Italy, the European country hardest-hit by COVID-19, has reported 627 new deaths, its biggest day-to-day rise increase the outbreak began.

It has now recorded over 4,000 deaths — more than China — and 47,000 infections.

The soaring numbers have come despite a nationwide lockdown.

The World Health Organisation has noted the dramatic speed of the virushh’s spread, pointing out it took more than three months to infect 100,000 people but only 12 days to reach another 100,000.

A look at the latest numbers in Australia

There are 928 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia.

Here is a state-by-state breakdown of confirmed coronavirus cases:

  • NSW: 383 (six deaths)

The figures come from state and territory databases of confirmed COVID-19 cases. The latest update was at 11:00am AEDT on Saturday, March 21.

Australians head home as countries lock down

Australian citizens, residents and their families are rushing home from overseas, fearful future travel bans could prevent their entry.

It comes in the wake of tighter border controls kicking in on Friday night.

Under the changes, non-citizens and non-residents cannot enter Australia, with Australian Border Force officers placed at foreign airports to enforce the new rules.

Australians can still return from overseas but are required to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving.

Visa holders already in Australia can remain in the country.

UK to help pay salaries

Space to play or pause, M to mute, left and right arrows to seek, up and down arrows for volume.

VIDEO: Prime Minister Boris Johnson orders all pubs, restaurants and cafes to close to fight spread of coronavirus (ABC News)

With cafes, pubs, restaurants, gyms and cinemas across the UK ordered to shut, the British Government has said it will help employers pay workers’ wages.

British employers will be able to access a grant aimed at covering up to 80 per cent of an employee’s wage to prevent them being laid off.

The grants are worth up to 2,500 pounds ($5,000) a month.

Treasury chief Rishi Sunak called the economic intervention an “unprecedented” response by a British Government.

Keeping the love alive

With couples across the world quarantined together and forced to spend more time in close quarters than before, lawyers are predicting a spike in divorces.

Stress levels will be up and some therapists are already seeing coronavirus have more direct impacts on intimate relationships.

The current pandemic may be unprecedented, but research on natural disasters might provide some clues as to how intimate relationships could be affected in the coming weeks and months.

While such crises undoubtedly put enormous strain on couples, experts say it’s important to keep in mind they can also lead to positive growth.

Dire warning for Brazil

Brazil’s health system will collapse by the end of April, the country’s Health Minister has warned.

Luiz Henrique Mandetta said Sao Paulo was at the start of the coronavirus whirlwind, and the number of cases there would jump next week.

Speaking to business leaders by video conference, the nation’s President Jair Bolsonaro said measures to deal with coronavirus needed to be taken but warned against causing “hysteria”.

He said closures of airports and roads was not advisable and would cause panic.

What the experts are saying about coronavirus:

Two Pentagon cases confirmed

The Pentagon has confirmed its first two cases of coronavirus.

One of the infected individuals was an active duty airman who worked at the Defence Health Agency in Falls Church, Virginia, and had been inside the Pentagon on Monday, the US Air Force said.

Coronavirus questions answered

Breaking down the latest news and research to understand how the world is living through an epidemic, this is the ABC’s Coronacast.

He has received medical treatment and is in self-quarantined at home.

The other infected person is an Air Force defence contractor who works in the Pentagon. He has been self-quarantined since March 7, the Air Force said.

The cases were revealed as New York authorities joined their Californian counterparts in ordering all non-essential workers to stay home.

The pandemic has upended life in much of the United States, shuttering schools and businesses, prompting millions to work from home, forcing many out of jobs and sharply curtailing travel.

“This is the most drastic action we can take,” New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a news conference, revealing all non-essential businesses in the state must also close.

He said the order would be enforced with civil fines and mandatory closures for any businesses not in compliance.

US, Mexico stop some border crossings

All “non-essential” travel between Mexico and the United States is set to be prohibited.

Along with Canada, the two countries have agreed to turn back anyone trying to cross their borders illegally.

US officials said unchecked entries posed a risk because coronavirus was spreading rapidly.

US President Donald Trump said: “The actions we are taking together with our North American partners will save countless lives.”

Your questions on coronavirus answered:

Peak US sports body calls for Olympics reset

USA Swimming’s CEO is urging the US Olympic and Paralympic Committee (USOPC) to push for the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until next year.

Tim Hinchey wrote to USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland on Friday to advocate on behalf of his governing body’s 400,000 members.

Mr Hinchey said athletes’ worlds had been turned “upside down”, with them struggling to find ways to continue preparing and training for the games.

He wrote “pressing forward amidst the global health crisis this summer is not the answer”.

He said because of disruptions with training, going ahead with the Olympics this year called into question “the authenticity of a level playing field for all”.

Technology is Not Bad, Humans and Society Are (Sometimes).

Our lives are constantly improving. Tasks once thought impossible are now done more effectively and efficiently than ever. What do we have to thank for this? Technology. This revolutionary group of human invention has led to breathtaking discoveries, from pocket sized machines that can be used to communicate and find information at our demand, to life saving equipment that can be used to help someone recover from a once uncurable sickness.

However, technology is a double-edged sword, and as the benefits of technology improve, so do the costs. What are these costs? Well in a way the costs of technology do not harm humanity directly, but help us discover true human nature, acting like a sort of mirror.

First, let us see what one of the most prominent technological inventions has revealed to us: The internet. We all know that the internet is a wonderful place, where you can access information, communicate, and entertain yourself at a click of a button, and we praise it for this. However, there is a darker side of internet, one we all know about yet do not discuss it.

Inappropriate content, online trafficking, extortion, and blackmail are just a few members of this “darker side.” Yet the internet is human made and controlled, so whoever makes the article that helps over 100 school students pass their test belongs to the same society of internet users where someone else has decided to put your private information up for ransom.

This great divide that has been forged from the invention and the expansion of the internet was not created by the internet itself, but merely provides a “mirror” to see the reflection of humans and society: That some people are kind heated, caring and courteous, and some people are downright the worst scum to ever exist on this planet.

Before the rise of machinery, the only way we could evaluate ourselves and our society was to look at our community. And we would see that in our community, some people are good, and some people are bad. We would hope and dream about the idea of a community full of good- and kind-hearted people but instead, inventions such as the internet has nullified this idea.

Yet people still use technology as a scapegoat and believe that it is what causes us to be corrupt They look outwards and blame it on things we have created, instead of looking inwards and seeing that it was the nature of their character that caused them to do such things.

In all human history, there have been saints and devils, democrats and dictators, law abiders and law breakers. When we created technology, we did not create these people, they had already existed. We simply made a mirror in which we can see into, look around for a bit, and come to the reflection that we, as a society are vastly different in our values of right and wrong.

Technology is Not Bad, Humans and Society Are (Sometimes).

Our lives are constantly improving. Tasks once thought impossible are now done more effectively and efficiently than ever. What do we have to thank for this? Technology. This revolutionary group of human invention has led to breathtaking discoveries, from pocket sized machines that can be used to communicate and find information at our demand, to life saving equipment that can be used to help someone recover from a once uncurable sickness.

However, technology is a double-edged sword, and as the benefits of technology improve, so do the costs. What are these costs? Well in a way the costs of technology do not harm humanity directly, but help us discover true human nature, acting like a sort of mirror.

First, let us see what one of the most prominent technological inventions has revealed to us: The internet. We all know that the internet is a wonderful place, where you can access information, communicate, and entertain yourself at a click of a button, and we praise it for this. However, there is a darker side of internet, one we all know about yet do not discuss it.

Inappropriate content, online trafficking, extortion, and blackmail are just a few members of this “darker side.” Yet the internet is human made and controlled, so whoever makes the article that helps over 100 school students pass their test belongs to the same society of internet users where someone else has decided to put your private information up for ransom.

This great divide that has been forged from the invention and the expansion of the internet was not created by the internet itself, but merely provides a “mirror” to see the reflection of humans and society: That some people are kind heated, caring and courteous, and some people are downright the worst scum to ever exist on this planet.

Before the rise of machinery, the only way we could evaluate ourselves and our society was to look at our community. And we would see that in our community, some people are good, and some people are bad. We would hope and dream about the idea of a community full of good- and kind-hearted people but instead, inventions such as the internet has nullified this idea.

Yet people still use technology as a scapegoat and believe that it is what causes us to be corrupt They look outwards and blame it on things we have created, instead of looking inwards and seeing that it was the nature of their character that caused them to do such things.

In all human history, there have been saints and devils, democrats and dictators, law abiders and law breakers. When we created technology, we did not create these people, they had already existed. We simply made a mirror in which we can see into, look around for a bit, and come to the reflection that we, as a society are vastly different in our values of right and wrong.

English