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Italy coronavirus toll soars as north sealed off: Live updates – Al Jazeera English

The coronavirus outbreaks in China and South Korea appear to be slowing, as countries elsewhere in the world countries adopt drastic measures to try and stamp out the infection.

In Italy, where some 16 million people in Lombardy and other parts of the north are now subject to quarantine, there were some 133 deaths on Sunday, bringing the total to 366. More than 7,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus.

In Iran, there were 49 new fatalities. Some 194 people have now died from COVID-19 there.

But latest figures from China and South Korea suggest the virus might be being brought under control in northeast Asia.


  • Timeline: How China’s new coronavirus spread

  • Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases?

  • What happens if you catch the new coronavirus?

China reported 40 new confirmed cases on Sunday, compared with 44 the day before. That’s the lowest since the National Health Commission started publishing national data on January 20.  

Outside Hubei province, where the virus first originated late last year, it reported no new locally transmitted cases for the second straight day.

In South Korea too, infections appear to be slowing.

Here are the latest updates: 

Monday, March 9

04:20 GMT – Major tennis tournament cancelled in US

The BNP Paribas Open, a near major tennis tournament that was set to begin this week in the California desert, has been called off.

It’s the largest sporting event in the US to be called off over concerns about the coronavirus.

The announcement came on Sunday night after many players were already in the desert practising.

Qualifying matches were to begin on Monday with women’s main draw matches starting on Wednesday and the men’s games the day after.

The coronavirus is playing havoc with the world’s sporting events and numerous tournaments have been cancelled. We’ve been keeping a list.

04:15 GMT – New rules for mask purchases in South Korea

South Korea has adopted a new distribution system for face masks and rationed the number each person can buy each week.

People can now buy masks only on the weekday defined by the last digit of their birth year.

That means people born in years ending with one or six can buy masks on Mondays, while those born in a year ending with three or eight can buy on Wednesdays.

No-one is allowed to buy more than one a week.

03:20 GMT – Shanghai Disneyland to open some resort facilities

Shanghai Disneyland, which was closed on January 25 because of the coronvirus, has repoened some of its shops, restaurants and resort facilities on a limited basis.

Visitors will need to go though temperature checks before admission, and the resort will follow an “extensive range of measures designed to ensure a safe and healthy experience for all guests,” it said on its website.

The main theme park will remain closed.

03:00 GMT – Ship heads to Singapore after turned away from Thailand, Malaysia

The operator of the cruise ship Costa Fortuna said it was heading to Singapore to end its journey on Tuesday as planned, after it was turned away from ports in Malaysia and Thailand over coronavirus fears.

Italian cruise line Costa Crociere said there were no suspected virus cases among the passengers.

Costa Crociere said it would cancel a cruise due to depart on March 10 from Singapore.

Singapore port authorities have not yet said whether they would allow the ship to dock

02:45 GMT – California preparing to dock cruise ship where virus cases confirmed

The Grand Princess, a cruise ship carrying more than 3,500 people from 54 countries, is expected to dock in California on Monday.

21 of those on board have been confirmed to have the coronavirus and everyone will be required to spend 14 days in quarantine once they disembark. 


The Grand Princess is waiting off the California coast so the authorities can prepare for it to dock in Oakland [Stephen Lam/Reuters]

Those needing acute medical care will leave the ship first.

“This is a time that we must be guided by facts and not fears, and our public deserves to know what’s going on,” Mayor Libby Schaaf said.

02:40 GMT – First case confirmed in Japanese city of Kobe

A woman in her 40s who attended a live music show in Osaka, has become the first person to test positive for the coronavirus in Kobe, officials said.

02:20 GMT – South Korea sees smallest daily increase in infections in two weeks

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) has announced its latest figures on the coronavirus outbreak there.

It confirmed a total of 248 cases on Sunday – the smallest increase since late February and the fourth successive day that it has been lower than the day before. 

The KCDC will provide a further update in the afternoon.

02:10 GMT – Embassies close in North Korea as diplomats evacuated over virus

AFP is reporting that several embassies in North Korea were closed on Monday as diplomats were flown out of the country.

North Korea has not confirmed a single infection but has imposed strict rules, including closing its borders and putting thousands of its own people into isolation.

It also subjected hundreds of foreigners – including diplomats – to severe restrictions.

Sad to say farewell this morning to colleagues from German Embassy and French Office #NorthKorea which are closing temporarily. #BritishEmbassy remains open. #àbientôt #bisbald in #Pyongyang #DPRK pic.twitter.com/bHWPFixiiI

— Colin Crooks (@ColinCrooks1) March 8, 2020

Monday’s evacuation comes after reports that a special flight was being arranged to fly diplomats and other foreigners from Pyongyang to the Russian city of Vladivostok.

Around 60 people were expected to be evacuated.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un warned last month of “serious consequences” if the virus reaches his country, which has banned tourists and suspended international trains and flights.

00:30 GMT – Albania becomes latest country to report infections

Albania has reported its first cases of coronavirus – a father and son who recently returned from Italy. Both are in stable condition.

More than 400,000 Albanians live in Italy, which lies just across the Adriatic Sea.

00:20 GMT – Mainland China reports 40 new cases of coronavirus

China’s just released its daily update on the coronavirus situation there and it seems the outbreak continues to slow.

The National Health Commission says there were 40 new confirmed cases of coronavirus on Sunday, the country’s National Health Commission, compared with 44 cases a day earlier.

That brings the total accumulated number of confirmed cases in mainland China to 80,735.

A further 22 people died from the virus, bringing the death toll in mainland China to 3,119.

All but one of Sunday’s deaths were in Hubei, the central province at the epicentre of the outbreak. In the provincial capital of Wuhan, 18 people died.

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s live updates on the coronavirus.

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.

A summary of the latest developments:

In Italy, where some 16 million people in Lombardy and other parts of the north are now in forced quarantine, 133 deaths were reported in the last 24 hours bringing the total to 366. More than 7,000 people have been confirmed to have the virus.

In Iran, facing the world’s third most-serious outbreak, there were 49 new fatalities. Some 194 people have now died from COVID-19 there.

Authorities in Saudi Arabia have sealed off the eastern Qatif region, and is also suspending all public and private schools across the country from Monday until further notice. Universities are also affected. The Gulf country has reported 11 cases of the virus.

Click here to read all the updates from March 8.


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