- Germany has reported six deaths from the virus and over 2,000 infections.
- The states of Saarland and Bavaria will close all schools starting Monday.
- Sophie Trudeau, the wife of Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, tested positive for the virus.
- Tokyo stocks closed down 6% on Friday after European markets plummeted Thursday.
Updates in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
08:06 The west African countries of Ghana and Gabon each reported their first cases of COVID-19. In total, African countries have confirmed 15 cases.
08:05 “Small and medium-sized business with less extensive supply chains will be hit harder by the coronavirus’ economic effects than large multinational firms,” DW business analyst Gerhard Elfers said.
07:41 Kenya reported its first COVID-19 case on Friday. Minister of Health Mutahi Kagwe said a woman was diagnosed on March 12 after traveling to Kenya from the US via London.
07:02 The southern German state of Bavaria will close all schools starting Monday, government sources told German media. The closures are expected to last until the end of the Easter break in mid-April.
06:19 The western German state of Saarland has ordered all schools and daycare facilities to close starting on Monday. It is the first German state to order a blanket closure of schools due to the coronavirus outbreak. Saarland state Premier Tobias Hans said the closures were a precautionary measure due to the state’s proximity to France’s high-risk Grand Est region.
Other German states are also considering shutting down schools
06:08 Nepal has closed access to all of its Himalayan peaks, including Mount Everest. The South Asian country’s tourism minister Yogesh Bhattarai said Friday that expeditions to all peaks in the March-May spring season have been suspended.
“Climbing this season has been closed,” Bhattarai told Reuters.
05:48 Turkish health authorities have confirmed the second case of COVID-19 in Turkey.
04:30 Singapore’s Health Ministry issued advisories against all non-essential travel and introduced restrictions for Italy, France, Spain and Germany.
04:20 Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison issued a level three travel warning, meaning only essential travel should be undertaken ”regardless of your destination, age or health.”
He also advised that organized non-essential public gatherings of more than 500 people from next week should be canceled, adding it was a “common sense precaution.”
Morrison suggested there could be further measures put in place in the future. The advice does not include schools, airports or public transport.
04:01 China’s Vice Industry Minister Xin Guobin said that auto parts makers in Hubei province are resuming production.
03:50 China reported a total of eight new coronavirus cases on Thursday — its lowest number since daily reporting of infections began seven weeks ago.
Its National Health Commission counted seven new deaths of patients infected with the virus. Five of the new cases and six of the deaths were recorded in Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak.
03:20 Hong Kong confirmed the death of a fourth patient from coronavirus. Health officials said an 80-year-old man died at
03:10 Here’s a summary of schools closures announced by authorities across Europe:
France will close all schools, high schools and kindergartens from Monday. Belgium and Portugal both became the latest countries on Thursday evening to also order school closures, while schools and universities will remain shut across hardest-hit Italy.
Germany appears the exception to the rule in western Europe, with partial school closures in place, but no blanket ban yet.
02:59 The Mormon Church is suspending all public ceremonies and gatherings worldwide. The suspension will continue until further notice.
“Where possible, leaders should conduct any essential leadership meetings via technology,” said a letter published by the church to its members.
02:30 A Philippine diplomat in New York has become the first recorded case at the UN headquarters. The diplomat works at the UN General Assembly’s Sixth Committee, which deals with legal matters.
02:15 A dog in Hong Kong thought to be a carrier for the COVID-19 virus has been found not to be infected. The dog’s owner tested positive and officials initially thought that they had found the first transmission from human to animal after the dog showed a “weak positive” after first undergoing a test.
02:05 The Canadian prime minister’s communications director Cameron Ahmad published a “personal message” from Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in both French and English after it was confirmed she tested positive for COVID-19.
“Although I’m experiencing uncomfortable symptoms of the virus, I will be back on my feet soon. Being in quarantine is nothing compared to other Canadian families who might be going through this and for those facing more serious health concerns,” wrote Sophie Trudeau.
01:58 Sophie Trudeau, the wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, has tested positive for COVID-19.
Communications director Cameron Ahmad published a statement saying Sophie Trudeau will remain in isolation while the prime minister, who is also in isolation, ”will continue to fully assume his duties.”
01:35 Portugal is closing all schools two weeks before the semester is due to end.
01:30 South Korea, the country with the fourth highest number of cases, reported 110 new cases, taking its total up to 7,979 cases.
01:26 Argentina is closing borders to travelers from high-risk areas. Flights from Europe, the US, Japan, China and Iran will be stopped for 30 days, said President Alberto Fernandez.
Anyone who traveled to the country from epidemic areas during the last two weeks will have to be quarantined for 14 days.
01:14 House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the Trump administration are close to an agreement on a coronavirus aid package for workers, families and businesses impacted by the virus.
Pelosi said she expects the announcement on the package to be announced on Friday.
00:55 Coronavirus has been bad for sports, with many major sporting events canceled, including the F1 Australian Grand Prix. London-based soccer team Arsenal’s squad are in quarantine after their head coach tested positive for the virus.
00:40 Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida and Disneyland Paris will be closed from Sunday until the end of the month. There have been no confirmed cases of the virus in staff at the theme parks.
Disney Cruise Line is suspending all new departures from Saturday.
The Walt Disney Company also delayed the release of movies including “Mulan” and House of Mouse titles “New Mutants” and “Antlers.”
00:30 Saudi Arabia detected 17 new cases of coronavirus bringing its total up to 45 cases.
Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was tested after his top communication aide was confirmed to have the virus
00:10 Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro is expecting test results back within “hours,” after his senior communications aide tested positive for COVID-19. His son, Eduardo Bolsonaro tweeted that the president is not displaying any symptoms of the disease.
Bolsonaro also told his supporters to refrain from holding political rallies to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A demonstration was planned on Sunday to press for Congress to approve Bolsonaro’s latest legislative agenda.
00:05 Tokyo stocks opened down more than 5% on Friday after global markets saw their worst day on Thursday since 1987.
wmr,kmm/sms (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)
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