WHO urges world to 'test, test, test' for COVID-19

The World Health Organization (WHO) has described the coronavirus pandemic is that the "defining global health crisis of our time", and urged countries to check all suspected cases of COVID-19.

"We have an easy message to any or all countries - test, test, test," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a press conference in Geneva on Monday. "All countries should be ready to test all suspected cases. they can not fight this pandemic blindfolded."

The u. s. and countries across Europe, Asia and also the Mideast have closed schools, entertainment venues and every one but essential services.

Governments are limiting all travel curb the movement of individuals. The Philippines put the whole island of Luzon under lockdown, while Malaysia will effectively close off the country from March 18. Asian country and China, wary of imported infections, have tightened requirements for international arrivals.

Globally, the virus has infected quite 168,000 people and killed a minimum of 6,610, in keeping with the WHO.

This is Al Jazeera's continuing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

I'm Kate Mayberry in capital of Malaysia.

Here are the newest updates:

Tuesday, March 17
05:00 GMT - Thomas J. Hanks and Rita Wilson leave hospital for quarantine - People magazine
Hollywood actors Thomas J. Hanks and Rita Wilson are discharged from hospital within the Australian state of Queensland five days after they were admitted with the coronavirus, People magazine reported.

The couple, both 63, are in quarantine in an exceedingly rented home.

Hanks was one in all the primary celebrities to announce he had been diagnosed with COVID-19, but variety of actors, sports stars, and politicians have contracted it since.

04:20 GMT - Thailand reports 30 new cases
Thailand has reported 30 new cases of coronavirus bringing its total to 177. Eleven of the 30 cases are linked to a ring.

04:00 GMT - China's Xi tells Italy's Conte more help coming
More physicians and supplies are on their thanks to Italy, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Italian Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte in an exceedingly turn Monday evening.

Xi noted that the coronavirus was a "severe" test of both countries which China acknowledged Italy's "urgent concerns" about the spread of the Illness, the State Council Information Office said.

Italy is that the worst-affected country outside China and also the epicentre of the outbreak in Europe.

03:20 GMT - Philippine Airlines cancels all domestic flights with immediate effect
Philippine Airlines has cancelled all domestic flights with immediate effect as a results of the strict quarantine imposed across the island of Luzon.

Its last international flights are going to be completed by midnight on March 20, the Inquirer reported.

03:15 GMT - Cambodia coronavirus cases double to 24
Cambodia has confirmed another 12 cases of coronavirus, the Health Ministry said.

There are now 24 known cases within the country.

03:10 GMT - Wuhan imposes central quarantine on overseas returnees
Wuhan, where the coronavirus originated late last year, says it'll require all people who return to town from overseas to spend 14 days in an exceedingly central quarantine at their own expense.

The city's epidemic control team made the announcement on its website on Tuesday.

02:40 GMT - Ohio to delay primary despite court ruling
Ohio will postpone a primary planned for Tuesday, despite a judge's refusal to shut the election down, due to the general public health emergency caused by the threat of the coronavirus, Governor Mike DeWine said on Twitter.

"Under these extraordinary circumstances, it simply isn't possible to carry an election tomorrow which will be considered legitimate by Ohioans," DeWine wrote. "They mustn't be forced to decide on between their health and exercising their constitutional rights."

02:35 GMT - Brazil's Foreign Trade Secretary confirmed to own virus
Brazilian Foreign Trade Secretary Marcos Troyjo, who was a part of the Brazilian delegation that recently visited Florida, has tested positive for the coronavirus, his office said in an exceedingly statement on Monday.

Troyjo, who is Brazil's deputy economy minister, was in Miami for meetings but didn't attend a dinner hosted by US President Donald Trump for Brazilian government leaders nine days ago. he's showing no symptoms and is functioning from his place strict isolation, the statement said.

02:25 GMT - city to quarantine all arrivals from Thursday
Hong Kong will quarantine for 14 days all people entering town ranging from midnight on Thursday, chief executive Carrie Lam said on Tuesday.

Lam also said it absolutely was highly unlikely schools would resume operations on April 20, because the government advised citizens to avoid all non-essential travel.

01:55 GMT - Trump refers to 'Chinese virus' as he stresses support for US businesses
US President Trump stated COVID-19 because the "Chinese Virus" in an exceedingly tweet promising support for American businesses, as his administration put pressure on the Senate to pass a multibillion-dollar coronavirus aid package.

The Senate is grappling over an economic stimulus bill, the second such measure, which was gone by the Democratic-run House of Representatives on Saturday. Previously, Congress passed and Trump signed an $8.3bn package to battle the coronavirus.

Senate legislator Mitch McConnell told reporters the Senate was "anxious" to urge the newest House-passed bill, and he hoped senators would "pass it" once it arrived.

Eric Ueland, the White House legislative liaison, said congressional action on the subsequent coronavirus stimulus package needed to be fast and unimpeded by the potential tag.

01:50 GMT - Asian country reports fewer than 100 new cases for third day
South Korea has just given its latest updates - reporting 84 new coronavirus cases, the third day in an exceedingly row that the country has had fewer than 100 new infections.

The new numbers are well below a February 29 peak of 909, and produce the country's total infections to eight,320, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.

The toll rose by two to 81, the KCDC added.

A further 264 patients are released after recovering, bringing the entire to 1,401, it added.

01:40 GMT - Inmates get away of Brazil jails before suspension of day-release programme
Hundreds of prisoners broke out of 4 Brazilian jails on Monday, the day before the suspension of a day-release programme due to the coronavirus outbreak, urban center prison house authorities and native media reported.

The urban center prison house authority said it couldn't say what number inmates had escaped because it was "still tallying the precise number of fugitives." Local media reported that as many as 1,000 had fled from four jails - Mongagua, Tremembe, Porto Feliz and Mirandopolis.

The urban center prison house authority said "acts of insubordination" had taken place at the jails.

The suspension was necessary, it added, because 34,000 convicts would be returning to jail and "would have a high potential to put in and propagate the coronavirus in an exceedingly vulnerable population, generating health risks for servers and custodians." It said enforcement was "taking care of the case."

01:10 GMT - Iceland's widespread testing of general population
Iceland is undertaking widespread testing of the overall population with the next proportion of its 364,000 people being tested for COVID-19 than anywhere else within the world.

Some 3,787 individuals are tested, which translates to 10,405 per million, compared with 5,333 in Asian country, 8,410 in Bahrain and a pair of,281 in Italy, the country's Foreign Ministry said in an exceedingly statement.

The authorities have identified 218 cases since the primary case on 28 February, with three people in hospital. There are no deaths.

Tests show about half the cases are among folks that visited the ecu Alps.

"There are strong indications that our efforts to contain the spread of the virus are effective," Chief Epidemiologist Thorolfur Gudnason said. "About half the diagnosed cases are from individuals who had been quarantined. Our focus is to guard those most vulnerable ... while trying to confirm that the general spread of the virus remains slow. We are optimistic that the combined efforts to check an oversized a part of the population will provide insights that may contribute to the world's response to the current pandemic."

Iceland is functioning with deCode Genetics on virus testing and expects to check 1,100 people each day.

Its measures to tackle the virus also include contact-tracing, social distancing, public efforts to extend awareness available hygiene, and voluntary self-quarantine measures (about 1,700 people are currently in self-isolation).

01:05 GMT - Venezuela to impose nationwide quarantine
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro will implement a nationwide quarantine after 16 new cases were detected on Monday.

"It is important, it's indispensable, it's the response," Maduro said in an address on state television.

The country began a quarantine in an exceedingly few states, which Maduro said had been successful. the entire number of cases in Venezuela currently stands at 33.

Maduro added that the country would be receiving shipments of medication from Cuba and protective gear and "thousands" of test kits from China. He also said the govt. would be announcing benefits for citizens, without providing details.

The collapse of oil prices within the past week - because of a drop by demand associated with coronavirus further as a price battle between top producers Asian country and Russia - threatens to aggravate the six-year recession in Venezuela's oil-dependent economy.

00:10 GMT - Colombia to shut all borders until May 30
Colombia's President Ivan Duque has just announced the country will close all its borders - from Saint Patrick's Day until May 30 - in an exceedingly bid to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

00:00 GMT - Imported cases push up China numbers
China's aggressive containment strategies are keeping domestic transmission under control, but it continues to report new imported cases.

Mainland China had 21 new confirmed cases of coronavirus infections on Monday, the National Health Commission said on Tuesday, up from 16 each day earlier. The central province of Hubei reported one new case, while there have been 20 new imported cases.

The total number of confirmed cases in China now stands at 80,881, with 3,226 dead.

The country recorded 13 deaths on Monday, 12 of them in Hubei. Of those, 11 were within the metropolis of Wuhan where the virus first emerged late last year.

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