Lockdowns, self-Isolation and entry bans to fight virus

LONDON: France and Spain joined Italy in imposing lockdowns on tens of millions of people, Australia ordered self-isolation of arriving foreigners and other countries extended entry bans as the world sought to contain the spreading coronavirus.
Panic buying in Australia, the United States and Britain saw leaders appeal for calm over the virus that has infected over 156,000 people globally and killed more than 5,800.
Several countries imposed bans on mass gathering, shuttered sporting, cultural and religious events, while medical experts urged people to practice “social distancing” to curb the spread.
Austria’s chancellor urged people to self-isolate and announced bans on gatherings of more than five people and further limits on who can enter the country.
All of Pope Francis’ Easter services next month will be held without the faithful attending, the Vatican said on Sunday, in a step believed to be unprecedented in modern times.
The services, four days of major events from Holy Thursday to Easter Sunday, usually draw tens of thousands of people to sites in Rome and in the Vatican.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said from midnight on Sunday international travellers arriving in the country would need to isolate themselves for 14 days, and foreign cruise ships would be banned for 30 days, given a rise in imported cases.
Australia’s latest restrictions mirror those announced by neighbouring New Zealand on Saturday.
Spain put its 47 million inhabitants under partial lockdown on Saturday as part of a 15-day state of emergency to combat the epidemic in Europe’s second worst-affected country after Italy.
Streets in Madrid and Barcelona were deserted on Sunday. All major newspapers carried a front-page wrapper emblazoned with a government-promoted slogan: “Together we’ll stop this virus’’. Spain has had 193 deaths from the virus and 6,250 cases so far, public broadcaster TVE said on Sunday.
Britain is preparing to ban mass gatherings and could isolate people aged over 70 for up to four months as part of plans to tackle coronavirus, Health Secretary Matt Hancock said.
Argentina banned entry to non-residents who have been to any country highly affected by coronavirus in the last 14 days, while Colombia said it would expel four Europeans for violating compulsory quarantine protocols, hours after closing its border with Venezuela.
— Reuters