Coronavirus LIVE: Italy 'close public spaces and schools' as chance to contain COVID-19 NARROWS

CORONAVIRUS in northern Italy has worsened after 14 new cases were confirmed in the region of Lombardy.

Two more cases were reported in the region of Veneto.

Two more people have also been suffering from a highly contagious illness in Veneto, although it is not clear if they have coronavirus.

The outbreak comes after Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), said he is worried the chance to contain the coronavirus outbreak is "narrowing".

Although the number of cases outside of China remained low, the WHO is worried about clusters of infections which have no clear link to China.

Follow our coronavirus live blog to stay up to date with the latest news and updates.

 

  • NARROWING WINDOW TO CONTAIN CORONAVIRUS, WHO SAYS

    The head of the World Health Organisation has said he is worried about the number of coronavirus cases with no obvious link to China or other confirmed cases.

    Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said the number of coronavirus cases outside China was “relatively small” but the cluster of infections was worrying.

    He said: “We are concerned about the number of cases with no clear epidemiological link, such as travel history to or contact with a confirmed case.”

    He said new deaths and infections in Iran were “very concerning”.

    However, he said the measures China and other countries had put in place meant there was still a “fighting chance” of stopping further spread.

  • CASES IN ITALY RISE TO 16 AS PUBLIC SPACES CLOSED IN 10 TOWNS

    Coronavirus in northern Italy has worsened after 14 new cases were confirmed in the region of Lombardy.

    Two more cases were reported in the region of Veneto.

    Two more people have also been suffering from a highly contagious illness in Veneto, although it is not clear if they have coronavirus.

    Authorities in northern Italy ordered the closure of schools, bars and public places in 10 towns.

    Five doctors are amongst those infected.

    Over 50,000 people have been asked to stay at home after the outbreak.

    Public activities such as church masses, carnival celebrations and sporting events have been banned for up to a week.

    Health Minister Roberto Speranza said: “We had prepared a plan in recent days, because it was clear what has happened could somehow happen.

    None of the peole infected are believed to have visited China, but the first patient, a 38-year-old man, who is now in intensive care fell ill after meeting a friend who had recently been there.

    That man, however, has since tested negative for coronavirus.

    Doctors are now investigating whether he carried the virus but recovered without showing any symptoms, said Lombardy regional councillor Giulio Gallera.

    The wife of the first patien, who is pregnant, and one of his friends were infected.

  • SOUTH KOREA 'EMERGENCY' AS 100 NEW CASES CONFIRM

    South Korea has become the newest hotbed for coronavirus outside of China as 100 new cases of the deadly disease were reported.

    Prime Minsiter Chung Sye-kyun said it was an emergency as the country's second death was confirmed.

    The government has refocued its efforts to stop the domestic spread of coronavirus and not just its entry from abroad, after the number of total cases reached 204 in the country.

    A woman in her 50s became South Korea's second fatality earlier today after she was transferred from Daegu to the southeastern city of Busan.

    Most cases have been linked to a church in Daegu which has been labelled as a cult.

    The church believes founder Lee Man-hee is an angel of Jesus sent to testify about the fulfilled prophecies of the book of Revelation.

    The Shincheonji church, which has a staggering 200,000 followers, has closed all 74 venues around South Korea.

    It told followers to watch its worship services on YouTube.

    Health officials are disinfecting its church in Daegu, which has around 8,000 followers.

    A 61-year-old woman, who attends the Daegu church, is believed to be a “superspreader”.

    Doctors diagnosed her after she was taken to hospital after a car crash and developed a fever three days later.

    The woman has not travelled abroad recently and is not aware of who infected her.

    Health authorities have said she is known as “Patient 31” and has been to a church service and funeral atteneded by members of the church.

    President Moon Jae-in has demanded immediate action to track down followers who have visited the church.

    Three military personnel have also been confirmed as having coronavirus in Daegu.

  • WUHAN TO BUILD ANOTHER 19 HOSPITALS

    The Chinese city Wuhan is to build an additional 19 makeshift hospitals to cope with the growing number of infected patients from the coronavirus, authorities have said.

    The hospitals are expected to offer around 30,000 beds, according to the deputy mayor of Wuhan Hu Yabo.

    So far the city, which is the epicentre of the outbreak, has already created 13 temporary hospitals with 13,348 beds.

    Around 9,313 beds have been put into use to treat patients with mild symptoms, according to Hu.

    Every makeshift hospital will be supplied with CT scanners and other medical equipment including ECG monitors.

    The number of confirmed cases of the outbreak in Wuhan reached 45,346 on Thursday.

  • FIRST CORONAVIRUS CASE IN LEBANON

    Lebanon has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus and is carrying out further tests on two others.

    A 45-year-old woman has tested positive for the virus, Lebanon's Health Minister Hammad Hassan has said.

    The woman is said to have arrived in the country after travelling from the Iranian city of Quom, south of Tehran.

    There are two other suspected cases although these are yet to be confirmed.

    Mr Hassan announced that all travellers returning from Iran will now be held under home quarantine for 14 days.

    Iran said earlier today there were now 18 cases of people infected with the virus, with at least four people having died from it.

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