(NEW YORK) — A virus epidemic that started in China about two months ago is now tightening its grip around the globe.
Here’s the breakdown on this developing situation. All times are Eastern:
6:15 a.m. China reports lowest number of new cases since lockdown
China has reported its lowest number of new cases since Jan. 23 when authorities imposed a lockdown on the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
China’s National Health Commission said it recorded 125 new cases of confirmed infections on Monday. The death rate also appeared to be stabilizing over the past few days, with 31 new fatalities recorded Monday — all in Hubei province, which includes Wuhan.
However, the country is now seeing a spike in cases being imported back in from other virus-hit nations, such as Italy and Iran.
Zhejiang province reported eight imported cases from Italy on Monday, all traced to a Chinese restaurant in the Italian city of Bergamo, officials said.
The surge in imported cases has prompted the cities of Beijing and Shanghai as well as the province of Guangdong to impose quarantine rules on travelers arriving from Italy.
5:32 a.m. South Korea declares ‘war’ on the novel coronavirus
South Korean President Moon Jae-in has declared “war” on the novel coronavirus after the country recorded 600 new infections on Tuesday, bringing its total to 4,812.
At least 28 people have died so far, according to South Korea’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
A majority of the confirmed cases have been linked to a secretive religious sect in Daegu, a city in North Gyeongsang province.
“The crisis in Daegu and North Gyeongsang province reached its peak and the whole country has entered a war against the infectious disease,” Moon said at a press conference Tuesday.
5:32 a.m. Ukraine reports first case
Ukraine has confirmed its first case of the novel coronavirus, Ihor Kuzin, the acting head of the Ukrainian health ministry’s Public Health Center, told ABC News on Tuesday.
The patient is a 38-year-old man who had travelled with his wife from Italy to Ukraine via Romania on Saturday. He was hospitalized in his home city of Chernivtsi upon arrival that day. He is in stable condition and has a mild case of the illness, Kuzin said.
Health officials have traced all individuals who came in contact with the patient, and they too will be quarantined and tested. The man’s wife initially tested negative for the virus but will be tested again Tuesday, according to Kuzin.
5:04 a.m. Outbreak slows in China but flourishes elsewhere
At least 64 other nations have confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus, with South Korea, Italy and Iran having the highest national totals, respectively, behind China. The World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a global health emergency and warned of its “pandemic potential,” has recorded nearly 90,000 confirmed infections and over 3,000 deaths worldwide. China remains the hardest-hit country by far, accounting for over 90 percent of cases and fatalities.
However, China appears to be winning its battle against the newly identified virus, known officially as COVID-19, which emerged in the city of Wuhan back in December. The number of new cases reported each day has plummeted in recent weeks and hospitals are sending thousands of recovered patients home.
“We definitely believe that with the coming of spring, we are not far from the coming of the victory, of the final defeat of COVID-19,” Chinese Ambassador to the United Nations, Zhang Jun, told reporters in New York City on Monday.
Meanwhile, an outbreak is growing in the United States, where over 100 cases have been confirmed. That number includes 48 people who were repatriated to the United States on charter flights from Wuhan, China, or from the Diamond Princess cruise ship quarantined off the coast of Japan. There have also been several instances of community-acquired cases on U.S. soil in which the patients had no known exposure to the virus through travel or close contact with a known infected individual.
At least six Americans sickened with the virus have died.
U.S. President Donald Trump met with pharmaceutical companies at the White House on Monday to discuss the progress being made in trying to rapidly develop a vaccine.
COVID-19 causes symptoms similar to pneumonia, ranging from the mild, such as a slight cough, to the more severe, including fever and difficulty breathing, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There is no vaccine yet for the virus.
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