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Italy death rate increases as coronavirus outbreak deepens; see more information about the virus

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Italy death rate increases as coronavirus outbreak deepens; see more information about the virus

Italy death rate increases as coronavirus outbreak deepens; see more information about the virus

Governments around the world are scrambling to contain the spread of COVID-19, which is growing globally even as transmission in China, where the virus originated at the end of last year, continues to show signs of slowing. Italy death rate increases as coronavirus outbreak deepens and see more information about the virus.

The number of deaths have drastically increased in Italy. It is now the country with the most deaths in the world outside China. The government there is considering new quarantine zones.

Worrying developments in Iran too, where 77 people have died and more than 2,000 have confirmed infections.

In the US, the death toll now stands at nine with the outbreak centered on a nursing home but there are concerns the infection may have been spreading in the community for some time.

In more positive news, the number of new cases in China appears to be slowing. The WHO says global understanding of the virus is increasing and more governments are announcing concrete plans to deal with the outbreak.

There are more than 93,000 cases around the world – the overwhelming majority in China – but as deaths are reported in Italy, Iran and the United States, authorities are considering new quarantine zones and travel restrictions.

In South Korea, where the president has declared “war” on COVID-19, some 516 new cases were announced on Wednesday morning, bringing the total there to 5,328.

Meanwhile, Poland, Morocco, Andorra, Armenia and Argentina have all confirmed their first cases of the virus in the past 24 hours.

Wednesday, March 4

10:45 GMT – Malaysia announces 14 new cases

Malaysian authorities announced 14 new cases of the coronavirus, Director-General of Health Noor Hisham Abdullah said, adding that the spike was the result of a second wave of infections that started on February 27.

“After 11 days of no reported cases, a second wave (of infections) began on the 27th February 2020,” he told a news conference in Putrajaya.

“This makes the total cases of COVID-19, so far, 50 cases, while 22 of them have been discharged,” he said.

10:36 GMT – Coronavirus affected alsmot all Iranian provinces

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the outbreak of novel virus has affected almost all of Iran’s provinces.

“This disease is a widespread disease,” he said, according to the official presidency website.

“It has reached almost all our provinces and in one sense it’s a global disease.”

10:32 GMT – Coronavirus deadlier than flu, but containable: WHO

COVID-19 has killed 3.4 percent of cases globally, a figure far above the seasonal flu’s fatality rate of below 1 percent, according to the WHO.

But the global spread of the new virus can still be controlled.

09:43 GMT – Germany reports 44 new cases

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Germany increased to 240, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said.

According to RKI, fifteen of Germany’s 16 states have now reported cases of the virus, with North Rhine-Westphalia being most affected.

09:23 GMT – First death reported in Iraq

A 70-year-old man has died in northern Iraq after contracting the coronavirus, according to the official Iraqi News Agency.

The death in Sulaimaniyah, in the semi-autonomous Kurdish region, is Iraq’s first coronavirus death.

The man was diagnosed after his health deteriorated, the report quoted the Sulaimaniyah health directorate as saying.

08:57 GMT – Median incubation period 5-7 days, maximum 14

The Chinese Medical Association has said the median incubation period of the new coronavirus is five to seven days and the maximum 14 days.

Speaking at a press event in Beijing, Du Bin, chairman of the Critical Care Medical Branch of the Association, also said that while in Hubei province some individuals tested positive for the virus even after being discharged from hospital after treatment, there is no data tracking such cases.

He added there was no evidence yet that such patients can transmit the virus – which originated in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei, late last year – to others.

08:33 GMT – How the Gulf responded to the outbreak

Gulf countries have responded to the coronavirus outbreak by introducing travel bans, stepping up screening measures at entry points and rescheduling – in some cases cancelling – significant sports and cultural events.

08:28 GMT – Takeda Pharmaceutical says developing coronavirus drug

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd said it is developing a drug to treat high-risk individuals infected with the coronavirus.

The Japanese company said in a statement it is also studying whether its currently marketed and pipeline products may be effective treatments for infected patients.

“As a company dedicated to the health and well-being of people around the world, we will do all that we can to address the novel coronavirus threat,” Rajeev Venkayya, president of Takeda’s vaccine business, said in a statement.

08:19 GMT – France to regulate price of antibacterial gel

France will regulate the price of antibacterial gels after prices were reported to have shot up since the coronavirus outbreak began in December last year, Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire said.

A decree regulating the price will be published during the day, Le Maire told French BFM Business radio.

A pharmacists’ union on Wednesday said the price rise was unacceptable and called for government intervention.

08:12 GMT – Russia suspends export of masks

Russia has suspended the export of surgical masks and medical gear, including bandages and one-use chemical protection suits, according to a government resolution, amid fears over the spread of the coronavirus. It added that the suspension would not affect exports being made for humanitarian reasons.

Russia has not reported any confirmed cases of people contracting coronavirus while inside the country, though six people who got infected elsewhere have received or are receiving treatment in Russia.

“It is mainly necessary to prevent a so-called ‘artificial deficit’ in certain medical items – masks, respirators, antiviral agents that speculators can export abroad,” Industry Minister Denis Manturov said.

08:02 GMT – Poland confirms first case

Poland has confirmed its first coronavirus infection, Poland’s Health Minister Lukasz Szumowski said.

Szumowski said the patient is in hospital in Zielona Gora, western Poland, adding that he is in good condition.

07:55 GMT – India confirms new cases, bringing total number of cases to 28

India’s health minister has announced that 14 out of 21 Italian tourists have tested positive for the coronavirus.

In remarks to ANI news agency,  said the total number of cases in the country now stood at 28. All flights and passengers will now be subject to universal screening, he added.

07:47 GMT – Hong Kong residents due to arrive from Wuhan in first chartered flight

The first chartered flight evacuating residents of Hong Kong from Wuhan – the epicentre of the coronavirus outbreak – is scheduled to arrive in Hong Kong at 09:10 GMT.

07:04 GMT – Greece confirms eighth case

Greece’s health ministry has confirmed one more case, bringing the total number of infected people in the country to eight.

The new case in the second city of Thessaloniki is a Greek citizen who is closely related to an earlier infected person.

06:47 GMT – Japan’s Hokkaido island reports three new cases

Japan’s northern island of Hokkaido reported three more cases of coronavirus infections, bringing the total to 82 in the prefecture, which  accounts for the highest number of infections among Japan’s prefectures.

The new cases are all men, one in his 50s and the other two in their 60s, the prefecture said on its website.

06:42 GMT – Ireland confirms second case

Irish health authorities have confirmed a second case of the coronavirus in a woman in the east of the country who recently travelled to northern Italy, according to Ireland’s Department of Health.

“Today we are confirming that Ireland has diagnosed one new case of COVID-19. The case arises in a female in the east of the country and is associated with travel from northern Italy,” Dr Tony Holohan, chief medical officer with the Department of Health told reporters.

This is Farah Najjar in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry.

03:50 GMT – Air New Zealand deep-cleaning three planes after COVID-19 case

Air New Zealand is deep cleaning three of its planes after it was confirmed a woman diagnosed with the country’s first case of COVID-19 travelled on its flight from Singapore to Auckland, as well as on two regional flights.

In a statement on its website, the airline’s Chief Medical Officer Dr Ben Johnston said the airline was working with the Ministry of Health to identify and contact passengers who were on the flights.

02:50 GMT – South Korea’s Moon calls off Middle East trip

South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in has called off a mid-March trip to the UAE, Egypt and Turkey because of the coronavirus, according to the presidential Blue House.

“In response to the recent nationwide spread of COVID-19, we have decided not to go ahead with trips,” spokesman Kang Min-seok said in a statement.

The outbreak in South Korea is the largest outside China.

02:45 GMT – Olympics will go ahead as planned

Sports events around the world have been cancelled as a result of the coronavirus, heightening speculation around the fate of the Olympics, which are due to start in Japan in a few months.

This morning, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told journalists Japan was planning to hold the games as planned.

On Tuesday, Olympics Minister Seiko Hashimoto had noted there could be a delay under Japan’s contract with the International Olympic Committee.

01:50 GMT Further slowdown in China

China’s data continues to show the outbreak there slowing. There were 119 new confirmed cases to the end of March 3, compared with 125 the day before.

An additional 38 people died on March 3, bringing the death toll in mainland China to 2,981.

China has now had 80,270 cases since the virus first appeared in Wuhan late last year.

01:40 GMT Further spike in South Korea cases

The latest data from the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) shows 516 new cases of coronavirus in the country – a day after President Moon Jae-in declared “war” on the infection.

South Korea now has 5,328 cases with 32 deaths in the largest outbreak outside China. The KCDC updates the data twice a day.

00:15 GMT – Nursing-home worker confirmed with virus in Australia

A woman who works in a nursing home in northern Sydney has been confirmed to have the coronavirus, raising concerns for the elderly people who live there.

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper says the woman is in her 50s and picked up the virus locally – the third such case in Australia.

00:00 GMT – Australian supermarkets ration toilet roll

Australia’s biggest supermarkets are rationing toilet paper after a wave of panic-buying.

#toiletpapergate and #toiletpapercrisis were the top two hashtags on Twitter in Australia on Wednesday.

Australians are not the only ones panic-buying. We have seen it happen in Singapore and Indonesia, while on Tuesday, it seems New Yorkers were clearing shop shelves of cleaning products.