The United States could become the global epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organization said on Tuesday, as India announced a full 24-hour, nationwide lockdown in the world's second-most populous country.

More than 395,500 people have been infected across the world and over 17,200 have died, according to a Reuters tally.

The number of cases in Italy, which has more fatalities than any other country, is probably 10 times higher than the official tally, the head of the agency collating the data said.

Nurses and doctors demanded action after Spain reported its sharpest daily increase in coronavirus cases on Tuesday and said about 14% of the nearly 40,000 infections were among healthworkers.

French authorities reported 240 new deaths from coronavirus on Tuesday for a total of 1,100, making it the fifth country to cross the 1,000-fatalities threshold.

German hospitals with spare capacity welcomed their first coronavirus patients from Italy.

Coronavirus deaths in Britain jumped to 422 on the first day of a national lockdown, while the government called for 250,000 volunteers for the health service.

Austria will massively expand testing in coming days to locate and isolate infected people, its chancellor said on Tuesday.

Poland's government said it would expand restrictions on citizens, including a limit on the number of people taking part in masses, a drastic move in a deeply devout country.

Russia's president Vladimir Putin donned a hazmat suit and respirator during a hospital visit on Tuesday and Moscow's mayor said the outbreak in the capital was much worse than official figures showed.

Norway extended its restrictions until 13 April. It has confirmed 2,566 virus cases, of whom 12 have died.

The Trump administration plans to use the Defense Production Act on Tuesday to procure 60,000 test kits, amid severe equipment shortages for healthcare workers, CNN reported.

The virus has killed more than 660 people in the United States and sickened more than 50,000.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he wanted flexibility to enact future spending measures as the House of Commons convened to pass a C$27billion (€17.3 billion) emergency cash injection.

Mexico will suspend all large public and private gatherings for a month and extend support to small businesses, government officials said on Tuesday.

The previous day the president had said he would focus on helping the poor rather than major companies. 

An empty beach in Sydney

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro laid to rest a diplomatic spat with China in a call with President Xi Jinping on Tuesday, with the two agreeing to work together to fight coronavirus as Brazil's largest city went into lockdown.

China will increase international cargo flight capacity and stabilise supply chains, the government said.

India ordered a 21-day nation-wide lockdown to curb the spread of the virus that has killed 10 people and infected 482 others.

Scientists in Singapore say they have developed a way to track genetic changes that speeds testing of coronavirus vaccines.

Australia will close food outlets at shopping centres, place limits on weddings and funerals and ban overseas travel, the government said.

Kyrgyzstan declared a state of emergency in its three biggest cities, locking them down and imposing a curfew. Myanmar and Laos recorded their first cases.

About half of Iran's government employees were staying at home on Tuesday as the country's death toll exceeded 1,900.

Turkey imposed restrictions on grocery store opening hours and numbers of shop customers and bus passengers, as its death toll rose to 37. 

Saudi Arabia on Tuesday reported its first death, while the United Arab Emirates' main airports in Dubai and Abu Dhabi said they would temporarily suspend all passenger flights fromThursday.

Egypt has declared a two-week curfew, and those who violate the measure will be penalised under emergency laws, the prime minister said. The Nigerian president's chief of staff has tested positive, a source with direct knowledge said.

South African businesses braced for a nationwide lockdown as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases jumped to 554.

ECONOMIC FALLOUT

Stock markets soared on Tuesday, with a gauge of global equities posting its biggest gain since the coronavirus roiled financial markets a month ago.

Senior Democrats and Republicans were close to reaching a deal on a $2trillion stimulus package. 

Global airlines urged governments to speed up bailouts to rescue the air transport industry as they doubled their estimate of 2020 revenue losses from the coronavirus crisis to more than $250 billion.

Norway's unemployment rate soared five-fold this month to its highest level since the 1930s, as companies announced mass layoffs and shutdowns, data showed.

Britain's economy is shrinking at a record pace, faster than during the 2008-09 financial crisis, a survey showed on Tuesday.

EVENTS

The Tokyo Olympics were postponed to 2021, the first such delay in the Games' 124-year modern history.

The Cannes Film Festival venue is opening its doors to the town's homeless who have nowhere to go during the coronavirus lockdown.

Australia's A-league soccer season was suspended on Tuesday.

Two Russian cosmonauts and a US astronaut were spending their final weeks on Earth in quarantine before they are scheduled to blast off on 9 April for the International Space Station.