Air Canada cuts most international destinations | Ryanair grounding almost all flights

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People go through a decontamination chamber as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, before entering a popular market in Caracas, Venezuela, Wednesday, March 18, 2020. The vast majority of people recover from COVID-19. (AP Photo/Ariana Cubillos)
People go through a decontamination chamber as a preventive measure against the spread of the coronavirus, before entering a popular market in Caracas, Venezuela, on Wednesday, March 18. Ariana Cubillos/AP

The numbers: Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking cases reported by the World Health Organization and additional sources, puts the total number of cases worldwide at more than 215,000, with at least 8,700 deaths.

Relief packages: President Donald Trump signed a coronavirus relief package that includes provisions for free testing for Covid-19 and paid emergency leave. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an $82 billion Covid-19 economic aid package.

Flight routes suspended: Australian airline Qantas and its subsidiary Jetstar will suspend scheduled international flights from late March until at least the end of May. Air Canada will gradually suspend the majority of its international and US trans-border flights by March 31. Ryanair said it expects that “most if not all” its flights will be grounded by March 24. There were 12,094 flight cancellations worldwide on Wednesday.

Undetected infections: Mild, asymptomatic or otherwise unrecognized infections may have driven the rapid spread of the novel coronavirus in the outbreak’s earliest days, according to modeling published in the journal Science.

Italy’s biggest single-day jump: The number of coronavirus cases increased by 4,207 in 24 hours, bringing the total to 35,713. The total number of deaths now stands at 2,978.

Education disrupted: Coronavirus is impacting the education of more than 849 million children around the world, according to UNESCO. Meanwhile, schools are expected to close across the UK on Friday as coronavirus cases rose to 2,626, with 104 deaths. Northern Ireland’s schools will close starting Monday and will potentially remain closed until the summer holidays.

Situation in US: There are at least 8,525 cases of novel coronavirus across all 50 states and 145 people have died. President Trump says he sees the country on a wartime footing and himself as a “wartime president”, and that he will be invoking the Defense Production Act.

Further border and travel restrictions: Singapore is to implement a 14-day mandatory quarantine for all inbound travelers; Israel has barred all foreign nationals from entering the country; the Jordanian Armed Forces said that all of Jordan’s governorates will be completely sealed; Portugal has declared a state of emergency; Brazil has partially closed its border with Venezuela; and Nigeria has banned entry for people from 13 countries.