Officials order quarantine of 16 million people in Italy’s north as scientists race to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
With the world still battling with containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, millions of people are under state-endorsed quarantine conditions, global sport continues to be impacted and national emergency plans have been put in place.
Italy took a page from China's playbook, locking down around 16 million people — more than a quarter of its population — for nearly a month to halt the relentless march of the new coronavirus across Europe.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced early on Sunday that the entire Italian region of Lombardy and a number of provinces in other regions would be put under lockdown as the virus continued to spread throughout Italy.
It comes as the number of people to have died from the outbreak in Italy has jumped by 133 in a day to 366, officials say, reports the BBC.
The total number of infections leapt 25 per cent to 7375 from 5883 on Saturday, according to the Civil Protection agency.
Weddings, museums, movie theatres shopping malls, and even restaurants are all hit by the new restrictions, which focus on a swath of northern Italy but are disrupting daily life around the country. After mass testing uncovered more than 7300 infections, Italy now has registered more cases of the virus than any country but China, where it's now on the retreat.
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Around the globe, more and more events were cancelled or hidden behind closed doors, from the pope's Sunday service to a Formula One car race in Bahrain and a sumo competition in Japan. Questions grew about whether to maintain U.S. presidential campaign rallies and other potentially "super-spreading" gatherings, as the virus stretches into new states.
Even as the virus spreads, dozens of research groups around the world are racing to create a vaccine.
Australia death toll rises
In Australia, the death toll from the COVID-19 strain has risen to three after an 82-year-old man - who picked up the virus from an infected aged care worker in her 50s at the NSW BaptistCare's Dorothy Henderson Lodge - died in hospital overnight.
The man's death follows that of a 95-year-old woman and fellow Dorothy Henderson Lodge resident and a 78-year-old man in Perth.
Iran's death toll jumps again
Iran's health ministry says 194 people have died from coronavirus and 6566 are now infected.
Iran has one of the highest number of deaths from the illness outside of China, where the virus originated.
Iranians were warned by ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur in a television announcement to avoid all large gatherings and stay home.
"There have been 743 people who have been added to the total of those infected by COVID-19 through lab test results," he said on Sunday.
"In the past 24 hours, we have had 49 people who have died from this illness so we have at least 194 deaths until now."
IranAir has suspended until further notice all flights to European destinations, the official IRNA news agency reported on Sunday, citing a statement from the Civil Aviation Organisation.
UK coronavirus cases leap
The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK has risen to 273, up from 209 a day earlier, and the biggest one-day increase so far.
More than 23,500 people in Britain have been tested for the virus, the government said.
So far, two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus have died in Britain.
US cruise ship to dock
A cruise ship hit by the new coronavirus is meanwhile headed to the port of Oakland, California, the captain told passengers, though they were destined to stay aboard the ship for at least another day.
Princess Cruises says it's expected to arrive on Monday (local time). The ship is carrying more than 3500 people from 54 countries.
Passengers who need medical treatment or hospitalisation will go to health care facilities in California, while state residents who don't require acute medical care "will go to a federally run isolation facility within California for testing and isolation".
Travel chaos sparked by Italian quarantine
Italy, meanwhile, has announced a sweeping quarantine for its northern regions, igniting travel chaos as it restricted the movements of 16 million people — more than one quarter of its population — in a bid to halt the relentless march of the new coronavirus across Europe.
Confusion reigned from Milan to Venice as residents and tourists tried to figure out exactly when and how the new rules were coming into effect.
Travelers rushed to train stations and crammed aboard standing-room only trains, tucking their faces into scarves and sharing sanitising gel.
After Italy saw its biggest one-day jump in infections, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte signed a quarantine decree overnight for the country's prosperous north.
Areas under lockdown include Milan, Italy's financial hub and the main city in Lombardy, and Venice, the main city in the neighboring Veneto region. The extraordinary measures will be in place until April 3.
"There will be a ban for everybody to move in and out of these territories and also within the same territory," Conte said.
"Exceptions will be allowed only for proven professional needs, exceptional cases and health issues."
The fate of foreign visitors stuck in Italy's new quarantine zones was not immediately clear.
Formula One race to be held without fans
In Bahrain, the country's Formula One race this month will be run without spectators over fears about coronavirus, the island kingdom announced Sunday.
The decision by Bahrain is just the latest disruption felt by the Mideast over the virus and the COVID-19 illness it causes.
The wider Mideast now has over 6980 confirmed cases of the virus. The majority are in hard-hit Iran, where the reported death toll jumped by 25 per cent Sunday to 194 out of 6566 confirmed cases.
Bahrain's Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad's announcement on the F1 was carried by the state-run Bahrain News Agency.
The crown prince said the decision was "to preserve the safety of citizens, residents and racing fans." The race is scheduled for March 22.
READ MORE: Coronavirus: How close are authorities to developing a vaccine?
"As an F1 host nation, balancing the welfare of supporters and race goers is a tremendous responsibility," the Bahrain International Circuit said in a statement.
"Given the continued spread of COVID-19 globally, convening a major sporting event, which is open to the public and allows thousands of international travellers and local fans to interact in close proximity would not be the right thing to do at the present time."
Bahrain, an island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Persian Gulf, has so far reported 79 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus.
The kingdom has drastically cut air travel and urged residents who recently traveled from Iran to present themselves for testing, warning that those who don't could face prosecution.
The decision to run the race with participants only was an extraordinary decision for Bahrain and F1. It cancelled its 2011 F1 race over Arab Spring protests there, but held the race in 2012 with fans in attendance.
The decision came as Australia is still set to hold its F1 Grand Prix on March 13 with spectators. F1 did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
World sport drastically affected by coronavirus
Greece's Health Ministry has announced that all sports events in the country will also take place without spectators for the next two weeks to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The ministry also says that recreation and support centers for the elderly will shut down for two weeks and no school trips will take place during that period.
As of Saturday night, 66 cases of the virus had been identified in Greece, 47 of them among a group of 54 travelers to Israel and Egypt. Four other cases involve people coming in contact with those travelers. There have been no fatalities. A 66-year-old man, among the traveling group, is in intensive care.
Meanwhile, Japan's Spring Grand Sumo Tournament kicked off on Sunday in Osaka at Edion Arena with no spectators as part of Japan's extraordinary efforts to halt the spread of the virus.
Wrestlers arrived wearing face masks and were required to use hand-sanitising spray before entering the arena.
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They were also required to take their temperatures before entering the raised ring. If a wrestler has a temperature above 37.5 degrees celsius for two or more days, he will be forced to sit out the tournament.
Sumo officials have said if a wrestler is diagnosed with the coronavirus, the 15-day tournament will be immediately halted.
Vatican shakes up Pope's address
In an extraordinary measure aimed at discouraging crowds, Pope Francis didn't appear at a Vatican palazzo window to deliver his Sunday noon Angelus blessing and remarks.
Instead, a video of his reading his comments and reciting prayers standing at a lectern near a microphone in the Vatican's apostolic library was beamed on maxi-screens set up in St. Peter's Square to the faithful.
The bells of St. Peter's Basilica tolled as the window opened and Francis appeared for a few seconds to wave to the people below in the square. But he made no comments from the window, having already delivered the broadcast remarks.
The measure — which was announced on Saturday — was aimed at discouraging crowds from gathering in the square, where on days with good weather like this Sunday as many as 40,000 people can turn out to watch the pope in the window.b
Reported with AAP and the Associated Press.
Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-latest-australia-world-deaths-cases-quarantine-health-news/82da8c3e-bec0-4891-8275-9bf9a8791e39