China coronavirus outbreak: All the latest updates
Fears are mounting over the rise of coronavirus cases outside mainland China as South Korea reported a surge in new infections on Sunday and Iran recorded a sixth death from COVID-19, as the disease is known.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said it was concerned about the jump in cases with no clear link to China, where the virus was first detected in late December, and called for urgent funding to support countries with weaker health systems.
In Italy, the worst-affected country in Europe, the virus has killed two people – a man and a woman in their 70s – and infected another 77 mostly in the north.
In total, China has reported more than 77,000 cases and 2,400 deaths.
According to available data, the disease remains mild in 80 percent of patients and severe or critical in 20 percent. The virus has been fatal in 2 percent of reported cases.
Here are the latest updates:
Sunday, February 23
Japan minister apologises after woman who leaves ship tests positive for virus
Japan’s Health Minister Katsunobu Kato apologised after a woman who was allowed to leave a coronavirus-infected cruise ship docked near Tokyo tested positive for the virus.
The woman in her 60s disembarked the Diamond Princess in Yokohama on Wednesday following a two-week quarantine on board, but was found to be positive following another test in Tochigi Prefecture, north of Tokyo.
China reports 648 new cases of coronavirus, but infections outside Hubei falling
China reported a rise in the number of new confirmed cases of coronavirus, but the number of fresh infections and deaths outside of the epicentre of central Hubei province continued to fall.
Nationwide, the number of new cases rose to 648 as of Saturday, from 397, the previous day, National Health Commission said. That brought the total number of confirmed cases in China to 76,936.
The number of new cases outside of Hubei stood at 18, the lowest since the commission started publishing nationwide data a month ago.
The nationwide death toll rose by 97 to 2,442, but only one new death was outside of Hubei.
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South Korea reports two more deaths, 123 new cases
South Korea reported 123 more coronavirus cases, taking the nationwide total to 556, as well as two additional deaths which brings the toll to four.
Among the latest cases, 75 were connected to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the southern city of Daegu, the Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement.
China’s Hubei province reports 96 new virus deaths
The death toll in China from the coronavirus epidemic rose past 2,400 on Sunday after 96 more people died in hard-hit Hubei province.
The region also reported 630 new confirmed cases, bringing the total within China to around 77,000.
Three Serie A matches suspended due to virus deaths in Italy
Three Serie A soccer matches scheduled for Sunday in the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto were suspended after the deaths of two people infected with COVID-19.
On orders from the Italian government, the games called off were: Inter Milan vs. Sampdoria, Atalanta vs. Sassuolo and Hellas Verona vs. Cagliari.
Three other matches in Genoa, Turin and Rome on Sunday are going ahead as scheduled.
A woman is taken into an ambulance amid a coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, in Casalpusterlengo, February 22, 2020 [Flavio Lo Scalzo/ Reuters]
Italy towns close down as virus cases jump to 79
Italy’s prime minister announced a ban on people entering or leaving new coronavirus hotspots as the number of confirmed infections rose sharply to 79, in an outbreak that has claimed two lives in the country.
“In zones considered hotspots, neither entry or exit will be authorised without special permission,” Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said during a news conference, adding that businesses and schools in the areas would be closed.
The Italian outbreak is concentrated in the northern region of Lombardy. Officials raised the total confirmed cases to 79, from an earlier figure on Saturday of 39 in Lombardy, 12 in Veneto and 3 in Rome.