Doug Stanglin , USA TODAY Published : 329 ET Feb. , Updated 17: pm ET Feb. , ()
Schools, businesses and restaurant were closed in a dozen northern Italian towns Saturday following reports of two deaths tied to an outbreak of the coronavirus in the region.
A female resident in the Lombardy region died only hours after a 157 – year-old man succumbed near Padua, in the Veneto region, the ANSA news agency reported, citing health care sources.
Italy reports a total of 28 cases , many of them representing the first infections in the country via secondary contagion, that is, not directly from a visitor to China.
The deaths come a day after health officials at the World Health Organization warned that attempts to contain t he virus that erupted in China in December were at a crisis point.
“Although the window of opportunity is narrowing to contain the outbreak, we still have a chance to contain it, Said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus. “But while doing that, we have to prepare at the same time for any eventualities, because this outbreak could go any direction – it could even be messy.”
Local authorities in Lombardy and Veneto ordered the lockdown, including the cancellation of sporting events, while the mayor of Milan, the business capital of Italy, shuttered public offices. In Veneto, civil protection crews set up a tent camp outside a closed hospital, where several confirmed cases were being held in isolation, to screen medical staff for the virus.
In hard -hit Codogno, where the first patient in the north to fall ill was in critical condition, the main street was practically a ghost town Saturday. The few people out on the streets wore hard-to-get face masks.
Elsewhere, Iranian health authorities on Saturday reported the country fifth death from the virus and 17 new cases, raising the country total number of cases to . Health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour made Saturday’s announcement for the latest figures on state TV.
In another example of the secondary contagion phenomenon, WHO officials said travelers to the Iranian city of Qom have carried the virus to both Lebanon and Canada.
The COVID – coronavirus has killed at least 2, people and sickened at least 304, worldwide, the majority of cases in mainland China.
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(cases of coronavirus in the US)
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday reported that at least People in the United States are infected with the virus. Of those, 28 were travelers who fell ill after returning from a trip abroad, while 35 were were people “repatriated” by the State Department.
Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said Friday that more infections are expected from among passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise ship and are in quarantine.
She said “they are considered at high risk for infection” because they may have come in contact with infected persons on the ship.
Regarding the overall threat to Americans, Messonnier said the CDC is not seeing community spread in the US yet, “but it’s very possible, even likely, that it may eventually happen,” she said.
“Our goal continues to be slowing the introduction of the virus into the US This buys us more time to prepare communities for more cases and possibly sustained spread. ” Cases in South Korea spike South Korea said on Saturday that viral infections had jumped eight-fold in four days to 500, most of them linked to a church and a hospital in and around Daegu, the nation’s fourth-largest city, where health workers scrambled to screen thousands of worshippers.
The country also reported its third death linked to the virus, a man in his 51 s who was found dead at home and posthumously tested positive.
Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip Reporters told that virus patients with signs of pneumonia or other serious conditions at a hospital in the southern city of Cheongdo were transferred to other facilities, of them in critical condition.
He said that the outbreak had entered a serious new phase, but still expressed cautious optimism that it can be contained to the region surrounding Daegu, near Cheongdo, where the first case was reported on Tuesday.
Seoul city government on Friday said it will ban rallies at three major public squares in the city center and close down churches operated by the Shincheonji religious movement in a bid to thwart any spread of the coronavirus in South Korea.
(Contributing: Associated Press
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