France has announced at least 29 new deaths from the novel coronavirus outbreak, the largest single day jump recorded by the country, bringing its total to 127.
The country has seen 5,400 cases of the disease, including 900 in the last day alone.
The new cases came as France held local elections Sunday.
Both Spain and Italy also announced new highs for deaths in the last day.
Franco-German frontier remains opened, yet border controls have been reinforced, French government has said. Earlier reports suggested that Berlin decided to shut it altogether in a bid to stop the coronavirus outbreak.
The tightened controls are set to limit “non-essential exchange” between the two countries, according to France’s Interior Minister Christophe Castaner.
“These French and German controls do not constitute a closure of our common border,” the minister said in a statement. “They are set to limit non-essential exchanges between our two countries in order to limit the spread of the virus.”
Both France and Germany have been vocal opponents of closing borders amid the coronavirus pandemic — a step undertaken by many countries worldwide. Earlier this week, German Chancellor Angela Merkel she spoke against tougher border controls, arguing that for Germany was “not an appropriate response to the challenge.” At the same time, she urged the people to limit personal contact, while several German cities, including Berlin, imposed a lockdown on public venues and gatherings.
Earlier in the day, several German news outlets reported that Berlin decided to shut some of its largest land borders, namely ones with France, Austria and Switzerland. The closure, expected to take effect on Monday, however, would not have affected the flow of goods as well as cross-border commuters, going to work.
The number of coronavirus cases outside of China has now surpassed the number inside, according to a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
According to the count, there have been 162,687 cases total, with 81,003 of them inside China. The rest of the world has seen 81,684 cases.
Officials believe the number of actual cases around the world to be much higher, with testing yet to catch up and flag most cases. Some governments have also been accused of hiding the extent of outbreaks within their borders.
The US government’s top infectious disease expert says he would like to see aggressive measures such as a 14-day national shutdown that would require Americans to hunker down even more to help slow spread of the coronavirus.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the public face of the administration’s messaging during a round of morning TV interviews, says the country should do as much as “we possibly could,” even if officials are criticized for “overreacting.”
He says he raised the issue of measures such as a shutdown with the Trump administration, and said it has been open to his ideas.
“I think Americans should be prepared that they are going to have to hunker down significantly more than we as a country are doing,” says Fauci, a member of the White House task force on combating the spread of coronavirus. He heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health.
Fauci says the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions should already be hunkering down, but other Americans, too, should consider “much more” restrictions on outside activity, from work and travel to possibly eating at restaurants.
In Ohio, the governor has ordered all bars and restaurants to shut down Sunday night, and Illinois is considering the same after revelers ignored warnings and packed bars for St. Patrick’s Day.
New Jersey’s governor is also considering a curfew, and other states are mulling measures as well.
The Ynet news website publishes video of what it says is video of a young woman being arrested for breaking a self-quarantine.
According to the news site, the woman tried to enter a grocery store in Tel Aviv, but when asked if she returned recently from abroad, answered yes. When she refused to leave, the store manager called the police, who showed up with Health Ministry officials in bunny suits to remove her. She was arrested after refusing to give her address.
On Saturday, even more dramatic video reminiscent of scenes in Wuhan, China, showed a man being pinned down and arrested on a Tel Aviv street after breaking quarantine for a second time in as many days, according to the news site.