The variety of novel coronavirus instances in Italy and South Korea leaped upward on Sunday, spurring authorities to take new steps in an effort to combat a hovering viral outbreak now blamed for not less than eight deaths in Iran.
Italian authorities introduced they had been shutting down carnival occasions in Venice as not less than 133 individuals have been reported to have been contaminated with COVID-19 within the nation. Almost all of Italy’s cases are clustered within the north, together with within the northeast Veneto area, which incorporates Venice.
The handfuls of newly confirmed instances have precipitated all colleges and universities to be closed not solely in Milan, however in your complete area of Lombardy, for an indefinite time frame as film theaters, live shows and public gatherings have additionally been banned.
Italy’s first instances — that of a married Chinese language couple who had been on trip in Rome — surfaced in early February. Up to now, two deaths have been reported within the nation whereas 27 are reported to be in intensive care as of Sunday, officers instructed Fox Information.
Italian well being officers have mentioned they haven’t discovered the “floor zero” affected person who could also be behind the outbreak within the northern a part of the nation. A person who had traveled to China and was thought to have sickened one other 38-year-old man within the northern a part of the nation has examined adverse, well being officers mentioned.
Among the many “extraordinary measures” introduced by Italian officers embrace successfully quarantining a couple of dozen cities within the northern areas of Lombardy and Veneto, the place some 50,000 individuals stay, according to the BBC.
“The contagiousness of this virus could be very robust and fairly virulent,” Lombardy’s well being chief Giulio Gallera mentioned Sunday.
Bishops in a number of dioceses in northern Italy issued directives Sunday that holy water fonts be stored empty, that communion wafers be positioned within the fingers of the trustworthy and never immediately into their mouths by monks celebrating Mass and that congregants chorus from shaking fingers or exchanging kisses through the symbolic Signal of the Peace ritual, based on the Related Press.
Archbishop Rino Fisichella, a Vatican official whose siblings stay in one of many hardest-hit cities, Codogno, declined to dramatize the measures.
“It is apparent that we have to use all needed prudence” to keep away from spreading the virus among the many trustworthy, he mentioned.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in mentioned Sunday that he was placing his nation on its highest alert for infectious ailments and ordered officers to take “unprecedented, powerful” steps to combat the hovering viral outbreak that has contaminated greater than 600 individuals within the nation prior to now few days.
Moon mentioned his authorities had determined to extend its anti-virus alert stage by one notch to “Red,” the very best stage that enables authorities to order the short-term closure of colleges and cut back the operation of public transportation and flights to and from South Korea.
The South Korean chief mentioned that the outbreak “has reached a crucial watershed,” and that the subsequent few days shall be “critical.”
South Korea introduced 169 extra instances of the brand new virus, bringing the nation’s whole to 602. The nation additionally reported three extra fatalities, elevating its demise toll to 6.
Whereas the variety of sufferers worldwide is growing, some virus clusters have proven no hyperlink to China and specialists are struggling to hint the place these clusters began. The World Well being Group said Saturday that not less than 18 confirmed instances have been reported in Iran.
Iran’s well being ministry mentioned Sunday that not less than eight individuals have died in that nation’s outbreak, which was first reported on Wednesday and centered totally on the town of Qom.
Whereas WHO has not but mentioned the place the Iran instances might have originated, the nation’s well being minister, Saeed Namaki, instructed state TV that officers had been practically sure the virus got here from China to Qom in central Iran. Amongst those that’ve died from the virus was a service provider who recurrently shuttled between the 2 international locations utilizing oblique flights in current weeks, after Iran stopped direct passenger flights to China, based on Namaki.
He didn’t say when the service provider had returned from China to Iran nor what steps well being officers had taken to quarantine and test on these he’d come into contact with.
Well being officers mentioned they might assist make face-masks and sanitizers accessible for Iranians, amid considerations that stock was working low within the capital’s pharmacies.
Iranians additionally went to the polls on Friday for nationwide parliamentary elections, with many citizens sporting masks and stocking up available sanitizer. Iran’s inside ministry on Sunday mentioned voter turnout in final week’s parliamentary elections stood at 42.57 p.c, the bottom ever because the nation’s 1979 revolution that ushered in a Shiite clerical authorities to energy.
Supreme Chief Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that Iran’s enemies tried to discourage individuals from voting by exaggerating the specter of the virus, according to Reuters.
“This negative propaganda about the virus began a couple of months ago and grew larger ahead of the election,” mentioned Khamenei, based on his official web site Khamenei.ir. “Their media did not miss the tiniest opportunity for dissuading Iranian voters and resorting to the excuse of disease and the virus.”
Fox Information’ Courtney Walsh in Rome and the Related Press contributed to this report.