More than 60 nations hit as coronavirus continues to spread, Latest World News - The New Paper

More than 60 nations hit as coronavirus continues to spread

This article is more than 12 months old

Three nations report first deaths, while fears grow over possible outbreak in US nursing home

The coronavirus has spread to more than 60 countries around the globe with nearly 3,000 people killed and about 87,000 infected since it was first detected late last year in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.

Australia, the US and Thailand reported their first deaths yesterday while Iran reported 11 more, bringing its total to 54, the highest outside China. Iran has nearly a thousand cases.

There also fears of the virus may be spreading in the US.

The US victim was in his 50s and had "underlying health conditions", officials said as they also announced a possible outbreak in a Washington state nursing home, where a health worker and a resident in her 70s were both confirmed infected.

Other residents and staff were "ill with respiratory symptoms or hospitalised with pneumonia of unknown cause", the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said.

The death and two Washington cases all involved patients who had not travelled overseas or come in contact with anyone known to be ill, indicating the virus was spreading in the US.

The virus is also spreading fast in Europe, with Germany reporting a spike in infections.

The number of cases there has jumped to 117 from 66, the Robert Koch Institute for disease control said yesterday.

More than half of the cases are in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, where several schools and daycare centres will be closed today to try to prevent the spread of the virus after staff members tested positive.

Schools in Italy, which is experiencing Europe's worst outbreak, will stay closed for a second consecutive week in three northern regions. The country has reported more than 1,100 cases and 29 deaths.

Analysts have warned that Italy's fragile economy may go into its fourth recession in 12 years, with many businesses in the north close to a standstill and hotels reporting a wave of cancellations.

Meanwhile in Asia, mainland China yesterday reported the biggest daily rise in cases since Feb 22 as more infections emerged among prison inmates in Wuhan, but officials emphasised the overall situation continues to improve.

A total of 573 news infections were reported on Saturday, compared with 427 a day earlier, according to the National Health Commission. Of these, 565 were in Wuhan.


The 35 new deaths reported on Saturday were the second lowest daily total last month, down from 47 the previous day. There were only three new cases outside Hubei province, of which Wuhan is the capital, the lowest since the commission began tracking daily cases on Jan 20.

In South Korea, churches were closed yesterday, with many holding online services instead, as the authorities fought to rein in public gatherings. There were 586 new infections taking the tally past 3,700 cases, the largest outbreak outside China.

That came a day after the biggest daily jump of 813 cases, the Korea Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said. The death toll rose to 20, up from 17 the day before.  - AFP, REUTERS