Over 1 billion told to stay home as coronavirus deaths top 15,000

More than 50 countries, including the UAE, issue directives to residents as governments battle Covid-19 pandemic
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More than one billion people have been asked to stay home in more than 50 countries and territories around the world as governments battle the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, according to an AFP tally Monday.

Some countries imposed mandatory lockdown measures, while others have issued stay-at-home recommendations to stem the spread of the virus, sister publication AB.com reported.

At least 34 countries or territories has established mandatory lockdown measures ordering people to stay in their homes, accounting for some 659 million people.

This includes France, Italy, Argentina, the US state of California, Iraq and Rwanda.

The UAE government has also urged the public to stay at home unless it's absolutely necessary to buy essential supplies, such as food and medicine, or perform essential jobs.

In a joint statement, the UAE’s Ministry of Interior and the National Emergency and Crisis and Disasters Management Authority urged UAE citizens, residents and visitors to comply with the instructions and guidelines, which is aimed at limiting social contact between people and avoiding crowded places.

Greece is the most recent country to impose mandatory confinement measures, which came into effect on Monday morning.

Colombia will enforce an obligatory lockdown on Tuesday and New Zealand will follow suit Wednesday.

In most cases it is still possible to leave the house to go to work, buy essentials or seek medical care.

At least four countries with a collective population of more than 228 million people, including Iran, Germany and Britain, have urged their populations to stay indoors and limit contact with other people as much as possible.

But the impact of these non-mandatory recommendations has been limited.

In Britain, the government warned of tougher measures after crowds gathered in parks and beaches over the weekend, while millions of people in Iran travelled for the Persian New Year last week.

At least 10 countries and territories with a total population of 117 million people have issued curfews and barred overnight travel.

These measures are in place in Burkina Faso, Chile, the Philippines' capital Manila, Serbia and Mauritania, while in Saudi Arabia a curfew will be imposed from Monday evening.

Elsewhere, some countries have imposed isolation measures in main cities, with measures barring people from entering or exiting.

These measures have been seen in Almaty, Bulgaria, Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan's Baku.

Combined, these cities have an estimated 10 million inhabitants.

Separately, deaths from the coronavirus pandemic have topped 15,000 across the globe, according to an AFP tally compiled on Monday from official figures.

A total of 15,189 deaths have been recorded, the majority in Europe with 9,197 fatalities.

Italy is the hardest-hit country with 5,476 deaths, followed by China where the virus first emerged last year with 3,270, and Spain with 2,182.

With a total of 1,395 new deaths reported in the past 24 hours out of 172,238 officially declared cases, Europe is now the continent where the virus is spreading the most rapidly.

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