The number of novel coronavirus infections crossed 145,000 globally, prompting different countries to take unprecedented response.
Delhi declares coronavirus epidemic as first Indian dies in Karnataka
Officials in Karnataka confirmed India's first fatality due to the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Thursday, opening a worrying new chapter in the pandemic's spread in the country where 74 people have now been sickened and tens of thousands more put under surveillance for possible exposure to the infected.
The confirmation came on a day when 14 more people tested positive for the infection across the country, and authorities at various levels announced unprecedented new curbs.
Indian government notifies Covid-19 as 'disaster'; to pay Rs 4 lakh ex-gratia for deaths
The Centre said on Saturday it will treat Covid-19 as a notified disaster to provide assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and pay an ex-gratia for all coronavirus deaths.
"The Central Government keeping in view the spread of Covid-19 virus in India and the declaration of Covid-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO), by way of a special one-time dispensation, has decided to treat it as a notified disaster for the purpose of providing assistance under SDRF," the Union home ministry said in a letter to the chief secretaries of all states.
It also said announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs four lakh to families of those who die of coronavirus, including those involved in relief operations, reported the Hindustan Times.
World closes borders, restricts travel to contain coronavirus spread
Countries around the world on Saturday continued to close borders, impose strict entry and quarantine requirements and restrict large gatherings in efforts to contain the spread of the new coronavirus.
Apple Inc said it will close all its retail stores worldwide, outside Greater China, until March 27. Apple reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China on Friday as the spread of the virus on mainland China slowed dramatically.
Countries have shuttered museums, tourist attractions and sporting events to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission, with more than 138,000 people worldwide infected and more than 5,000 dead.
Japan PM says no need to declare emergency due to coronavirus
Japan's coronavirus outbreak is not at a stage that requires the government to declare an emergency, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Saturday.
Abe, who made the comment at a news conference in Tokyo, also said that experts have concluded that Japan has not seen an explosive rise in coronavirus cases.
Philippine capital plans curfew as coronavirus deaths, infection tally spike
Manila announced nighttime curfews on Saturday and urged shopping malls to close for one month, in a bid to contain the spread of coronavirus, as the Philippines reported its eighth death and the largest single-day increase in confirmed cases.
The Philippines' health department on Saturday confirmed three new fatalities, including a patient in the southern Philippines, bringing the total number of deaths to eight. It also reported 34 new confirmed cases, bringing the total to 98.
Indian man becomes Rwanda's first coronavirus case
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 on Saturday.
He had no symptoms on arrival but presented himself to a health facility on March 13, the ministry said. Rwanda is the 19th African nation to report the presence of coronavirus.
Namibia reports first two cases of coronavirus
Namibia reported its first two cases of coronavirus on Saturday, with a Spanish couple who arrived in the Southern African country on Wednesday both testing positive and quarantined, Health Minister Kalumbi Shangula said.
The government would continue with plans to celebrate Namibia's Independence Day on March 21, Shangula told a press conference.
West Bengal shuts down all schools, colleges over coronavirus
West Bengal government on Saturday shut down all schools, colleges, and several other private educational institutes amid growing coronavirus cases in India.
A Hindu group offers cow urine in a bid to ward off coronavirus
A Hindu group hosted a cow urine drinking party on Saturday as they believe it wards off the coronavirus, as many Hindus consider the cow sacred and some drink cow urine believing it has medicinal properties.
Experts have repeatedly asserted that cow urine does not cure illnesses like cancer and there is no evidence that it can prevent coronavirus.
The "party," hosted by a group called the Akhil Bharat Hindu Mahasabha (All India Hindu Union) at its headquarters in the country's capital, was attended by 200 people, and the organisers hoped to host similar events elsewhere in India.
India fights back, 7 more patients cured
Even as India reported one more case of coronavirus disease (Covid-19) on Saturday morning, taking the total number of people infected with the viral disease to 83, seven more people have been cured of the disease and discharged from various hospitals across India.
The total number of patients who have been cured in India is now 10.
Apple closing every store outside greater China until March 27
Apple Inc said it will close all its retail stores, except those in Greater China, for the next two weeks to minimize the risk of coronavirus transmission.
"We will be closing all of our retail stores outside of Greater China until March 27," Apple CEO Tim Cook wrote in a letter posted on the company's website.
"In all of our offices, we are moving to flexible work arrangements worldwide outside of Greater China," he added. "That means team members should work remotely if their job allows."
Apple reopened all 42 of its branded stores in China on March 13.
The company's donations to the global coronavirus response, to help treat those who are sick and to help lessen the economic and community impacts, reached $15 million on Friday, Cook wrote in the letter.
Czechs close shops, pubs to stem virus spread
The Czech government closed most shops, restaurants and pubs today in a bid to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The measure, which will be in effect until March 24, does not concern shops selling food and electronics, pharmacies or petrol stations.
UN chief urges declaring war on COVID-19
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on March 13 asked the world to declare war on COVID-19, two days after the World Health Organization (WHO) characterized the situation as a pandemic.
"We must declare war on this virus," said Guterres in a video message.
"That means countries have a responsibility to gear up, step up and scale up -- by implementing effective containment strategies, by activating and enhancing emergency response systems, by dramatically increasing testing capacity and care for patients, by readying hospitals ... and by developing life-saving medical interventions," he said.
In addition to being a public health crisis, the virus is infecting the global economy, he said.
Pakistan agrees to join Modi's offer of video conference on coronavirus
Pakistan responded positively to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi 's proposal of calling the leaders of South Asian Association Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries via video conferencing to discuss how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.
"I would like to propose that the leadership of SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight coronavirus," in a series of tweets Modi said, reported The Tribune.
Another Bangladeshi died of coronavirus in UK
A British-Bangladeshi has died of coronavirus in the UK on Friday morning.
The deceased aged 66, was fighting with coronavirus for the last eight days and passed away at the Royal London Hospital.
New coronavirus cases continue to decline in South Korea
South Korea reported more recoveries from the coronavirus than new infections on March 14 for the second day in a row, as a downward trend in daily cases raised hopes that Asia's biggest epidemic outside China may be slowing.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) recorded 107 new coronavirus cases on Saturday compared with 110 a day earlier, taking the national tally to 8,086. In contrast, 204 patients were released from hospitals where they had been isolated for treatment.
France reports nearly 800 new cases in one day
The number of coronavirus cases increased by 785 in one day, while 18 more people died of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus. In addition, 154 others were hospitalized in intensive care, up form 129 registered on Thursday.
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said on Friday that the country's coronavirus cases totaled 3,661, of which 79 had died as the virus was spreading fast, forcing the closure of schools, museums and the suspension of all major sporting events.
"The virus is accelerating. We must curb it more than ever," Veran said.
Dutch Airlines to slash up to 2,000 jobs because of virus
Dutch national airline KLM said Friday it will cut up to 2,000 jobs as it battled the impact of the new coronavirus outbreak, and announced other cost-cutting measures.
Chief executive Pieter Elbers said KLM — which has around 33,000 employees — will also ask personnel to work shortened hours, while grounding its fleet of six Boeing 747s from April 1.
Saudi Arabia suspends international flights over coronavirus
Saudi Arabia has suspended all international flights for two weeks, starting on March 15, to prevent the spread of coronavirus, state news agency SPA said on Saturday, citing an official source at interior ministry.
Google building self-check website for coronavirus
US President Donald Trump announced Friday that internet giant Alphabet is creating a website where people will be able to check whether they have symptoms of the novel coronavirus.
Verily Life Sciences, once a project in a Google X lab devoted to "moonshot" projects and now its own health business unit, is testing a "tool to help triage individuals for COVID-19 testing," Google confirmed on Twitter.
Trump says he will be tested for coronavirus
US President Donald Trump on March 13 reversed course and said he would get tested for the coronavirus, days after he stood next to a Brazilian official who tested positive for virus.
Trump was photographed at his private Florida club standing next to Fabio Wajngarten, the press aide to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, when Brazilian officials visited on Saturday. Wajngarten later tested positive for the disease.
Jack Ma to donate test kits, masks to US in fight against coronavirus
Chinese billionaire and Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma said he will donate 500,000 coronavirus testing kits and 1 million masks to the United States and urged international cooperation to fight the health crisis.
Ma's initiative, a collaboration between his private charity and Alibaba Foundation, had recently donated relief materials to areas in Japan, Korea, Italy, Iran and Spain.
Only one US state remains coronavirus free
The US now has 50 coronavirus deaths, and cases in all but one state.
California's sixth death from the disease, reported south of San Francisco, put the nation at 50 deaths overall. Santa Clara County officials reported Friday that a woman in her 80s died from COVID-19.
US declares national emergency as coronavirus spreads
President Donald Trump declared a US national emergency over the quickly spreading coronavirus on Friday, opening the door to more government aid to combat a pathogen that has infected more than 138,000 people worldwide and left over 5,000 dead.
The impact of the coronavirus on everyday life deepened around the world. It was detected for the first time in several countries, with the World Health Organization (WHO) calling Europe the pandemic's current epicentre. More schools and businesses closed, the global sporting calendar was left in tatters, and people faced greater restrictions on where they could go.
Morocco halts flights with Belgium, Netherlands, Germany and Portugal
Morocco suspended flights to and from Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Portugal over coronavirus fears, the foreign ministry said on Saturday.
It has also suspended all flights with China, Spain, Italy, France and Algeria.
The total number of coronavirus cases in Morocco has risen to 8, including one death and one recovery.
Norway advises against all foreign travel amid virus outbreak
Norway advised its citizens on Saturday not to travel abroad for the next month and urged Norwegians outside the country to consider returning home as soon as possible due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Foreign Ministry said in a statement it was making the recommendation due to the spreading virus and the risk that other nations will restrict travel.
"Countries can quickly introduce travel restrictions, quarantine at arrival from countries with coronavirus, and borders can close, flights could be cancelled or other measures initiated," Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide said.
Oslo's main airport shut its gates to foreign travelers on Friday, a local municipality said, citing new restrictions from the government and Norwegian health authorities.
The government invoked emergency powers on Thursday to shut a range of private and public institutions, including schools and restaurants, and asked most people to work from home if they could.
The central bank made an emergency rate cut on Friday and pumped money into banks, while the government presented a package of fiscal and regulatory measures to aid the economy.