Coronavirus updates: Social curbs ramped up around the world

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Live Reporting

By Andreas Illmer and Saira Asher

All times stated are UK

  1. The people volunteering for vaccine trials

    “This is an amazing opportunity for me to do something.”

    Jennifer is a 43-year-old mother-of-two in Seattle, who is one of the first people to volunteer for human trials of a Covid-19 vaccine.

    Four patients received the jab at the Kaiser Permanente research
    facility in the US city, reports the Associated Press news

    The vaccine cannot cause Covid-19 but contains a harmless genetic code copied from the virus that causes the disease. But it will be months before scientists know whether it will work.

  2. Elderly Australians given shopping priority

    Amid continued panic-buying, Australia’s largest supermarket chains have set aside their first trading hour for elderly people and those with disabilities.

    Coles and Woolworths began the policy on Tuesday, designed to allow priority access to sought-after goods such as toilet paper and tinned food.

    But some people still left disappointed.

    Jan Owen tweeted: “Went to @woolworths early for my 86yr old father-in-law for the #seniorshour but the shelves are all empty.”

    A crowd of people wait for a supermarket to open in Melbourne, Australia, on Tuesday

    Copyright: Getty Images

    Image caption: A crowd waits for a store to open in Melbourne’s Sunbury suburb on Tuesday
  3. Yo-Yo Ma serenades healthcare workers

    Famed cellist Yo-Yo Ma has taken to posting performances recorded from his home, which he’s calling Songs of Comfort. A few days ago he played Dvořák’s beautiful “Going Home” , telling people to”stay safe”.

    His latest post is dedicated to healthcare workers.

  4. Philippines shuts down stock market

    Philippine Marines deployed to assist police at the quarantine border of Rizal province and Pasig City, Metro Manila, Philippines, 16 March 2020.

    Copyright: EPA

    Image caption: Philippine Marines at a quarantine checkpoint in Manila, Luzon

    It’s not just European countries enforcing stricter measures in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Malaysia and the Philippines have announced unprecedented lockdowns.

    Under new rules in place from Wednesday, Malaysian citizens will be banned from travelling abroad while foreigners will not be permitted to enter the country.

    Schools, shops and places of worship will be closed and large gatherings prohibited.

    In the Philippines, President Rodrigo Duterte ordered most of the 55 million people on the main island of Luzon to stay at home for the next month.

    The Philippines is also the first country to shut down its stock market, suspending trade on Tuesday. .

  5. How to prevent the virus spread?

    Graphic illustrating to wash hands, use tissue and avoid touching face

    Copyright: BBC

    For one, you shouldn’t shake hands. Do Jacinda Ardern’s East Coast wave or any other form of greeting that gets around touching each other.

    But there’s more you can do to avoid getting the virus.

    Simply put: wash hands, use a tissue if you cough, don’t touch your face.

    It is crucial that you do those things, so take a few minutes and read our step-by-step guide on what to do to stop the spread.

  6. Trump promises economic support

    So far the US has confirmed more then 4,600 infections and the numbers are expected to rise. With the Dow Jones clocking record losses, US President Donald Trump is trying his best to shore up confidence. In a tweet, he’s announced the government will support those industries affected by the sharp economic slowdown.

    He’s not exactly using the correct term for the virus though, which has officially been named SARS-CoV-2. It’s commonly referred to as coronavirus (although that is actually a larger group of viruses).

    Calling it the “Chinese virus” or “Wuhan virus”, has previously angered China.

  7. Do the ‘East Coast wave’!

    People are being advised to avoid shaking hands or hugging to prevent spreading the virus. There’s been plenty of alternatives going around these past weeks, but there’s always room for another one.

    New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Tuesday demonstrated the “East Coast wave”, an upwards nod with the head.

    So along with a virtual elbow bump, we’re sending out an East Coast wave to all of you following our updates here…

  8. South Korea tightens borders

    South Korea is to tighten border checks on all international arrivals from Thursday. The checks involve a temperature check, the confirmation of contact details during their stay in the country and the use of a phone application to record any symptoms for 14 days.

    For the third day in a row the number of newly reported coronavirus infections in the country was below 100. Only 84 new infections were confirmed in the last 24 hours bringing the total number of cases to 8,320. The death toll stands at 81.

    Health officials are urging against complacency after two recent clusters of infection in the highly populated areas of Seoul, Incheon and Gyeonggi Province.

    40 people from a Church in Seongnam south of Seoul were diagnosed with the virus earlier this week. It’s been revealed that the group passed around a saltwater spray bottle in the hope of protecting themselves from coronavirus, which they inserted in their mouths without disinfecting the nozzle.

    The pastor, identified only as Kim, told the Yonhap news agency that he was deeply sorry about what happened.

  9. What’s the economic impact?

    Currency logos

    Copyright: BBC

    We’ve just seen New Zealand launch a huge stimulus package, and it’s of course not the only country that’s done this. That’s because global economic growth is expected to take a big hit.

    The long term impact of the virus is hard to predict, but we’ve alread seen stock markets tumble, the aviation industry suffer and growth predictions downgraded.

    Here’s our visual guide to the economic impact so far.

  10. China numbers slightly up

    New infections within China have been extremely low the past few days. On Monday, there’s been a slight uptick with 21 new cases, up from 16 the previous day.

    Only one of those cases though was a domestic transmission, the other 20 are all imported, according to Chinese authorities.

    The country also reported 13 deaths on Monday, raising its toll to 3,226.

    China is where the coronavirus pandemic started and the country has recorded more than 80,000 total cases, but fewer than 10,000 people remain infected.

  11. Sydney Opera House goes silent

    Sydney Opera House

    Copyright: BBC

    Australia’s iconic Sydney Opera House will cancel all public performances, until the end of March, the venue announced on Tuesday.

    The move kicks in today and come April there will be a re-evaluation of whether it’s safe to allow performances again.

    Tours of the venue will continue for now though and its food outlets will also remain open.

  12. NZ stimulus: ‘Cashflow and confidence’

    New Zealand launches a massive stimulus package to deal with the expected impact the coronavirus will have on the country.

    It’s a sum of 12.1bn New Zealand dollars (£6bn, $7.3bn), a staggering 4% of the country’s GDP.

    The largest chunk will be used to help the economy, helping companies cushion their losses, or those unable to work because they are in quarantine.

    Some NZ$500 million are to boost the health services to improve testing and contact tracing.

    Finance Minister Grant Robertson said the package was about “cashflow and confidence”.

    “We will fight this virus. We will cushion the blow for business and workers. We have been and we will be swift, decisive and compassionate.”

    New Zealand currently has eight confirmed coronavirus cases.

  13. Welcome back to our live coverage

    Welcome to the BBC’s live coverage of the global coronavirus pandemic. Here is everything you need to know as the Asian day kicks off.

    • More countries in Europe have announced ever stricter measures to limit and slow down the spread of the virus. Britons have been told to socially distance, Germany will close all non-essential shops and France will on Tuesday go into a nationwide lockdown.
    • Across Europe, which according to the WHO is now the epicentre of the pandemic, more and more borders are being shut.
    • US President Donald Trump said the US outbreak could last all summer and said gatherings should not be larger than 10 people.
    • New Zealand is the latest country to announce a massive stimulus package to help its economy through the uncertainty ahead.
    • In terms of infections, China, the country where the pandemic started, recorded only one local transmission on Monday – but many imported cases – while cases in Europe, and the US continue to rise sharply.
    • Italy is now the country with the highest number of active cases and more than 2,100 deaths.

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