COVID-19: French lockdown of population begins in bid to curtail #coronavirus

Iran reports 135 new disease deaths, raising total to 988; Spain sees surge of infections

A strict lockdown requiring most people in France to remain at home came into effect at midday Tuesday, prohibiting all but essential outings in a bid to curb the coronavirus spread.

The government has said tens of thousands of police will be patrolling streets and issuing fines of 38 to $42 to $150 for people without a written declaration justifying their reasons for being out.

Meanwhile, Spain confirmed nearly 2,000 new cases of COVID-19, sending the total spiraling past 11,000, with 491 deaths, the health ministry said.

Spain is the fourth worst-hit country in the world after China, Italy and Iran, with numbers rising rapidly despite an unprecedented national lockdown, with the government ordering its 46 million population to stay home.

Over the past 24 hours, the number of people infected rose by 1,987, hiking the overall total to 11,178, the ministry's emergencies coordinator Fernando Simon said.

At the same time, the number of people who had recovered from the virus stood at 1,098, which equates to a 9.0 percent recovery rate. 

Iran confirms total of 16,169 cases

Iran announced on Tuesday another 135 deaths from the novel coronavirus, bringing the overall toll to 988 in one of the world's worst-hit countries.

"Reports by more than 56 laboratories indicated that we have had 1,178 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection in the past 24 hours," health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said in a televised news conference.

"This brings the total number of confirmed cases to 16,169 as of today noon," he added.

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