Roy Gilbert

‘Unprecedented’ steps needed to fight virus, S. Korea says

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SEOUL, South Korea >> South Korea’s president said today that he was putting his country on its highest alert for infectious diseases and ordered officials to take “unprecedented, powerful” steps to fight a soaring viral outbreak that has infected more than 600 people in the country, mostly in the last few days.

China also reported hundreds of more infections for a total of about 77,000, and Iran raised its death toll from the virus to eight —— the highest toll outside of China. While the number of patients worldwide is increasing, some virus clusters have shown no link to China and experts are struggling to trace where those clusters started.

The Iranian health ministry said there were now 43 confirmed cases in Iran, which did not report its first case of the virus until Wednesday.

In Italy’s northern Lombardy region, which includes the nation’s financial capital, Milan, the governor announced today that the number of confirmed cases in the region stood at 89. Italy now has 132 cases, including two deaths.

Venice, which is full of tourists for Carnival events, reported its first two cases, said Veneto Gov. Luca Zaia, whose region includes the lagoon city. It wasn’t immediately known if the two infected had participated in Carnival festivities.

Warning that China’s virus epidemic is “still grim and complex,” President Xi Jinping called for more efforts to stop the outbreak, revive industry and prevent the disease from disrupting spring planting of crops.

Xi defended the ruling Communist Party’s response as “timely and effective” in a […]

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