Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus today:
Stopping movement of people
Malaysia and Canada joined several countries from Colombia to Kyrgyzstan in announcing measures to close borders.
These steps to prevent the spread of coronavirus add to curbs on public gatherings, efforts to encourage people to work from home and social distancing, but make it difficult to work away from the office.
In Singapore, which depends on cross-border labour and staples from Malaysia, people rushed to stock up on food on Tuesday amid fears of supply disruption.
Traders ‘flying blind’
Many traders working from out-of-town offices or in unfamiliar dealing rooms fear that despite the best-laid contingency plans, communication problems and technical glitches risk adding to already spiralling volatility.
One investment strategist struggling to work with two screens instead of the normal five or six described it as “flying blind”.
Social distancing is hard
In Paris, some cafes have taken to selling only takeaway coffee instead of seating patrons, leading to their clientele moving to the pavement, much to the despair of at least one cafe owner.
“I’d thought they’d buy their coffee and leave. But no, they linger and talk!” said Frederic Monnier of Le Cafe Tabac.
Tempers have started flaring in some U.S. cities as well over people trying to go about their normal lives and those committed to complying with public health officials urging people to stay home to prevent the spread.
“Flatten the curve, go home! Flatten the curve, go home!” a man in New York’s Brooklyn borough yelled out the window of a four-story apartment building, as people walked on the street below.
‘You can run a G7 country from home’
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has offered a prime example of how to work from home, after being forced to self-isolate after his wife Sophie tested positive for the coronavirus.
He has since chaired cabinet meetings by teleconference and fielded calls from the governor-general’s residence in Ottawa.
“You can run a G7 country from home,” a senior government official who has participated in calls with Trudeau told Reuters.
Cases outside China surpassed 100,000 for the first time overnight, with a majority of infected countries in Europe reporting over 100 cases each. Five countries globally reported over 1,000 new cases each: Italy, Spain, France, Germany and Iran.
The earlier major outbreak in South Korea continues to ease, while China reported just 12 new cases. Europe is firmly the centre of most new cases, though Africa, South America and Southeast Asia are reporting steady increases in patterns similar to Europe weeks ago.
There are now over 101,000 cases and 7,165 deaths linked to the coronavirus across 163 countries and territories. China now accounts for less than half of all cases and deaths. Around 44% of cases have reportedly recovered.
Warmer weather not a barrier
Relatively low cases of infections in many Southeast Asian countries had been cited as possible evidence that hotter weather was suppressing the virus, giving hope to Europe and the United States as they head into spring.
But countries from Indonesia to Thailand to Malaysia and the Philippines have recorded their highest rate of infections in recent days as testing has ramped up, in a sign seasonal factors may only play a limited role in coronavirus’ spread.
End of box office opening day?
Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast Corp-owned NBCUniversal, will make its movies available at home on the same day they are released in theatres worldwide, beginning with the DreamWorks Animation film “Trolls World Tour” – which opens in the United States on April 10. Reuters