As the world grapples with the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, there is good news coming from China while the UK has put into place further measures to fight the virus. Here are some updates from across the globe.
No new locally transmitted cases reported in China
In a first since the outbreak of COVID-19 in December, China reported no new locally transmitted cases on Thursday. China’s National Health Commission announced on Thursday that only 34 new cases had been confirmed in the past 24 hours, all of which are imported cases.
This is the first time that China has not reported a locally transmitted case - this will come as a great source of encouragement to countries around the world which are now seeing the kind of outbreak China has been battling for the last few months. The decline in cases in China is also proof that the country’s lockdown measures to control the spread of the virus appear to be working.
UK imposes further restrictions
The United Kingdom has announced the closure of schools across the country from Friday onwards as it continues to crack down on the spread of COVID-19. Schools in Northern Ireland will close from Monday. GCSEs and A-Levels in England and Wales have also been cancelled.
The government also announced the closure of a number of London Underground stations, as people were advised to stop all non-essential contact with each other. Additionally, there will be no night Tube and bus services will also be reduced
The UK is also putting on standby an additional 10,000 military personnel to help support public services.
Australia and New Zealand close their borders to non-residents
Australia and New Zealand have decided to ban entry to all non-residents starting Friday. Australia’s ban will come into effect at 10:00 GMT while New Zealand’s begins earlier at 11:00 GMT on Thursday.
The bans do not apply to citizens, permanent residents, or their families.
Both countries have also made a 14-day self-isolation mandatory for everyone arriving, regardless of their citizenship or where they've come from.
EU’s chief Brexit negotiator tests positive
European Union official Michel Barnier, who was the economic bloc’s chief Brexit negotiator, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus, he confirmed on Twitter.
Barnier said that he was "doing well and in good spirits," and was following all the precautions.
"For all those affected already, and for all those currently in isolation, we will get through this together," he added.