Deadly Coronavirus Spreads to Italy, Iran and South Korea
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
The deadly novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 has reached Europe, the Middle East and has infected more of Asia. So far, five people have died in northern Italy. Officials have placed restrictions on some municipalities, CNN reported Monday.
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The deaths in Italy, along with 219 known cases there, were announced by Angelo Borrelli, the head of the country’s civil protection agency. The bulk of the cases (167) are in the northern region of Lombardy, whose capital is the major industrial center of Milan, and in Venice.
Authorities are scrambling to find “patient zero,” the name assigned to the person who brought the virus into Italy.
Coronavirus Cases in Italy Surged to More than 200 over the Weekend
Italy's confirmed cases surged from three on Friday morning to more than 200 by Monday. Borrelli added that one person has recovered and that 91 others with the virus are in isolation at home.
On Saturday, Italy's Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced severe restrictions in the affected regions. They include “the closure of public buildings, limited transport, and the surveillance and quarantine of individuals who may have been exposed to the virus.”
Speranza said, “We are asking basically that everyone who has come from areas stricken by the epidemic to remain under a mandatory house stay.”
CNN said that “the strict emergency measures put in place over the weekend included a ban on public events in at least 10 municipalities.” Authorities set up roadblocks, called off soccer matches and shuttered public sites, including the famed La Scala opera house, the Associated Press noted.
50 Coronavirus Victims in Iran’s Qom
Fox News said, “50 people died in the Iranian city of Qom from the new coronavirus in the month of February, Iran's semiofficial ILNA news agency reported on Monday.” Infections were reported to have spread for the first time to Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman and Afghanistan, the Associated Press reported.
WHO Director General: Coronavirus ‘Has Pandemic Potential’
In a separate report, CNN announced that World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned Monday that the “coronavirus has pandemic potential but it’s not there yet.”
Tedros said the virus is affecting countries across the world in different ways and requires a tailored response, adding it’s not a one-size-fits-all response,” CNN added.
In the U.S., stocks on Wall Street plummeted in early trading Monday. The S&P 500 “dropped nearly 3 percent as U.S. markets followed sharp declines around the world,” according to The New York Times. The Dow Jones industrial average fell more than 900 points.
Coronavirus Cases Spread to South Korea
The Times said the number of infections in Asia has ballooned to more than 79,000 people, crippling China’s economy. “As of Monday morning, at least 2,623 people have died, all but 30 in mainland China,” where the virus originated.
The first reported cases in South Korea prompted President Moon Jae-in on Sunday to put the country on its highest level of alert.