Thailand has become the latest country to report its first death from coronavirus as the outbreak continues to spread around the world with more than 86,000 people infected.
On Saturday, several European countries announced new cases. Iran revealed another jump in infections, and Qatar became the latest Middle Eastern country to report its first case.
Timeline: How China’s new coronavirus spread
Coronavirus: Which countries have confirmed cases?
What happens if you catch the new coronavirus?
South Korea, which is grappling with the largest outbreak of the virus outside China, has urged citizens to stay indoors, warning of a “critical moment” in the spread of the infection.
This is Hamza Mohamed in Doha taking over from Kate Mayberry in Kuala Lumpur.
Here are the latest updates:
Sunday, March 1
10:05 GMT – Coronavirus fears hits Gulf stock markets
Fears overs the impact of the coronavirus outbreak has hit the stock markets in the oil-rich Gulf countries.
All of the seven exchanges in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), which were closed Friday and Saturday for the Muslim weekend, were hit as oil prices dropped below $50 a barrel.
So far, Gulf states have reported at least 115 cases.
09:50 GMT – China pollution declines as virus shuts down factories
Pollution levels over China have declined significantly, US space Agency NASA says, partly due to the economic slowdown following the coronavirus outbreak.
[Photo credit: NASA]
Satellite images shared by NASA show falling levels of nitrogen dioxide. The gas is emitted by motor vehicles, power plants and industrial facilities.
08:30 GMT – South Korea reports 210 new cases
In South Korea, authorities have reported 210 new cases on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier on Sunday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) reported 376 cases and one death linked to the virus.
The country’s total infection stands at 3,736.
Meanwhile, a 45-day-old baby has become the youngest person to be infected with the virus, The Korea Times reported on Sunday.
The baby boy tested positive for coronavirus after his parents had contracted the virus, the report added.
Baby and mother, both in self-quarantine, are in good condition according to officials.
07:15 GMT – Pakistan to shut its border with Afghanistan
Pakistan said it will close its border with Afghanistan from tomorrow “to prevent the spread of coronavirus”.
The Chaman border crossing will remain shut for seven days, Islamabad said in a statement.
“During the period, necessary measures will be taken to safeguard the health of the people of both countries,” the statement said.
Afghanistan has reported one case of the virus, while Pakistan has confirmed four, according to the WHO.
06:30 GMT – Hong Kong dog tests positive for coronavirus
A dog has been quarantined in Hong Kong after it tested “weak positive” for coronavirus, officials said.
Authorities said the dog belongs to a coronavirus patient. To the relief of animal lovers, authorities said there is no evidence yet the virus can be transmitted to man’s best friend.
04:50 GMT – South Korea closes churches to limit virus spread
Churches were closed in South Korea on Sunday, many holding services online instead, according to Reuters.
In the capital, Seoul, about a dozen worshippers were turned away from the Yoido Full Gospel Church, which put a sermon for its 560,000 followers on YouTube, filmed with a small choir instead of the usual 200 members and 60-strong orchestra.
“I had heard there would be no service, but just came to check as I live nearby, but yes, it is so empty,” said one of them, Song Young-koo, as he left South Korea’s biggest church.
“It’s a wise decision to do it online, since the virus would easily spread at mass gatherings and churches can be no exception.”
For the first time in its 236-year history, South Korea’s Catholic church decided to halt masses at more than 1,700 locations nationwide. Buddhist temples have also called off events.
Churches were closed and services held online on Sunday as South Korea stepped up efforts to contain the spreading coronavirus by limiting public gatherings [Ahn Young-joon/AP Photo]
04:36 GMT – Thailand records first coronavirus death
Thailand has recorded its first fatality in the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported, citing Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoen, director-general of the Department of Disease Control.
The 35-year-old man also had dengue fever, Suwanchai told a news conference on Sunday.
04:20 GMT – Armenia patient had returned from Iran
More details are emerging about the Armenian case.
The patient is a 29-year-old citizen who returned to Armenia from Iran on Friday and went to a doctor because he was feeling unwell, Reuters said, citing Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s Facebook page.
“He is now in good condition,” Pashinyan said, adding that authorities planned to isolate those who had been in contact with him.
Armenia closed its borders with neighbouring Iran a week ago. It has also suspended flights to the country.
04:15 GMT – Australia reports new case
Australia said on Sunday that it had confirmed an additional case of the coronavirus, bringing the total number of infections in the country to 26.
A scanning electron microscope image of SARS-CoV-2 (the round gold objects) emerging from the surface of cells cultured in a lab from a patient in the United States. SARS-CoV-2, also known as 2019-nCoV, is the virus that causes COVID-19. [National Institutes of Health via EPA]
03:50 GMT – Armenia reports first coronavirus case
Armenia’s prime minister said the central Asian nation had recorded its first case of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.
02:32 GMT – American Airlines says suspending Milan flights
American Airlines said it would suspend flights from New York and Miami to Milan because of a “reduction in demand”.
Flights are scheduled to resume on April 25, the airline said in a statement on its website.
02:16 GMT – Australia records first coronavirus death
Australia has recorded its first death from the coronavirus after a 78-year-old man who had been evacuated from the quarantined Diamond Princess cruise ship died in a Perth hospital.
“Our condolences are with his family and unfortunately he’s the first death we’ve had from coronavirus in Australia,” Andrew Robertson, the chief health officer of Western Australia state, told journalists, according to Reuters.
The man’s wife also caught the virus, but is in stable condition, authorities said.
Australia has reported 25 cases of coronavirus.
The first Australian to die of COVID-19 had been evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship, which was quarantined in Yokohama, Japan [Eugene Hoshiko/AP Photo]
01:00 GMT – South Korea reports 376 more coronavirus cases
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said 376 more cases of coronavirus had been reported in the country, most of them in the hardest-hit city of Daegu and the province of Gyeong-buk.
No new deaths were reported.
The country now has a total of 3,526 cases.
The KCDC will release a further update at 07:00 GMT on Sunday.
00:01 GMT – China reports 573 new coronavirus cases, 35 deaths
Mainland China reported 573 new confirmed coronavirus cases on February 29, up from 427 on the previous day, the country’s health authority said on Sunday.
The number of deaths stood at 35, down from 47 on the previous day, bringing the total death toll in mainland China to 2,870.
Of the deaths, 34 were in Hubei province, the epicentre of the outbreak. The province also saw 570 of the new cases
Click here to read updates from Saturday, February 29.
China still spying on U.S. coronavirus vaccine efforts, Wray tells Congress
Chinese hackers are still trying to snoop on American coronavirus vaccine efforts, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress on Thursday, saying they can actually track the attempts. Mr. Wray said they’ll see a public announcement from a company on its vaccine progress, then within days they’ll see cyber penetration efforts against that company “that ties…
Chinese hackers are still trying to snoop on American coronavirus vaccine efforts, FBI Director Christopher Wray told Congress on Thursday, saying they can actually track the attempts.
Mr. Wray said they’ll see a public announcement from a company on its vaccine progress, then within days they’ll see cyber penetration efforts against that company “that ties back to Chinese actors.”
“They’re trying to essentially jump to the front of the line by stealing information from others,” Mr. Wray said.
He declared China the largest counterterrorism focus of the FBI, and pointed to thousands of open investigations into Chinese attempts to penetrate American institutions.
Mr. Wray first warned in early summer that China was attempting to compromise U.S. coronavirus efforts.
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China attempted to cover up scope of COVID-19, could have largely prevented outbreak: GOP report
China could have prevented two-thirds of its coronavirus cases before the end of February had it followed international health guidelines at the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, a new congressional report concluded. The report, released Monday and authored by Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, echoes earlier findings that China made efforts…
China could have prevented two-thirds of its coronavirus cases before the end of February had it followed international health guidelines at the beginning of the outbreak in Wuhan, a new congressional report concluded.
The report, released Monday and authored by Republican members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, echoes earlier findings that China made efforts to cover up the severity of the initial spread of the virus and that the government harassed and detained journalists, scientists and health care professionals who were voicing concerns about its handling of the outbreak.
“It is beyond doubt that the [Chinese Communist Party] actively engaged in a cover-up designed to obfuscate data, hide relevant public health information, and suppress doctors and journalists who attempted to warn the world,” the report said. “Research shows the CCP could have reduced the number of cases in China by up to 95 percent had it fulfilled its obligations under international law and responded to the outbreak in a manner consistent with best practices.”
The report also said that the Chinese government was “legally obliged” on Dec. 27 to inform the World Health Organization that the outbreak in Wuhan may constitute a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the coronavirus outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern on Jan. 30.
The report’s conclusions take aim at the WHO, from which President Trump announced a U.S. withdrawal in May, and said that the United Nations-backed organization was “heavily influenced by the Chinese Communist Party” in its messaging of the outbreak.
“The WHO has been complicit in the spread and normalization of CCP propaganda and disinformation,” the report stated, citing outside experts. “By repeating as truth statements that were misleading, if not lies, the WHO negatively impacted the global response.”
Rep. Michael McCaul, Texas Republican and ranking member of the Democrat-led committee, said in a statement Monday that “it is crystal-clear that had the CCP been transparent, and had the head of the WHO cared more about global health than appeasing the CCP, lives could have been spared and widespread economic devastation could have been mitigated.”
There have been over 31 million reported cases of COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the novel coronavirus. More than 961,000 people have died from the virus, with 199,525 deaths in the U.S., according to the Johns Hopkins University tracker. The global population currently stands at 7.8 billion.
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China slams US ‘bullying’, warns of action over TikTok, WeChat |NationalTribune.com
China has accused the United States of “bullying” and threatened to take “necessary” countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app WeChat. “China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease its wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order,”…
China has accused the United States of “bullying” and threatened to take “necessary” countermeasures after Washington banned downloads of the Chinese video-sharing app TikTok and effectively blocked the use of the messaging super-app WeChat.
“China urges the US to abandon bullying, cease its wrongful actions and earnestly maintain fair and transparent international rules and order,” the Chinese Ministry of Commerce said in a statement on Saturday.
“If the US insists on going its own way, China will take necessary measures to resolutely safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese companies.”
The United States Commerce Department announced the bans on Friday, citing national security grounds although China and the companies have denied US user data is collected for spying
Under Friday’s order, the Tencent-owned WeChat app would lose functionality in the US from Sunday onwards. TikTok users will be banned from installing updates but could keep accessing the service through November 12.
The timeframe gives TikTok’s parent group ByteDance some breathing space to clinch an agreement over the fate of its US operations.
“We disagree with the decision from the Commerce Department, and are disappointed that it stands to block new app downloads from Sunday and ban use of the TikTok app in the US from November 12,” ByteDance said in a statement.
“We will continue to challenge the unjust executive order.”
START HERE | Should TikTok be banned? (10:50)
TikTok says it has 100 million US users and 700 million globally.
‘Very very popular’
Friday’s order follows weeks of deal-making over TikTok, with US President Donald Trump pressuring ByteDance to sell TikTok’s US operations to a domestic company to satisfy Washington’s concerns over TikTok’s data collection and related issues.
California tech giant Oracle recently struck a deal with TikTok along those lines, although details remain foggy.
Trump said on Friday said he was open to a deal, noting that “we have some great options and maybe we can keep a lot of people happy,” suggesting that even Microsoft, which said its TikTok bid had been rejected, might continue to be involved, as well as Oracle and Walmart.
Trump noted that TikTok was “very, very popular,” said “we have to have the total security from China,” and added that “we can do a combination of both”.
The bans are in response to a pair of executive orders issued by Trump on August 6 that gave the Commerce Department 45 days to determine what transactions to block from the apps he deemed pose a national security threat. That deadline expires on Sunday.
The Trump administration has ramped up efforts to purge “untrusted” Chinese apps from US digital networks amid escalating tensions with Beijing on a range of issues from trade and human rights to the battle for tech supremacy.
The American Civil Liberties Union said the Commerce Department’s order “violates the First Amendment rights of people in the United States by restricting their ability to communicate and conduct important transactions on the two social media platforms”.
INSIDE STORY | Why does Trump want to ban Tiktok? (24:11)
The action against WeChat, used by over 1 billion people worldwide, bars the transfer of funds or processing of payments to or from people in the US through it. Users could also start to experience significantly slower service or sporadic outages from Sunday night.
WeChat developer Tencent Holdings’ called the order “unfortunate” but said it “will continue to discuss with the government and other stakeholders in the US ways to achieve a long-term solution”.
WeChat has had an average of 19 million daily active users in the US, analytics firms Apptopia said in early August. It is popular among Chinese students, ex-pats and some Americans who have personal or business relationships in China.
The order does not ban US companies from doing businesses on WeChat outside the US, which will be welcome news to US firms such as Walmart and Starbucks that use WeChat’s embedded ‘mini-app’ programmes to facilitate transactions and engage consumers in China, officials said.
The order will not bar transactions with Tencent’s other businesses, including its online gaming operations, and will not prohibit Apple, Google or others from offering TikTok or WeChat apps anywhere outside the US.
WeChat users have sued to stop the ban, and a federal judge in California on Friday set an emergency hearing for Saturday at 1:30 pm Pacific time.
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