(Reuters) - The rapid spread of the coronavirus has increased fears of a pandemic, with the World Health Organization (WHO) raising its global spread and impact risk alert to “very high” on Friday.
- The Trump administration is considering imposing entry restrictions at the U.S.-Mexico border to control the spread of the new coronavirus in the United States, according to two U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) officials.
- Deaths in Iran from coronavirus hit 43, the highest number outside China, and the number of infected people rose to 593, an Iranian health official said on Saturday. He called on people to stay at home.
- In Italy, the number of deaths from the illness rose to 29 and the accumulated total of cases reached 1,128, authorities said. Schools and universities will stay closed for a second consecutive week in three northern Italian regions.
- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe asked the public to cooperate in a “tough battle” to contain the coronavirus outbreak in coming weeks as the country prepares to hold the Olympic Games in Tokyo this summer as planned.
- South Korea urged citizens to stay indoors and warned of a “critical moment” in its battle to contain the coronavirus after recording the biggest daily jump in infections — 813 new cases took the tally to 3,150.
- Qatar and Ecuador reported their first cases of the virus.
- Mainland China, where the virus originated late last year, reported four new cases on Saturday, the lowest since authorities started compiling such data in January.
- Factory activity in China contracted at the fastest pace ever in February, highlighting the damage from the coronavirus outbreak on the world’s second-largest economy.
- Taiwan’s foreign minister accused China of waging cyber war on the island to disrupt its fight against the virus by using fake news
- The French government put a temporary ban on public gatherings with more than 5,000 people as France reported 16 new cases. France now has 73 confirmed cases. Of those, two have died.
- The number of people infected in the United Kingdom rose to 23, after three more patients tested positive. One Briton has died of the virus after contracting it on a cruise ship moored in Japan.
- A fourth player at Italian third-tier side Pianese tested positive for the coronavirus, the club said. Twenty of the 30 Serie C matches this weekend were postponed and five Serie A games were called off.
- U.S. officials identified four “presumptive” cases believed to have emerged from community transmission, signalling a turning point in efforts to contain the disease in the United States.
- Australia said it would deny entry to all foreign nationals travelling from Iran due to the escalating outbreak of coronavirus in the Islamic republic.
- The coronavirus outbreak is “getting bigger”, the World Health Organization said on Friday after Nigeria confirmed sub-Saharan Africa’s first case.
- Japan’s government plans to create a fund to help companies pay subsidies to workers who need to take days off to look after their children while schools are closed, the Nikkei business daily reported on Saturday.
- The virus has caused nearly 80,000 infections and 2,835 deaths, according to official Chinese figures. It has spread to another 46 countries, where about 3,700 cases and 57 deaths have been reported, according to the World Health Organization.
- At a rally in South Carolina on Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump defended his administration’s response to the outbreak and accused Democrats of politicizing the disease, saying: “This is their new hoax”.
Compiled by Stephen Coates and Timothy Heritage