As concern grows, China, South Korea report more virus cases

Daniel Fowler
February 27, 2020

South Korea continues to struggle to contain an outbreak of the infectious new COVID-19 disease as 144 new cases were reported Tuesday, bringing the confirmed total to 977.

South Korean health authorities said on Tuesday (Feb 25) they aim to test more than 200,000 members of a church at the centre of a surge of new coronavirus cases as President Moon Jae-in said the situation was "very grave".

Meanwhile, gold hits a seven-year peak as investors turn to the precious metal as a safety measure. "The news flow from the weekend has changed the game somewhat, where the focus is much more on the threat of an outbreak outside of China", said Chris Weston, head of research at broker Pepperstone.

In Iran, the government said 12 people had died nationwide, while five neighbouring countries - Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Afghanistan - reported their first cases of the virus, with those infected all having links to Iran. "Tonight there is no epidemic in France".

China remains by far the worst affected, but while the outbreak there is slowing, it's accelerating fastest in South Korea.

Italy has become a base camp for the coronavirus in Europe with 155 confirmed cases and 11 cities under lockdown. "We will do everything we can to contain the contagion".

A dozen locations in the northern Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto are now effectively isolated under the new government quarantine plan.

Mr Abe said: "We are at an extremely important time in ending the spread of infection at an early stage".

"We were only meant to spend three days in Milan and then go to Venice for the carnival but everything is shut", said Russian tourist Violla Belova, 50, wearing a face mask as she took photographs of the shuttered Duomo cathedral. But officials still haven't pinpointed the origin of the contagion, which prompted Austria to temporarily halt rail traffic across the border. European Union Economic Affairs Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said Brussels had confidence in the measures Italian authorities were taking and there was "no need to panic".

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South Korea has the most virus cases outside China, with 977 infections and 10 deaths, the majority linked to the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the city of Daegu, where the outbreak is believed to have begun with a 61-year-old woman. It also announced 150 new deaths for a 2,592 total.

The U.S. and South Korean militaries said on Monday they may cut back joint training due to mounting concerns about the spreading coronavirus, in one of the first concrete signs of the virus's fallout on global U.S. military activities.

South Korea's parliament cancelled sessions Tuesday as it closed for cleaning after confirmation a person with the coronavirus had attended a meeting last week. "We're closely monitoring (forex) markets in particular, and will take necessary steps if speculative trading leads to herd-like behaviours", he added.

But the situation has worsened elsewhere with almost 2,700 other cases and more than 40 deaths globally. "For the moment, World Health Organization has not advised to impose travel or trade restrictions", Kyriakides said. Reports from China suggest that the incubation period of the virus could extend to nearly a month in some cases.

Two clusters of infections in the country's southeastern region contributed the most to the recent viral spread.

Until last week, Italy had reported just three cases of infection.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that 113 of the 123 new cases came from the fourth-largest city of Daegu and surrounding areas.

More recently, Mike served as a technical editor on The Daily Dot, and has appeared on USA Today, and countless other websites and print.

The outbreak will shave about 0.1 percentage points from global growth and constrain China's growth to 5.6 percent this year, it says. In Japan, where the government is facing growing questions about whether it is doing enough to counter the virus, authorities had confirmed 773 cases by early Sunday evening. A lot of them were from a cruise ship quarantined near Tokyo, the Diamond Princess. A third passenger, a Japanese man in his 80s, died on Sunday.

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