COVID-19 UPDATES : President Trump encourages an end to strong social distancing measures after the current 15-day period, total worldwide cases reach 351,061

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23rd March 2020 – (Italy)  Total worldwide COVID-19 cases have reached 351,061 as of 8.30pm today. The total death toll stands at 15,332 as of 8.30am today.

According to CNN, stock markets across Asia and US futures plummeted again on Monday as governments worldwide lockdown their cities and the United States stalls on a massive stimulus package meant to help Americans handle the coronavirus pandemic. India stocks dropped more than 10%, triggering a temporary trading halt earlier. Singapore’s Straits Times index plunged more than 7%, while Australian stocks closed 5.62% down. Markets in South Korea and China also saw sharp declines. Dow futures fell more than 900 points at one point, hitting a 5% decline that triggered a maximum allowable limit, or “limit down.” That prevented futures from falling further. They were last down around 800 points, or 4%.

Europe

McDonald’s and Nando’s shut down all their UK and Irish restaurants, even for delivery. The British government is prepared to do more to force people to keep apart if necessary, Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s spokesperson said Monday. Pubs and restaurants were told to close across the UK on Friday to curb the spread of coronavirus, but large numbers of people continued to visit parks and beaches across the UK over the weekend, despite government advice to stay home.

Spanish authorities expect the so-called “peak” of the Covid-19 pandemic in the country to happen as soon as Wednesday.

The Italian health ministry said as of 6 p.m. local time on March 22, at least 5,476 people have died due to COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus

Germany has reported 86 deaths and a total of 26,220 cases of novel coronavirus on Monday.

Spain reported further 462 deaths, taking total number of coronavirus fatalities to 2,182. Total infected patients reached 33,089.

Poland’s representatives have called on the International Olympics Committee (IOC) to change the date of the Tokyo 2020 Games.

U.S.

There are at least 35,075 cases of COVID-19 in the United States. U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted that “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.” President Trump is sending retweets that seem to be encouraging an end to strong social distancing measures after the current 15-day period.

US Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams gave a “somber” message to the nation while speaking on NBC this morning. A U.S. Secret Service employee has tested positive and is currently in quarantine, according to a statement from the agency.

HUNTINGTON BEACH, – MARCH 21: People are seen on the beach on March 21, 2020 in Huntington Beach, California. California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statewide ‘stay at home’ order for California’s 40 million residents except for ‘necessary activities’ in the hopes of slowing the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). (Photo by Michael Heiman/Getty Images)

Crowds descended on California beaches, hiking trails and parks over the weekend in open defiance of a state order to shelter in place and avoid close contact with others.

Actor Tom Hanks says he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, are feeling better after testing positive for coronavirus.

China and Hong Kong

Mainland China saw a drop in its daily tally of new coronavirus cases, reversing four straight days of gains, as the capital Beijing ramped up measures to contain the number of infections arriving from abroad. China’s National Health Commission said there were 39 new cases, all of them imported, and 9 additional deaths as of the end of 22nd March. None of the latest cases were in Hubei, once the center of China’s coronavirus outbreak, making this the fifth straight day that the province has had no new cases.

Hong Kong ‘to ban all overseas tourists’ as it battles coronavirus spread. Carrie Lam also said people coming from Taiwan and Macao, including Hong Kong residents, would need to be quarantined for 14 days.

Total cases in Hong Kong reached 357 after 39 new cases involving 21 men and 18 women aged 18-66 were confirmed.

As at noon today (March 23rd), public hospitals had reported to the Department of Health in Hong Kong the admission of 213 patients (108 male and 105 female, aged 10 months to 82) in the past 24 hours who met the reporting criteria of COVID-19. Appropriate tests have been arranged for the patients.

There are 426 patients under isolation currently. So far, 101 patients who had COVID-19 confirmed or probable infection have been discharged upon recovery.

Elsewhere in the world

South Korea reported 64 more coronavirus cases from Sunday, the lowest number since the beginning of the outbreak, raising the national total to 8,961.

An order by Moscow authorities directing individuals over 65 or those with chronic diseases to remain at home do not apply to the 67-year-old Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Malaysia reported 212 new COVID-19 cases in biggest daily jump, death toll spikes to 14. Total cases now stand at 1,518. Of the new cases, 123 are from the cluster linked to a tabligh (religious) gathering at the Sri Petaling Mosque in Kuala Lumpur, said the Malaysian health minister. 

Millions of people across India have been placed under lockdown until the end of the month to stop the epidemic from getting worse.

Team Canada will not send athletes to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics this summer due to COVID-19 risks, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC) announced Sunday.

New Zealand prepares to enter lockdown as coronavirus cases surged. New Zealand said on Monday it will move to its highest alert level imposing self-isolation, with all-non-essential services, schools and offices to be shut over the next 48 hours as the number of coronavirus cases more than double.

At midday Monday, businesses across Australia followed the government’s orders to shut down bars, restaurants, gyms, places of worship and other venues where people traditionally congregate. “There will be no more going to the pub after work, no more going to the gym in the morning, and no more sitting down for brunch at a cafe,” Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament on Monday. He warned Australians they should prepare for lockdowns that could last six months.

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