The coronavirus has been spreading fast with new cases reported in the Middle East, Europe, and other parts of the world. The director-general of the World Health Organization (WHO) has said the sudden increase in cases in countries outside China is “deeply concerning”.
South Korea is in trouble.
South Korea reported 169 new patients on Wednesday, bringing the total number to 1,146, the biggest outbreak outside China. More than half of the patients were residents of Daegu. Many of the cases are linked to a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the city of Daegu. All the church’s more than 215,000 members are now being tested by health authorities, according to reports. On Tuesday, the United States and South Korea said they would consider scaling back joint military exercise after an outbreak among South Korean soldiers had infected at least 13.
In recent days Italy has become Europe’s worst-affected country with more than 300 cases and nearly 11 deaths. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has blamed poor management in a hospital in the country’s north for the outbreak. Italy’s European neighbors have pledged to keep borders open despite the new coronavirus spreading down the country. In Austria, a young Italian couple was confirmed to have the virus. One of the pair worked at a hotel, which has been put in lockdown. Switzerland said a man in his seventies living in Ticino, bordering Italy had been infected in the city of Milan. A man from Croatia who recently returned from Italy became the first confirmed patient. In Spain’s Tenerife, around 1000 guests were locked down in a hotel after an Italian doctor, and his wife tested positive for the virus. Spain reported its first case on the mainland which involves a woman in Barcelona who had been to Northern Italy. France and Germany also reported new cases involving people who had recently been to Northern Italy. It’s clear that Italy is one of the three global hot-spots outside China.
Britain begins a random coronavirus test.
Britain will begin random testing of patients with flu-like symptoms as part of its latest measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus. The random testing for the virus will take place at 11 hospitals and 100 general medical officers. This testing will tell them whether there’s evidence of infection more widespread than they think there is. So far, in Britain, 13 people have been infected with the virus. At least six schools in England have closed amid concerns that pupils could be infected following ski trips to Italy.
Iranian health officials said the number of confirmed cases in the country has risen to 95 with a total death of 15. Iran has reported 95 cases, but the actual number is thought to be higher. Most of the reported cases have been people who are elderly and dying. Iran’s deputy health minister and an MP have both tested positive for the new coronavirus. The country is one of the hot-spots outside China causing concern that the virus could be becoming a pandemic. The United Arab Emirates, Iran’s baggiest Gulf trading partner, has suspended all passenger and cargo flights to the Islamic republic in what it said was a precaution against the coronavirus.
The situation is still worse in China
Pregnant women in China are facing an emergency they could barely have imagined a few months ago. The doctors and hospitals they were relying on are suddenly unavailable. The Chinese government has taken nurses and doctors away from their usual jobs and assigned them to work on the coronavirus outbreak. That has left many small community hospitals closed temporarily. Many pregnant women have been unable to find even primary care, while reports of infected mothers giving birth have heightened fears of passing on the virus to new-borns.
In Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak, pregnant women have struggled to figure out where they can give birth to their child. Even public transports are closed, and residents are not allowed to leave the city.
The birth of the Virus
As the Wuhan coronavirus continues to spread like wildfire across the globe, a National Taiwan University professor on Saturday said the virus is likely human-made based on its unusual structure. The professor addressed many theories at a seminar on the novel coronavirus hosted by the Taiwan Public Health Association. He said that what is known is that many deadly viruses are being researched in the facility, such as SARS and Ebola, and that China’s track record with safety standards and laboratory management has been questioned in the past. Fang said that COVID-19 is 96 percent similar to the bat virus RaTG13, which is known to be housed at the lab.
When will the world be free from this virus?