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What you need to know about COVID-19 today, Saturday March 14.

Australian cases approach 200.

The number of confirmed cases of Novel coronavirus COVID-19 worldwide is fast-approaching 150,000, with the current tally at just over 145,000. More than 123 countries have now reported confirmed cases.

Globally, as of today, a total of 5,416 people have died from COVID-19 and 70,000 have made a full recovery.

In Australia, the number of cases is 199, with Tom Hanks, his wife Rita Wilson and Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton among those infected locally.

There have been three coronavirus fatalities in Australia.

Watch: Mamamia’s Claire Murphy breaks down your most answered questions about COVID-19. Post continues below. 

Video by Mamamia

The World Health Organisation has confirmed Europe is now the epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Europe has now become the epicentre of the pandemic with more reported cases and deaths than the rest of the world combined, apart from China,” WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said at the organisation’s headquarters in Geneva.

The director-general added that more cases were being reported daily in Europe than were reported in China at the height of its epidemic.

The rate of infections has started to slow in China, with just 26 new cases reported on Thursday, but cases continue to explode in Europe, with Italy and Spain the main hotspots.

Italians sing to keep up their spirits during lockdown, as the country records its largest one-day death toll.

Italy, which has been on a country-wide lockdown since March 9, remains the worst affected country in Europe and outside of China, with more than 17,000 cases and over 1,250 deaths.

The country recorded the highest one-day death toll with 250 people dying. This is the largest number for a 24-hour period since the coronavirus outbreak began, including China.

As Italians grapple with self-isolation, footage has emerged on social media of neighbours singing to each other from their balconies in an effort to keep their spirits up during lockdown.

The U.S. declares a national emergency.

On Friday, US President Donald Trump declared coronavirus a national emergency. Trump will make $50 billion in emergency funding available.

Trump said his declaration of a national emergency will “unleash the full power of the federal government” to help states and territories in the fight.

“It could get worse. The next eight weeks will be critical,” Trump said, after he has received criticism for appearing to play down down the threat of the pandemic for weeks.

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Shaking hands freely with the gathered business executives, the 73-year-old Trump later acknowledged he expected to be tested for the virus. He had come into contact with a Brazilian official last Saturday who later tested positive for coronavirus.

“Most likely, yeah, most likely. Not for that reason but because I think I will do it anyways,” Trump said. “Fairly soon. We’re working out a schedule.”

“We have no symptoms whatsoever,” he said to a question about whether he should get a test.

Coronavirus has so far led to 46 US deaths after six more were reported on Friday in hard-hit Washington state.

coronavirus Australia update March 14
US President Donald Trump addresses the nation from the Oval Office about the widening Coronavirus crisis on March 11, 2020 in Washington, DC. Image: Getty.

Peter Dutton’s diagnosis forces Ivanka Trump into self-quarantine.

On Friday, Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton tested positive for COVID-19. The prime minister's office insists no other cabinet members are affected.

After waking on Friday morning with a temperature and sore throat, Mr Dutton admitted himself for a test which came back positive and he has remained in hospital in Queensland.

"I feel fine and will provide an update in due course," he said in a statement.

He attended Tuesday's cabinet meeting in person but joined Thursday's session of the National Security Committee via video link.

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer told Prime Minister Scott Morrison that only those who had close contact with Mr Dutton in the 24 hours before Friday's symptoms need to self-isolate or be tested.

Peter Dutton coronavirus
On Friday, Dutton tested positive to coronavirus. Image: Getty.
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"That does not include the prime minister or any other members of the cabinet," a spokesperson for the prime minister said in a statement.

Mr Dutton travelled to the US late last week for meetings in Washington where he met with US President Donald Trump's daughter Ivanka Trump and US Attorney General William Barr.

"Exposures from the case were assessed and the White House Medical Unit confirmed, in accordance with CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidance, that Ivanka is exhibiting no symptoms and does not need to self-quarantine," White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere said in a statement.

"She worked from home today out of an abundance of caution until guidance was given."

Christchurch memorial cancelled.

A national memorial in New Zealand for the anniversary of the Christchurch massacre has been cancelled due to concern over the Novel coronavirus.

Thousands of people were expected to attend the Sunday service in Christchurch on March 15 to remember the 51 people killed when an Australian-born man opened fire on a mosque.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the decision to cancel was pragmatic and precautionary.

"We're very saddened to cancel, but in remembering such a terrible tragedy, we shouldn't create the risk of further harm being done," Ardern said.

Newborn infected with COVID-19.

A newborn baby has tested positive for COVID-19 in England, reports The Sun, becoming the world’s youngest victim.

The mother had been in a hospital some days prior, with a suspected case of pneumonia.

The baby was tested within minutes of arriving. Health experts say pregnant women and babies will most likely only suffer mild symptoms.

There are nearly 800 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK.

- With AAP:

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Feature images: Getty. 


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