Spain became the latest country to impose stringent measures to combat the coronavirus. A draft of an official decree seen by Reuters said the government will put the country under lockdown from Monday as part of state of emergency measures.
* Some 145,594 people have been infected by the coronavirus across the world and 5,419 have died, according to a Reuters tally.
* The number of new coronavirus cases imported into mainland China from overseas surpassed the number of locally transmitted new infections for the first time on Friday, according to data released by the National Health Commission.
* The Spanish government draft measures say that from Monday all citizens must stay home except to buy food, go to the pharmacy, to the hospital, or to work or for other emergencies.
* Spain is the second-hardest hit country in Europe after Italy, with 5,753 cases recorded on Saturday, up by a third from Friday even as health authorities in Madrid, which has the highest number of cases, stopped testing people with only mild symptoms.
* Italy agreed a series of measures to improve health controls in factories, offices and other workplaces that have been allowed to stay open during the country’s lockdown.
* The British government will ban mass gatherings from next week, an escalation of its crisis plan that critics had said was too relaxed.
* Germany urged people returning from Italy, Switzerland and Austria to self-isolate for up to two weeks. As of Friday, there were 3,062 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Germany, with five deaths.
* Several hundred anti-government “Yellow Vest” protesters demonstrated in Paris on Saturday, defying a ban on mass gatherings that aims to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
* The U.S. House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a coronavirus aid package early on Saturday that would provide free testing and paid sick leave, in a bid to limit the economic damage from a pandemic that has shuttered schools, sports arenas and offices.
* The United States suspended travel from certain European countries for 30 days beginning at midnight on Friday.
* Japan will aim to spearhead cooperation among major nations around the world to support a weakening global economy, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, warning that policy coordination was critical to fight “disruptions” in world financial markets.
* Abe said Japan is still preparing to host the Olympics, despite rising global concern about the viability of the summer Games.
* Indonesia’s capital city will close all schools and order remote teaching for at least two weeks, Jakarta’s governor said on Saturday, as the first cases were also reported in other parts of the archipelago.
* Mainland China had 11 new confirmed cases on Friday, up from eight cases a day earlier, but only four of those – all in the virus epicentre of Hubei province – were locally transmitted, according to data released on Saturday.
MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA
* The death toll from infections in Iran rose on Saturday to 611, state TV said, citing a health ministry official who put the total number of those diagnosed with the disease at 12,729.
* The United Arab Emirates said it was shutting major tourism and cultural venues, including the Louvre Abu Dhabi museum and the Ferrari World theme park, from March 15-31, as Gulf states stepped up measures.
* Rwanda has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, an Indian citizen who arrived in the East African nation from Mumbai on March 8, the Health Ministry said.
* Other African nations to have reported cases of the virus include Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, South Africa, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Gabon, Ghana, Guinea, Sudan, Kenya and Ethiopia.
* Austria is making 4 billion euros ($4.4 billion) immediately available to deal with the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the conservative-led government said as it ditched a central pledge to balance its budget.
* Switzerland will make 10 billion Swiss francs ($10.52 billion) available in immediate aid to mitigate the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
* The Indonesian government has prepared a 120-trillion-rupiah ($8.1 billion) stimulus package to support its economy.
* Japan’s government is expected to cut its assessment of the economy in a monthly report due later this month.
* Norway’s central bank said on Friday it had offered the first in a series of extraordinary loans to the banking industry, along with a surprise half-point cut in its key policy interest rate.
* France will help all companies in which the French state has a stake to weather the coronavirus crisis, its finance minister said on Friday, putting the growing cost of measures to soften the economic fallout at “dozens of billions”.
* Germany’s KfW state development bank has roughly half a trillion euros in support available to help support Europe’s largest economy, which risks being stricken by the coronavirus epidemic, the Economy Minister said on Friday.
* China’s central bank cut the cash that banks must hold as reserves on Friday for the second time this year, releasing 550 billion yuan ($79 billion) to help its coronavirus-hit economy.
* A gauge of stocks across the globe bounced back on Friday led by a late rally on Wall Street, after U.S. President Donald Trump freed up $50 billion to tackle the pandemic.
EVENTS CANCELLED, POSTPONED, PARED BACK
* Walt Disney Co will close its theme parks in California and Florida and its resort in Paris from this weekend through the end of the month, the company said on Thursday.
* The impact of the coronavirus on sport swept into the southern hemisphere, with the cancellation of the Australian Formula One Grand Prix adding to an unprecedented shutdown of elite events and competitions around the globe.
* India suspended domestic soccer until the end of this month while domestic cricket was put on hold indefinitely.
* The World Trade Organization’s major biennial meeting, due to be held in Kazakhstan in June, was cancelled, setting back its efforts to update the global rules of commerce.
* All elite soccer matches in England, including the Premier League, were suspended until April 4 on Friday, English soccer’s governing bodies said in a joint statement.