Daily COVID-19 updates on March 15

2020-03-15 09:16:27 GMT2020-03-15 17:16:27(Beijing Time) Xinhua English

BEIJING, March 15 (Xinhua) -- Countries around the world are responding to the COVID-19 outbreak as the number of infections continues to grow worldwide in the past 24 hours.

The World Health Organization (WHO) said in a situation report that it had, as of 10 a.m. CET (0900 GMT) Saturday, received a report of 142,539 confirmed cases and 5,393 deaths globally.

Europe has become the epicenter of the pandemic, with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of world combined, apart from China.

Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced on Saturday a "State of Alarm" in the country, locking down 46 million citizens for 15 days from 8 a.m. (0700 GMT) Monday morning.

The number of confirmed cases in Spain has spiraled to over 6,300, with an increase of around 1,500 in 24 hours.

Italy has confirmed 21,157 confirmed cases as of 6 p.m. (1700 GMT) Saturday, including deaths and recoveries.

On Saturday, Iran announced that 12,729 people have been infected with COVID-19 so far, of whom 611 have died and 4,339 have recovered.

According to local media, Iranian authorities are considering a partial lockdown of 11 provinces in the country to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

South Korea reported 76 more cases, the smallest daily increase since Feb. 21, on Saturday night, raising the total number of infections to 8,162.

The United States has reported 2,726 COVID-19 cases as of Saturday night with at least 54 deaths, according to a tally of Johns Hopkins University.

The White House announced on Saturday that it is extending Europe travel restrictions to Britain and Ireland over COVID-19 concerns, which will be effective Monday midnight EST time (0400 GMT Tuesday).