Coronavirus: New virus outbreaks in China and overseas rekindle concerns

Cornelia Mascio
Febbraio 21, 2020

The death toll in China from the coronavirus epidemic rose to 2,236 today (Feb 21) after 118 more people died, majority in the hard-hit epicentre province of Hubei, the government said.

Two more people have died from the coronavirus in Iran, the number of those infected has doubled in South Korea, and there has been a spike in infections inside Chinese prisons, rekindling concerns about an epidemic that has killed more than 2,200 people in China.

Ten people have been isolated in the facility's National Quarantine Unit, with three others in the biocontainment unit.

South Korea confirmed 52 more cases of novel coronavirus today as the number of infections linked to a religious sect in Daegu spiked, making it the worst-infected country outside China.

A team of WHO experts would travel to Wuhan, the epicentre of the coronavirus epidemic, on Saturday to investigate the disease outbreak, the global health body announced on Friday. As a result, prison and security officials, as well as others in Hubei, have been fired over failing to disclose information and for allowing the virus to spread.

Two prisons in China have reported almost 250 cases of COVID-19 cases, with both inmates and prison guards getting infected.

Seven of the new cases were in the Shiite holy city of Qom, four in Tehran and two in Gilan, health ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Twitter.

Most of the cases are related to church services in the city of Daegu, in the southeast of the country, the agency added.

The 11 passengers whose tests came back positive for coronavirus were part of a group of 13 high-risk passengers who had been at Travis Air Force base in northern California since the cruise ship evacuation, the AP reported.

China recorded fewer than 1,000 new coronavirus infections in two consecutive days earlier this week, its health authorities said Friday, after the country stopped including clinically diagnosed cases of the pneumonia-causing virus in its tally. Peng Yinjua, a respiratory doctor, died on Thursday.

In Beijing, health officials said 36 people, including medical staff, patients and their families, have tested positive for the virus at Fuxing hospital. Another 200 prisoners tested positive for the virus in Shandong Province, and dozens more were confirmed in Shilifen prisoners in Zhejiang Province.

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