One-third of the world now under COVID-19 lockdown

One-third of the planet is now under orders to stay at home, as India with its population of one billion people went into lockdown Wednesday (March 25).

Europe remains at the heart of the epidemic, with first Italy and now Spain’s death toll overtaking that of China.

Coronavirus cases are also spreading in the Middle East, where Iran’s death toll topped 2,000 on Wednesday, and in Africa, where Mali joined all seven of its neighbours in declaring its first cases—two nationals who arrived home recently from France.

More than 404,000 cases have been declared in 175 countries and territories and 19,000 deaths since the epidemic first emerged in China in December.

Countries around the world have closed their borders and ordered their populations to stay home to contain the spread of the disease.

President Donald Trump has voiced hope that the United States—where over 50,000 people have reportedly been infected—will be “raring to go” by mid-April. However, his optimism appeared to stand almost alone among world leaders who were ratcheting up the movement restrictions in a bid to stifle the spread of the disease.