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1.7 billion told to stay home worldwide over coronavirus

March 24, 2020 - Tuesday 6:03 PM by Agence France Presse

Article Banner Image A woman wearing a protective mask waits at a bus stop near the Colosseum monument along a deserted Via dei Fori Imperiali on March 23 in Rome, during the country’s lockdown. (AFP)

Paris, France | AFP | — Some 1.7 billion people have been asked to stay home in over 50 countries and territories around the world as governments battle the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe, according to an AFP tally Monday. 

Some countries have imposed mandatory lockdown measures, while others have issued stay-at-home recommendations to stem the spread of the virus. 

Lockdowns in parts of India alone have kept some 700 million people hemmed in, in the world's second most populated nation 

At least 34 more countries and territories have also established mandatory lockdown measures ordering people to stay in their homes, accounting for some 659 million people.

France, Italy, Argentina, the US state of California, Iraq and Rwanda have also rolled out enforced lockdowns. 

Greece is the most recent country to impose mandatory confinement measures, which came into effect on Monday morning. 

Colombia will enforce an obligatory lockdown on Tuesday and New Zealand will follow suit Wednesday. 

In most cases it is still possible for people to leave the house to go to work, buy essentials or seek medical care. 

At least four countries with a collective population of more than 228 million people, including Iran, Germany and Britain, have urged their populations to stay indoors and limit contact with other people as much as possible. 

But the impact of these non-mandatory recommendations has been limited. 

In Britain, the government warned of tougher measures after crowds gathered in parks and beaches over the weekend, while millions of people in Iran travelled for the Persian New Year last week. 

At least 10 countries and territories with a total population of 117 million people have issued curfews and barred overnight travel.

These measures are in place in Burkina Faso, Chile, the Philippines' capital Manila, Serbia and Mauritania, while in Saudi Arabia a curfew will be imposed from Monday evening. 

Elsewhere, some countries have imposed isolation measures in main cities, with measures barring people from entering or exiting. 

These measures have been seen in Almaty, Bulgaria, Nur-Sultan in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan's Baku.

Combined, these cities have an estimated 10 million inhabitants. Agence France-Presse