The number of countries hit by the coronavirus has climbed past 60, and infections and deaths continued to mount around the globe, emptying streets of tourists and workers, shaking economies and rewriting the realities of daily life.
In Paris, the Louvre Museum closed, and priests stopped placing sacramental bread in worshippers’ mouths.
Panic-buying of daily necessities emerged in Japan. Tourist sites across Asia, Europe and the Mideast were deserted. And governments closed schools and banned big gatherings.
“Additional cases in the United States are likely, but healthy individuals should be able to fully recover,” President Donald Trump said at a briefing on Saturday, where officials announced heightened warnings about travel to certain regions of Italy and South Korea as well as a ban on travel to Iran.
How the virus is impacting Asia
China, where the outbreak began two months ago, reported a slight uptick in new cases over the past 24 hours to 573, the first time in five days that the number 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 totals to 3736 cases and 20 fatalities.
South Korea has the second-largest number of infections outside, with most of the cases in the southeastern city of Daegu and nearby areas.
South Korea’s president used a speech marking the 101st anniversary of an anti-Japanese independence uprising to call for national unity to overcome the crisis.
In the Middle East
Iran’s death toll from COVID-19, the disease the virus causes, climbed to 54 as the number of confirmed 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.
Iraq’s Health Ministry announced the discovery of six more cases Sunday, raising the total to 19 – all Iran-linked.
The outbreak in Iran has prompted its neighbours to seal their borders to Iranians, while other Gulf states have halted flights to Iran.
Many cases of the virus have been relatively mild, and some of those infected apparently show no symptoms at all. That can allow for easier spread.
Worries are mounting that prolonged quarantines, supply chain disruptions and a sharp reduction in tourism and business travel could weaken the global economy and even cause a recession.
Most of the new cases involved people who had been in Italy or Iran, both countries hit hard by the outbreak.
The government’s chief medical officer, Chris Whitty, said one of the new patients “had no relevant travel and it is not yet clear whether they contracted it directly or indirectly from an individual who had recently returned from abroad”.
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