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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

* The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) to the Lao Ministry of Health to support the country’s response to and preparedness for the COVID-19 in Vientiane on Wednesday (March 11). Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) has no confirmed cases of COVID-19, but these supplies help us to prepare and equip hospitals around the country.

* In Italy, the hardest-hit country outside China, a total of 10,590 coronavirus infections were registered on Wednesday, up from 8,514 in the previous day, the Civil Protection Department stated. In the day, 196 new fatalities were also recorded in Italy, bringing the death toll to 827 since the epidemic first appeared on Feb. 21. By far, Italy has reported a total of 12,462 accumulated COVID-19 cases.

* Iranian Health Ministry announced on Wednesday that the test of a domestically-made medicine has resulted in treatment of symptoms in severe cases of COVID-19, Tehran Times daily reported. Iran’s Health Ministry announced on Wednesday that a total of 9,000 people have been affected by the disease, of whom 354 people have died.

* The Republic of Korea (ROK) confirmed 114 more cases of the COVID-19 compared to 24 hours ago as of midnight Thursday local time, raising the total number of infections to 7,869. Five more deaths were reported, lifting the death toll to 66. The total fatality rate rose to 0.84 percent.

* Singapore recorded 12 new COVID-19 cases, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 178, the Ministry of Health said on Wednesday.

* Thailand’s Ministry of Industry on Wednesday told the media that it had instructed some 80,000 factories across Thailand to take precautionary steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in their work places. Thailand’s Ministry of Public Health on Wednesday reported six new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total in the country to 59, with 34 cases having fully recovered, 24 still in hospital and one death.

* Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte will undergo testing for the COVID-19 disease while he does not have symptoms, Senator Christopher Lawrence Go said on Thursday. The Philippines has now 49 confirmed COVID-19 cases and two deaths.

* The Indian government has suspended all tourist visas amid COVID-19 scare. The decision was taken during a meeting of a group of ministers after novel coronavirus cases in the country sharply spiked. According to Health Ministry officials so far 60 cases were recorded across the country.

*Tokyo stocks tumbled Thursday morning after the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic. The 225-issue Nikkei Stock Average tumbled 1,003.82 points, or 5.17 percent, from Wednesday to 18,412.24. The broader Topix index of all First Section issues on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, meanwhile, plummeted 66.16 points, or 4.78 percent, at 1,318.96.

* The United States will suspend all travel from European countries except Britain for 30 days in a new measure faced with further spread of the COVID-19. The virus has infected more than 1,000 Americans and at least 38 people have died of the virus nationwide.

* Cuba confirmed on Wednesday its first three cases of COVID-19, state television reported.

* The US military confirmed Wednesday that two US troops had been killed in a rocket attack at an Iraq base earlier in the day, US media reported.

* Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Wednesday announced a package of CAD1billion (about US$724 million) to help combat the spread of COVID-19. At least 93 confirmed COVID-19 cases and one death have been reported in Canada so far.

* New Zealand Finance Minister Grant Robertson will visit Australia’s Canberra on Friday where he will meet with Australian political and business leaders to discuss the actions both governments are taking on the economic impacts of COVID-19.

* The Australian police are investigating a seemingly random stabbing spree which left three people dead and two injured in the city of Melbourne on Wednesday night.

* Staff at the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) headquarters in Manila, Philippines, are temporarily working from home from Thursday following advice that a visitor to the bank has tested positive for the COVID-19.

* The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Pakistan has risen to 20 with the emergence of two new cases in the country over the last 24 hours, official reports said on Wednesday.

* Japan marked the ninth anniversary on Wednesday of the massive earthquake and tsunami in its northeastern region leaving more than 15,000 people dead, with several events being canceled or scaled down over the COVID-19 concerns.

* Japanese and ROK trade officials on Wednesday agreed at the conclusion of lengthy talks to continue to hold dialogue on ways exports controls can be improved. The director general-level meeting was held as a teleconference due to both sides’ travel restrictions to combat the spread of the COVID-19 epidemic.

* Malaysia on Wednesday announced 20 new cases of COVID-19, bringing the total number to 149, said the Health Ministry.

* The Russian State Duma, or the lower house of parliament, passed a bill amending the national constitution initiated by Russian President Vladimir Putin in the third and final reading Wednesday. A nationwide vote on constitutional amendments is scheduled for April 22, which is declared a day off.

* Activities in schools and mass events will be limited in Kiev starting Thursday to prevent possible spread of the novel coronavirus, the capital city’s mayor said on Wednesday. Currently, only one coronavirus case has been confirmed in Ukraine, in the town of Chernivtsi.

* The British government is set to move to “delay” phase, the second in Britain’s four-step move, in responding to the coronavirus by closing schools, cancelling major sporting events and making people work from home, British media reported Wednesday night.

* Four European countries — Bulgaria, Albania, Ireland, and Belgium — reported their first deaths from the COVID-19 on Wednesday, with the total number of infected cases in the four countries reaching seven, 12, 43, and 314 respectively, according to health authorities. Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland saw their biggest daily jump of caseload on Wednesday. With 252, 121 and 21 new confirmed cases, respectively, in just one day, the total infections in the three countries rose to 514, 503 and 61.

* A total of 27 Israelis were tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in the country to 97, according to the Israeli Ministry of Health. Of the 97 infected, two are in serious condition, while three others have recovered, said the ministry.

* France on Wednesday confirmed 2,281 coronavirus infection cases — nearly 500 more than a day before, with 48 deaths and 105 patients hospitalized in intensive care.

* In Spain, the total number of COVID-19 cases reached 2,181, of which 1,024 were in the Madrid region. The country has reported 49 coronavirus fatalities.

* As to other parts of Europe, the total number of confirmed cases has risen to 1,567 in Germany, 500 in Stockholm, 456 in the UK, 246 in Austria, 99 in Greece, 59 in Portugal, 31 in Poland, 19 in Croatia, 18 in Serbia, 13 in Hungary, 10 in Latvia, 9 in North Macedonia, seven in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), six each in Cyprus and Malta, according to health authorities.

* US House of Representatives approved a resolution on Wednesday to curb the president’s power to use military forces against Iran, and sent the bill to President Donald Trump’s desk where it is expected to be vetoed. The House passed the war powers resolution in a largely party-line vote of 227 against 186.

* Greek border guards at Kastanies border crossing continued to stand on alert Wednesday as hundreds of migrants and refugees attempting to cross into Greece from the northeastern land border with Turkey, as tension escalated in particular in the sea borders in the Aegean Sea. Almost 1,000 people were kept off here this Monday and Tuesday, according to Greek government sources.

* The Swedish government announced on Wednesday evening that restrictions on all public events with more than 500 people would come into force at midnight and that anyone found breaking the rules may face fines or six months in prison.

* An airstrike targeted an area in Syria’s eastern province of Deir al-Zour on Wednesday evening, state news agency SANA reported. It said no human losses were reported.

* Kuwait has decided on Wednesday to suspend the commercial flights to and from the country starting from March 13. The decision was made at a meeting of the Kuwait’s government on Wednesday. Kuwait confirmed three new COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 72, Kuwait’s Ministry of Health said Wednesday.

* The Egyptian Health Ministry announced on Wednesday seven new cases of COVID-19, raising the number of infected cases in the country to 67.

* Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca on Wednesday warned about the COVID-19 in Turkey, as the virus outbreak in Europe poses a serious risk to the country. The health minister urged the citizens not to travel abroad and stay at home for two weeks if they arrived from another country.

* Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan affirmed mutual interest in expanding and diversifying bilateral trade and economic cooperation as the two countries’ top leaders met in Baku on Wednesday.

* Global oil price tumble has dealt a heavy blow to Nigeria, said Mele Kyari, head of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation on Wednesday. He urged the citizens to prepare for “a more tough time in a few months following the crash in the price of crude oil due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.”

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News