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Fears rise as COVID-19 cases, deaths hit new high

Safety measures:A Chinese boy undergoing screening at an ITBP quarantine facility in New Delhi on Sunday.PTI

Safety measures:A Chinese boy undergoing screening at an ITBP quarantine facility in New Delhi on Sunday.PTI  

Number of infections in Italy rises by 40% to 1,576 in 24 hours

Amid fears about where the next outbreak of the fast-spreading COVID-19 would appear, infections and deaths continued to rise across the globe on Sunday, emptying streets of tourists and workers, shaking economies and rewriting the realities of daily life.

Panic-buying of daily necessities emerged in Japan, tourist sites across Asia, Europe and West Asia were deserted, and governments closed schools and banned big gatherings.

While the new strain of coronavirus has extended its reach across the world, geographic clusters of infections were emerging, with Iran, Italy and South Korea seeing rising cases. The U.S. recorded its first death, a man in his 50s in Washington who had underlying health conditions but who hadn’t travelled to any affected areas.

“Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover,” President Donald Trump said at a Saturday briefing. “We’ve taken the most aggressive actions to confront the coronavirus,” he said.

Australia reported the first death on its soil — a 78-year-old man who had been evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan.

China on Sunday reported a slight uptick in new cases over the past 24 hours to 573, the first time in five days that the number has exceeded 500. They remain almost entirely confined to the hardest-hit province of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan.

South Korea reported 210 additional cases and two more deaths from the virus, raising its total to 3,736 cases and 20 fatalities. South Korea has confirmed the second largest number of infections outside mainland China, with most of the cases reported in Daegu and nearby areas.

Iran’s death toll from COVID-19 climbed to 54 as the number of cases jumped overnight by more than half, to 978 people. The new figures represent 11 more deaths than reported on Saturday and 385 new cases.

The list of countries hit by the virus has climbed past 60. More than 87,000 people worldwide have contracted the virus, including nearly 3,000 deaths.

Thailand reported its first death on Sunday. Italian authorities say the country now has more than 1,100 cases, with 29 deaths so far.

Pakistan’s Interior Ministry said it was closing its Chaman border with Afghanistan for a week amid the virus outbreak. Pakistan has confirmed four cases, while Afghanistan has confirmed one case.

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