Governments have imposed a series of measures to limit gatherings of large numbers of people in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed 5,829 and infected 156,169 since emerging late last year in China, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
France and Spain imposed tough new restrictions, with Spain nearly grinding to a halt as a nationwide lockdown closed schools and universities and stopping religious services. In the U.S., where Louisiana, New York, Oregon and Virginia reported their first deaths tied to the coronavirus on Saturday, new travel measures caused hourslong waits in some airports and some cities banned large gatherings.
The Catholic Church in Seattle and New York canceled Masses, including at Manhattan’s famed St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Vatican announced Easter services would be held without audiences. Mormon Church leaders have indefinitely stopped services around the world.
New infections in Europe were surging as the continent increasingly became the center of the outbreak and Spain emerges as a new hot spot, with 6,391 confirmed cases and 196 deaths. That makes Spain the second worst-hit country in Europe after Italy.
Spanish residents will only be permitted to leave their homes for essential reasons, including for medical services or to buy food. The Spanish government said the wife of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez had tested positive for the virus.
The French government closed down cafes, restaurants and all other nonessential shops in response to a doubling of infections over the past 72 hours. Residents were urged to stay at home unless they needed to use essential services such as grocery stores and pharmacies.
French officials said they had identified 4,500 coronavirus cases and 91 deaths.
The Trump administration on Saturday broadened restrictions on travelers from Europe to include the U.K. and Ireland, as the White House said President Trump tested negative for the virus.
Travelers returning to the U.S. from abroad on Saturday night faced hourslong waits in crowded conditions in some airports as officials took extra measures aimed at preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Some passengers arriving at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport on Saturday night described long, hot waits to get through customs, where some airport and security workers distributed snacks.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Sunday the country would enforce a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine for all travelers from overseas, including Australians, effective at midnight. Australia has reported 249 confirmed cases of coronavirus, including five deaths.
Alphabet Inc.’s Google said on its official Twitter account that it was partnering with the federal government to combat the virus. The company is working on a pilot project to help people navigate coronavirus testing in the Bay Area.
The number of deaths from the novel coronavirus in Iran rose by 113 over the past 24 hours, the highest single-day death toll since the virus was first confirmed in the country on Feb. 19, bringing the total number of fatalities to 724. Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced on state television Sunday that the number of infected cases had reached 13,938, an increase of 1,209 since Saturday.
Iran’s Guardian Council, an electoral watchdog, said Sunday the second round of parliamentary elections, slated for April, has been postponed to September due to the health crisis, at the request of the Ministry of Interior.
New Zealand reported two new cases on Sunday. Both of the patients are travelers who recently arrived in the country.
Hong Kong reported four additional cases by Saturday night, taking the city’s total to 142. Two of the four new patients have recent travel histories to the Middle East. One of them was in London before returning to Hong Kong earlier this week.
The Hong Kong government evacuated six floors at a public housing estate Saturday and put the residents under quarantine after it confirmed a new case living in the same block as two earlier cases.
Japan confirmed 62 new infections on Saturday—the country’s highest daily increase excluding those linked to the cruise ship Diamond Princess. The new infections pushed total confirmed cases in the country to 772, NHK World reported.
South Korea reported 76 new cases and three more deaths on Sunday, bringing the country’s total to 8,162, with 75 deaths. China reported 20 new cases by the end of Saturday, and 10 additional deaths.