Latest on coronavirus spreading in China and beyond

Countries around the world are stepping up efforts to prevent a pandemic of the flu-like virus that has now infected more than 80,000 people, 10 times more cases than the SARS coronavirus.

  • Hubei had 499 new confirmed cases on Feb. 24, the National Health Commission said, up from 398 a day earlier. Mainland China reported 508 new cases, up from 409 on Feb. 23, bringing the total number to 77,658.

  • Italy on Monday became the new frontline in the fight against the coronavirus with 220 cases reported from just three on Friday. The death toll stands at seven.

  • Italian authorities have sealed off the worst-affected towns, closed schools and halted the carnival in Venice, where there were two cases.

  • Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Afghanistan, and Iraq reported their first virus cases, all in people who had been to Iran where the toll was 12 dead and 61 infected. Most of the Iran infections were in the city of Qom.

  • The number of coronavirus cases in South Korea rose to 893 on Tuesday, as health authorities said they plan to test potentially more than 200,000 members of a church at the epicentre of the outbreak.

  • The coronavirus outbreak can still be beaten, the World Health Organization said, insisting it was premature to declare it a pandemic even though it had the potential to reach that level.

  • China’s top legislature said it will immediately ban the trade and consumption of wild animals, in a fast-track decision it says will allow the country to win the battle against the virus.

  • Beijing warned its citizens on Monday against traveling to the United States, saying that Chinese tourists have been treated unfairly due to excessive prevention measures.

  • Americans should avoid all nonessential travel to South Korea due to the outbreak, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Monday.

  • Financial markets on Monday ratcheted up bets the U.S. Federal Reserve will be pressed to cut interest rates to cushion a feared hit to economic growth from the spread of the coronavirus.

  • An Italian man tested positive becomes the third case of coronavirus in Spain.

  • Outside China, the outbreak has spread to about 29 countries and territories, with a death toll of about two dozen, according to a Reuters tally.

  • An air transport strike planned for Tuesday in Italy has been postponed until further notice.

  • France on Monday blocked coach passengers coming from Milan over concerns one Italian on board might be infected. Ireland cautioned citizens against travelling to virus-hit parts of Italy.

  • The Hong Kong government warned residents on Monday to avoid all non-essential travel to South Korea.

  • Iraq shut a border crossing with Kuwait to travelers and trade at Kuwait’s request.

  • Qatar will ask passengers from Iran and South Korea to remain in home isolation or a quarantine facility for 14 days, Qatar Airways said on Monday.

  • French minister said on Monday he saw no need to shut transport borders between France and Italy despite the spread of coronavirus.

  • Asian share markets were trying to stabilize on Tuesday after a wave of early selling petered out and Wall Street futures managed a solid bounce, allowing investors to take a break from coronavirus fears. Reuters

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