A patient is loaded into an ambulance at the Life Care Center in Kirkland, Washington on Monday. AP
Desperate times call for desperate measures. The coronavirus is spreading its ominous tentacles worldwide as authorities in 100 countries pull out all stops to stop its malignant spread. The disease has killed over 4,000 people so far.
In a drastic step to stem its dangerous influence, Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte went on television to announce the entire country would effectively be placed on lockdown from Tuesday.
The announcement comes even as China reports the lowest rate of new cases.
"I am going to sign a decree that can be summarised as follows: I stay at home," Conte said.
"Travel must be avoided across the entire peninsula unless it is justified by professional reasons, by cases of need or for health reasons," he told Italians.
More than 9,000 cases and 463 deaths have been reported from the country.
The measures extend a quarantine zone that Italy had imposed on its industrial northern heartland around Milan and Venice on Sunday.
The national restrictions will run until April 3 and mean that schools and universities will all immediately close.
Serie A football matches and all other sporting events are also being suspended for the coming month.
Malta and Norwegian Air have halted flights to the country.
However, trains and other flights continued to operate into and out of Milan on Monday despite the earlier set of restrictions for its Lombardy region.
Gucci, Louis Vuitton hit
Global luxury brands including Gucci and Louis Vuitton are scaling back orders with Italian suppliers, as the spread of the coronavirus from key market China to major manufacturing hub Italy hits business across the sector, industry sources said.
"We were producing 800-1,000 handbags a month for Gucci. In February we made 450 and we have no orders for March," said the owner of a small supplier for Kering's top brand employing eight people in Scandicci, a district outside Florence that is the hub of leather goods production in italy.
"We don't have orders for April or May either. The company has been brought to a standstill," he said.
110,000 cases in 100 countries
Worldwide more than 110,000 cases have been recorded in over 100 countries, with Canada reporting its first death.
Mongolia sealed off its capital and other cities on Tuesday after reporting its first case.
There was further alarm after at least two Republican lawmakers who recently met with the president announced they were going into self-quarantine, fearing that they were exposed to the virus at a conservative conference.
Incoming White House chief of staff Mark Meadows also self-quarantined after he may have come into contact with a person who tested positive for the coronavirus.
On Monday, passengers were taken ashore from a cruise ship docked in California after at least 21 people on board were diagnosed with the virus.
The World Health Organisation warned there is a "very real" threat of a pandemic, but its chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the planet was "not at the mercy" of the illness.
Moscow and Lagos joined the roll call of cities around the world with empty streets, while Virginia and Maryland became the latest US states to announce stay-at-home orders, followed quickly by Washington DC.
A total of 75,538 deaths have been recorded, including 53,928 in Europe, the continent worst hit by the virus. The official tallies probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of cases. Many countries are testing only the most serious cases.
The tallies, using data collected by the media offices from national authorities and information from the World Health Organization (WHO), probably reflect only a fraction of the actual number of infections.
More than 242,000 people have been killed and 3.4 million infected worldwide by the virus, which has left half of humanity under some form of lockdown and pushed the global economy towards its worst downturn since the Great Depression.
The Dubai Criminal Court imprisoned a GCC national for 3 months and fined him Dhs13,000 for setting fire to the entrance of a villa, believing that he was being bewitched by a woman living inside, and the Court of Appeal upheld the verdict.
A court sentenced two maintenance workers to three months in jail and fined them Dhs165,000 for stealing Dhs815,000 that had been hidden by an Arab woman inside a small waste container on the roof of her villa.
Heartrending scenes of a newborn plucked alive from the rubble and a broken father clutching his dead daughter's hand have laid bare the human cost of violent earthquakes in Syria and Turkey that by Wednesday had claimed 11,000 lives.