China had 150 new confirmed coronavirus deaths on Sunday, the National Health Commission announced on Monday, pushing the death toll nationwide to 2,592.
This developed as South Korea reported 161 more cases on Monday, bringing its total number of infections to 763. Officials also confirmed two more deaths of virus patients, bringing the country’s death toll to seven.
Meanwhile, Kuwait and Bahrain reported their first cases of the virus, while Turkey, Pakistan and Armenia closed their borders with Iran, as Tehran reported more coronavirus infections and deaths. Neighbouring Afghanistan also introduced travel restrictions.
At least 152 cases and three deaths were also reported in Italy, prompting emergency measures in Europe.
Here are the latest updates:
Monday, February 24
French minister: No need to close border with Italy
French junior transport minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari has said that he saw no need to close down transport borders between France and Italy, despite the spread of coronavirus.
“Closing down the borders would make no sense, as the circulation of the virus is not just limited to administrative borders,” Djebbari told BFM Business, referencing the recent outbreak in Italy, where cases have risen to more than 150.
Virus epicentre Wuhan revokes announcement easing lockdown
An announcement that the Chinese city of Wuhan would relax some of its travel restrictions and allow some people to leave was made without authorisation and has been revoked, the local government said.
The city at the epicentre of a coronavirus outbreak said it would continue to impose strict controls over its borders in order to prevent the virus from spreading further. It added it had reprimanded the people responsible for the earlier announcement that healthy people would be allowed to leave if they had vital business.
Qatar to quarantine passengers arriving from Iran, South Korea
Qatar will ask passengers arriving from Iran and South Korea to remain in home isolation or a quarantine facility for 14 days over fears of new coronavirus outbreak, Qatar Airways said in a statement on Monday.
Qatar has not yet reported a confirmed case of the virus.
Restrictions placed on some Lebanon residents
Lebanon’s health ministry has asked parents who recently visited countries severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak not to send their children to school for 15 days, Lebanon’s health minister has said, according to local media.
“In accordance with the education minister, we ask parents who were in Iran or in countries that have been found to have coronavirus infections not to send their children to school or university for 15 days as a precautionary measure,” Health Minister Hamad Hasan told local TV channel LBCI. Lebanon confirmed its first case on Friday.
Iraq closes border crossing with Kuwait amid coronavirus spread
Iraq has shut its Safwan border crossing with Kuwait to travellers and trade at Kuwait’s request, the local mayor has told Reuters news agency without providing a reason.
Kuwait said on Monday three people, including a Saudi national, who returned from Iran were infected by the new coronavirus. Meanwhile, Iraq extended on Saturday an entry ban for any non-Iraqis coming from Iran, which has so far said it had confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths.
China considers ‘complete ban’ on wildlife trade
China’s top legislative committee has begun deliberating a proposal to ban all trade and consumption of wild animals, a practice believed responsible for the country’s deadly coronavirus outbreak.
The official Xinhua news agency said the proposal was submitted to the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC), which is currently set to start its session next month, but is expected to postpone.
Kuwait, Bahrain confirm first coronavirus cases
Kuwait and Bahrain have confirmed their first cases of coronavirus, both of their state news agencies have reported.
Bahrain confirmed one case, a citizen arriving from Iran, the state news agency reported, citing the health ministry. Meanwhile, Kuwait had three cases, the state news agency KUNA reported, citing the ministry of health.
China says new coronavirus deaths increase with 150
Mainland China had 150 new confirmed coronavirus deaths on Sunday, the National Health Commission said on Monday, up from 97 the previous day.
In a statement, the commission also confirmed 409 new infections during the same period, down from 648 reported a day earlier.
The total number of confirmed coronavirus cases on the mainland is now 77,150, and 2,592 have died from the outbreak, the commission said.
Meanwhile, China announced that it will allow healthy non-residents of Wuhan to leave the epicentre of the virus.
Four Chinese provinces lower coronavirus emergency response level
Four Chinese provinces; Yunnan, Guangdong, Shanxi and Guizhou, on Monday lowered their coronavirus emergency response measures, local health commissions said.
Yunnan and Guizhou cut their emergency response measures from level I to level III, while Guangdong and Shanxi lowered their measures to level II.
China has a four-tier response system for pubic health emergencies that determines what measures it will implement, with level I the most serious.
Gansu province was the first to lower its measures on Friday, followed by Liaoning on Saturday.
South Korea reports 161 more coronavirus cases
South Korea reported 161 more cases of the new virus on Monday, bringing its total to 763 cases.
On Sunday, the country raised its disease alert to the highest level after a surge in infections and two more deaths.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in also ordered officials to take “unprecedented, powerful” steps to stem the spread of the outbreak.
Austria stops train from Italy due to suspected infections
Austria denied entry to a train from Italy on suspicion that two of the travellers might be infected with the coronavirus, Austria’s Ministry of the Interior said.
“Tonight a train on its way from Venice to Munich was stopped at the Austrian border,” the ministry said.
The Italian State Railways informed Austrian train operator OBB that there were two people with fever symptoms on the train, the ministry’s statement said.
The train was now waiting at the Brenner Pass in Italian territory. “The further procedure is currently being discussed together with Italian authorities.”
France, EU partners to discuss coronavirus: French health minister
French Health Minister Olivier Veran said he would talk to his European counterparts soon to discuss how to best cope with a possible epidemic risk in Europe as Italy battles an explosion in cases.
“Tonight there is no epidemic in France. But there is a problematic situation at the door, in Italy, that we are watching with great attention,” Veran told a news conference.
“The situation tonight is very evolutive at [the] international level,” he added. “I spoke with my Italian and German counterparts … We have agreed to have a discussion between several European health ministers, probably next week, to assess how we can together face epidemic risk,” he said.
A third person dies in Italy
A third person infected with the coronavirus died in Italy, a regional official said, as the government struggles to contain an outbreak of the illness in the north of the country with more than 130 cases reported since Friday.
Lombardy regional councillor Giulio Gallera told reporters the victim was an elderly woman from the province of Cremona in the Lombardy region.
The woman was also suffering from cancer, Gallera said.