Coronavirus: global update

coronavirus Europe globe

New Zealand announces lockdown; Hong Kong bars entry to all non-residents; Tokyo grows concerned about the state of the Olympic as Canada withdraws from the 2020 Games; and Spain distributes 650,000 rapid testing kits

As the number of confirmed cases in Spain exceeds 28,500, the country’s health authorities are distributing around 650,000 rapid testing kits – the first to receive these will be frontline hospital staff and those in the regions most affected by the spread of the virus.

In Hong Kong, Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced on Monday that all travellers from mainland China, Macau and Taiwan, as well as Hong Kong residents, will be barred from entry if they have been to a foreign country in the past 14 days. The measure will be in effect for two weeks. The region of Hong Kong has also proposed amending laws to prohibit 8,600 licenced restaurants and bars from selling alcohol in an effort to promote social distancing.

Japan is now considering that postponing the Olympics may be a viable option as Canada has become the first country to withdraw for the 2020 Games due to start on 24 July. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Monday that the event could be delayed if it could not be held in its ‘complete form’. On Sunday, the International Olympic Committee said it was stepping up its ‘scenario planning’ for the 2020 Games.

Case numbers have now risen past 100 in New Zealand, and so the country is preparing to enter a month-long nationwide lockdown from Wednesday night, which will require all except those in essential service roles to stay at home.

“The worst-case scenario is simply intolerable, it would represent the greatest loss of New Zealanders’ lives in our history and I will not take that chance,” said Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. “I say to all New Zealanders: the government will do all it can to protect you. Now I’m asking you to do everything you can to protect all of us. Kiwis – go home.”

In the UK, where reported case numbers are also quickly escalating, doctors and nurses working on the frontline have urged people to stay at home, and the UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has warned that stricter measures could soon come into effect within the next 24 hours if people fail to practise appropriate social distancing. The UK government is also suspending all rail franchise agreements.

At the time of writing, globally, there are 343,421 total confirmed cases of the virus:

  • 81,454 of these occurred in China, with 3,153 deaths and 59,882 recoveries.
  • 59,238 confirmed case numbers so far in Italy, with 5,476 deaths and 7,024 recoveries.
  • 35,224 confirmed cases in the US, with 458 deaths and around 178 having recovered.
  • 29,909 confirmed cases in Spain, with 1,813 deaths and 2,575 recoveries.
  • 26,159 in Germany, with 106 deaths and 266 recoveries.
  • 21,638 in Iran, with 1,685 deaths and 7,913 recoveries.
  • 16,257 in France, with 674 deaths and 2,200 recoveries.
  • 8,961 in South Korea, with 111 deaths and 3,166 recoveries.
  • 5,748 in the UK, with 281 deaths and 135 recoveries.

It’s worth noting that many people may also only have mild symptoms, may not get tested for the virus and may recover without even having known they’d had it, so these numbers can only be as accurate as case reporting per country allows.

More to follow.