A man wearing a protective mask is seen inside the Shanghai Stock Exchange building, as the country is hit by a new coronavirus outbreak, at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai

A man wearing a protective mask is seen inside the Shanghai Stock Exchange building, as the country is hit by a new coronavirus outbreak, at the Pudong financial district in Shanghai, China February 28, 2020. REUTERS/Aly Song

28-02-2020ALY SONG

The World Health Organisation says the risk of catching coronavirus is now very high after 8 new countries report their first cases of the disease and the virus continue to multiply in Italy.

A total of 21 people had died from coronavirus in Italy as of Friday and the number of people who tested positive in the country, soared from 650 to 889 in just 24 hours.

60 people have been diagnosed with the disease in Germany and at least 57 in France. The 32 cases reported in Spain rose by one more on Saturday morning when a woman from Palma, who’d just returned from Bergamo in Italy, tested positive.

388 people in Iran have tested positive and the authorities ordered schools to close for three days from Saturday after the the death toll rose to 34.

South Korea reported a massive increase in infections on Saturday when the number of cases there shot up from 813 to 3,150 and 4 more people died, taking the country’s total to 17.

The South Korean government said that the disease is at a critical stage and urged people to stay indoors to avoid coming into contact with carriers of the virus.

Australia has just announced that all foreign nationals from Iran will be refused entry because of the escalating number of cases.

Russia has also temporarily barred Iranians from entering the country and says new restrictions will be imposed on South Korean nationals from March 1 as a precaution. Vietnam has also suspended visa-free travel for South Koreans.

Coronavirus originated in mainland China last year and was rampant in January, but over the last few weeks, the number of new cases has been waning. Four people tested positive for the Covid-19 virus on Saturday, the lowest daily rate since the virus took flight.

Four possible cases have also been identified in the United States and those patients are still waiting for the results of biological samples. The US State Department has advised American citizens to avoid travelling to Italy.

80,000 people are now known to have been infected with coronavirus and 2,835 patients have died, according to the World Health Organisation.

The WHO has issued yet another warning that the disease is spreading rapidly across the globe after Nigeria, Lithuania, Belarus, Azerbaijan and New Zealand reported their first cases.

Two cases have now been confirmed in Romania and a second positive diagnosis was reported in Israel. There are also 3 cases in Mexico, at least 4 in Brazil with other suspected carriers being tested.

The Japanese government has vowed to help subsidise companies who’s workers have been forced to take time off to look after children after the schools were closed.

Businesses across the globe are also counting the cost, particularly in the Tourism Sector, as customers cancel hotel and flight reservations amid fears of infection.

The biggest annual travel trade show in the world, which was due to take place in Berlin next week has been pulled.

Switzerland has cancelled the International car show and all Swiss league football matches this weekend

Disneyland in Tokyo and Universal Studios in Osaka have been shut down at least until March 15 and Olympic organisers in Japan will decide next week whether to cancel the ceremonial torch relay.

Several airlines are cancelling flights to Asia. United airlines has cut a huge swathe of flights to Japan and South Korea from its schedule and Easyjet, Iberia and several other airlines have announced massive changes to flight schedules.

Share prices were on the skids on Friday as panic set in and it became clear that markets were veering towards their worst crash since the 2008 global financial crisis, wiping out nearly 5 trillion dollars of profit in a week.

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