Copy of 2020-03-08T121402Z_110870844_RC2OFF9WKHQA_RTRMADP_3_HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS-ITALY [1]-1583680543995
Empty restaurant tables are seen in St. Mark's Square as the Italian government prepares to adopt new measures to contain the spread of coronavirus in Venice, March 8. Image Credit: REUTERS

Dubai: There are now more than 106,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,600 deaths across the world, according to a tally of government announcements. Italy ordered a virtual lockdown across a swathe of its wealthy north on Sunday, including the financial capital, Milan, in a drastic attempt to try to contain the outbreak there. Italy’s death toll rose to 366, the most after China.

The total number of deaths from the coronavirus outside China edged toward 500, pushing governments and airlines around the world to curtail travel to and from heavily affected areas.

The Italian government enacted its draft order just hours after officials announced that the number of coronavirus cases had leapt by more than 1,492 in a 24-hour period - the biggest daily rise since the epidemic began in the country two weeks ago. The number of fatalities shot up by 133 to 366 on Sunday. The country has ordered 22 million masks to combat coronavirus spread, says an official.

Pope Francis expressed solidarity on Sunday with the victims of the novel coronavirus in his first livestreamed prayer from the Vatican.

The disease raging across Italy forced the 83-year-old pontiff to break with centuries of tradition and revert to technology to deliver his Angelus Prayer and weekly message to the world’s 1.3 billion Catholics.

The Portuguese President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has imposed a self-quarantine for two weeks after being exposed to people with the virus.

Iran, one of the other worst hit countries outside China, said 194 people had died from coronavirus and 6,566 were now infected.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Daegu, the city hardest hit by South Korea’s outbreak expressed cautious hope on Sunday that the numbers of new cases may be dropping, after the rate of increase slowed to its lowest in 10 days.

Argentina recorded Latin America’s first death from the coronavirus. Bangladesh, Maldives, Bulgaria and Moldova reported their first cases.

New York confirmed 16 new coronavirus cases on Sunday, bringing the total to over 100 cases, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

"There are 16 additional confirmed cases of Coronavirus in NYS, bringing total to 105," he tweeted.

The number of confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United Kingdom has risen to 273, the Department of Health and Social Care said on Twitter on Sunday, up from 209 a day earlier, and the biggest one-day increase so far.

More than 23,500 people in Britain have been tested for the virus, the government said. So far, two patients who have tested positive for coronavirus have died in Britain.

Another sign of economic damage

The economic bad news continues: a trade report showed China’s exports contracted sharply in the first two months of the year, and imports slowed, as the health crisis caused massive disruptions to business operations, global supply chains and economic activity.

Keep calm and work from home

The European Central Bank has told most of its over 3500 staff to work from home on Monday to test how it could cope with a shutdown - one of a slew of institutions and companies urging staff to avoid the office and curb travel plans.

Cruise control

After being held at sea and barred from returning to San Francisco last week due to a coronavirus outbreak aboard, the cruise ship Grand Princess has been directed to the nearby port of Oakland, the cruise line said on Saturday. Passengers needing treatment will be transported to facilities in California. The crew will be quarantined and treated on board.