Most coronavirus infections are in China,
the original source of the virus, where 77,000 people have the disease and
nearly 2,600 have died. The number of new cases there is now falling.
More than 1,200 cases have been confirmed in about 30 other countries and
there have been more than 20 deaths. Italy reported four more deaths on
February 24, raising the total there to seven.
China’s government announced a ban on the consumption of wild animals and a
crackdown on the hunting, transportation and trade of prohibited species, state
It is thought that the outbreak originated at a market in the city of Wuhan
selling wild animals.
On February 24, China reported 409 new infections, the bulk of which were in
South Korea has the largest number of confirmed cases outside China. On February 24, the Asian country reported another 231 COVID-19 infections on taking the total there to more than 830. Eight people have died.
Around 7,700 troops have been quarantined after 11 military members were
However, the biggest virus clusters have been linked to a hospital and a
religious group near the south-eastern city of Daegu.
Italy has the largest number of cases in Europe, 229, and
announced a series of drastic measures over the weekend to try to contain the
In the regions of Lombardy and Veneto, a lock-down is in place in several
small towns. For the next two weeks, 50,000 residents will not be able to leave
without special permission.
Even outside the zone, many businesses and schools have suspended
activities, and sporting events have been cancelled.
Three deaths announced on February 24 were all in Lombardy, Italian media
It is not yet clear how the virus entered the country, officials said.
February 23, Iran announced it had 61 confirmed cases of coronavirus,
most of them in the holy city of Qom. Twelve of those infected have died, the
highest number of deaths outside China.
On February 24, a lawmaker in Qom accused the government of covering up the
extent of the outbreak, saying there were 50 deaths in the city alone. However,
the country’s deputy health minister quickly denied the claim.
On the same day, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain reported their first cases, all involving people who had come from Iran. Officials in Bahrain said the patient infected there was a school bus driver, and several schools had been closed as a result.
Chinese health officials have released the first details of more than 44,000 cases of new coronavirus, Covid-19, in the largest study since the outbreak began.
Data from the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CCDC) finds
that more than 80% of the cases have been mild, with the sick and elderly most
The research also points to the high risk to medical staff.
On February 18, a hospital director in the city of Wuhan died from the virus.
Liu Zhiming, 51, was the director of the Wuchang Hospital in Wuhan – one of
the leading hospitals in the virus epicenter. He is one of the most senior
health officials to die so far.
Hubei, whose capital is Wuhan, is the worst affected province in China.
The report by the CCDC shows the
province’s death rate is 2.9% compared with 0.4% in the rest of the country.
The findings put the overall death
rate of the coronavirus at 2.3%.
China’s latest official figures
released on February 18 put the overall death toll at 1,868 and 72,436
Officials reported 98 new deaths and
1,886 new cases in the past day, with 93 of those deaths and 1,807 infections in
Hubei province – the epicenter of the outbreak.
According to Chinese authorities, more
than 12,000 people have recovered.
The study, published in the Chinese Journal of Epidemiology on
February 17, looked at more than 44,000 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in China as
of February 11.
While the results largely confirm previous descriptions of the virus and
patterns of infection, the study includes a detailed breakdown of the 44,672
confirmed cases across all of China.
The study finds that 80.9% of infections are classified as mild, 13.8% as
severe and only 4.7% as critical. The number of deaths among those infected,
known as the fatality rate, remains low but rises among those over 80 years
Looking at the sex ratio, men are more likely to die (2.8%) than women
The research also identifies which existing illnesses put patients at risk.
It puts cardiovascular disease at number one, followed by diabetes, chronic
respiratory disease and hypertension.
Pointing out the risk to medical staff, the study says that a total of
3,019 health workers have been infected, 1,716 of which were
confirmed cases. Five had died by February 11, which was the last day of
data included in the research.
On February 13, China broadened its definition of how to diagnose people,
including “clinically diagnosed cases” which previously were counted
separate from “confirmed cases”.
Looking forward, the study finds that
“the epidemic curve of onset of symptoms”
peaked around January 23-26 before declining up to February 11.
It suggests that the downward trend in the overall
epidemic curve could mean that “isolation of whole
cities, broadcast of critical information (e.g., promoting hand
washing, mask wearing, and care seeking) with high frequency through
multiple channels, and mobilization of a multi-sector rapid
response teams is helping to curb the epidemic”.
The authors also warn that with many people returning from a long holiday,
the country “needs to prepare for the possible rebound of the epidemic”.
China’s response to the new coronavirus has seen the lockdown of Wuhan – the largest city in Hubei – and the rest of the province as well as severe travel restrictions on movements across the country.
The first case of the new coronavirus on the US
territory has been confirmed, the Centers for Disease Control said.
According to the CDC, the virus, which originated in China, had been
diagnosed in a traveler who arrived in Seattle from China.
The new virus, which spread from the Chinese city of Wuhan, has infected almost 300 people, and six have died.
The virus, known also as 2019-nCoV, is understood to be a new strain of coronavirus that has not previously been identified in humans.
According to a tour operator, North Korea has temporarily closed its borders
to foreign tourists in response to the threat.
The patient diagnosed in the US returned from Wuhan on January 15, the CDC
It added in a statement: “The
patient sought care at a medical facility in the state of Washington, where the
patient was treated for the illness.
“Based on the patient’s travel
history and symptoms, healthcare professionals suspected this new
Laboratory testing of a clinical specimen confirmed the diagnosis on January
20, the CDC statement continued.
The announcement that North Korea was barring entry to foreign tourists came
from Young Pioneer Tours, which is based in China and specializes in travel to
Young Pioneer Tours said in a statement that North Korea was implementing a
temporary ban as a precaution.
It said: “Further details are yet
to be confirmed by our travel partners in North Korea and we will continue to
make all future announcements on our website.”
Another tour group that travels to North Korea, Koryo Tours, also tweeted
about “possible limits to tourist entry”.
Some experts have previously warned
that international sanctions on North Korea had hit the country’s healthcare
system, by restricting the delivery of aid and medical equipment.
On January 20, Chinese officials
confirmed for the first time that the virus could pass from person to person.
At the same time Chinese state media
said six people had died from the infection, which causes a type of pneumonia.
A total of 291 cases have now been
reported across major cities in China, including Beijing and Shanghai. However,
most are in Wuhan, the central city of 11 million people at the heart of the
The disease was first identified
there late last year, and the outbreak is believed to be linked to a seafood
market that also sells live animals.
Aside from the US, two cases have
been identified in Thailand, one in Japan, one in South Korea and one in
Taiwan. All those infected had recently returned from Wuhan.
Authorities in several countries, including Australia, Singapore, Hong Kong,
Taiwan and Japan have stepped up screening of air passengers from Wuhan.
Last week, US authorities announced similar measures at airports in San
Francisco, Los Angeles and New York.
In Australia, a man who had travelled to Wuhan has been placed in isolation
and is undergoing tests. China is the largest source of tourists to Australia,
with more than a million Chinese citizens visiting last year.
However, the measures being put in place by North Korea are the strictest so
A report by the Centre for Global Infectious Disease Analysis at Imperial
College, London, suggested there could be more than 1,700 infections.
However, Gabriel Leung, the dean of medicine at the University of Hong Kong, put the figure closer to 1,300.
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