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Source: Socialist Republic of Vietnam

On Saturday evening, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced a 15-day partial lockdown for Spain, with immediate effect, in a bid to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Altogether, there are more than 40,000 confirmed coronavirus cases in 42 European countries. Of them, seven nations reported more than 1,000 coronavirus cases — Italy, Spain, France, Germany, Switzerland, Britain and Norway.

SPIKE IN NEW CASES

In Italy, the number of people who have tested positive for the new coronavirus reached 17,750, according to the latest update provided by the Civil Protection Department which is coordinating the national emergency response.

That marked an increase of 2,795 cases over that of the previous day. The death toll also grew by 175 on a daily basis to 1,441.

Considering all data including deaths and recoveries, the total number of assessed coronavirus cases in Italy was 21,157, the largest number for a single country outside China.

Among the 17,750 people positive for COVID-19, some 1,518 were currently in intensive care (190 new cases), while 8,372 were hospitalized with symptoms, and 7,860 under home confinement as they were asymptomatic or with light symptoms.

Spain reported the second most cases in Europe after Italy.

Spanish health authorities said on Saturday that more than 6,300 people have confirmed coronavirus infections. That’s an increase of more than 1,500 cases in 24 hours. The death toll rose to 191.

France has confirmed 4,500 cases of coronavirus infection, “twice as much as 72 hours previously” and an increase of 838 cases in 24 hours. Ninety-one people died and 300 patients are now hospitalized in intensive care, said French Health Director-General Jerome Salomon.

Germany reported 3,795 confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. Saturday, with death toll rising to eight, according to the country’s disease control agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

Also on Saturday, Denmark reported its first death related to COVID-19, after an 81-year-old under hospital care for other serious illnesses tested positive for the virus before death. Total infections in Denmark have risen to 827.

Slovenia also reported its first death on Saturday, after an elderly man died of coronavirus at UKC Ljubljana hospital.

In other parts of Europe, confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to 217 in Finland, 169 in Portugal, 150 in the Czech Republic, 51 in Luxembourg, 38 in Albania, 31 in Bulgaria, 26 in Cyprus and 12 in Moldova.

PARTIAL LOCKDOWN IN SPAIN

Following an emergency cabinet meeting, Sanchez confirmed the state of emergency in Spain and announced the country will go into partial lockdown for 15 days.

The nationwide lockdown requires all residents in Spain to stay at home unless purchasing food, going to work with no option, or seeking health care.

Other measures include mobilizing the Spanish military to assure food and medical supplies, closing schools, restaurants and bars on a nationwide level, promoting work from home and reducing the number of inter-city trains and buses.

“We are going to give a united answer with the Government of Spain leading the rest of the Administrations to give a united solution,” said Sanchez.

“The measures we are going to adopt are drastic and will have consequences,” the prime minister said, adding that they would be “added to others we will develop in the coming days and weeks and those which are already activated.”

In France, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe announced that starting from Saturday midnight, all cafes, restaurants, cinemas, discotheques as well as non-essential shops in France will be closed until further notice. Public transport will be maintained but limited.

Philippe reiterated his call on the French people to limit trips as much as possible. “Facing a virus which is rapidly spreading, we decided to step up measures which hit social life,” he said.

Starting on Saturday, France entered “stage 3” of its epidemic response plan, which means it is now at highest epidemic alert at national level, Salomon said.

Under France’s epidemic response plan adopted in 2011, the authorities’ objective in stage 3 moves from “slowing down the spread” to “attenuating the effects of the epidemic wave”.

Also on Saturday, the Czech government ordered the closure of all shops and restaurants except for grocery stores, pharmacies, and petrol stations until at least March 24, as extra measures to curb the spreading virus.

“We must limit people’s contact to prevent the spread of infection,” Czech Health Minister Adam Vojtech said on Twitter.

MIL OSI Asia Pacific News