- Global deaths and infections have surpassed those inside China for the first time.
- Infections have grown to more than 87,000 while cases inside China, stood at 80,860.
- Johns Hopkins university illustrated the dramatic rise of global cases.
- In Italy, there are nearly 25,000 confirmed infections and more than 1,800 deaths.
- WHO has declared Europe as the center of the pandemic.
- In the US, the cases have jumped to 3,500, with at least 57 deaths recorded.
- South Korea with more than 8,000 confirmed infections has quickly controlled the spread of the virus.
- It conducted rapid testing and quarantine measures in the worst affected areas.
According to an article published in The Guardian, global deaths and infections from the coronavirus have surpassed those inside China for the first time since the beginning of the outbreak.
Spread of infection
Worldwide infections have grown to more than 87,000, according to the Johns Hopkins university tracker, while cases inside China, stood at 80,860 as of Monday, according to the Chinese National Health Commission.
Deaths outside China have risen to more than 3,241, according to Johns Hopkins, while deaths inside China stand at 3,208 as of Monday (excluding four in Hong Kong and one in Taiwan).
A graph produced by Johns Hopkins university illustrated the dramatic rise of global cases. The angle of the yellow global curve appears to show that infections outside of China have grown even more rapidly than they did inside China at the start of the infection there.
The most substantial infection center outside China is in Italy, where there are nearly 25,000 confirmed infections and more than 1,800 deaths.
Europe – Centre of pandemic
Elsewhere in Europe, which the World Health Organization described as being at the center of the pandemic, France has 4,500 cases and 91 deaths, Germany has 11 deaths and more than 5,700 infections, the Netherlands has 20 deaths and 2,270 infections, Switzerland has 14 deaths and 2,200 infections, and the UK has 21 deaths and 1,144.
The next worst affected country is Iran, where there are just under 14,000 confirmed cases and 724 deaths. There are fears that the country’s fragile health services and economy are struggling to cope with the outbreak, and on Friday, satellite imaging appeared to show mass graves dug in the city of Qom to bury coronavirus victims.
The Centers for Disease Control in the US advised against gatherings of more than 50 people for the next eight weeks and the Federal Reserve cut interest rates to 0.25%.
Measures to contain the spread
Other measures to step up containment in the US and around the world include:
- From Tuesday New York City will limit restaurants, bars, and cafes to only offer take-out and delivery. Nightclubs, movie theatres, and other entertainment venues would close.
- Several Las Vegas hotels and casinos said they would suspend operations.
- Washington state announced restaurants and bars would be limited to take-out only until the end of March, and entertainment and recreational facilities such as gyms would also close.
- Australia’s Reserve Bank said it was prepared to start quantitive easing to boost the economy, which could involve buying government bonds and other financial assets from banks and pensions funds. The country’s share market closed 9.7% down on Monday.
- New Zealand imposed a 500-person limit on gatherings, while the PM, Jacinda Ardern, said the virus impact could be greater than that of the global financial crisis.
- Turkey reported 12 new cases, bringing its total to 18 – the biggest jump since it reported its first case last week.
- British over-70s will be asked to self-isolate for up to four months, in order to protect them from the virus.
- Luxembourg on Sunday followed its neighbors France and Belgium in closing bars and restaurants to try to stem the spread of the coronavirus epidemic.
- Louis Vuitton owner LVMH has said its cosmetics unit would manufacture large quantities of hand disinfectant gel to help stave off a nationwide shortage across France as the coronavirus continues to spread.
- South Africa declared a national disaster and introduced a series of drastic measures to fight the coronavirus outbreak in the country.
While many countries have been late to respond to the threat, South Korea, which has more than 8,000 confirmed infections has quickly controlled the spread of the virus, through rapid testing and quarantine measures in the worst affected areas. It has recorded three days where recoveries have outstripped new infections.
Despite the country’s progress, it has identified a new cluster of cases, near Seoul. At least 40 members of a protestant church tested positive, including the pastor, after services on 1 March and 8 March, despite government calls to cancel mass gatherings.
Lessons to be learned
The vice health minister, Kim Gang-lip, said that continuing new infections are a reminder that the country should not forget “the lessons we’ve learned” and that new outbreaks implied that the virus was still “spreading across the country”.
As in other countries, the elderly have been the most vulnerable. The country’s center for disease control said 70.6% of deaths were in their 70s and above. Another 18.7% of fatalities were in their 60s. The center said no death in Korea had been reported in a patient under 29.
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