BBC News. Hello, this is Jerry Smit.
Countries around the world are bringing in tough new measures to restrict the movement of people, as the number of infections from the coronavirus passes 200000. Belgium has become the latest European country to go into lockdown. Here's Mike Sanders.
Belgians are now obliged to stay home. The only exceptions are to go to work, essential shopping and exercise, including walking the dog. Exploiting more lax conditions across the border in the Netherlands is frowned upon. France and Spain have already implemented similar restrictions. In Madrid, around 800 people have been fined. Free movement within the European Union Schengen area has all but ended. Queues have built up on the border between Germany and Poland and between Austria and Hungary, where a 4-hour window was not enough to clear the backlog of stranded Romanians and Bulgarians.
East Asian nations are also imposing strict controls to fight the coronavirus。 South Korea and the Philippines have imposed quarantine measures on the arrivals。 Thailand, where cases are on the rise, is also tightening controls with immediate effect。 Jonathan Head is in Bangkok。
It's visibly slowing down by the hour. It was only yesterday that the government announced a complete shutdown of all nightlife. They're leaving restaurants open, but they're shutting down all bars, anywhere people can gather in large numbers, all entertainment zones. They shut down all schools or universities. Some provinces in Thailand are actually trying to control movement in and out of them. People are beginning to queue up and panic buy in the way that we've seen in Europe and the United States. There's a sense here that the lull they've had since this virus first arrived in January, where people have worn face mask, but they haven't really changed their lives. That is changing, now.
Countries in the Middle East are also stepping up their efforts to control the virus outbreak, as Lina Sinjab reports from Beirut.
Lebanon is sealing off its borders, and Beirut airport is closing at midnight tonight. Saudi Arabia has suspended almost prayers as well as ordering much of the private sector to suspend work for two weeks. Syria, despite having reported no virus cases, has closed universities and schools for two weeks. Iran remains the main country of concern in the region, with, according to official figures, 16000 cases and close to a thousand death.
In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has met leaders of the country's main political parties and has appealed for solidarity in the fight against the coronavirus. Opposition politicians said they would back the government's efforts.
Share prices have fallen again in Europe, with markets unimpressed by government's stimulus packages designed to counter the impact of the pandemic.
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