Virus outbreak in China hits economies, fear of spread increases | World News
The purchase of daily necessities panic arose in Japan, tourist sites in Asia, Europe and the Middle East were deserted, and governments closed schools and banned large gatherings. Amusement parks have been closed and concerts canceled.
Live updates: Coronavirus outbreak
In Paris, the Louvre Museum closed its doors and the priests stopped placing sacramental bread in the mouth of the faithful.
While the new coronavirus has extended its reach worldwide, geographic groups of infections were emerging, with Iran, Italy and South Korea seeing cases on the rise. Meanwhile, the United States recorded its first death, a man in his 50s in the state of Washington who had underlying health problems but had not traveled to any affected area.
“There are likely to be additional cases in the United States, but healthy people should be able to recover completely,” President Donald Trump said in a briefing on Saturday, where officials announced further warnings about travel to certain regions of Italy and South Korea, as well as a ban. on a trip to Iran.
China reported on Sunday a slight rebound in new cases in the last 24 hours to 573, the first time in five days that number has exceeded 500. They remain almost completely confined to the most affected province of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan.
South Korea reported 210 additional cases and two more deaths from the virus, bringing its total to 3,736 cases and 20 deaths. South Korea has confirmed the second highest number of virus infections outside of mainland China, with the majority of cases reported in the city of Daegu, in the southeast, and nearby areas.
The president of South Korea used a speech to commemorate the 101st anniversary of an anti-Japanese independence uprising to call for national unity to overcome the virus outbreak.
Iran’s death toll from COVID-19, the disease that causes the virus, increased to 54, as the number of confirmed cases increased overnight to more than half, to 978 people. The new figures represent 11 more deaths than those reported on Saturday and 385 new cases.
The outbreak in Iran has led its neighbors to seal their borders to the Iranians, while other Gulf states have halted flights to Iran.
The list of countries affected by the virus has increased to almost 60. More than 87,000 people worldwide have contracted the virus, with deaths exceeding 2,900.
Many cases of the virus have been relatively mild, and some of those infected apparently show no symptoms at all. That may allow for easier propagation, and concerns that prolonged quarantines, supply chain disruptions and a sharp reduction in tourism and business trips could weaken the global economy or even cause a recession.
Around the world, the virus and the fear that accompanies it caused confusion. The holiest sites in Islam were closed to foreign pilgrims, while professional baseball teams played in deserted stadiums in Japan. Officials in France advised residents to give up the usual greeting kisses.
The growing epidemic even closed the Louvre Museum in France on Sunday, with workers guarding its treasury of works of art for fear of being contaminated by the flow of museum visitors from around the world.
“We are very worried because we have visitors from everywhere,” said Andre Sacristin, a Louvre employee and union representative for his employees.
“The risk is very, very, very large,” he said in a telephone interview. While there are no known virus infections among the 2,300 museum workers, “it is only a matter of time,” he said.
A brief statement from the Louvre said that a staff meeting on virus prevention efforts prevented the museum from opening as scheduled on Sunday morning. On Sunday afternoon, potential visitors were still waiting to enter.
The closure followed a government decision on Saturday to ban indoor public meetings of more than 5,000 people.
The South Korean men’s professional basketball league said its regular season would stop starting on Sunday, after an infection was reported in a hotel in southern South Korea where a team had stayed.
Tokyo Disneyland and Universal Studios Japan announced that they would close, and major events were canceled, including a series of concerts by the K-pop BTS supergroup.
The last group of approximately 130 crew members got off the Diamond Princess on Sunday, vacating the contaminated cruise ship and ending the much-criticized quarantine of Japan that left more than a fifth of the original population of the ship infected with the new virus.
Diamond Princess, a British flag and operated by the United States, had transported an infected passenger halfway before returning to their home port in Yokohama, near Tokyo, on February 3. Of the 3,711 passengers and crew members on board, 705 were infected on the ship, unleashing international criticism about Japan’s quarantine and disease control capacity.
In France, the archbishop of Paris advised parish priests not to administer communion by placing sacramental bread in the mouth of the faithful. Instead, priests were told to put bread in their hands.