Coronavirus news: New Zealand announces lockdown; Hong Kong bars entry to all non-residents – live updates | World news

Afghanistan has reported six new Coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 40.

Three of the new cases are reported in the western province of Herat, which raised the total number in the most affected part of Afghanistan to 21.

Herat neighbours Iran and concerns are high in the war torn country as around 15 thousands Afghans come from Iran each day.

Wahidullah Mayar, spokesman for Afghanisatan’s health ministry, said officials asked the government to quarantine Herat province but he added that no steps have been taken so far.

In a press conference, Mayar showed pictures of empty streets of France, Italy and India and asked people to stay at home.

Last week was the new solar year eve and thousands of people in Herat and across the country went out. Mayar warned that if things go on with “current state of condition, we will have a catastrophe and in that case heath ministry is not responsible”.

The country reported its first Coronavirus death yesterday.

An Afghan health worker measures the temperature of Afghan passengers in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as they enter Kabul trough Kabul’s western entrance gate, in the Paghman district of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul)

An Afghan health worker measures the temperature of Afghan passengers in an effort to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, as they enter Kabul trough Kabul’s western entrance gate, in the Paghman district of Kabul, Afghanistan, Sunday, March 22, 2020. (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul) Photograph: Rahmat Gul/AP

Strict rules on movement could be “in place soon” – UK health Sec

Britain’s health secretary has accused those still socialising of putting the lives of NHS workers and others at risk, as he promised the army would help deliver more protective equipment for medical staff.

Matt Hancock said stricter rules such as curfews or constraints on movement could come into place “very soon” and urged people still socialising or going to holiday locations to “stop it, and if you don’t stop it then we’re going to have to take more measures”.

He took a much tougher line than the prime minister on those defying social distancing rules, saying people carrying on as usual were being “incredibly unfair to go and socialise in the way we have seen”.

Anger and concern built up over the weekend as images and reports were shared of large numbers congregating in some public places

Looking Cat

Columbia Road flower market, East London a couple of hours ago.
(photo by BBC newsperson @JJ_Bryant MT @dinosofos)

I don’t even know what to say anymore. I think I’m actually going to cry.

March 22, 2020

Hong Kong bans alcohol sales

On top of its ban on foreign arrivals and transits just announced a short time ago, Hong Kong has also declared its intention to stop bars and restaurants serving alcohol.

Why? From chief executive Carrie Lam: “People get intimate when they get drunk.”

Daniel Suen

#Breaking: Carrie Lam said govt will introduce an amendment to legislation banning licensed bars and restaurants from selling alcohol.

Her reason: “people get intimate when they get drunk”.

March 23, 2020

It comes after Hong Kongers started to venture out again, only for a second wave of infections as travellers came home. The nightlife district of Lan Kwai Fung has now emerged as the source of an outbreak.

Aaron Mc Nicholas

The Hong Kong government is proposing that all bars, clubs and restaurants covered by the Liquor Licensing Board should stop serving alcohol

This has to be done by legislative amendment, so it remains a proposal unless and until it’s passed by the Legislative Council

March 23, 2020

The suspension of liquor licences for the 8,600 venues in question must be legislated so for the moment it’s only a proposal.

But further south, in large parts of Australia it became a reality today.

Under orders from the federal government, all registered and licensed pubs, clubs, casinos and nightclubs are closed, costing thousands of jobs.

Read more here

British rail franchise agreements suspended


Hong Kong bans entry to all non-residents

Hong Kong will ban the entry of all non-residents to Hong Kong from 11.59pm Tuesday, for 14 days.

Hong Kong airport will also stop all transit flights.Anyone entering from Macau or Taiwan must undergo 14 days quarantine.

Chief executive Carrie Lam said the epidemic in Hong Kong has become more serious, and extra measures were needed.She warned people not to break the law.”For people who breach the quarantine orders we will tackle these cases severely,” she added.

Police have tracked down five people who absconded home quarantine. Another 36 are under investigation.


Germany: cases rise to 22,672, with 86 deaths


Hungary to consider bill that would let Orbán rule by decree



Good morning from London. This is Ben Quinn picking up the live blog

In the UK, MPs will be asked today to endorse new powers from the police and other authorities, including doctors. All 390 pages of the coronavirus bill are being rushed through.

The possibility of a much tougher lockdown in line with that of other European states will also be considered today by the prime minister, Boris Johnson, who will discuss this possible measures with ministers and senior officials.

It comes after a weekend of anger in some quarters at the large numbers of people who took to the streets and parks amid sunny weather, as well as concern that Britain is already behind the curve in terms of taking the action needed.



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