Coronavirus Spreads Beyond China To Europe And The Middle East

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(CNB News) –The coronavirus is spreading in the Middle East, Europe and other parts of the world, as Brazil confirmed its first case in Latin America, while parts of China begin to lower their emergency response level as the number of new cases reported there continues to slow.

More deaths have been reported in Iran and Italy, while South Korea on Wednesday said an 11th person had died of the disease there. Globally, at least 80,000 people have been diagnosed with the illness.

Below are the latest updates:

Wednesday, February 26

Iraq bans public gatherings and travel to 9 countries

Iraq banned all public gatherings and banned travellers from Kuwait and Bahrain from entry, the health minister said, taking the total number of countries on the entry ban list to nine amid growing fears over the spread of the coronavirus.

The nine countries are: China, Iran, Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Italy, Bahrain and Kuwait.

The minister also ordered the suspension of schools and university and the closure of cinemas, cafes, clubs, and other public gathering spots nationwide from February 27 to March 7.

Iran announces domestic travel curbs

Iranian authorities announced that instead of quarantining cities, domestic travel restrictions will be implemented for people with confirmed or suspected cases of the coronavirus.

Health Minister Saeed Namaki said at a news conference that teams would be located at the entrance of cities “that see a lot of movement”, without naming them, adding that such controls had already started.

The teams will take people’s temperature and “stop those who are infected or suspected of infection”, Namaki said.

All those suspected of being infected with COVID-19 would be quarantined for 14 days.

France reports new case, tally now at 18

One more person has been infected with the coronavirus in France, putting the tally at 18 in the country, the French Health minister said.

“There is no epidemic in the country, just isolated cases”, Olivier Veran said during a press conference, adding that 15 million protection masks would be made available.

Health ministry director Jerome Salomon added that out of the 18 cases, two people had died, 12 were cured and four were still hospitalised.

Pentagon says may need additional funding to deal with coronavirus

The Pentagon told Congress it was reviewing the possibility it may need additional funding to deal with the spread of the coronavirus, hours after the US military reported a soldier in South Korea had become infected.

“It is spreading and we can’t give you a definitive answer on whether we’ll need additional resources or not,” said Army General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, addressing a hearing of the House Armed Services Committee.

“We owe you some answers.”

Georgia reports first coronavirus in the country: health minister

Georgia reported the first case of coronavirus in the country, the health minister said.

Ekaterine Tikaradze said that a Georgian citizen, who was travelling from Iran, crossed the border from neighbouring Azerbaijan.

“He was immediately taken to hospital from the border check-point,” Tikaradze said.

Finland reports second case

A second confirmed coronavirus case has been diagnosed in Finland, health authorities said.

The female Finnish patient had recently visited the city of Milan in Italy.

She is being treated at the Helsinki University Hospital. The woman had a fever but was reported to be doing well and had only been in contact with two other people since arriving back in Finland on the weekend, public broadcaster YLE reported.

Pakistan confirms first two cases

Pakistan’s Health Minister Zafar Mirza confirmed the first two cases of coronavirus in the country.

“Both cases are being taken care of according to clinical standard protocols and both of them are stable,” Mirza wrote on Twitter.

“No need to panic, things are under control. I will hold press conference tomorrow on return from Taftan.”

Speaking at a press conference in the southwestern city of Quetta, Mirza said both patients – one in the southern province of Sindh and the second in the capital Islamabad – had travelled to Iran in the past two weeks.

First case of coronavirus confirmed in North Macedonia

A woman who recently arrived from Italy is North Macedonia’s first confirmed case, the country’s health minister said on Wednesday.

“The patient tested positive for coronavirus… She is the first patient in North Macedonia to have tested positive for this pathogen,” Health Minister Venko Filipce said.

The woman, who sought medical help early on Wednesday, drove to North Macedonia from Italy in a van. All other passengers from the van are undergoing tests, Filipce said.

Ireland vs Italy rugby fixture postponed

The Irish Rugby Football Union said it has postponed the country’s Six Nations fixture against Italy due to the coronavirus outbreak in northern Italy, following a recommendation from Irish health authorities.

“We will immediately begin to work with our Six Nations partners to look to reschedule. I would hope to have an update on that in the coming days,” IRFU chief executive Philip Browne told reporters after a meeting with the health minister.

The game was scheduled to take place in Dublin on March 7 with thousands of Italian supporters, many from the regions most affected by the outbreak, expected to make the trip.

New cases confirmed in Germany

Seven new cases were found in Germany across three states, bringing the country’s total to 19.

Two cases were confirmed in the state of North Rhine Westphalia of a man and his wife. The man, reported to be in his 40s and suffering from a pre-existing health problem, is being treated in an intensive care unit in Dusseldorf.

His wife is a kindergarten teacher. State Health Minister Karl-Josef Laumann said the children from the facility had been ordered to stay at home. The couple are believed to have had widespread social contacts over the past two weeks.

Lebanon health ministry confirms second case of coronavirus

Lebanon’s health ministry confirmed the country’s second case of coronavirus and said the patient was quarantined after returning from a religious trip to Iran.

The woman arrived in Lebanon last week on the same flight as the first case and had been in quarantine at a Beirut hospital since showing symptoms on Monday, the ministry statement said.

Brazil confirms first case in Latin America: health ministry

Brazil’s government confirmed that a 61-year-old Brazilian man who traveled to Italy this month has Latin America’s first confirmed case of the contagious new coronavirus.

“We will now see how this virus behaves in a tropical country in the middle of summer, how its behavior pattern will be,” Brazil’s Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said in a press conference.

The Brazilian man spent two weeks in northern Italy’s Lombardy region on a work trip, where he contracted the contagious virus, the health ministry said.

South Korea reports 115 more cases

South Korea has reported 115 new cases, bringing the total to 1,261, according to Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

KCDC said the 169 coronavirus cases announced earlier included a US soldier.

Algeria reports first coronavirus case

A 61-year-old Italian, who arrived in Algeria on February 17 from Italy, tested positive for the coronavirus, Algeria’s health ministry said. He is being monitored in the southern Ouargla area, the ministry said.

The country is not contemplating a suspension in flights, but will reinforce controls on planes from Italy, the ministry said.

About 3,000 Hong Kong people seek help in Hubei

The Hong Kong government says it has been contacted by about 3,000 Hong Kong people in mainland China’s Hubei province, including 532 in Wuhan city, seeking help.

It says those affected in Hubei need to register by February 28 in order to return to Hong Kong.

Iran reports 19 new deaths

Iran’s state television says 19 more people were killed by the coronavirus and the total number of confirmed cases rose to 139.

The official cited in the report urged limiting nonessential travel.

Kuwait says more coronavirus cases confirmed, tally now 25

Kuwait’s health ministry said that the number of people diagnosed with coronavirus in the country rose to 25 after 13 more cases were confirmed, the state news agency reported.

The ministry also confirmed in a statement that the new cases were all Kuwaiti citizens “who are related to travel to Iran”.

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