'We are at war': World in lockdown amid warning virus could cause 150,000 Australian deaths

From closing borders to moving university classes online, around the world, leaders are taking unprecedented steps to try and ease the spread of the deadly novel coronavirus.

In Australia more than 377 confirmed cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed and five people have died so far.

Australians are likely to have to change their way of life for at least six months as parts of the nation shut down to combat the coronavirus spread, the prime minister has warned.

Scott Morrison's acknowledgement of the timeframe comes as states and territories declare public health emergencies, giving officials greater powers to detain people or restrict movements.

Public health emergencies have been declared in Queensland, Victoria, ACT and South Australia.

Whereas NSW has confirmed 171 cases, the highest of any state or territory in Australia.

Of that number, 37 were confirmed between Sunday and Monday morning, marking the largest number of cases in one day.

LIVE: Coronavirus news and updates from around the world

Mr Morrison called for the nation to work together to slow the spread of the virus, acknowledging Australians will face greater restrictions as they seek to carry on with their lives.

“This will be a difficult six months. It could be longer. It could be sooner than that,” he told ABC radio on Monday.

It comes as the Deputy Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly said anywhere between 20 and 60 per cent of Australians will contract the disease.

“It's something in that range,” he said Monday.

“This is an infectious disease ... The death rate is about one per cent, so you can do the maths.”

Deputy Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly speaks to the media Monday afternoon. Source: AAP

As The Sydney Morning Herald reported, using those numbers, a worse case scenario could result in as many as 150,000 coronavirus deaths in Australia.  

Nationally there has been a ban on mass gathering of more than 500 people and state RSL branches are cancelling upcoming ANZAC Day events.

Anyone entering Australia from overseas must self-isolate for 14 days, and travel bans for all visitors from China, Iran, South Korea and Italy are still in place.


France, which has reported over 5,395 cases, is imposing nationwide restrictions on how far from their homes people can go, and for what purpose.

French President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation Tuesday morning, AEST, and said that “movements will be very strongly reduced” for 15 days in the country.

The French president has dramatically restricted movement in the country.

He said residents will only be permitted to leave their homes for necessary trips such as going to work or the supermarket.

Macron said in televised remarks that the government decided to order the restrictions because people haven’t complied with earlier public health measures and “we are at war”.

Macron added that any violations will be penalised, without elaborating how.


Greece is imposing a compulsory 14-day quarantine on anyone entering the country and extending shop closures.

So far, all restaurants, bars and cafes have already shut down, except for deliveries and takeaways. 

Deputy government spokeswoman Aristotelia Peloni said the expanded closures, as of Wednesday, would not affect supermarkets, pharmacies, banks or petrol stations.


Germany has partially closed its borders with five neighbours, leading to queues at some crossings.

German police launched new controls at the usually check-free borders with France, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Denmark on Monday. 

People who commute across the border to work are still allowed to cross, as can trucks carrying goods, and Germans are being allowed back in. 

But interior minister Horst Seehofer said that people "without a valid reason to travel" would not be allowed across.


Fiat Chrysler Automobiles announced it is suspending production across most of its European plants through to March 27.

The Italian-American carmaker is closing six plants in Italy that make cars under the Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Maserati nameplates as well as a plant in Serbia that makes the Fiat 500L and in Poland that makes the Fiat 500.

A nurse inside a Civil Protection tent set up as a Pre-Triage in the Luigi Curto hospital on March 16, 2020 in Polla, Italy. Source: Getty Images

South Korea

South Korea's central bank has executed an emergency rate cut of 0.5 percentage points to help ease the economic fallout.

The Bank of Korea's move brought its policy rate to an all-time low of 0.75 per cent.


Bangladesh's government has shut down all educational institutions and private tutorial centres across the country until March 31.

Czech Republic

Czech authorities are ordering a lockdown of 21 towns and villages in an area some 150 miles east of the capital to prevent the coronavirus from spreading.


Tehran reported another 129 fatalities on Monday, the largest one-day rise since it began battling the Middle East's worst outbreak, which has claimed more than 850 lives and infected a number of senior officials in the country.

Businesses in the capital remained open even as other countries in the region moved towards full lockdowns.

News agencies said a 78-year-old member of the Iranian clerical body that chooses the country's supreme leader has died from COVID-19.

Disinfection works are being carried out to public transport vehicles and bus stations due to the coronavirus in Tehran, Iran. Source: Getty Images


Turkey is closing bars and nightclubs as of Monday, local time, suspended flights to several countries and closed schools and universities.

On Sunday, Turkey set up quarantine locations for more than 10,300 people returning from pilgrimages to Islam's holy sites in Saudi Arabia.


The Bank of Japan announced after an emergency policy meeting it would expand its purchases of stocks, bonds and other assets and provide zero interest, one-year loans to companies running short of cash.

The co-ordinated moves by the US Federal Reserve, European Central Bank and BOJ were followed by rate cuts in South Korea and in Hong Kong, where the currency is pegged to the US dollar.

They failed to impress financial markets, which resumed their declines as Wall Street futures traded 5 per cent lower.

Japan's Nikkei 225 index slipped 2.5 per cent, closing at 17,002.04. 


Liberia has announced its first COVID-19 case.

Liberia, along with its neighbours Sierra Leone and Guinea, were devastated by Ebola outbreaks from 2014 to 2016 that killed more than 11,300 people, including 4000 in Liberia alone.


Belgium's political parties have agreed to temporarily put their differences aside to fight the coronavirus outbreak more efficiently. 

After months of failed negotiations, opposition parties agreed to grant Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes' caretaker government special powers for up to six months.

In an attempt to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus, Wilmes' government has closed schools, bars and restaurants and suspended all sports and cultural events. 

A picture shows the empty Grand-Place in the centre of Brussels on March 16, 2020, amid the outbreak of COVID-19. Source: Getty Images


Hungary's prime minister said the country is closing its borders to foreigners and only citizens will be allowed in. Prime Minister Viktor Orban said all bars, restaurants and shops will have to close daily at 3pm, with only food stores and pharmacies allowed to stay open longer.

Schools were closed to students on Monday, with distance learning programs starting to be implemented.


Spain has become the fourth most virus-infected country in the world, surpassing South Korea, following a sharp rise in cases.

Minister Fernando Grande Marlaska said a total lockdown could be the next step, after deploying the army to the streets and to clean train stations, ordering 46 million to stay at home and taking over control of private hospitals.

Portugal and Spain have already agreed to halt tourism across their shared border. 


Serbia said troops are being deployed to the country's borders and the streets of the capital, Belgrade, to reinforce a nationwide state of emergency that has been introduced in an effort to try to stop the coronavirus outbreak.


The government in Greenland has reported the first confirmed coronavirus case on the world's largest non-continental island.


Malaysia's leader has announced a drastic two-week lockdown in the country to slow the spread of coronavirus following a sharp spike in the number of cases.

All religious institutions, schools, businesses and government offices will be shut from Wednesday until March 31. All mass gatherings will be banned and only essential services including supermarkets, banks, petrol stations and pharmacies will be allowed to stay open.

Malaysians will not be allowed to travel overseas, and all foreign visitors will be banned. All Malaysians returning from overseas will have to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Port health workers check the body temperature of passengers from Malaysia who arrive at Nusantara Port, Parepare City. Source: Getty Images


Switzerland's government has declared a state of emergency, ordering shops, restaurants, bars and other facilities to be shut down.

The measures exclude healthcare operations and supermarkets but include entertainment and leisure facilities, which will be closed until April 19.

The government approved the use of up to 8,000 members of the military to help in hospitals, as well as where needed with logistics and security.


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he will close the country's border to anyone not a citizen or a permanent resident, but Americans will be exempted.

Trudeau announced the move outside his residence, where he is self-isolating after his wife tested positive for the virus.

with Associated Press and AAP

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