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Covid-19 around the world: Over 1,000 deaths in Italy, Brazil's Bolsonaro tested for disease

President Bolsonaro’s communications director has tested positive for Covid-19.

WORLDWIDE, COUNTRIES HAVE been putting more measures in place to tackle the spread of Covid-19.

There are now more than 125, 500 cases from the disease around the world, with 4,617 deaths. It was declared a pandemic yesterday by the World Health Organization. 

There are 22,105 cases in the EU/EEA and the UK. 

Here is a summary of what’s been going on in a few countries around the world over the past day. 


corona-virus-emergency-in-roma-and-italy People wearing face mask outside the Colosseum in Italy. Matteo Trevisan Matteo Trevisan

Italy, the centre of Europe’s coronavirus pandemic, has hit the milestone of 1,000 deaths since it saw its first cases in mid-February.

The country’s positive cases continued their upward trend today, registering 15,113 confirmed cases and the death toll hit 1,016.

More than half of those who are in intensive care in Italy are located in hard-hit Lombardy province, which today reported 605 ICU patients in a region with only 610 ICU beds.

Lombardy’s top healthcare official Giulio Gallera said that at the request of the hospitals, the region had simplified the bureaucracy needed to process death certificates and bury the dead.


taoiseach-visit-to-the-us Leo Varadkar and Donald Trump greeting each other without handshakes today in the US. PA PA

US President Donald Trump has been questioned today on his decision to suspend all travel between the US and most of the EU for 30 days in an effort to combat Covid-19. 

The US has confirmed 1,312 cases as of today, according to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). There have been 30 associated deaths. 

Trump said at first that the “strong but necessary” restrictions would begin tomorrow and would not apply to the UK.

It has now been clarified that Ireland will also not be affected. Taoiseach Leo Varadkar discussed this with Trump today in the US. 

In California, Disneyland will close its doors from Saturday due to the spread of Covid-19. 

The theme park will remain closed at least until the end of March while the situation is monitored, with hotels remaining open until Monday to give guests time to leave.

“While there have been no reported cases of Covid-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California’s executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure,” the resort said in a statement, using the scientific term for the virus.


coronavirus British prime minister Boris Johnson. PA PA

Covid-19 “is the worst public health crisis for a generation”, British prime minister Boris Johnson said today as the Government’s top scientist warned that up to 10,000 people in the UK are already infected.

Boris Johnson introduced new measures to try and protect the elderly and vulnerable, saying anyone with coronavirus symptoms, however mild, such as a continuous cough or high temperature, must now stay at home for seven days.

The advice also applies to children, meaning parents could need to take time off to look after their youngsters at home.

As of today, there have been 456 confirmed cases in the UK and six deaths. 

The UK today stepped up its response to the spread of the disease by one stage, now moving onto delay from containment. 

Johnson said school trips abroad should be stopped, while people over 70 with serious medical conditions should not go on cruises.

Johnson told reporters at a press conference in Downing Street that there was no need to close schools now as the scientific advice “is that this could do more harm than good”.

He said this may change at some point while in the future, if somebody is taken ill, their entire household could be told to self-isolate.

That measure is not being advised yet, Johnson said, but he added: “I want to signal now that this is coming down the track.” 


Concerns have been raised about the impact Covid-19 could have on refugees in Lebanon if the virus starts to spread in refugee camps or informal settlements.

Conditions in the camps – typically home to a mix of Palestinians and Syrians as well as migrant workers and vulnerable Lebanese people – and the informal tented settlements (ITS) – primarily home to Syrian refugees – are generally quite poor with several people often living in the same room or tent. 

More than 60 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Lebanon to date, and two deaths.

As of yesterday, a nationwide closure of all schools and universities has been extended until at least the end of this month. Public gatherings have been banned and travel restrictions to and from countries experiencing outbreaks of the virus are in place. 

Declan Barry, Médecins Sans Frontières’ (MSF) Medical Director for Lebanon, said the idea of self-isolation in a camp or ITS is “nonsense”.

“The idea of isolation, you know, quarantining yourself in your home and not being around people for two weeks, if you were in contact with somebody who had it, what does that look like in an ITS or in one of the camps? It’s just nonsense,” the Longford native told

MSF is among the NGOs giving practical advice to people living in camps in Lebanon, such as regularly washing their hands and surfaces, and opening windows or tents where possible.  

“Once it does take hold in an overcrowded space, it’s going to be a tough one,” Barry noted.


featureimage Israel's prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. PA PA

Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called for the formation of an emergency government with his chief rival to confront a growing crisis over the coronavirus.

The offer, made in a national TV address, provides a potential way out of the deadlock that has paralysed the political system for the past year.

“I call for the formation now, even this evening, of a national emergency government,” he said.

“It will be an emergency government for a limited period. Together we will fight to save the lives of citizens,” he added, saying that politics should be put aside.

He said that the virus does “not differentiate” between Jewsish and non-Jewish people or between the political left and right.

There are 82 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Israel. 


featureimage Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro. PA PA

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro’s communications director has tested positive for the new coronavirus, just days after travelling with Bolsonaro to a meeting with US President Donald Trump in Florida.

A statement from the president’s communications office said director Fabio Wajngarten’s test results have come back positive and that the presidency is adopting preventive measures to ensure Bolsonaro’s health.

Bolsonaro has undergone a test for Covid-19, his son said earlier today. They are waiting for the results to come back, but his son said “he is not exhibiting any symptoms of the disease”. 

Wajngarten joined Bolsonaro on a three-day trip to the US and on Saturday was at the Mar-a-Lago resort, where he posted a photo of himself posing beside Trump.

A video from the event also showed him standing directly behind both presidents as they addressed a crowd.

As of today, there have been 52 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Brazil with no deaths. 


the-canadian-press-2020-03-11 Justin Trudeau. Adrian Wyld Adrian Wyld

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau is quarantining himself at home after his wife exhibited flu-like symptoms.

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau returned from a speaking engagement in Britain and had mild flu-like symptoms, including a low fever, late last night, Trudeau’s office said.

She is being tested for the Covid-19 disease and is awaiting results. Her symptoms have since subsided.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Prime Minister is opting to self-isolate and work from home until receiving Sophie’s results,” the statement said.

His office said the doctor’s advice to the prime minister is to continue daily activities while self-monitoring, given that he is exhibiting no symptoms himself.

He is spending the day in briefings, phone calls and virtual meetings from home, including speaking to other world leaders and joining a special cabinet committee discussion on the new coronavirus.

With reporting by Orla Dwyer, Órla Ryan and AFP. 

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