At least seven European countries have reported their first cases of novel coronavirus in the past two days, as the outbreak spreads across the world.
Elsewhere in Europe, Italy is struggling to contain its outbreak — the largest outside Asia. Meanwhile, authorities in the Middle East are also racing to contain the virus spread.
In Asia, the epidemic is far from over — South Korea has reported its largest number of new infections yet on Thursday.
What you need to know:
- South Korea spike: The East Asian country reported more than 500 new cases and one death in 24 hours, bringing the national total to 1,766 cases and 13 deaths. Many of the cases are linked to a religious group in the country’s south. The total new case count is more than China’s announcement today of 433 new cases.
- Military infections: Joint US-South Korea military drills have been postponed “until further notice” after a US soldier and several members of the South Korean military contracted the virus.
- Diamond Princess quarantine flawed: A top Japanese government adviser has admitted to CNN that authorities knew that by allowing crew members to continue working they were risking further spread of the infection. “We suspected some of the cruise staff may have already been infected, but … they had to operate the cruise ship itself, they had to see the passengers, they had to deliver the meals,” Dr. Norio Ohmagari said
- Virus spreads in Europe: Denmark, Estonia, Norway, Georgia, Greece, Romania and North Macedonia have all announced their first virus infections since Wednesday morning. The number of countries around the world that have reported cases is now nearly 50.
- Cases rise in Italy: Italy has at least 400 infections — the largest outbreak outside Asia. Many European countries are now implementing emergency measures, with Italy effectively placing 100,000 under quarantine with travel restrictions.
- Trump places VP in charge: US President Donald Trump has placed Vice President Mike Pence in charge of efforts to contain the spread of the virus in the United Sates. US health officials have warned the country may have had its first case of community transmission — where the patient did not have “relevant travel history or exposure to another known patient.”
- Middle East borders closed: Iran now has at least 139 cases and 19 deaths. This week, the virus has spread across Middle Eastern nations, including Iraq, Kuwait and Bahrain, prompting travel restrictions and closed borders.
- More new cases outside China: For the first time in the outbreak, the number of new cases reported outside of China in a single day was larger than those reported inside the country, said the World Health Organization. China reported 412 newly confirmed cases yesterday, while 459 additional cases were reported outside of China, according to the WHO’s daily report.