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article imageInternational concern grows over the spread of coronavirus

By Karen Graham     Feb 23, 2020 in Health
International concern about the spread of coronavirus outside China grew on Sunday with sharp rises in infections in South Korea, Italy, and Iran. In the U.S. State Department officials say Americans who get sick in Asia will no longer be repatriated.
In the United States, the CDC, in an update on Saturday said there were 35 Americans who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the country - 18 of those were passengers on the cruise ship in japan, 3 were infected in Wuhan, and then brought to the U.S., 12 tested positive after arriving from China, and 2 were infected after having close contact with someone who traveled to Wuhan.
And in an about-face by the State Department, they acknowledged the new rule that anyone who gets sick in Asia can no longer expect to be repatriated to the U.S. This came about when several days ago, the State Department disregarded the advice of the CDC over flying infected people on the same plane with healthy passengers.
The CDC said it should not be done, although State Department officials went ahead and did it anyway. This move made President Donald Trump furious, as he was not told about the situation, according to two senior administration officials, per the New York Times.
“We're working with state, local and the health department to ready our public health workforce to respond to local cases and the possibility this outbreak could become a pandemic,” said the CDC.
The crew of the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship are expected to start another peri...
The crew of the coronavirus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship are expected to start another period of quarantine
Philip FONG, AFP
South Korea's surge in cases
South Korea's government in Seoul has put the country on "High Alert," the highest level for the coronavirus as cases continued to rise. The number of infections has surged to over 600 along with six deaths.
According to the country's Centers for Disease and Control and Prevention Sunday evening, South Korea’s new cases jumped by 169 over the weekend, bringing its total infected to 602, reports CNBC News.
It seems the focal point of the COVID-19 outbreak in South Korea is a church in the southeastern city of Daegu, where a 61-year-old parishioner with no recent record of overseas travel tested positive for the virus.
Lebanon has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus -- a 45-year-old woman who had travelled...
Lebanon has confirmed its first case of the new coronavirus -- a 45-year-old woman who had travelled from Iran's holy city of Qom
ANWAR AMRO, AFP
Italy cancels Venice Carnival
The final two days of the carnival, which draws tourists from around the world, has been canceled due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to Luca Zaia, the head of the Veneto region. He said some events scheduled for Sunday in the lagoon region would continue as planned.
“But as of this evening there will be a ban on the Venice Carnival as well as on all events, sporting as well, until March 1 inclusive,” Zaia said.
The number of cases of COVID-19 has jumped to over 130 after there were just three reported cases on Friday. Health authorities sealed off the worst affected towns and instituted bans on outdoor gatherings.
Authorities are still trying to find "patient zero." “If we cannot find ‘patient zero’ then it means the virus is even more ubiquitous than we thought,” said Zaia.
A passenger concerned about the new coronavirus wears a mask at the airport in the southern Iraqi ci...
A passenger concerned about the new coronavirus wears a mask at the airport in the southern Iraqi city of Basra
Hussein FALEH, AFP/File
Turkey closes border with Iran
Turkish Health Minister Fahrettin Koca announced Turkey will close its border with Iran as a precautionary measure to halt the potential spread of coronavirus. All highways and railways will be closed as of 5 p.m. local time on Sunday and flights from Iran suspended.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, and Afghanistan have also imposed travel restrictions on Iran over the coronavirus outbreak. Since Iran reported its first two cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, the country has now confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths, with most of the infections in the Shi’ite Muslim holy city of Qom.
More about coronavirus, sharp rise in cases, Covid19, CDC, United Kingdom
 
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