Worldwide death toll from coronavirus passes 3,000 amid sharp rise in infections

Ellena Cruse
Worldwide death toll from coronavirus passes 3,000 amid sharp rise in infections

The global coronavirus death toll passed 3,000 on Monday after dozens more people died in China and US authorities confirmed a second fatality.

The strain has infected more than 89,000 people and spread to more than 60 countries after first emerging in Wuhan, China, at the end of 2019.

South Korean soldiers wearing protective gear sanitise a city after the rapid rise in confirmed cases of coronavirus Daegu: REUTERS

A further 13 people tested positive for the virus in the UK on Sunday, including a first case in Scotland, bringing the total to 36.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said there is “little doubt” that coronavirus will present a “significant challenge” for the UK.

He will chair a Cobra meeting about the virus for the first time on Monday as he finalises the steps ministers will take should the outbreak worsen.

 

 

China, where the epidemic began in December, reported 202 new cases over the previous 24 hours, with another 42 deaths.

That brings the country’s total number of cases to 80,026 with 2,912 deaths recorded in all. The city of Wuhan accounted for most of the new cases, but also saw 2,570 patients released.

Monday’s increase was China’s lowest since January 21 but outbreaks were surging in other countries with South Korea, Italy and Iran seeing sharp increases.

Crowds wearing protective masks at Shinagawa station in Tokyo, Japan (REUTERS)

The United States counted 80 cases as of Sunday and two deaths, both men with existing health problems who had been hospitalised in Washington state.

The US total includes evacuees from a virus-stricken cruise ship and from Wuhan, but new cases among California health workers, in New York, Rhode Island and Washington raised concerns on both American coasts.

The second US fatality was a man in his 70s from a nursing facility near Seattle where dozens of sick people were tested for the virus, Washington state health officials said. Researchers said earlier the virus may have been circulating for weeks undetected in Washington state.

Indonesia confirmed its first cases Monday, in two people who contracted the illness from a foreign traveller.

A worker producing face masks at a factory in Handan in China's northern Hebei province (AFP via Getty Images)

The surging outbreak in South Korea’s fourth-largest city has overwhelmed its health system despite the national government sending assistance.

The problem in Daegu has been highlighted by at least four deaths of infected elderly people who were waiting to be hospitalised.

South Korea’s vice health minister, Kim Gang-lip said hospitals’ capacities from now on will be reserved for patients with serious symptoms or pre-existing medical conditions, while mild cases will be isolated at designated facilities outside hospitals.

A woman who has recovered from the COVID-19 is disinfected by volunteers as she arrives at a hotel for a 14-day quarantine (AFP via Getty Images)

“Considering our limited medical resources, it will be crucial to make quick assessments of patients’ conditions and provide quick, professional and active treatment to those with serious symptoms, and minimise fatalities,” Mr Gang-lip said.

“If we continue to hospitalise mild patients amid the continued surge in infections, we would be risking overworking medical professionals and putting them at greater risk of infections.”

South Korea on Monday had 476 new cases bringing the total to 4,212. Twenty-two people have died.

A sense of burgeoning crisis around the globe has sent financial markets plummeting, emptied major streets and tourist attractions and forced millions of people to adjust their daily lives.

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