The coronavirus pandemic continues to see spiraling death tolls and lockdowns across the globe.
Worldwide, nearly 312,000 people have been infected and over 13,400 have died, according to Johns Hopkins University.
About 150 countries now have confirmed cases, and deaths have been reported in more than 30 US states.
In a live television broadcast on Saturday night, Italian Premier Giuseppe Conte announced he was tightening the country’s lockdown and shutting down all production facilities except those providing essential goods and services.
Italy announced its biggest day-to-day increase of infections on Saturday, which rose to 53,000 people, with nearly 800 new deaths.
Italy now has 4,825 deaths, more than all of China, where the virus first emerged late last year.
The first of nine Russian cargo planes left Moscow on Sunday, bringing medical personnel and supplies to Italy, including eight mobile medical teams.
In Spain, Europe’s hardest-hit country after Italy, intensive care units in some areas were close to their limits even before Sunday’s new tally of 28,572 infections and 1,720 deaths.
The army is building a field hospital with 5,500 beds in a convention centre in Madrid, where hotels are also being turned into wards for virus patients without serious breathing problems.
Meanwhile, outside of Europe, the United States overtook Germany as the country with the fourth-highest number of Covid-19 cases with 26,747 cases and 340 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
At least 38 people tested positive at New York City’s Rikers Island jail complex – more than half of them inmates.
In India, thousands defied a 14-hour ‘people’s curfew’ as they attempted to reach their home villages on crowded trains in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi called the curfew in a bid stem a surge in coronavirus cases in the world’s second-most populous country.
On Sunday evening thousands gathered on balconies to collectively cheer front-line health workers.
At least 341 people have been infected in India by the new coronavirus and five people have died in the country from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus.
Iran, the third most affected nation, says it has 1,685 deaths and 21,638 confirmed cases of the virus.
The country’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s has refused US assistance to fight the virus citing an unfounded conspiracy theory that the virus could be man-made by America.
Iran has faced widespread criticism for its lagging response to the outbreak, which has even infected and killed some senior officials.
Several other countries in the Middle East have closed schools, universities and non-essential businesses. Many are threatening fines or jail time to those caught violating the decrees.
One of the world’s biggest airlines, Dubai-based Emirates, has said it is suspending all passenger flights from Wednesday due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus.
Singapore said it will fully shut its borders from Tuesday after recording its first two deaths.
All short-term visitors will be barred from entering or transiting through the city-state in order to reduce the the risk of imported cases, while citizens or residents will face a 14-day quarantine.
The Chinese city of Wuhan – where the global pandemic was first detected and the first city to be locked down – went a fourth consecutive day on Sunday without reporting any new or suspected cases.
Wuhan must go 14 straight days without a new case in order for draconian travel restrictions to be lifted, but a special train brought in more than 1,000 car factory employees for the first time since the outbreak.
Parks and other public gathering places were reopening in China as people return to work and businesses resumed.
However, the country has placed increasing restrictions on those coming from overseas.
All arrivals to Beijing from abroad must be quarantine themselves for two weeks in a hotel at their own expense. And beginning Monday, flights into the capital will be diverted to airports in other cities, where passengers will have to pass a health inspection.
China’s first recent case of community infection was reported Sunday in the southern province of Guangzhou, reportedly caught from a Turkish arrival.
Last updated Sun 22 Mar 2020