04 March 2020 (AlJazeera News)
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.
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.
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.
09:23 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.
Gulf countries have responded to the coronavirus outbreak by introducing travel bans, stepping up screening measures at important entry points and rescheduling – and in some cases cancelling – significant sports and cultural events.
More than 93,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed worldwide, the overwhelming majority in China, where it originated late last year. However, the new coronavirus now appears to be spreading much more rapidly outside the Asian country.
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.