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Coronavirus latest: Italy death toll surpasses 1,000

March 12, 2020

The Italian government said more than 15,000 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus. Pressure is mounting on authorities as the pandemic takes its toll on Europe. Follow DW for the latest updates.

A person wearing a mask stands in front of an image of the novel coronavirus in Berlin
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/C. Soeder
  • Germany reported its sixth COVID-19 death on Thursday.
  • Italy reported more than 1,000 deaths caused by coronavirus.
  • US President Donald Trump announced a 30-day ban targeting European nationals.
  • European stocks had one of the worst days in history

Read moreUS suspends travel from EU: What you need to know

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.

23:45 Gabon and Ghana confirmed first cases of the virus.

23:30 The White House is assessing the US President Donald Trump's exposure to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro's communications director Fabio Wajngarten, who tested positive for the virus just days after meeting Trump.

White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement: "Both the President and Vice President had almost no interactions with the individual who tested positive and do not require being tested at this time."

Bolsonaro said he will "in the next few hours" if he has contracted the virus from Wajngarten.

23:22 Bulgaria declared a state of emergency after a special Cabinet meeting. The Balkan country has a total of 23 confirmed virus cases, up from just 7 on Wednesday.

23:12 The Australian Grand Prix has been canceled over coronavirus concerns.

22:40 Belgium is closing all schools, cafes and restaurants to close, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes told a news conference. Shops and pharmacies will remain open but will have to close at the weekends. The measures take effect from Friday at midnight (CET) and run until April 3, but schools will remain shut for five weeks.

22:25 Arsenal football club head coach Mikel Arteta has tested positive for the virus. The entire squad will now go into self-isolation. 

21:59 The financial markets experienced one of the worst days since 1987. European markets closed down 12%, despite pledges from the European Central Bank to buy more bonds and stimulate the economy.

After a meeting with leaders of Germany's 16 states, Chancellor Angela Merkel said her finance and economy ministers would present a "very comprehensive" package of additional measures on Friday.

21:50 The French Football Federation has suspended all matches until further notice. 

21:36 The Belgian government says all recreational activities and establishments will be canceled or temporarily closed.

21:31 Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa has said all schools nationwide to shut down starting on Monday.

21:20 Costa Rica has suspended university classes.

21:06 Countries may gain time in the short-term as they limit travel, but overall, "it doesn't help to restrict movement," according to World Health Organization adviser Dr. Bruce Aylward. Travel bans "generally aren't part of the armamentarium you bring to bear on something like this," he said.

"What we found, as a general principle — not a general principle,  a pretty robust principle — is that it doesn't help to restrict movement."

21:02 Spain placed four towns under quarantine and announced measures to tackle the economic impact of coronavirus. From 20:00 UTC, four towns around the village of Igualada — 49 kilometers (30.5 miles) — were placed on indefinite lockdown after a significant outbreak in the area, top regional police official Eduard Sallent said. 

20:47 Cyprus said that a cruise ship denied entry by Israel could anchor offshore, but that no one would be permitted to disembark, after some passengers displayed symptoms of coronavirus. The cruise ship Marco Polo has been at sea for more than a month after a trip to India, and sailed for Cyprus after being denied entry by Israel, according to the Cyprus state broadcaster. 

20:47 German hospitals need to postpone all non-essential admissions and procedures, wherever medically appropriate, the country's federal and state government said as they try to craft a strategy to fight coronavirus. The resolution, passed by the government and state premiers, applies for an indefinite period.

20:45 Saudi Arabia has suspended all social gatherings in wedding halls and hotels. 

20:40 Walt Disney Co will close its Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks in California through the end of March over coronavirus fears.

Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California
Sleeping Beauty's Castle at Disneyland in Anaheim, California Image: picture-alliance/AP/J. Hong

20:36 PGA Tour, the US' men's professional golf organizer, has banned fans at events through next month's Texas Open.

20:28 "Congress' attending physician told the Senate that he expects between 70 to 150 million people to eventually contract the coronavirus in the United States," said Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib. 

20:27 Qatar has closed all museums until further notice, over coronavirus fears, according to its state news agency.

20:24 The next four to five weeks are crucial in terms of how things will develop, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press conference. She also said that current measures will be implemented over that time period, until April 20. 

Germany will also present a "very comprehensive" package of additional measures to support its businesses on Friday, she said. "Tomorrow at noon, the federal finance minister and the federal economy minister will present further measures to support our businesses. I can't pre-empt them now, but they are very comprehensive." 

20:22 The NCAA has canceled the "March Madness" national college basketball tournament in the United States. The decision comes a day after the NCAA announced that the games that were scheduled to start next week would go on, but be played in mostly empty arenas.

Long Beach State guard Nick Faust makes a dunk during an NCAA Basketball game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Long Beach State 49ers
Long Beach State guard Nick Faust makes a dunk during an NCAA Basketball game between the Oklahoma State Cowboys and the Long Beach State 49ersImage: picture alliance/ZUMA Press/J. Kupferman

20:20 US President Donald Trump said he was not concerned about the possibility of being exposed to coronavirus after dining with a Brazilian government official who has since tested positive for the disease. 

20:19 Germany has confirmed its sixth death from the virus. The patient was a 78-year-old woman.

20:17 Algeria has reported two coronavirus deaths. The first case was a 67-year-old man who had heart disease, the ministry's director-general Djamel Fourar said. The second was a 55-year-old Algerian who had returned home from France. Algeria has a total of 26 COVID-19 cases.

20:14 The International Olympic Committee has said it will follow the World Health Organization's recommendation on whether to cancel or postpone this year's Tokyo Olympics over coronavirus, IOC chief Thomas Bach said. 

20:12 New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio declared a state of emergency in the city. New York state declared a state of emergency on March 7. 

20:11 "Everything that isn't absolutely urgent should be postponed," said Bavaria's state premier Markus Söder. 

20:09 The Canadian province of Ontario has ordered all schools to be shut from March 14 to April 5.

20:04 FIFA has said it will postpone South American World Cup qualifying matches for the 2022 tournament, which were due to take place this month. 

20:03 German Chancellor Angela Merkel said that closing schools across Germany remains an option in combatting the virus. States have recommended canceling all unnecessary events with less than 1,000 participants, following an earlier recommendation to cancel events with more than 1,000 participants, she told a press conference.

"We'll only defeat the virus if we hold together as Europeans," she added.

19:45 New York state Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that gatherings of more than 500 people will be temporarily banned. 

19:33 The last temporary hospital closed in Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, and the medics who worked there smiled as they took off their medical masks while exiting the building. At a moment of global crisis, the hospital's closure was a ray of hope that the epidemic could be brought under control.

19:22 France would consider closing its borders but only in an EU-coordinated manner, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

19:12 French President Emmanuel Macron described the coronavirus epidemic as the worst health crisis France has dealt with in the past century. He urged elderly and vulnerable people to take precautionary measures and stay at home. 

"We are taking significant efforts to increase our capacities to take patients at hospital," Macron said. "It's urgent that we protect our most vulnerable citizens."

Read more: Coronavirus: Who is particularly at risk and why?

Schools across the country were ordered closed, Macron said. Public transport would remain open, but the French president urged people to refrain from using them when possible. He also urged businesses to allow staff to work from home.

"I ask all French people to limit their movements to only the most necessary."

18:59 The Vatican ordered all Catholic churches in Rome to be closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The measure has been described as unprecedented in the modern era.

18:34 The Italian Red Cross said a team of nine Chinese health experts are en route to Italy to assist authorities in combating the coronavirus outbreak. The aircraft transporting the Chinese team is also carrying nine cargo pallets filled with medical equipment.

Read more: Coronavirus, cold, or flu symptoms: Should I see a doctor?

18:25 Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro urged US President Donald Trump to lift sanctions so his government could prepare for the possible arrival of the novel coronavirus.

Venezuela faces severe shortages of critical supplies, including medicine and hospital supplies.

18:18 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said a majority of schools across Israel have been ordered closed as a precautionary measure against the coronavirus outbreak.

Netanyahu also called for an emergency unity government to deal with the threat posed by the pandemic following inconclusive elections earlier this month.

18:09 Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced the first coronavirus-related death in Norway.

17:55 The White House said a Brazilian official who tested positive for the novel coronavirus had not come into contact with US President Donald Trump or Vice President Mike Pence.

As such, the top US officials would not undergo tests for coronavirus, the White House added.

17:52 An officer assigned to German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier's security detail tested positive for the novel coronavirus, the Federal Criminal Police Agency told German news agency DPA. The man was not in contact with Steinmeier, according to the report.

Read more: Germany will 'overcome' coronavirus outbreak, president says

17:44 Indian authorities announced the first coronavirus-related death in the country. The victim was a 76-year-old man who died earlier this week.

17:18 The British government's chief scientific adviser, Patrick Vallance, said up to 10,000 people in the UK could be carrying the novel coronavirus.

Vallance said that although there are only 590 confirmed cases, it is "much more likely that we've got somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people infected."

17:12 Italian authorities reported more than 1,000 coronavirus-related deaths. Italy is the hardest-hit country outside of China, the epicenter of the pandemic.

The Italian government has enacted nationwide restrictions on travel and assembly in a bid to control the outbreak.

How should hospitals prepare?

17:03 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said protecting the elderly and vulnerable populations are the most important task ahead.

16:59 Norwegian Air Shuttle said at least half of its staff would be temporarily discharged from work as a means to cope with the outbreak's economic fallout.

"We must look at all possible measures to reduce costs," the airline said. "This unfortunately also includes temporary lay-offs of up to 50 percent of our employees and the number may increase."

Read more: ECB shifts into crisis mode as coronavirus bites eurozone economy

16:53 Russian authorities are disinfecting parliamentary chambers after lawmaker Sergei Katasonov broke quarantine to hear President Vladimir Putin give a speech.

"Considering that we were checked at the airport I didn't see a need for self-isolation," said Katasonov.

16:49 Portuguese authorities said star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was placed under quarantine but has not shown symptoms of the virus. 

"Ronaldo left Italy a few days ago and his isolation hasn't just started now," said Madeira regional health advisor Pedro Ramos. "Both the athlete and his family are symptom-less."

16:45 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is undergoing tests after his close aide and chief government spokesman Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for the novel coronavirus.

16:39 European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen instructed staff at the EU executive body to work from home in a bid to prevent the spread of the outbreak.

"As of Monday, all colleagues in non-critical functions will have to telework," von der Leyen said in a video recording for staff. "Colleagues who ensure critical functions will need to be present at work."

16:31 Greece announced the closure of all nightclubs, cinemas and gyms for a two-week period in order to curb the spread of the outbreak.

16:25 Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he and his wife are self-isolating at home after she showed flu-life symptoms.

"Out of an abundance of caution, the prime minister is opting to self-isolate and work from home until receiving Sophie's results," Trudeau's office said.

16:20 Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg announced the "most intrusive measures we have had in Norway in peacetime."

"The measures will have a significant effect on our individual freedoms." They include banning all health workers from leaving the country and a mandatory two-week quarantine for Norwegians returning from non-Nordic travels.

16:13 Turkish schools and universities will close for up to three weeks starting on Monday, a spokesperson for the Turkish presidency said.

Infographic on ways to protect yourself from coronavirus

16:07 Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz said weddings, baptisms and funerals would be canceled for the foreseeable future. The measure is aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus. Kurz said his government would announce further measures on Friday.

16:03 London stocks plunged more than 10% after European Central Bank measures aimed at softening the economic blow of the outbreak fell short of investors' expectations.

16:01 US President Donald Trump suggested that the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo should be postponed by one year. Japanese authorities have so far refused to entertain postponing the event.

15:43 Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said the government would mobilize all resources at its disposal. He was optimistic that the country would soon overcome the economic damage wrought by coronavirus.

15:40 German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas refuted claims used by US officials to support a travel ban against European nationals.

"The reference in the announcement to the idea that there were failings in Europe indicates that possibly less than objective reasons played a role in this decision," Maas said, referring to a US-imposed ban on European citizens.

15:36 The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said there is a high risk that the EU's healthcare capacity "will be exceeded."

Corona-Virus: Out of Control?

15:21 Germany has more than 2,400 confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to an independent tally by German news agency DPA. The agency said it has taken into account figures published by individual states. 

The figure is significantly higher than the one published by the Robert Koch Institute, which has been tasked with providing official updates. However, the institute has admitted that it only counts cases that are communicated to it via official channels.

15:14 The Bavarian health ministry reported the death of an 80-year-old man, making him the fifth coronavirus-related death in Germany. The ministry said he had underlying health issues.

14:59 Bavarian state premier Markus Söder said businesses should take proactive measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus. He warned that the epidemic could have severe consequences for Bavaria's economy.

14:36 The leader of Spain's hotel federation, CEHAT, described the coronavirus epidemic as a natural disaster on the country's tourism sector.

"A tsunami has arrived," CEHAT Secretary General Ramon Estalella. "A meteorite has fallen on us and we have to see how we survive." He urged the Spanish government to take bold measures to avoid businesses going into bankruptcy or mass layoffs.

14:21 Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said his government is introducing new measures across the Netherlands due to untraceable cases of coronavirus.

14:17 The German benchmark DAX index fell by more than 10% after a statement from the European Central Bank (ECB) failed to calm investors in Europe.

14:15 Trading has resumed on Wall Street after the session was halted when the S&P 500 dropped 7% within the first minutes.

13:48 Princess Cruises said it would suspend global operations for 60 days. Multiple Princess vessels were hit by coronavirus outbreaks, triggering quarantine operations on board.

13:40 European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the coronavirus epidemic is a "major shock" that will have a "significant impact" in Europe.

"Even if ultimately temporary by nature, it will have a significant impact on economic activity," said Lagarde. "An ambitious and coordinated fiscal policy response is required to support businesses and workers at risk."

 Police officers and soldiers check passengers leaving from Milan main train station, Italy
The Italian government has deployed the military to ensure public safety and compliance with nationwide travel restrictionsImage: picture-alliance/AP Photo/A. Calanni

13:38 US General Frank McKenzie, who serves as commander of Central Command, said Iran is under-reporting the number of confirmed coronavirus cases. Iran is one of the hardest-hit countries outside of China.

13:27 The European Space Agency and Russa's Roscosmos said they would delay the launch of a Mars-bound rover, citing an "exacerbation of the epidemiological situation in Europe," leaving its experts "practically no possibility to proceed with travels to partner industries."

12:57 The European Central Bank (ECB) announced new stimulus measures to cushion the economic impact of the coronavirus by keeping liquidity flowing, including loans to banks and a bond-buying scheme.

12:35 Spain's health ministry reported Thursday that the number of COVID-19 cases rose to 2,968, up from 2,140 on Wednesday. The death toll in Spain nearly doubled in 24 hours from 47 to 84 deaths. 

12:17 Polish officials confirmed Poland's first COVID-19 death in the western city of Poznan. The city's deputy mayor said the victim was a 57-year-old woman. 

12:07 Ireland said it will close all schools and cultural institutions until March 29. Norway also announced it will close all schools. 

11:54 German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier has called for everyone in Germany to take action in stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

"We need to change our everyday lives, not gradually, but now," said Steinmeier in Berlin, while asking people to avoid large public gatherings like parties, sporting events and concerts. "Self-restriction today will save lives tomorrow," he said. 

"This epidemic is a challenge for Germany that we can and will overcome with our well-functioning public health system," he added. 

11:47 World Health Organization (WHO) chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Thursday that COVID-19 is "a controllable pandemic" if countries take appropriate measures. He urged countries to "double down" in their fight against the outbreak. 

"Describing this as a pandemic does not mean that countries should give up. The idea that countries should shift from containment to mitigation is wrong and dangerous," Ghebreyesus said in Geneva. 

Read moreWhat you need to know about the coronavirus

11:17 German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has postponed a conference to elect a new party leader to follow Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer. The conference had been scheduled for April 25 in Berlin. 

11:03 A fourth person has died of COVID-19 in Germany. Health officials in Stuttgart reported a 67-year-old man died in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg. It is the first death outside of North Rhine-Westphalia, the German state where the majority of cases have been. 

The total number of COVID-19 cases in Germany currently stands at 2,078. 

A graph showing the spread of COVID-19

10:45 The European Union said it disapproved of the US decision to impose a ban on travel from countries in Europe's Schengen zone, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council President Charles Michel said in a statement.

"The European Union disapproves of the fact that the US decision to improve a travel ban was taken unilaterally and without consultation," the statement said.

The pair of EU leaders added that the bloc is taking "strong" measures to limit the spread of the virus.

10:33 The Spanish government said in a statement that it will hold all meetings via video conference starting Thursday after a minister tested positive for coronavirus. All ministers will now undergo screening for the virus, the statement added. 

10:10 EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet that the EU is working on a coordinated effort to "tackle the impact" of the coronavirus. 

10:03 Austria reported its first coronavirus death on Thursday. Health officials said a 69-year-old man died in the capital, Vienna. 

09:05 Iran has asked the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for $5 billion (€4.5 billion) worth of emergency funding, Reuters news agency reported.

Iran has the highest COVID-19 infection rate in the Middle East, with over 10,000 total cases and 429 deaths. Two weeks ago, the number of cases in Iran was below 250. 

08:52 South Africa's health ministry Thursday confirmed the country's first locally transmitted COVID-19 case. Officials said a 32-year-old man contracted the disease after coming into contact with a Chinese businessman.

08:34 US public health experts have said the country is currently ill-equipped to fight an epidemic, according to DW's Washington correspondent Stefan Simons. The US currently lacks a sufficient number of hospital beds and coronavirus testing kits, Simons told DW News. 

"The US has not tested significantly compared to Europe, and other countries."

08:05 For the first time since mid-2016, the DAX, Germany's main index of 30 blue-chip stocks, fell below 10,000 points. The index opened Thursday at 9,854 points — 5.5% lower than Wednesday's closing. London's stock market, the FTSE 100, fell 5.2 % in early trading — its lowest point since February 2016. 

08:00 Czech Interior Minister Jan Hamacek said the Czech Republic would start introducing border controls on the German and Austrian borders starting Friday at midnight. Border crossing outside of 11 official crossing points will be forbidden. 

07:51 Kazakhstan is suspending all public events and closing schools and colleges, the central Asian country's authorities said Thursday. 

07:30 China's National Health Commission said Thursday that the peak of the coronavirus outbreak in the country has passed as the number of new infections continues to drop.  

On Thursday, China reported its lowest number of new coronavirus cases since daily reporting on infections began seven weeks ago.

Mainland China declared 11 new coronavirus deaths and 15 new cases on March 11, down from 22 deaths and 24 new cases on March 10.

06:51 Following Trump's EU travel ban announcement, European Council President Charles Michel said in a tweet Thursday the EU would "assess the situation" and "economic disruption must be avoided."

06:15 Stock markets in Asia tumbled again on Thursday following US President Trump's announcement of restriction on travel from 26 European countries.

Here's a look at have major indices fared: Tokyo ended down 4.4%, while Sydney lost 7.4% in the ASX 200's worst day since 2008. Hong Kong fell 3.5% in the afternoon while Shanghai was off 1.6%. Seoul, Singapore and Jakarta each lost more than 3%, while Mumbai dropped more than 7% and Bangkok more than 8%.

05:00 The final victim was recovered from the rubble of the coronavirus quarantine hotel which collapsed in east China, authorities said, bringing the total death toll to 29.

04:34 Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte is due to be tested for coronavirus after exposure to coronavirus patients, his spokesman said on Thursday, as top government officials began to self-quarantine.

04:28 Greece has reported its first coronavirus death, in a 66-year-old man who had underlying health issues. The man had returned from a religious pilgrimage to Israel and Egypt at the end of February. There were 99 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Greece by late Wednesday.

04:25 China's Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak, will allow industrial production to resume in some parts of the province and ease travel restrictions in those regions accordingly. 

Health officials wearing face masks check the body temperature of policewomen before a rally in Bangkok on March 1
Health officials wearing face masks check the body temperature of policewomen before a rally in Bangkok on March 1 Image: Getty Images/AFP/

04:20 Confused about coronavirus conspiracy theories? This isn't the first time diseases and disinformation have crossed paths. Read about other examples from history here.  

04:05 The Tokyo city government said Thursday that canceling the 2020 Olympic Games would be "unthinkable."

"There is no change to the government stance that we will make preparations for the Tokyo Olympics as planned, while coordinating closely with the International Olympic Committee," said a government spokesman.

03:45 A member of France's parliament representing French Polynesia is the first confirmed case of the coronavirus in the South Pacific, officials said Wednesday. Maina Saga began feeling ill on Monday, two days after returning to the French Pacific territory from France, the territory's president Edouard Fritch said. 

On February 26, Saga met with French Culture Minister Franck Riester, who was later confirmed to have coronavirus. 

03:26 Thailand's Health Ministry has reported 11 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 70. All of the new patients had socialized and shared drinks, health officials said, adding that a tourist from Hong Kong had been the source of the infection. "The Hong Kong tourist came alone and already went back. The 11 infected are all Thai," said Sopon Iamsirithawon, director-general of the Communicable Diseases Department. 

It marked the biggest jump in cases for weeks in Thailand, which was one of the first countries outside China to report infections. 

03:23 US Democrats unveiled legislation to give aid to people affected by the outbreak. House Democratic leaders intend to hold a debate and vote on the measure as early as Thursday. It includes additional funding for food and nutrition programs, expanded unemployment insurance and paid sick days for workers, according to the bill's text.

03:21 New York City has canceled its St. Patrick's Day parade. It would have been the 259th annual parade, according to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.

03:09 The US State Department has advised US citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to coronavirus.

03:05 South Korea reported 114 new cases of coronavirus and six more deaths, resuming a relative decline in new cases after a spike the day before. The new cases bring the country's total to 7,869, with 66 deaths, the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention said.

An official wearing a mask and a traditional guard uniform stands at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South Korea
An official wearing a mask and a traditional guard uniform stands at Gyeongbokgung Palace in Seoul, South KoreaImage: Imago Images/AFLO/Lee Jae-Won

02:59 South America's soccer body CONMEBOL is asking FIFA to suspend the beginning of World Cup qualifiers scheduled for the end of March, due to coronavirus fears. The letter said the outbreak could affect South American national teams that have members in Europe for they could be put in quarantine, which would stop them from playing.

02:37 China's aviation regulator said that the number of flights in the country rose to 40% of levels seen before coronavirus-related curbs were implemented.

02:33 US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) acting Secretary Chad Wolf said in a statement that he plans to issue a notice in the next 48 hours that would require US passengers who have been in Schengen Area countries to travel through selected airports with enhanced screening.

Travel restrictions announced on Wednesday by Trump ban most foreign nationals who have traveled to the areas over the past 14 days from entering the US, the DHS said. The restrictions, meant to combat the spread of coronavirus, do not apply to legal permanent residents of the US, nor does it generally apply to immediate family members of American citizens, according to the statement. 

Wolf also tweeted the elements of the initiative. 

02:23 The organizer of the Bucharest Pride celebration in Romania said that the event would be delayed by at least three months due to coronavirus. The event typically attracts about 10,000 people and was postponed from May 23 until August or September.

02:14 Guyana confirmed its first case in a Guyanese woman who died after returning to the South American country last week from the United States. The 52-year-old woman sought medical care after arriving in Guyana on March 5 and died Wednesday morning, a statement issued by President David Granger said. 

Earlier tests diagnosed her with uncontrolled diabetes and hypertension, but more tests on Wednesday afternoon after she died confirmed she had coronavirus

02:05 Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency in the US capital as the number of identified cases reached 10. "We're not in a vacuum. Our country is experiencing this and our world is experiencing this," he told a news conference. 

01:59 The classification of coronavirus as a pandemic will have an impact on discussions about the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics but, for now, cancelation is unthinkable, Kyodo News quoted Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike as saying on Thursday. 

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said that there is no change in planning for the 2020 Olympics, set to start in July, and there is also no need to declare a state of emergency in Japan due to the coronavirus outbreak.


A woman wearing a mask walks near the Olympics' mark in Odaiba, Tokyo
A woman wearing a mask walks near the Olympics' mark in Odaiba, TokyoImage: picture alliance/AP Images

01:39 The NBA announced it will suspend the season after Utah Jazz player Rudy Govert tested positive for coronavirus. The move came shortly after the majority of the league's owners were leaning toward playing games without fans in arenas.

01:20 Tom Hanks has announced that he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, have both tested positive for coronavirus in Australia. He said that he and Wilson, who are both 63, were tested in Australia, where he is working on a film after they felt tired and achy with slight fevers.

"To play things right, as is needed in the world right now, we were tested for the coronavirus and were found to be positive," Hanks said in a tweet.

01:15 US President Donald Trump has suspended all travel from EU countries except the United Kingdom for 30 days. He said the restrictions were "strong but necessary."

"To keep new cases from entering our shores, we will be suspending all travel from Europe to the United States for the next 30 days," he said. The new rules will be effective from midnight on Friday. He also urged Congress to pass tax relief measures. "I am calling on Congress to provide Americans with immediate payroll tax relief. Hopefully, they will consider this very strongly," he said.

00:53 Cuba has confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus, according to its state broadcaster. The patients are Italians who had traveled to the country on Monday.

00:40 Mainland China declared 11 new coronavirus deaths and 15 new cases on March 11, down from 22 deaths and 24 new cases on March 10. That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 80,793.

00:24 Saudi Arabia has temporarily banned its citizens and residents from traveling to European Union states, according to Saudi state television. 

00:09 US President Donald Trump is considering implementing travel restrictions and a mandatory quarantine for travelers returning from European countries. He is set to address the nation about potential restrictions on television at 21:00 EST (1:00 UTC).

Earlier in the day, Trump tweeted, "We must beat it as quickly and safely as possible."

23:52 Australia announced an A$17.6 billion ($11.4 billion) (€10.11 billion) spending plan to curb the economic impact of coronavirus and avert the country's first recession in 29 years. The spending plan is equivalent to about 1.2% of the country's GDP.

23:44 El Salvador's President Nayib Bukele has imposed a 21-day nationwide quarantine, meaning that no foreigner will be able to enter the country unless they are a resident or a diplomat. The country currently has no confirmed cases.


Members of El Salvador's Health Ministry spray sanitizer at the San Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in San Salvador city
Members of El Salvador's Health Ministry spray sanitizer at the San Oscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport in San Salvador city Image: AFP/Salvadorean Presidency

23:20 "Bottom line, it's going to get worse," said Anthony Fauci, the director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. The statement comes as Trump is scheduled to address the nation from the White House on the government's response to the outbreak. 

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wmr,lc/sms (dpa, Reuters, AP)