Daily COVID-19 pandemic roundup: March 16

(Updates with latest information)

Miami Desk, Mar 16 (efe-epa).- Here’s a roundup of stories around the world related to the novel coronavirus pandemic:

WHO: The World Health Organization reported Monday that the number of diagnosed cases of the coronavirus causing the sometimes deadly Covid-19 disease rose to 167,511, with 13,903 new cases in the last 24 hours and the death toll from the global pandemic increasing to 6,606, of whom 862 died in the past 24 hours.

G7: The leaders of the G7 nations – the world’s richest and most industrialized countries – agreed on Monday to cooperate closely to do “what is necessary” to halt the economic and health crisis sparked by the coronavirus pandemic. The G7 leaders met virtually and – in an unusual show of solidarity – agreed to ensure a “global response” to the health emergency, which they called a “human tragedy.” The G7 also promised to mobilize all available instruments, including fiscal and monetary measures, to immediately and appropriately support affected workers, companies and economic sectors.

EUROGROUP: The economic and finance ministers of the European Union nations also promised on Monday – after a five-hour videoconference – to do “what is necessary” to mitigate the economic shock dealt worldwide by the coronavirus and “restore confidence,” although they did not agree, for the moment, to implement additional measures beyond those that each country and economic community has taken individually.

US: Six counties in the San Francisco Bay Area, with 6.6 million residents, on Monday ordered people in the area to remain in their homes and shut down all “non-essential” businesses and activities. San Francisco Mayor London Breed said at a press conference that these measures would disrupt daily life but that there is no reason for people to panic, with police, firefighters, hospitals, public transport, trash collection continuing to operate and grocery stores, gas stations, banks and pharmacies, along with other essential services remaining open.

BRAZIL: The Brazilian government announced Monday a plan to inject 147.3 billion reais (about $29.1 billion) into the country’s economy with an eye toward mitigating the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. Economy Minister Paulo Guedes said that the package of “emergency” measures will be implemented over the next three months.

ISRAEL: Israel on Monday ordered new restrictions to contain the coronavirus that will result in a forced reduction of work activity in the public and private sectors, acting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced. Most of the measures will prevail for five weeks and include: companies with 10-plus workers must reduce their office-based personnel by 70 percent, only basic public services will be in operation and will function as per “emergency measures,” security measures will be used for the next month to monitor the activities of sick individuals, a move that does not require parliamentary approval and has been criticized for limiting personal privacy. Non-essential public gatherings, including sports events and schools, have already been temporarily ended.

RUSSIA: Russia decided to restrict the entry of foreigners from March 18 through May 1, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said in a statement. Authorities reported that 93 cases of Covid-19 have been detected in Russia, of which 86 were “imported.” The restriction will not apply to foreign diplomats or to permanent residents, or crewmembers on airlines, trains or ships, to truckers or people passing through Russia en route to other destinations.

HONDURAS: The government declared a state of emergency for seven days to halt the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected six people in Honduras. Public and private work activities will be suspended for the next week, along with events of all kinds, including air transportation and religious services. In addition, shopping centers will be shut down, and the country’s air, land and sea borders will be closed.

EL SALVADOR: President Nayib Bukele on Monday ordered the runway at the Romero International Airport closed to prevent an Avianca commercial flight from Mexico, on which allegedly 12 people infected with the coronavirus were traveling, from landing. The Salvadoran leader sharply criticized Mexico for allowing the alleged Covid-19 patient to travel, rather than isolating them.


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