About one billion people were confined to their homes worldwide, on Saturday, as the global coronavirus death toll topped 12,000 and US states rolled out stay-at-home measures already imposed across swathes of Europe.
More than a third of Americans were adjusting to life in various phases of virtual lockdown — including in the US’s three biggest cities of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago — with more states expected to ramp up restrictions.
New Jersey became the latest US state to restrict movement as the fast-spreading pandemic upends lives across the planet, closing businesses, shutting schools and forcing millions to work from home.
“This is a time of shared national sacrifice, but also a time to treasure our loved ones,” US President Donald Trump told a press conference. “We’re going to have a great victory.”
The virus death toll surpassed 13,000 worldwide as worst-hit Italy reported a one-day record number of deaths at 793 — the overall total shot past 4,800 — and Spain reported a 32 percent spike in new deaths.
The nearly one billion people are now confined to their homes in 35 countries around the world — including 600 million hemmed in by obligatory government lockdown orders — AFP writes.
In France, police officials said helicopters and drones were being deployed to boost the government’s attempts to keep people in their homes.
“The helicopters will give us a larger vision and a panoramic view of the situation in real-time to help guide the patrols on the ground,” a national police source said.
The measures came as pressure mounted on Olympic organizers to postpone the 2020 Tokyo Games — and as the US Congress thrashes out an emergency economic package that could top $1 trillion.
China on Saturday reported no new local infections for a third straight day, and the WHO said the central city of Wuhan, where the virus first emerged late last year, offered a glimmer of “hope for the rest of the world.”
But there are growing concerns of a new wave of “imported” infections in the region, with Hong Kong reporting 48 suspected cases on Friday –- its biggest daily jump since the crisis began.
Britain also announced tougher restrictions, telling pubs, restaurants and theaters to close.
While the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions are the hardest hit by the virus, the World Health Organisation has warned that young people are also vulnerable.