March 7, 2020 / 2:33 PM / a month ago

What you need to know about coronavirus right now

(Reuters) - Here’s what you need to know about the coronavirus:

A couple wearing masks to prevent contracting the coronavirus spend their time at a Han River park in Namyangju, South Korea March 7, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

The spread

There are now 102,000 coronavirus cases and more than 3,480 deaths across the world, according to a Reuters tally of government announcements.

Most cases and deaths have been in China but numbers are mounting outside its borders. Italy has reported the second highest number of fatalities at 197, followed by Iran at 124, then South Korea at 42.

Around 90 countries outside China have reported infections, with Colombia, Costa Rica, Cambodia, Malta and Paraguay reporting first cases in the past 24 hours.

Disaster strikes

About 30 people remained trapped after a five-storey hotel being used for coronavirus quarantine collapsed on Saturday in the southeast Chinese port city of Quanzhou, state media said.

Another sign of economic damage

The economic bad news continues: a trade report on Saturday showed China’s exports contracted sharply in the first two months of the year, and imports slowed, as the health crisis caused massive disruptions to business operations, global supply chains and economic activity.

Cases surge in Iran and South Korea

Iran reported more than 1,000 new cases overnight and South Korean infections jumped by 448, taking it over the 7,000 mark.

More than half of South Korea’s total was linked to a secretive church - the numbers have exploded since a woman tested positive after attending services at a branch of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in mid-February.

Cruise control

The United States was considering ways to discourage its citizens from taking cruises, as part of a package of measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Vice President Mike Pence said elderly people should use “common sense and caution” and remember that the huge floating hotels pose a particular challenge for health officials.

Twenty-one people aboard a cruise ship that was barred from docking in San Francisco have tested positive for coronavirus, U.S. officials said on Friday.

Another event is called off

Adding to a long list of sporting, business and other events cancelled or postponed around the world, the South by Southwest (SXSW) music and technology festival in Austin, Texas, was called off on Friday.

Religion, at a distance

Pope Francis has cancelled his regular appearances in public to avoid crowds gathering to see him and will stream them on the internet from inside the Vatican because of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, the Vatican announced.

Thirteen Americans suspected of being exposed to coronavirus during a “trip of a lifetime” to the Holy Land are in quarantine near Bethlehem and are coordinating with U.S. and Palestinian authorities to try to get home.

And a Spanish pre-Easter tradition, where Catholics flock in droves to kiss statues of Jesus and Mary, fell victim to the epidemic this week as churches with some of the most sought-after statues told worshippers not to touch or kiss them.

For an interactive graphic of the spread, open tmsnrt.rs/3aIRuz7 in an external browser.

See a selection of curated coronavirus coverage here: here

Compiled by Andrew Heavens; Editing by Frances Kerry

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