Washington: The number of new coronavirus infections inside China - the source of the outbreak - was for the first time overtaken by fresh cases elsewhere on Wednesday, with Italy and Iran emerging as epicentes of the rapidly spreading illness.
Italy has reported more than 400 cases, centered on the industrial heartlands of Lombardy and Veneto. While Iran has reported only 141 cases, epidemiologists say the death rate of around 2% seen elsewhere suggest that the true number of cases must be many times higher.
China said the number of new deaths stood at 29 on Thursday, the lowest daily rate since January nd reported 433 new cases, against 406 on Wednesday.
The virus has now killed a total of 2,744 people in the country, mostly in the central province of Hubei.
China will focus on preventing those infected from crossing borders, a spokesman for the National Health Commission said on Thursday, while immigration authorities called for resumption of visa and passport services in low-risk coronavirus areas.
Taiwan raised its epidemic response level to the highest as it prepared a $2 billion package to soften the economic impact and postponed a major religious event scheduled for next month.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country, which has 23 cases of the virus, was operating on the basis of a pandemic and hospitals were under orders to ensure enough medical supplies, personal protective equipment and staff.
Italians or people who recently visited Italy have tested positive in Algeria, Croatia, Spain and Switzerland.
Brazil confirmed Latin America’s first infection and the new disease was also detected for the first time in Pakistan, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Greece and Romania.
Japanese woman tested positive for coronavirus for a second time as the number of confirmed cases in Japan, excluding the 704 on the quarantined cruise liner, rose to more than 190 on Thursday.
The death toll rose to eight after another death was reported in Hokkaido.
South Korea reported 334 additional cases of the new coronavirus on Thursday, the largest daily increase yet, as the United States issued a new travel warning for South Korea and the countries postponed a joint military drill.
A Korean flight attendant who worked on the Seoul-Los Angeles route has tested positive for the virus, South Korea’s disease control agency said on Thursday.
The US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday warned of the possibility of a community spread of the coronavirus after a person in California who reportedly did not have relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient was infected.
Dozens of people were being checked for the virus in the New York City area on Wednesday, officials said, but Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state has had no confirmed cases so far.
Iraq reported its sixth case on Thursday and confirmed cases in Kuwait rose to 43.
The southern Chinese technology hub of Shenzhen prepares to ban eating cats and dogs as the country clamps down on the wildlife trade that scientists suspect led to the coronavirus outbreak.
The Watches & Wonders watch fair in Geneva, scheduled for April 25-29, has been cancelled due to the outbreak.
Most European firms operating in China expect revenue to fall in the first half of this year because of the ongoing epidemic and government control measures, showed a poll by business groups on Thursday.
Stocks sunk deeper into the red on Thursday, oil prices fell and U.S. Treasuries rallied into record territory as more signs of the global spread of the coronavirus heightened fears of a pandemic.
Global stocks have further to run this year, but the likelihood of a correction of 10% or more is high, according to Reuters polls of market strategists, with the severity of the economic hit from coronavirus being the biggest risk.