The world steps up efforts to tackle COVID-19, as the number of people who have died from the virus in China exceeds 3,


Italy is closing schools and universities among measures to tackle the coronavirus [Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters]
Italy is closing schools and universities among measures to tackle the coronavirus [Flavio Lo Scalzo/Reuters]

Hello and welcome to Al Jazeera’s live blog on the coronavirus outbreak.

I’m Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur, taking over from my colleague Virginia Peitromachi.

qatar airways

A recap of Wednesday’s developments:

The US Congress has approved emergency funding of $8.3bn to tackle the coronavirus with more than 100 people diagnosed with COVID-19 and 11 deaths. The upper house will vote on the measure on Thursday.

Other countries tackling more severe outbreaks of the disease announced new measures.

Italy, where the death toll has risen to 107, is closing schools and universities and no fans will be allowed to attend large sporting events.

Iran has banned top government officials from leaving the country. The vice president, the deputy health minister and 23 members of parliament have all been diagnosed with the disease.

In Iraq, a second person died from COVID-19.


Here are all the latest updates.

Thursday, March 5

01:35 GMT – Singapore delays flight after passenger confirmed with COVID-19

Singapore’s Transport Ministry grounded a Turkish Airlines flight on Wednesday after one of the passengers tested positive for the coronavirus.

TK54, a Boeing 787-9, arrived in Singapore from Turkey on March 3, but was delayed on the return leg after the case was discovered, the ministry said in a statement on its website.

“(The) Ministry of Health has started contact tracing for flight passengers who may have had contact with the case while the case was infectious,” it said.

Local media reported there were 220 people on the plane, which flew back to Turkey with crew but no passengers in the early hours of Thursday morning.

00:35 GMT – China coronavirus deaths exceed 3,000

China’s National Health Commission has just released its daily update on the coronavirus.

It reported 139 new cases on Wednesday, compared with 119 the day before. That brings the total number of cases on the mainland 80,409.

The number of deaths rose to 3,012 after an additional 31 people died from the illness.

00:25 GMT – California declares state of emergency over virus

California Governor Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency over the coronavirus after the state reported its first death from the disease.

Newsom told a media briefing the state had 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Office of the Governor of California


Governor @GavinNewsom today declared a State of Emergency to make additional resources available, formalize emergency actions already underway across multiple state agencies and departments, help the state prepare for broader spread of , and more. 

Governor Newsom Declares State of Emergency to Help State Prepare for Broader Spread of COVID-19 |…

Emergency proclamation builds on work already underway across state government to protect public health and safety Proclamation includes increased protections against price gouging…

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Click here to read updates from Wednesday, March 4.

Coronavirus sample
Countries around the world are stepping up testing and refining containment plans for the coronavirus that first emerged in China late last year [File: Dado Ruvic/Reuters]