Coronavirus strikes 60 nations, spreading in Americas - GulfToday

Coronavirus strikes 60 nations, spreading in Americas


A woman (R), who has recovered from the COVID-19, is disinfected by volunteers as she arrives at a hotel for a 14-day quarantine in Wuhan on Sunday. AFP

The Louvre in Paris, the world’s most visited museum, closed to visitors on Sunday after staff refused to work due to coronavirus fears, unions and management said.

The coronavirus has spread to more than 60 countries, and infections and deaths continue to mount around the globe, emptying streets of tourists and workers, shaking economies and rewriting the realities of daily life. Saudi Arabia said it had prepared 25 hospitals to handle any coronavirus cases that might be detected in the kingdom, part of precautionary measures which include closing its borders to foreign “Umrah” pilgrims.

Health ministry spokesman Mohammed Abdelali told a news conference that 2,200 hospital beds were dedicated for quarantine cases.

The kingdom has not recorded any cases of the new coronavirus so far, he said, adding that Saudi Arabia’s trade activity had not been impacted and “is going as usual.”

Virus-Boris UK PM Boris Johnson visits a laboratory at the Public Health England National Infection Service in Colindale, London. AP

President Donald Trump on Sunday said travellers from countries at high risk of coronavirus would be screened before boarding and upon arrival as the government scrambled to reassure Americans after the first death in the United States.

Officials in Ecuador on Saturday confirmed the first case of the new coronavirus in the South American nation, while Mexico reported two more cases and Brazil one more. A man died of the virus in Australia.

Saudi Arabia on Thursday announced a ban on foreigners coming to the kingdom for the Umrah pilgrimage, which can take place at any time of the year, and to tourists from at least 25 countries where the virus has been found.


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Other Gulf Arab states have reported coronavirus cases, many linked to visits to Iran or involving people who have come into contact with people who had been there.

Iran’s health ministry on Sunday raised the nationwide death toll from the new coronavirus to 54 as the number of confirmed infected cases jumped overnight by more than half to 978 people.

The new figures represent 11 more deaths than reported on Saturday and a whopping 385 new cases of infections.

Of the 385 newly confirmed cases, 170 are in Tehran, where schools and cinemas have remained closed for the second week. Public buses and the metro are still operating, but are being disinfected daily there. Authorities also doused busy streets in the capital.

The ministry spokesman said that 44 cases were also confirmed for the first time in the central Markazi province.

Seoul-Virus A woman wearing a mask to prevent contracting coronavirus reacts as employees sanitize a market in Seoul. Reuters

Lebanon’s health ministry said on Sunday three more people had tested positive for coronavirus after arriving from Iran, bringing the total in the country to 10.

Lebanon closed schools this week and halted flights for non-residents from countries with outbreaks, namely China, Iran, Italy and South Korea.

Meanwhile, a 35-year-old Thai man who also had dengue fever has died from a coronavirus infection, Thailand’s first death from the COVID-19 disease, Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said on Sunday.

Thailand has recorded 42 coronavirus cases since January, with 30 of those recovering and 11 still being treated in hospitals, according to the department.

Thai health officials said the dead man had worked in the retail sector, where he had come into contact with many tourists during the early stages of the outbreak.

Dominican-Virus People at Ramon de Lara Hospital in Santo Domingo wear masks after the Dominican Republic registered its first case. AFP

The patient was first admitted to a private hospital for dengue fever on Jan. 27. He was later diagnosed with the coronavirus and transferred on Feb.5 to the government’s main treatment centre, Suwanchai said.

Friendly kissing in the time of coronavirus has become a fresh dilemma, especially in effusive southern Europe, with perhaps the power to reshape customs. But even more-reserved northerners are grappling with whether to forgo the hallowed handshake.

When French President Emmanuel Macron leaned in to give Premier Giuseppe Conte the Italian double-cheek kiss not once, but on two separate occasions, during a Franco-Italian summit in Naples this week, it was much more than a greeting.

Ecuador’s Health Minister Catalina Andramuño Zeballos said a more-than-70-year-old Ecuadoran woman who lives in Spain arrived in the country on Feb. 14 showing no symptoms of illness.

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