By Sam Wong
and Conrad Quilty-Harper
German Federal police officers stand at the closed border to France due the Coronovirus Epidemic in Kehl, German
Latest coronavirus news as of 6PM on 16 March
The UK government has announced that everyone in the country should avoid “non-essential” travel and should voluntarily avoid pubs, clubs and theatres.
Governments around the world continued to limit travel and close borders. In Europe, Germany partially closed its borders with five countries. The European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has proposed that there should be a ban on all non-essential travel from outside the European Union for 30 days with exemptions for long-term residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats.
South Africa and Kenya have imposed strict bans on travel from the worst affected countries.
In the US, flight bans that were extended to the UK and Ireland came into effect. New York, New Jersey and Connecticut forced the closure of restaurants, bars and cinemas. Australias prime minister said all travellers arriving in the country would have to self-isolate for 14 days, or risk prison and fines.
In Italy, Lombardys governor says the growth of new cases has slowed slightly, but cases in Italy and Spain are still increasing much more rapidly than they did in China, as this (log scale) chart from the Financial Times shows.
The worldwide death toll has passed 6500. Keep up with the best data on the global cases with this map and dashboard from Johns Hopkins University.
Latest on coronavirus from New Scientist
Testing is key: The WHOs assistant director general Bruce Aylward tells New Scientist that effective quarantine is essential for tackling the coronavirus, but this cannot happen without extensive testing for covid-19. Read our full interview with Bruce Aylward.
Pregnancy and babies: According to initial reports based on small numbers of people, pregnant women and their babies do not seem to be more vulnerable to covid-19 than other groups of people, but doctors warn that it is too early to know for sure. Early reports suggest the virus doesnt pass from mother to baby via breast milk, but health bodies are advising new mothers who are infected with the virus to take precautions while breastfeeding, such as washing their hands and wearing a facemask.
Psychological responses: When facing uncertainty, we are motivated to take actions that increase our sense of control over the situation, explains psychologist Rachel McCloy. Unfortunately, this can lead to behaviours such as panic buying, which do not actually help to control the virus and may make the situation worse.
Essential information about coronavirus
What is covid-19?
What are the worst symptoms and how deadly is covid-19?
What you need to know to prepare for a covid-19 pandemic
How do I get tested and how does the test work?
Why don’t children seem to get very ill from the coronavirus?
More on these topics:
By Sam Wong