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The Financial Express

Rapid spread of coronavirus raises fears of global pandemic

Published: February 24, 2020 19:48:08


-File photo -File photo

Fears are growing that the coronavirus outbreak could reach pandemic scale as more cases emerge around the world.

Most infections are in China but other nations like South Korea, Italy and Iran are battling the virus, which causes respiratory disease Covid-19.

A pandemic is when an infectious disease spreads easily from person to person in many parts of the world.

About 77,000 people in China, where the virus emerged last year, have been infected and nearly 2,600 have died.

More than 1,200 cases have been confirmed in about 30 other countries and there have been more than 20 deaths. Italy reported two more deaths on Monday, raising the total there to five.

The proportion of infected patients dying from Covid-19 appears to be between 1% and 2%, although the World Health Organization (WHO) cautions that the mortality rate is not known yet.

On Monday Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain reported their first cases, all involving people who had come from Iran, reports BBC.

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WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned on Friday that the window of opportunity to contain the virus was "narrowing".

Paul Hunter, professor of health protection at the University of East Anglia in the UK, echoed his fears, saying the spike in cases outside China was "extremely concerning".

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