Fears have mounted over the rise of new cases and fatalities outside China from the new coronavirus outbreak, as the World Health Organization (WHO) warned of a shrinking window to stem the spread of the deadly disease.
Outside of mainland China, at least 17 people have died from the coronavirus, including five people in Iran.
A second person died in South Korea, authorities reported on Saturday, as the number of cases in the country spiked to 433.
More than half of South Korea’s novel coronavirus cases are linked to a branch of a controversial religious group in the southern city of Daegu, CNN reports.
At least 231 of the country’s 433 confirmed cases are associated with the Shincheonji religious group, according to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (KCDC).
The total number of cases reported in South Korea in the past 24 hours stands at 229, after 142 new cases were confirmed overnight.
Around 9,300 Shincheonji members are being put into self-isolation and will be tested, the country’s Ministry of Health and Welfare said Saturday.
Japan is emerging as one of the riskiest places for the spread of the coronavirus, prompting criticism that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s government has misfired on its policies to block the outbreak.
More than 400 Japanese and foreign passengers were set to disembark from the virus-hit Diamond Princess cruise ship near Tokyo after weeks aboard in quarantine, despite reports of new cases coming in from around Japan.
Over 600 people on the cruise liner, which has been quarantined off Yokohama since arriving on Feb. 3 carrying 3,700 people, have been infected with the virus.
Two of them – both Japanese in their 80s – died on Thursday, and about 100 passengers are due to be transferred ashore in coming days for further quarantine because they were in close quarters with infected travellers.
Around Japan, more than 80 people have tested positive for the virus, including three more confirmed on Friday in the northern island of Hokkaido. Two are brothers in elementary school, recovering in hospital, with the third a quarantine officer, Hokkaido’s governor said at a briefing.
Japan faced growing questions about whether it was doing enough to stop the spread of the coronavirus on Friday, as the Tokyo Metropolitan Government said it would cancel or postpone major indoor events it has sponsored for the next three weeks.
Singapore has reported one of the highest numbers of confirmed coronavirus cases outside China.
As of Thursday noon, the country has confirmed 85 cases, of which 37 have been discharged from hospitals, according to updates by the Ministry of Health.
Last month, 109 people gathered in a Singapore hotel for an international sales conference held by a U.K.-based company that makes products to analyze gas.
When the attendees flew home, some unwittingly took the coronavirus with them.
Iranian health authorities on Friday reported two more deaths from the new virus that emerged in China and said the fatalities were from among 13 new confirmed cases of the virus in Iran.
The report by the semiofficial Mehr news agency came as Iranians voted in nationwide parliamentary elections. After authorities reported two earlier deaths this week, the death toll from COVID-19, the illness caused by virus, stands at four in Iran.
So far, 18 cases have been confirmed in Iran, including the four who died.
16 people were tested positive for coronavirus in Northern Italy.
A silent panic befell northeastern Italy during the final weekend of carnival. Bars, schools, restaurants, and other public spaces in 10 towns here closed, with more expected to follow, after the region reported its first two deaths from the new coronavirus. From Milan to Venice, villages and communities resembled ghost towns.
The first victim, a 76-year-old man, died in Padua, in the Veneto region north of Venice, according to the Ansa news service. A second victim died in the Lombardy region southeast of Milan on Saturday, where at least 32 new cases were reported.
“It’s a little worrying. Until this happened in Padua it almost seemed like a media stunt,” Marco Bertoni, who lives in the northern city of Feltre, told Newsweek. “Now that it’s closer, people are worried. Even though Padua isn’t all that close, people are scared because they don’t know the source. Let’s hope it doesn’t spread, but if it does, I think our health services are prepared.”
More than 50,000 people have been asked to remain shuttered inside their homes and to avoid carnival celebrations, church masses, and sporting events.
Thailand currently reports 35 cases of coronavirus infections so far, 17 of which have already recovered and were discharged from hospital, health officials said.
Military field hospitals and closure of facilities like schools and prisons will be introduced if the coronavirus epidemic took a turn for the worse, a government source said Thursday.
Malaysia: Malaysia has reported 22 cases — the third-highest number in Southeast Asia behind Singapore and Thailand, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
Hong Kong: had no new confirmed infections to report on Friday, with the total remaining at 69, but the police infection scare prompted health authorities to warn against large social gatherings.
Taiwan: Taiwan reported one more confirmed case of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) Wednesday, bringing the number to 23 since the outbreak began, the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) said.
Australia: Two Australians evacuated from the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise liner in Japan have tested positive to the disease in Darwin.
Canada: Canadian health authorities also announced, “A sixth case of the coronavirus has been diagnosed in British Columbia after a woman in her 30s returned to the province this week from Iran.”
Locations with Confirmed COVID-19 Cases
- Hong Kong
- Sri Lanka
- The Republic of Korea
- United Arab Emirates
- United Kingdom
- United States
Edited by staff