COVID-19, the deadly respiratory disease caused by coronavirus, has spread to over 80 countries around the world, including six in Africa – Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. Globally, it has killed over 3200 people and infected more than 95,000 others.
In Africa, there are now 12 confirmed cases – five in Algeria, two in Egypt, two in Senegal, one in Morocco, one in Nigeria and one in Tunisia.
Two of those countries, Nigeria and Senegal, are located in Sub-Saharan Africa and have three cases in all.
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In Nigeria, an Italian national who traveled from Milan in Italy to Lagos in Nigeria tested positive last week. In Senegal, two French nationals have tested positive for the virus there. The four other countries are located in northern Africa.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has said COVID-19 could be far more dangerous than the flu and estimated its mortality rate around 3.4 percent compared to the flu, which kills about 1 percent. However, the coronavirus is less transmissible than the flu, health officials added.
The Director-General of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom, said at a news conference it was worrisome some countries not yet hit by the outbreak were not preparing well enough and had decided that there was nothing they could do.
He said this was time for aggressive preparedness not a time to relax. “It is in our hands,” he said.
He announced that WHO had launched anew social media campaign called be ready for COVID-19 to provide people with the right information.
Adhanom said there was still a lot scientists do not know about the virus but it was a serious disease.
Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove of WHO confirmed that a dog in Hong Kong had also tested positive for COVID-19 and investigation was underway.
In the United States, Robert Redfield, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Americans should expect more cases.
“I want them to be prepared for the reality that … there are going to be more cases in the community,” Redfield. “But I want them to continue their daily lives. I want them to be mindful of the opportunity again to prepare themselves and their families.”
There are now 128 confirmed cases in the United States with 31 of them in Washington state. In California, there are now 27 cases, six cases in New York, four in Illinois, three in Florida, three in Oregon, two in Georgia, two in Massachusetts, two un Rhode Island, two in Arizona, two in New Hampshire, one in Wisconsin. North Carolina’s department of health confirmed the state’s first “presumptively positive” case of the coronavirus on Tuesday.
In the United Kingdom, the largest daily increase of COVID-19 was announced on Wednesday with 34 new cases, bringing to the country’s total to 85. Two of the cases announced on Wednesday were in Scotland.
Reports quoted Britain’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, as saying a serious coronavirus epidemic in Britain was “almost certain” with “some deaths” expected.
In Italy, the death toll from COVID-19 jumped from 52 to 79 on Wednesday with 2502 confirmed cases. The government has shut cinemas and theaters while public events are being banned. Already, all schools and universities are closed in Italy due to the outbreak until mid-March, and sporting events are holding behind closed-doors.
Outside Mainland China, where the outbreak began, Iran has suffered the most deaths. At least 92 people have been killed and 2922 others have been infected in Iran, according to health ministry spokesman, Kianoush Jahanpour.
In one of the most striking case, a man who works in New York City and lives in Westchester County spread the respiratory disease to his wife, son, daughter, and neighbor who lives in Manhattan.
The man’s son is a student at Yeshiva University in Manhattan where all-in person graduate courses on campus have been canceled. The boy’s high school has closed.