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Coronavirus cases rise outside China, falls inside

  • Published at 12:24 am February 25th, 2020
File photo: Medical workers in protective suits inspect a CT scan image at a hospital in Yunmeng county of Xiaogan city in Hubei, the province hit hardest by the novel coronavirus outbreak, China on February 20, 2020 Reuters

Family of coronavirus infected Bangladeshi in Singapore to get $10,000

Italy, South Korea and Iran reported sharp rises in coronavirus infections on Monday, triggering concern from the World Health Organization (WHO), but China relaxed some curbs on movement, including in Beijing, as the rate of new infections there eased.

The virus has put Chinese cities into lockdown, disrupted air traffic to the workshop of the world and blocked global supply chains for everything from cars and car parts to smartphones, reports Reuters. 

Bangladesh’s Migrant Workers' Centre (MWC) will donate $10,000 to the family of a 39-year-old Bangladeshi worker in Singapore, who tested positive for the coronavirus on February 8.

The donation will be sent through a telegraphic bank transfer and it comprises contributions from the worker's employer Yi-Ke Innovations, The Leo dormitory operator Mini-Environment Services, and the MWC, reports The Straits Times.

The worker, who was staying at The Leo dormitory in Kaki Bukit, was the 42nd case of coronavirus of Singapore.

The government will bear the cost of the worker's medical treatment during his stay in hospital. Four other Bangladeshi workers have also been infected with the coronavirus.

The MWC said it has been receiving offers of donations to help migrant workers who are hospitalized.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) said it no longer had a process for declaring a pandemic, but that the coronavirus outbreak remained an international emergency.

"We are specially concerned about the rapid increase in cases in ... Iran, Italy and the Republic of Korea," WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told a news conference in Sweden via video link from Geneva.

South Korea reported 231 new cases, taking its total to 833. Many are in its fourth-largest city, Daegu, which became more isolated with Asiana Airlines and Korean Air suspending flights there until next month.

Iran, which announced its first two cases last Wednesday, said it had confirmed 43 cases and eight deaths. Most of the infections were in the Shi'ite Muslim holy city of Qom.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, Bahrain and Iraq reported their first cases and Kuwait reported three cases involving people who had been in Iran.

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan imposed restrictions on travel and immigration from Iran. Afghanistan also reported its first case, officials said.

The WHO has been saying for weeks that it dreads the disease reaching countries with weak health systems.

Europe's biggest outbreak is in Italy, with some 150 infections - compared with just three before Friday - and a fifth death.

Scientists around the world are scrambling to analyse the virus, but a vaccine is probably more than a year away.

"Worryingly, it seems that the virus can pass from person to person without symptoms, making it extremely difficult to track, regardless of what health authorities do," said Simon Clarke, an expert in cellular microbiology at the University of Reading in Britain.