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1 March, 2020 12:00:22 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 1 March, 2020 12:21:27 PM

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61 countries now hit by virus

First death on US soil reported in Washington state
AFP, Seoul
61 countries now hit by virus

The number of novel coronavirus cases in the world rose to 85,919, including 2,942 deaths, across 61 countries and territories by 1700 GMT yesterday, according to a report gathered by this news agency from official sources. Since 1700 GMT Friday, 1,802 new contaminations were identified.

Besides, the first death from the novel coronavirus has been confirmed on US soil, in Washington state, health officials said late last night, after a handful of cases of unknown origin were detected, indicating the disease was spreading in the country.

The fatality occurred in King county, the most populous in the state and home to Seattle, a city of more than 700,000 people, officials in the state told AFP. The victim was not immediately identified.

"It is a sad day in our state as we learn that a Washingtonian has died from COVID-19. Our hearts go out to his family and friends," Washington state Governor Jay Inslee said in a statement.

US President Donald Trump later briefed

the media about the ‘latest coronavirus developments’.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 60 people are infected with the disease in the US -- the majority of them passengers from the stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship.

An American citizen died of the new coronavirus in early February at the Chinese epicenter of the global outbreak, the city of Wuhan, the US embassy confirmed at the time.

Meanwhile, China -- excluding the territories of Hong Kong and Macau -- where the epidemic emerged at the end of December, had 79,251 cases, of which 2,835 were fatal. There were 427 new infections and 47 deaths there between 1700 GMT Friday and 1900 GMT Saturday.

The most affected countries after China are: South Korea (3,150 cases, 17 deaths, 813 new cases), Italy (1,128 cases, 29 deaths, 240 new cases), Iran (593 cases, 43 deaths, 205 new cases) and Japan (230 cases, 11 deaths, 20 new cases).

Japan has also recorded more than 700 cases aboard the cruise ship Diamond Princess moored off Yokohama.

This assessment was carried out using data collected by AFP offices from the competent national authorities and information from the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Over 60 countries affected

Elsewhere in the world, 61 countries and territories are affected. A further 6,668 cases have been recorded around the world since the epidemic began, including 106 deaths and 1,375 new cases.

The virus is spreading most rapidly in South Korea, which recorded another 813 new cases on Saturday -- its largest daily increase so far -- with the country now totalling 3,150 infections.

Europe's virus hotspot Italy reported 240 new cases on Saturday, bringing its total to 1,128 cases and 29 deaths. Iran meanwhile reported nine new deaths from the virus, raising the death toll to 43 while its has 593 infected cases.

But the BBC's Persian-language service, citing unnamed sources in Iran's health system, has said that at least 210 people have died -- a report denied by the Iranian government.

In recent days a swathe of countries have announced their first coronavirus cases, including Azerbaijan, Belarus, Iceland, Lithuania, Monaco, Mexico and the Netherlands, New Zealand, and Nigeria.

Highest risk

The WHO has raised its global risk assessment of the new coronavirus to "very high", because of the continued increase in cases and the number of new countries affected in recent days.

The United Nations Security Council says it will adopt humanitarian exemptions to the heavy economic sanctions imposed on North Korea to help Pyongyang fight the epidemic.

The country has not reported a single case of the virus known as COVID-19.

Economic shock

World stock exchanges, which fear the devastating consequences of the epidemic on the economy, have had their worst week since the economic crisis of 2008.

Oil prices have also been in free fall, plummeting to their lowest level in over a year, fearing a fall in world demand.

Official data released in China on Saturday showed manufacturing activity falling to its lowest level on record as key industries ground to a standstill under drastic containment measures.

US Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell meanwhile said the central bank was ready to intervene if needed.

Cancellations and bans

France on Saturday cancelled all gatherings of 5,000 people or more, including a half-marathon scheduled for Sunday however football matches have not been affected. Switzerland has suspended all events with more than 1,000 participants until March 15, forcing the cancellation of the Geneva International Motor Show.

SH

 

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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