Coronavirus: Empty stadiums, Iran MP dies and France warns against kissing as world gets to grips with Covid-19

The impact of coronavirus on countries across the globe continues to worsen, as Italy, Iran, Japan and others fight to contain the outbreak.


Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe announced a 70 billion yen (£505,090,905) economic package to fight against the outbreak.

Abe said at a news conference that Japan is at critical point to determine whether the country can keep the outbreak under control ahead of the Tokyo summer Olympics.

Empty sports stadiums were also a feature on Saturday as the government warned against large crowds of people coming together.

Empty sports stadiums were also a feature on Saturday as the government warned against large crowds of people coming together. Credit: AP


Iran is preparing for the possibility of "tens of thousands" of people getting tested for the virus, as state media announced newly elected MP Mohammad Ali Ramazani Dastak had passed away.

Fourty-three of the 593 people with coronavirus in Iran have died. The new toll represents a jump of 205 cases - a 150 per cent increase from the 388 reported the day before.

But the number of known cases versus deaths would put the virus' death rate in Iran at over 7 per cent, much higher than other countries - sparking concern amongst experts Iran may be underreporting the number of cases now affecting it.

Bahrain threatened legal prosecution against travelers who came from Iran and hadn't been tested for the virus, and also barred public gatherings for two weeks.

Workers disinfect subway trains against coronavirus in Tehran, Iran. Credit: AP

United States

Donald Trump has banned travel to the US from Iran after a person in Washington died of coronavirus.

The US president also urged Americans not to ttravel to areas in Italy and South Korea which have been infected by Covid-19.

Vice-president Mike Pence also revealed that some patients with coronavirus are in intensive care units but reassured Americans that the overall risk of infection was low.

South Korea

South Korea, the second hardest hit country, reported 813 new cases on Saturday - the highest daily jump since confirming its first patient in late January and raising its total to 3,150.

The sharp rise in coronaviruses case in Italy, which has reported 888 cases, the most of any country outside Asia. Credit: AP


Emerging clusters in Italy and in Iran have led to infections of people in other countries. France and Germany were also seeing increases, with dozens of infections.

More than 1,100 cases of coronavirus has been reported in Italy, making it the most of any country outside Asia. There has also been 29 deaths. The US has urged its citizens to reconsider travel to the country, something which a tourism board in Italy described as the "final blow" to the industry.

France is banning all indoor public gatherings of more than 5,000 people to slow the spread of coronavirus cases and recommending that people no longer greet each other with kisses.

The cancellation of large gatherings in confined spaces was announced by Health Minister Olivier Veran after special government meetings Saturday that focused on responses to the epidemic.


Tourist arrivals in Thailand are down 50 per cent compared with a year ago, and in Italy, hotel bookings are falling and Premier Giuseppe Conte raised the prospect of recession.

Disinfectant is sprayed on public transport to reduce the possibility of infection. Credit: AP


In China - the epicentre of the outbreak - manufacturing fell in February by a margin wider than expected after the Covid-19's outbreak shut down more of the world's second largest economy, an official survey showed on Saturday.

The survey, coming as global stock markets fall on fears the virus will spread abroad, adds to mounting evidence of the vast cost of the disease that emerged in central China in December and its economic impact worldwide.

In China, the monthly purchasing managers' index issued by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group fell to 35.7 from January’s 50 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate activity contracting.

Economists have forecast global growth will slip to 2.4 per cent this year, the slowest since the financial crash in 2009, and down from earlier expectations closer to 3 per cent.

More than £200 billion was wiped off the value of shares on the London FTSE 100 since the start of the week, amid fears of a global outbreak of coronavirus.

But if Covid-19 becomes a global pandemic, economists expect the impact could be much worse, with the US and other global economies falling into recession.