Kazakhstan declares emergency over coronavirus: Live updates | Coronavirus pandemic News

Spain and France have announced sweeping new restrictions on daily life in a bid to contain the coronavirus outbreaks in their countries, as the Philippines seals off Manila in the most aggressive response to the pandemic yet seen in Southeast Asia, and Australia orders all arrivals from overseas to go into quarantine for 14 days.

In other developments, US President Donald Trump was tested for the virus, with the result coming back negative. Meanwhile, Begona Gomez – the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez – has been diagnosed with the virus.

More:

The worldwide death toll from COVID-19 now exceeds 5,300 people.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has described Europe as the new “epicentre” of the outbreak, which began late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

The US has announced that it is extending the travel restrictions imposed on most European nations to the United Kingdom and Ireland with effect from Monday.

Here are the latest updates:

Sunday, March 15

09:35 GMT – Kazakhstan declares state of emergency

Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev declared a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak which has reached the Central Asian nation that has eight confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The decree published by the president’s office restricts entry to and departure from Kazakhstan for everyone except diplomats and those invited by the government. It also introduced a nationwide quarantine.

09:33 GMT – Austria imposes major restrictions on movement

Austria introduced major restrictions on movement in public places, urging Austrians to self-isolate, banning gatherings of more than five persons and further reducing entries from other countries.

It was not clear whether the restrictions were meant to come into force immediately, although restaurants were ordered closed from Tuesday.

“Austrians are being summoned to isolate themselves,” Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s office said in a statement. “That means only making social contact with the people with whom they live.”

Visitors from Great Britain, the Netherlands, Russia and Ukraine would not be allowed into the country, the chancellor’s office said in a statement, unless they undertook two weeks of home quarantine or had a current health certificate.






Spain imposes Italy-style lockdown in bid to contain coronavirus (03:07)

09:30 GMT – Philippines reports 3 more coronavirus deaths, 29 new cases

The Philippines recorded three additional coronavirus deaths and 29 new cases, bringing the domestic tally of infections to 140 and death toll to 11, as authorities placed the entire capital Manila under “community quarantine” for about a month beginning on Sunday.

The latest deaths include an 83-year-old American male with travel history from the United States and South Korea, the Department of Health said in an advisory. The other two are Filipinos.

09:25 GMT – Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque shut: Islamic Waqf

Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa mosque and Dome of the Rock will shut their doors as a precaution against coronavirus, Islamic religious authorities said, while outdoor prayers will still be allowed at the complex that houses Islam’s third holiest site.

“The Islamic Waqf department decided to shut down the enclosed prayer places inside the blessed Aqsa mosque until further notice as a protective measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All prayers will be held in the open areas of the Aqsa mosque,” Omar Kiswani, the director of Al-Aqsa mosque, told Reuters news agency.

09:13 GMT – Malaysia reports 190 new coronavirus cases

Malaysia reported 190 new cases of coronavirus, most linked to a religious event at a mosque that was attended by more than 10,000 people from several countries.

The new cases bring the total number of infections in the country to 428, the health ministry said in a statement.

09:08 GMT – Kuwait confirms eight new cases

The Kuwaiti Health Ministry announced it registered eight new confirmed cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to 112 cases.

Health Ministry spokesman Abdullah Al-Sanad said six of the latest cases were of Kuwaiti citizens returning from the United Kingdom and those who came in contacts with those infected, according to the Kuwaiti news agency (KUNA).

One case was of a Kuwaiti recently returning from France via the United Arab Emirates and the other was of a fellow citizen returning from Iran, Al-Sanad said.

A photo provided by the Kuwaiti news agency KUNA on March 13, 2020 shows Kuwait's Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah (2nd-R), Health Minister Sheikh Basel al-Sabah (2nd-L), and Interior Mi

Kuwait’s Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Sabah (2nd-R), Health Minister Sheikh Basel al-Sabah (2nd-L), and Interior Minister Anas al-Saleh (R) [KUNA/AFP]

09:00 GMT – Congo Republic reports first coronavirus case

Congo Republic has reported its first case of coronavirus, a 50-year-old French-Congolese man who arrived on an Ethiopian Airlines flight from Paris on March 1, the government said in a statement.

08:45 GMT – Jordan announces six new cases of coronavirus, total 7

Jordan confirmed six new cases of coronavirus, including one from an American tourist coming from Egypt, the minister of health said.

The kingdom had previously reported only one case of the virus. It took measures to fight the outbreak on Saturday, including a tighter lockdown that closes all borders and bans all incoming and outgoing flights as of Tuesday.

08:40 GMT – India’s coronavirus cases at 107 as Modi plans regional response

India reported that the number of coronavirus infections had risen to 107, an increase of 23 from the day before, with a western state home to the country’s financial capital the worst hit.

Data from India’s federal health ministry showed that there were now 31 confirmed coronavirus cases in Maharashtra state, where local authorities have closed down schools, colleges and malls in most cities, including in the financial hub of Mumbai.

“The number could go up as we are waiting for test reports of people who were in close contact with patients who have tested positive,” a state health official said, declining to be named since he isn’t authorities to speak to media.

A photo taken and handout by the Vatican Media on March 12, 2020 shows a deserted St. Peter's Square two days after it was closed to tourists as part of a broader clampdown aimed at curbing the corona

A deserted St Peter’s Square two days after it was closed to tourists [Vatican Media/AFP]

07:50 GMT – Vatican to hold Easter celebrations without congregation

The Vatican said its traditional Easter week celebrations would be held this year without worshippers.

“Because of the current global public health emergency, all the liturgical celebrations of Holy Week will take place without the physical presence of the faithful,” the Prefecture of the Pontifical Household said in a statement.

The Vatican also said: “Until April 12, the general audiences and the Angelus presided over by the Holy Father will be available only in live streaming on the official Vatican News website.”

07:02 GMT – Coronavirus crisis delays opening of Netanyahu trial

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial has been delayed for two months, until May, due to the coronavirus crisis.

Israel’s Justice Ministry said the trial, due to have opened on March 17 with the reading of an indictment against Israel’s longest-serving leader in three graft cases, would begin on May 24 “due to developments related to the spread of the coronavirus”.

Netanyahu has denied any wrongdoing in the investigations.

An employee in protective gears sprays disinfectant in the wake of coronavirus outbreak inside a train at the Senen train station in Jakarta Indonesia, Sunday, March 15, 2020. Indonesia's capital city

An employee sprays disinfectant inside a train at the Senen train station in Jakarta, Indonesia [Tatan Syuflana/AP]

07:00 GMT – Indonesia reports 21 new coronavirus cases

Indonesia reported 21 new coronavirus infections, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 117, CNN Indonesia reported, citing health ministry official Achmad Yurianto.

Of the new cases, 19 were detected in Jakarta and two in the Central Java province, Yurianto reportedly said.

06:55 GMT – Taiwan reports six new coronavirus cases

Taiwan reported six new cases of the coronavirus, all imported and marking the biggest daily rise in infections, in people who had returned to the island from countries including Spain and Japan, bringing its total tally to 59.

The other countries those infected had travelled to were Greece, Turkey, Egypt and Thailand, while two of the patients had transited in Dubai, the government added.

Taiwan has only reported one death from the virus, while 20 have recovered and have been released from hospital. The other cases are all in stable condition.

06:50 GMT – Thailand reports 32 new cases, brings total to 114

Thailand reported 32 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total infections in the Southeast Asian country to 114, health officials said.

It was the biggest daily jump in cases in Thailand, which was one of the first countries outside China to report coronavirus infections that have since swept much of the world.

06:00 GMT

Tamila Varshalomidze, my colleague in Doha, will be taking over the blog shortly.

Here’s a summary of what has happened over the past few hours:

Australia has said it will require everyone arriving from overseas to go into quarantine for 14 days.

The Philippines is sealing off Manila, its capital, from the rest of the country and roadblocks have been set up around the city. We will be bringing you more on the situation there later.

The US president, Donald Trump, has tested negative for coronavirus.

Begona Gomez – the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez – was diagnosed with coronavirus shortly after her husband announced sweeping new restrictions to daily life in Spain.

Passengers are transferred to a hospital from a state shelter where passengers suspected of been infected with Coronavirus are quarantined as a preventive measure in the face of the global COVID-19 co

People are transferred to a hospital in Jiquilisco, El Salvador [Marvin Recinos/AFP]

05:50 GMT – El Salvador declares state of emergency over coronavirus

El Salvador has not reported a single confirmed case of coronavirus, but congress there has declared a state of emergency and approved a partial suspension of the country’s constitution to tackle any outbreak.

The measures include a restriction on free movement and assembly for a period of 30 days, allowing health officials to ban public gatherings.

“We have given the government legal mechanisms to deal with this serious health situation,” congressional President Mario Ponce said after Saturday’s vote.

05:45 GMT – Uzbekistan confirms first case of coronavirus

An Uzbek citizen has tested positive for coronavirus after returning from France, Uzbekistan’s health ministry said on Sunday, marking the first case of the virus in the Central Asian country of 34 million.

05:30 GMT – Passengers held on cruise ship in New Zealand

Passengers on the Golden Princess cruise liner were barred from disembarking at a New Zealand port on Sunday because of a suspected coronavirus case on board, health officials said.

There were 2,600 passengers and 1,100 crew members on the boat docked at Akaroa near the South Island city of Christchurch, according to the port’s cruise ship schedule.

New Zealand’s director-general of health, Ashley Bloomfield, said the ship’s doctor had quarantined three passengers. One of them has developed COVID-19 symptoms and is being treated as a suspected case.

“All on board are not being allowed off the ship until results are known,” Bloomfield said.

Golden Princess

The Golden Princess, lying off Akaroa on New Zealand’s South Island, is the latest cruise ship to face concerns about the spread of coronavirus on board [Mark Baker/AP Photo]

Princess Cruises, which operates the vessel, announced three days ago it was suspending voyages worldwide for two months in response to the coronavirus pandemic

05:15 GMT – Tycoon who criticised Xi over coronavirus goes missing – Reuters

An influential former Chinese property executive who called President Xi Jinping a “clown” over a speech he made last month about the government’s efforts to battle the coronavirus has gone missing, three of his friends told Reuters.

They said they had not been able to contact Ren Zhiqiang, a member of China’s ruling Communist Party and a former top executive of state-controlled property developer Huayuan International real estate group, since March 12.

“Many of our friends are looking for him,” his close friend Wang Ying said in a statement to Reuters, describing them as being “extremely anxious”.

“Ren Zhiqiang is a public figure, and his disappearance is widely known. The institutions responsible for this need to give a reasonable and legal explanation for this as soon as possible,” she said.

Calls made by Reuters to Ren’s mobile phone went unanswered.

Beijing police did not immediately respond to requests by phone and fax for comment on Sunday. China’s State Council Information Office did not immediately respond to a faxed request for comment.

Al Jazeera’s Mia Swart took a closer look at human rights in China in the context of the coronavirus outbreak in a story we published last week. 

04:30 GMT – Philippines sealing off Manila to all domestic travellers

In the Philippines, thousands of police, with the help of the army and coast guard, are sealing off Manila in one of the most aggressive moves against the virus anywhere in Southeast Asia.

Roadblocks have been set up at major entry and exit points to the sprawling Metropolitan Manila, or Metro Manila area, home to 12 million people. 

Richard Heydarian, a professor at De La Salle University, told Al Jazeera Manila felt “surreal” at the moment and he expected the so-called “community quarantine” could be in force beyond one month, as currently planned.

“A lot of us have had to cancel flights, our classes are suspended for the next month, thousands of police have been deployed across the city,” Heydarian said. “This is progressively going to look like a lockdown (and) this could actually be extended beyond one month if the situation on the ground doesn’t improve.” 

Philippines

A checkpoint is set up in Quezon City, part of Metro Manila, Philippines early in March as police, backed by the army and coast guard, started sealing off the densely-populated capital from the rest of the country [Aaron Favila/AP Photo]

Residents have been told to stay home except for work and urgent errands. All domestic travel – by land, air and sea – to and from the capital has been suspended and large gatherings prohibited. A night curfew is also expected.

03:40 GMT – Australia to require self-isolation of all international arrivals

Australia’s prime minister Scott Morrison says the country will require everyone arriving from overseas – Australians or nationals of other countries – to go through 14 days of self-isolation.

“We are going to have to get used to some changes in the way we live our lives,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison told a press conference. The measure is due to come into effect from midnight on Sunday (13:00 GMT).

Morrison also said all cruise ships would be banned entirely and that he expects “visitor traffic will dry up very very, very quickly”.

“If your mate has been to Bali and they come back and they turn up at work and they are sitting next to you, well, they will be committing an offence,” Morrison said.

03:35 GMT – Japan cases rise to 780

Japan’s Health Ministry has announced 64 new cases of the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of cases to 780. The country also has 697 other cases from a cruise ship that was stranded in the country.

The ministry said the death toll has risen to 29, including seven former cruise ship passengers.

The new cases come from 13 prefectures, including Hokkaido, Tokyo and Osaka.

03:30 GMT – South Korea to declare ‘special disaster’ zones over virus

South Korea is expected to declare Daegu and the nearby province of North Gyeongsang “special disaster zones” on Sunday, to enable authorities to channel more support to them.

Some 90 percent of cases in the country have been in those two areas.

South Korea is also stepping up travel restrictions on arrivals from France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom, which will require them to be tested for fever and share their health data via a specially created app.

02:50 GMT – Lebanon to announce a ‘state of medical emergency’ over virus

Lebanon is expected to announce a “state of medical emergency” on Sunday, shutting down all public and private institutions except hospitals, pharmacies and bakeries, a presidential palace source told Al Jazeera’s Timour Azhari, who is in Beirut.

Supermarkets “will open within specific times, not all the time” while banks will be ordered closed.

You can read more about what’s expected to happen here.

02:25 GMT – Face mask shortages lead to resale bans and crackdowns

A law banning the resale of face masks has gone into effect in Japan as the government tries to address severe shortages as a result of the outbreak.

Those who violate the law that came into effect on Sunday risk a prison term of up to one year or a fine of up to one million yen ($9,260).

In Hong Kong, meanwhile, authorities are telling retailers to stop selling four types of surgical masks because their bacterial counts exceeded maximum legal limits.

The masks are sold in boxes of 50 pieces each and two of the samples listed Nepal and Turkey as the countries of manufacture, Hong Kong customs said in a statement. The others were unlabelled, but are thought to have come from Southeast Asia.

02:20 GMT – Mexico brings forward Easter holidays in coronavirus fight

Mexico’s Education Minister Esteban Moctezuma says schools and universities will start their Easter holidays early as the government steps up its efforts to tackle the coronavirus.

The Easter break will start on Friday, March 20, and last for 30 days instead of 15, Moctezuma said.

Mexico

People in Mexico have been stocking up on basic supplies since more cases were announced. [Henry Romero/Reuters]

Other measures include additional education on hygiene and sanitation.

“We don’t want that students leave for vacation and all stick together,” Moctezuma said during a news conference, adding that students should avoid close contacts with others. “We want this to be preventative isolation.”

On Saturday, Mexico had 41 confirmed coronavirus cases, from 26 on Friday and 15 the day before that.

02:10 GMT – Wife of Spain’s prime minister confirmed to have coronavirus

Begona Gomez – the wife of Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez – was diagnosed with coronavirus shortly after her husband announced sweeping new measures designed to keep people off the streets and contain the spread of the virus.

As Al Jazeera’s Graham Keeley writes from Barcelona, the restrictions are something of a shock in a country where life is lived outside in bars, restaurants or on the beaches.

01:30 GMT – Korea cases continue to slow

South Korea reported 76 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in its morning update on the country’s coronavirus outbreak, down from 107 on Saturday.

The country now has 8,162 confirmed cases of the virus, with 75 deaths.

01:15 GMT – China imported cases exceed local infections for second time

China recorded more imported cases of coronavirus than locally originated ones for a second time on Saturday, according to data released by the National Health Commission (NHC) on Sunday.

Mainland China had 20 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on March 14, up from 11 cases a day earlier. Of Saturday’s cases, 16 involved travellers entering China from overseas, it said.

The remaining four cases were recorded in the city of Wuhan. Saturday also marked the 10th consecutive day in which Hubei province recorded zero new infections outside Wuhan, its provincial capital.

China coronavirus

A man wearing a protective mask stands at a fence surrounding Beijing Capital International Airport. The country is now seeing more imported cases than ones that have originated locally [Thomas Peter/Reuters]

Of the 16 imported cases, five were found in the capital Beijing and three in Shanghai. The provinces of Zhejiang, Gansu and Guangdong respectively reported four, three and one cases.

00:30 GMT – Australia ‘national’ cabinet to meet on Sunday on coronavirus

Australia’s new national cabinet is set to meet on Sunday, as the country’s cases of coronavirus topped 250, to discuss its response to the outbreak.

The national cabinet, which includes federal, state and territory leaders, will hold its first meeting via teleconference on Sunday.

The government has already advised against non-essential gatherings of more than 500 people from Monday.

The meeting is expected to discuss whether schools should be closed and border controls further tightened to contain COVID-19.

“We are, rightly, keeping all options on the table, whether it’s in relation to travel or whether it’s in relation to schools. The schools question will be very much guided by the medical advice,” Health Minister Greg Hunt told ABC television.

“One of the things that they have talked about is not moving too early on something like that.”

00:15 GMT – US president tests negative for coronavirus

US President Donald Trump was tested for the coronavirus and the result was negative.

Here’s the official letter, posted by Reuters’ Jeff Mason.

00:00 GMT – Iranians ignoring calls to stay home, Qom shrines ordered shut

Iran has ordered the closure of religious shrines in the holy city of Qom, where the country’s coronavirus outbreak is thought to have begun.

It is also urging people to limit their movements and stay off the streets and has announced all construction work in the capital, Tehran will stop.

Al Jazeera’s Zein Basravi, who is in Iran, says there is much scepticism about the government’s response.

“Certainly, [the closures] are better later than never,” he said. “But critics will say it’s too little, too late, the damage has already been done, the virus has already spread throughout the country from Qom.”

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

It is the morning of March 15.

A summary of the latest developments:

You can read all the latest updates from yesterday (March 14) here.

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