In Britain, junior Health Minister Nadine Dorries said she had tested positive for coronavirus and was self-isolating. The UK had 382 confirmed cases on Wednesday afternoon.
Encouraging many of Italy’s 60 million people to stay home and further drying up what was left of the country’s already battered tourism industry is a further blow to already reeling global markets.
Italy’s economy, the third-largest of the 19 countries that use the euro currency, relies heavily on industries requiring the physical presence and proximity of workers: tourism, manufacturing and retail.
Expectations have grown that European Central Bank officials will announce more monetary stimulus when they meet on Thursday, including an interest rate cut and corporate bond purchases aimed at supporting business borrowing.
And the European Commission says it plans to bring forward existing funding to create a 25 billion-euro ($43.6 billion) investment fund to support the health care system, businesses and labour market measures.
Australia on Wednesday added Italy to the list of countries from which travellers will be banned due to coronavirus concerns. Other nations followed suit, banning air traffic and strengthening travel advisories. Neighbouring Austria barred travellers from crossing the border without a medical certificate.
In the US, New York’s governor announced on Wednesday (AEDT) he was sending the National Guard into the New York City suburb of New Rochelle to help fight what is believed to be the nation’s biggest cluster of coronavirus cases.
The move came as health authorities contended with alarming bunches of infections on both coasts of the US and scattered cases in between.
Confirmed cases in the US passed 1000 on Wednesday with 28 dead, primarily in the badly hit state of Washington. The state’s governor was set to ban gatherings and events of more than 250 people in virtually the entire Seattle metro area in a bit to contain the outbreak.
As of Tuesday evening, more than 1400 passengers from the virus-stricken Grand Princess cruise liner had disembarked in California. Hundreds trudged ashore, many in sandals, sunglasses and face masks, at the Port of Oakland on Tuesday before being taken to quarantine sites around the country.
In New Zealand, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern rejected the need for a stimulus package similar to that announced in Australia after the nation reached its fourth straight day without a positive coronavirus test.
More than half world’s countries now have confirmed cases of the coronavirus, including Turkey, which recorded its first cases of the virus on Wednesday.