S. Korea's virus cases approach 2,400, people urged to avoid mass gatherings

Marco Green
February 29, 2020

In South Korea, the hardest-hit country outside China, another 571 cases have been reported, raising its total to 2,337.

New Zealand, Azerbaijan and Belarus on Friday reported their first coronavirus cases originating from Iran.

In China, transmission is largely happening in families.

Massachusetts, Wisconsin and Arizona each reported one cases, all involving people who recently traveled to China.

Speaking in Geneva, Dr Tedros said China had now reported a total of 78,959 cases of COVID-19 to World Health Organization, including 2,791 deaths.

In Iran, the front line of infections in the Middle East, officials loosened rules barring the import of many foreign-made items to allow in sanitisers, face masks and other necessities, and removed overhead handles on Tehran's subways to eliminate another source of germs. It borders northern Italy, which has seen the largest cluster of cases in Europe.

Mike (Michael) Ryan, the Executive Director of WHO's Emergencies Program on Friday said that the World Health Organization mission to Iran has been delayed due to issues with getting flights and access to Iran but the government of the United Arab Emirates was helping to facilitate access and delivery of supplies. Iran has reported the most deaths outside of China - 34 from 388 reported cases. In an update late Friday, Italy's health ministry said 888 people are infected with the respiratory virus, including 531 in the Lombardy region. It is the worst week for stock shares since the 2008 financial crisis.

But for an illness transmitted so easily, with its tentacles reaching into so many parts of the world, leaders puzzled over how to keep the virus from proliferating seemed willing to try anything to keep their people - and economies - safe. Swiss officials cancelled the 2020 Geneva Motor Show, one of the automobile industry's most important gatherings. The people at highest risk for severe disease and death are those over 60, and people with underlying health conditions like hypertension, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease and cancer. It also could have an effect on millions more with plans during the holy month of Ramadan and the hajj.

Since the first outbreak on January 20 in South Korea, the pace of infections had not been alarming until February 18, when a 61-year-old woman who is tied to the Daegu religious sect tested positive for the virus. Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan closed their doors to visitors and cancelled events.

Seven other states-Arizona, Washington, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin and Massachusetts-have had confirmed cases, as shown in the graphic below that Statista created. Still, the CDC is expecting there to be more cases and urged people to prepare.

The tally of coronavirus cases has grown at an alarming rate in Italy this week.

According to the agency's director general, the increase in the number of cases and the number of affected countries is a major concern.

Simone Venturini is an official in the Italian city of Venice, where tourism has already been hurt by last year's flooding.

Based on what is known about similar coronaviruses, disease experts say the new outbreak of the virus, named COVID-19, is mainly spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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