Coronavirus spreads across globe; toll crosses 5,000

Governments take emergency steps to contain the spread of COVID-19.

Updated - December 04, 2021 11:51 pm IST

Published - March 13, 2020 05:26 pm IST - Paris

People wear protective masks as they shop at a market, on the fourth day of an unprecedented lockdown across of all Italy imposed to slow the outbreak of coronavirus, in Naples, Italy on March 13.

People wear protective masks as they shop at a market, on the fourth day of an unprecedented lockdown across of all Italy imposed to slow the outbreak of coronavirus, in Naples, Italy on March 13.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife, Australia's Minister for Home Affairs and a Chelsea football player are among new cases of the coronavirus that has infected at least 139,000 people and killed more than 5,000 worldwide.

Governments and central banks readied more emergency measures to tackle the economic impact of the coronavirus on Friday, while more major events were cancelled or postponed.


U.S. lawmakers and the White House neared agreement on a coronavirus economic aid package, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying she hoped to announce a deal on Friday.

Experts warn that due to a lack of testing and unreported cases, many more people may be affected by the outbreak that emerged in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year.

Health authorities around the world face the prospect of services being overwhelmed.

“We're anticipating 20% of the population in the first wave to be affected,” Kerry Chant, the chief medical officer for the New South Wales (NSW) state government.


Home to more than 7 million people, NSW is Australia's most populous State, and Chant said models suggested 5% of the State’s population — some 350,000 people — would need hospital treatment as a result of coronavirus.

Australia has recorded nearly 160 infections and three deaths from the flu-like disease. Among the infected is one of its highest-profile government Ministers, Peter Dutton, who is in charge of Home Affairs. He said he was feeling fine.

Movie star Tom Hanks announced in Australia on Thursday that he and his wife, actress Rita Wilson, had both tested positive.

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau said he would be in isolation for two weeks after his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, tested positive for coronavirus. She said she was “experiencing uncomfortable symptoms” adding that she would “be back on my feet soon”.

Canada has reported 145 cases of the virus, a three-fold gain from a week ago. There has been one death.

State of alert

Spain's government is to declare a state of alert over the rapid spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Friday after infections soared over 4,200 with 120 dead. “There will be a cabinet meeting tomorrow to declare a state of alert across the country for a period of 15 days,” Mr. Sanchez said.

A host of major sporting events were affected, with the Players Championship golf halted and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix scrapped. Nepal closed Mount Everest to climbers.

Calls grew in Britain for the Premier League season to be stopped with the news that Chelsea forward Callum Hudson-Odoi has tested positive. All of Chelsea's first-team players and coaching staff would self-isolate, the club said.

But the spread of the virus at its epicentre in China's Hubei province has slowed markedly. Just five new cases were reported on Friday in the provincial capital of Wuhan, where the virus was first detected in December.

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