In China, new figures give reason to hope that the crisis will wane. More and more people are becoming infected in the rest of the world. That is why increasingly drastic measures are being considered in many places.
Since January, the Chinese health authorities have published daily information on how many people have contracted the coronavirus and how many have died from its effects – these numbers have now dropped to the lowest level since the first release. Across the country, only 40 new infections and 22 deaths have been identified. In total, the Chinese authorities speak of more than 80,700 infections and at least 3119 deaths from the virus.
Most new infections still occur in Hubei Province, which has been the focus of the epidemic since December. The province around the city of Wuhan has been cordoned off since the end of January, and around 56 million people are affected by the measure. On Friday, however, a high-ranking Chinese government official indicated that the foreclosure could soon be eased.
South Korea hopes Iran will fear
South Korea is also confident that the situation may ease soon: “I am still very cautious, but there is hope that we will reach a turning point in the near future,” said Prime Minister Chung Sye Kyun. According to the Ministry of Health, it cannot yet be said that the crisis is over. According to official information, 248 people have recently been infected in the East Asian country. A total of 7382 people in South Korea have become infected, 51 of them have died.
In Iran, the number of deaths from COVID-19 respiratory disease has now risen to 194, according to health authorities, including doctors and political elected officials. So far, 6566 cases have been reported from the Islamic Republic. However, some experts, referring to the lower death rate elsewhere, theorize that the unreported cases in Iran may be particularly high.
Quarantine for visitors to Bethlehem
Meanwhile, some airlines in the Middle East are expanding their flight restrictions, particularly towards China and Iran. With 19 corona patients in the Palestinian city of Bethlehem, Israel’s Ministry of Health ordered a two-week quarantine for anyone who has been to Israel and recently visited Bethlehem. For the Jewish Purim Festival, the crossings to the Palestinian Territories and the Gaza Strip are to be closed until Wednesday. 39 corona cases were confirmed in Israel by Sunday.
Increase in Germany and France
In Europe, meanwhile, one seems to be still a long way off: According to data collected by Johns Hopkins University, both Germany and France exceeded the 1000 mark: 1040 infections from Germany are reported, from France even 1209. Political Berlin meanwhile discusses whether larger events should still take place in view of the risk of infection, but the decision in Germany rests with the organizers or local police authorities. Football matches could already be canceled next weekend or take place without an audience. In central France, the government had already temporarily banned events with more than a thousand participants on Sunday.
Italy plans “shock therapy”
In the country of the largest corona outbreak in Europe, measures to contain the virus are likely to be expanded: the Italian government plans to decide in the coming days whether schools across the country should remain closed for longer. Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte told the daily La Repubblica: “We will not stop here. We will use massive shock therapy.” He underlined that the country would make full use of its financial scope under the EU Stability Pact if necessary. Since the weekend, restrictions on freedom of travel have applied to large areas in the north of the country – the Lombardy region and some provinces in neighboring regions. Are in the southern European country more than 7,300 infections and 366 deaths are known, so far only a few hundred patients are healthy again.
ehl / pg (dpa, afp, kna, Johns Hopkins University)
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