• Italy reports sixth coronavirus death as it becomes worst-hit country in Europe
• WHO: Not yet a pandemic, but countries need to prepare
• Number of coronavirus deaths in China passes 2,600
• Dow closes down 1,000 points on fears of coronavirus
• Two more doctors die of coronavirus in China
• More than 800 confirmed cases, 8 dead in South Korea
• China postpones key political meeting because of virus
• China bans illegal wild animal trading amid coronavirus outbreak: state media
• Coronavirus deaths spike to 12 in Iran; 47 cases confirmed
Deaths in mainland China pass 2,600, with more than 77,600 confirmed cases
The number of deaths in mainland China linked to the coronavirus illness COVID-19 passed 2,600 as of Tuesday local time, with more than 77,600 confirmed cases, China’s national health commission said.
The number of deaths on mainland China is now at 2,663, according to the health commission. It had previously reported 2,592 deaths.
There was an increase of 71 deaths, almost all of them in Hubei province, which is at the center of the outbreak and where the city of Wuhan is located. There have been deaths in other countries, including 12 in Iran, 8 in South Korea and seven in Italy, according to health officials.
There are also cases in the United States, but no deaths have occurred there. The World Health Organization said Monday that the epidemic in mainland China reached its peak between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2 and that the number of cases has since been steadily declining.
However, “the sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing. — Phil Helsel and Salina Lee
Italy reports sixth coronavirus death as it becomes worst-hit country in Europe
Police manned checkpoints around quarantined towns in northern Italy on Monday as authorities sought to contain the novel coronavirus that has made the country the focal point of the outbreak in Europe.
Italian health officials reported Monday that there are 229 people infected nationwide, with six deaths.
There are 101 people in the hospital, and 27 are in intensive care.
The hard-hit northern region of Lombardy reported 172 cases. Five of the deaths are in the Lombardy region.
As the number of cases in Italy have spiked, the country’s stock exchange recorded sizable losses, dropping more than four percent at one point.
At least 10 towns in northern Italy, with a population of around 50,000, were locked down Sunday to help stop the spread of the virus.
The government introduced a number of containment measures Saturday and suspended all public events and gatherings and shut down schools, nurseries, museums and other public offices.
Revelers at the famed Venice Carnival were wearing two types of masks Sunday — a protective one over their usual colorful, elaborate ones, as the last two days of the carnival were canceled. Claudio Lavanga, Andy Eckardt and Jane Weaver
WHO: Outbreak peaked in China, but global spread ‘deeply concerning’
The coronavirus epidemic in China is not yet a pandemic but has the potential to become one if countries don’t work together to slow its spread, the World Health Organization said Monday.
“Does this virus have unlimited potential? Absolutely,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a media briefing. “Are we there yet? From our assessment, not yet.”
A team of experts with the WHO has concluded its mission in China, reporting that the epidemic there reached its peak between Jan. 23 and Feb. 2 and that the number of cases have since been steadily declining.
However, “the sudden increases of cases in Italy, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Korea are deeply concerning,” Tedros said.
The European commission has contributed 232 million euros (an estimated $252 million) to help contain the global spread, Tedros said. France, Germany and Sweden have also announced additional contributions.
“This is a shared threat. We can only face it together, and we can only overcome it together,” he said. Erika Edwards and Jane Weaver
Dow plunges on fears coronavirus will tank global economic growth
Wall Street was rocked in a volatile trading session on Monday that ended with the Dow Jones Industrial Average closing down 1,031 points — the worst day in two years for the blue-chip index, as fears increased over the global economic shock of coronavirus.
While the virus has already stalled the travel industry, shuttered factories in several countries, and slammed luxury goods retailers, casino operators, and tech companies, Monday’s market response represented concern that stricter methods to control the spread of the virus would further throttle supply chains — and that the virus is getting closer to home. Martha C. White and Lucy Bayly
Number of deaths in China nears 2,600
Chinese authorities announced 409 new confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus on Monday, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 77,150, according to the country’s National Health Commission (NHC).
That’s down from the 648 new cases reported on Sunday and marks the fifth day in a row with less than 1,000 new cases.
The NHC reported 150 new deaths, an increase that brought the toll since the outbreak began to 2,592 deaths in mainland China.
Meanwhile, the provincial capital of Wuhan, where the virus is believed to have originated, said Monday it would allow people in good health to leave the city if their reason was urgent.
But the city’s epidemic control command center later declared that notice null and void. Wuhan has been on lockdown since Jan. 23. — Ed Flanagan, Eric Baculinao and Yuliya Talmazan
Meanwhile, Austria suspended train services to Italy for about four hours Sunday before restarting them after two travelers tested negative for coronavirus. — Claudio Lavanga, Andy Eckardt and Reuters
Two more doctors die of coronavirus in China
Two more doctors have died after being infected with coronavirus in China, health officials confirmed Monday.
Xia Sisi, 29, was a digestive physician working at Xiehe Jiangbei Hospital in Wuhan. She was admitted to hospital on Jan. 19, and condition deteriorated on Feb. 7. She was sent to another hospital and died Sunday morning.
Another doctor, Huang Wenjun, 42, deputy chief physician at the department of respiratory medicine at Xiaogan Central Hospital in Hubei province, also died Sunday.
A statement issued by that hospital called him “an outstanding soldier in white.”
“In view of the current situation of epidemic prevention and control, it was decided not to hold a memorial service,” the hospital said in a statement.
Earlier this month, the country mourned Dr. Li Wenliang who died from the virus after being warned by police for blowing the whistle on the coronavirus outbreak. — Dawn Liu
More than 800 confirmed cases, 8 dead in South Korea
Health officials in South Korea reported 231 new cases of COVID-19 on Monday, raising the total number there to 833. The spread prompted the government to raise its infectious disease alert to its highest level over the weekend.
Many of the new cases were linked to a church in the southeastern city of Daegu after a 61-year-old woman known as “Patient 31” who had attended services there tested positive, according to officials, who also reported the eighth death from the virus.
Meanwhile, a South Korea military spokesperson said Monday there were 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases among the troops. A total of 350 soldiers are in isolation, the spokesperson added. — Stella Kim and Nayeong Kim, Reuters
China postpones key political meeting because of virus
China announced Monday it has postponed its most important political meeting of the year because of the outbreak of the new virus.
The move indicates the importance that President Xi Jinping places on the battle against the virus.
The annual meeting of the National People’s Congress and its chief advisory body usually begins about March 5 and runs for more than two weeks, bringing thousands of delegates to Beijing. — The Associated Press
China bans illegal wild animal trading amid coronavirus outbreak: state media
China has banned illegal wild animal trading and consumption of wildlife Monday amid a growing coronavirus outbreak that’s believed to have started at a food market in Wuhan where live animals were sold, according to state media.
China’s Xinhua news agency reported that China’s top legislative body adopted a decision on banning the illegal trading of wildlife and eliminating the consumption of wild animals. — Alex Shi
Coronavirus deaths spike to 12 in Iran as cases confirmed across Middle East
Iran’s health officials said 12 people have died from the novel coronavirus as the number of confirmed cases in the country rose to 47 Monday.
Only China has confirmed more deaths from the respiratory illness. Most of the cases have been in Qom, a Shiite Muslim holy city 75 miles south of the capital, Tehran.
Schools, universities and seminaries in Qom were closed on Sunday and Monday to prevent the spread of the virus.
Meanwhile, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain have also recorded their first new coronavirus cases Monday, all involving people who had visited Iran.
Iraqi health officials also said Monday that an Iranian student has been confirmed to have the virus. He entered Iraq before the decision of the government to close the border with Iran.
Afghanistan’s minister of public health said Monday one of three suspected cases had been confirmed in the Western province of Herat. He announced a state of emergency in the province, which borders Iran. — Amin Khodadadi and Reuters