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What you need to know about coronavirus right now

Officials say China could start clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine in late April.
Officials say China could start clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine in late April.
Image: STR/AFP

Here's what you need to know about the coronavirus:

The spread

There are now more than 106,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,600 deaths across the world, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements.

Italy ordered a virtual lockdown across a swathe of its wealthy north on Sunday, including the financial capital Milan, in a drastic attempt to try to contain the outbreak there.

The government enacted its draft order just hours after officials announced that the number of coronavirus cases had leapt by more than 1,200 in a 24-hour period — the biggest daily rise since the epidemic began in the country two weeks ago.

Iran, one of the other worst hit countries outside China, said 194 people had died from coronavirus and 6,566 were now infected.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Daegu, the city hardest hit by South Korea's outbreak expressed cautious hope on Sunday that the numbers of new cases may be dropping, after the rate of increase slowed to its lowest in 10 days.

Argentina recorded Latin America's first death from the coronavirus. Bangladesh, Maldives, Bulgaria and Moldova reported their first cases.

Another sign of economic damage

The economic bad news continues: a trade report showed China's exports contracted sharply in the first two months of the year, and imports slowed, as the health crisis caused massive disruptions to business operations, global supply chains and economic activity.

Keep calm and work from home

The European Central Bank has told most of its over 3,500 staff to work from home on Monday to test how it could cope with a shutdown — one of a slew of institutions and companies urging staff to avoid the office and curb travel plans.

Cruise control

After being held at sea and barred from returning to San Francisco last week due to a coronavirus outbreak aboard, the cruise ship Grand Princess has been directed to the nearby port of Oakland, the cruise line said on Saturday. Passengers needing treatment will be transported to facilities in California. The crew will be quarantined and treated on board.

Sports without fans

The Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix will go ahead on March 22 but without fans cheering on the drivers, in a first for the sport. The Chinese Grand Prix in Shanghai scheduled for April 19 has already been postponed.

Britain has called a meeting with its sports authorities and broadcasters on Monday to discuss how other events could be staged without fans present if the outbreak escalates.

What about walking the dog?

Moscow's health care department said it was OK for residents in self-isolation to walk their dog, but only while wearing a face mask and at time when there are the fewest people in the streets. The advice was handed out after authorities threatened prison terms of up to five years for people failing to self-isolate for two weeks after visiting countries hit hard by the coronavirus outbreak.


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