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Virus engulfs six continents

The new coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that started in China has now spread to all six continents. Only Antarctica remains untainted.

READ: WHO defines pandemic: Word doesn't apply to COVID-19 yet

In Africa, Algeria confirmed its first case. Egypt has also reported a case.

The vast majority of cases—and deaths—are in mainland China, but cases have been reported throughout Asia, with concentrations in South Korea and onboard a cruise ship docked in Japan.

In the Middle East, Iran has reported at least 139 cases. The total official number of deaths due to coronavirus in Iran stands at 15.

Australia has confirmed a total of 22 cases as of Saturday, officials said.

Europe’s biggest outbreak is in Italy, where over 320 have been infected and 12 have died.

In North America, at least 59 Americans have tested positive for COVID-19, US health officials say. Cases have also been reported in Canada.

In South America, Brazil reported that a 61-year-old Sao Paulo resident was the first recorded case in the region. The 61-year-old patient returned on Feb. 21 from the Lombardy region of Italy, the epicenter of an outbreak in the European country, Health Minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta said.

Georgia on Wednesday announced its first confirmed case of COVID-19 in the South Caucasus region.

“A Georgian national has tested positive for the novel coronavirus,” Health Minister Ekaterine Tikaradze told a news conference, adding that the infected man has been placed in isolation in a Tbilisi hospital.

Denmark reported its first coronavirus case Thursday, a man who had returned from a skiing holiday in northern Italy which has become a hotspot for the disease.

“The man who came back from a skiing trip with his wife and son on Feb. 24 has been suffering since then from a cough and a temperature,” Denmark’s public health agency said in a statement.

China reported 29 more deaths on Thursday from the COVID-19 epidemic, the lowest daily figure in almost a month, and the number of fresh infections rose slightly.

The death toll now stands at 2,744 in mainland China, according to the National Health Commission.

The daily tally of fatalities has fallen for three straight days now, hitting the lowest mark since January 29, when 26 new deaths were reported.

The commission reported 433 new cases, with all but 24 in central Hubei province, the epicenter of the outbreak that first emerged in December in its capital, Wuhan.

There are now nearly 78,500 cases in total.

The number of new infections outside Hubei had been falling steadily in the past week, but it went back up from five on Wednesday.

While Hubei remains under lockdown, cities in the rest of the country are slowly returning to work, though schools remain closed and Beijing requires people returning to the capital to go into 14-day self-quarantine.

A woman in Japan who contracted the new coronavirus and was released from hospital after recovering has tested positive again, officials said Thursday.

The case is the first time a patient apparently cleared of the virus has subsequently tested positive for it, a local official in Osaka said.

The woman in her 40s was first confirmed as infected with the coronavirus on Jan. 29. She was working as a guide on a tour bus with tourists from Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, in January. The driver of the bus was also diagnosed with the virus.

After being discharged from hospital she tested negative for the virus on Feb. 6, although she still had a cough at the time.

She had no symptoms a week later, but returned to the doctor on Feb. 21 complaining of a sore throat and chest pains. On Wednesday, she tested positive for the coronavirus for a second time, officials said.

At least 186 people in Japan have so far contracted the virus, with three deaths in the country linked to the outbreak.

Aside from domestic cases, at least 705 people have been diagnosed with the virus on board a cruise ship that was quarantined off Japan, including passengers who were allowed to leave the boat after testing negative.

There have been four deaths linked to the virus from the ship. 

READ: WHO warns of pandemic

READ: COVID-19 deaths exceed 2,000; virus hits 74,000 in 25 nations

READ: ‘Tourist arrivals down due to COVID-19 outbreak’

READ: Nations take drastic steps to rim spread

Topics: new coronavirus , continents. spread , Luiz Henrique Mandetta , death toll
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