March 20 (UPI) — The worldwide death toll from the deadly and infectious coronavirus topped 10,000 on Friday as China, the former epicenter of COVID-19, reported no new domestic infections of the virus for the second day in a row.
China’s National Health Commission said in its Friday daily update that 39 new cases of COVID-19 were recorded over the previous 24 hours, but all were imported from overseas. Hubei province, the former center of the global outbreak and home to Wuhan city were the virus emerged in December, also recorded no new confirmed or suspected infections.
The commission also reported only three deaths, a number not seen since the early days of China’s outbreak.
“This is an amazing achievement, which gives us all reassurance that the coronavirus can be beaten,” World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said via Twitter Friday in response to China first stating it had no new cases.
The new figures increase China’s total infections to 80,967 and 3,248 deaths.
But ss the Asian nation reported its tallies, the global death toll for the virus topped the 10,000 mark.
According to a live tally by Johns Hopkins University, 10,030 people worldwide have died from the virus by Friday morning. Thursday evening, Italy reported 427 new deaths, surpassing China’s death toll with 3,405 despite having half its number of infections.
In Israel on Friday, the Prime Minister’s Office announced the cabinet had unanimously approved emergency regulations to restrict the movement of its citizens.
The Prime Minister’s Office said in a statement that under the framework, “activities in the public sphere will be reduced and restricted, restrictions have also been set for commercial and leisure activities for a period of seven days.”
According to the Ministry of Health, the restrictions limit people to leaving their house for commuting to and from work, for buying essentials such as food and medicine, obtaining medical services, to protest and to attend legal meetings, among others.
The new rules also prohibit certain commerical and recreational activities, including visiting bars, pubs, fitness centers, movie theatres and the like.
“Under these restrictions, you, citizens of Israel, are required to stay home,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a televised speech. “It is no longer a recommendation. It is a binding directive that will be enforced by the enforcement authorities.”
Israel reported 244 new infections in the previous 24 hours, increasing its total to 677.
In India, the world’s second-most populated country with 1.3 billion people, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced a curfew for Sunday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. to slow the spread of the coronavirus, which has infected 163 people nationwide, according to the Ministry of Health.
“During this curfew, we shall neither leave our homes nor get onto the streets or roam about our localities,” he announced in a televised speech on Thursday. “Only those associated with emergency and essential services will leave their homes.”
Sunday, he said, will be “a symbol” of the nation’s effort to “fulfill our duty in service of the nation.”
On that day at 5 p.m., he encouraged all Indians to stand at their doors, balconies and windows and clap, bang pots, ring bells to show their gratitude to those working in the emergency sector.
“Today, these people run the risk of getting infected themselves,” he said. “Yet, they continue to fulfill their duties, serving others. As defenders of the nation, they stand firmly between us and the corona pandemic. The nation is grateful to them all.”
During his speech, he also encouraged people to stay home over the next few weeks, especially those above 65 years of age.