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Greece announces nationwide lockdown as 32,000 new cases reported worldwide

(Xinhua)    13:57, March 23, 2020

BEIJING, March 23 (Xinhua) -- As the number of COVID-19 infections continues to rise worldwide, Greece announced a nationwide lockdown on Sunday as part of measures to contain the further spread of the contagious disease.

The 14-day nationwide lockdown became effective from Monday 6:00 a.m. local time (0400 GMT).

"It must be taken on time, so it is not taken in vain ... We need bold and timely initiatives," said Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis in an address broadcast live on public broadcaster ERT.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said late Saturday in a daily situation report that a total of 32,000 new infections were reported in the past 24 hours as of 23:59 CET Friday (2259 GMT), bringing the global cumulative number of confirmed cases to 266,073.

The pandemic had killed 11,184 people worldwide as of midnight Friday, an increase of 1,344 deaths compared with the previous day, the report said.

In Europe, the epicenter of the pandemic, the death toll had risen to 6,000 as of midnight Friday, which marked an increase of 1,101 in a 24-hour span, as the total number of cases increased by 23,950 to 128,541.

The spread of the coronavirus showed no sign of abating on Sunday in Italy, which has been hit hardest by the pandemic in Europe, with the total confirmed cases of COVID-19 standing at 59,138 and deaths reaching 5,476.

In Spain, the number of confirmed cases rose to 28,572 on Sunday, including 1,720 deaths. Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said that his government was seeking to extend the current state of emergency, which was declared on March 14, for another 15 days after the end of the initial period.

In Britain, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases reached 5,683 as of 9:00 a.m. (0900 GMT) Sunday, up 665 from the previous day.

Also on Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveiled a plan to shield around 1.5 million vulnerable people in the country, which he said would be more effective than many other measures to slash the number of infected cases.

The number of COVID-19 cases in the United States topped 33,276 as of 19:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time (2300 GMT) Sunday, including 417 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.

Israel has decided to transfer around 33 million U.S. dollars to the Palestinian National Authority for containing the COVID-19 outbreak, Palestinian sources said Sunday.

Besides, the WHO report showed six additional countries and regions reported their first confirmed cases, while 98 countries and regions have seen local transmission of COVID-19.

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: He Zhuoyan, Bianji)

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