Coronavirus infection hits 110,098 with 3,831 dead

The coronavirus outbreaks in China and South Korea appear to be slowing, as countries elsewhere in the world adopt drastic measures to try and stamp out the infection.

In Italy, where some 16 million people in Lombardy and other parts of the north are now under quarantine, there were 133 deaths reported on Sunday, bringing the total to 366. More than 7,000 people in the country have been confirmed to have the virus.

In Iran, there were 49 new fatalities. Some 194 people have now died from COVID-19 there.

But the latest figures from China and South Korea suggest the virus might be slowing in northeast Asia.

China reported 40 new confirmed cases on Sunday, compared with 44 the day before. That is the lowest number since the National Health Commission started publishing national data on January 20.

Outside Hubei province, where the virus first originated late last year, China reported no new locally transmitted cases for the second straight day.

New infections in South Korea also appear to be slowing.

There has been more turmoil on Asian markets this morning, with investors selling stocks and buying bonds amid growing concern about the health of the global economy, not only because of the impact from the coronavirus but also because of oil.

Oil prices plunged about 30 per cent after Saudi Arabia slashed its official selling price.

Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Arizona Representative Paul Gosar have put themselves into a 14-day quarantine after determining they had contact with a man at the Conservative Political Action Conference who was later confirmed to have the coronavirus.

Several other senators and members of the House of Representatives were also at the event, where US President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both spoke.

The White House says there is no indication that either of them met or were in “close proximity” to the man who was confirmed to have the virus.

South Korea is hopeful that the situation will improve, although it is warning against calling the peak of its outbreak too soon.

“I’m still extremely cautious, but there’s hope we can reach a turning point in the near future,” Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun said on Monday before returning to Seoul from the hard-hit southeastern city of Daegu.

Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip said it was premature to say the crisis was over, as new cases continued to emerge.

“There are still many patients arising from Daegu and nearby regions … and sporadic infections continue to emerge elsewhere, though they’re not spreading as fast,” Kim told a briefing.

“In fact, now is the time to concentrate all our capabilities to bring a clear reduction in infections.”

The BNP Paribas Open, a near-major tennis tournament that was set to begin this week in the California desert, has been called off. This is the largest sporting event in the US to be called off over coronavirus concerns.

The announcement came on Sunday night after many players were already in the desert practising.

Qualifying matches were to begin on Monday with women’s main draw matches starting on Wednesday and the men’s games the day after.

The coronavirus is having quite an impact on the world’s sporting events and numerous tournaments have been cancelled. We’ve been keeping a list.

South Korea has adopted a new distribution system for face masks and rationed the number each person can buy each week.

People can now buy masks only on the weekday corresponding to the last digit of their birth year.

That means people born in years ending with one or six can buy masks on Mondays, while those born in a year ending with three or eight can buy on Wednesdays.

No one is allowed to buy more than one a week.

BBC