March 07, 2020 06:11:23
As coronavirus spreads to more countries across the world, the number of confirmed cases has topped 100,000 according to the Centre for Disease Control data collated by John Hopkins University and the World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged countries to make coronavirus containment their highest priority.
This story covering the outbreak is regularly updated throughout the day.
Cases rise to over 100,000 people infected
More than 100,000 people have been infected by coronavirus globally and over 3400 people have died according to the Centre for Disease Control data collated by John Hopkins University.
Mainland China accounted for more than 3,000 deaths, while the toll in Italy stood at 197.
There are 85 countries outside China reporting infections, with Slovakia, Cameroon, Togo, Vatican City, Bhutan, Serbia and Costa Rica reporting their first cases of coronavirus in the past 24 hours.
More than half of those infected have reportedly recovered, including over 53,700 in mainland China.
WHO urges to make coronavirus containment ‘highest priority’
The World Health Organisation said on Friday (local time) all countries should make containing the outbreak of COVID-19 their highest priority.
The UN agency stressed that fighting the epidemic requires countries to work together, and praised Iran for “switching on” to the coronavirus outbreak there and taking a fresh “all of government approach”.
“We are now on the verge of reaching 100,000 confirmed cases,” the WHO’s Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus told reporters at a briefing.
“It is geographically expanding and deeply concerning.”
“We are continuing to recommend that all countries make containment their highest priority,” he added.
EU members fail to share protective gear
EU ministers failed to convince Germany, France and the Czech Republic to lift their export ban on protective medical gear.
The three countries announced a ban on exports of protective gear against coronavirus to avoid shortages at home.
The measures go against the spirit of free movements of goods within the European Union and could hurt the bloc’s collective effort to fight coronavirus.
Many EU countries rely on China, the source of the outbreak, for drug ingredients, and they are now struggling to avoid shortages after the epidemic disrupted supplies and delayed shipments.
Protective gear, such as face masks, is already in short supply in most EU countries, officials said, which puts doctors and nurses at risk.
Vatican confirms first case
The Vatican said a patient in its health services had tested positive for the coronavirus, the first in the tiny, walled city state surrounded by Rome.
The discovery worsened the prospects of the virus having already spread further in the capital of Italy, since most Vatican employees live in Rome and those who live in the Vatican frequently enter and leave the city state.
The death toll in Italy, the worst-hit European country, where the virus has stricken mostly in the north, stood at 148 on Friday.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said the case was diagnosed on Thursday and that services in Vatican clinics had been suspended to sanitise the areas.
Most Vatican employees who use its health services live in Italy on the other side of the border with the 108-acre city state.
Starbucks temporarily bans own reusable cups
Starbucks has stopped accepting reusable cups and thermos flasks from customers in Europe, the Middle East and Africa to prevent the spread of coronavirus, though it will still honour the promised discount for anyone carrying one.
The world’s biggest coffee chain had announced a similar policy for the United States on Wednesday.
Companies across the world are having to rethink the way they operate to slow the spread of a virus that first emerged in China, with some opting to freeze travel, stockpile goods and have staff work from home.
For Starbucks that means pausing the use of personal cups or tumblers in its stores out “of an abundance of caution”.
“We will continue to honour existing discounts for anyone who brings in a personal cup,” Starbucks said.
“As a result, we are suspending our charges for paper cups as well, given this decision prevents customers from opting for reusables.”
What the experts are saying about coronavirus: