Coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, with the number of cases rising across Europe. Here are the key developments on Thursday:
Coronavirus could trigger economic damage on the scale of the 2008 financial crisis, analysts have warned, amid growing concerns over the fallout from the deadly disease.
The death toll in Iran has risen to 26, with almost 250 people diagnosed with the virus.
Two more people have died from coronavirus in Italy, bringing the death toll to 14. The number of confirmed cases has risen to more than 520.
England’s chief medical officer, Prof Chris Whitty, has said that if the coronavirus becomes a pandemic schools in the UK could close for two months. He also said that while the coronavirus presents “some challenges”, he does not think the world is facing anything on the level of the deadly Spanish flu in 1918.
Two further patients in England have tested positive for coronavirus, bringing the total number of UK cases to 15. The virus was passed on in Italy and Tenerife, and the patients have been transferred to specialists at the Royal Liverpool hospital and the Royal Free hospital, London.
Saudi Arabia has taken the unprecedented step of banning foreign pilgrims from entering the country in an effort to halt the spread of coronavirus. The country has yet to report a case of the virus.
A woman working as a tour bus guide in Japan has tested positive for coronavirus for a second time. The Japanese government has ordered the closure of all schools and museum for a month.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, has warned an epidemic that is on the way”. There are now 18 confirmed cases of coronavirus in France and two people have died.
More cases have been reported all over the world including in Switzerland, Kuwait, Spain, South Korea and Austria. Estonia, Denmark, Pakistan, Georgia, Norway, North Macedonia, Greece and Romania are among countries to report their first case of coronavirus in the last day.
China’s health authority has reported another drop in the number of new infections, with 433 new confirmed cases and 29 deaths in mainland China on Wednesday.
Donald Trump has sought to play down the threat from coronavirus despite mounting concerns about unchecked worldwide contagion. In a press conference in Washington, the US president said the danger to Americans “remains very low” and predicted that the number of cases diagnosed in the country, currently on 15, could fall to zero in a “few days”.
But Anne Schuchat, deputy director of the US CDC, said “the trajectory of what we are looking at over the weeks and months ahead is very uncertain”, and authorities should “dust off” their pandemic preparedness plans.
Australia has extended its travel ban on China and enacted its emergency response plan, because “there is every indication the world will soon enter the pandemic phase of the virus”, said the prime minister, Scott Morrison.