January 19, 2021

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London Book Fair cancelled as coronavirus cases rise across Europe

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<p>Reports from around the world indicate the virus is continuing to spread – despite cases stabilising in China, where it first emerged late last year.</p>

As Australia's second death from COVID-19 was confirmed overnight, reports from around the world indicate the virus is continuing to spread – despite cases stabilising in China, where it first emerged late last year.

Several new cases were reported on Wednesday night in Sydney, as well as the first case in the Northern Territory, bringing the total of cases in Australia to 50.

According to the World Health Organisation, South Korea, Italy and Iran now account for 80 per cent of new virus cases outside China. WHO estimates 3.4 per cent of people infected with the COVID-19 virus globally have died, but according to Associated Press, death rates in outbreaks are likely to skew higher early on as health officials focus on finding severe and fatal cases, missing most milder cases.

Worldwide, there have so far been 94,250 confirmed cases with 3,214 deaths.

WHO says the majority of people with the new coronavirus experience only mild symptoms and do not require any treatment.

Mapping the spread of Coronavirus

WHO is tracking global cases, as is John Hopkins University, based in the US.

Meanwhile Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post that the social network is stepping up its efforts to combat virus-related misinformation by giving organisations such as WHO, the US free advertising.

Pedestrians in Hong Kong.

China

Total cases: 80,270 (about 85 per cent of global cases)

Total deaths: 2,871 (about 95 per cent of global fatalities)

China reported 119 new cases Wednesday, all but five in the outbreak's epicentre of Wuhan. In a sign of the shifting threat, Beijing's health commissioner said two new cases in the Chinese capital were apparently infected abroad, in Iran and Italy.

State-run Xinhua News Agency said Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, was expected to gradually shut down its hastily built temporary hospitals, where thousands of beds were empty.

"We believe this decline is real," WHO outbreak expert Maria Van Kerkhove said of China.

A UN agency estimates that a shortage of industrial parts from China caused by the coronavirus outbreak has set off a "ripple effect" that caused exports from other countries around the world to drop US$47 billion last month.

South Korea

Total cases: 5,621

Total deaths: 32

South Korea reported 435 new infections Wednesday, far smaller than its Tuesday high of 851. A shortage of hospital space resulted in around 2,300 being treated elsewhere while they waited for beds.

Italy

Total cases: 3,089

Total deaths: 107 (the highest number of confirmed deaths outside of China)

Italy has ordered schools to close nationwide through March 15 in a bid to contain the coronavirus, saying the prudent suspension was taken after a careful analysis of how the epidemic was spreading.

Education Minister Lucia Azzolina announced the school suspensions, which start Thursday, saying she hoped schools would be able to continue with lessons via distance learning.

Deaths surged overnight; Italy has seen its virus caseload explode since the first homegrown positive test was registered in northern Lombardy on February 19.

San Siro stadium, Milan

Iran

Total cases: 2,922

Total deaths: 92 (the highest number of confirmed deaths outside of China)

Iran cancelled Friday prayers for the second week in a row. The outbreak has affected almost all of Iran's provinces, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says, according to the official presidency website. Several officials have been infected with coronavirus since the outbreak was first announced two weeks ago and one senior official died on Monday.

United States

Total cases: 128

Total deaths: 9 (all in and around Seattle, Washington)

On Capitol Hill, lawmakers were expected to finalise an agreement Wednesday on a US$7.5 billion emergency bill to fund work on a virus vaccine and other measures.

President Donald Trump is putting a positive spin on the fallout from the coronavirus, saying a lot of people are staying in the United States and they're shopping and staying in the hotels. He spoke with leaders of the airline industry on Wednesday at the White House, about steps they've taken to confront the spread of the new virus.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that the wife, two children and a neighbour of a New York lawyer hospitalised in critical condition with COVID-19 also tested positive for the disease, taking confirmed cases in the state to six. Yeshiva University, where one of the children is a student, said it is canceling classes at the upper Manhattan campus where he is enrolled.

A US health official says six new cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed in Los Angeles County, where there was one previously.

France

Total cases: 212

Total deaths: 4

The Louvre in Paris has reopened after it was forced to close for three days as staff walked out saying they were concerned about catching the coronavirus from visitors.

The museum is temporarily no longer accepting cash as part of new measures that helped persuade employees to return to work Wednesday. There have also been discussions between Eiffel Tower workers and managers over the use of banknotes, but no decision has been made.

Germany

Total cases: 244

Total deaths: 0

German airline Lufthansa told Reuters on Wednesday that it plans to ground 150 aircraft out of its total fleet of around 770 due to the coronavirus.

A man wearing a face mask on the London Underground.

United Kingdom

Total cases: 85 (80 in Britain, 3 in Scotland, 1 in Wales, 1 in Northern Ireland)

Total deaths: 0

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that emergency coronavirus legislation would ensure those who self-isolate with coronavirus will get Statutory Sick Pay from the first day off work. It's estimated up to one-fifth of the UK workforce could be out of action when the virus reaches its peak.

Concerns have been raised about the health of UK lawmakers in the House of Commons, whose average age is 50; in Parliament's upper chamber, the House of Lords, it is 70. The PM said he would comment soon regarding "what we're going to do to delay the advance of coronavirus in Parliament and at other large gatherings."

Meanwhile, the annual London Book Fair, which usually draws more than 25,000 writers, agents and publishers (due to take place March 10-12) has been cancelled.

Japan

Total cases: 304

Total deaths: 6

Japan's prime minister, who ordered schools closed nationwide last week, pressed for legal backing to declare a state of emergency if needed.

Despite worldwide concern and speculation about whether the fast-spreading virus outbreak will affect the Tokyo Olympics, the IOC's leadership is not joining in the debate.

"Neither the word cancellation nor the word postponement was even mentioned," International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach told a news conference Wednesday in Switzerland.

Asked if the WHO declaring a pandemic would change the IOC's position, Bach said: "I will not take part in any way of such kind of mere speculations."

The virus has affected qualifying competitions for many of the 33 sports on Tokyo's medal program, which some postponed, venues changed, and travel issues for athletes from China and elsewhere.

Israel

Total cases: 15

Total deaths: 0

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Urged Israelis to stop shaking hands, suggesting they instead adopt the Indian greeting of "namaste". He also added additional European countries to a list of destinations from which returning Israelis would need to self-quarantine for two weeks.

Israeli health authorities have ordered everyone from a regional high school and dozens of soccer fans into home quarantine after possible exposure to a teenage boy who tested positive for the coronavirus.

Travellers in protective masks in Israel.

Saudi Arabia

Total cases: 1

Total deaths: 0

Saudi Arabia imposed the ban on residents making the Mecca pilgrimage, a week after it closed the holiest sites in Islam to foreigners because of the coronavirus.

India

Total cases: 28

Total deaths: 0

India tightened the export of 26 key drug ingredients used in pharmaceutical manufacturing, a potentially disruptive move.

An Indian student in a handmade mask.Countries with confirmed coronavirus cases according to WHO.

The European Central Bank says it is restricting all nonessential travel by members of its executive board and employees through April 20 as a precautionary measure amid the outbreak.

Amazon has told its nearly 800,000 workers to postpone any non-essential travel within the United States or around the globe. Nestlé told its 291,000 employees worldwide to limit domestic business travel and halt international travel until March 15. French cosmetics maker L'Oréal, which employs 86,000 people, issued a similar ban until March 31.

Other companies, like Twitter, are telling their employees worldwide to work from home. Google gave the same directive to its staff of 8,000 at its European headquarters in Dublin on Tuesday.

The Czech Republic and Russia announced bans Wednesday covering various protective gear like masks, following a similar moves by France and Germany, and a strong message from WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus to stop hoarding emergency supplies.

– Reported with AAP and Associated Press.

Source: 9News https://www.9news.com.au/world/coronavirus-latest-news-china-cases-decline-iran-deaths-rise-mask-bans-in-europe-london-book-fair-cancelled/1e869c80-635b-40fe-953e-fbaec0f1042a

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