What’s Happening: Nativity church shut, China factories open

International

People visit the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, West Bank, Thursday, March 5, 2020. Palestinian authorities said the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built atop the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, will close indefinitely due to coronavirus concerns. (AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — Factories are gradually reopening in China months after the new coronavirus that first emerged there upended daily routines. While China looked for signs that life would return to normal, other parts of the world started to experience what the country and its people went through.

These are some of the latest developments on Thursday:

LONG ROAD AHEAD

People around the world girded for months of disruptions as the virus’ unrelenting spread brought economic fallout and sweeping containment measures. The World Health Organization said there are about 17 times as many new cases outside China as in it, with widening outbreaks in South Korea, Italy and Iran responsible for the majority of fresh infections. WHO’s director-general appealed to world governments to take decisive steps now, saying: “We can push this virus back. Your actions now will determine the course of the outbreak in your country.”

NATIVITY CHURCH IN BETHLEHEM TO CLOSE

Palestinian authorities said the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, built atop the spot where Christians believe Jesus was born, will close indefinitely due to coronavirus concerns. The church was expected to draw tens of thousands of visitors and worshipers during the Easter holiday next month. The Palestinian Health Ministry meanwhile said it was preventing all tourists from entering the West Bank, where Bethlehem is located.

IRAN FIGHTS SPREAD WITH CHECKPOINTS

Iran will set up checkpoints to limit travel between major cities and urged citizens to reduce their use of paper money to fight the country’s outbreak. COVID-19 so far has killed at least 107 people across the Islamic Republic, which has 3,513 confirmed virus cases.

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