Local police standing next to a mortuary car, allegedly carrying the corpse of a person who died of coronavirus (COVID-19), at the entrance of an ice rink which will be used as a morgue in Madrid, Spain, March 24, 2020. (Reuters)
NEW DELHI – India is to impose a nationwide lockdown in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced.
The restrictions will apply from midnight local time and will be enforced for 21 days.
"There will be a total ban on venturing out of your homes," Modi said in a televised address.
India – which has a population of 1.3 bn – joins a growing list of countries that have imposed similar measures.
Nearly 400 000 people have tested positive for the virus worldwide, and around 17 000 have died.
The new measures follow a sharp increase in cases in recent days. There have been 519 confirmed cases in India and 10 reported deaths.
• NEW YORK – Governor Andrew Cuomo has pleaded for medical supplies, warning that Covid-19's peak in the state will be worse than anticipated.
"The apex is higher than we thought and the apex is sooner than we thought," Cuomo told reporters on Tuesday.
He said the federal government was not sending enough equipment to combat the crisis, noting the state needs 30 000 ventilators.
New York now has over 25 000 confirmed virus cases and at least 210 deaths.
"We need federal help and we need the federal help now," Cuomo said.
"New York is the canary in the coal mine, New York is happening first, what is happening to New York will happen to California and Illinois, it is just a matter of time."
The governor blasted the 400 ventilators sent to New York from the US Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema).
"Four hundred ventilators? I need 30 000 ventilators. You want a pat on the back for sending 400 ventilators? . . . You're missing the magnitude of the problem."
• MADRRID – The coronavirus death toll in Spain has jumped by 514 in a single day, as the situation in the country quickly worsens.
Official figures show that 2 696 people have now died in the country and close to 40 000 are infected.
About 5 400 health care workers are among those confirmed cases, while funeral vans began arriving at Madrid’s ice rink, hastily transformed into a makeshift morgue.
Spain is the worst affected country in Europe after Italy, which has recorded more than 6 000 deaths so far.
Around 14 per cent of all infections are among health workers, which health emergency chief Fernando Simon attributed to the limited availability of protective equipment and several early clusters of the virus occurring in hospitals.
He also warned pressure on intensive-care units would continue after transmission of the virus among the general population had peaked.
Echoing his concerns, nursing union SATSE called for test kits and for drastic measures to help prop up Madrid’s hospitals, which it said were on “the verge of collapse”.
While cases have been mostly concentrated in Madrid, Catalonia and the Basque Country, infection numbers are growing in other regions.
Castilia-La Mancha and Castilla y Leon, which border the capital, have seen a big jump in cases. Both regions have large elderly populations.