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“Tsunami-Like” Coronavirus Floods South Korea With New Cases; Europe Begins To Isolate Italy: Live Updates

  • South Korea raised its national threat level to “red alert” for the first time since the H1N1 swine flu outbreak in 2009. The total number of confirmed cases in the country reached 763, a jump of 161 overnight, and a 25-fold increase in the past week.
  • The Italian government said it has 152 confirmed cases, up from three in a matter of days. Three people have died. Authorities have locked down about a dozen small towns and canceled events across the north, including Venice’s Carnival.
  • Iran has confirmed eight deaths related to the coronavirus, the most outside of China, media reported Sunday. South Korea confirmed its seventh death.
  • 4 more cases confirmed in UK
  • 200 Israelis quarantined
  • Japan confirms more cases; Japanese Emperor expresses hope for Tokyo Games
  • Trump says US has everything ‘under control’ as he asks Congress for more money
  • EU’s Gentiloni says he has ‘full confidence’ In Italian health officials
  • Turkey, Pakistan close borders with Iran as confirmed cases soar
  • Global Times says virus may not have originated at Hunan seafood market
  • Axios reports shortages of 150 essential drugs likely.

* * *

Update (2015 ET): The epidemic in South Korea is accelerating exponentially, with the country reporting 161 additional virus cases, bringing the total of 763, a 25-fold increase in cases in one week, along with two more deaths bringing the death toll there to seven. The Kospi is continuing its decline and is down 3.0% and approached the 2100 level on the downside.

More ominously, the number of cases under inspection is nearly 10,000.

Earlier in the day, S.Korea elevated the virus alert level to “red”, the highest in its four-tier system. According to Yonhap, in escalating the virus alert level, President Moon said, “a few days from now is a watershed moment.” In the first 30 days, S. Korea seemed to have been effectively combating the Covid-19. But within the past few days, the number of confirmed cases spiked, first linked to a religious sect and now starting to spread across the country. Yet, the city of Daegu and the Gyeongbuk area have a higher concentration of virus cases – representing 84% of the total number of infections – than other regions. Tied to this, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) estimates 329 cases, accounting for more than half of the total cases, to be related to the church services.

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