Update: Coronavirus


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The respiratory infection that originated in China, known as the coronavirus, has become a huge topic of discussion as it has spread to over 50 countries, including the UK. 

South Korea

As of today, South Korea has the largest coronavirus outbreak outside China as it reports that there have been 813 new cases as of Saturday (29th February 2020). This report brings the total number of cases in  South Korea  to 3,150. 


United States

The coronavirus is spreading fast, as officials state that cases of this virus has been found in the US, infecting a high school student from Washington State, an employee of a school in Oregon, near Portland, and a woman in Santa Clara Country, California. 

In total, the United States has sixty-fixe cases of the coronavirus, but until this week all of them could be explained by overseas travel, or contact with someone that has been ill. The three new cases were the first cases in the US where the cause was unknown, and could not be explained by overseas travel or contact with a confirmed infected person. This recent development has caused experts to warn that the virus might be spreading across the United States. “If we were worried yesterday, we are even more worried today, “said Dr Willian Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. He went on to say, “Now we have to ask: How widely, really widely, is this virus out there?”With the recent development of three mysterious cases, officials are determined to find everyone that has been in contact with someone that is ill. California officials are said to be increasing testing, as Washington State suggests that people should prepare for the schooling of schools and businesses working from home. 


United Kingdom

Recent updates have shown that three more patients in the UK have been confirmed with having the coronavirus, bringing the total in the UK to 36. According to the Department of Health and Social Care, these three new cases were confirmed in Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire ad Berkshire. 

According to chief medical officer Chris Whitty, two of the three new cases had recently returned from Italy, whilst the other returned from Asia. Health officials are currently investigating who had come in contact with the three new cases. Whilst approximately 10,000 people have been tested for the coronavirus across the UK, there have been 36 positive results in England, and one each in Wales and Northern Ireland. The first UK citizen to die from the coronavirus was a British man who was on board the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off Japan’s coast.  Those that have travelled from China, Iran, Italy, South Korea and Hong Kong have been advised, by the government, to remain indoors and avoid contact with other UK citizens. 



In order to prevent the spreading of the coronavirus, Azerbaijan has decided to close its border with Iran for the next two weeks, as Iran has one of the world’s largest outbreak outside of China, with its death toll of 43 people. Azerbaijan’s government has reported that there have been two citizens, who had recently arrived from Iran, that have been places in quarantine after testing positive for the virus. In Azerbaijan, there are currently three confirmed cases of the coronavirus. 



Sources in Iran’s health system told “BBC Persian” that at least 210 people have died due to the coronavirus. Most of these victims are in the capital city of Tehran, and the city of Qom. This recent news shows that this figure is six times higher than the death toll of 34 that was given on Friday. 

There are fears that the Iranian government has been covering up the true extent of the impact of the coronavirus due to the recent suggestion of the death toll being 210 instead of 34. Friday prayers in Tehran and 22 other cities were cancelled, as well as the closure of schools and universities. Thousands of people have been stranded locally and abroad as  many flights were cancelled. The Iranian health ministry said that 143 new cases have been detected, bringing the total to 388. It has been said that several politicians have also been infected, such as senior officials, Vice President for Women’s and Family Affairs, Masoumeh Ebtekar, and Deputy Health Minister, Iraj Hararchi. The coronavirus has also spread from Iran into neighbouring countries as there have been cases reported in Afghanistan, Bahrain, Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Pakistan. 



Pakistan confirms two more positive cases of the coronavirus, bringing its total number to four positive cases. 



As the number of confirmed coronavirus cases in France reaches 73, with 16 new cases, the French government bans gatherings that consist of more that 5,000 people. 



The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Italy adds up to 400, reported authorities late Wednesday night. The most affected areas in Italy have been in the north of the country – Lombardy, Milan and Veneto.So far 12 people have passed away due to the virus. Due to the outbreak, schools, universities and cinemas have been closed, as well as several public events. Eleven towns have been quarantined, a total of 55,000 people. Three regions in northern Italy decide that their schools and universities will remain closed for a second week, as they try to contain the coronavirus outbreak. The disease that appeared to be confined to China has spread across Europe, with 821 cases in Italy, an outbreak in France with 20 cases reported Thursday overnight, and 60 new cases in Germany.


How has the coronavirus spread from Italy? 

Netherlands – two cases were reported on 28 February, both of whom were linked to Italy.

France – a 64-year-old man who recently returned from Lombardy tested positive. 

Spain – a sports journalist who attended a Champions League match in Milan returned to Spain and tested positive on February 19. 

Denmark – a man returned from Italy to Denmark on 24 February. 

Austria – first confirmed cases, as two 24-year-olds fall ill in Tyrol. 

Croatia – a man who visited Milan between 19 and 21 February is diagnosed with the virus. 

Israel – a visitor who recently returned from Italy tests positive.

Nigeria – an Italian citizen who on 25 February returned to Lagos falls ill. This is the first sub-Saharan Africa case.

Canary Islands – an Italian doctor, who was staying at a Tenerife Hotel with his wife, test positive for the virus on 24 February. 

Image source: New York Times