Published: 10:43, March 18, 2020 | Updated: 06:17, June 6, 2023
US-Canada border to close, global infections near 200,000

A truck crosses the Bluewater Bridge border crossing between Sarnia, Ontario and Port Huron, Michigan on March 16, 2020. (GEOFF ROBINS / AFP)

BRUSSELS / WASHINGTON / NEW YORK / BANJUL / RABAT / OTTAWA / RIO DE JANEIRO / ALGIERS / BRASILIA / BELGRADE / ADDIS ABABA / MOSCOW / LONDON / ROME / PARIS / JOHANNESBURG / SOFIA / CAIRO / CHISINAU / HAVANA / VALLETTA / DAR ES SALAAM / LUSAKA / MADRID / KIEV - The number of COVID-19 infections outside China has risen to 112,878 as of Wednesday morning, as the global number of cases is nearing 200,000, according to the situation dashboard by the World Health Organization (WHO). 

The dashboard showed the pandemic of COVID-19 has affected 164 countries and regions, where a total of 7,873 people died from the coronavirus infection.

US-Canada border to close to nonessential traffic 

The US-Canada border will close to nonessential traffic, US President Donald Trump tweeted on Wednesday, saying details on the move would be announced later but that it would not affect trade between the two countries.

“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected,” Trump wrote.

Under the terms of the proposed deal, the flow of goods between the two nations - which share one of the world’s largest bilateral trading relationships - would continue. 

The Trump administration said on Tuesday it was pursuing a US$1 trillion stimulus package that could deliver US$1,000 checks to Americans within two weeks to buttress the economy as the number of deaths from coronavirus nationwide crossed 100.

READ MORE: US declares national emergency, freeing US$50b in funds

All 50 US states, as well as Washington DC, have now reported COVID-19 case. 

As of Tuesday night, the country has tallied over 6,300 COVID-19 cases, an addition of 1,500 in 24 hours, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) at Johns Hopkins University. At least 108 deaths have resulted from the disease in the country.

The White House on Tuesday urged Americans to avoid groups larger than 10. It also ordered the federal US government to maximize the use of teleworking and minimize face-to-face interactions.

Trump said travel restrictions within the United States are on the table. He urged them to "buy less" when they go to stores after nationwide reports of anxious shoppers emptying grocery store shelves.People wearing face masks walk in Venice, Italy, on March 18, 2020, amid the country's lockdown due to the COVID-19 crisis. (ANDREA PATTARO / AFP)

Italy may extend lockdown period 

An unprecedented lockdown imposed on Italians last week to halt the spread of coronavirus might be extended if the incidence of new cases doesn't slow, officials said on Wednesday.

The government has ordered restaurants, bars and most shops to shut down until March 25. In addition, it has shut schools and universities and told everyone to stay at home unless absolutely essential until April 3.

I do not know if the measures will be extended beyond April 3. We will make a decision based on the numbers and events. I cannot rule it out ...

Paola De Micheli, Italy's infrastructure minister

Since the restrictions were ramped up on March 12, the number of new cases has more than doubled in Italy to 31,506. The number of deaths has more than tripled to 2,503.

"I do not know if the measures will be extended beyond April 3. We will make a decision based on the numbers and events. I cannot rule it out. We will see in the coming days," said Infrastructure Minister Paola De Micheli.

The head of welfare in the northern region of Lombardy, the epicentre of the contagion, said even tougher curbs might be needed to halt the trend.

The northern region of Lombardy, on the frontline of Italy’s battle against the coronavirus, appealed to recently retired doctors and nurses on Wednesday to return to work and help colleagues overwhelmed by the crisis.

Italy's government ruled on Tuesday that all Italians returning to the country from abroad must self-isolate for 14 days, in a further effort to limit the spread of coronavirus.

The number of new cases jumped dramatically on Tuesday, with more than 3,500 new cases, pushing the cumulative total number to over 30,000, according to new data released by the Civil Protection Department. The number of deaths reached 2,503.

President of European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen (left) and President of the European Council Charles Michel give a press conference after EU leaders' video conference on COVID-19. At the European Council building in Brussels on March 17, 2020. (ARIS OIKONOMOU / AFP)

EU member states endorse travel restriction to bloc for 30 days

The heads of state and government of the European Union (EU) agreed during a video conference on Tuesday to endorse a temporary restriction on travels to the EU territory in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

"We agree to reinforce our external borders by applying a coordinate temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU for a period of 30 days, based on the approach proposed by the commission," said Charles Michel, President of the European Council.

We agree to reinforce our external borders by applying a coordinate temporary restriction of non-essential travel to the EU for a period of 30 days, based on the approach proposed by the commission.

Charles Michel, President of the European Council

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said the entry restriction proposal won a lot of support by the member states, and it is up to them to implement. 

Another big topic during the conference was concerning the tense border control between some member states, which made people stranded abroad and lorries queuing for border checks. 

Von der Leyen urged the states to loosen the blockage. "The flow of goods has to be swift. We need these goods for the functioning of the internal market."

She underlined necessity of adopting measures for social distancing, like banning public gatherings, suspending universities and schools, and closing down entertainment places, to slow down the virus spread.

ALSO READ: Xi: China firmly supports EU's battle against COVID-19

To address the acute shortage of personal protective equipment, the European Commission launched public procurement for gloves, masks and respiratory ventilators, and discussed with the industry on ramping up production on the medical goods.


Algeria's Health Ministry on Wednesday announced the sixth death case of COVID-19 as the confirmed cases in the country rise to 72, state-run ENTV reported.

Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune on Tuesday said the COVID-19 situation in the country was under control and several new measures would be implemented.

Tebboune cited 12 urgent measures, including closing all border crossing points with neighboring nations, and the suspension of all flights and sea voyages, except for those destined for transporting medical and food stuffs. 

The president further announced banning all exports of medical and food stuffs in anticipation of any scarcity in the market.

He also announced banning all the marches, closing any gathering places, including mosques, malls and all educational establishments.

He further ordered the disinfection of all public transport vehicles and transport agencies, and increased reanimation means in hospitals, in addition to the implementation of an urgent medical plan to counter further pandemic in the future.


Argentina raised its number of cases to 79, after 14 more patients tested positive, including 12 who had traveled to "risky areas" and two who had "close contact" with them.


Belgium will impose a lockdown from midday (1100 GMT) on Wednesday until April 5 to restrict the movement of people in order to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Belgians' travel will be limited to visits to supermarkets, pharmacies and banks or for cases of emergency, Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes told a news conference on Tuesday.

Belgium reported 185 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, bringing the total to 1,243. Ten people have died.

Tourists pose for photos in front of the statue of Christ the Redeemer during a foggy day in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 17, 2020. (SILVIA IZQUIERDO / AP)


Brazil on Wednesday closed its border to Venezuelans for an initial 15 days, citing strains on the public health system from a worsening global coronavirus outbreak and what its president described as Venezuela’s inability to respond to the epidemic.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said on Tuesday his second coronavirus test was negative and his government asked Congress to authorize a state of emergency until Dec 31 that would allow it to scrap fiscal targets and free up funds to combat the virus' spread.

Bolsonaro tested negative in an initial examination last week after his communications secretary Fabio Wajngarten, who was part of a presidential party that visited Florida and met with US President Donald Trump last week, tested positive.

Congress canceled a joint session of the upper and lower houses as lawmakers stayed as a "social distancing" measure, a Senate staffer said. 

Brazilian authorities on Tuesday reported the country's first death. As of Tuesday, Brazil had 291 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

READ MORE: Bolsonaro, AMLO roll the dice with laid-back virus response


The Bulgarian town of Kozloduy, site of the country’s sole nuclear power plant, imposed a curfew on Wednesday as part of its efforts to prevent coronavirus from spreading.

Kozloduy mayor Marinela Nikolova signed an order that bars residents and visitors from leaving their homes or accommodations from 10 pm until 6 am Exceptions would be made for shift workers and those in need of emergency medical care, she said.

On Tuesday, the country banned all foreign and domestic holiday trips until April 13.

The Balkan country, with 81 confirmed cases of the new virus and two deaths, has already declared a state of emergency and closed schools, bars and many shops.

Burkina Faso 

Burkina Faso on Wednesday reported seven new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 27.

The country reported its first fatality in a 62-year-old local woman who also had diabetes.


Cameroon, with 10 new confirmed cases so far, on Tuesday evening issued strict preventive measures against COVID-19, including the suspension of inbound passenger transport.

Effective Wednesday until further notice, Cameroon's land, air, and sea borders will be closed, and all passenger flights from abroad will be suspended, with the exception of cargo flights and vessels, Cameroon's Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute said.

Visa issuance will also be suspended, schools closed, gathering of more than 50 banned, consumer flows at markets restricted, and urban and inter-city travel should only be undertaken in "extreme necessity", Ngute added.


Canada will unveil a C$27 billion (US$19 billion) aid package on Wednesday to help overcome the effects of a worsening coronavirus outbreak that Ottawa says could last for months, a government source said on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday Trudeau had pledged financial support for people affected by the outbreak and said he was considering invoking a rarely-used emergency act to restrict the movement of people and goods.

The death toll in Canada doubled to eight with three more deaths in British Columbia and the first in Ontario. There have been nearly 600 infections nationwide.


Colombia's President Ivan Duque declared a state of emergency on Tuesday as the country steps up measures to stop the spread of coronavirus, including ordering the elderly to stay home from Friday until the end of May.

So far 75 people in Colombia have been infected by coronavirus, most of them after traveling in Europe or the United States. No deaths have been reported.


A British cruise ship that has been stranded for more than a week in the Caribbean after several cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed onboard is set to dock in Cuba on Wednesday to allow weary passengers to disembark and fly home.

There are 28 passengers in isolation on the Braemar who have shown influenza-like symptoms, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines, which operates the Braemar, said. This includes two people who tested positive for the new coronavirus at its last port of call, Willemstad, Curaçao, on March 10.

Passengers would return to Britain from the capital's international airport in the evening on four charter flights, Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said.

The Cuban government has so far confirmed seven cases in Cuba, after reporting its first ones last week.

A man gets help tying a face mask in downtown in Quito, Ecuador, March 17, 2020. (DOLORES OCHOA / AP)


Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen announced that gatherings of more than ten people will be banned in the Nordic country from Wednesday. Restaurants, cafes, sports facilities, night clubs, and discos must close from 10 am Wednesday till March 30.

Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Health Ministry of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on Tuesday evening announced three new COVID-19 cases in the country, bringing its confirmed total to seven.


Djibouti has confirmed its first case of COVID-19 on Wednesday, according to Djiboutian Foreign Minister Mahmoud Ali Youssouf.

The minister tweeted that a Spanish citizen who arrived in the country on Saturday has tested positive for the virus.


Authorities in Ecuador reported 53 new cases on Tuesday, taking the tally to 111, and two fatalities.

Among Latin American countries, Ecuador's government has taken drastic steps to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. It declared a 60-day state of emergency on Monday and a nighttime curfew - from 9 pm to 5 am - starting from Tuesday.

In addition, since midnight Tuesday, Ecuador has suspended transportation between provinces, domestic flights and banned most cars from circulating, for 14 days.


Egypt on Tuesday reported two more coronavirus deaths, bringing the country's total to six, the health ministry said in a statement.

The country also reported 30 new cases on Tuesday, raising the total to 196.

El Salvador

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, San Salvador's international airport will close for passenger traffic on the stroke of midnight and remain open only for humanitarian flights and cargo, President Nayib Bukele said on Tuesday.

Writing on Twitter, Bukele said the airport would remain closed for the next two weeks. That period could be extended depending on how the coronavirus outbreak develops.

Equatorial Guinea

Equatorial Guinea on Tuesday reported two more cases of COVID-19, bringing the total to three, according to a statement from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.


A British diplomat has become the sixth confirmed case of COVID-19 in Ethiopia, the Ethiopia Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH) said Tuesday.

"The British diplomat who recently returned from Dubai was put in isolation on Monday after showing signs of COVID-19," a FMoH statement reads.

"The British diplomat was confirmed to have contracted COVID-19 after laboratory sample tests for COVID-19 turned positive," reads the statement.


Finland's government on Tuesday used the fast track option of the Emergency Powers Act to order immediate control of the country's reserves of pharmaceuticals and medical equipment. It took effect without submission to the parliament. 

A man wearing a protective mask walks his dog along the closed Tuileries gardens in Paris, March 17, 2020. (MICHEL EULER / AP)


France could hope to start seeing a slowdown of coronavirus infections in about eight to 12 days following the government's decision to lock down the country, health minister Olivier Veran said on Wednesday.

"We will intervene where necessary to make sure people respect the confinement. When I look outside my window, I see that gradually people are getting the message," Veran told LCI TV.

The French army started evacuating critical coronavirus patients on Wednesday from eastern France to a military hospital in the southern city of Toulon to help ease the strain on hospitals that are struggling to cope with intensive care cases.

France has detected 7,730 cases of coronavirus infection, and 175 people had died of the virus, Health General Director Jerome Salomon announced on Tuesday at a daily update.

"Mortality is relatively low but the epidemic is severe and rapid. Our priority is not to saturate our hospitals," he said, recalling the necessity to strictly respect barrier gestures and social distancing.

"The strategy is to test all people with severe symptoms, hospitalized people and health professionals," he added.

READ MORE: 'Test, test, test': WHO chief's coronavirus message to world


Two more Gaboneses have tested positive for COVID-19, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the west African country to three, Secretary General of the Ministry of Health Guy Patrick Obiang said on Tuesday.


German Chancellor Angela Merkel will make a rare television address to the nation on Wednesday evening, but is not expected to announce further restrictions beyond the social distancing measures already in place, a national broadcaster said.

Citing government sources, national broadcaster ARD said Merkel wanted in pre-recorded remarks to update Germans about where the country stands and remind them of what they can do to help slow the spread of the illness.

It is the first time in her 14 years in office that the Chancellor has given a television address to the nation other than in her annual New Year's address.

The Robert Koch Institute, Germany's disease prevention and control agency, had reported 7,156 confirmed cases of novel coronavirus infections as of 3 p.m. Tuesday, a hike of 1,723 cases from the previous day. 

This March 17, 2020 photo shows a few people passing the 'Marienplatz' square in downtown Munich, Germany, March 17, 2020. (MATTHIAS SCHRADER / AP)Greece

The Greek government declared Tuesday the closure of national borders to non-EU citizens, with exceptions strictly for urgent family or business reasons, starting at 6:00 am local time on Wednesday.

Greece's confirmed coronavirus cases rose to 387 from 352 with the death toll increasing to 5, health officials said Tuesday.


Kosovo's prime minister sacked his interior minister amid disagreements over whether the country should declare a state of emergency to halt the spread of coronavirus, a move that may bring down the government less than two months after it was formed.

Kosovo President Hashim Thaci on Tuesday asked the country's parliament to declare a state of emergency to halt the spread of coronavirus.

Parliament must vote on the request within 48 hours.

Kosovo has registered 19 people with the virus since last Friday when the first case was reported.


Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel declared Tuesday "a state of emergency" for three months to contain the spread of novel coronavirus.

Under the state of emergence, the borders are being monitored, but there is no guarantee that they will remain open.

Luxembourg has reported a total of 140 coronavirus infections so far.

READ MORE: WHO: Europe is new epicenter of coronavirus pandemic


Malta will stop all incoming passenger flights on Saturday and only allow cargo, humanitarian and repatriation flights to land to stop the spread of coronavirus, officials said on Wednesday.

The Mediterranean island, which depends heavily on tourism, has reported 38 cases so far, of which 32 were people who had caught the disease abroad. 


Mali's government said on Tuesday that it had decided to suspend commercial flights from countries with the virus. The African country has not registered any COVID-19 cases.


Moldova reported its first death from coronavirus, the country's healthcare ministry said on Wednesday.

Moldova has reported 30 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday.

The parliament on Tuesday imposed a state of emergency for 60 days, in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus.


Montenegro confirmed the first two cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, making it the last among European countries to report outbreak of the infection on its territory.

A Moroccan driver of a horse-drawn carriage waits for clients in the nearly deserted Jamaa el-Fna square in Marrakesh, Morocco, on March 17, 2020. (FADEL SENNA / AFP)


Morocco has confirmed five new cases of COVID-19, bringing the country's tally to 49 as of Wednesday morning, the Ministry of Health said in a statement.

Morocco's King Mohammed VI on Tuesday ordered the army to use field hospitals to help health services fight the coronavirus outbreak, the royal cabinet said.

The Ministry of Health on Tuesday night announced six new cases, bringing its total number of confirmed cases to 44.   

The country has decided to close restaurants, clubs, cinemas and gyms, as well as mosques, in a bid to stem the coronavirus. It has also closed its land and sea borders, and stopped all international flights.  


Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte told national broadcaster NOS Tuesday that the Netherlands will bar all non-EU travelers from entering the country.

The death toll in the Netherlands increased by 19 to 43 since the last update on Monday, the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) announced on Tuesday.

The RIVM also reported 292 new positive tests, raising a total of confirmed cases to 1,705. 


Niger is halting international flights and closing land borders for two weeks from Thursday, President Mahamadou Issoufou said in a statement. There has been no registered COVID-19 in the country so far.


he Nigerian government on Wednesday announced five new cases of COVID-19 in the West African country, bringing the total number confirmed cases in Nigeria to 8 after the government inaugurated a presidential task force to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.

All the five cases had a travel history to the United Kingdom or the United States, the federal ministry of health said in a statement. 


Somali government said it has allocated US$5 million to combat COVID-19 after authorities confirmed one case.


A total of 31 more cases were reported in Peru on Tuesday, raising the count to 117. 


Portugal's government announced on Wednesday a 9.2 billion euro package supporting workers and providing liquidity for companies affected by the coronavirus outbreak.

The package, presented by finance minister Mario Centeno and economy minister Pedro Siza Vieira, includes 5.2 billion in fiscal stimulus, 3 billion in state-backed credit guarantees and 1 billion related to social security payments.

On Tuesday, Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa announced that all flights to and from non-EU countries will be suspended from Wednesday midnight for 30 days.

The chairman of the Portuguese unit of Spain’s largest bank, Santander, Antonio Vieira Monteiro, died from the coronavirus on Wednesday, the second victim of the disease in Portugal, a source familiar with the matter said.


Russian President Vladimir Putin is being protected from coronavirus around the clock, the Kremlin said on Wednesday, saying all Kremlin staff involved in his events schedule were undergoing mandatory testing for the virus.

Russia will introduce temporary restrictions on flights to Britain, the United States and the United Arab Emirates starting on Friday in a bid to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the Russian government ordered on Wednesday.

The restrictions will only apply to certain passenger flights and some airlines will also be allowed to service Moscow flights to and from London, New York and Abu Dhabi.

A total of 147 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Russia as of Wednesday.

Marines wearing protective masks stand guard to keep the streets cleared, in Lima, Peru, March 17, 2020. (RODRIGO ABD / AP)


Rwanda recorded one more COVID-19 case on Tuesday, bringing the total to eight, said the health ministry.


Serbian elders will be banned outside movement starting from Wednesday, while all citizens will be prevented from leaving their homes overnight, the government decided on Tuesday.

So far, Serbia has 72 confirmed COVID-19 cases, out of 374 tested samples.

South Africa

South Africa's health ministry on Wednesday confirmed that the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country has risen by 31 since Tuesday to 116.

Among the new patients, there has been a further increase of six local transmission cases, Health Minister Zwelini Mkhize said.

On Tuesday, the country's travel ban was extended to people who’d visited Switzerland and France, on top of the eight nations previously announced.

“No applications for visas by foreign travelers from high-risk countries will be approved,” the International Relations & Cooperation Department said in an e-mailed statement. “Visas already issued are revoked with immediate effect for travelers that have not yet entered South Africa.”

Meanwhile, South Africa is holding the cruise liner MV AidAmira and a cargo vessel off Cape Town after a crew member on board one of the ships showed signs of the coronavirus, national ports operator Transnet said on Tuesday.


Spain's tally of coronavirus cases rose to 13,716 on Wednesday and the number of fatalities rose to 558, said Fernando Simon, the head of the country’s health emergency center.

he April 21 state visit by Spain’s King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia to the White House has been postponed, the White House said on Wednesday.

Madrid prosecutors have opened an investigation into a complaint by a patients’ rights association over a string of coronavirus-related deaths at a nursing home, a spokesman for the prosecutors’ office said on Wednesday.

Spain has announced on Tuesday a 200 billion euros (US$220 billion) package to help companies and protect workers and other vulnerable groups affected by the spiralling coronavirus crisis.

Half of the economic assistance measures, which are worth 20 percent of Spain's output, are state-backed credit guarantees for companies, and the rest include loans and aid for vulnerable people.


Tanzanian Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa on Wednesday confirmed two more cases of COVID-19, bringing to the country's tally to three.

Tanzania has announced a ban on public gatherings and the closure of all nurseries, primary and secondary schools for 30 days beginning Tuesday.

The Gambia

The Gambian Health Minister Amadou Samateh on Tuesday evening confirmed on state broadcaster the first case of COVID-19 in the country, involving a woman in her 20s who returned from Britain on Sunday.

Shortly before the announcement, President Adama Barrow ordered the closure of all schools, including universities, open markets and public gatherings in the country.

Customers wait in line with empty trolleys outside Costco in Everett, Washington, March 17, 2020. (KEVIN CLARK / THE HERALD VIA AP)


Tunisia will impose a curfew from 6 pm to 6 am starting Wednesday with the army patrolling the streets, Tunisia's president said on Tuesday, tightening the measures to counter the spread of the coronavirus.

Tunisia, which has declared 29 cases of the virus as of Wednesday, closed mosques, cafes and markets, closed its land borders and suspended international flights.

President Kais Saied also asked Tunisians to stay at home and avoid moving during daylight hours.


The number of people who have tested positive in the United Kingdom for coronavirus has increased to 2,626, the health ministry said on Wednesday.

The figure was an increase of 676 or 35% from Tuesday. So far, Britain has reported 71 deaths from the virus.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the government would be taking decisions imminently on the possible closure of schools, with some forced to partially or fully close due to the spread of coronavirus.

Some very seasoned head teachers have been calling me to say they will not be able to manage much longer. One said he had 17 members of staff call in sick ...

Geoff Barton, General secretary, Association of School and College Leaders, UK 

READ MORE: Anger mounts over UK govt's decision to keep schools open

Britain has so far resisted pressure to follow Italy, France, and Spain by officially shutting schools. The government has said that school closures will not halt the outbreak and will deprive the healthcare system of workers who will be forced to look after their children.

Meanwhile, panic buying by British shoppers escalated on Wednesday with shelves stripped bare by alarmed customers hoarding for the coronavirus isolation, prompting Tesco and Sainsbury's to restrict purchases.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday had said there was no reason to stockpile and that food supplies were safe.

On Tuesday, the country said it would launch a 330 billion-pound (US$399 billion) lifeline of loan guarantees and provide a further 20 billion pounds in tax cuts, grants and other help for businesses facing the risk of collapse from the spread of the coronavirus.

The country also announced plans to cancel routine surgery for three months to focus the health service on the coronavirus, and courts in England and Wales dealing with serious crimes will not start trials likely to last for more than three days.

Britain’s Glastonbury Festival, the largest greenfield music festival in the world, has been cancelled this year, organisers said on Wednesday.

Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift and Diana Ross were set to headline at Glastonbury in its 50th year in June.

Meanwhile, trade talks between Britain and the EU will not take place as scheduled on Wednesday because of the outbreak, a British government spokeswoman said.

Separately, a British professor who was in Downing Street this week after convincing the PM to stiffen his response to the coronavirus outbreak has self isolated after developing a persistent dry cough and a fever. 


Ukraine's government on Wednesday imposed a state of emergency in the capital Kiev region to contain the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Denys Shmygal said at a televised cabinet meeting.

Ukraine has 14 confirmed coronavirus cases, including two deaths, as of Wednesday.


Zambia's health ministry on Wednesday confirmed its first two cases of COVID-19.

"The patients are a Zambian couple that travelled to France on a 10-day holiday," Health Minister Chitalu Chilufya said.