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Coronavirus: Italy imposes nationwide lockdown

March 10, 2020

Authorities in Italy have said travel for all citizens will be limited to the area where they live unless they can demonstrate a reason to leave. The threat of a pandemic is now "very real," says the WHO.

Italian soldiers in face masks check travel papers
Image: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Calanni
  • Italy imposes national travel restrictions over virus fears
  • Germany announces the first two deaths in the country due to the virus
  • Asian and European stocks nosedive over rise in COVID-19 cases, oil price plunges
  • Germany reports 210 new cases, bringing the total to 1,112, up from 902 reported on Sunday
  • Mainland China reports no new locally transmitted coronavirus cases outside the epicenter of Hubei province for the second day running

Read more: What you need to know about the coronavirus

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT) 

00:00 This concludes our live updates on the coronavirus outbreak for the moment. More information on the outbreak is available on our page and on DW TV. Thank you for joining us

23:55  Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has announced that the country's top-flight Serie A soccer league, along with all sporting events in the country, will be suspended until April 3 as the country grapples with the spread of the novel coronavirus.

22:50 US President Donald Trump told reporters that coronavirus has "blindsided the world" and that he will ask congress for tax relief.  

22:40 A fifth person in the UK has died from complications linked to coronavirus. The patient was over 70 years old and had several ongoing health conditions, the hospital where they were being treated said in a statement. 

21:55 France's culture minister has contracted coronavirus, a government colleague has confirmed.

21:45 Burkina Faso has confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus, becoming the sixth country in sub-Saharan Africa to report the presence of COVID-19. 

21:20 As part of new, nationwide restrictions to contain coronavirus, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has halted all sporting events in the country. "There's no reason for the games to continue," he said. "The fans will have to deal with it. We won't even allow gyms to be used."

21:15 Under the new restrictions, school closures in Italy have been extended to April 3. The prime minister criticized young people for using the time to gather for parties. "This night life...we can't allow this anymore," Conte said.

Pubs, restaurants, and cafes throughout the whole country are now required to close at sundown. 

21:10 Nationwide travel restrictions imposed in Italy will last until April 3. "There won't be a red zone," Conte told reporters, referring to recent restrictions imposed on large parts of northern Italy. "There will be Italy" as a protected area, he said.  

21:05 Under the new safety measures in Italy, all people in in the country are forbidden from traveling outside the areas where they live unless they can demonstrate a need to work or some other reason for travel.

20:47 Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says lockdown measures will be extended across the whole of Italy as of Tuesday. The ongoing coronavirus outbreak has killed hundreds in the European country.

20:44 Two US lawmakers from the Republican party, Doug Collins and Matt Gaetz, said they were going into self-quarantine after being exposed to the new coronavirus at February conference. Both of them had contact with US President Donald Trump in recent days.

20:42 US regulators have issued warnings to seven companies that have sold soaps, sprays, and other products that falsely claim they will treat COVID-19 or prevent people from catching the virus.

20:37 The president of Portugal, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was tested for coronavirus with the results coming back negative, according to the politician himself. However, Rebelo De Sousa said he would continue "working from home, even though  it was negative, until the fifteen days are up." The head of state said he was isolating himself to serve as an example for other Portuguese citizens.

19:59 France's culture minister, Franck Riester, has tested positive for the coronavirus. His office said he is "doing fine" and staying at home in Paris. Riester had recently visited French parliament, where five cases were confirmed earlier, prompting him to undergo a test. 

19:54 Seven prisoners in Italy have died during riots in jails nationwide over government measures to contain the outbreak. Italian prisoners protested or rioted in at least 23 prisons across the country, with inmates holding guards hostage in one prison, and others escaping another prison. Inmates are angry over restrictions on family visits, while others are fearful of the new virus in crowded penitentiaries. The Justice Ministry later on Monday said the situation was under control. 

19:27 Guatemala will take steps to prevent people infected with the coronavirus to cross the border with Honduras, said Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei. The statement comes as a new migrant caravan is about to leave Honduras and head across Guatemala to the US.

"We'll take everyone's temperature and anyone who arrives with a (coronavirus) symptom won't be allowed in," the president said. "We will instantly expel them."

19:26 Florida officials correct travel alert after saying all international travelers should self-isolate. A revised statement now urges only travelers coming from China, Iran, South Korea, and Italy to go to self-quarantine, while people arriving from other impacted countries should monitor their health.

18:58 All schools in Madrid will be closed for the next 14 days to curb the spread of coronavirus, according to Spanish media.

18:36 A cruise ship carrying over 20 people infected with the new coronavirus has entered the San Francisco Bay. Some 3,500 people in total are on board the Grand Princess, which has been prevented from docking since Wednesday. Under strict supervision, the passengers are now expected to disembark and be transported to military bases in California, Texas, and Georgia, where they will stay in quarantine for the next 14 days.

18:32 Ireland has now canceled all St. Patrick's Day parades across the country, said Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, following reports that the central event in Dublin was called off.

18:20 Canada reports its first coronavirus death.

18:02 Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has canceled his speech set to mark Persian new year over the outbreak.

17:59 Iraqi travelers will be ordered to stay at home after returning from China, Iran, Italy, Japan, Thailand, Singapore, Kuwait, Bahrain, and South Korea, with medics monitoring their condition.

17:52 Israel will require quarantine for all citizens returning from abroad, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. It would also only admit foreign nationals if they can prove that they have the means to self-quarantine, according to local media.

17:48 Officials in the northeast German state of Brandenburg ordered many residents of Neustadt-Dosse to be placed in home quarantine, after a group of high school teachers was in contact with a Berlin woman who tested positive for the coronavirus. The authorities issued a quarantine order for the teachers, students, school staff, and relatives. The exact number of people in quarantine was not immediately clear.

17:41 Nearly 100 people died of coronavirus on Sunday, with the official death toll rising from 366 to 463, officials announced on Monday.

17:37 Authorities in Florida urged all travelers who traveled outside the US to self-quarantine for 14 days.

17:32 Hundreds of worshipers were asked to self-quarantine in Washington DC after coming in contact with the rector of an Episcopal church, who had been infected with the coronavirus. Mayor of Washington DC, Muriel Bowser, urged anyone who entered Christ Church Georgetown on February 24 or between February 28 and March 3 to isolate themselves for two weeks since their last visit to the church.

17:28 Saudi Arabia halted air and sea travel to 14 countries including Germany, France, Italy, South Korea, and Spain in a bid to protect the population from the coronavirus.

17:26 Popstar Madonna called off two Paris concerts after French officials banned large gatherings due to the coronavirus.

COVID-19 ravages the German economy

17:22 US health authorities urged the elderly and people with underlying health conditions to stock up on food and medicine, such as "routine medications for blood pressure and diabetes."

"Have enough household items and groceries so that you will be prepared to stay home for a period of time," said Nancy Messonnier, a senior official with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

17:15 London's FTSE 100 index, linked to 100 companies listed on the London Stock Exchange, dropped 7.7% by the end of the trading day on Monday.

17:12 Iran reported 43 new coronavirus deaths on Monday, pushing the death toll to 237. The country currently has 7,161 cases.

17:07 Coronavirus could end up costing the global economy between $1 trillion and $2 trillion (€873 million to €1.7 trillion), UN economists warn. 

17:02 The state of New York has launched its own brand of hand sanitizer after officials called a state of emergency over coronavirus fears. The gel, dubbed NYS Clean, contains 75% alcohol and is made by inmates. The authorities will provide it for free to government agencies, schools, the public transport system and prisons, said Governor Andrew Cuomo.

16:44 Slovakia has imposed a 14-day ban on all cultural, sporting and other public events to combat the infection, Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini said. Also, all Slovak citizens coming from Italy, China, South Korea, and Iran, will be required to observe a 14-day quarantine at home.

16:40 If the new coronavirus outbreak turns into a pandemic, "it would be the first pandemic in history that could be controlled," said the head of the WHO.

"The bottom line is: we are not at the mercy of this virus," he added.

16:38 Over 70% of COVID-19 patients in China have already recovered and have been discharged, according to the WHO.

16:35 "We're encouraged that Italy is taking aggressive measures to contain its COVID-19 epidemic, and we hope that those measures prove effective in the coming days," says WHO's Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

16:31 With Cyprus reporting first infection cases, all 27 EU member states have now been impacted by COVID-19.

16:28 For the latest updates on how the coronavirus has affected sports around the world, follow our Sport team's updates here. 

16:27 With the virus spreading to many countries "the threat of a pandemic has become very real" says the head of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

16:21 Riots broke out in several Italian prisons after authorities introduced measures to curb the spread of COVID-19. Six inmates lost their lives after breaking into a prison infirmary and overdosing on methadone. Among other steps, administrators had limited or suspended family visits.

16:14 Cyprus confirms two people have been infected with the new coronavirus, one of them a health professional who recently traveled back from the UK. The other infected recently visited north Italy. The health official works at a public health facility in Nicosia and has had contact with patients, according to the government.

16:03 The Republic of Ireland canceled the annual St. Patrick's Day parade, which was previously scheduled in Dublin on March 17, according to the national broadcaster RTE.

15:57 One of the coronavirus victims in Germany was an 89-year-old woman diagnosed last week who developed pneumonia following the infection, German officials said. No details were immediately available on the other patient.

15:40 German local authorities announced the first two deaths in the country due to coronavirus. Both fatalities were in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, the country's most populous state.

15:24 The UK government said its authorities had no plans to cancel or close off sports matches and events. The authorities have discussed such steps to limit the spread of the new coronavirus "should the situation change."

Based on the advice from medical experts, however,  "there is no rationale to close or cancel sporting events as things stand," UK officials said in a statement.

15:18 Ryanair, the Irish-based low-cost airline, cut more international flights to Italy and flights within the south European country following travel restrictions imposed by Rome.

14:57 A Swiss literary festival, the Eventi Letterari Monte Verita, has been postponed owing to the COVID-19 outbreak. This is the latest in a long series of cultural events postponed or canceled because of the outbreak.

14:52 A first case of coronavirus has been confirmed at the European Commission in Brussels, a spokeswoman said on Monday. The commission has a staff of around 32,000 from all over Europe.

14:25 German Chancellor Angela Merkel has defended the measures taken within Germany to tackle the COVID-19 outbreak. Hygiene or quarantine policies that help limit the spread of the virus.

13:49 Brazil's Sao Paulo exchange suspends trading after more than 10% drop.

13:39 Stocks on Brazil's Sao Paulo exchange plunged more than 9% after it opened Monday, amid the coronavirus outbreak and oil price fears.

13:38 The number of people infected with COVID-19 in the Netherlands increased to 321 on Monday, up from 264 a day earlier, Dutch health authorities said.

13:35 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared a state of public health emergency as cases of the new coronavirus rose to 20, officials said. 

13:29 Albania reported its first coronavirus infections. The two patients include a 28-year-old man who returned from Italy and infected his 54-year-old father. The government is shutting down schools for two weeks and canceling flights and ferry services from northern Italy until April 3. 

12:33 Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki says Poland will impose sanitary controls at its border with Germany and Czech Republic due to the coronavirus. 

12:29 French President Emmanuel Macron will hold a video-conference call on Tuesday with other EU leaders and with the EU Council President Charles Michel to coordinate a response to COVID-19.

12:20 The UK's bluechip FTSE 100 dropped 6.90% while Italy's key FTSE MIB index plunged 10.29% amid the coronavirus outbreak. Japan's Nikkei stock index fell 5.07%.

11:54 The United Arab Emirates confirmed 14 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number of people diagnosed to 59, according to state news agency WAM. Of the new cases, there were four Emiratis, three Italians, two each from Bangladesh and Nepal, and a Russian, Syrian and Indian diagnosed with the virus, WAM reported, citing the country's Health Ministry.

11:40 Augustin de Romanet, the head of French airports company ADP, has tested positive for the coronavirus and "will stay at his home for 14 days," an ADP spokesman said on Monday.

11:35 Spain's Ministry of Health confirmed on Monday 999 coronavirus cases in the country, with the majority of cases in the Madrid area (469) and Basque Country in northern Spain (149). The local health authority in the Basque town of Labastida said schools will be closed for at least 14 days.

11:31 The France versus Ireland Six Nations match on Saturday has been postponed due to the coronavirus as well as the restart of matches of Japan's J.League. 

11:16 FIFA and the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) have agreed to postpone the Asian World Cup qualifying matches in March and June because of the coronavirus outbreak, FIFA announced in a statement. Matches could still go ahead if the member associations due to play each other mutually agree, subject to prior approval from both FIFA and the AFC. 

11:06 The Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch-lighting ceremony in Olympia, Greece will be held without spectators in an attempt to protect the global event from the coronavirus, Greece's Olympic Committee said on Monday.

10:59 A NATO staff member employed at the Brussels headquarters has tested positive for the coronavirus, a spokesperson said. The employee, who is currently in self-isolation at home, fell sick with a fever last week after returning from a holiday in northern Italy. NATO said all immediate colleagues were informed and are now working from home. 

Read moreIn times of coronavorus, looking at how Hollywood films portray virus outbreaks

10:48 An Iranian Health Ministry spokesperson says the country's death toll from coronavirus infections is 237 in total. 

10:40 Saudi Arabia announced it would impose a fine of up to 500,000 riyals ($133,000, €117,000) on people who do not declare correct health-related information at entry points, according to state TV.

10:37 German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said companies hit by coronavirus will receive the help they need. The government will "not allow the virus to infect the German economy," Altmaier said on the sidelines of a German-Greek business event in Berlin.

Cossacks on Coronavirus patrol

10:33 The Paris police authority has said the Paris Saint-Germain versus Borussia Dortmund Champions League soccer match will take place behind closed doors due to concerns over the coronavirus outbreak. 

10:28 A Disneyland Paris maintenance worker tested positive for coronavirus over the weekend, a spokesman said, adding that the worker has not been in contact with visitors but that the theme park is checking on staff who have been in contact with the worker. Disneyland Paris remains open. 

10:13 Iran has released about 70,000 prisoners because of coronavirus, the country's judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday, according to Mizan, the news site of the judiciary."The release of the prisoners, to the point where it doesn't create insecurity in society ... will continue," Raisi said, not specifying if or when the prisoners would return to jail. 

10:07 Bahrain Health Ministry says 95 cases of coronavirus have been diagnosed in total so far.

10:05 The EU Parliament will hold an emergency meeting on Monday to consider calling off this week's plenary session of the EU assembly due to the outbreak, two officials said.

09:58 Disneyland Paris is checking on staff who had been in contact with a worker who tested positive for the coronavirus. The entertainment park remains open. 

09:52 Nigeria has a second confirmed coronavirus case, Health Minister Osagie Ehanire said in a tweet. 

09:18 The UK said anyone returning from areas in Italy under lockdown must self-isolate for 14 days regardless of whether they show symptoms. 

09:04 The oil price crash has knocked the UK's bluechip FTSE 100 to a three-year low at -7.40% while the DAX plunged 6.21% on concerns of a global recession triggered by the outbreak. Italy's key FTSE MIB index plummeted by around 10% as Italy tackles the coronavirus crisis.

08:57 The March of the Living, an annual Holocaust remembrance event that brings together survivors in Poland has been postponed due to fears of the coronavirus, organizer Shmuel Rosenman said in a statement. Eleven cases of the virus have been confirmed so far in Poland. 

08:41 Germany, France and Switzerland closed their missions in North Korea and withdrew their staff amid growing concern about coronavirus in the isolated country, the Russian embassy in Pyongyang said. 

08:37 Romania suspended all flights to and from Italy for two weeks from Monday to limit the spread of coronavirus after a spike of new infections, Interior Minister Marcel Vela said. Since February 26, Romania has confirmed 15 cases of the virus in people who traveled to Italy, where nearly 1.3 million Romanians work. 

08:22 South Korea reports 96 new coronavirus cases, with the total rising to 7,478, according to Reuters.

07:58 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency meeting on coronavirus on Monday as the government discusses tougher measures to combat the outbreak.

08:03 British budget airline EasyJet says it expects to reduce flights to northern Italy in the period up to April 3 due to coronavirus lockdown in the area. 

08:01 Germany's Robert Koch Institute reported 210 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus on Monday. The number of cases rose to 1,112, up from 902 reported on Sunday. The western region of North Rhine-Westphalia has 484 confirmed cases, the highest in the country.  

07:44 Europe needs a "massive" economic stimulus plan to handle the impact of the coronavirus outbreak, French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told France Inter radio. Le Maire also said the virus could cut French economic growth below 1% in 2020 from a previous estimate of 1.3%.

07:39 State oil giant Saudi Aramco sees shares drop by 10% on Riyadh's Tadawul stock exchange and forcing a halt to Aramco's trading.

07:19 Saudi Arabia announced an immediate suspension of all flights with Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates over the spread of COVID-19. The measure comes after the country closed off its land borders as well. 

Read more Italy fumbles coronavirus lockdown orders

07:05 Germany's Bundesliga is considering ordering matches to be played behind closed doors, as Health Minister Jens Spahn has suggested restricting events of over 1,000 people amid the coronavirus outbreak. The measure could see Wednesday's Borussia Mönchengladbach versus Cologne derby behind closed doors. 

06:59 Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says the country will "fully use" flexibility envisaged by EU budget rules to confront the outbreak. 

06:49 German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz said it is unclear whether the coronavirus epidemic will pose a longer-term economic challenge, hours after Chancellor Angela Merkel's Cabinet agreed on measures to counter its impact. Scholz told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk that the German government will ensure the economy has enough liquidity. 

06:40 Japan’s benchmark Nikkei stock index plunged 5.07% over major concerns about the economic fallout of the epidemic, a plunge in oil prices and the yen's surge against major currencies, dragging stock markets in Asia along with it. Oil prices fell by 30%, the greatest fall since the 1991 Gulf War.

05:40 South Korea's Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said the country was nearing a "turning point" in the crisis as the pace of new infections slowed. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported a total of 69 new coronavirus cases, bringing the number of infections up to 7,382.

04:38 President of Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, declared a state of public health emergency. The country has 10 confirmed cases so far. 

03:31 France has banned gatherings of 1,000 and more people in an effort to contain the spread of the virus. The government had previously banned gatherings of more than 5,000 people. With more than 1,100 cases recorded, France is the second-worst affected European nation after Italy. Two French MPs have also been tested positively for coronavirus.

Tourists at the Louvre wearing masks.
France is the second worst affected European nation.Image: Reuters/B. Tessier

02:54 China closed a majority of the makeshift hospitals it opened to deal with the novel coronavirus outbreak.

01:37 Argentina registered the first death from coronavirus in Latin America. The 64-year-old Buenos Aires resident, who had returned from Europe testing positive, had already been suffering from a variety of illnesses when he contracted the disease.

Read more: A coronavirus vaccine isn't coming very quickly

Infographic on ways to protect yourself from coronavirus

01:22 Albania reported its first coronavirus infections. A father and son who had returned from Italy tested positive for the disease. More than 400,000 Albanians live in neighboring Italy across the Adriatic Sea.

01:00 Two US Republican congress members, House Representative Paul Gosar and Senator Ted Cruz, announced they would self-quarantine after having brief contact with a man who tested positive for coronavirus at the Conservative Political Action Conference nearly two weeks ago.

Read more: Opinion: We need to deal with our coronavirus panic

00:13 Mainland China reported 40 new cases and 22 deaths by the end of March 8. Hubei province, which has been the epicenter of the outbreak, reported 36 new cases and 21 deaths.

But for the second straight day, no new locally transmitted cases were reported outside Hubei province.

Read more: Coronavirus in Germany: Health care system under pressure

kp, dj, ed, mvb, kmm, jcg/ng (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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