8.33pm EST 20:33 South Korea cases jump to 763, with seven deaths No sooner had I typed in those South Korean infection figures, and they are out of date. We have just heard from the health authorities there that infections have jumped to 763, up from 602. Yonhap news agency says there has also been
South Korea cases jump to 763, with seven deaths
No sooner had I typed in those South Korean infection figures, and they are out of date. We have just heard from the health authorities there that infections have jumped to 763, up from 602. Yonhap news agency says there has also been a 7th death.
Over 110 people including nine medical staff, at the Daenam Hospital have been confirmed to be infected with Covid-19, with five victims of the potentially fatal illness reported or linked to the hospital, which has been in cohort isolation to stem further spread.
South Korea postpones new school year as alert raised to highest level
With six deaths and 602 infections, Seoul has raised the virus alert to “red” its highest level in the four-tier system. It’s the first time it has been at red in more than a decade, the Yonhap news agency reports. The country’s health minister said the next seven to 10 days would be crucial in fighting the virus.
The country’s new school year, set to begin in March, has been postponed by a week (March 9). This applies from kindergartens up to high schools. It’s the first time the school term has been postponed nationally.
More than half of the country’s cases are linked to the religious group Shincheonji Church of Jesus, Temple of the Tabernacle of the Testimony. More than 9,000 members of the group are in self-quarantine. Yonhap says 1,248 have shown Covid-19-related symptoms.
Australia changes travel advice to Japan and South Korea
Still in Australia, and the government has updated its official travel advice for Japan and South Korea due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.
Travellers are being told to “exercise a high degree of caution due to a heightened risk of sustained local transmission of coronavirus (Covid-19)”.
“Monitor your health closely and follow the advice of local authorities,” the Department of Foreign Affairs said for both countries.
In South Korea, it advises Australians to “reconsider your need to travel in Daegu and Cheongdo”, the centre of Covid-19 infections.
“We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Daegu and Cheongdo due to significant outbreaks of Covid-19 in those cities,” the advice said.
South Korea has reported 602 infections and six deaths.
Australian stocks fall 1.6% on virus fears
The Australian stock exchange has plummeted after offshore markets fell on fears the virus is spreading across Asia and may affect global economic stability.
The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index fell was a 116.7 points in the first half hour of trade, or 1.63%, to 7,022.3.
The broader All Ordinaries index was down 117.1 points, or 1.62%, at 7,113.3 as all indices fell.
Australian Associated Press reports that after half an hour of trading, the biggest drags were the energy, materials and consumer discretionary indices.
Energy was 2.82% lower, industrials were down 2.42% and the consumer discretionary index had tumbled 3.39%.
US and European markets fell on Friday on the back of increasing concerns over COVID-19 as more companies face disruptions and issue profit warnings.
Oil prices also fell but gold jumped to its highest level in seven years as investors rushed to the save-haven metal.
Elsewhere in Asia, South Korea’s Kospi index plunged more than 2% on Monday morning (the country has more than 600 coronavirus infections).
The Nikkei in Tokyo held a bit firmer, losing just 0.4%.The Hong Kong and mainland China markets open shortly with the focus on what is expected to be very weak factory output data from China later.
You can read our full story on the deepening economic impact of the virus below:
President Xi warns of economic impact of virus on China
In an important speech on the virus on China, President Xi Jinping has warned that “at present, the epidemic situation is still severe and complex, and prevention and control work is in the most difficult and critical stage”.
“The outbreak of novel coronavirus pneumonia will inevitably have a relatively big impact on the economy and society,” Xi said, adding that the impact would be short-term and controllable.
The outbreak, which has infected nearly 77,000 people and killed more than 2,400 in China, is one of the most serious public health crises to confront Chinese leaders in decades.
“For us, this is a crisis and is also a big test,” Xi said.
Xi said the virus had caused the most extensive infection and is the most difficult to contain in the country since the founding of the People’s Republic of China.
Good morning and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the coronavirus outbreak.
We are waiting for the daily update of figures from the Chinese health commission. As of Sunday there were nearly 77,000 infections and more than 2,400 deaths
But here are the main points you need to know before we get underway:
- The world is approaching a tipping point in containing the spread of the coronavirus, experts say, warning that the disease is outpacing efforts to contain it.
- China’s president Xi has acknowledged the “relatively big” impact the virus will have on the country’s economy and society, but also said the results of prevention and control work have “once again demonstrated the notable advantages of the leadership of the CPC (Chinese communist party) and the system of socialism with Chinese characteristics”.
- South Korea’s president has placed the country on red alert, responding to a rapidly growing number of cases (six deaths, 602 infections).
- Italy has imposed strong measures in a number of towns in the northern Lombardy region to stop the spread of the virus (including imposing fines on anyone caught entering or leaving outbreak areas), after a third person died on Sunday.
- Iran (eight deaths, 43 infections) has closed schools and in 14 provinces as “a preventative measure”.
- Japan still has the most cases outside China (838), the vast majority of which were onboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship.
You can get up to date on our latest stories below: