Published On: Tue, Feb 25th, 2020

South Korea and Italy race to contain outbreak as virus fears hit stocks


South Korea was racing Tuesday to contain the largest outbreak of the new coronavirus outside China, as the COVID-19 disease claimed more lives there and spread farther in Italy — Europe’s first significant cluster of cases. The nearly 1,000 cases and 10 confirmed deaths from the illness in South Korea pushed the global tally of patients over 80,000 and the death toll closer to 3,000. 

Iran has also reported more deaths from the disease, amid fears the Islamic clerics who run the country could be under-reporting cases there.

With 53 cases confirmed in the U.S., the Trump administration has sought billions of dollars in additional funding from Congress to buy protective gear and work on treatments and a vaccine for the new virus. Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi lambasted the White House funding plan as “long overdue and completely inadequate to the scale of this emergency.”

The World Health Organization has called it a global health emergency, but has thus far declined to use the label “pandemic,” a term used when a disease takes hold in multiple regions and spreads rampantly within communities. But the dramatic spread in South Korea, Iran and Italy has stoked fears that COVID-19 could reach pandemic status.

Those fears jarred stock markets around the world, prompted increased travel restrictions and sparked a race to test hundreds of thousands more people in South Korea for the disease.

Passengers On Diverted Iranian Flight Quarantined In Ankara
Health personnel wearing protective gear ride in an ambulance carrying passengers and crew of a Turkish Airlines plane from Tehran as they are taken to Dr. Zekai Tahir Burak Hospital for a 14-day quarantine and to be tested for possible coronavirus infection on February 25, 2020 in Ankara, Turkey.

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