Coronavirus: Here's what's happening around the world Monday

Italy's prime minister says, effective Tuesday, restrictions on movement will apply across the country, not just in the hard-hit north.

People across Italy told to stay home, Israel will quarantine people arriving from overseas

A waiter stands by empty tables outside a restaurant in Venice after the Italian government imposed a lockdown in the country's north to try to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The lockdown is expanding to the rest of the country on Tuesday. (Manuel Silvestri/Reuters)

The latest:

  • Italy announces lockdown of entire country.
  • Canada confirms 1st COVID-19 death.
  • Grand Princess cruise ship, carrying more than 230 Canadians, docks in Oakland, Calif.
  • Israel says it will quarantine anyone arriving from overseas for 14 days.
  • More than 100 countries have reported lab-confirmed cases of COVID-19 
  • Canada's chief public health officer recommends Canadians avoid cruise travel.
  • Read more about how Canada will cope with community transmission of the coronavirus.

The battle to halt the coronavirus brought sweeping new restrictions Monday, with Italy expanding a travel ban to the entire country and Israel ordering all visitors quarantined just weeks before Passover and Easter.

As new infections in China — where the epidemic began — continued to subside, Italians struggled to navigate the rapidly changing parameters of the nation's self-imposed lockdown.

"There won't be just a red zone," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said, in announcing that a lockdown covering about 16 million people in the north would be expanded to the entire country starting Tuesday.

Conte told reporters that measures introduced just two days ago in much of the north of Italy were no longer sufficient after a jump in deaths tied to the highly infectious disease, and said the entire nation had to make sacrifices to stop its spread.

"Our future and the future of Italy is in our hands. These hands have to be more responsible today than ever before," Conte said as he spoke about his "stay at home" decree.

Italy's 60 million people will only be able to travel for work, medical reasons or emergencies until April 3. All schools and universities, which were closed nationwide last week until March 15, will now not reopen before next month. All public gatherings will be banned.

Across Italy, museums and archeological sites were closed, weddings were cancelled and restaurants were told to keep patrons a metre apart.

Italian doctors celebrated one small victory after the first patient diagnosed with the illness in the country, a 38-year-old Unilever worker, was moved out of intensive care and began breathing on his own. But the virus' rapid spread was forcing them to operate like war-time medics, triaging patients to decide who get access to scarce ICU beds.

"Unfortunately we're only at the beginning," said Dr. Massimo Galli, head of infectious disease at Milan's Sacco hospital.

Travellers at Milan's main train station had to sign police forms self-certifying that they are travelling for "proven work needs," situations of necessity, health reasons or to return home. They also needed to provide identity documents, contact numbers and an exact reason for travel from the financial hub.

A police officer talks to people at Milan's main train station, following a government decree that has shut down large areas in the north of the country, on Monday. (Daniele Mascolo/Reuters)

Italy reported a big jump in the number of people who have tested positive for the virus, bringing the total to 9,172 cases and 463 deaths, more than any country except China.

Inmates at more than two dozen Italian prisons rioted against restrictions on family visits and other containment measures, and six died after they broke into the infirmary and overdosed on methadone.

On Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his government has decided to quarantine anyone arriving from overseas for 14 days. The decision comes barely a month before Easter and Passover, typically a busy travel period.

"Now that the virus has a foothold in so many countries, the threat of a pandemic has become very real," said World Health Organization chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus at a briefing on Monday.

"But it would be the first pandemic that could be controlled. The bottom line is we are not at the mercy of the virus."

Tedros said all countries should have a comprehensive strategy to deal with the virus, which he described as an "uneven epidemic" around the world.

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"The great advantage we have is the decisions we all make as governments, businesses, communities, families and individuals can influence the trajectory of this epidemic," he said. 

More than 113,000 people have tested positive for the disease and over 3,900 people with the virus have died, most of them in China.

Many of them have already recovered, according to The Associated Press. But Italy's intensifying struggle to halt the virus' spread emerged as a cautionary tale.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

The vast majority of people recover. According to the WHO, people with mild illness get better in about two weeks, while those with more severe illness may take three to six weeks to recover.

In mainland China, where the virus first exploded, at least 80,754 people have been diagnosed and at least 59,897 patients have so far recovered. 

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More than 100 countries

Worldwide, the number of cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the coronavirus — is more than 100,000, with cases identified in more than 100 countries around the world. 

The vast majority of cases have been clustered in China, but numbers have been rising in other countries, most notably Italy, Iran and South Korea. 

Financial markets have been hard hit by coronavirus fears.

The TSX had its worst day in decades on Monday as plunging oil prices caused investors already spooked by coronavirus to sell off just about everything. The benchmark index closed down more than 1,660 points, or more than 10 per cent, to 14,514.

That's the worst day for the TSX since Black Monday in 1987 — worse than any single day during the financial crisis of 2009.

Trading in Wall Street futures was halted for the first time since the 2016 U.S. presidential election after they fell more than the daily limit of five per cent. Bond yields hit new lows as investors bought them up as safe havens.

Here's a look at what's happening in Canada, the U.S. and hard-hit regions around the world.

Here's what's happening in Canada

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Canada announced its first COVID-19 death — in British Columbia — on Monday. Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said a man living in a North Vancouver care home that had been identified as a COVID-19 hotspot had died. 

"This is obviously a very sad day for all of us, but especially for the family and loved ones of the man who passed away at the Lynn Valley Care Home," said B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix. 

Henry also announced that five more cases had been confirmed in B.C., bringing the province's total to 32, raising Canada's total number of cases to 77.  

Ontario's health ministry has reported 35 cases, the most in any Canadian province. 

Quebec has reported four confirmed and presumptive cases. The most recent patient — reported in the Montérégie region, southeast of Montreal — had recently returned from a cruise, officials said. 

Alberta on Monday reported seven cases, while B.C. has reported 32 cases.

The Public Health Agency of Canada, which assesses the risk around COVID-19, says the risk in Canada is low.

 Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada's chief public health officer, said there are now more than 110,000 confirmed cases worldwide.

Speaking alongside the health and foreign affairs ministers on Monday, Tam recommended that Canadians avoid travelling on cruise ships.

Here's what's happening in the U.S.

More than 230 Canadians on board the Grand Princess cruise ship, which docked in Oakland, Calif., on Monday will be flown to the military base in Trenton, Ont., for 14 days of quarantine. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

In the United States, where more than 600 infections and more than 20 deaths have been reported, President Donald Trump said Monday he will be taking "major" steps to gird the economy against the impact of a spreading coronavirus outbreak and will discuss a payroll tax cut with congressional Republicans on Tuesday.

"We'll be discussing a possible payroll tax cut or relief, substantial relief, very substantial relief, that's a big number," Trump told reporters.

He did not provide details but added that a news conference will be held on Tuesday.

Vice-President Mike Pence said the administration was consulting Congress on providing paid sick leave to workers, an idea that Democrats already have been trying to advance.

Two cruise ships kept at bay at opposite ends of the country over fear of the virus garnered much attention on Monday. 

The Grand Princess cruise ship, which has at least 21 confirmed virus cases, arrived in the port of Oakland, Calif., on Monday afternoon, amid elaborate anti-coronavirus protective procedures. Fleets of buses and planes were ready to whisk the more than 2,000 passengers to military bases or their home countries for a 14-day quarantine.

The Grand Princess cruise ship, pictured at the port in Oakland, Calif., on Monday. A handful of people were tested for coronavirus on board and 21 (mostly crew members) tested positive. (Kate Munsch/Reuters)

More than 230 Canadians on the Grand Princess will be repatriated to the air force base in Trenton, Ont., where they will undergo a 14-day quarantine.

In Florida, passengers were disembarking from the Regal Princess after it received clearance to dock. Two crew members eyed as possible carriers had negative tests for the virus.

Here's what's happening in Iran and the Middle East

State television in Iran said the virus had killed another 43 people, pushing the official toll up to 237 with 7,161 confirmed cases. But many fear the scope of illness is far wider there.

Iran has released approximately 70,000 prisoners because of the coronavirus outbreak in the country, Iranian judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi said on Monday, according to Mizan, the news site of the judiciary.

A worker in a protective suit sprays a disinfectant inside the gate of Shalamcha Border Crossing, after Iraq shut a border crossing with Iran. (Essam al-Sudani/Reuters)

After earlier closing its land borders, Saudi Arabia cut off air and sea travel to and from Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Italy, Kuwait, Lebanon, South Korea, Syria and the United Arab Emirates. All Saudi schools and universities closed beginning Monday.

Qatar cut off travel to 15 countries and said it would shut down schools and universities beginning Tuesday.

Here's what's happening in Europe and the U.K. 

European Union leaders will hold emergency talks soon to discuss a joint response to the coronavirus, officials said on Monday, as the bloc's executive considers relaxing state subsidy rules to allow extra public spending. The announcement of the teleconference, likely to take place on Tuesday, came after Italy and France called for Europe-wide stimulus to counter the economic impact of the epidemic.

France has reported 1,191 cases with 21 deaths.The number of people infected in the Netherlands increased to 321 on Monday, up from 264 a day earlier, Dutch health authorities said.

In Ireland, officials cancelled all St. Patrick's Day parades in a bid to slow the virus' spread, including the one on March 17 in Dublin that typically draws half a million people to its streets.

Spain's health minister on Monday announced that all schools in and around Madrid, including kindergartens and universities, will close for two weeks after a sharp spike in new virus diagnoses. The new cases "imply a change for the worse," the minister, Salvador Illa, said.

Organizers of the annual Holocaust remembrance march in southern Poland postponed it this year due to coronavirus fears, and soccer authorities said at least four major matches — in France, Germany and Spain — would take place with no fans.

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Germany on Monday reported 210 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus, the Robert Koch Institute said.The number of cases in Germany rose to 1,112, up from 902 reported on Sunday.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has warned against thinking that measures to slow the spread of the new coronavirus are in vain, insisting that they are buying "valuable time."

In the U.K., the number of confirmed cases stood at 319 on Monday.

Here's what's happening in Japan and South Korea

In South Korea, officials reported 35 new coronavirus cases Tuesday — down from 165 new cases the day before, bringing the national tally to 7,513. The numbers showed the rate of increase in new infections fell to its lowest level in 12 days in one of the most severely affected countries outside mainland China.

South Korean soldiers prepare to do work at an apartment complex that is under isolation amid mass infection of the coronavirus reported in Daegu, South Korea. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters)

A Japan Airlines Co Ltd. cabin attendant has tested positive for coronavirus, the airline said on Monday, the latest case in what has become a widening outbreak for Japan.

The infection comes after local media reported that one person in Kanagawa prefecture had died from the virus, bringing the country's death toll so far to 15, including seven from the quarantined cruise ship near Tokyo.

Here's what's happening in China

Mainland China, outside Hubei province, reported no new locally transmitted cases for the third straight day, as a senior Communist Party official warned against reducing vigilance against the disease and of the risk to social stability.

"We must stay cautious, not be blindly optimistic and must not have war-weariness...," said Chen Yixin, secretary general of the Communist Party's Politics and Law Commission.

"We should not reduce the vigilance against the epidemic and the requirements of prevention and control."

China had 19 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Monday, the National Health Commission said on Monday, down from 40 cases a day earlier, and the lowest number since the health authority started publishing nationwide data on Jan. 20.

Of the new cases on Monday, 17 were new infections in Wuhan, the provincial capital of Hubei, while the remaining four in Gansu province were imported from Iran.

The total number of imported cases hit 67, including the four Gansu cases. 

That brings the total number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 80,754.

Here's a look at some other areas of concern around the world

A government worker disinfects a high school in Manila on Monday amid concerns about the spread of COVID-19. (Maria Tan/AFP/Getty Images)
  • The Philippine president has declared a state of public health emergency throughout the country after health officials confirmed over the weekend the first local transmission of the novel coronavirus.
  • Nigeria has a second confirmed coronavirus case, the country's health minister said on Twitter on Monday. The first case was an Italian man who travelled to the southwestern state of Ogun.
  • Singapore will allow the Costa Fortuna cruise ship to dock on Tuesday, after it was rejected by Thailand and Malaysia.
  • Indonesia says the number of confirmed cases of people infected with the coronavirus had risen by 13, including 11 Indonesians and two foreigners, taking the total number of cases to 19 in the Southeast Asian country.

With files from CBC News, Reuters and The Canadian Press