The coronavirus outbreak carried on in the last day of February, leading to a surge of cases in South Korea and the first untraced case in the US. Meanwhile, in Europe, the situation remains uncertain.
Italy remained the European country most threatened by the coronavirus. Despite very pressing concerns, so far at least, it seems that cases are under control in other parts of Europe.
In Italy, however, it seems that the virus might have circulated for weeks before it was first detected, flying under the radar. If this is the case, experts expect a surge of cases in Italy, as well as several other countries in Europe (where Italians can circulate freely).
For now, however, this is yet to be confirmed and authorities are working their best to contain existing cases. The increasing number of cases (measuring in the hundreds every day) does not bode well, however.
South Korea mobilizes the army
The coronavirus outbreak in South Korea took a weird turn with the involvement of a fringe Christian group called Shincheonji Church. A member of this controversial and secretive sect has inadvertently spread the disease, being responsible for bringing and spreading the disease in the country. Many of the first 300 cases were directly linked to this, but now, it seems that COVID-19 has spread far beyond sect members and their families.
Today, South Korea reported its greatest surge of cases, with over 800 confirmed patients, bringing the country’s total infections to 3,150. South Korea has urged its population to remain indoors if possible.
The South Korean vice-health minister, Kim Kang-lip, said:
“We have asked you to refrain from taking part in public events, including a religious gathering or protest, this weekend. Please stay at home and refrain from going outside and minimise contact with other people.”
South Korea is one of the outbreak’s poles, and the window of containment is rapidly closing. The country is nearing a tipping point, and it is mobilizing the military in an attempt to reduce the number of infections.
What’s happening in the US?
U.S. public health officials said on Friday that they had identified four “presumptive” coronavirus cases believed to have emerged from community transmission of the infection — signaling that the disease might be heading to a turning point.
In addition, officials in California said that an older woman with chronic health conditions had been diagnosed with Covid-19 — and she was not known to travel to a country affected by the virus or be in contact with anyone who has.
“This new case indicates that there is evidence of community transmission but the extent is still not clear,” said Dr Sara Cody, director of the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.
President Trump took the opportunity to praise the country’s response to the outbreak but also to spread new fears about immigration. According to Reuters, the administration is considering closing down the border with Mexico.
There are 68 confirmed coronavirus cases in the US and 3 in Mexico. The Trump administration has announced that it is considering imposing travel restrictions and even potentially shutting down its border with Mexico — though it later dismissed this idea.
“The issue of it in our hemisphere is something we are exploring,” said one of the officials, according to MSN. “We are all a little worried now that Mexico has its first cases.”
Members of a U.S. government task force on the coronavirus were scheduled to meet on Saturday morning to discuss the response.
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