Coronavirus updates: Iran deputy health minister tests positive for virus
The number of cases in Italy continues to climb as Germany reports its first cases in two weeks. The US has slammed Iran and China for its handling of the outbreak. Get the latest developments here.
- European Ministers met in Italy for discussions over how to contain the spread, borders to remain open
- Iran’s deputy health minister tests positive for the virus as the US casts doubt on Iran’s honesty over the outbreak
- 60 new cases emerge in South Korea as Algeria becomes the second African nation to confirm a case
- Germany reports its first cases in two weeks taking the total to 18
All times in Universal Coordinated Time (UTC/GMT)
23: 43 Air Canada has extended its suspension of flights to and from Beijing and Shanghai in light of the epidemic. The suspension, which has been in place since January 30, will stay until April 10.
23: 15 San Francisco has declared a local emergency, as over 50 cases of the coronavirus are reported in the United States. The city’s mayor, London Breed, said in a statement, “Although there are still zero confirmed cases in San Francisco residents, the global picture is changing rapidly, and we need to step up preparedness.”
23: 11 US stock markets suffered another downturn on Tuesday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average falling 3.2%, and NASDAQ dropping 2.8%. After hitting a record-high last week, the S&P 500 shed 7.6% over the past four days.
21: 17 Germany has reported its 17th and 18th cases in the states of North Rhine-Westphalia and Baden-Württemberg. The two infections were reported in the space of a few hours after two weeks without any fresh cases in Europe’s most populous country.
21: 00 Five European countries have declared infections, on Tuesday, of people who had recently traveled from the Lombardy region in Italy, where the virus emerged as a fast-growing cluster last week.
For Switzerland, Austria and Croatia it was the first confirmed infections in those countries. Germany and France, which had previously declared infections, reported new cases in people who had recently visited Italy.
20: 54 The UK government is advising its citizens to avoid trips to the ‘Red Zone’ in Italy, where possible. Britain has advised against all but essential travel to 10 small towns in the Lombardy region and one in Veneto.
20: 41 Regional newspaper, Rheinische Post, has reported an additional German case in the city of Düsseldorf. The patient has been admitted to the university hospital in the city in western Germany.
20: 36 For more information on how the outbreak is impacting sports events, check out DW’s analysis here: Coronavirus hits Italian football, German sports officials closely observing situation
20: 24 More details are emerging regarding the case in Germany as authorities confirmed it is a 25-year-old man who had recently been in Milan. In a statement, the state’s health ministry said the man had contacted authorities after coming down with flu-like symptoms.
“People in close contact with the patient will be kept in home isolation and be asked about their state of health every day,” it said. “As soon as a contact person develops symptoms, they will also be isolated in hospital.”
20: 17 The latest case in Germany is the first infection in the country in two weeks, after stagnating on 16 cases since February 11.
19: 57 A fresh case of the virus has emerged in Germany, with the southern state of Baden-Württemberg declaring its first infection, according to the local government. This brings the total number of cases in the EU’s largest country to 17. The patient appears to have contracted the virus during a trip to Milan.
19: 41 The Irish government is urging Italian authorities to call off the proposed Six Nations rugby match with Italy in Rome on March 7.
The National Public Health Emergency Team met to decided on Ireland’s response to the outbreak and advised that the upcoming match should “not go ahead on public health grounds.”
Italy has been the hardest hit European nation in terms of coronavirus cases and “the cancellation of mass gatherings in this phase is justified in exceptional circumstances,” said Tony Holohan, the chief medical officer.
Italy’s sports minister, meanwhile, said that a ban on events in the affected regions could be lifted next week, though he admitted it was a case of wait and see.
19: 32 Kuwait’s civil aviation authority has announced it has suspended all flights to Singapore and Japan, state news agency KUNA reported. The statement was issued in accordance with the the country’s health ministry’s instructions.
On Monday, Kuwait suspended flights with South Korea, Iran, Thailand, Italy and Iraq due to the outbreak.
Kuwait has reported nine infections, thus far, all coming from Iran.
19: 25 Algeria has confirmed its first case of the coronavirus, according to state television, becoming the second African nation to declare instances of the virus, along with Egypt. An Italian man who arrived in the country on February 17 has been put into quarantine, state television said, citing the health minister.
18: 25 While land borders remain open, various restrictions have been put in place regarding air travel to and from Italy. In addition to JP Morgan’s memo to employees restricting visits to Italy, the Bulgarian national carrier Bulgaria Air has said flights to Milan would be stopped until March 27. Meanwhile, Greek and Croatian governments have banned school trips to Italy while the French government has said students returning from northern Italy would have to be quarantined and would not be accepted directly back into schools.
18: 07 A 76-year-old woman has become the eleventh person to die of the coronavirus in Italy, in the city of Treviso, in the Veneto region.
18: 01 A French health official has announced the European country has two new cases.
17: 58 Wall Street Bank JPMorgan is restricting business travel to and from Italy, according to a memo sent to employees.
17: 55 More information is emerging over the individual who has fallen ill in Switzerland. The person who has contracted the virus is a 70-year-old man in the southern canton of Ticino, Swiss health authorities confirmed.
“The infected person was in Italy about ten days ago and participated in an event near Milan,” the Swiss health ministry said in a statement.
17: 48 The number of infections in Italy now stands at 322, up from 220 on Monday, seeing a rise of 45% in the last day.
17: 29 Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza has been discussing the outbreak with counterparts from Austria, France, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany and Croatia. The ministers have agreed to keep all borders open between Italy and its neighboring countries.
“We agreed to keep borders open, closing borders would be a disproportionate and ineffective measure at this time,” Speranza
told reporters after the meeting in Rome, quoting a joint statement.
17: 24 Three further deaths in northern Italy due to the coronavirus have occurred, an official has said, taking the death toll to ten on the peninsular.
17: 19 A hotel in Innsbruck, Austria, 30 minutes from the Italian border, is under lockdown due to coronavirus fears, Austrian media has reported. An Italian receptionist working there contracted the virus, media reports said.
“No one can get in and out while the authorities assess who she has been in contact with,” a spokeswoman for the Tyrol province state government told news agency AFP, adding the location where the woman lived in Innsbruck, was also being isolated.
A hotel was placed under lockdown near the city center of Innsbruck, Austria, after a woman who worked there tested positive for the coronavirus
16: 59 The coronavirus outbreak in China has come down hard on the country’s poor who cannot afford to be quarantined. To read more on how the virus has shown up the divide between China’s rich and poor, read DW’s analysis here: Coronavirus exposes the divide between China’s rich and poor
16: 43 Footage has emerged of Iranian Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi, who on Tuesday confirmed he had contracted the deadly virus, from a press conference on Monday, where he is seen standing next to a government spokesman, sweating profusely, constantly mopping his brow. Later on Tuesday Harirchi released a video of himself in quarantine confidently predicting he would beat the illness.
16: 09 Bahrain has confirmed six new cases of the coronavirus, all of which coming from Iran, according to the state news agency.
15: 57 Latest figures suggest over 80,000 people have contracted the coronavirus globally, with some 2,700 deaths. Mainland China, the origin of the outbreak, has reported 2,663 deaths among 77,658 cases, mostly in the central province of Hubei, the virus’ epicenter. Hong Kong has reported 81 cases, with two deaths. South Korean and Iran have been the hardest hit outside of China, reporting 10 and 16 deaths respectively.
15: 24 More information has emerged regarding the case in Catalonia. The Spanish Ministry of Health tweeted that the patient had recently returned from northern Italy.
15: 01 US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been talking to reporters and has cast doubt on Iran’s integrity over the seriousness of the outbreak in the Islamic Republic.
“The United States is deeply concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country,” Pompeo told reporters, as he also lambasted China over its censorship of media and medical professionals.
“All nations, including Iran, should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations,” Pompeo said.
“Censorship, it can have deadly consequences,” Pompeo told reporters in Washington. “The information flow out of China is at a critical moment,” he said. “It’s important we get accurate information.”
14: 58 Swiss newspaper Blick is reporting the first coronavirus case in Switzerland.
14: 49 For more in-depth analysis of how the outbreak is affecting the Italian economy, read DW’s analysis here: Coronavirus hits heart of Italy’s economy
14: 42 Authorities in Italy have begun an investigation into “insane” online prices for hygienic masks and sanitizing gels.
“We have decided to open an investigation after media reports of the insane prices fetched up by these products (masks
and gels) on online sales websites in the last two days,” Milan deputy chief prosecutor Tiziana Siciliano told news agency Reuters.
14: 35 According to regional newspaper La Vanguardia, a new case of coronavirus has been reported in Catalonia, Spain. It is the first in mainland Spain. The case is the country’s fourth after three infected tourists from Germany, Italy and Britain were detected in the Canary Islands and in Mallorca.
14: 31 It is not yet clear whether Euro 2020 will be affected by the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, one of the 12 host countries, a vice-president of European soccer body UEFA has said. The tournament is due to get underway in June with Rome set to host four matches.
“We are at the waiting stage. We are monitoring country by country, and football must follow the orders of the individual countries,” Italian Michele Uva, a member of the UEFA executive committee, told state broadcaster Rai. “The sporting path will only be closed if the situation gets worse.”
14: 00 A planned three-week movie shoot in Italy for Tom Cruise’s “Mission: Impossible” series has been postponed and Milan cathedral closed.
13: 30 Oman identifies two more cases of coronavirus. The two new cases are “linked to travel to Iran”, the country’s health ministry said.
13: 25 An Iranian parliamentary representing Tehran has tested positive for coronavirus.
13: 00 Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte says he is confident that with measures in place the coronavirus outbreak will be reduced in coming days.
12: 51 Bahrain’s Health Ministry announces nine new cases of coronavirus.
11: 57 Austria confirms first two coronavirus cases, governor of Tyrol province Guenther Platter told Austrian Press Agency (APA). The patients are two 24-year-old Italians who live in Tyrol and were probably infected on a trip to Italy’s Lombardy region, Platter was quoted as saying.
11: 48 Croatia confirms first case of coronavirus after a young man who recently returned from Italy was found to have become infected, Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic announced.
11: 45 Iranian Deputy Health Minister Iraj Harirchi tests positive for coronavirus, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour confirmed. Harirchi, the head of Iran’s counter-coronavirus task force, had given a news conference only a day before seeking to minimize the danger posed by the outbreak.
11: 30Italian coronavirus cases goes up to 283. For the first time, cases have been reported in Tuscany (one in Florence and one in Pistoia), South Tyrol (one) and Sicily (one).
11: 20 Italian police have issued warnings that criminals posing as health inspectors have been using fake identity papers to try gain access into people’s homes to steal money and valuables.
Read more: Life around Italy’s quarantined ‘red zone’
11: 15 Italian authorities have opened an investigation into skyrocketing online prices for hygiene masks and sanitizing gels following the outbreak in northern Italy. The price of online masks has risen from one cent to €10 each while sanitizing gels went from €7 to €39, the Siciliano reported. Many pharmacists say they have run out of the products.
11: 10 World Health Organization (WHO) spokesperson Christian Lindmeier warned countries that the virus is “literally knocking at the door” and said its officials were meeting in Rome to discuss the “pretty strong” measures taken in Italy.
10: 40 Japan’s biggest advertising agency Dentsu says one of the employees at its headquarters has been infected with coronavirus. Dentsu has instructed all-HQ based employees to work from home.
10: 05 Iran’s Health Ministry urged all people in Iran to stay at home after 34 new cases were confirmed in the past 24 hours, spokesperson Kianoush Jahanpour told state TV, adding that the national death toll has reached 16.
09: 35 Iraqi Health Ministry announces four cases of coronavirus in Kirkuk, according to a state news agency.
09: 30 Spanish health authorities carry-out tests on hundreds of tourists in the Canary Islands after an Italian doctor tested positive for the coronavirus. Spain’s government spokesperson has said the wife of the patient is also in hospital. People in a Tenerife hotel, where the Italian doctor had stayed in, are being confined to their rooms in a lockdown as tests are conducted.
08: 52 The European Parliament says its employees should “stay home in self-isolation” if they recently traveled to the regions in northern Italy affected by the coronavirus outbreak. The institution recommends that employees work from home for 14 days, where they should check their temperature twice daily.
08: 43 Coronavirus concerns have caused an influential Shi’ite cleric in Iraq to suspend calls for political protest.
08: 38 Italy’s sports ministry confirms that select soccer matches in the areas of the country affected the coronavirus outbreak will go ahead without spectators.
08: 30 Italy’s prime minister Giuseppe Conte has blamed the management of an unnamed hospital in northern Italy for failing to follow protocols for dealing with the virus outbreak.
08: 23 Iraq ‘s health ministry says it is indefinitely extending an entry ban on travelers from China and Iran and that it will institute a similar ban on travelers from Thailand, South Korea, Japan, Italy, and Singapore. Diplomats, official delegations, and Iraqi nationals are exempt.
08: 19 Japanese media reports that a fourth person has died after contracting coronavirus while aboard the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship that spent two weeks quarantined in a harbor in Japan.
08: 10 Iran’s state media says three more people have died from coronavirus, taking the Iranian death toll to 15.
07: 58 The UK is officially advising people who recently visited northern Italy to self isolate, even if they don’t show symptoms of being ill. Italy is trying to contain the worst outbreak of coronavirus in Europe.
07: 51 Kuwait reports that the number of coronavirus cases in the country has risen to eight, all people who recently returned from Iran.
07: 10 Dubai International Airport announces United Arab Emirates has suspended all flights to and from Iran, with the exception of Tehran, until further notice.
06: 40 Two more Iranians infected with coronavirus have died, local media website Eghtesaonline reported, raising the national toll to 14.
06: 25 Japan urges companies to recommend staggered shifts and remote work. It also called for people with symptoms of cold or fever to stay at home.
05: 44 South Korea postpones next month’s table tennis world championships, which were scheduled for March 22-29 in the southern city of Busan. The event has been pushed back provisionally to June 21-28, organizers said.
05: 02 Hong Kong government extends suspension of schools to April 20.
04: 37 Italy will be hosting a coronavirus summit with the health ministries from neighboring countries Austria, France, Slovenia, Switzerland, Germany and Croatia later on Tuesday. After the detection of seven deaths and 220 cases in Italy, Europe is mobilizing in a bid to control the spread.
Coronavirus, old or flu? How to tell the difference
04: 29 US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Trump administration’s request for $2.5 billion (€2.3 billion) funds to address coronavirus was “long overdue” and “completely inadequate.” She also said the house would quickly advance a sufficient fund for the public health crisis.
04: 13 Bahrain suspended all flights to Dubai over fears of the spread of coronavirus for at least 48 hours. Bahrain’s first case of the virus was someone who transited through Dubai while traveling from Iran.
03: 49 The WHO asked countries to brace for a potential pandemic of the COVID-19. But it still believes the virus can be stopped.
03: 27 What can we do to protect ourselves from the pandemic of coronavirus? DW’s Judith Hartl has some tips to protect yourself from the virus.
03: 11 Update: China reported 71 new deaths, apart from the 508 new coronavirus cases. 68 of the deaths were in Wuhan, where the outbreak was first detected.
02: 43 A fourth person has died on a quarantined cruise ship, off the coast of Japan, local media reported. The victim was a man in his eighties.
02: 36 South Korea will be testing all members of the Shincheonji Church of Jesus in the city of Daegu. This church was at the center of the outbreak in the country, and is believed to have about 215,000 members. Out of the 60 new cases reported today, 16 were from Daegu.
02: 25 Did you catch our report from the outskirts of the “red zone” in Italy on Monday?
02: 06 Several sports events, including the Formula 1 Chinese Grand Prix, have already been canceled in light of the outbreak. However, Japanese Health Minister Katsunobu Kato said it is too soon to talk about canceling the Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020, scheduled to begin on July 24.
01: 56 Meanwhile, here is a video on Germany’s preparedness to contain the disease.
01: 41 The Trump administration has asked Congress to allocate $2.5 billion to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
01: 35 The US Center for Disease Control has advised Americans to avoid all non-essential travel to South Korea, a slightly milder advisory than the one already imposed on China.
01: 25 While China has been seeing a decline in the number of cases, its Hubei province reported a rise. The number rose to 499 on February 24, from 398 just a day ago. Mainland China reported 508 new cases, bringing the total to 77,658.
01: 15 South Korea reported 60 new cases of coronavirus, bringing the total to 893. The country had earlier declared red alert after a sudden spike in cases.
00: 49 Tokyo’s benchmark Nikkei index opened more than 3.5% down on Tuesday, as fears of the coronavirus gripped the markets. The broader Topix index shed an almost identical percentage at the opening bell. Wall Street markets had also closed sharply down on Monday, following the virus’ continued spread in Europe and Italy in particular. In Japan, Monday was a national holiday, meaning it was traders’ first chance to react.
00: 37 South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, in an interview with Yonhap news agency said that she felt Israel’s recent entry ban on South Koreans was excessive. “We are closely watching measures by each country, and our diplomatic missions are closely communicating with their host countries to prevent them from making excessive responses,” she said.
00: 28 US and South Korean militaries will consider scaling back joint exercises due to concerns about COVID-19. These exercises are held throughout the year, to boost military preparedness for both nations in case of potential combat against North Korea. South Korean Defense Minister Jeong Kyeong-doo said that there have been 13 confirmed cases of the disease in the South Korean military.
kp, mvb, jsi/aw (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)
This article is constantly being modified, as updates on the topic are being included.