Coronavirus cases surpass 100,000 globally: Live updates

Outbreak reaches worrying new milestone, driven by new cases outside China, as governments further tighten restrictions.

A visitor wearing a mask as a preventive measure against the coronavirus takes pictures in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank March 5, 2020. REUTERS/Mussa Qawasm

More than 100,000 people have been diagnosed with the coronavirus disease globally, according to Johns Hopkins University – with at least 3,015 deaths in China and 267 fatalities in other parts of the globe, most of them in Italy and Iran.

At least 1,200 of the new infections are in Iran in just the past 24 hours, the country’s biggest jump since the outbreak began. Iran’s health ministry on Friday noted that 124 people have died.

In France, 200 new COVID-19 cases were confirmed overnight, while India and South Korea also reported an increase in the number of infections.

Additionally, the death toll in the United States from the coronavirus rose to 12 when King County in the state of Washington reported the latest death on Thursday.

Here are all the latest updates.

Click here for Saturday, March 7 updates

Friday, March 6

22:13 GMT – Second coronavirus death confirmed in England

A second patient in England who tested positive for coronavirus has died, the United Kingdom’s Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty confirmed. The patient was being treated at Milton Keynes University Hospital and had underlying health conditions.

22:05 GMT – South by Southwest cancelled

The city of Austin in the US has cancelled the March dates for SXSW, or South by Southwest, and SXSW EDU.

“We are devastated to share this news with you. ‘The show must go on’ is in our DNA, and this is the first time in 34 years that the March event will not take place. We are now working through the ramifications of this unprecedented situation,” organisers said. 

The event, held in Texas, is one of the world’s biggest international music festivals and showcases talent from dozens of countries, styles and traditions.

In 2019, more than 400,000 people attended the festival.

20:40 GMT – 15th death in US confirmed

A hospital in Washington state said that a 12th person had died there from coronavirus, bringing to 15 the total deaths from the respiratory illness in the US.

EvergreenHealth Medical Center in the Seattle suburb of Kirkland said the state had confirmed the case. Kirkland is the site of an outbreak at a nursing facility where at least six people have died of COVID-19.

20:38 GMT – Colombia has confirmed first case of coronavirus, says health ministry

Colombia confirmed its first case of coronavirus, joining other South American countries that have reported cases of the fast-spreading disease.

19:50 GMT – Chinese province reports 17 new coronavirus infections imported from Iran

The northwestern Chinese province of Gansu has confirmed 17 new coronavirus cases imported from Iran, bringing the total imported cases to 28, the province’s health authorities said.

The 17 new patients were among quarantined passengers who entered the provincial capital of Lanzhou on commercial flights from Iran between March 2 and March 5, the Gansu health commission said in a statement on its website.

EU holds emergency meeting over coronavirus outbreak

19:44 GMT – Apple asks Silicon Valley employees to work from home

Apple Inc asked employees at its Silicon Valley headquarters to work from home if possible as a “precaution”, a spokesman confirmed to Reuters.

Officials in Santa Clara County, California where Apple’s 12,000-person Apple Park campus is located, had earlier asked large companies to consider asking employees to telecommute and find other ways of limiting close contact.

There were 20 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the county as of March 5, health officials said.

19:19 GMT – US university suspends in-person classes over virus concerns

The University of Washington announced that it was moving all classes online as the western US state faces the country’s deadliest outbreak of the new coronavirus.

In an email to students, university president Ana Mari Cauce said the precautionary social distancing decision, taken in consultation with public health officials, aimed to “ensure the successful conclusion of the quarter for UW students”.

Beginning Monday, all classes and final exams will take place online for the remainder of the winter quarter, which ends March 20.

18:51 GMT – The Latest: UN climate change agency postpones meetings 

The United Nations’ top climate change official says her agency won’t hold any physical meetings at its headquarters in Germany or elsewhere until the end of April due to the spread of the new coronavirus.

Patricia Espinosa, executive secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, said the decision by the climate change secretariat comes in response to the outbreak and “the evolving situation in Germany,” where more than 600 cases have now been confirmed.

18:33 GMT – Iraq puts France and Spain on coronavirus entry ban list

Iraq has banned entry to travellers coming from France and Spain, its foreign ministry said, bringing the total number of countries on its entry ban list to 11 as it tries to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

The ban does not extend to Iraqi citizens and foreign diplomats, a ministry spokesman said in a statement. Iraq has so far recorded 38 cases of the coronavirus and two deaths.

Coronavirus outbreak: Quarantine stories go viral online

18:00 GMT – Coronavirus fears are ruling markets, and it matters to everyone

How bad could the coronavirus outbreak be for the global economy? It is a question businesses, consumers, traders, investors and policymakers are struggling to answer definitively, and nowhere is that reflected more starkly than in the behaviour of markets this week.

In the absence of hard answers, uncertainty rules. And when uncertainty has the upper hand, it wreaks havoc on investor psychology. 

Read more here

17:30 GMT – New York cases increase to 33

The number of people in New York State who have tested positive for the coronavirus has increased by 11 to 33, Governor Andrew Cuomo said.

The increase in cases reflects expanding testing across the state.

17:00 GMT – Pompeo speaks of ‘Wuhan virus’ despite China’s protests

For the second day in a row, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly referred to COVID-19 as the “Wuhan virus” or “Wuhan coronavirus,” a reference to the central Chinese metropolis that is hardest hit.

Asked in a CNBC interview about the success of Beijing’s response to the outbreak, Pompeo said, “I’m happy you complimented the Chinese Communist Party today, but remember this is the Wuhan coronavirus that’s caused this.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian, asked in a briefing this week about the terms “Wuhan virus” or “China virus,” said it was “highly irresponsible” for media to use them.

16:40 GMT – WHO urges countries to make containing coronavirus ‘highest priority’

All countries should make containing the outbreak of COVID-19 their top priority, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday.

The United Nations agency stressed that fighting the epidemic requires countries to work together, and praised Iran for “switching on” to the coronavirus outbreak there and taking a fresh “all of government approach”.

“We are continuing to recommend that all countries make containment their highest priority,” WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus added.

16:15 GMT – Peru president confirms first coronavirus case

Peru has detected its first case of the new coronavirus in a 25-year-old man who had travelled to Europe.

President Martin Vizcarra called for calm and said the nation had taken “all the medical measures” to treat the patient, who had been in Spain, France and the Czech Republic and was in a stable condition.

15:50 GMT – European Union ministers urge members to share anti-virus gear

Smaller EU member states raised the alarm Friday after Germany, France and the Czech Republic blocked the export of some medical supplies that could help slow the novel coronavirus outbreak.

EU health ministers were meeting to plan a coordinated response to the epidemic, but Germany has banned exports of face masks and gloves and France has requisitioned all its own stocks.

“There are legal grounds that make such measures possible, but these kind of unilateral measures first have to be notified to the union,” EU crisis management commissioner US  Lenarcic said.

A sign reads:
President Emmanuel Macron has announced that France will requisition all face masks produced there, a de facto export ban [Daniel Cole/AP]

15:40 GMT – Trump visit to CDC cancelled after virus concern

US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta has been called off because of concerns that a staff member may have been infected by the coronavirus.

Trump told reporters that concerns were raised Thursday about “one person who was potentially infected” who worked at the CDC.

“Because of the one person they didn’t want me going,” he added, explaining why a planned stop at the agency, which is working with state and local officials to help combat the spread of the new virus, was left off his schedule.

15:17 GMT – Togo confirms first coronavirus case

Togo confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus after a 42-year-old woman tested positive following her return from a trip to Benin, Germany, France and Turkey.

The presidency in the West African nation of eight million people said the patient, who lives in the capital Lome with her family, was “currently isolated in a treatment centre for infectious diseases” after testing positive on Thursday.

14:32 GMT – Trump signs $8.3 bn spending bill to boost coronavirus response

US President Donald Trump signed an emergency spending bill for $8.3bn to ramp up the nation’s response to the coronavirus, providing funds for state and local officials to combat the spread of infections as the number of cases grows in the US.

The funding measure includes over $3bn for research and development of vaccines, test kits and medical treatments, $2.2bn to aid public health activities on prevention, preparedness and response, and $1.25bn to help international efforts aimed at reining in the virus.

14:05 GMT – Number of confirmed cases surpasses 100,000: Reuters

The number of people infected by the new coronavirus surpassed 100,000 globally, according to a tally by Reuters news agency based on statements from health ministries and government officials across the world.

14:00 GMT – Two British Airways staff test positive for coronavirus

Two British Airways staff members have tested positive for coronavirus and have been isolated and are recovering at home, the airline said.

“Public Health England (PHE) has confirmed that two members of our staff have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus,” British Airways said in a statement.

Bethlehem: Birthplace of Jesus under coronavirus quarantine

This is Usaid Siddiqui taking over from my colleague Fidelis Mbah.

11:14 GMT – European stocks plunge over virus scare

European stock markets plunged further on heightened panic over the coronavirus and its predicted devastating damage to world economic growth.

Paris slumped 3.9 percent, Frankfurt and Milan each tumbled 3.7 percent, Madrid shed 3.4 percent and London retreated 3.3 percent by 10:30 GMT.

11:10 GMT – Tokyo Olympics hold test event minus fans

Tokyo Olympics organisers have held a test event amid fears of the spread of coronavirus.

They allowed a sport climbing event on Friday to go ahead, with a few restrictions: no fans and no top athletes.

09:50 GMT – Vatican confirms first case

The Vatican has reported its first coronavirus case, saying it had suspended outpatient services at its health clinic after a patient tested positive.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni told journalists on Friday that the clinic, which has some 1,000 residents, will be deep cleaned.

09:39 GMT – Cameroon, Serbia record first cases

Cameroon has confirmed its first case of coronavirus after a 58-year-old French citizen tested positive to the virus.

The health ministry said the man, who arrived in the capital, Yaounde, on February 24, has been quarantined in the city’s central hospital.

In Serbia, health minister Zlatibor Loncar reported on Friday that a 43-year-old man became the first person in Serbia to be infected with the coronavirus.

09:12 GMT – India coronavirus cases jump to 31

The number of coronavirus cases in India has increased sharply from six to 31 this week, the health ministry announced on Friday.

Authorities in the capital, New Delhi, have also ordered the closure of primary schools until March 31 to prevent local transmission.

Click here to read what you need to know about coronavirus in India.

08:29 GMT – Travelling during coronavirus outbreak

The rapid spread of COVID-19 around the globe has thrown the international travel industry into chaos.

Increasing numbers of travellers are opting to stay home amid fear of exposure to the new coronavirus.

Here’s what you need to know while travelling.

07:28 GMT – Global economic losses could reach $347bn

The new coronavirus outbreak could result in global economic losses of up to $347bn, according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The minimum losses are projected at $77bn, or 0.1 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP) while the maximum losses represent 0.4 percent of global GDP, the ADB said.

This is Fidelis Mbah taking over from my colleague Ted Regencia.

04:15 GMT – South Korea vows ‘reciprocal’ countermeasures

South Korea said it will consider countermeasures to Japan’s “unjust, unacceptable” travel restrictions barring visitors from areas that have been hard hit by the coronavirus epidemic.

The presidential National Security Council met after Japan said it would bar arrivals from highly affected areas in South Korea and Iran and order a two-week quarantine for those from other regions.

“It is unacceptable that the Japanese government took such an unjust action without prior consultations with us, and we will explore necessary countermeasures based on principles of reciprocity,” the council said in a statement.

04:15 GMT – Philippines reports two new infections

Philippine Health Secretary Francisco Duque III announced two new coronavirus infections, bringing the total confirmed cases to five.

One of the patients had reportedly traveled to Japan, while the other person “has no known history of travel outside the country”. The second patient reported on Friday reportedly frequented a mosque in Metro Manila before the infection was confirmed.

While there are only five confirmed cases in the Philippines, more than 80 Filipinos working abroad have contracted the disease, most of whom were working on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

Coronavirus - Philippines
While there are only five confirmed cases in the Philippines, more than 80 Filipinos working abroad have contracted the disease [File: Eloisa Lopez/Reuters]

03:47 GMT – Seoul urges Tokyo to drop new entry rules

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun on Friday described Japan’s latest entry restrictions against South Koreans following the coronavirus outbreak as “very regrettable”.

Speaking at a meeting in Seoul, Chung urged Tokyo to withdraw the “excessive and unreasonable” measures against South Korean travellers.

As of Friday, there are an estimated 6,284 coronavirus infections reported in South Korea, and 80,552 cases in China. 

02:12 GMT – South Korea reports 518 new cases

South Korea - coronavirus
South Korean soldiers in protective gear sanitise a street in Seoul on Thursday [Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters]

South Korean health authorities reported 518 new cases of the coronavirus on Friday, bringing to 6,284 the total number of infections nationwide, according to Yonhap news agency.

Yonhap also quoted the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as saying that 42 people, mostly elderly with underlying illnesses, have died.

Most of the cases of infections were from the southeastern city of Daegu, a city of 2.5 million people. 

01:32 GMT – China reports 143 new cases, 30 deaths

China’s National Health Commission reported on Friday 30 new coronavirus deaths and 143 new infections as of the end of Thursday.

At least 29 of the new deaths and 126 new cases were from the province of Hubei, the epicentre of the infections in China.

Across China, the total number of deaths has reached 3,042 with the number of infections hitting 80,552.

00:50 GMT – Beijing reports 4 new coronavirus cases from Italy

Beijing reported four new cases of coronavirus on March 5, all imported from Italy, the city’s municipal health commission said in a statement on Friday.

The city now has a total of 422 cases. Coronavirus cases are now rising across the globe at a more rapid rate than inside China.

Across China, the cases have now reached 80,565 with 3,015 deaths, according to a World Health Organization or WHO report on Thursday. 

00:25 GMT – US state of Maryland confirms three cases

Governor Larry Hogan of the US state of Maryland has announced that three people from the state have been infected with the coronavirus.

In a statement posted on social media, Hogan said the three individuals contracted the disease while travelling overseas. He said they are in “good condition”.

23:09 GMT Thursday – French legislator hospitalised after contracting coronavirus

Reuters news agency is reporting that a member of France’s National Assembly has been hospitalised in intensive care after contracting coronavirus.

France’s lower house of Parliament made the announcement late on Thursday, but did not identify the legislator.

Two other people working in the dining hall of the assembly were also infected.

France has so far reported 423 cases of the virus as of late on Thursday, up by 138 in one day, according to the national health service. There have been seven deaths so far in France.

Click here to read all the updates from March 5.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies