BERLIN: More than a billion people worldwide were confined to their homes on Sunday as the global death toll from the COVID-19 pandemic passed 13,000 and more than 300,000 people were infected.
Italy, Spain and France were in virtual lockdown and several South American nations took similar measures to curb the contagion.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, 65, went into voluntary quarantine after a doctor who vaccinated her tested positive for the new coronavirus, which causes COVID-19. She will undergo tests.
Italy banned internal travel on Sunday in another attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Its death toll of 5,476 is the highest in the world.
The number of coronavirus cases in the UK rose from 5,018 on Saturday to 5,683 on Sunday, a more rapid rise than in either China or Italy at the same stage
Britain may need to impose curfews and travel restrictions if people do not heed the government’s advice on social distancing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson warned.
In the US — with more than 29,000 infected and at least 385 dead — New York mayor Bill de Blasio called for the army to be deployed.
“This is going to be the greatest crisis domestically since the Great Depression,” de Blasio said. “This is why we need a full-scale mobilization of the American military.”
Nearly 80 million Americans were ordered to shelter at home as New York, California, Illinois, Connecticut and New Jersey instituted statewide lockdowns.