Tens of millions under lockdown in France, Spain as virus spreads

Tuesday, 17 Mar, 2020

France and Spain became the latest European nations to impose lockdowns, while Australia joined New Zealand in ordering self-isolation for all arrivals Sunday as the number of coronavirus infections around the world passed 150,000, with almost 6,000 deaths.

An eerie calm descended on the Spanish capital on Saturday as people obeyed the strict measures imposed by the regional government.

Spain will be in a state of emergency for the next 15 days to better combat the coronavirus, a dramatic increase to the policy response that will allow authorities to confine people and ration goods.

Spain has had 193 deaths from the virus and 6,250 instances up to now, public broadcaster TVE stated on Sunday.

The wife of Spain's Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez is among those who have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, his office said late Saturday, just hours after he announced the lockdown.

Trump declared a national emergency and announced a US$50 billion package, with similar measures being taken by governments from Austria to Canada.

She said the bloc would boost production of equipment such as ventilators, test kits and masks, which would then be shared across the European Union instead of each country making its own supply.

For most people, the coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and those with mild illness recover in about two weeks.

So far, more than 145,000 infections and over 5,400 deaths had been recorded worldwide. Police then proceed to tell the people in the area to only go outside only when it is strictly necessary and to remain at home.

"There is no question that we will win this fight", the Prime Minister said in his address.

The Transport Ministry banned passengers from taking ferries to the island of Sardinia and halted overnight train trips, which many in the north had used to reach homes and families in the south.

Top health official Jerome Salomon expressed his regret that many Parisians had ventured out in large numbers on Sunday despite official advice to stay at home and a government shutdown on bars and restaurants around the country. "Our mission and determination is to protect Spanish lives and beat the virus".

The U.S. reported 51 deaths - including the first in NY - and more than 2,100 cases.

A woman wears a face mask as she walks in front of a closed restaurant in downtown Madrid, Spain, Saturday, March 14, 2020. Greece's infection total approached 230 with three deaths, and police there arrested 45 shopkeepers Saturday for violating a ban on operations.

Slovakia: Closes borders to all foreigners except those with a residence permit.

Britain's virus death toll rose to 35 on Sunday from 21 a day earlier while confirmed infections rose by 232 to 1372.