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The Covid-19 death toll has increased to more than 7,900 globally, with a total of over 198,000 confirmed cases and 81,000 recoveries reported as of the end of 17 March.
In line with the declining trend in mainland China, the region confirmed 13 new cases and 11 deaths on 17 March, with a total of 922 new patients discharged.
According to China’s National Health Commission, mainland China has a total of 80,894 infections, 3,237 deaths and 69,601 recoveries.
In Hubei province, one new case and 11 deaths have been registered on 17 March.
WHO urges improved action in South-East Asia and Europe
The World Health Organization (WHO) has called for countries in South-East Asia to implement ‘aggressive’ measures to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
WHO regional director Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh said: “More clusters of virus transmission are being confirmed.
“While this is an indication of alert and effective surveillance, it also puts the spotlight on the need for more aggressive and whole of society efforts to prevent further spread of Covid-19. We clearly need to do more, and urgently.”
Eight countries in the region have confirmed Covid-19 cases – Thailand, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal and Bhutan.
The number of infections in these countries indicates community transmission, highlighting the need to reduce transmission and also end the outbreak.
Meanwhile, the WHO asked all European countries to take ‘boldest’ actions possible to end the Covid-19 pandemic.
WHO Europe regional director Hans Kluge was quoted by Reuters as saying: “Europe is the epicentre of the first pandemic of coronavirus and every country, with no exceptions, needs to take their boldest actions to stop or slow the virus spread.”
The UK has boosted its measures by closing down social life and advising people aged above 70 with underlying health problems to self-isolate.
Italy and Spain, as well as France and Germany, among others, imposed severe lockdowns.
Kluge added: “These are unprecedented times. It is important that countries work together, learn from each other and harmonise the efforts.”
European Union agreed to close Europe’s borders for 30 days. The regions will, however, build fast-track lanes to keep goods moving.
According to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, European countries would decide whether to close their borders to third countries.
The number of cases, as well as Covid-19 death toll, continues to rise globally.
Covid-19 death toll: cases in Spain top 10,000; announces €200bn package
Spain’s Covid-19 cases exceeded 10,000 to total 11,178, including 491 deaths.
The country also announced a €200bn package to aid companies, as well as protect workers and other vulnerable groups affected by the outbreak.
Iran’s Covid-19 death toll climbs to 988; temporarily releases prisoners
Iran’s health official confirmed 135 new deaths, bringing the total death toll to 988. The nation reported 16,169 infections so far
The country temporarily released approximately 85,000 prisoners, including political prisoners, said a judiciary spokesman.
Gambia, Barbados, Montenegro report first case
Gambia confirmed its first case as a 20-year-old woman who had recently visited the UK.
Furthermore, Barbados registered its first two cases in a 48-year-old visitor from the US and a 39-year-old female national who returned from the US.
Montenegro reported its first cases in two females who returned from the US and Spain, said Prime Minister Dusko Markovic.
Covid-19 death toll: Brazil confirms first death
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro reported the nation’s first death, while Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro declared a state of emergency. The number of cases in the country stands at 321.
Australia declares human biosecurity emergency
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison declared a human biosecurity emergency, which enables closure of cities or regions, curfews and quarantine.
Currently, the country’s travel advice is ‘Level 4: Do not travel’ to any country worldwide. The government also banned non-essential indoor gatherings of more than 100 people.
South Korea reports 93 new cases
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 93 new cases to total 8,413. This is the fourth consecutive report of fewer than 100 new cases.
Updates of coronavirus Covid-19 spread globally:
Coronavirus timeline of events and latest updates
Coronavirus outbreak: List of affected countries