February 22 coronavirus news

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9:02 p.m. ET, February 21, 2020

BREAKING: South Korea reports 142 new coronavirus cases

Workers wearing protective gear prepare to disinfect against the coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, on February 21, 2020.
Workers wearing protective gear prepare to disinfect against the coronavirus at a subway station in Seoul, on February 21, 2020. Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images

South Korea reported a jump of 142 additional cases overnight, bringing the country's total to 346, according to the South Korean Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC).

New cases breakdown:

  • North Gyeongsang province (which surrounds southeastern city of Daegu): 103
  • Daegu city: 28
  • Busan: 2
  • Gyeonggi province: 2
  • North Chungcheong province: 2
  • Daejeon: 1
  • Gwangju: 1
  • North Jeolla province: 1
  • Sejong: 1
  • Jeju: 1

Clusters: Among the 142 new cases, 92 are linked to the Cheongdo Daenam hospital, in North Gyeongsang province and 38 are linked with the Shincheonji religious group. South Korean authorities earlier this week were seeking to question more than 1,000 members of the group who attended a service with one of the recently confirmed cases.

Deaths: South Korea reported its second death from the virus on Friday.

Seoul tries to control spread: The South Korean government is taking a range of measures in an attempt to stop the spread of the virus, including shutting down public places in the capital and designating "special care zones."

After three cases were detected in the country's armed forces, all South Korean military personnel have been restricted from leaving their bases and going on vacation.

8:53 p.m. ET, February 21, 2020

Death toll from novel coronavirus rises to 2,360 globally

The death toll from the novel coronavirus in mainland China has increased by 109, according to the latest figures released by China’s National Health Commission (NHC) Saturday.

All but three of those deaths were in Hubei province, at the outbreak's epicenter.

Additional deaths across the mainland bring China's total death toll to 2,345, with 2,250 in Hubei.

That brings the global death toll to 2,360.

Breakdown of deaths globally: There have been 15 deaths reported outside of mainland China:

  • Iran: 4 deaths:
  • Japan: 3 deaths:
  • Hong Kong, South Korea: 2 deaths each
  • Taiwan, Philippines, France, Italy: 1 death each

China cases rise: Confirmed cases in mainland China increased by 397 on Friday to reach a total of 76,288. A total of 366 new confirmed cases were in Hubei province.

Recoveries: Chinese health authorities reported that a total of 20,659 patients have recovered and been discharged from hospital.

8:24 p.m. ET, February 21, 2020

"Window of opportunity is narrowing" to contain coronavirus, WHO warns

The University of Hong Kong
The University of Hong Kong

There’s great concern about the spread of the novel coronavirus in countries outside China and among people with no connection to China or Wuhan, World Health Organization (WHO) director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said Friday.

There’s still a chance to contain the virus, Tedros said, “but the window of opportunity is narrowing.”

The WHO is calling on countries to continue containment measures while preparing for community transmission, he said. He said China’s containment measures in Wuhan and elsewhere are “hammering” the virus and can help contain it.

"We must not look back and regret that we failed to take advantage of the window of opportunity we have,” he said.

The outbreak can still go any direction, Tedros said, and countries need to prepare for any eventuality.

Dr. Sylvie Briand, director of the WHO's Infectious Hazards Management Department, said the agency is working to prepare countries’ health care workers with training and making sure they know how to protect themselves, and to make sure countries have enough workers to handle a number of cases.

7:53 p.m. ET, February 21, 2020

First coronavirus death reported in Italy

A 78-year-old man who tested positive for the novel coronavirus has died at a hospital in Padua, northern Italy.

It is Italy's first death from the coronavirus, that is quickly spreading around the world. The country has reported 14 new confirmed cases of the virus, all in the Lombardy region of northern Italy, bringing the country's total to 17.

Italian news agency ANSA said the patient also suffered from “previous pathologies.”

The death was also reported by the president of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, in a TV interview.

Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza announced severe restrictions in areas of the northern regions of Lombardy and Veneto, which have recorded most of Italy's coronavirus cases.

All public events have been canceled, schools, shops and local enterprises closed and sporting activities have been suspended.

Anyone who has come into contact with people who have tested positive for the virus must go into quarantine and those who live in villages where coronavirus cases have been reported must stay in isolation at home, according to ordnance issued by Italy’s health ministry.