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Global fight as new cases soar

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A map in Panama displays countries where Covid-19 has been detected

A map in Panama displays countries where Covid-19 has been detected

AFP via Getty Images

A map in Panama displays countries where Covid-19 has been detected

France ordered the closure of some of its most iconic landmarks - the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, the cafes, restaurants and cinemas - and Spain drew up plans to lock down its 46 million citizens as governments took increasingly desperate measures to put more space between people and contain the coronavirus.

China, meanwhile, where the virus first appeared late last year, continued to relax its drastic restrictions.

Spain's government is planning to impose tight emergency restrictions on people's movements, meaning they will be allowed to leave their homes only to buy food and medicine, commute to work, go to hospitals and banks, or take trips related to the care of the young and the elderly.

Spain also planned to close all schools, universities, restaurants, bars and hotels.

Spanish authorities said the number of infections climbed past 5,700, half of them in the capital, Madrid.

Some flights bound for Spain turned around as word spread of the lockdown.

In Italy, the number of deaths climbed past 1,400 and infections surged roughly 20pc to more than 21,000. Premier Giuseppe Conte has said production - particularly of food and health supplies - must not stop.

France has recorded at least 3,600 infections. In Britain, the death toll nearly doubled in a day to 21, and the number of people infected rose to over 1,100.

The US reported 51 deaths - including the first in New York - and more than 2,100 cases. In hard-hit Washington state, where 37 have died and 560 have been infected, officials said the disease is straining the supply of protective gear available to medical providers despite shipments from the government.

Sunday Independent