WHO ‘deeply concerned’ at lack of response, global cases exceed 125,000

(Update: adds information from WHO, European countries, Iran and Algeria)

Madrid Desk, Mar 12 (efe-epa).- The World Health Organization Thursday warned governments to take action as global coronavirus cases exceeded 125,000 with infections in 118 countries and territories and 4,292 recorded deaths.

There was an almost 13-fold increase in the number of cases reported outside China in the past two weeks and the number of affected countries has almost tripled, according to the health agency.

WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said WHO is “deeply concerned that some countries are not approaching this threat with the level of political commitment needed to control it”.

In other related news worldwide:

ITALY: The country has been the worst affected outside mainland China, with 189 deaths in the last 24 hours, bringing the total to 1,016. The total number of infections was reported to be 15,113.

UNITED KINGDOM: The number of deaths rose to 10 with 590 infections in the country. London’s FTSE 100 index dropped by around six per cent on Thursday. The UK and European Union announced the suspension of a meeting scheduled for next week in London to continue Brexit negotiations. In a joint statement, they said they were exploring alternative ways to continue the talks, including the possibility of via videoconference.

CZECH REPUBLIC: Authorities increased measures to prevent the spread, including a ban on events attended by more than 30 people and the closure of bars and restaurants from 8pm to 6am. The government also banned entry to citizens from 15 countries, including China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Spain and Austria, from midnight on Friday.

IRELAND: The Republic of Ireland has closed all schools until 29 March and banned indoor public gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor events of more than 500. It also cancelled its St Patrick’s Day celebrations, festivals marking the country’s patron saint were due to take place on 17 March.

GREECE: The first death in the country was reported on Thursday, a 66-year-old man who died in hospital in Patras, west of Athens. He contracted the virus on a bus tour of Israel and Egypt last month.

AUSTRIA: The country reported its first death, a 69-year-old man in hospital in Vienna. There was a rise in the number of cases from 245 to more than 300 in the last 24 hours.

ALGERIA: Educational centres have been closed until 5 April after the country reported its first death, a 67-year-old man in hospital in Blida, south of Algiers. Authorities reported five new cases in the country, bringing the total to 24, of which eight have recovered.

IRAN: Iran appealed to the United Nations for United States sanctions to be lifted, saying they had made the fight against the coronavirus in the country extremely difficult. Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif, in a letter to UN secretary-general António Guterres, accused the US of “economic terrorism” which had “devastated many households prior to the inception of Covid-19, and only made worse since its arrival in Iran”.

NETHERLANDS: Organisers of the Rotterdam Marathon, the sporting event with the most participants and live spectators in the Netherlands, the suspension of the race due to the outbreak.

LATVIA: The government put the country on alert, ordered the closure of schools and educational institutions until 14 April and banned events with more than 200 people.

FRENCH POLYNESIA: Authorities said Thursday a French parliamentarian representing the overseas territory tested positive for the virus, making it the first case confirmed in the South Pacific. Maina Sage had returned Saturday to French Polynesia from France and said she began feeling ill Monday.

SOUTH KOREA: The country registered the lowest number of new daily cases Wednesday in almost three weeks with 114, to total 7,869 cases, while 45 people have been discharged to reach 333. Six people died Wednesday, with the toll now at 66.

INDIA: The country announced Thursday the suspension of all visas outside diplomatic and work categories until April 15 after the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic a day earlier. India confirmed its first death, a 76-year-old man from Kalaburagi.

CAMBODIA: The health ministry confirmed two new cases Thursday in a British couple aged 73 and 69 who had been travelling on a Viking cruise, bringing the country’s total to five cases.

UNITED STATES: Washington DC mayor Muriel Bowser declared a state of emergency and a public health emergency Wednesday after cases in the city rose from four to 10. The Mayor’s Office also urged the postponement or cancelation of all March events that gather more than 1,000 people. EFE-EPA

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