Coronavirus outbreak reaching global pandemic status
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Coronavirus outbreak reaching global pandemic status

With countries such as Italy, South Korea, Afghanistan and Iran reporting several new cases, coronavirus is turning out to be a cause of concern globally.

With countries such as Italy, South Korea, Afghanistan and Iran reporting several new cases, coronavirus is turning out to be a cause of concern globally. The deadly virus is now spreading across the Middle East, and data shows that confirmed cases outside China have surged three-fold over a week.

Till 2 pm on Wednesday, 81,348 confirmed cases of coronavirus and 2,765 deaths from the COVID-19 outbreak have been reported. China alone accounted for 96 per cent of the total cases.

Coronavirus cases in South Korea increased eight-fold in a week, the highest incidence of the deadly virus outside mainland China.

South Korea’s fourth-largest city of Daegu has reported hundreds of cases. The country’s health authority has reported 115 new cases on Wednesday, along with one death, taking the toll to 1,261 reported cases and 12 deaths. Several countries have imposed travel bans, and a few airlines have halted flights to Seoul.

In Europe, Italy reported 58 new cases. As of Wednesday, the country reported 13 per cent more cases from the previous day, taking the total confirmed cases to 325 and deaths to 11. The country has reported more than 10 per cent of the total reported cases outside China.

After an Italian guest tested positive for coronavirus, a hotel at Tenerife in Spain’s Canary Islands with more than 1,000 guests was quarantined on Tuesday.

The deadly virus has started spreading in the Middle East too, where Iran reported the highest number of deaths after China. Iran’s deputy health minister Iraj Harirchi himself tested positive for coronavirus.

According to the Iranian health ministry, 16 people have died and 95 infected by the virus. However, a local lawmaker named Ahmad Amirabadi said Monday that the outbreak has killed at least 50 people in the city of Qom and authorities are suppressing casualty numbers. Iran’s health minister, however, refuted the allegation.

On Wednesday, Bahrain also reported that the number of coronavirus infections have surged to 26. Most of the infected people had returned from Iran. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has halted all flights to Iran.

Afghanistan also reported its first confirmed coronavirus case on Monday. The country’s health minister Ferozuddin Feroz said one of the three suspected cases was confirmed in the western province of Heart. Afghanistan has declared an emergency in this province which shares a border with Iran.

The novel coronavirus outbreak, first reported in Wuhan, the capital of central China’s Hubei province last December, has spread far more extensively. Since then, cases have been reported in nearly three dozen countries, along with the cruise ship Diamond Princess’.

Fourteen Indians were also among the infected on the Diamond Princess’, which docked in Japan’s Yokohama. The Indian embassy in Japan said a chartered flight would repatriate the Indian nationals.

The United States has reported 57 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 36 who were aboard the Diamond Princess’.

But despite fears of a global pandemic, the World Health Organization (WHO) has not declared the novel coronavirus as such, but indicated that the situation is worsening. The window of opportunity is still there, but the window of opportunity is narrowing, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said recently.