Tuesday, 3 Oct 2023

Coronavirus epidemics in Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea are WHO’s ‘greatest concern’

Coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, continues to spread across the globe, having already infected over 95,000 and killed more than 3,200 people. The rate of infection is particularly bad in Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea – as cases continue to rise at a rapid pace. The situation in the four countries has prompted Tedious Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organisation (WHO), to single them out and brand them as areas of “great concern”.

He said: “The epidemics in South Korea, Italy, Iran and Japan are our greatest concern.

“WHO mission has arrived in Iran to deliver supplies and help government.

“We are in unchartered territory. We have never seen before a respiratory pathogen capable of community transmission, but it can be contained with the right measures.”

The organisation said there were nearly nine times more cases of COVID-19 reported outside of China than inside the country in the past 24 hours.

The number of new cases in China continue to decline, while the number of confirmed cases in other parts of the world continue to rise.

South Korea reported 516 new cases on Wednesday, taking the total to well over 5,000.

The country is currently the worst-hit country outside of China.

Most cases were in and around Daegu, the country’s fourth-largest city, where the flu-like virus has spread rapidly through members of a fringe Christian group.

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The death toll in Italy also continues to rise, as the number jumped by 28 over the past 24 hours to 107.

The total number in Europe’s worst-hit country totalled over 3,000, up from 2,502 on Tuesday, as cases have now been confirmed in all but one of the country’s 20 regions.

As a result all Italian schools and universities will close from Thursday until March 15 as part of an effort to contain the virus.

Education Minister Lucia Azzolina said: “I hope pupils can return to school as soon as possible… my commitment is to ensure that the essential public service, albeit from a distance, is provided to all our students.”

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The country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, said that Italy’s health service risks being overwhelmed by the coronavirus.

The number of confirmed cases in Iran also continues to rise, taking the total to over 2,300.

A number of senior Iranian officials have contracted the virus.

Among the latest is the head of the emergency medical services, Pirhossein Kolivand.

Twenty-three of the 290 members of parliament have also tested positive.

Japan, who are due to host the 2020 Olympics in the summer, is also an area of concern as the number of infections exceed 1,000.

Of the confirmed cases, 706 are from the Diamond Princess cruise ship.

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