Qatar confirms two more coronavirus cases: Live updates

More than 87,000 people infected as outbreak spreads around the world with hotspots in Europe and the Middle East.

Health officials, wearing face masks amid fears over the spread of the COVID-19 novel coronavirus, check the body temperature of policewomen before an anti-government rally in Bangkok on March 1, 2020
The outbreak continues to spread around the world with more than 86,000 people infected [Mladen Antonov/AFP]

Iran announced 11 more deaths from coronavirus bringing its death toll to 54 while the Czech Republic, Scotland and the Dominican Republic confirmed its first cases, as the spread of the disease continued around the world. 

Globally, more than 2,900 people have died from the fast-moving virus that appears to have originated in China in December.

Several European countries announced new cases with more than 87,000 people infected worldwide.

This is Mersiha Gadzo in Doha taking over from Hamza Mohamed.

Here are the latest updates: 

Sunday, March 1

19:58 GMT – Angola to bar entry of citizens from virus-hit countries

Angola will prohibit the entry of citizens from China, South Korea, Italy, Iran, Nigeria, Egypt and Algeria, if they travel directly from those countries as a precaution, official news agency ANGOP reported.

The restriction would not apply to citizens that had travelled via a third country, the report said.

19:57 GMT – Scotland reports first case

The Scottish government reported its first case of coronavirus.

The patient, who is a resident of the Tayside area, had recently travelled from northern Italy, the government said.

19:36 GMT – Motorcycling MotoGP cancels season-opening in Qatar

The opening race of the MotoGP season in Qatar on March 8 was cancelled because of travel restrictions imposed on passengers from Italy, MotoGP said.

“Italy clearly plays a vital role in the championship and in the MotoGP class – both on track and off – and therefore the decision has been taken to cancel premier class competition,” a statement said.

The Moto2 and Moto3 categories will still race due to those teams and riders already being in Qatar for testing there last week.

18:47 GMT – Finland reports sixth case

Finland confirmed its sixth case of the coronavirus after three new cases were diagnosed.

Two cases – a child and a pensioner – had been in close contact with a woman who was diagnosed with the virus on Friday after a visit to northern Italy, the Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare said.

The trio were all in home isolation. About 130 people in the Helsinki area who had been in contact with the child including classmates, teachers and members of the child’s football team have protectively been placed in home quarantine.

18:31 GMT – Coronavirus cases in France rise to 130: public health chief

France has 130 confirmed cases of coronavirus, the head of the public health service, Jerome Salomon, said, raising the toll from 100 a day earlier.

17:50 GMT – Some British embassy staff in Iran evacuated to coronavirus

Dependants and some staff are being evacuated from the British embassy in Tehran as of March 1 due to coronavirus but essential staff will remain, Britain’s Foreign Office said as part of a travel advisory for Iran posted online.

“As of 1 March, dependants and some staff from the British Embassy are being withdrawn from Iran due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Essential staff needed to continue critical work will remain,” the advisory said.

“In the event that the situation deteriorates further, the ability of the British Embassy to provide assistance to British nationals from within Iran may be limited.”

17:20 GMT – Nigeria ramps up efforts to detect, contain coronavirus

Experts say Nigeria is prepared to contain new virus following a successful response to Ebola more than five years ago.

Read more here.

17:10 GMT – China using AI and big data to combat outbreak

Thermal scanners – newly installed at train stations in major Chinese cities – are just one of the ways in which authorities are using artificial intelligence (AI) and big data to fight the deadly epidemic.

Read more here.

17:30 GMT – Virus cases in Italy rise by 50 percent

The number of people infected in Italy with the new coronavirus rose by 50 percent to 1,694 in just 24 hours, the head of the Civil Protection Agency said.

Five more people died, bringing the total number of deaths to 34, according to Italian authorities.

Northern Italy In The Grip Of Covid-19 Coronavirus
Tourists are seen wearing protective masks at Piazza della Scala in Milan, Italy [Marco Di Lauro/Getty Images]

17:20 GMT – Qatar bans entry for travellers from Egypt

Qatar imposed a “temporary entrance restriction” for all travellers “coming from Egypt through intermediate points,” according to a statement by Qatar’s government communications office.

“The measure is temporary due to the spread of COVID-19,” it said.

17:07 GMT – Dominican Republic confirms its first case

Health authorities in the Dominican Republic have confirmed its first case of coronavirus.

A tourist visiting from Italy was transferred to an isolation room in a hospital near the capital and is in stable condition, Health Minister Rafael Sanchez said at a news conference.

14:12 GMT – Iraq reports six new cases

Iraq reported six new coronavirus cases, bringing the total number of cases to 19, the health ministry said.

Two of the infected are in Baghdad, and the other four are in Sulaimaniya. All of them had recently returned from Iran, it added.

15:47 GMT – Bahrain confirms six new coronavirus cases

Bahrain’s ministry of health confirmed six new coronavirus cases, raising the total number to 47 cases, the state news agency reported according to a ministry statement.

The six cases are five Bahraini citizens and a Saudi national who arrived in Bahrain on indirect flights from Iran.

15:20 GMT – Czech Republic reports first cases

The Czech Republic has confirmed its first three cases of coronavirus, Health Minister Adam Vojtech said.

Health officials said at a news conference the three patients showed mild symptoms and had travelled from northern Italy.

14:56 GMT – US aims to increase diagnostic kits, expand surveillance testing

The US currently has 75,000 diagnostic kits for testing coronavirus available and will increase that number “radically” in the following weeks, US Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told ABC’s “This Week”.

Azar told ABC that surveillance testing of flu-like symptoms was underway in key cities, including San Francisco, but he hoped to expand the testing across the country.

He said the virus is likely to spread in the US, but it is uncertain how large the outbreak could become.

14:30 GMT – Nigeria identifies 100 people who may have been exposed

Nigerian authorities have been in contacted with around 100 people who may have been exposed to an Italian man who is the country’s first coronavirus patient, the Lagos state health commissioner said.

“It is around 100 people but that number is increasing every minute,” Akin Abayomi said in a telephone interview with Reuters.

He said some of the people travelled to other states in Nigeria or went to Europe.

A member of the Nigerian army performs a temperature check on a visitor at the entrance of the Nigerian Army Hospital in the Yaba area of Lagos, Nigeria, on Friday, Feb. 28, 2020. Nigerian health auth
A member of the Nigerian army performs a temperature check on a visitor at the entrance of Nigerian Army Hospital in the Yaba area of Lagos [George Osodi/Bloomberg]

14:30 GMT – Lebanon confirms three new cases, total now 10

Lebanon’s health ministry said three more people tested positive for coronavirus after arriving from Iran, bringing the total in the country to 10.

The three patients, who had been in isolation at home, were quarantined at a Beirut hospital after showing symptoms, the ministry said in a statement.

Lebanon closed schools this week and halted flights for non-residents from countries with outbreaks, namely China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.

13:49 GMT – UK reports 12 new cases, total now 35

There have been 12 new cases of coronavirus in the UK, bringing the total to 35, according to British health authorities.

Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty said in a statement on Twitter that three of those who tested positive were close contacts of a known case.

Six others had recently travelled from Italy, and two from Iran. One patient had no relevant travel, and authorities were investigating how they had caught the virus.

13:35 GMT – Qatar confirms two more cases: health ministry

Qatar has confirmed two more cases of the coronavirus, according to the health ministry’s Twitter account, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to three.

The two Qatari individuals were evacuated from Iran on February 27 and have been placed in full quarantine, it said.

13:30 GMT – Paris’ Louvre Museum closes

The Louvre Museum in Paris closed its doors due to fears over the coronavirus, a union representative told AFP.

Around 300 staff of the world’s most popular museum met in the morning and voted “almost unanimously” not to open in the morning, Christian Galani of the CGT labour union told AFP.

There have been 100 coronavirus cases and two deaths in France since the end of January.

People line up at the Louvre Museum as the staff closed the museum during a staff meeting about the coronavirus outbreak, in Paris
People line up at the Louvre Museum in Paris as the staff closed the museum due to the coronavirus outbreak [Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

11:20 GMT – Iran coronavirus death toll jumps to 54

Iran has reported 11 new coronavirus deaths. The outbreak has claimed the lives of 54 people, the health ministry said.

“There were 385 new cases of infected people in the last 24 hours, increasing the total number to 978. The death toll is 54,” Kianush Jahanpur, spokesman for the health ministry said.

He called on Iranians to avoid any unnecessary trips and stay at home.

10:05 GMT – Coronavirus fears hits Gulf stock markets

Fears overs the impact of the coronavirus outbreak has hit the stock markets in the oil-rich Gulf countries.

All of the seven exchanges in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which were closed Friday and Saturday for the Muslim weekend, were hit as oil prices dropped below $50 a barrel.

So far, Gulf states have reported at least 115 cases.

09:50 GMT – China pollution declines as virus shuts down factories

Pollution levels over China have declined significantly, US space agency NASA says, partly due to the economic slowdown following the coronavirus outbreak.

Airborne Nitrogen Dioxide Plummets Over China [NASA]
 [Photo credit: NASA] 

Satellite images shared by NASA show falling levels of nitrogen dioxide. The gas is emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities.

08:30 GMT – South Korea reports 210 new cases

In South Korea, authorities have reported 210 new cases on Sunday afternoon.

Earlier on Sunday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 376 cases and one death linked to the virus.

The country’s total number of infections stands at 3,736.

Meanwhile, a 45-day-old baby has become the youngest person to be infected with the virus, The Korea Times reported on Sunday.

The baby boy tested positive for coronavirus after his parents had contracted the virus, the report added.

Baby and mother, both in self-quarantine, are in good condition according to officials.

07:15 GMT – Pakistan to shut its border with Afghanistan

Pakistan said it will close its border with Afghanistan from tomorrow “to prevent the spread of coronavirus”.

The Chaman border crossing will remain shut for seven days, Islamabad said in a statement.

“During the period, necessary measures will be taken to safeguard the health of the people of both countries,” the statement said.

Afghanistan has reported one case of the virus, while Pakistan has confirmed four, according to the WHO.

06:30 GMT – Hong Kong dog tests positive for coronavirus

A dog has been quarantined in Hong Kong after it tested “weak positive” for coronavirus, officials said.

Authorities said the dog belongs to a coronavirus patient. To the relief of animal lovers, authorities said there was no evidence yet that the virus could be transmitted to man’s best friend.

04:50 GMT – South Korea closes churches to limit virus spread

Churches were closed in South Korea on Sunday, many holding services online instead, according to Reuters.

In the capital, Seoul, about a dozen worshippers were turned away from the Yoido Full Gospel Church, which put a sermon for its 560,000 followers on YouTube, filmed with a small choir instead of the usual 200 members and 60-strong orchestra.

“I had heard there would be no service, but just came to check as I live nearby, but yes, it is so empty,” said one of them, Song Young-koo, as he left South Korea’s biggest church.

“It’s a wise decision to do it online, since the virus would easily spread at mass gatherings and churches can be no exception.”

For the first time in its 236-year history, South Korea’s Catholic church decided to halt mass at more than 1,700 locations nationwide. Buddhist temples have also called off events.

Coronavirus Korea
Churches were closed and services held online on Sunday as South Korea stepped up efforts to contain the spreading coronavirus by limiting public gatherings [Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo]

04:36 GMT – Thailand records first coronavirus death

Thailand has recorded its first fatality in the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported, citing Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control.

The 35-year-old man also had dengue fever, Suwanchai told a news conference on Sunday.

04:20 GMT – Armenia patient had returned from Iran

More details are emerging about Armenia’s coronavirus patient.

The 29-year-old citizen returned to Armenia from Iran on Friday and went to a doctor because he was feeling unwell, Reuters said, citing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Facebook page.

“He is now in good condition,” Pashinyan said, adding that authorities planned to isolate those who had been in contact with him.

Armenia closed its borders with neighbouring Iran a week ago. It has also suspended flights to the country.

04:15 GMT – Australia reports new case

Australia said on Sunday that it had confirmed an additional case of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 26.

A scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 (the round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab from a patient in the United States. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. [National Institutes of Health via EPA]

03:50 GMT – Armenia reports first coronavirus case

Armenia’s prime minister said the central Asian nation had recorded its first case of the coronavirus, Reuters reported. 

02:32 GMT – American Airlines says suspending Milan flights

American Airlines said it would suspend flights from New York and Miami to Milan because of a “reduction in demand”.

Flights are scheduled to resume on April 25, the airline said in a statement on its website.

02:16 GMT – Australia records first coronavirus death

Australia has recorded its first death from the coronavirus after a 78-year-old man who had been evacuated from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship died in a Perth hospital.

“Our condolences are with his family and unfortunately he’s the first death we’ve had from coronavirus in Australia,” Andrew Robertson, the chief health officer of the state of Western Australia, told journalists, according to Reuters.

The man’s wife also caught the virus, but is in stable condition, authorities said.

Australia has reported 25 cases of coronavirus.

Diamond Princess
The first Australian to die of COVID-19 had been evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan [Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo]

01:00 GMT – South Korea reports 376 more coronavirus cases

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said 376 more cases of coronavirus had been reported in the country, most of them in the hardest-hit city of Daegu and the province of Gyeongbuk.

No new deaths were reported.

The country now has a total of 3,526 cases.

The KCDC will release a further update at 07:00 GMT on Sunday.

00:01 GMT – China reports 573 new coronavirus cases, 35 deaths

Mainland China reported 573 new confirmed coronavirus cases on February 29, up from 427 the previous day, the country’s health authority said on Sunday.

The number of deaths stood at 35, down from 47 the previous day, bringing the total death toll in mainland China to 2,870.

Of the deaths, 34 were in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. The province also saw 570 of the new cases.

Click here to read updates from Saturday, February 29.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies