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Lockdowns alone not enough, warns WHO as Coronavirus toll mounts to 13K

Cases ballooned in Europe, prompting more lockdown measures. New Jersey's governor followed four other US states that have imposed unprecedented restrictions

Agencies 

Coronavirus
Japan's Princess Aiko, daughter of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, wearing a protective face mask following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease.

What WHO said

As the number of global cases surpassed 300,000 and the death toll rose to 13,000, the World Health Organization’s (WHO) top emergency expert, Mike Ryan, said on Sunday that countries could not simply lock down their societies to defeat without public health measures to avoid a resurgence of the virus down the road. “What we really need to focus on is finding those who are sick, those who have the virus, and isolate them, find their contacts and isolate them,” Ryan, said. “If we don’t put in place the strong public health measures now,” he said, “when those movement restrictions and lockdowns are lifted, the danger is the disease will jump back up,” he said.

Americas

Nearly one in four Americans are under orders to close up shop and stay at home. At least 23,941 cases of the novel have been reported in the US and 306 people have died. Bolivia’s interim government announced it would postpone presidential elections originally slated for May 3 and institute a mandatory countrywide quarantine for 14 days.

Brazil’s largest state Sao Paulo will essentially shut down for two weeks to help fight the coronavirus, its governor said, as President Jair Bolsonaro said again that ‘hysteria’ over the outbreak could cause more harm than the virus itself.

China, Australia & South Korea

China saw 46 new cases, the fourth straight day with an increase, with all but one of those imported from overseas. Australian PM ordered many venues, including pubs, casinos, gyms and cinemas, to close. Members of a South Korean church scuffled with police on Sunday, media reported, as government restrictions on religious services and other gatherings took effect.

Europe

The Italian government has ordered all businesses to shut until April 3, with the exception of those essential to maintaining the country's supply chain. Italy recorded a jump in deaths from coronavirus of almost 800, taking the toll in the world’s hardest-hit country to almost 5,000.

Spain’s death toll has soared to 1,720.

British PM Boris Johnson said the Health Service (NHS) could be ‘overwhelmed’ like the Italian health system in just two weeks. The government warned it will impose tighter restrictions if Britons fail to follow government’s calls.

MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA

Iran's death toll has reached 1,685 with 129 deaths in 24 hours. The total number of infected people is 21,638. Oman has banned public gatherings in the Gulf Arab state, limited staffing at state entities and shut currency exchange bureaus. Angola, Eritrea and Uganda confirmed their first cases of coronavirus, while Mauritius recorded its first death as the virus spreads across Africa.

First Published: Mon, March 23 2020. 01:29 IST
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