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Coronavirus latest: India announces complete lockdown

March 24, 2020

India will enter a complete lockdown tonight. The US has been warned it may become the new epicenter of pandemic. Follow DW for the latest coronavirus news.

A view shows empty roads during a 14-hour long curfew to limit the spreading of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the country, in Ahmedabad, India
Image: Reuters/A. Dave
  • 1.3 billion people ordered to lock down in India
  • The US could become the new epicenter of the pandemic
  • The 2020 Summer Olympic Games have been postponed
  • Australia and the UK have announced strict social distancing measures
  • Italian cases are slowing, with 602 new deaths and 4,789 new cases reported yesterday
  • Germany has more than 30,000 cases of COVID-19, with more than 120 deaths so far
  • The global death toll from the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is more than 18,000, more than 400,000 people are infected

Read more: Coronavirus: Germany counts costs of economic shutdown

Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)

23:09 The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo said the country's borders were now closed and imposed a state of emergency to contain the coronavirus outbreak. 

Internal passenger flights and river transport to and from the capital Kinshasa, where all 45 of the known COVID-19 cases have been found, were banned. 

"Coronavirus does not need a passport, visa or voter's card to circulate in our house," President Felix Tshisekedi said in a speech to the nation. "We find ourselves at war with an invisible adversary."

23:03 Everyone leaving the New York City metro area should self-quarantine for 14 days, White House coronavirus task force coordinator Deborah Birx said in a briefing. 

Birx said that people traveling out of the New York might not be sick, but could have been exposed to the virus, adding that 56% of the cases in the US are coming out of the New York City metro area. 

New York is now the epicenter of the outbreak in the US, with some 15,000 cases of COVID-19 and 157 deaths.

22:02 US stocks have reported their biggest gain since 1933, surging as Congress nears a deal to inject $2 trillion (€1.86 trillion) into the economy to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The S&P 500 jumped 9.8% (over 2,400 points) while the DOW jumped over 11% (over 2000 points).

Europe and Asia enjoyed similar jumps in anticipation of the US boost to the economy.

Germany's DAX rose just under 11% (9,700.57 points), and London's FTSE rose 9.05% (5,446.01 points).

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei index surged 7.13% after it was given extra lift by a Bank of Japan decision to embark on its own massive bond-buying scheme.

Market observers were quick to point out the international markets remain extremely volatile in the face of the pandemic, but investors are hopeful that the US Congress stimulus package will help businesses and households deal with the economic fallout.

20:08 Spain’s armed forces have asked NATO for humanitarian assistance to fight the pandemic. 

"This is a very hard week because we're in the first stages of overcoming the virus, a phase in which we are approaching the peak of the epidemic," Health Minister Salvador Illa told a televised news conference on Tuesday.

Spain’s death toll surged past 2,700 on Thursday with around 40,000 confirmed cases, giving it the third highest number of fatalities of any country in the world.

A lockdown implemented on March 14 is now expected to go on past Easter.

19:18 US President Donald Trump has announced he wants the US lockdown relaxed by my mid-April, saying that current measures will lead to an economic slowdown and ultimately "destroy" the US and trigger more fatalities than the virus itself.

"I would love to have the country opened up and just raring to go by Easter," Trump said on Fox News Channel. "This cure is worse than the problem. Again, people, many people — in my opinion more people — are going to die if we allow this to continue. We have to go back to work …"

Public health experts including the WHO warned against loosening restrictions and called for stronger measures against public interactions. Lifting the measures too soon could result in a rise of coronavirus infections and hospitals being overwhelmed, they warned.

The US has a shortage of ventilators and protective gear for health care workers, and has also called on South Korea to assist in providing medical gear and equipment. 

Trump said that the White House would assess whether more time is needed for the containment measures to stay in place but stressed he wanted Americans back into work to prevent economic turmoil. He said that tens of thousands of Americans die from the seasonal flu or in automobile accidents but that "we don’t turn the country off."  

The US is now more than a week into a 15-day measure where all Americans are urged to practice social distancing and close non-essential businesses.

18:43 The European Commission President has warned against the rise of internet scams and cyber crimes. Criminals have taken advantage of panic and worry to sell fake medicines online.

“Our fear becomes the business opportunity of criminals,” Ursula von der Leyen wrote on Twitter.

She said she is working closely with Europol, the EU’s united police force, to prosecute those responsible.

18:33 Here is the latest from across Europe

Bosnia and Herzegovina: The Balkan state will suspend all passenger air traffic from March 30. Only freight planes carrying medical aid for the country will be allowed to land. The country has declared a state of emergency over the outbreak. Latest figures: 150 infections, 2 deaths, 2 recovered. 

Greece: The European Commission is working with Greece on an emergency plan in case of an outbreak in overcrowded refugee and migrant camps on Greek islands. Police announced patrol cars will use loudspeakers to broadcast messages in 10 languages to notify people to stay home or be prepared to present ID and special permits needed to go outside. People are only permitted to go outside for work that cannot be conducted at home or to buy food, exercise or visit the doctor. Latest figures: 695 infections, 19 deaths, 29 recovered. 

Hungary: The Council of Europe has called on Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban to "comply with both national constitutions and international standards, and observe the very essence of democratic principles" as the country takes drastic measures in its state of emergency.  It said all EU member states must address the pandemic "in a manner that respects the fundamental values of the Organisation: democracy, rule of law and human rights." Latest figures: 187 infections, 9 deaths, 21 recovered.

Ireland: Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged all people to stay at home and to only go outside if necessary. He said outdoor gatherings should be limited to no more than four people unless they are from the same household. Closures of schools, universities and childcare centers will be extended to April 19. All cafes, restaurants, and non-essential retail shops will remain closed unless they provide take-out options. Latest figures: 1,125 infections, 6 deaths, 5 recovered.

Italy: The country's chief coronavirus response official Angelo Borrelli said on Tuesday that the number of coronavirus cases is probably 10 times higher than the official tally. He said Italy was on course to overtake China's total number of confirmed coronavirus cases in a week. Latest figures: 63, 927 infections, 6,077 deaths, 7,432 recovered. 

The Netherlands: 63 people died today and 811 tested positive — the biggest daily increase so far. The public health institute said the results of recent government measures won't be seen before the end of the week. On Monday, the government banned all gatherings, events and meetings until June, warning people to stay home. Latest figures: 5,560 infections, 276 deaths, 2 recovered.

Lithuania: People re-entering Lithuania must now undergo a two-week quarantine at a municipal facility. Self-isolation at home is no longer permitted. Returnees who test negative for the coronavirus are still required to be quarantined at a designated facility. Latest figures: 187 infections, 1 death, 1 recovered. 

Norway: Restrictions on a range of public and private institutions have been extended until April 13, including the closure of schools and nurseries and a ban on foreign arrivals if they do not live and work in Norway. Norwegians are also forbidden to go their woodland cabins, a popular pastime during the Easter. The restrictions were initially imposed until March 26. Latest figures: 2, 715 infections, 12 deaths, 6 recovered. 

Poland: There is now a ban on gatherings of more than two people lasting until April 11. The number of people allowed to participate in religious services is now just five at one time. All Poles are required to stay at home, the only exceptions are those going to work, to the doctor or buying food. Taking a walk is allowed. Latest figures: 799 infections, 9 deaths, 1 recovered. 

Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo and football agent Jorge Mendes will donate medical equipment to Portuguese struggling hospitals. Lisbon's Santa Maria hospital announced Tuesday the two will donate beds, ventilators, heart monitors, infusion pumps and syringes. Latest figures: 2,362 infections, 29 deaths, 22 recovered. 

Romania: A nighttime curfew will be upgraded, making it obligatory to stay home all day with a few exceptions. People are only allowed to venture outside if they need to buy food or medicine. People will also be required to show proof if they cannot work from home. Those over 65 are banned from leaving their homes and those in quarantine will be given electronic monitoring devices. The army will be deployed to assist police enforce the measure. Romanians face up to 15 years in jail if they violate restrictions and their behavior leads to a death. Latest figures: 762 infections, 8 deaths, 79 recovered.

Russia: All nightclubs and cinemas have been ordered closed. Regional officials will prepare a list of Russian citizens willing to return to Russia from other countries affected by the coronavirus. Latest figures: 495 infections, 0 deaths, - recovered.

Slovakia: The government will approve a law allowing state institutions to use data from telecommunications operators to ensure people in quarantine stay isolated. Latest figures: 204 infections, 0 deaths, 7 recovered. 

Spain: There was a record daily rise of 6,584 new coronavirus infections. Deaths also jumped by a record 514 to 2,696. Of those infected, 5,400 were medical staff — 13% of the total cases. Madrid remains the epicenter, with more than 12,300 cases and 1,500 deaths. Authorities have taken over a public skating rink after the city morgue overflowed. Prosecutors have also launched a judicial probe after army troops disinfecting nursing homes found residents living in unsafe conditions among the infectious dead bodies of people that authorities suspect have died from the coronavirus. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez will ask parliament on Wednesday to approve an extension of Spain's state of emergency for another two weeks until April 11. Latest figures: 39,673 infections, 2,696 deaths, 3,794 recoveries. 

Switzerland: Some 8,000 people are being tested per day now. The Health Ministry said it was premature to say if the number of new cases was flattening out. "We will definitely need a few more days to be able to really speak of a consolidation of the numbers or the trend," said Patrick Mathys, head of the ministry's crisis management division. "There is hope. I think that's also what we cling to with numbers like that." Latest figures: 9, 117 infections, 122 deaths, 131 recovered.

Read more: Coronavirus: German phone helplines at 'upper limits'

17:25 The daily death toll in Italy has surged to 743, following a decline in fatalities for the past two days, which authorities had cautiously celebrated. The total death count is now 6,820.

Here are the number of new deaths for each day:

Thursday: 427

Friday: 627

Saturday: 793

Sunday: 651

Monday: 602

Tuesday: 743 new deaths

The increase in the rate of overall cases on Tuesday was similar to previous days: a rise of 8.2% from 63,176 to 69,176. The rate of recoveries also rose from 7,432 to 8,326.

"The measures we took two weeks ago are starting to have an effect," civil protection service chief Angelo Borrelli told the daily La Repubblica before the figures were released

He said more data over the next few days will help show "if the growth curve is really flattening."

16:45 New details on India's lockdown have been released. Here's what you need to know:

  • Shops and businesses will close — except for: all grocery and food shops; banks; media outlets; telecommunications agencies; gas stations; warehouses; private security services and power generation units; and pharmaceutical and medical suppliers.
  • Transport services will remain suspended, except for transport of essential goods and the movements of law enforcement, fire and other emergency services.
  • Educational establishments, places of worship, hospitality providers such as hotels and restaurants will remain closed.
  • All public gatherings will be suspended.
  • Most Indian government agencies and offices will close their doors, apart from those deemed essential, including prisons and disaster management teams.
  • Hospitals and other medical establishments and suppliers will remain open.
  • Funerals are still allowed, as an exception to the public gathering rule, but only a maximum of 20 people may attend.
  • Those with a right to travel will be issued with passes, with recipients determined by local "incident commanders."
  • Those who do not follow the new regulations will be prosecuted and could be handed a two year prison sentence.
  • The 21-day lockdown will start at midnight tonight. 

16:10 At least 11,000 people have applied for 525 positions at Germany’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute, leading to them closing applications early.

Most of the new jobs are as "containment scouts," who will man coronavirus hotlines for those infected or with questions.

15:59  The German football league has recommended extending the suspension of the Bundesliga until at least April 30. Yesterday, UEFA postponed the Champions League Final, the Europa League final and the Women's Chamions League final.

15:47 Italy’s Deputy Health Minister, Pierpaolo Sileri, has urged European countries to enforce stricter lockdowns. "You need to close whatever you can close," Sileri said in an interview with DW’s Sumi Somaskanda. He also encouraged governments to, "increase the number of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds and increase the number of doctors."

The Deputy Health Minister told DW he was "quite optimistic," but added that saying the worst was over would be premature.

"No doubt, there is a decrease in the number of infections and this is due to the restrictions that were made between the 8th and the 9th of March. But we will probably need ten to 15 more days to be sure that everything is over," Sileri said.

14:45 India will enter a total lockdown tonight, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced.

"Starting from midnight today, the entire country will go under a complete lockdown," Modi said in a televised address. 

Modi said that the lockdown will be in place for the next 21 days.

"For the next few days, forget about going out. Stay at home. Do just one thing and stay at home," he urged.

Modi said that the government is taking steps "to ensure continuous essential supplies" but did not immediately lay out plans for how food and other supplies will be distributed to the 1.3 billion people living in the country.

Modi said that he called on the state and regional governments in India to focus primarily on health services. So far the country has logged 469 active cases and 10 deaths.

Read more: India's coronavirus fight complicated by people dodging quarantine

14:43 Here are the most important developments so far today:

The US has been warned by the WHO that it may become the new epicenter of the pandemic.

The Tokyo Olympic Games, scheduled for July and August 2020, have officially been postponed for one year.

Australia has announced new restrictions on public life, ordering most non-essential businesses to close and banning foreign travel. Schools remain open.

The UK has announced strict restrictions on public life with a ban on gatherings of more than two people not from the same household. People can leave their house to exercise once a day; to go to work if they absolutely cannot work from home; for shopping trips and for medical purposes. 

Germany has flown 7 tons of medical equipment to Italy's Lombardy, and German hospitals have accepted patients from other parts of Italy. Meanwhile, France has sent patients to Luxembourg, Switzerland and western German states in an effort to free up intensive care beds.

China's Hubei province has announced that it will lift travel restrictions and again allow movement into and out of Hubei province on March 25. The city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, will have travel restrictions lifted on April 8, more than two months after the lockdown began.

14:35 The World Health Organization has warned that the US may become the new epicenter of the pandemic due to a “very large acceleration” in infections.

More than 42,000 people in the US are infected. Over the past 24 hours, 85% of new cases worldwide were from Europe and the US – now the "main drivers of the outbreak." Of those, 40% were from the US.

"We are now seeing a very large acceleration in cases in the US. So it does have that potential. We cannot say that is the case yet but it does have that potential," WHO spokeswoman Margaret Harris. 

She said the US has "a very large outbreak" that is "increasing in intensity"  

"Each individual infecting two to three other people takes about three to five days, so we're seeing what happened three or four days ago, or five days ago in many countries," she said. The figures reveal that in the US, "a week ago there was a lot of transmission".

Despite the surge in coronavirus infections, Harris said that the US was improving efforts in testing and isolation practices, as well as stepping up measures for tracing and quarantining people.

13:25 The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo have now officially been postponed until next year. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) confirmed the unprecedented decision following a request from Japan. The decision came after mounting pressure from the international community to postpone the games.

For more on the decision, read more here: Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed until 2021

13:00 While other European countries are adding to growing lists of restrictions on public life, Sweden has kept schools, bars and restaurants open and is encouraging its citizens to go out for some exercise.

Gatherings of up to 500 people are still allowed in Sweden. The government has issued behavior advisories instead of official restrictions, suggesting people keep their distance in public and that they work from home if possible. But bars were full on the weekend and public transportation has been packed at rush hour. 

Despite domestic and international criticism over the soft stance, Swedish authorities believe harsher restrictions aren’t worth the impact on society. Thus far, the number of coronavirus cases in Sweden are comparable with those of neighbors Norway and Denmark,  countries with around half as many people as Sweden.

Stockholm Coronavirus pub
Bars and pubs are still open in Sweden, as other European countries go into lockdownImage: picture-alliance/TT NYHETSBYRAN/A. Lorestani

11:28 Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced stringent new restrictions on public and private life in a bid to flatten the curve of coronavirus. Latest figures for Australia show 2,044 confirmed cases and eight deaths.

Under the updated rules: 
•    Traveling to foreign countries will be banned.
•    Many non-essential businesses must now shut, including gastronomy businesses, except for delivery.
•    Entertainment venues as well as gyms and training studios will close.
•    Healthcare and beauty businesses including hair salons, must also shut. 
•    Weddings can go ahead with no more than five people and funerals can go ahead with no more than 10 people. Both are subject to social distancing rules
•    Cultural sites and venues including museums and libraries must close.
•    The new restrictions will come in force from midnight on Tuesday, schools will remain open.

Morrison also advised people keep group meetings to a minimum and only leave the house where absolutely essential. "These are heart-breaking events in our nation's history and story," he said.
The government is currently looking at making house parties an offence, according to state broadcaster ABC.

11:15 German parliamentarians have been asked to leave at least two seats empty next to their own in order to reduce the risk of spreading or catching coronavirus. Signs reading "please leave empty" were placed on many of the seats in the Bundestag on Tuesday.

Coronavirus Berlin Bundestag seats
Members of Germany's lower house of parliament are being asked to leave at least two seats empty next to their ownImage: picture alliance/dpa

11:00 The global pandemic meant that mourners held anunconventional service to commemorate the fifth anniversary of the Germanwings Flight 9525 crash, which killed all 150 people on board in southeastern France. 

The initial commemoration, which was set to include victims’ relatives from Germany, Spain and other countries  had to be canceled due to coronavirus. Instead, the mayors of two French municipalities in Vernet, close to the site of the crash, laid wreaths and held a minute’s silence. In Haltern-am-See in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, all church bells rang at 10:41 a.m.

10:30 German states are putting in place various measures to stop the spread of coronavirus in refugee homes and accommodation. These include testing, quarantines and shutting common rooms. Classes and group care for children in homes have stopped.

Several states, including hard-hit Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, are testing all new arrivals, with Bremen putting migrants in quarantine until the results are back. 

North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony are examining people on arrival for symptoms and asking for details about their journey. NRW is not accepting any new arrivals or transfers for the next two weeks.

Despite the new measures, in Bavaria 10 residents have tested positive for COVID-19 and in Berlin four residents and a staff member in a home have been infected.

10:15 The western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia wants to take in up to 10 patients suffering from coronavirus from Italy, where hospitals have been overwhelmed. The Italian Air Force is prepared to transport the patients in the coming days.

"We need a borderless solidarity in Europe," said NRW Minister President Armin Laschet. "We need to keep up the European spirit," he added.

09:45 A total of 6 million protective face masks ordered by the German military have gone missing in Kenya. The German Ministry of Defense is seeking an explanation "into what happened." The ministry has not incurred any financial loss as the masks had not yet been delivered or paid for, according to reports initially published in Der Spiegel.
The German government had drawn in the military to help with planning and logistics as the country readies itself to deal with coronavirus.

09:00 Here's an overview of some of the most recent restrictions imposed by countries in Europe:

United Kingdom: On Monday night, the UK imposed a three-week lockdown, with the possibility of an extension. People may only leave their homes to go to work, buy groceries, visit the doctor, or for exercise. Gatherings of more than two people are not allowed. 

France: The country has expanded on previously imposed lockdown restrictions. People exercising may still go outside, but runners and walkers may only go out for up to an hour a day and must remain within a kilometer of their homes. Most marketplaces have been required to close. Since French President Emmanuel Macron put the country on lockdown a week ago, people have only been allowed to leave home for necessary reasons, as in the UK. 

Netherlands: In the Netherlands, the government has extended its ban on gatherings, pushing the end date back from April 6 to June 1. If people don’t follow the rules, a lockdown will be imposed, Prime Minister Mark Rutte has said. Everyone is required to keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters between themselves and other people. 

Italy: On Saturday, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced the closure of all "non-essential factories." Restrictions placed on the epicenter around Milan expired on Sunday and national measures are scheduled to expire on Wednesday. But Conte is expected to announce this week whether restrictions will be reimposed indefinitely. Italy has been living under lockdown for weeks.

Spain: After Italy, Spain is currently the European country the most affected by the coronavirus. The southern European nation has also been on lockdown, with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez extending Spain’s state of emergency for 15 more days as of this past Sunday. People are required to stay home except for essential trips. 

Germany: On Sunday, Chancellor Angela Merkel banned gatherings of more than two people throughout the whole country for two weeks. Restaurants and businesses that require close physical contact have been closed. People are also required to stay 1.5 meters away from each other in public. Germany is going to great lengths to avoid a total lockdown, which is still in the cards if people don’t respect the new rules.

08:50 The Tokyo Olympic torch relay will begin on Thursday as planned in northeastern Japan, but without a torch and without a relay, Japanese media have reported. 

Instead, the Olympic flame will be transported by car in a lantern so as to discourage crowds from gathering to see the event.

08:15 Thailand's prime minister announced that a one-month state of emergency would come into effect on Thursday. Powers available to the government under the law on emergency situations include the ability to impose curfews, ban travel, close buildings without a warrant and censor media. The move also allows for the deployment of military forces for enforcement. 

Thailand was the first country outside of China to record a case of coronavirus. The Southeast Asian nation currently has 827 reported cases and four deaths.

07:30 EU countries have started cooperating to assist the member states hardest hit by the deadly coronavirus outbreak. Following an initial phase of the many countries isolating themselves from one another, Germany flew over seven tons of medical supplies to Italy, including 300 ventilators to Lombardy, according to broadcaster Südwestrundfunk. 

Meanwhile, hospitals in Germany, Switzerland and Luxembourg have all taken in coronavirus patients from neighboring countries. Additionally, many EU nations have drafted joint orders for personal protective equipment and medical devices, in order to buy larger quantities at cheaper prices and evenly distribute the equipment.

06:30 The German state of North Rhine-Westphalia will be the first to publish a catalogue of fines for violators of the new nationwide restrictions on movement implemented on Sunday. According to Bild newspaper, a fine of €800 ($865) will be levied against people making unauthorized visits to nursing homes and hospitals, while people gathering in groups of more than two will be hit with €200 fines, and picnics and barbecues will incur €250. 

Additionally, according to the report, those operating a bar, club or gym will be fined €5,000. State Interior Minister Herbert Reul told Bild  that the fines should make it clear that violations of the measures were not "trivial offenses."

"The punishments hurt, they have to," he said. The measures make it possible to punish those who "knowingly jeopardize the health of their fellow citizens."

05:35 China's Hubei province announced on Tuesday that it would lift travel restrictions and again allow movement into and out of the province on March 25, with the exception of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Travel restrictions will be lifted in Wuhan on April 8, after more than two months of a complete lockdown.

 04:57 The International Monetary Fund (IMF) says it has been approached by a dozen countries in the Middle East and Asia who are seeking financial support to cope with the coronavirus crisis.

"This challenge will be especially daunting for the region's fragile and conflict-torn states — such as Iraq, Sudan, and Yemen," Jihad Azour, the director of the fund's Middle East and Central Asia department, wrote in an IMF blog post.

Azour said the pandemic is causing economic turmoil that could drastically hamper growth in the region. He went on to write that the IMF's executive board would consider countries' requests for emergency assistance in the coming days, with Kyrgyzstan expected to receive the first payment of the outbreak.

Read more: Coronavirus: No fathers allowed in delivery rooms

03:22 Here is the latest from around the Americas:

United States: Monday saw several US governers ordering people in their states to stay at home. Washington, which has seen a quarter of the COVID-19 deaths in the country, became the latest to issue such a decree.

New York is now the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US, with 157 deaths, more than any other state.

In total, 42,000 people are reported to be infected with COVID-19 in the US and at least 559 people have died.

Puerto Rico: All inbound commercial flights have been ordered to land at the main international airport. It is the only airport on the island with temperature scanners. There have been 31 cases of COVID-19 and two deaths in Puerto Rico.

Brazil: President Jair Bolsanaro was forced to roll back a decree that let companies suspend salaries to workers during the coronavirus outbreak. His decision came after mounting criticism from lawmakers and the public over his respose to the outbreak.

Brazil has the most confirmed cases of coronavirus in Latin America at 1,891. Thirty-four deaths have been reported in the country, mostly in Sao Paulo.

Cuba: The country is sealing its borders Tuesday. All remaining foreign tourists will be quarantined until they can arrange for their travel. As of Monday, there were 32,574 tourists reported to be in Cuba.

Prime Minister Manuel Marrero said that Cuban citizens, too, would not be allowed to leave the country. Citizens arriving in Cuba will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.

Cuba has reported 40 cases of COVID-19. One person has died.

Germany's rural physicians improvise

03:04 Here is the latest from around Asia:

Thailand: Four people have died of the coronavirus in Thailand, according to a health official cited by Reuters. The country has confirmed 827 cases of infection so far. The Cabinet is expected to discuss additional measures to help people affected by the pandemic later on Tuesday.

South Korea: 76 coronavirus cases were reported in South Korea on Tuesday, continuing a downward trend in new infections. The total number of cases now stands at 9,037, with 120 deaths, according to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Authorities have tightened border checks to prevent the virus from re-entering with people arriving from overseas.

Myanmar: The country has reported its first two confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The Health Ministry said the patients, aged 36 and 26, are both citizens of Myanmar who recently returned from the US and Britain.

Before the announcement, Myanmar had been the most populous country in the world not to have any coronavirus cases. Last week the government banned mass gatherings and closed land borders, but bars and restaurants remain open.

India: In an effort to contain the COVID-19 outbreak, India has taken the unprecedented step of shutting down its massive train network — a service normally used by more than 20 million passengers each day. It has already closed sea and river ports, and plans to ground all domestic passenger flights from Wednesday following earlier steps to ban international arrivals. India has reported 415 coronavirus infections and seven deaths. Districts that have cases have been placed under lockdown, with all but essential services closed. There are fears that the country's public health infrastructure could buckle if cases were to surge in the way they have elsewhere.

Nepal: India's neighbor Nepal began a week-long lockdown on Tuesday. The measure restricts "outdoor movement of individuals except for buying medicine and emergency activities," according to a government spokesman quoted by AFP.

Qiagen develops rapid test

Philippines: Health authorities in the Philippines have reported 39 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 501, Reuters reports. Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire told reporters 33 patients had died so far from the virus, while 19 had recovered.

Macau: Residents of Hong Kong, mainland China and Taiwan who have traveled overseas in the past two weeks will be banned from entering the territory from Wednesday, Reuters reports.

Macau's leader, Ho Iat Seng, said Tuesday that those who had not been abroad would still be placed under quarantine for 14 days. Macau, a gambling hub popular with Chinese tourists, already closed its borders to all foreign visitors last week. It has so far confirmed 25 coronavirus cases.

01:21 China's National Health Commission says it has recorded 78 new cases of the COVID-19 virus, as well as seven fatalities.

Seventy-four of those infections were "imported," and involved people recently arriving from abroad, according to the commission. Only one case was recorded in the central city of Wuhan, where the novel coronavirus was first detected in December.

Transmission inside China has dropped dramatically in recent weeks, while the number of cases among people coming from other countries has risen to 427.

Around 90% of the 81,496 infected patients in China have recovered from the virus. More than 3,200 people have died

Read more: India's coronavirus fight complicated by people dodging quarantine

00:54 The US is calling for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo to be delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We encourage the International Olympic Committee to take all needed steps to ensure the Games can be conducted under safe and fair conditions for all competitors," the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee said in statement. The plea came after a survey of American athletes showed overwhelming support for a postponement.

The event is scheduled to begin on July 24, but sporting bodies and athletes around the world have been pushing for it to be moved to next year instead.

The move echoes similar calls for postponement from Canada and Australia.

Read more: Coronavirus has Olympic athletes 'running on the spot' — sports scientist

00:00 Catch up on yesterday's coronavirus developments here: Coronavirus latest: UK rolls out nationwide lockdown

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