South Korea confirmed 594 more coronavirus cases on Saturday (Photo Credit: Reuters)
The COVID-19 outbreak may become an pandemic with the World Health Organization saying that the novel coronavirus could reach most "if not all countries". WHO raised its global spread and impact risk alert to "very high" as six countries reported their first cases on Friday, reported Reuters. Mexico, Nigeria, Estonia, Denmark, the Netherlands and Lithuania reported their first cases. Mexico became the second Latin American country after Brazil to register the virus.
According to WHO, the virus has now spread to 49 countries ending hopes that the coronavirus would be contained to China. Countries other than China now account for about three-quarters of new infections. While the number of new cases has down in China, countries like South Korea, Italy and Iran are seeing rapid rise in victims. Meanwhile, WHO said in a report that much of the global community is not yet ready to implement the types of measures that have contained the fast-moving coronavirus outbreak in China.
China has placed 56 million people in Hubei under strict quarantine for more than a month and limited crowds across the country in an unprecedented effort to contain the virus. China on Saturday reported 47 more deaths from the new coronavirus, raising the death toll in the country to 2,835. The National Health Commission also tallied 427 new cases, an increase from the previous day, bringing the total number of infections to 79,251.
Meanwhile, South Korea confirmed 594 more coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest increase to date for the country and taking the national total to 2,931 infections with three additional deaths. Meanwhile, the death toll in Italy, the worst-hit in Europe, has risen to 21. There are 820 people who have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.
The US Centre for Disease Control has confirmed two new cases in California in people who have not travelled to affected areas, or had any known contact with infected persons. The US has postponed an ASEAN summit planned for Las Vegas on 14 March over coronavirus fears.
Australia has reported two new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases in Australia to 25 while the number of confirmed cases in the UK has reached 20.
Qatar has confirmed its first case of coronavirus, state media reported Saturday, after a 36-year-old Qatari woman who was evacuated to Doha from Iran tested positive. Qatar on Thursday repatriated a number of its citizens from Iran -- which is battling the worst outbreak outside China -- and confined them to a 14-day period of quarantine, the government said.
Two more people tested positive for the novel coronavirus in Pakistan on Saturday, taking the total number of the COVID-19 infections in the country to four. Earlier, two people tested positive for the deadly disease in the country on February 26. Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Health Zafar Mirza confirmed the two new cases on Saturday.
As many as 105 persons, quarantined for possible exposure to the novel coronavirus, have been discharged from hospitals in Maharashtra while four persons are under observation, the state government said on Saturday.
US health officials reported Friday a fourth case of novel coronavirus of unknown origin, indicating the disease was spreading in the country. The latest case is a boy under 18 in Washington State who tested "presumptive positive," local authorities said without releasing further details about the patient. He is currently in home isolation in Snohomish County. The high school he attends will be shut until March 3 while it is deep cleaned, the Washington State Department of Health said.
Australia has implemented a travel ban against Iran, placing it under the same restrictions as China, because of an increased risk of coronavirus, reports The Guardian.
South Korea has urged its citizens to stay indoors over the weekend to help contain the spread of the coronavirus.
Major cherry blossom festivals in Japan have been cancelled due to the deadly new coronavirus, the latest in a growing list of events quashed as the epidemic spreads globally. The traditional spring celebrations in Tokyo and Osaka, which attract millions of people wanting to seeing the white and pink flowers, will not go ahead as planned in April.
Telangana ministers KT Rama Rao, Etela Rajender, Talasani Srinivas Yadav and others ate chicken on stage in Hyderabad, in a bid to end rumours that coronavirus is transmitted through chicken and egg.
Telangana ministers KT Rama Rao, Etela Rajender, Talasani Srinivas Yadav and others ate chicken on stage in Hyderabad yesterday in a bid to end rumours that #Coronavirus is transmitted through chicken and egg. pic.twitter.com/WnG1ydZOli
— ANI (@ANI) February 29, 2020
Trump administration has signaled it may also invoke a 70-year-old defense law to guarantee the availability of protective gear should the virus spread. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said two more Americans tested positive for the virus out of the group of quarantined passengers from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
Iceland confirmed the new coronavirus had reached the subarctic island after a man in his forties, who had recently returned from a trip to northern Italy, tested positive for COVID-19.
India on Friday pulled out of next month's shooting World Cup in Cyprus, citing the novel coronavirus threat there as the epidemic continued to wreak havoc on sporting calendars across the world. The shotgun world cup, recognised by the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF), is scheduled to be held in Nicosia from March 4 to 13.
The North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un, held a meeting of party officials on Friday calling for stronger efforts to control the novel coronavirus, saying there would be serious consequences if it spread into his country, reported The Guardian.
The United States has decided to postpone a meeting with leaders of Southeast Asian countries it had planned to host on March 14 due to worries about the COVID-19 outbreak, reports Reuters.
There has been another case of unknown origin reported in the United States, bringing the total number of cases of unknown origin to three. According to Reuters, the infected individual identified is from Oregon and neither had history of travel to a country where the virus was circulating, nor is believed to have had a close contact with another confirmed case. Two other cases of unknown origin have been reported in California.
South Korea confirmed 594 more coronavirus cases on Saturday, the biggest increase to date for the country and taking the national total to 2,931 infections with three additional deaths.
The death count in China has risen to 2,835 with 47 more deaths reported on Saturday. The National Health Commission also tallied 427 new cases, an increase from the previous day. So far, the total number of infections stands at 79,251.