The Coronavirus has already killed more than 2,400 people in China and continues to endanger the lives of thousands of others globally. The World Health Organisation has confirmed the virus has spread to 26 countries and territories outside China.
South Korea, which is located 963 miles (1550km) from the centre of the outbreak in the Hubei Province, has reported a fourth death and 123 new cases – bringing its total number of people infected to 556.
Cases in Italy, Europe’s worst hit country, more than quadrupled to 79 on Saturday, with two deaths.
Authorities in Japan also confirmed 27 new cases on Saturday.
In Iran, 10 more people were diagnosed with the deadly virus, taking the number of people infected to 29 – with six deaths.
Ian Mackay, virus expert at Australia’s University of Queensland, warned a global “pandemic” is on the way as the number of hotspots increases.
He said: “A number of spot fires, occurring around the world is a sign that things are ticking along.
“What we are going to have here is probably a pandemic.”
Dr Amesh Adalja, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in the US, said as the virus is being spread by mild symptoms, current methods of treatment are not going to work.
He said: “If that’s the case, all of these containment methods are not going to work.
“It’s likely mixed in the cold and flu season all over the place, in multiple countries and gone unnoticed until someone gets severely ill.”
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10.25am update: French Health Minister says country ‘getting ready’ for epidemic
French Health Minister Olivier Veran has said the country is “getting ready” for an epidemic after admitting it is “very likely” more cases of the deadly disease will be diagnosed.
He said: “Today, there is only one infected patent in France, who is hospitalised in Lyon.
“His health condition is not worrying.
“All the others, apart from an 80-year old man who died, were released cured and are not contagious
“Other cases, it is very likely. An epidemic? We are getting ready for it.”
10.05am update: South Korea on ‘red alert’ following outbreak
South Korea’s president has said he was putting the country on “red alert” due to the rapid rise in new cases on the Coronavirus.
Health officials reported 169 new infections, bringing the total to 602.
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