From the news desk

World ‘on brink of coronavirus pandemic’

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The coronavirus is spreading more quickly in Europe, the Middle East, and other parts of the world than in China where the virus first emerged in the central city of Wuhan at the end of last year.

The number of new coronavirus infections inside China was for the first time overtaken by fresh cases elsewhere on Wednesday, with Italy, Iran and South Korea emerging as new hotspots for COVID-19.

World on brink of coronavirus pandemic
There is every sign the world is about to be gripped by a pandemic of coronavirus, Prime Minister Scott Morrison warned on Thursday, as Australia kicked off emergency measures to curb the spread of the disease.

“The advice we have received today is…there is every indication that the world will soon enter a pandemic phase of the coronavirus,” Morrison told a televised news conference in Canberra, the capital.

“As a result we have agreed today and initiated the…coronavirus emergency response plan,” he added.

Australia will extend a travel ban on foreigners arriving from China by at least another week, Morrison said, although there was as yet no need to stop mass gatherings.

China city offers $1,400 reward to virus patients who report to authorities

Qianjiang, a city of around one million people in China’s Hubei province, will pay residents as much as 10,000 yuan ($1,425.96) if they proactively report symptoms of the illness and it is confirmed after testing.

The city is located around 150 kilometres (90 miles) from the provincial capital of Wuhan, and has so far reported a total of 197 cases.

Hubei has reported more than 65,000 cases and more than 2,600 deaths.

India evacuates nationals, foreign citizens from Wuhan
An evacuation flight carrying 76 Indian citizens as well as a number of foreign nationals from Wuhan arrived back in India on Thursday.

It earlier dropped medical supplies in the city where the outbreak originated at the end of last year.

China investigates release of coronavirus-infected inmate in Hubei
China has sent an investigation team to Wuhan after reports that a prison released an infected inmate who then managed to travel to Beijing.

A team led by the Ministry of Justice, Supreme Court and Ministry of Public Security will look into the incident, the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party of China said in a news release on Thursday.

Media reports said an infected inmate was released from a Wuhan women’s prison after completing her sentence. Family members then drove her to Beijing.

The report triggered an uproar on social media, as people asked how she could have escaped the sealed off city.

Taiwan raises epidemic response level to highest amid virus concerns
Taiwan on Thursday raised its epidemic response level to the highest, official media reported, amid growing concerns over the coronavirus outbreak.

Taiwan’s Central News Agency said Premier Su Tseng-chang announced the decision in a cabinet meeting on Thursday, citing sporadic cases of community transmission on the island.

Taiwan has logged 32 cases of the coronavirus and one death, and has largely suspended travel and tourism links with China to curb its spread.

Japanese woman confirmed with coronavirus for 2nd time
A woman working as a tour-bus guide in Japan has tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, Osaka’s prefectural government said on Wednesday, the first person in the country to do so amid growing concerns about the spread of the infection.

The second positive test comes as the number of confirmed cases in Japan rose to 186 by Thursday from around 170 the day before.

New US coronavirus case may be 1st from unknown origin
A new coronavirus case in California could be the first in the US with no known connection to travel abroad or another known case, and a possible sign the virus is spreading in a community within the country, health officials said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported the case on Wednesday.

California officials said the person is a resident of Solano County, northeast of San Francisco, and is getting medical care in Sacramento County. They did not immediately release any other details.

source: Al Jazeera

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