Virus keeps at least 500 million people around the world at home
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Virus keeps at least 500 million people around the world at home

From China to the Czech Republic to Venezuela, governments have told their citizens to stay indoors to try and slow the spread of the pandemic

Two men stand on their balcony with a banner reading "stay at home," in Nantes, on March 17, 2020, as a strict lockdown comes into effect to stop the spread of the COVID-19 in France. (Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP)
Two men stand on their balcony with a banner reading "stay at home," in Nantes, on March 17, 2020, as a strict lockdown comes into effect to stop the spread of the COVID-19 in France. (Sebastien SALOM-GOMIS / AFP)

PARIS, France — Some 500 million people have been subject to lockdown measures around the world because of the coronavirus outbreak that started in China and has quickly ballooned globally, according to an AFP count.

From China to the Czech Republic to Venezuela, governments have told their citizens to stay indoors to try and slow the spread of the pandemic.

There have been 207,860 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, spread out in 166 countries, with 8,657 deaths, according to World Health Organization figures Thursday.

Here are the populations affected:

People outside the Wuhan Huanan Wholesale Seafood Market, where a number of people related to the market fell ill with a virus in Wuhan, China, January 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

The central Chinese province of Hubei and its capital Wuhan where the COVID-19 virus broke out late last year, have been cut off from the world since late January.

Quarantine is still in force there, but restrictions on movement were eased on March 14 for the province’s more than 50 million inhabitants.

At least eight other countries have followed the Chinese province in enforcing confinement: Italy since March 10, Spain from March 14, Lebanon on March 15, the Czech Republic on March 16, France and Venezuela on March 17, and Belgium on March 18.

That means some 230 million people in these eight countries are obliged to stay at home.

A man wears a protective mask in an empty street, in Rome, March 18, 2020. (Andrew Medichini/AP)

In most of these places it is possible to leave the house to buy basic necessities, access health care or go to work if staying at home is not an option.

Some countries have taken more targeted measures, including Bulgaria which has put the ski resort town of Bansko under quarantine.

Egypt has confined all employees in the Red Sea tourist area.

Inhabitants of the Colombian capital Bogota are to go through a trial isolation exercise from March 20 to 23, which may pave the way for a full quarantine.

At least five countries — Israel, Austria, Britain, Germany and Iran — have urged people to limit as much as possible their movements and contacts, without going as far as enforcing confinement.

The five countries are home to around 230 million people.

Israel has told its public to remain indoors, to work from home if possible and only venture out when necessary. Some non-essential businesses have been told to put employees on leave. Leisure and recreation venues have been closed, as have schools, universities and kindergartens, but there in no enforcement of the measures beyond police halting large gatherings.

Israelis shop for groceries in Jerusalem amid coronavirus fears, March 18, 2020. (Yossi Zamir/Flash90)

In Germany, where several “corona-parties” have been organized in parks, Chancellor Angela Merkel on Wednesday called on the population to rise to the task of fighting the virus.

A barrier tape closes off the ‘Taxis’ beergarden in Munich, Germany, March 18, 2020. (Matthias Schrader/AP)

In Iran the authorities have complained that in spite of warnings, bazaars are brimming as the Iranian New Year approaches on Friday.

At least six countries or territories have imposed curfews banning movements in the evening and overnight: Tunisia, Bolivia, Serbia, the US states of New Jersey and Puerto Rico, and the Philippines’ capital Manila.

These territories hold more than 50 million inhabitants.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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