Forbidden meetings, restricted trips as coronavirus cases grow worldwide

WASHINGTON: Leaders in Europe, the Middle East and America implemented bans on large meetings and stricter travel restrictions as cases of new spread worldwide.

The United States reported on Saturday its first death from the disease, a man in his 50s in Washington state, where authorities said two of the state’s three cases are linked to a nursing home with dozens of residents showing symptoms of the illness.

Although most Americans face a low risk of contracting the virus, more US deaths could be imminent after the first country, CNN quoted the vice president. Mike Pence like saying

We know there will be more cases, Pence told Jake Tapper of CNN in a clip posted on Saturday, echoing the president Donald Trump Previous comments that additional cases in the United States were likely.

Travelers from Italy and South Korea would face an additional evaluation, Trump and senior officials said at a White House press conference, warning Americans not to travel to the regions affected by the coronavirus in both countries.

Pence said a ban on entry for travelers from Iran will be extended to include foreign citizens who have visited Iran in the last 14 days.

The United States can also restrict travel on its southern border with Mexico, authorities said. However, they encouraged Americans to travel around the country, including states that have registered some of their more than 60 cases.

The outbreak is disrupting the demand for flights and many airlines have suspended or modified services in response. After Saturday's press conference, the White House made a call to the airlines to discuss new travel restrictions.

American Airlines Inc said Saturday night that it would suspend all US flights to Milan.

NEW CASES

Ecuador reported its first case on Saturday, in a woman who had traveled from Madrid, while Mexico reported four cases, all in people who had visited Italy.

Brazilian authorities confirmed the second case of that country, a patient in São Paulo who recently visited Italy.

As governments around the world intensified efforts to stop the spread of the virus, France announced a temporary ban on public meetings with more than 5,000 people in confined spaces. He reported 16 new cases for a total of 73, and canceled a half marathon of 40,000 runners scheduled for Sunday.

Switzerland said it is banning events that are expected to attract more than 1,000 people.

More than 700 tourists remain in quarantine in a hotel in the Canary Islands, after several Italian guests tested positive for coronavirus.

Schools and universities in Italy, which is experiencing the worst outbreak of the disease in Europe, will remain closed for the second consecutive week in three northern regions. The country has reported more than 1,100 cases and 29 deaths.

Analysts have warned that it seems that the outbreak will divert Italy's fragile economy into its fourth recession in 12 years, with many companies in the rich north near a standstill and hotels reporting a wave of cancellations.

FOCUS ON IRAN

Iraq reported five new cases of the disease, with a total of 13, and Qatar reported its first Saturday, leaving Saudi Arabia as the only state in the Gulf that has not reported any.

Most infections in other Gulf countries have been linked to visits to Iran or to people who have been in contact with people who had been there.

Armenia reported its first infection on Sunday in a citizen returning from neighboring Iran.

Tehran ordered the closure of schools until Tuesday and extended the closure of universities and the prohibition of concerts and sporting events for a week. Authorities have also banned visits to hospitals and nursing homes, as the country's case load reached almost 600.

An Iranian lawmaker, elected in the February 21 polls, died of the disease along with more than 40 other Iranians, and several senior officials have tested positive for the virus.

Azerbaijan said Saturday that it had closed its border with Iran for two weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Two Azerbaijanis who traveled to Iran tested positive for the disease and quarantined.

573 new confirmed cases of coronavirus were reported on February 29, compared to 427 the previous day, national health officials in China said Sunday. The number of deaths was 35, compared to 47 the previous day, which brought the number of victims in mainland China to 2,870.

The epidemic, which began in China, has killed nearly 3,000 people worldwide, the ministry said.

Thailand reported its first death from the virus on Sunday, while in Australia, a former passenger of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in quarantine in Japan died in the western city of Perth.

The churches closed in South Korea, as many held online services, with authorities seeking to curb public meetings, as 376 new infections led to 3,526 cases.

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