We're Losing The Window to Contain The Coronavirus Outbreak — WHO Warns

Grant Boone
February 22, 2020

Tedos said the WHO is concerned about cases around the world that have "no clear epidemiological link" to the outbreak in China.

Two more people have died from the coronavirus in Iran, the number of those infected has doubled in South Korea, and there has been a spike in infections inside Chinese prisons, rekindling concerns about an epidemic that has killed more than 2,200 people in China.

At least 34 people in the USA have tested positive for the virus, including 18 who returned home from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan, the Centers for Disease Control said during a conference call with reporters Friday.

China has meanwhile pointed to official figures showing new cases in the country slowing this week as evidence that its drastic containment measures are working, but fresh infections emerged at two Beijing hospitals, and more than 500 others were reported in prisons across the country.

In the United States, 35 people have tested positive for the virus, including 18 who returned home from a quarantined cruise ship in Japan and one new case reported Friday in California.

Italy has also announced 16 more cases and its health minister said schools and offices would be closed and sports events cancelled in the affected regions.

Ambassador Zhang Hanhui told a Russian official that China will have a "complete victory" over coronavirus by next month, and could possibly have no cases of the virus outside the Hubei province by the end of this month, according to the Financial Times.

The new virus, which originated a year ago in Hubei province in China, causes a respiratory disease called Covid-19. Two other suspected cases are being monitored, health officials said.

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"These dots are very concerning - take them as dots or trends", he said.

Authorities said the group, which included 45 Ukrainians and 27 foreign nationals, had been screened for the virus before being allowed to fly from Wuhan, China, the disease epicenter.

Of South Korea's 104 cases, more than 40 are in a cluster in Daegu centered on the Shincheonji Church of Jesus.

Some of the woman's close contacts are also in isolation as a precaution, health officials say.

South Korea said two people have died and 204 have been infected with the virus, quadruple the number of cases it had two days earlier.

In addition, a new confirmed case in Lebanon appears to be linked to the case cluster in Iran, as does a newly confirmed case in Canada, which involves a dual citizen of Iran and Canada. "However, some countries have detected significantly fewer than would have been expected based on the volume of flight passengers arriving from Wuhan City, China", they wrote.

Most of the new cases have been reported since Wednesday. Numerous new cases represented the first infections in Italy acquired through secondary contagion and brought the country's total to 19 on Friday.

Another 34 cases were found at Shilifeng Prison in Zhejiang Province, leading to the ouster of its director and another official.

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