Coronavirus live news: US infections outnumber China as Australia announces quarantine plan | World news

China prepares to seal itself off from the world to stem ‘imported’ coronavirus cases

Vehicles for tourists are seen parked at an ancient city wall in Jingzhou after the lockdown was eased in Hubei.

Vehicles for tourists are seen parked at an ancient city wall in Jingzhou after the lockdown was eased in Hubei. Photograph: Aly Song/Reuters

China will temporarily bar the entry of almost all foreigners and drastically reduce flights to the country as it tries to head off a second wave of infections caused by travellers coming from abroad.

The ban, which goes into effect at midnight on Friday, comes as the country reported its first locally infected coronavirus infection in three days and reported 54 imported cases. The move was greeted with broad support inside China.

The measure applies to those with valid visas or residence permits and amounts to China shutting its borders, inviting criticism given that Beijing previously condemned other countries for similar moves. The World Health Organization had also advised countries not to shut their borders to Chinese travellers.

China’s Civil Aviation Administration said late on Thursday that 90% of international flights would be suspended.

The Australian sharemarket tumbled in afternoon trade after prime minister Scott Morrison said he would put the economy into “hibernation” but gave no details of how this would be done.

Morrison said Australian businesses would need to be able to spring back into action once the coronavirus crisis was over, and the pain of doing so would be shared with landlords and banks.

But he did not outline any concrete proposal for rent relief for businesses and households whose incomes have been reduced to zero by his government’s measures to fight the crisis.

The benchmark ASX200 index, which opened the day up as much as 2.4%, finished the day down 5.3%.

Morrison also announced that everyone arriving to the country would be placed under mandatory quarantine in hotels and other accommodation paid for by state governments. You can watch that announcement below:

Scott Morrison announces forced quarantine for all Australian arrivals – video

Uzbekistan records first death and shuts down further cities and districts








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