’s official Xinhua news agency Mar 10 cited Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of WHO as saying Mar 9. He has said it will be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled, apparently referring to China’s reported success in dealing with the epidemic as an example.

The epidemic has now infected 113,630 people and killed 4,013 across the world, including 80,754 and 3,136 respectively in mainland China, according to data compiled by the as of Mar 10 at 4:45 PM Hong Kong time. Those who have recovered from the infection totaled 63,913.

In Italy, 9,172 had been infected, of whom 463 had died. The government has now expanded its travel ban to the entire country.

South Korea is now the second worst affected country outside mainland China, accounting for 7,513 infections and 54 deaths.

Iran, the third worst affected country outside mainland China, accounted for 7,161 infections and 237 deaths.

Other countries and territories with confirmed cases and deaths as of Mar 10 at 4:45 PM Hong Kong time included France (1,412, 25), Germany (1,139, 2), Spain (1,024, 28), the Diamond Process cruise ship (696, 7), the United States (525, 24),  Japan, (514, 9), Switzerland (332, 2), the Netherlands (321, 3), the United Kingdom (319, 5), Hong Kong (118, 3), Australia (100, 3), Canada (77, 1), Egypt (55, 1), Iraq (54, 4-unchanged), Thailand (50, 1), San Marino (49, 2), Taiwan (45, 1-unchanged), the Philippines (35, 1), and Argentina (12, 1).

Other countries and regions with 10 or more confirmed infections, but no death, as of Mar 10 at 4:45 PM Hong Kong time included Sweden (248), Belgium (239), Norway (192), Singapore (160), Austria (131), Malaysia (117), Bahrain (87), Greece (73), Kuwait (62-unchanged), the UAE (59), Iceland (55), Israel (50), India (43-since risen to 47), Denmark (38),  Vietnam (33), Czech Republic (32), Lebanon (32), Finland (30), Portugal (30), Brazil (25), Occupied Palestinian territory (25), Grand Princess cruise ship off San Francisco (21), Ireland (21), Algeria (20-unchanged), Indonesia (19), Oman (16-unchanged), Slovenia (16), Ecuador (15), Qatar (15), Romania (15), Saudi Arabia (15), Georgia (13), Croatia (12-unchanged), Poland (11), Macao (10-unchanged), Chile (10), Estonia (10-unchanged) and Russia (10-unchanged).

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On mainland China, President Xi Jinping has made his first visit to the epidemic’s epicentre Wuhan, seen as a strong signal that Beijing believes the worst of the coronavirus outbreak is over.

The visit took place maid reports that China had closed all the 14 temporary hospitals for treating Covid-19 infections in the city and that five provinces and autonomous regions and the Macao Special Administrative Region were clear of coronavirus cases as of Mar 8.

Mainland China’s National Health Commission (NHC) also reported only 19 new confirmed infections and 19 deaths on Mar 9 night, the lowest daily figures thus far. They took the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China as of Mar 9 night to 80,754 (including 17,721 still being treated, 59,897 discharged after recovery, and 3,136 deaths).

The commission has said 349 people were still suspected of being infected with the virus, including 36 reported on Mar 9.

Mainland China also reported 69 imported cases by the end of Mar 9.


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