Here are the latest developments in the coronavirus crisis:
– More than 4,500 deaths -Since the novel coronavirus first emerged in late December 2019, more than 124,101 cases have been recorded in 113 countries and territories, killing 4,566 people, according to an AFP tally compiled at around 1700 GMT on Wednesday based on official sources.
The number of cases in Europe passes 22,000, with 930 deaths.
Mainland China has 80,778 cases, with 3,158 deaths and 61,475 people cured.
The worst affected countries after China are Italy (12,462 cases, of which 2,313 new and 827 deaths), Iran (9,000 cases, of which 958 new, and 354 deaths), South Korea (7,755 cases, of which 242 new and 60 deaths), and Spain (2,128 cases, of which 506 new and 47 deaths).
Bolivia, Brunei, Honduras, Ivory Coast and Turkey confirmed their first cases, while Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Ireland, Panama and Sweden reported their first deaths.
Later on Wednesday France said it had recorded 15 new deaths, bringing the total toll to 48 deaths out of 2,281 confirmed cases.
– Pandemic says WHO –
The World Health Organization says that the outbreak can now be described as a pandemic.
“We have therefore made the assessment that COVID-19 can be characterised as a pandemic,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says, pointing to the “alarming levels of spread and severity, and by the alarming levels of inaction”.
Over the last two weeks the number of cases outside China has been multiplied by 13, and the number of countries affected tripled, according to the WHO.
– Stocks down – In Wall Street at midsession the Dow Jones Industrial Average is down around 6.2 percent midsession on mounting worries over the economic hit from the coronavirus.
– Economic artillery –
The British government unveils a support package worth £30 billion ($39 billion, 34.4 billion euros), and the Bank of England (BoE) announces a surprise cut in its interest rate.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that she does not rule out suspending her country’s balanced budget dogma.
Italy earmarks up to 25 billion euros ($28.3 billion) to fight the epidemic.
– UN scales down meetings –
The UN Security Council scales back its schedule for March as a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic, the Chinese presidency says.
The United States says it is considering a ban on travellers from Europe over the virus and President Trump prepares to make a statement.
India suspends tourist visas and imposes quarantine on travellers from seven countries.
– Sporting calendar upset –
French and Spanish football league games are taking place in empty stadiums.
Argentina suspends a number of upcoming sports events as a precautionary measure targeting events involving affected countries.
© Agence France-Presse
Source: Seychelles News Agency