Six coronavirus deaths in US, China cases slow: Live updates


The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that the world was in “uncharted territory” as the number of people infected with the new corona virus went past 90,000.

The US reported six deaths from the corona virus as the outbreak that started in China continues to spread countries and the WHO urges countries to step up containment measures to rein in the infection.

In South Korea, the country with the most severe outbreak outside China, the number of people infected continues to grow, with three more deaths reported on Tuesday morning.

In China, the infection seems to be slowing. It reported 125 new cases on Tuesday, the lowest since January.

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The number of deaths from the virus has reached 3,110 globally, according to the WHO’s latest figures.

Here are the latest updates:

Tuesday, March 3

11:03 GMT – India confirms new corona virus case

An Italian national tested positive for corona virus in the western Indian state of Rajasthan, a major tourist destination, a hospital official said on Monday,

This brings the number of people who have tested positive in the country to six.

10:48 GMT – Iran reports increasing number of deaths

Ali Reza Raisi, a Health Ministry official, said 77 people have died and 2,336 have been infected by the corona virus in Iran.

Raisi spoke at a news conference in the Iranain capital, Tehran.

10:42 GMT – Iran’s supreme leader orders armed forces to combat corona virus

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the Islamic Republic’s armed forces to assist its Health Ministry in combating the spread of the new corona virus.

“Whatever helps public health and prevents the spread of the disease is good and what helps to spread it is sin,” Khamenei said.

Iranian authorities now say they have plans to potentially mobilize 300,000 soldiers and volunteers to confront the virus.

Concern over the outbreak now stretches to Iran’s top leadership – some of whom have fallen ill from the virus.

10:29 GMT – Qatar confirms new case: health ministry

Qatar has confirmed a new case of corona virus, according to the health ministry’s Twitter account, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to eight.

The Qatari national was among others who were evacuated from Iran on February 27, it said.

09:41 GMT – France shuts over 100 schools in bid to contain corona virus

French officials have closed about 120 schools in areas that have reported the largest numbers of corona virus infections, and more could be closed in the coming days, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said.

Both primary and secondary schools have been shut in the Oise department north of the capital Paris, where the main cluster of French cases has emerged, and where two people who died of the virus lived.

Officials have reported 191 corona virus cases in France and three deaths.

Members of emergency and intensive care services are at work after a person was allegedly contaminated by the new Covid-19 Coronavirus, on March 2, 2020 at Etienne Marie de la Hante retirement home in
Members of emergency and intensive care services are at work after a person was allegedly contaminated by the the corona virus

09:25 GMT – corona virus changes greeting habits

As the corona virus continues to spread across the world, some have abandoned the most common form of greeting: the handshake.

People are changing habits to reduce the risk of contracting the corona virus and prevent it from spreading.

READ MORE: Coronavirus: ‘More than 100 Nigerians met with Italian’

09:20 GMT – Germany reports 31 new cases

The number of confirmed corona virus cases in Germany rose to 188 on Tuesday, up from 157 on Monday afternoon, the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) said.

Thirteen of Germany’s 16 federal states have now reported cases of the corona virus, with the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia being most affected, according to the RKI.

Germany has not reported a fatal case of the virus.

An employee with face mask and gloves waits behind the door of the corona diagnostic center in Duesseldorf, Germany, Monday, March 2, 2020 for the next patient. Germany faces several people infected w
An employee wearing a face mask and gloves waits behind the door of the corona virus diagnostic centre in Duesseldorf, Germany, for the next patient

09:08 GMT – Ukraine reports first corona virus case

Ukraine has reported its first case of corona virus, according to the country’s prime minister.

A health official says the virus was found in a man who travelled from Italy to Ukraine via Romania, adding that the patient was hospitalised on Saturday in western Ukraine.

08:46 GMT – Beijing to quarantine travellers from S Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy

All travellers entering Beijing from the virus hotspots of South Korea, Japan, Iran and Italy will have to be quarantined for 14 days, Deputy Secretary-General of the Beijing Municipal Government Chen Bei said.

Shanghai earlier said it would also compel visitors who had recently travelled to countries with “relatively serious virus conditions” to submit to 14 days of isolation.

08:35 GMT – South Korea outbreak continues to grow

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 374 new corona virus cases in its midday update on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, the KCDC reported 600 confirmed cases from 24 hours prior.

This brings the total number of cases in the country to 5,186, making it the largest outbreak outside China.

08:21 GMT – Emirates airline asks staff to take unpaid leave

Major international airline Emirates is asking staff to take unpaid leave for up to a month at a time due to the spreading corona virus. The outbreak has led to flight cancellations around the world.

Emirates has cancelled flights to Iran, Bahrain and to most of China because of the virus, and countries around the world have placed strict restrictions on the entry of non-nationals.

“Considering the availability of additional resources and the fact that many employees want to utilise their leave, we have provided our employees the option to avail leave or apply for voluntary unpaid leave for up to one month at a time,” Chief Operating Officer Adel al-Redha said in a statement.

08:16 GMT – Japan may be allowed to postpone Olympics to end of year

Tokyo’s contract with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) allows it to postpone the Games until the end of the year, Japan’s Olympics minister said on Friday, amid concern the corona virus outbreak could force the IOC to cancel them.

“The contract calls for the Games to be held within 2020. That could be interpreted as allowing a postponement,” Seiko Hashimoto said in response to a lawmaker’s question in parliament.

Under the hosting agreement, the right to cancel the Games is the IOC’s alone.

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective face masks, following an outbreak of the coronavirus, are seen in front of the Giant Olympic rings at the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan, F
People wearing protective face masks are seen in front of the Olympic rings in Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan

07:45 GMT – UK not planning to cancel major events: health minister

British Secretary of Health Matt Hancock said Britain is not planning to cancel mass gatherings or large sports events due to concerns about corona virus but that legislation would be needed in case action is required in the future.

“Right now, we do not recommend the cancelling of mass events and schools as well should not be closing unless there is a positive case and the schools have the advice to close,” Hancock told BBC TV.

“There may be things we have to do down the line that we don’t want to, but we will need the powers to do that hence proposing emergency legislation.”

07:37 GMT – UAE cancels, postpones events as corona virus spreads in GCC

Concerts and sporting events in the United Arab Emirates, a tourism and business hub, have been cancelled or postponed as the corona virus spreads in the Gulf.

The March 5-6 electronic music Ultra festival at Abu Dhabi’s 25,000-capacity Du arena and the March 21 K-pop concert Music Bank at Dubai’s 17,000-capacity Coca Cola Arena have been cancelled.

Organisers of Ultra, where electronic group Major Lazer and DJ Afrojack were to perform, cited travel restrictions imposed by some countries and airlines in the wake of the rapidly spreading virus.

The UAE, which has reported 21 cases, regularly hosts major conferences, concerts and sporting events.

07:29 GMT – Twitter staff to work from home over virus fears

Twitter staff across the world were asked to work from home starting Monday in an effort to stop the spread of the corona virus.

The social media platform’s decision to ask its staff to avoid the office follows similar requests by governments in virus hotspots.

“We are strongly encouraging all employees globally to work from home if they’re able,” Twitter human resources chief Jennifer Christie said in a Monday blog post.

“Our goal is to lower the probability of the spread of the COVID-19 corona virus for us – and the world around us.”

Working from home will be mandatory for employees at the company’s South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan offices, Christie said.

06:48 GMT – South Korea’s president declares ‘war’ on corona virus

South Korea’s president declared “war” on the corona virus, ordering additional hospital beds and more face masks to be made available.

President Moon Jae-in apologised for shortages of face masks and promised support for virus-hit small businesses in Asia’s fourth-biggest economy, which has now reported 4,812 cases of the disease and 34 deaths.

“The entire country has entered war against the infectious disease as the crisis in Daegu and Gyeongbuk province has reached the highest point,” he told a cabinet meeting, referring to the two hardest-hit parts of the country.

06:40 GMT – Pope tests negative for corona virus: Italy report

Pope Francis, who cancelled a Lent retreat for the first time in his papacy because he is suffering from a cold, has tested negative for corona virus, the Italian newspaper Il Messaggero reported.

The 83-year-old Roman Catholic leader, who had part of one lung removed because of an illness decades ago, also cancelled most audiences last week.

06:37 GMT – Shanghai says visitors entering from virus-hit countries must be quarantined

Shanghai will require everyone entering the city from countries with “relatively serious virus conditions” to submit to 14 days of quarantine, an official said.

The rule will apply to all people regardless of nationality, said Xu Wei, an official with the city government’s news office, speaking to reporters at a briefing.

06:25 GMT – Canada asks travellers from Iran to self-isolate

Canada has asked travellers arriving from Iran – one of the countries hardest-hit by the corona virus – to self-isolate at home for 14 days even if they are not showing any symptoms.

Meanwhile, health authorities asked Canadians to avoid any non-essential travel to Iran and the northern region of Italy, which have both emerged as infection hotspots.

Many cases in Canada had been linked to the Iran outbreak, Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam told reporters.

Canada has 27 confirmed cases of COVID-19 infection.

This is Farah Najjar in Doha taking over from my colleague Kate Mayberry.

04:45 GMT – G7 virus response might not detail fiscal, monetary steps – Reuters

The Group of Seven industrial powers are drafting a statement on countering the impact of the corona virus. For now, it does not specifically call for new government spending or coordinated interest rate cuts by central banks, a G7 official with direct knowledge of the deliberations told Reuters on Tuesday.

In the statement, expected on Tuesday or Wednesday, the G7 countries will pledge to work together to mitigate the damage to their economies from the fast-spreading epidemic, the source said on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter.

Share prices have been rising on expectations of measures to boost the global economy. 

03:45 GMT – Guangdong imposes quarantine for visitors from virus-hit countries

China’s southern province of Guangdong says it will require travellers arriving from countries and regions with severe corona virus outbreaks to quarantine themselves for 14 days, the government-backed Nanfang Daily newspaper reported on Tuesday.

The report did not name specific countries.

It said that between February 27 and March 1, 1,496 people had entered Guangdong from overseas areas hit hard by the virus but, to date, tests had shown that none had been infected.

03:40 GMT – Indonesia confirmed cases trigger panic buying

People in Jakarta rushed to supermarkets on Monday night to stock up on basic supplies shortly after President Joko Widodo announced the country had two confirmed cases of corona virus.

Shoppers found queues were longer than usual for a weekday night and that basic supplies such as bottled water had sold out.

Indonesia coronavirus
Panic-buying hit supermarkets in Jakarta on Monday after the first cases of corona virus were confirmed

03:15 GMT – Church leader tests negative for virus

Lee Man-hee, the founder of the controversial Shincheonji Church of Jesus, has tested negative for the corona virus He had been taken to a “drive-through” test site late on Monday.

The church is the at the centre of the outbreak in South Korea and has been heavily criticised over its response to the virus.

Lee apologised on Monday and called the epidemic a “great calamity” but refused to be tested by public authorities until a local governor threatened to drag him by force to be tested. Leakblast’s Rob McBride is in Seoul and you can watch his story below.

02:25 GMT – Australia to use bio-security law in fight against virus

Australia’s attorney general has said the government will use its biosecurity to law to restrict the movements of people suspected of having the corona virus.

Speaking to the country’s public broadcaster leakblast, Christian Porter said the government would use the law to either designate some places out of bounds or place a patient in detention at home.

“Under the biosecurity act, you could have the prevention of movement from persons in and out of particular places,” Porter told leakblast.

“You might have a major sporting event where people would be in very, very close proximity to each other and… it might be determined that the risk of transmission at a venue like that was too high.”

Australia passed the biosecurity law in 2015, replacing the Quarantine Act, which had been in force for more than 100 years. You can find out more about the act in this report by two academics at the Australian National University.

02:20 GMT – Hong Kong to bring home citizens from Wuhan

Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam has been holding her regular weekly press briefing.

She says Hong Kong has chartered four planes to bring back 533 Hong Kongers from Wuhan. The flights will be on Wednesday and Thursday and the passengers will be quarantined for 14 days upon arrival.

02:12 GMT – China looks to recovered to tackle COVID-19

There has been lots of talk about vaccines for COVID-19, but they will take a long time to become available.

In the meantime, beyond avoiding infection (washing your hands more and touching your face less), doctors are looking for ways to treat the illness more effectively.

My colleague Shawn Yuan has been speaking to medics in China about the difficulties they’ve encountered in treating the new virus. Read his story here.

02:10 GMT – Pakistan confirms fifth case

Pakistan has reported a new case of corona virus.

“We have now 5th confirmed case of COVID19 in federal areas,” Zafar Mirza, the country’s health minister said in a tweet early on Tuesday morning.

The patient is stable and being managed well, the minister added.

01:40 GMT – World in ‘uncharted territory’ with new virus – WHO

WHO Director General Dr Tedros Ghebreyesushas said the world is in “uncharted territory” with the new corona virus because, while the infection can spread through a community, it can also be contained.

He is urging countries around the world to focus on containing the virus, calling for “early, aggressive measures”.

01:20 GMT – South Korea outbreak continues to grow

South Korea has reported 600 new corona virus cases in its first daily update on Tuesday. The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) also says three more people died overnight.

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Total cases in the country now stand at 4,812, making it the largest outbreak outside China.

01:15 GMT – New York governor seeks to reassure on medical costs

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has just issued a directive to all insurers to waive cost-sharing associated with virus testing.

“We can’t let cost be a barrier to access to COVID-19 testing,” he wrote on Twitter.

00:45 GMT – China cases continue to slow

Figures just released by China’s National Health Commission suggest the outbreak there might be slowing.

Mainland China had 125 new confirmed cases on Monday, compared with 202 the day before. That is the lowest since the country started publishing national data in January.

In Wuhan, the number of new cases was 111, compared with 193.

The commission said 31 people died from the infection.

A recap of Monday’s major developments:

The death toll in the United States has risen to six with mounting concern that the virus has been spreading undetected in the northwestern state of Washington for weeks.

Deaths in Italy rose to 52, while Iran’s toll rose to 66. Italy is the hardest-hit country in Europe, while Iran has reported the most deaths outside China.

Countries including Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, the Czech Republic and Tunisia announced their first cases of the disease.

China reported more cases but the rate of infection appeared to be slowing.

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