Nearly a billion people were locked in their homes worldwide on Saturday when coronavirus deaths rose to over 11,000 worldwide and the U.S. had already taken steps to stay home across much of Europe.
The rapidly expanding pandemic has completely changed life around the world, restricted movement, closed schools and forced millions to work from home.
Around 30 percent of Americans have gotten used to life in various phases of virtual blocking – including in the three largest cities in the United States, New York, Los Angeles and Chicago – and more states were expected to tighten the restrictions.
The number of virus deaths worldwide was over 11,000, in the most affected Italy alone more than 4,000, while deaths in Spain increased by 32 percent.
According to an AFP balance sheet, an estimated 900 million people in 35 countries around the world are locked in their homes – including 600 million locked up by mandatory state locking orders.
While the elderly and people with pre-existing diseases are most affected by the virus, the World Health Organization has warned that young people are also at risk.
China did not report any new local infections for a third consecutive day on Saturday, and the WHO said downtown Wuhan, where the virus first appeared late last year, offers a glimmer of "hope for the rest of the world."
However, there are growing concerns about a new wave of "imported" infections in the region. Hong Kong reported 48 suspected cases on Friday – the largest daily jump since the crisis began. Many of them have recently traveled to or from Europe.
Italy reported the worst death toll in one day, added another 627 deaths, and increased the reported number to 4,032 on Friday, despite attempts to curb the spread.
The 60 million nation is now responsible for 36 percent of coronavirus deaths worldwide, and the 8.6 percent mortality rate from confirmed infections is significantly higher than in most other countries.
France, Italy, Spain and other European countries have ordered people to stay at home and in some cases have threatened to pay fines, while Bavaria was the first region in Germany to order a block.
Britain has also announced stricter restrictions in line with its EU neighbors, calling for the closure of pubs, restaurants and theaters – and pledging to help cover workers' wages.
Australia's famous Bondi Beach was also closed after sun worshipers overcrowded the hotspot despite government orders to avoid unnecessary outdoor gatherings.
"Months instead of weeks"
Given the fear of viruses in the United States, New Jersey should follow several other states, including California, New York and Illinois, to tell residents to stay at home.
The order to stay indoors unless absolutely necessary affects around 100 million Americans – or about 30 percent of the 330 million residents.
Governor Andrew Cuomo warned the New Yorkers on Saturday that the disruption is likely to take months.
"I don't think it will be a matter of weeks," he said.
US President Donald Trump welcomed the decisions in New York and California, but insisted on Friday that he didn't think a nationwide ban was needed.
A restriction on non-essential travel across the U.S. borders to Canada and Mexico should enter into force on Saturday.
Legislators resumed talks on Saturday to reach a $ 1 trillion emergency relief package as the pandemic raised concerns that the economic impact would be widespread.
In sports, the US Athletics Association joined the increasing demands for a postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.
"The right thing and who is responsible is to prioritize everyone's health and safety," said US athletics chief Max Siegel in a letter to the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
The stringent detention measures follow the template laid down by China because a ban imposed in Hubei province, whose capital is Wuhan, has apparently paid off.
Europe is now responsible for more than half of the deaths related to COVID-19 worldwide.
However, accurate numbers are difficult to find because many of the dying suffer from other diseases and infection rates are uncertain in many countries due to a lack of testing.
As a sign of the changing center of the crisis, China has sent medical care to European nations struggling with the pandemic, including Greece, which received 500,000 medical masks from Beijing on Saturday.
The shadow of the virus is also increasing in Africa and the Middle East.
The Democratic Republic of the Congo reported its first death on Saturday, while Burkina Faso reported two new deaths, bringing the total number of deaths in sub-Saharan Africa to five.
In Africa there are more than 1,000 cases in which health systems are fragile and social distance is not possible in many crowded cities.
In Iran, which reported 123 new deaths on Saturday, both senior leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani promised the country would overcome the outbreak – but refused to join the rest of the world to impose severe restrictions.
The country has more than 1,500 deaths and around 20,000 infections.
In Latin America, Bolivia ordered citizens to stay at home on Sunday, and Colombia said that mandatory isolation would begin on Tuesday.
Rio de Janeiro's beaches will be closed to sun-seekers as of Saturday, so street vendors are concerned about how they will survive with limited government support.
"As long as I can, I will keep coming here and trying to sell cocktails. I still haven't thought about what I will do when it is no longer possible," said Jorge Martins on Ipanema Beach.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)