US extends coronavirus travel ban to UK and Ireland: Live updates

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The worldwide death toll from the coronavirus pandemic surged past 5,000 on Saturday with the total number of cases rising to more than 140,000, as the infection continues to prompt countries to take unprecedented measures to help stave off a global health crisis.

Spanish media reported that the country’s government will be announcing a countrywide lockdown while declaring a two-week state of emergency to fight the sharp rise in coronavirus infections.

The US announced that it was extending the travel restrictions imposed on the European nations to Britain and Ireland.

The World Health Organization (WHO), meanwhile, said Europe has now become the “epicentre” of the spread of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.

Saudi Arabia said it would suspend international flights for two weeks in response to the outbreak while New Zealand announced a mandatory two-week quarantine for anyone entering the country, just hours after cancelling the one-year memorial service of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

The coronavirus has also spread to several countries on the African continent, with Kenya, Ethiopia, Sudan, Guinea, Mauritania and Eswatini (formerly known as Swaziland) all confirming their first cases on Friday and Saturday.